Reassessing the host defense peptide landscape

Evan F. Haney, Suzana K. Straus, Robert Hancock

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

65 Citations (Scopus)


Current research has demonstrated that small cationic amphipathic peptides have strong potential not only as antimicrobials, but also as antibiofilm agents, immune modulators, and anti-inflammatories. Although traditionally termed antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) these additional roles have prompted a shift in terminology to use the broader term host defense peptides (HDPs) to capture the multi-functional nature of these molecules. In this review, we critically examined the role of AMPs and HDPs in infectious diseases and inflammation. It is generally accepted that HDPs are multi-faceted mediators of a wide range of biological processes, with individual activities dependent on their polypeptide sequence. In this context, we explore the concept of chemical space as it applies to HDPs and hypothesize that the various functions and activities of this class of molecule exist on independent but overlapping activity landscapes. Finally, we outline several emerging functions and roles of HDPs and highlight how an improved understanding of these processes can potentially be leveraged to more fully realize the therapeutic promise of HDPs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number43
JournalFrontiers in Chemistry
Issue numberFEB
Publication statusPublished - 4 Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Antibiofilm peptide
  • Antimicrobial peptide
  • Chemical space
  • Host defense peptide
  • Peptide therapeutics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)

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