oligopeptide (rus. олигопептид) — an organic molecule consisting of a small number of amino-acid residues linked by amide (peptide) bonds.


Peptides (from Greek πεπτoς meaning nutritious) are natural or synthetic substances whose molecules are comprised of α-amino-acid residues linked by peptide (amide) bonds –C(O)NH–. Oligopeptides consist of a small number of amino-acids (maximum 10-50) in contrast to polypeptides, which contain hundreds of amino-acids, and to small simple peptides, which contain a maximum of 10 amino-acids. However, the boundary between oligopeptides and polypeptides is rather nominal. Many peptides possess biological activity, for example, peptide hormones (incl. neuropeptides), regulators of the immune system, antibiotics, ionophores, toxins and peptide alkaloids. In clinical biochemistry, protein and peptide analysis is used to determine the nature of a pathological process, to characterise pathological processes and to monitor different physiological processes. Sequencing is one of the methods for identifying proteins, based on determining a protein’s amino acid sequence. Existing microsequencing methods facilitate the handling of extremely small (several nanograms) quantities of oligopeptides. Current technologies enable both the direct sequencing of a protein immobilised on an inert membrane and the sequencing of peptides obtained after protein enzymatic degradation using high performance liquid chromatography.

Oligopeptides are a promising class of molecules for nanotechnology applications. So, branched oligopeptides have been developed that form self-organizing supramolecular structures on surfaces with specific properties. For example, oligopeptides which form a thick shell exclusively on the surface of viruses have been developed (see fig.). Because such molecules prevent the adhesion of viruses to cells and infection, they can be used for antiviral treatment.



  • Naroditsky Boris S.
  • Shirinsky Vladimir P.
  • Nesterenko Lyudmila N.


  1. B. Glick, J. Pasternak. Molecular Biotechnology: Principles and Applications of Recombinant DNA. — 3rd ed. Sigma Publishing, 2003, 784 pp.
  2. Peptides // Chemical encyclopedia (in Russian) V. 3. — Moscow: Sovetskaja ehnciklopedija, 1998. P. 469–471.
  3. Peptides// Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia. — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peptides (reference date: 12.10.2009).
  4. Bovin N. V. et al. Oligoglycines: A material with unlimited possibilities for nanotechnology (in Russian)// Rossijjskie Nanotekhnologii 2008. V. 3. P. 48–61.

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