Naturally occurring oligopeptides that
destabilize bacterial membranes are widespread in nature, where they play a part
in innate defence against microbial infection. Compounds of this type include
cecropins (originally described in insects), magainins (from frogs), defensins
(from mammalian leucocytes), and lanthionine-containing lantibiotics (from
bacteria). Whether these, or related synthetic compounds, have any future as
therapeutic agents remains to be seen.
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