A brief update on potential molecular mechanisms underlying antimicrobial and wound-healing potency of snake venom molecules

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Abstract

Infectious diseases remain a significant cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. A wide range of diverse, novel classes of natural antibiotics have been isolated from different snake species in the recent past. Snake venoms contain diverse groups of proteins with potent antibacterial activity against a wide range of human pathogens. Some snake venom molecules are pharmacologically attractive, as they possess promising broad-spectrum antibacterial activities. Furthermore, snake venom proteins (SVPs)/peptides also bind to integrins with high affinity, thereby inhibiting cell adhesion and accelerating wound healing in animal models. Thus, SVPs are a potential alternative to chemical antibiotics. The mode of action for many antibacterial peptides involves pore formation and disruption of the plasma membrane. This activity often includes modulation of nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) activation during skin wound healing. The NF-κB pathway negatively regulates the transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1/Smad pathway by inducing the expression of Smad7 and eventually reducing in vivo collagen production at the wound sites. In this context, SVPs that regulate the NF-κB signaling pathway may serve as potential targets for drug development.

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