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Tuberculosis (Edinb). 2014 Jul;94(4):363-73. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2014 Apr 12.

Antimicrobial peptides and proteins in mycobacterial therapy: current status and future prospects.

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School of Biotechnology, KIIT University, Bhubaneswar, Orissa, India.
Institute for Physiological Chemistry, Marburg University, Marburg, Germany.
School of Biotechnology, KIIT University, Bhubaneswar, Orissa, India. Electronic address:


Tuberculosis (TB), an infectious disease caused by the pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), kills about 1.5 million people every year worldwide. An increase in the prevalence of drug-resistant strains of Mtb in the last few decades now necessitates the development of novel drugs that combat infections by both drug-sensitive and resistant Mtb. Moreover, as Mtb can persist in host cells by modulating their immune responses, it is essential that anti-TB agents be able to penetrate macrophages and kill the pathogen intracellularly without harming the host cells. In this context, antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) and proteins are being harnessed as anti-infective agents for the treatment of various diseases. Due to their direct and rapid bactericidal activity it is unlikely that pathogens acquire resistance against AMPs. Several short and potent AMP derivatives have been prepared by peptide engineering, and several of them are currently evaluated in clinical trials. The present review summarizes the role of endogenously expressed AMPs and proteins in the treatment of tuberculosis infections. In addition, mechanisms of direct anti-mycobacterial activity, manipulation of host immune responses, and future prospects of AMPs as therapeutic agents are discussed.


Antimicrobial peptides; Granulocytes; Macrophages; Mycobacteria; Tuberculosis

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