Arthropoda is a phylum of invertebrates that has undergone remarkable evolutionary radiation, with a wide range of venomous animals. Arthropod venom is a complex mixture of molecules and a source of new compounds, including antimicrobial peptides (AMPs). Most AMPs affect membrane integrity and produce lethal pores in microorganisms, including protozoan pathogens, whereas others act on internal targets or by modulation of the host immune system. Protozoan parasites cause some serious life-threatening diseases among millions of people worldwide, mostly affecting the poorest in developing tropical regions. Humans can be infected with protozoan parasites belonging to the genera Trypanosoma
, and Toxoplasma
, responsible for Chagas disease, human African trypanosomiasis, leishmaniasis, malaria, and toxoplasmosis. There is not yet any cure or vaccine for these illnesses, and the current antiprotozoal chemotherapeutic compounds are inefficient and toxic and have been in clinical use for decades, which increases drug resistance. In this review, we will present an overview of AMPs, the diverse modes of action of AMPs on protozoan targets, and the prospection of novel AMPs isolated from venomous arthropods with the potential to become novel clinical agents to treat protozoan-borne diseases.
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