About this Research Topic
Infectious diseases are back in the top priority lists of medical challenges. Most traditional antibiotics are no longer effective against modern resistant strains of bacteria and fungi, innovative solutions are needed urgently! This cry for innovation extends far beyond medicine and pharmacology as fundamental knowledge has to be retrieved to be applied against new targets using refined approaches.
Antimicrobial peptides (AMP) and other peptide-related molecules have been intensively studied in artificial lipid vesicles. The fundamentals of peptide-lipid bilayer intermodulation have been extensively unraveled in detail using a plethora of biophysical techniques. Recently, several attempts to translate these findings into biological samples of bacteria have been proposed. The role of membrane saturation, peptide clustering, and peptide conformational dynamics, for instance, have been addressed. In addition to effects associated to membrane targeting, intracellular effects have been characterized, such as macromolecular condensation. Yet, authoritative reviews and overviews of the topic are still missing, which hinders progress and advancements in the field. A forum for bright and insightful educated views is both important and timely.
Our goal is to gather authoritative mini-reviews from authors with experience in bridging membrane biophysics to microbiology with the aim of understanding the mode of action and/or innovating towards new peptide and peptide-based antibiotics, using experimental, computational or theoretical approaches. Possible themes include, but are not limited to:
(i) The application of biophysical techniques directly to bacteria so that molecular mechanisms of action of this class of antibiotics can be dissected;
(ii) Unlocking of novel antibiotic targets at membranes or other unconventional cellular structures;
(iii) Medicinal chemistry approaches to optimize the efficacy and/or selectivity of peptide and peptide-related antimicrobials; and
(iv) Quantitative studies of diffusion of antibiotics in biofilms, for instance.
Educated opinions based on facts and duly supported by experimental data in the literature are welcome. Original data papers may also be considered although reviews or mini-reviews are preferred.
Authors must provide broad and comprehensive views of the theme of their contributions. Narrow field views based on own work only are not allowed.
The cover image joins a confocal microscopy image of a giant liposome (left) and an illustration of a Mycoplasma mycoides cell (right, by David S. Goodsell, the Scripps Research Institute).
Keywords: Antibiotic, membrane, bacterium, fungus, peptide
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