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International Journal of Microbiology
Volume 2012, Article ID 386410, 13 pages
Review Article

Development of Class IIa Bacteriocins as Therapeutic Agents

Department of Chemistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2G2

Received 17 August 2011; Accepted 8 October 2011

Academic Editor: John Tagg

Copyright © 2012 Christopher T. Lohans and John C. Vederas. 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.


Class IIa bacteriocins have been primarily explored as natural food preservatives, but there is much interest in exploring the application of these peptides as therapeutic antimicrobial agents. Bacteriocins of this class possess antimicrobial activity against several important human pathogens. Therefore, the therapeutic development of these bacteriocins will be reviewed. Biological and chemical modifications to both stabilize and increase the potency of bacteriocins are discussed, as well as the optimization of their production and purification. The suitability of bacteriocins as pharmaceuticals is explored through determinations of cytotoxicity, effects on the natural microbiota, and in vivo efficacy in mouse models. Recent results suggest that class IIa bacteriocins show promise as a class of therapeutic agents.