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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2011 Jul;68(13):2243-54. doi: 10.1007/s00018-011-0716-4. Epub 2011 May 11.

Bacterial resistance mechanisms against host defense peptides.

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Department of Biotechnology, National Institute of Chemistry Slovenia, Hajdrihova 19, 1000, Ljubljana, Slovenia,


Host defense peptides and proteins are important components of the innate host defense against pathogenic microorganisms. They target negatively charged bacterial surfaces and disrupt microbial cytoplasmic membranes, which ultimately leads to bacterial destruction. Throughout evolution, pathogens devised several mechanisms to protect themselves from deleterious damage of host defense peptides. These strategies include (a) inactivation and cleavage of host defense peptides by production of host defense binding proteins and proteases, (b) repulsion of the peptides by alteration of pathogen's surface charge employing modifications by amino acids or amino sugars of anionic molecules (e.g., teichoic acids, lipid A and phospholipids), (c) alteration of bacterial membrane fluidity, and (d) expulsion of the peptides using multi drug pumps. Together with bacterial regulatory network(s) that regulate expression and activity of these mechanisms, they represent attractive targets for development of novel antibacterials.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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