Increased rigidity and stability are some of the numerous benefits of cyclic peptides. Cyclotides are a class of cyclic peptides that contain three disulfide bonds arranged in a cystine knot motif, which confers exceptional stability.  Cyclotides have exhibited a range of bioactivities, from agricultural pests to human pathogens and diseases. The stable cyclotide framework can also be used as a pharmaceutical scaffold for the grafting of peptide sequences conferring bioactivity. Despite their attractive properties, efficient manufacture of cyclotides is a significant obstacle to their commercial development.

Using Agrobacterium-mediated transformation, University of Queensland (UQ) researchers have developed transgenic plants capable of producing cyclic peptides. The UQ team has demonstrated that the cyclotide precursor (Oak1) can be effectively cyclised using OaAEP1b in three plant species.

Key features

  • Production of difficult to manufacture cyclic peptides in a plant-based expression system
  • Improved yields over synthetic or in vitro production
  • Compatible with existing molecular pharming methods (including Agrobacterium-mediated transformation)
  • Peptide products with exceptional stability for therapeutic and/or agricultural applications
  • Ongoing development of optimised enzyme variants and expression systems.

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