Peptide Knowledge Center

​Unique anticancer effect of antimicrobial peptides

So far, several antimicrobial peptides have been proved to have anticancer properties, which provides a new potential drug for curing cancer. At present, the killing effect of antimicrobial peptides on hepatoma cells, bladder cancer cells and cervical cancer cells has been reported in correlation with dose.

1. Specific recognition of cancer cells
Phosphatidylserine in cell membrane is usually located in the cell membrane of normal cells. In some tumor cells and apoptotic cells, it is translocated to the surface of cell membrane. It is through electrostatic attraction that positively charged antimicrobial peptide molecules approach, recognize and bind to negatively charged cancer cells to promote the clearance of cancer cells by monocytes.

2. Specific destruction of cell membrane structure
Antimicrobial peptides have been proved to induce apoptosis and death of cancer cells by specifically destroying the membrane structure of cancer cells. Antimicrobial peptides can change from random coiled conformation in aqueous solution to helical conformation in membrane environment. With the help of the flexibility of the structure between N-end and C-end, the hydrophobic end is first inserted into the plasma membrane, and then the whole value of a helix is inserted into the plasma membrane. It exists in the cancer cell membrane as a transmembrane entity and destroys the structure of the cancer cell membrane.

3. Inducing apoptosis of cancer cells
Studies have confirmed that through the interaction of electronegative molecules on the surface of cancer cells, they combine with cancer cells, and then break down the tumor cell membrane through spatial conformation change, so as to start the pathway of apoptosis, and finally achieve the purpose of tumor cell apoptosis.
4. Other anti-tumor mechanisms may also include damage to cancer cell DNA, destruction of cytoskeleton, promotion of immune effect, inhibition of tumor angiogenesis and so on.

In short, the effect of antimicrobial peptides on the body is not limited to killing foreign microorganisms. They also play an important role in immune regulation and anti-tumor. These characteristics make antimicrobial peptides become the focus of clinical anti infection and anti-cancer drug screening. Therefore, we must further explore the immune defense and anti-tumor mechanism of antimicrobial peptides in the body, develop bioactive peptides that can effectively resist infection and inhibit cancer, and become one of the emerging drugs for clinical prevention and treatment as soon as possible.