From amino acid sequence to bioactivity: The biomedical potential of antitumor peptides

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Chemoprevention is the use of natural and/or synthetic substances to block, reverse, or retard the process of carcinogenesis. In this field, the use of antitumor peptides is of interest as, (i) these molecules are small in size, (ii) they show good cell diffusion and permeability, (iii) they affect one or more specific molecular pathways involved in carcinogenesis, and (iv) they are not usually genotoxic. We have checked the Web of Science Database (23/11/2015) in order to collect papers reporting on bioactive peptide (1691 registers), which was further filtered searching terms such as “antiproliferative,” “antitumoral,” or “apoptosis” among others. Works reporting the amino acid sequence of an antiproliferative peptide were kept (60 registers), and this was complemented with the peptides included in CancerPPD, an extensive resource for antiproliferative peptides and proteins. Peptides were grouped according to one of the following mechanism of action: inhibition of cell migration, inhibition of tumor angiogenesis, antioxidative mechanisms, inhibition of gene transcription/cell proliferation, induction of apoptosis, disorganization of tubulin structure, cytotoxicity, or unknown mechanisms. The main mechanisms of action of those antiproliferative peptides with known amino acid sequences are presented and finally, their potential clinical usefulness and future challenges on their application is discussed.

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