The Immune System of Marine Organisms as Source for Drugs against Infectious Diseases

Mar Drugs. 2022 May 28;20(6):363. doi: 10.3390/md20060363.


The high proliferation of microorganisms in aquatic environments has allowed their coevolution for billions of years with other living beings that also inhabit these niches. Among the different existing types of interaction, the eternal competition for supremacy between the susceptible species and their pathogens has selected, as part of the effector division of the immune system of the former ones, a vast and varied arsenal of efficient antimicrobial molecules, which is highly amplified by the broad biodiversity radiated, above any others, at the marine habitats. At present, the great recent scientific and technological advances already allow the massive discovery and exploitation of these defense compounds for therapeutic purposes against infectious diseases of our interest. Among them, antimicrobial peptides and antimicrobial metabolites stand out because of the wide dimensions of their structural diversities, mechanisms of action, and target pathogen ranges. This revision work contextualizes the research in this field and serves as a presentation and scope identification of the Special Issue from Marine Drugs journal "The Immune System of Marine Organisms as Source for Drugs against Infectious Diseases".

Keywords: antimicrobial drug discovery; antimicrobial metabolites; antimicrobial peptides; innate immune system.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Infective Agents* / pharmacology
  • Anti-Infective Agents* / therapeutic use
  • Aquatic Organisms / chemistry
  • Communicable Diseases* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Immune System


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Anti-Infective Agents