Antimicrobial Peptides of Multicellular Organisms: My Perspective

  • Michael ZasloffEmail author
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 1117)


Antimicrobial peptides of multicellular organisms were first characterized in the 1980s by investigators who felt that known systems of immunity could not explain what they observed: the resistance to bacterial infection of a Cecropia moth pupa lacking antibodies or lymphocytes (cecropins (Steiner 1981)), the potent microbicidal activity of neutrophils from a rabbit (defensins (Selsted et al. 1985)), and the healing of a wound on the skin of the African clawed frog without infection in a non-sterile aquarium (magainins (Zasloff 1987)). Since then AMPs have been discovered in diverse species of fungi, plants, and animals (Seshadri Sundararajan et al. 2012; Fan et al. 2016; Waghu et al. 2016; Wang et al. 2016). It is likely that we will discover that every multicellular organism expresses antimicrobial peptides as a key element of their immune system. Why are antimicrobial peptides so popular in Nature?


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.MedStar Georgetown Transplant InstituteGeorgetown University School of MedicineWashingtonUSA

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