Defence against antimicrobial peptides: different strategies in Firmicutes

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleContributedpeer-review


  • Ainhoa Revilla-Guarinos - , Departamento de Biotecnología, Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology (IATA-CSIC), Spanish National Research Council, Paterna, Universidad Europea de Valencia (Author)
  • Susanne Gebhard - (Author)
  • Thorsten Mascher - , Chair of General Microbiology (Author)
  • Manuel Zúñiga - (Author)


The Firmicutes constitute a phylum of bacteria that can be found in a wide variety of habitats, from soil to the gastrointestinal tract of animals, where they have to thrive in complex communities. Competition in these communities usually involves the production of compounds such as antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) to eliminate competitor organisms. Animals and plants also produce AMPs to control their associated microbiota. In turn, defence mechanisms have evolved to prevent the action of these compounds. The close association of some Firmicutes with humans as prominent pathogens or commensal organisms has driven a considerable research effort on defence mechanisms used by these bacteria against antimicrobial compounds. This review focuses on the most recent advances on two well-characterized defence mechanisms against AMPs: the modification of the cell wall by D-alanylation and the role of peptide antibiotic-specific adenosine triphosphate-binding cassette transporters.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1225-37
Number of pages13
JournalEnvironmental microbiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2014

External IDs

Scopus 84898771414



  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters/metabolism, Anti-Bacterial Agents/chemistry, Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides/chemistry, Cell Wall/chemistry, Drug Resistance, Bacterial, Gram-Positive Bacteria/drug effects, Membrane Transport Proteins/metabolism, Teichoic Acids/metabolism