All life forms typically possess homochirality, with rare exceptions. In the case of peptides
and proteins, only L-amino acids are known to be encoded by genes. Nevertheless, D-amino acids have
been identified in a variety of peptides, synthesized by animal cells. They include neuroexcitatory and
neuroprotective peptides, cardioexcitatory peptides, hyperglycemic hormones, opioid peptides, antimicrobial
peptides, natriuretic and defensin-like peptides, and fibrinopeptides. This article is a review of
their occurrence, structure and bioactivity. It further explores the pharmacology and potential medical
applications of some of the peptides.
Keywords: D-amino acid, achatin, conotoxin, agatoxin, crustacean hyperglycemic hormone, dermorphin and deltorphin, natriuretic
and defensin-like peptides, fibrinopeptide.
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