Peptide research and industry have seen exponential growth recently as an integral aspect of chemical research. Peptides play an essential role in cell signaling, immune responses and various physiological processes – thus prompting synthetic peptide development for therapeutics, diagnostics and research applications.
Peptides can be divided into categories according to their length, structure and function. Below we are outlining all of the major types and categories of peptides in more depth.
Insulin, oxytocin and glucagon are hormones produced naturally from plants, animals and microorganisms that regulate various physiological processes in our bodies.
Defensins and cathelicidins are examples of antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties found in certain peptides.
Substance P, Enkephalins and Endorphins are all neuropeptides with properties to modulate neuronal communication as well as pain perception.
Chemical synthesis or recombinant DNA technology are the two primary methods used to produce synthetic peptides in a laboratory setting. Once created, synthetic peptides can be tailored specifically for different uses, including:
Eptifibatide, bivalirudin and leuprolide are synthetic peptides used to treat various medical conditions.
Palmitoyl tripeptide-1 and Acetyl Hexapeptide-8 are two cosmetic peptides commonly found in skincare products to promote collagen production and diminish wrinkles.
Custom-made peptides provide researchers with tools for studying protein-protein interactions, enzyme activity and antibody specificity.
Synthesis of synthetic peptides generally takes the form of solid-phase peptide synthesis (SPPS) or liquid-phase peptide synthesis (LPPS), with SPPS being the more popular method due to its scalability, automation and high purity of final product.
SPPS involves adding amino acids successively to an expanding peptide chain anchored to a solid support. Its process comprises four steps:
Each amino acid arrives and attaches to its C-terminus within the growing chain via coupling molecules.
Any amino acids newly added with protective groups attached are deprotected before further processing begins.
Once complete, the completed peptide can be released from its solid support and side chain protecting groups removed as necessary.
After being synthesized, peptides typically undergo purification to eliminate impurities such as incomplete sequences, by-products and excess reagents.
Common purification methods include:
This technique separates peptides based on their hydrophobicity.
This technique separates peptides based on their charge by using a stationary phase with either positively or negatively charged groups, while Size Exclusion Chromatography (SEC), commonly referred to as gel filtration, uses size-exclusion techniques instead, to segregate smaller peptides which elute later than larger ones.
Peptides offer tremendous promise in many areas, particularly medicine and research. Some notable applications of peptides include:
Peptides have long been utilized as therapeutic agents due to their unique combination of high specificity, low toxicity and favorable pharmacokinetic properties. Some examples of peptide-based therapies are:
Peptides such as LHRH agonists and antagonists have proven highly successful at treating hormone-sensitive cancers such as prostate and breast cancers.
Peptides such as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and natriuretic peptides have proven useful in the treatment of hypertension and heart failure, respectively.
Amyloid beta targeting peptides could offer promising solutions in combatting Alzheimer’s disease.
Peptides can serve as biomarkers that enable early diagnosis and monitoring of various diseases. Examples include:
Peptides such as prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) serve as diagnostic indicators of both prostate and colorectal cancer, respectively.
Peptides extracted from viral or bacterial proteins may serve as antigens in immunoassays designed to detect specific pathogens.
Proper handling, storage and safety precautions are vital in upholding peptide integrity and assuring their effectiveness across various applications. Please observe these guidelines:
Peptides should be stored at temperatures no higher than -20 degree Celsius to avoid degradation and multiple freeze-thaw cycles.
When working with peptides, gloves, clean equipment and aseptic techniques must be used in order to maintain quality results.
Adhere to the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) guidelines for each peptide used, including proper disposal and handling procedures.
Peptide industry continues to grow, with ongoing research focused on creating novel peptides and optimizing existing technologies for their synthesis and purification. Key areas of interest for researchers in this field include:
Innovative peptide-based therapies are being created to target various conditions, including autoimmune, infectious and metabolic illnesses.
Research in this area seeks to increase peptide stability, bioavailability and targeted delivery with nanotechnology, conjugation strategies and novel formulations.
Peptide-based therapeutics and diagnostics offer great promise for furthering personalized medicine, creating tailored treatment plans based on an individual’s genetic makeup and disease profile.
Peptide industry offers immense potential to deepen our understanding of biological processes while revolutionizing medicine and research. As the science continues to progress, peptides may play an even more prominent role in improving human health and well-being.
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