The co-evolution of host cationic antimicrobial peptides and microbial resistance

Nat Rev Microbiol. 2006 Jul;4(7):529-36. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro1441. Epub 2006 Jun 12.


Endogenous cationic antimicrobial peptides (CAMPs) are among the most ancient and efficient components of host defence. It is somewhat of an enigma that bacteria have not developed highly effective CAMP-resistance mechanisms, such as those that inhibit many therapeutic antibiotics. Here, we propose that CAMPs and CAMP-resistance mechanisms have co-evolved, leading to a transient host-pathogen balance that has shaped the existing CAMP repertoire. Elucidating the underlying principles of this process could help in the development of more sustainable antibiotics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides* / chemistry
  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides* / metabolism
  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides* / pharmacology
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Humans


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides