Table of Contents
Journal of Amino Acids
Volume 2011, Article ID 656051, 25 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.4061/2011/656051
Review Article

Signal Protein-Derived Peptides as Functional Probes and Regulators of Intracellular Signaling

I.M. Sechenov Institute of Evolutionary Physiology and Biochemistry, Russian Academy of Sciences, Thorez avenue 44, 194223 St. Petersburg, Russia

Received 31 December 2010; Accepted 1 June 2011

Academic Editor: Andrei Malkov

Copyright © 2011 Alexander O. Shpakov. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The functionally important regions of signal proteins participating in their specific interaction and responsible for transduction of hormonal signal into cell are rather short in length, having, as a rule, 8 to 20 amino acid residues. Synthetic peptides corresponding to these regions are able to mimic the activated form of full-size signal protein and to trigger signaling cascades in the absence of hormonal stimulus. They modulate protein-protein interaction and influence the activity of signal proteins followed by changes in their regulatory and catalytic sites. The present review is devoted to the achievements and perspectives of the study of signal protein-derived peptides and to their application as selective and effective regulators of hormonal signaling systems in vitro and in vivo. Attention is focused on the structure, biological activity, and molecular mechanisms of action of peptides, derivatives of the receptors, G protein α subunits, and the enzymes generating second messengers.