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Electronic Journal of Biotechnology

versión On-line ISSN 0717-3458


MARSHALL, Sergio H.  y  ARENAS, Gloria. Antimicrobial peptides: A natural alternative to chemical antibiotics and a potential for applied biotechnology. Electron. J. Biotechnol. [online]. 2003, vol.6, n.3, pp.271-284. ISSN 0717-3458.

A large group of low molecular weight  natural compounds that exhibit antimicrobial activity has been isolated from animals and plants during the past two decades. Among them, cationic peptides are the most widespread. Interestingly, the variety and diversity of these peptides seem to be much wider than suspected. In fact, novel classes of peptides with varying chemical propertiescontinue to be isolated from different vertebrate and invertebrate species, as well as  from bacteria. To the early characterized peptides, mostly cationic in nature,  anionic peptides, aromatic dipeptides, processed  forms of oxygen-binding proteins and processed forms of natural structural and functional proteins can now be added, just to name a few. In spite of  the astonishing diversity in structure and chemical nature displayed by these molecules, all of them present antimicrobial activity, a condition that has led researchers to  consider them as "natural antibiotics" and as such a new and innovative alternative to chemical antibiotics with a promising future as biotechnological tools. A resulting new generation of anti microbial peptides (AMPs) with higher specific activity and wider microbe-range of action could be constructed, and hopefully endogenously expressed in genetically-modified organisms.

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