Reprogramming biological peptides to combat infectious diseases
With the rapid spread of resistance among parasites and bacterial pathogens, antibiotic-resistant infections have drawn much attention worldwide. Consequently, there is an urgent need to develop new strategies to treat neglected diseases and drug-resistant infections. Here, we outline several new strategies that have been developed to counter pathogenic microorganisms by designing and constructing antimicrobial peptides (AMPs). In addition to traditional discovery and design mechanisms guided by chemical biology, synthetic biology and computationally-based approaches offer useful tools for the discovery and generation of bioactive peptides. We believe that the convergence of such fields, coupled with systematic experimentation in animal models, will help translate biological peptides into the clinic. The future of anti-infective therapeutics is headed towards specifically designed molecules whose form is driven by computer-based frameworks. These molecules are selective, stable, and active at therapeutic doses.