The frequent occurrence of multidrug-resistant strains to conventional antimicrobials has led
to a clear decline in antibiotic therapies. Therefore, new molecules with different mechanisms of action
are extremely necessary. Due to their unique properties, antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) represent a valid
alternative to conventional antibiotics and many of them have been characterized for their activity and
cytotoxicity. However, the effects that these peptides cause at concentrations below the minimum
growth inhibitory concentration (MIC) have yet to be fully analyzed along with the underlying molecular
mechanism. In this mini-review, the ability of AMPs to synergize with different antibiotic classes or
different natural compounds is examined. Furthermore, data on microbial resistance induction are reported
to highlight the importance of antibiotic resistance in the fight against infections. Finally, the effects
that sub-MIC levels of AMPs can have on the bacterial pathogenicity are summarized while showing
how signaling pathways can be valid therapeutic targets for the treatment of infectious diseases. All
these aspects support the high potential of AMPs as lead compounds for the development of new drugs
with antibacterial and immunomodulatory activities.
Keywords: Antimicrobial peptides, Antibiotic resistance, Synergism, Induction of resistance, Pathogenicity, Quorum sensing.
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