While a well-established process for lead compound discovery in for-profit companies, high-throughput screening is becoming more popular in basic and applied research settings in academia. The development of combinatorial libraries combined with easy and less expensive access to new technologies has greatly contributed to the implementation of high-throughput screening in academic laboratories. While such techniques were earlier applied to simple assays involving single targets or based on binding affinity, they have now been extended to more complex systems such as whole cell-based assays. In particular, the urgent need for new antimicrobial compounds that would overcome the rapid rise of drug-resistant microorganisms, where multiple target assays or cell-based assays are often required, has forced scientists to focus onto high-throughput technologies. Based on their existence in natural host defense systems and their different mode of action relative to commercial antibiotics, antimicrobial peptides represent a new hope in discovering novel antibiotics against multi-resistant bacteria. The ease of generating peptide libraries in different formats has allowed a rapid adaptation of high-throughput assays to the search for novel antimicrobial peptides. Similarly, the availability nowadays of high-quantity and high-quality antimicrobial peptide data has permitted the development of predictive algorithms to facilitate the optimization process. This review summarizes the various library formats that lead to de novo antimicrobial peptide sequences as well as the latest structural knowledge and optimization processes aimed at improving the peptides selectivity.
Keywords: Antimicrobial peptides, high-throughput screening, peptide libraries, structure-activity relationship
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