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The research group of Professor Haixia Chen from School of Pharmaceutical Science and Technology (SPST) published a high-level review paper on the antibacterial mechanism of bioactive peptides

Prof. Haixia Chen's research group from the School of Pharmaceutical Science and Technology published a review paper "The structure-mechanism relationship and mode of actions of antimicrobial peptides: A review" (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tifs.2021.01.005) in the well-known international journal Trends in Food Science & Technology on the basis of a large quantities of previous researches on bioactive peptides. Shuqin Li, a doctoral candidate from SPST, is the first author of the paper and Prof. Haixia Chen is the corresponding author.

The article reviewed the structure characteristics of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) related with bactericide actions, including peptides constituents, molecular length, molecular charges and so on. And it also summarized the common mode of actions of AMPs raised by researchers. The structure-mechanism relationship was discussed. This review aims to provide important reference for future AMPs chemical modification and mechanism exploration.

Easy access and massive use of conventional antibiotics have led to overuse of antibiotics, which result in antimicrobial resistant problems in global healthcare. Apart from affecting human health, antimicrobial resistance also threatens agricultural livelihoods and global food security, which makes it a major public health and economic problem for the world. Emerging antibiotic resistance and faltering antibiotic pipeline are of great concern. Under this circumstances, new direction for the development of novel antimicrobials becomes more and more urgent. AMPs are important components of natural immunity and have attracted lots of attentions due to their different mode of actions. The main mechanisms of AMPs can be divided into membrane targets and intracellular targets. Lots of technologies and methods are used to investigate the action mechanisms of AMPs, such as scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), atomic force microscopy (AFM), calcein dye leakage assay , membrane permeability assay, Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR), gel retardation assay, and so on.

Despite their great development potential, AMPs face hindrance like low specificity, high manufacturer cost, potential toxicity to animal cells and lack of a robust guideline for rational design. They are challenged by both chemical stability and biological environment stability caused by the presence of human and bacterial proteases. With the development of separation technology, chemical modification method and mechanism research technology, AMPs that have stronger antibacterial ability and cheaper to produce will be explored and developed, posing a possible solution for antibiotic resistance problem.