The first antimicrobial peptides were isolated from the cecropia moth Hyalophora cecropia in 1980. Since then a plethora of antimicrobial peptides have been isolated from other arthropods, invertebrates and chordates. With the emergence of antibiotic resistant bacterial pathogens and the promising activity of these peptides, attempts are being made to use these peptides as new antimicrobial agents. Other researchers are interested in using these peptides to improve the resistance of crops and livestock to infections, while another line of research is interested in using these peptides to control vector borne diseases. Despite the promising antibacterial, antiviral, anti-protozoan and anti-tumor activity of these peptides, relatively few peptides have made it to clinical trials. Problems associated with the development of these peptides into effective antimicrobial agents include their higher cost, proteolysis or decreased activity in physiological environments and mass production. This review will focus specifically on the development of insect antimicrobial peptides into useful chemotherapeutic agents.
Key words: Insect, antimicrobial peptide, drug discovery.
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