Glutamate and aspartate are frequently recognized as key structural elements for the biological activity of natural peptides and synthetic compounds. The acidic sidechain functionality of both the amino acids provides the basis for the ionic interaction and subsequent molecular recognition by specific receptor sites that results in the regulation of physiological or pathophysiological processes in the organism. In the development of new biologically active compounds that possess the ability to modulate these processes, compounds offering the same type of interactions are being designed. Thus, using a peptidomimetic design approach, glutamate and aspartate mimetics are incorporated into the structure of final biologically active compounds. This review covers different bioisosteric replacements of carboxylic acid alone, as well as mimetics of the whole amino acid structure. Amino acid analogs presented include those with different distances between anionic moieties, and analogs with additional functional groups that result in conformational restriction or alternative interaction sites. The article also provides an overview of different cyclic structures, including various cycloalkane, bicyclic and heterocyclic analogs, that lead to conformational restriction. Higher di- and tripeptide mimetics in which carboxylic acid functionality is incorporated into larger molecules are also reviewed. In addition to the mimetic structures presented, emphasis in this article is placed on their steric and electronic properties. These mimetics constitute a useful pool of fragments in the design of new biologically active compounds, particularly in the field of RGD mimetics and excitatory amino acid agonists and antagonists.
Keywords: glutamate, aspartate, mimetics, excitatory amino acid receptor, agonists and antagonists
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