Cathelicidins are a family of diverse antimicrobial peptides found in granules of mammalian neutrophils. Cathelicidins are active against a broad range of microbes in different environments. Aside from their antimicrobial activity, cathelicidins possess other biological properties including cytotoxic activity towards mammalian cells. Several studies have shown that the amino acid sequence of cathelicidins can be modified to temper undesired properties, such as hemolytic and cytotoxic activity, and at the same time maintain antimicrobial activity. These properties make cathelicidins ideal templates in combinatorial chemistry for designing de novo antimicrobial peptides for therapeutic use. However, one of the major challenges will be to screen these peptides in experimentally relevant models that reflect the environments in which the peptides should be therapeutically active.
Keywords: antimicrobial peptides (amps), cathelin, infectious processes, gram-positive bacteria, cytotoxicity, anti-hiv activity, liposomes, prophenins, protegrins, efflux pumps
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