Outsize impact

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Science  18 Oct 2019:
Vol. 366, Issue 6463, pp. 296-299
DOI: 10.1126/science.366.6463.296

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  • Ultra-short peptides overlooked again
    • Vladimir Khavinson, head of lab, Pavlov Institute of Physiology, the Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg, 199034, Russia
    • Other Contributors:
      • Michael Petukhov, leading scientist, Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute named after B.P. Konstantinov, NRC "Kurchatov Institute", Gatchina, 188300, Russia

    This is an excellent review of recent advances in functional activity of mini-proteins. However, the minimum size of mini-proteins was arbitrarily set to 5 amino acid residues. Here we would like to add ultra-short peptides (USP) of 2-4 amino acid residues to the general pattern. Over 40 years of experimental and clinical studies have shown that many the USPs possess high biological activity, some have successfully passed clinical trials and are widely used in medicine.

    It has been shown that some USPs broadly affect expression of many mouse and human genes and increase average life expectancy. They are able to promote to deheterochromatisation in lymphocytes, increase the telomere length and the number of divisions of human fibroblasts (KE, AEDG), stimulate neurogenic differentiation of stem cells and reduce their replicative aging (KED, AEDG), inhibit expression of the HER-2/neu oncogene (KE, AEDG), restore number of spines on mouse neuron dendrites in models of Alzheimer and Huntington diseases (EDR), have antimutagenic and reparative activity (KE, AEDG), normalize melatonin levels in the blood (AEDG), normalize functions of the immune system (EW), etc. (1-4).

    Obviously, such a wide range of biological activities of the USPs is determined by still incomprehensible molecular mechanisms of regulation of the most important cellular processes. In particular, for the first time a complete pattern of the interactions of all possible dipeptides with all possible...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.

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