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Cyclotides as drug design scaffolds.


Cyclotides are ultra-stable peptides derived from plants. They are around 30 amino acids in size and are characterized by their head-to-tail cyclic backbone and cystine knot. Their exceptional stability and tolerance to sequence substitutions has led to their use as frameworks in drug design. This article describes recent developments in this field, particularly developments over the last two years relating to the grafting of bioactive peptide sequences into the cyclic cystine knot framework of cyclotides to stabilize the sequences. Grafted cyclotides have now been developed that interact with protein or enzyme targets, both extracellular and intracellular, as well as with cell surface receptors and membranes.