Peptide Knowledge Center

Unique anticancer effects of antimicrobial peptides

So far, several antimicrobial peptides have been shown to have anticancer properties, which provides a new potential drug for curing cancer.


At present, it has been reported in the literature that the killing effect of antimicrobial peptides on liver cancer cells, bladder cancer cells, cervical cancer cells, etc. is related to the dose. The anticancer effects of antimicrobial peptides have not been fully elucidated.


1. Specific recognition of cancer cells

The phosphatidylserine (phosph01ipidphosphatidyl.serine, PS) in the cell membrane is usually located in the cell membrane of normal cells. In some tumor cells and apoptotic cells, these Ps located in the membrane are translocated to the cell membrane surface. The positively charged antimicrobial peptide molecule approaches, recognizes and binds to the negatively charged cancer cells through electrostatic attraction, and promotes the removal of cancer cells by monocytes. However, the electrical charge density on cancer cells is much lower than that of bacterial membranes, which also limits the anticancer effects of antimicrobial peptides.


2. Specific destruction of cell membrane structure

Antimicrobial peptide CB 1 a, CA. MA. 2 (CA.MA.2, KWKI, Fl<XI-P-KFLHSAKKF.NH2) and chrysophsin-l have been confirmed to induce apoptosis and death of cancer cells by specifically destroying the membrane structure of cancer cells. For example, the cBla antimicrobial peptide can change from a random coiled conformation in aqueous solution to a helical conformation in a membrane environment. With the flexibility of the structure between the N-terminal and C-terminal, the hydrophobic end is inserted into the plasma membrane first, and then the entire helix is inserted into the plasma membrane. Present in the cancer cell membrane as a transmembrane entity, disrupting the structure of the cancer cell membrane.


3. Induce apoptosis of cancer cells

Studies have confirmed that a variety of antimicrobial peptides can induce apoptosis in cancer cells of different tumors, but the mechanism is not fully elucidated. LfcinB binds to cancer cells through the interaction of electronegativity molecules on the surface of cancer cells, and then penetrates the tumor cell membrane through spatial conformation changes, thereby initiating the apoptosis pathway and finally achieving the goal of tumor cell apoptosis. In addition, the study also found that LfcinB can rapidly bind to purified mitochondria, induce the production of reactive oxygen species and the release of cytochrome C, and trigger the apoptosis of cancer cells.


Other anti-tumor mechanisms may also include: damage to cancer cell DNA, destruction of cytoskeleton, promotion of immune effects, and inhibition of tumor angiogenesis.