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Curr Opin Drug Discov Devel. 2006 Mar;9(2):251-60.

The cyclotides and related macrocyclic peptides as scaffolds in drug design.

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  • 1University of Queensland, Institute for Molecular Bioscience, Australian Research Council Special Research Center for Functional and Applied Genomics, Brisbane.


The applicability of linear peptides as drugs is potentially limited by their susceptibility to proteolytic cleavage and poor bioavailability. Cyclotides are macrocyclic cystine-knotted mini-proteins that have a broad range of bioactivities and are exceptionally stable, being resistant to chemical, thermal and enzymatic degradation. The general limitations of peptides as drugs can potentially be overcome by using the cyclotide framework as a scaffold onto which new activities may be engineered. The potential use of cyclotides and related peptide scaffolds for drug design is evaluated herein, with reference to increasing knowledge of the structures and sequence diversity of natural cyclotides and the emergence of new approaches in protein engineering.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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