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Tuftsin, Thr-Lys-Pro-Arg

Anatomy of an immunologically active peptide

Summary

Tuftsin, a natural occurring tetrapeptide, has been found to exhibit several biological activities connected with immune system function. Although little is known about tuftsin's ‘biogenesis’, much information has been gleaned about its structure-function relationships, which have shown that several features of the molecule are essential for expression of full biological activity. Furthermore, specific receptor sites for tuftsin have been found to exist exclusively on phagocytic cells. Research indicates that tuftsin binding to target cells effect intracellular calcium and cyclic nucleotide levels. Implication of these facts on tuftsin's mode of action are discussed.

Basic peptidic segments resembling tuftsin are found in a variety of regulatory peptides. Questions are, therefore, raised as to the biospecificity and cross-reactivity of these sequences. Substance P, one such peptide, which binds with and activates tuftsin receptors, is described.

In light of tuftsin's therapeutic potential, assays for its determination have been introduced. When applied to analyze human blood serum of normal as well as of various pathological origins, direct correlation was found between tuftsin levels and susceptibility to bacterial infections.

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Fridkin, M., Gottlieb, P. Tuftsin, Thr-Lys-Pro-Arg. Mol Cell Biochem 41, 73–97 (1981). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00225299

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Keywords

  • Peptide
  • Intracellular Calcium
  • Blood Serum
  • Specific Receptor
  • Receptor Site