Ancient antimicrobial peptides kill antibiotic-resistant pathogens: Australian mammals provide new options

Jianghui Wang, Emily Wong, J Whitley, Jian Li, Jessica Stringer, Kirsty Short, Marilyn Renfree, K Belov, Benjamin Cocks

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59 Citations (Scopus)


To overcome the increasing resistance of pathogens to existing antibiotics the 10?? 20 Initiative declared the urgent need for a global commitment to develop 10 new antimicrobial drugs by the year 2020. Naturally occurring animal antibiotics are an obvious place to start. The recently sequenced genomes of mammals that are divergent from human and mouse, including the tammar wallaby and the platypus, provide an opportunity to discover novel antimicrobials. Marsupials and monotremes are ideal potential sources of new antimicrobials because they give birth to underdeveloped immunologically na??ve young that develop outside the sterile confines of a uterus in harsh pathogen-laden environments. While their adaptive immune system develops innate immune factors produced either by the mother or by the young must play a key role in protecting the immune-compromised young. In this study we focus on the cathelicidins, a key family of antimicrobial peptide genes.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere24030
Number of pages8
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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