Supramolecular antimicrobial hydrogels based on peptides are attractive soft materials for
the treatment of infections, considering their ease of preparation and benign fate in biological settings
and in the environment. In particular, stimuli-responsive systems that can be assembled/disassembled
ad hoc could offer the opportunity to switch on/off their bioactivity as needed. Besides, the shorter is
the peptide, the lower its cost of production. However, a structure-to-function relationship is yet to be
defined and reported activities are generally not yet competitive relative to traditional antibiotics. Inspiration
for their design can be found in host defense peptides (HDPs), which can self-assemble to exert
their function. This article reviews research developments in this emerging area, and it examines features,
differences and similarities between antimicrobial and amyloid peptides to open the avenue towards
the next generation of supramolecular antimicrobial peptides as innovative therapeutic materials.
Keywords: Peptides, Self-assembly, Antimicrobial, Amyloid, Hydrogel, Smart materials.
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