Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are evolutionarily conserved components of the innate immune defense system of many living organisms varying from prokaryotes to eukaryotes, including humans. Due to their broad-spectrum activity and low level of induced resistance, these short aminoacid sequences represent a novel class of potential antimicrobial agents. Besides the development of anti-bacterial drugs, AMPs constitute ideal molecular models for the design of molecules with wide-ranging nanomedical applications, such as anti-tumorigenic agents and pharmacological tools to cure channelopaties. Several techniques are currently used to shed light on the mechanisms of action of AMPs, ranging from the characterization of the interaction between peptides and biomimetic membranes and/or intracellular targets, to the study of AMPs effects on pathogens, living cells and tissues. Comprehensive and multiscale studies are crucial to design new AMPs and to identify molecules that can boost their activity. In this minireview we summarize the most recent achievements in AMP-characterization, with a special emphasis on the integration of biophysical approaches, which can synergistically help to bridge the gap between in vitro and ex vivo investigations
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