In this review the structural and functional aspects of dipeptidyl peptidase IV (DPP IV) will be described, and the therapeutic potential of DPP IV inhibitors will be highlighted. DPP IV will be situated in clan SC, a group of serine proteases that contains several proline specific peptidases. Structural aspects of DPP IV and its interaction with different types of inhibitors are recently revealed by the publication of several crystal structures. Especially the design and development of new DPP IV inhibitors based on the threedimensional structure, substrate specificity and catalytic mechanism will be discussed. In the last years there was an important development of new pyrrolidine-2-nitriles with very promising therapeutic properties for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. The role of DPP IV in peptide metabolism of members of the PACAP/glucagon peptide family, neuropeptides and chemokines has been thoroughly investigated during recent years. This is directly related to the promising therapeutic potential of DPP IV inhibitors in the treatment of type 2 diabetes and in the treatment of immunological disorders. Several inhibitors are currently under investigation in clinical trials for the treatment of type 2 diabetes and represent a new class of drugs for the treatment of this disease.
Keywords: dipeptidyl peptidase iv, dpp iv, cd26, type 2 diabetes, dpp iv inhibitor
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