Therapeutic peptides: Targeting the mitochondrion to modulate apoptosis

Biochim Biophys Acta. Sep-Oct 2006;1757(9-10):1312-23. doi: 10.1016/j.bbabio.2006.07.002. Epub 2006 Jul 14.


For many years, medical drug discovery has extensively exploited peptides as lead compounds. Currently, novel structures of therapeutic peptides are derived from active pre-existing peptides or from high-throughput screening, and optimized following a rational drug design approach. Molecules of interest may prove their ability to influence the disease outcome in animal models and must respond to a set of criteria based on toxicity studies, ease of administration, the cost of their synthesis, and logistic for clinical use to validate it as a good candidate in a therapeutic perspective. This applies to the potential use of peptides to target one central intracellular organelle, the mitochondrion, to modulate (i.e. activate or prevent) apoptosis. Putative mitochondrial protein targets and the strategies already elaborated to correct the defects linked to these proteins (overexpression, inactivation, mutation..., etc.) are described, and recent advances that led or may lead to the conception of therapeutic peptides via a specific action on these mitochondrial targets in the future are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / drug effects*
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Mitochondrial Swelling / drug effects
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Peptides / chemistry
  • Peptides / pharmacology*
  • Permeability / drug effects


  • Peptides