About this Research Topic
The current situation in the treatment of infectious diseases is reaching a daunting situation were multi-drug resistant infections cause one death every 15 minutes in the US according to the CDC; at the same time, the development of new antimicrobials has decreased drastically since the 80s. Future prospects are not optimistic and new molecules approved by the FDA consist of analogues derived from currently used antibiotics and do not display a novel mode of action.
Historically, natural products have been the primary source of clinically used antibiotics. Although microbial natural products display a wide range of bioactivities, they have offered their greatest utility as antibiotics. Although several hundred thousand different natural products have been reported, the majority can be classified into four general classes of biosynthetic systems: polyketides, peptides, isoprenoids and shikimate derivatives.
Although bacteria are the most common source of active peptides, other sources such as animals and plants successfully produce venoms and metabolites of interest. Beyond finding new sources for such molecules, novel advances in technologies such as genomics and transcriptomics enabled antimicrobial peptide discovery. This has led to the discovery of promising peptides such as teixobactin, malacidin, lugdunin, humymicin or darobactin.
For decades, pharmaceutical companies have stepped away from the development of peptides as drugs, partly due to problems such as its low stability, cytotoxicity, potential immunogenicity, etc.; however, these drawbacks have been circumvented by using chemical tools and some peptides are continuously developed into clinical trials. Currently, there are over 60 peptide drugs in the market. In addition to that, some of the currently used antibiotics are also peptides (Polymixin B, Colistin, Bacitracin or Daptomycin).
This Research Topic aims to publish peptides that show activity against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative, and with special interest with those peptides active against multidrug-resistant strains from the ESKAPE group. The goal of this Research Topic is to illustrate that peptides can indeed be potent drugs for the treatment of infectious diseases and represent promising alternatives to counter antimicrobial resistance.
Keywords: Antimicrobial Resistance, Antimicrobial Peptides, Multidrug-resistant Bacteria
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