Spotlight on the selected new antimicrobial innate immune peptides discovered during 2015-2019

Xiangli Dang, Guangshun Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Antibiotic resistance is a global issue and new anti-microbials are required. Introduction: Anti-microbial peptides are important players of host innate immune systems that prevent infections. Due to their ability to eliminate drug-resistant pathogens, AMPs are promising candidates for developing the next generation of anti-microbials. Methods: The anti-microbial peptide database provides a useful tool for searching, predicting, and de-signing new AMPs. In the period from 2015-2019, ~500 new natural peptides have been registered. Results: This article highlights a selected set of new AMP members with interesting properties. Teixobactin is a cell wall inhibiting peptide antibiotic, while darobactin inhibits a chaperone and trans-locator for outer membrane proteins. Remarkably, cOB1, a sex pheromone from commensal entero-cocci, restricts the growth of multidrug-resistant Enterococcus faecalis in the gut at a picomolar concen-tration. A novel proline-rich AMP has been found in the plant Brassica napus. A shrimp peptide MjPen-II comprises three different sequence domains: serine-rich, proline-rich, and cysteine-rich regions. Sur-prisingly, an amphibian peptide urumin specifically inhibits H1 hemagglutinin-bearing influenza A vi-rus. Defensins are abundant and typically consist of three pairs of intramolecular disulfide bonds. How-ever, rat rattusin dimerizes via forming five pairs of intermolecular disulfide bonds. While human LL-37 can be induced by vitamin D, vitamin A induces the expression of resistin-like molecule alpha (RELMα) in mice. The isolation and characterization of an alternative human cathelicidin peptide, TLN-58, sub-stantiates the concept of one gene multiple peptides. The involvement of a fly AMP nemuri in sleep in-duction may promote the research on the relationship between sleep and infection control. Conclusion: The functional roles of AMPs continue to grow and the general term “innate immune pep-tides” becomes useful. These discoveries widen our view on the anti-microbial peptides and may open new opportunities for developing novel peptide therapeutics for different applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2984-2998
Number of pages15
JournalCurrent Topics in Medicinal Chemistry
Issue number32
StatePublished - 2020


  • Anti-microbial peptide
  • Classification
  • New structure
  • Pheromone with picomolar antibacterial activity
  • Sleep and immunity
  • Vitamin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Drug Discovery


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