Due to the worrying increase in antimicrobial resistance to conventional antibiotics, the search for alternatives is becoming increasingly important. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), originating from natural resources, have been recognised as a novel class of antibiotics. An advantage of peptides over antibiotics is that the resistance is more difficult to attain than for conventional antibiotics. With the increasing number of genomes sequenced and available in the public domain, one alternative methodology to obtain novel AMPs is to analyse genes and proteins from genomic databases to predict and identify amino acid sequences that share similarities and molecular features with natural bioactive antimicrobial peptides. In this chapter, we summarise some of our recent results on the production of antimicrobial peptides, particularly, how we managed to identify a family of antimicrobial peptides: cathelicidins, through bioinformatics tools, from the genomes of two lower vertebrates (a reptile and a bird) available in public databases. We hope that our preliminary investigation with these novel peptides could be useful for the design of future strategies that pursue the production of antimicrobial peptides through biotechnology.
Part of the book: Drug Discovery