Multifunctional cationic host defence peptides and their clinical applications

Amy T.Y. Yeung, Shaan L. Gellatly, Robert E.W. Hancock

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

424 Citations (Scopus)


With the rapid rise in the emergence of bacterial strains resistant to multiple classes of antimicrobial agents, there is an urgent need to develop novel antimicrobial therapies to combat these pathogens. Cationic host defence peptides (HDPs) and synthetic derivatives termed innate defence regulators (IDRs) represent a promising alternative approach in the treatment of microbial-related diseases. Cationic HDPs (also termed antimicrobial peptides) have emerged from their origins as nature's antibiotics and are widely distributed in organisms from insects to plants to mammals and non-mammalian vertebrates. Although their original and primary function was proposed to be direct antimicrobial activity against bacteria, fungi, parasites and/or viruses, cationic HDPs are becoming increasingly recognized as multifunctional mediators, with both antimicrobial activity and diverse immunomodulatory properties. Here we provide an overview of the antimicrobial and immunomodulatory activities of cationic HDPs, and discuss their potential application as beneficial therapeutics in overcoming infectious diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2161-2176
Number of pages16
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Antimicrobial
  • Chemoattractant
  • Host defence peptide
  • Immunity
  • Immunomodulatory
  • Infection
  • Inflammation
  • Therapeutics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology

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