Characteristics and therapeutic applications of antimicrobial peptides

Olga V. Makhlynets, Gregory A. Caputo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The demand for novel antimicrobial compounds is rapidly growing due to the phenomenon of antibiotic resistance in bacteria. In response, numerous alternative approaches are being taken including use of polymers, metals, combinatorial approaches, and antimicrobial peptides (AMPs). AMPs are a naturally occurring part of the immune system of all higher organisms and display remarkable broad-spectrum activity and high selectivity for bacterial cells over host cells. However, despite good activity and safety profiles, AMPs have struggled to find success in the clinic. In this review, we outline the fundamental properties of AMPs that make them effective antimicrobials and extend this into three main approaches being used to help AMPs become viable clinical options. These three approaches are the incorporation of non-natural amino acids into the AMP sequence to impart better pharmacological properties, the incorporation of AMPs in hydrogels, and the chemical modification of surfaces with AMPs for device applications. These approaches are being developed to enhance the biocompatibility, stability, and/or bioavailability of AMPs as clinical options.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number011301
JournalBiophysics Reviews
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials


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