Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are one of the components of the non-specific immune system that operate first lines of protection in many animal species including fish. They exert broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity, apart from many other potential roles in innate immunity, and represent a promising class of antiviral agents. Recent advances in understanding the mechanisms of their antiviral action(s) indicate that they have a dual role in antiviral defence, acting not only directly on the virion but also on the host cell. Despite the acute problems of viral diseases and restrictions in using chemicals in aquaculture, few but successful attempts to assess the antiviral activities of fish AMPs have been reported. This review focuses on the antiviral activities and mechanisms of action of some AMPs, and their potential relevance in the aquaculture industry, one of the most important sources of fishery products in the near future. It is a matter of notable concern to understand whether the AMPs can be used as model molecules for designing antiviral drugs that might help to solve the problems with viruses in the fish farming industry worldwide. In addition, because fish rely more heavily on their innate immune defences than mammals, they might constitute a potential rich source of antiviral compounds for fighting against mammalian viral infections.
Keywords: Antimicrobial peptides, fish virus, rhabdovirus, pleurocidin, cecropin, defensin, HNP1, VHSV, aquaculture, antivirals
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