AskDefine | Define peptide

Dictionary Definition

peptide n : amide combining the amino group of one amino acid with the carboxyl group of another; usually obtained by partial hydrolysis of protein

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A class of organic compounds consisting of various numbers of amino acids in which the amine of one is reacted with the carboxylic acid of the next to form an amide bond.
  2. The peptide bond itself.



  1. In the context of "biochemistry|lang=it": peptide

Derived terms

Extensive Definition

Peptides (from the Greek πεπτίδια, "small digestibles") are short polymers formed from the linking, in a defined order, of α-amino acids. The link between one amino acid residue and the next is known as an amide bond or a peptide bond.
Proteins are polypeptide molecules (or consist of multiple polypeptide subunits). The distinction is that peptides are short and polypeptides/proteins are long. There are several different conventions to determine these, all of which have caveats and nuances.


One convention is that those peptide chains that are short enough to be made synthetically from the constituent amino acids are called peptides rather than proteins. However, with the advent of better synthetic techniques, peptides as long as hundreds of amino acids can be made, including full proteins like ubiquitin. Native chemical ligation has given access to even longer proteins, so this convention seems to be outdated.
Another convention places an informal dividing line at approximately 50 amino acids in length (some people claim shorter lengths). However, this definition is somewhat arbitrary. Long peptides, such as the amyloid beta peptide linked to Alzheimer's disease, can be considered proteins; and small proteins, such as insulin, can be considered peptides.

Peptide classes

Here are the major classes of peptides, according to how they are produced:
See also Tryptone
Are derived from animal milk or meat digested by proteolytic digestion. In addition to containing small peptides, the resulting spray-dried material includes fats, metals, salts, vitamins and many other biological compounds. Peptone is used in nutrient media for growing bacteria and fungi.

Peptides in molecular biology

Peptides have received prominence in molecular biology in recent times for several reasons. The first and most important is that peptides allow the creation of peptide antibodies in animals without the need to purify the protein of interest. This involves synthesizing antigenic peptides of sections of the protein of interest. These will then be used to make antibodies in a rabbit or mouse against the protein.
Another reason is that peptides have become instrumental in mass spectrometry, allowing the identification of proteins of interest based on peptide masses and sequence. In this case the peptides are most often generated by in-gel digestion after electrophoretic separation of the proteins.
Peptides have recently been used in the study of protein structure and function. For example, synthetic peptides can be used as probes to see where protein-peptide interactions occur.
Inhibitory peptides are also used in clinical research to examine the effects of peptides on the inhibition of cancer proteins and other diseases.

Well-known peptide families in humans

The peptide families in this section are all ribosomal peptides, usually with hormonal activity. All of these peptides are synthesized by cells as longer "propeptides" or "proproteins" and truncated prior to exiting the cell. They are released into the bloodstream where they perform their signalling functions.

Opioid peptides

Calcitonin peptides

Notes on terminology

See also


peptide in Arabic: هضميد
peptide in Bulgarian: Полипептид
peptide in Catalan: Pèptid
peptide in Czech: Peptid
peptide in Danish: Peptid
peptide in German: Peptid
peptide in Estonian: Peptiidid
peptide in Spanish: Péptido
peptide in Esperanto: Peptido
peptide in Persian: پپتید
peptide in French: Peptide
peptide in Korean: 펩타이드
peptide in Italian: Peptide
peptide in Hebrew: פפטיד
peptide in Lithuanian: Polipeptidas
peptide in Macedonian: Пептид
peptide in Japanese: ペプチド
peptide in Norwegian: Peptid
peptide in Norwegian Nynorsk: Peptid
peptide in Occitan (post 1500): Peptid
peptide in Polish: Peptydy
peptide in Portuguese: Peptídeo
peptide in Russian: Пептиды
peptide in Slovak: Peptid
peptide in Finnish: Peptidi
peptide in Swedish: Peptid
peptide in Ukrainian: Пептиди
peptide in Urdu: Peptide
peptide in Chinese: 肽
peptide in Turkish: peptit
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