Institute of Crystallography - CNR

Natural and synthetic halogenated amino acids–structural and bioactive features in antimicrobial peptides and peptidomimetics

The 3D structure and surface characteristics of proteins and peptides are crucial for interactions with receptors or ligands and can be modified to some extent to modulate their biological roles and pharmacological activities. The introduction of halogen atoms on the side-chains of amino acids is a powerful tool for effecting this type of tuning, influencing both the physico-chemical and structural properties of the modified polypeptides, helping to first dissect and then rationally modify features that affect their mode of action. This review provides examples of the influence of different types of halogenation in amino acids that replace native residues in proteins and peptides. Examples of synthetic strategies for obtaining halogenated amino acids are also provided, focusing on some representative compounds and their biological effects. The role of halogenation in native and designed antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) and their mimetics is then discussed. These are in the spotlight for the development of new antimicrobial drugs to counter the rise of antibiotic-resistant pathogens. AMPs represent an interesting model to study the role that natural halogenation has on their mode of action and also to understand how artificially halogenated residues can be used to rationally modify and optimize AMPs for pharmaceutical purposes.

Molecules (Basel, Online)
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Mardirossian, Mario; Rubini, Marina; Adamo, Mauro F.A.; Scocchi, Marco; Saviano, Michele; Tossi, Alessandro; Gennaro, Renato; Caporale, Andrea