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Drug Discov Today. 2006 Apr;11(7-8):306-14.

The cryptome: a subset of the proteome, comprising cryptic peptides with distinct bioactivities.

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  • 1Cryptome Pharmaceuticals, PO Box 6492, St. Kilda Rd Central, Melbourne, Vic 8008, Australia. dautelitano@cryptomepharmaceuticals.com


There is increasing evidence that proteolytic cleavage gives rise to 'hidden' peptides with bioactivities that are often unpredicted and totally distinct to the parent protein. So far, the liberation of these cryptic peptides, or crypteins, has been shown to be prevalent in proteins associated with endocrine signalling, the extracellular matrix, the complement cascade and milk. A broad spectrum of proteases has been implicated in the generation of natural crypteins that appear to play a role in modulating diverse biological processes, such as angiogenesis, immune function and cell growth. The proteolytic liberation of crypteins with novel activities represents an important mechanism for increasing diversity of protein function and potentially offers new opportunities for protein-based therapeutics.

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