Lantibiotics are ribosomally synthesized antimicrobial peptides that commonly target the cell wall precursor lipid II during their antimicrobial mechanism and exert their inhibitory activity by (i) inhibition of cell wall biosynthesis, and (ii) stable pore formation in the target membrane. Type-A(I) (i.e. nisin) and two-component (i.e. lacticin 3147) lantibiotics initially interact with lipid II to stabilize the complex, which then proceeds to inhibit cell wall biosynthesis and pore formation. Type-A(II) (i.e. nukacin ISK-1) and type-B (i.e. mersacidin) lantibiotics also use lipid II as a docking molecule, but can only inhibit cell wall biosynthesis without forming pores. In the present paper, we review the antimicrobial mechanism of different types of lantibiotics, their current progress and future prospect.

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