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Cyclic dipeptides, also know as diketopiperazines (DKP), the simplest cyclic forms of peptides widespread in nature, are unsurpassed in their structural and bio-functional diversity. DKPs, especially those containing proline, due to their unique features such as, inter alia, extra-rigid conformation, high resistance to enzyme degradation, increased cell permeability, and expandable ability to bind a diverse of targets with better affinity, have emerged in the last years as biologically pre-validated platforms for the drug discovery. Recent advances have revealed their enormous potential in the development of next-generation theranostics, smart delivery systems, and biomaterials. Here, we present an updated review on the biological and structural profile of these appealing biomolecules, with a particular emphasis on those with anticancer properties, since cancers are the main cause of death all over the world. Additionally, we provide a consideration on supramolecular structuring and synthons, based on the proline-based DKP privileged scaffold, for inspiration in the design of compound libraries in search of ideal ligands, innovative self-assembled nanomaterials, and bio-functional architectures.


This article was originally published in Biomolecules, volume 11, issue 10, in 2021. (2043 kB)
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