Design of peptides, proteins, and peptidomimetics in chi space

Victor J. Hruby, Guigen Li, Carrie Haskell-Luevano, Mark Shenderovich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

379 Scopus citations


Peptide and protein biological activities depend on their three dimensionals structures in the free state and when interacting with their receptors/acceptors. The backbone conformations such as α-helix, β-sheet, β-turn, and so forth provide critical templates for the three-dimensional structure, but the overall shape and intrinsic stereoelectronic properties of the peptide or protein important for molecular recognition, signal transduction, enzymatic specificity, immunomodulation, and other biological effects depend on arrangement of the side chain groups in three-dimensional chi space (their χ1, χ2, etc. torsional angles). In this paper we explore approaches to the de novo design of polypeptides and peptidomimetics with biased or specific conformational/topographical properties in chi space. We consider computational and experimental methods that can be used to examine the effects of specific structural modifications in constraining side chain groups of amino acid residues and their similarities in chi space to the natural amino acids to evaluate what sort of mimetics are likely to minic normal amino acids. We then examine some of the asymmetric synthetic methods that are being developed to obtain the amino acid mimetics. Finally, we consider selected examples in the literature where these specialized amino acids have been incorporated in biologically active peptides and the specific insights they have provided regarding the topographical requirements for bioactive peptide potency, selectivity, and other biochemical and pharmacological properties. Constraints in chi space show great promise as useful tools in peptide, protein, and peptidomimetic de novo design of structures and pharmacophores with specific stereostructural, biochemical and biological properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)219-266
Number of pages48
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Chi space
  • Peptides
  • Peptidomimetics
  • Proteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomaterials
  • Organic Chemistry


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