Peptide science Group @ UPorto



In line with our central work on antimicrobial biomaterials, one of our past projects involved chemoselective grafting of specific ligands onto the surface of chitosan biopolymers for removal of Helicobacter pylori bacteria from gastric mucosa; this project was led in collaboration with INEB and funded by FCT (PTDC/CTM/65330/2006).

Cyclization-activated prodrugs based on peptide and peptidomimetic carriers have been one of our earliest research goals. This project had a dual applied and fundamental aim, as were we interested not only in developing potentially useful prodrugs of hydroxylated (paracetamol, acyclovir, AZT) and aminated (sulfanilamides, primaquine) drugs, but also in establishing structure-reactivity relationships and molecular pathways for drug release at physiological conditions. In particular, we were interested in analyzing the influence of the drug - as the leaving group - in the preferred prodrug degradation pathway: direct hydrolytic cleavage of the drug-carrier bond versus intramolecular cyclization to yield a diketopiperazine. This gave us a global picture of scope and limitations of applying oligopeptide carriers in the design of intramolecularly-activated prodrugs. The part of this project that involved potential prodrugs of the antimalarial Primaquine was funded by FCT (POCTI/FCB/39218/2001).

Anionic double-chained surfactants bearing an amino acid polar head have been a part of our past synthetic goals. This work stemmed from a research project funded by FCT and led by Dr. Eduardo Marques, from CIQUP, which was aimed at the design, synthesis and physico-chemical/biological evaluation of biocompatible gemini surfactants (POCTI/QUI/44296/2002). The main interest of these surfactants resides in their potential for drug delivery and gene therapy.

Peptide-modified gold nanoparticles, under the frame of a project led by REQUIMTE researchers Drs. Eulália Pereira, João Cortez and Ricardo Franco, have been produced in our lab for application in protein-specific biosensors.