Institute of Crystallography - CNR

Peptide-Protein Interactions: From Drug Design to Supramolecular Biomaterials

The self-recognition and self-assembly of biomolecules are spontaneous processes that occur in Nature and allow the formation of ordered structures, at the nanoscale or even at the macroscale, under thermodynamic and kinetic equilibrium as a consequence of specific and local interactions. In particular, peptides and peptidomimetics play an elected role, as they may allow a rational approach to elucidate biological mechanisms to develop new drugs, biomaterials, catalysts, or semiconductors. The forces that rule self-recognition and self-assembly processes are weak interactions, such as hydrogen bonding, electrostatic attractions, and van der Waals forces, and they underlie the formation of the secondary structure (e.g., ?-helix, ?-sheet, polyproline II helix), which plays a key role in all biological processes. Here, we present recent and significant examples whereby design was successfully applied to attain the desired structural motifs toward function. These studies are important to understand the main interactions ruling the biological processes and the onset of many pathologies. The types of secondary structure adopted by peptides during self-assembly have a fundamental importance not only on the type of nano- or macro-structure formed but also on the properties of biomaterials, such as the types of interaction, encapsulation, non-covalent interaction, or covalent interaction, which are ultimately useful for applications in drug delivery.

Molecules (Basel, Online)
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