Author(s): Zhang G, Ross CR, Blecha F
Abstract Share this page
Abstract Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are small, endogenous, polycationic molecules that constitute a ubiquitous and significant component of innate immunity. These natural antibiotics have broad microbicidal activity against various bacteria, fungi, and enveloped viruses. Because most AMPs kill bacteria by physical disruption of cell membranes, which may prevent microorganisms from developing resistance against these agents, they are being explored as possible alternatives to conventional antibiotics. Pigs, like many other mammals, produce an impressive array of AMPs, which are synthesized predominantly by host leukocytic phagocytes or mucosal epithelial cells. Currently, more than a dozen distinct porcine AMPs have been identified and a majority belongs to the cathelicidin family. This review briefly summarizes recent advances in porcine AMP research with an emphasis on the diverse biological functions of each peptide. Mechanisms of action of these AMPs and their role in the resistance to infections are considered. Finally, the current status of pharmaceutical and agricultural uses of AMPs as well as future prospects for their application in the food animal industry is discussed.
This article was published in Vet Res
and referenced in Biological Systems: Open Access