According to a Press Release from Vanderbilt University. A team of Vanderbilt chemists has developed a novel method for chemically synthesizing peptides that promises to lower the cost and increase the availability of drugs based on natural compounds. The new synthesis technique is described in a paper published in the June 24 issue of the journal Nature.
Peptides are polymers made by stringing together two or more amino acids, the chemical building blocks of life, in a linear chain and folded into a globular form. DNA holds the blueprints for 20 “standard” amino acids, which cells use for manufacturing proteins—peptides that perform basic cell functions. However, cells also create peptides that contain “non-natural” amino acids for a variety of different purposes by modifying standard peptides after they are produced.