• [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The discovery of peptide hormones, growth factors and neuropeptides implicated in vital biological functions of our organism has increased interest in therapeutic use of short peptides. However, the development of peptides as clinically useful drugs is greatly limited by their poor metabolic stability and low bioavailability, which is due in part to their inability to readily cross membrane barriers such as the intestinal and blood-brain barriers. The aim of peptide medicinal chemistry is, therefore, to develop strategies to overcome these problems. Recent progress in chemical synthesis and design have resulted in several strategies for producing modified peptides and mimetics with lower susceptibility to proteolysis and improved bioavailability, which has increased the probability of obtaining useful drugs structurally related to parent peptides. This review describes different experimental approaches to transforming a peptide into a potential drug and provides examples of the usefulness of these strategies.
    Current Medicinal Chemistry 06/2002; 9(9):963-78. DOI:10.2174/0929867024606731 · 3.72 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Retinitis pigmentosa (RP), the hereditary degenerative disease of the photoreceptor neurons of the retina, probably represents the most prevalent cause of registered blindness amongst those of working age in developed countries. Mutations within the gene encoding inosine monophosphate dehydrogenase 1 (IMPDH1), the widely expressed rate-limiting enzyme of the de novo pathway of guanine nucleotide biosynthesis, have recently been shown to cause the RP10 form of autosomal dominant RP. We examined the expression of IMPDH1, IMPDH2 and HPRT transcripts, encoding enzymes of the de novo and salvage pathways of guanine nucleotide biosynthesis, respectively, in retinal sections of mice, the data indicating that the bulk of GTP within photoreceptors is generated by IMPDH1. Impdh1(-/-) null mice are shown here to display a slowly progressive form of retinal degeneration in which visual transduction, analysed by electroretinographic wave functions, becomes gradually compromised, although at 12 months of age most photoreceptors remain structurally intact. In contrast, the human form of RP caused by mutations within the IMPDH1 gene is a severe autosomal dominant degenerative retinopathy in those families that have been examined to date. Expression of mutant IMPDH1 proteins in bacterial and mammalian cells, together with computational simulations, indicate that protein misfolding and aggregation, rather than reduced IMPDH1 enzyme activity, is the likely cause of the severe phenotype experienced by human subjects. Taken together, these findings suggest that RP10 may represent an attractive target for therapeutic intervention, based upon a strategy combining simultaneous suppression of transcripts from normal and mutant IMPDH1 alleles with supplementation of GTP within retinal tissues.
    Human Molecular Genetics 04/2004; 13(6):641-50. DOI:10.1093/hmg/ddh061 · 6.68 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Protein misfolding and aggregation has been related to several human disorders, generally termed protein aggregation diseases. These diseases include neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Huntington's diseases and peripheral disorders such as systemic amyloidosis and type 2 diabetes. The complexity of the aggregation processes and the intertwined events account for the fact that no effective disease-modifying treatments for these disorders are currently available. Nevertheless, in-depth research into the aggregation processes has recently yielded major insights into some key mechanisms of aggregation-mediated cell toxicity, offering new targets for drug development. In addition, recent findings in the field have identified similar features, revealing the possibility of shared mechanisms and hence potential common approaches for intervention. This review aims to give an overview of potential strategies for tackling protein aggregation and its associated toxicity, focusing on protein aggregation in human disease.
    ChemBioChem 05/2010; 11(8):1018-35. DOI:10.1002/cbic.200900666 · 3.06 Impact Factor