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International Journal of Microbiology
Volume 2012, Article ID 101989, 8 pages
Review Article

Coleopteran Antimicrobial Peptides: Prospects for Clinical Applications

1School of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of the Witwatersrand, Wits 2050, South Africa
2Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Tohoku University, Aoba 6-3, Aramaki, Aoba-ku, Sendai 980-8578, Japan

Received 8 August 2011; Revised 2 November 2011; Accepted 5 December 2011

Academic Editor: Paul Cotter

Copyright © 2012 Monde Ntwasa et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are activated in response to septic injury and have important roles in vertebrate and invertebrate immune systems. AMPs act directly against pathogens and have both wound healing and antitumor activities. Although coleopterans comprise the largest and most diverse order of eukaryotes and occupy an earlier branch than Drosophila in the holometabolous lineage of insects, their immune system has not been studied extensively. Initial research reports, however, indicate that coleopterans possess unique immune response mechanisms, and studies of these novel mechanisms may help to further elucidate innate immunity. Recently, the complete genome sequence of Tribolium was published, boosting research on coleopteran immunity and leading to the identification of Tribolium AMPs that are shared by Drosophila and mammals, as well as other AMPs that are unique. AMPs have potential applicability in the development of vaccines. Here, we review coleopteran AMPs, their potential impact on clinical medicine, and the molecular basis of immune defense.