This Research Topic is the follow-up of the two previous research topics focused on antimicrobial peptides (AMPs): Antimicrobial Peptides: Molecular Design, Structure Function Relationship and Biosynthesis Optimization
and Community Series in Antimicrobial Peptides: Molecular Design, Structure Function Relationship and Biosynthesis Optimization
Extensive use of antimicrobials in clinical and veterinary medicine, agriculture, aquaculture, and horticulture resulted in the emergence and wide dissemination of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Infections caused by AMR pathogenic bacteria cause excessive morbidity and mortality rates, and steps have to be taken to alleviate this problem. One of the options is the use of AMPs, which may serve as an alternative to traditional antimicrobials. AMPs are small peptides widespread in living organisms as a part of the host’s innate immune response against invading pathogens or as drug molecules providing a competitive advantage in the microbial world.
As an alternative to antimicrobials, AMPs may offer certain advantages such as high penetration of, and internalization by, the cells of pathogens/animals, and importantly, a low rate of resistance compared with traditional antimicrobials. Limitations of AMPs include some key bottlenecks such as weak druggability, poor stability, and cost of production. Also, the safety aspects of AMPs have not been appropriately evaluated as yet: these are strong cationic, amphiphilic, and polar molecules with noticeable physical, chemical, and biochemical properties and thus may have side effects in vivo. Therefore, clinical aspects of AMPs use have to be extensively evaluated.
The main aim of this Research Topic is to focus on discoveries, innovative ideas, novel approaches, and potential solutions that address to drawbacks mentioned above. Druggability of AMPs, for example, may include pre-clinical studies evaluating the pharmacological potentials of AMPs. Bio-safety issues of AMPs could be addressed with the use of approved biosynthetic and expression systems, with the final check-in of animal models to ensure safety. Stability issues of AMPs could be addressed via engineering approaches such as the introduction of disulfide bonds, posttranslational modifications, and coating and incorporation of AMPs into various carriers or nanoparticles. Potential resistance mechanisms can be evaluated by extensive genetic and biochemical analyses of pathogens that survived AMP treatment.
The Research Topic editors welcome state-of-the-art research submissions focusing on the following areas:
1. Druggability of AMPs to evaluate their pharmacological potentials in animal models and pre-clinical studies.
2. Bio-safety assessment of biosynthetic and expression systems in vivo and tests in animal models to confirm the safety of the AMP production/application system.
3. Improvement of stability of AMPs via engineering approaches such as the introduction of disulfide bonds, posttranslational modifications, and coating and incorporation of AMPs into various carriers or nanoparticles;
4. Evaluation of potential resistance mechanisms towards AMPs in a variety of pathogens.