Function and therapeutic potential of host defense peptides

Joseph B. McPhee, Robert E.W. Hancock

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

148 Citations (Scopus)


Cationic host defence (antimicrobial) peptides are an important component of the innate immune systems of a wide variety of plants, animals, and bacteria. Although most of these compounds have direct antimicrobial activities under specific conditions, a greater appreciation for the diversity of functions of these molecules is beginning to develop in the field. In addition to their directly antimicrobial activities, they also have a broad spectrum of activity on the host immune system, with both pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory effects being invoked. Increasingly sophisticated approaches to understand the role of host defence peptides in modulating innate immunity are already serving to guide the development of novel therapeutics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)677-687
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Peptide Science
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2005


  • Antimicrobial peptide
  • Clinical trials
  • Innate immunity
  • Peptide design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Organic Chemistry

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