Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark (FBL) is published by IMR Press from Volume 26 Issue 5 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on imrpress.com as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.
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Academic Editor: Xinjie Lu
Few of the proteins isolated and characterized from snake venom have proven to be more chemically diverse, exquisitely specific or promiscuously active than the family known as disintegrins. These small proteins have shown structural homology with hundreds of cell surface molecules from plants and animals other than snakes, and their precise mimicry of native receptor ligands speaks to evolutionary niches related to survival and geographic locale. Over 100 disintegrins have been named and studied, with the most recent efforts into molecular techniques providing significant clues to taxonomic relationships among four different snake families. Investigators have evaluated disintegrin applications in therapies for cancer, asthma, osteopenia and inappropriate angiogenesis. Crystal and NMR studies have confirmed hypotheses regarding ligand-receptor interactions while illuminating the complexities of structure-function evidence. Disintegrin chimeras with viruses, microbubbles and fluorescent labels have become useful tools in many investigations. While many disintegrin studies still involve platelets, previously unexplored interactions with glial cancer, T lymphocytes and the bacteria Yersinia have blazed new trails for this field. This review will summarize disintegrin investigations since 2003.