Animal peptide antibiotics are defined as antimicrobial peptides made by an animal (including humans), usually with a specificity that is important for the innate immunity (nonadaptive immunity) of that animal. These compounds 61 BOMAN act on a rather broad spectrum of microbial organisms that often belong to the common or natural flora associated with the animal. The most striking properties of the classical immune system are its high specificity and memory. For immunologists there have been two outstanding intellectual challenges, namely to understand the basis for specificity and memory. The intrinsic value attributed to the solving of these two problems has been very high, in fact sometimes so high that other parts of the immune system have not been called "immunology." The demand for a high specificity has by necessity been linked to the avoiding of self-destruction and the need to prevent reinfection has been the obvious survival value of a memory system. The main advantage of the animal peptide antibiotics as factors of innate immunity is that they can function without either high specificity or memÂ ory: They avoid the problem of self-destruction either by a cellular compartÂ mentalization or by specificity for a microbial target that
Annual Review of Immunology – Annual Reviews
Published: Apr 1, 1995
Keywords: antibacterial peptides; processing of prepropeptides; genes for preproantibiotics; gene control; chemical synthesis of peptide antibiotics
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