Host defense (antimicrobial) peptides

Evelyn Sun, Corrie R. Belanger, Evan F. Haney, Robert Hancock

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Small cationic, amphipathic peptides with critical roles in host defenses often exhibit overlapping but distinct immunomodulatory activity, direct antimicrobial activity towards planktonic microbes, and selective antibiofilm activity. Thus these multifunctional host defense peptides (HDPs) have been proposed as alternative agents to treat microbial infections in response to rising multiple antibiotic resistance. The direct antimicrobial activities of HDPs were traditionally thought to be mainly membranolytic, but many antimicrobial peptides can also act on a number of intracellular processes. A subset of HDPs has also been shown to possess potent broad-spectrum antibiofilm activity and synergy against biofilms with conventional antibiotics. As immunomodulators, HDPs selectively modulate innate immunity by inhibiting inflammatory responses, stimulating the recruitment of immune cells, and promoting wound healing. The broad spectrum of activities mediated by these multifunctional HDPs has fueled synthetic peptide design studies intended to increase peptide activity while decreasing toxicity to potentiate the future clinical and commercial applications.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPeptide Applications in Biomedicine, Biotechnology and Bioengineering
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages33
ISBN (Electronic)9780081007426
ISBN (Print)9780081007365
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Antibiofilm peptides
  • Antimicrobial peptides
  • Host defense peptides
  • Immunomodulatory peptides
  • Peptide commercialization
  • Peptide design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

Cite this