Antimicrobial peptides: Phylogenic sources and biological activities. First of two parts

Thea Magrone, Matteo Antonio Russo, Emilio Jirillo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are phylogenetically ancient substances released by living organisms for self protection against a broad variety of microbes. Moreover, AMPs are endowed with immune modulatory activities, linking innate and adaptive immunity together. Lantibiotics are AMPs of bacterial origin currently investigated for the generation of a new class of anti-infective compounds, owing to the phenomenon of antibiotic resistance against a broad variety of bacteria. Also, plants and marine AMPs are screened as novel drugs against human pathogens. Human AMPs encompass defensins and cathelicidins produced by various cell types mostly at mucosal sites. Besides their antimicrobial activity, both AMPs have been shown to trigger either inflammatory or anti-inflammatory pathways. Food-derived AMPs are mostly represented by lactoferrin and lysozyme both present in secretions, e.g., milk, and appear to be very exploitable for the generation of functional foods. Finally, the role of natural products ingested with food or administered as supplements on induction and production of AMPs will be discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1043-1053
Number of pages11
JournalCurrent Pharmaceutical Design
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Antimicrobial peptides
  • Cathelicidins
  • Defensins
  • Immune response
  • Phylogenesis
  • Resistance to antibiotics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery


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