The discovery of enzyme-derived D-amino acid-containing peptides (DAACPs) that have physiological importance in the metazoan challenges previous assumptions about the homochirality of animal proteins while simultaneously revealing new analytical challenges in the structural and functional characterization of peptides. Most known DAACPs have been identified though laborious activity-guided purification studies or by homology to previously identified DAACPs. Peptide characterization experiments are increasingly dominated by high throughput mass spectrometry-based peptidomics, with stereochemistry rarely considered due to the technical challenges of identifying L/D isomerization. This review discusses the prevalence of enzyme-derived DAACPs among animals and the physiological consequences of peptide isomerization. Also highlighted are the analytical methods that have been applied for structural characterization/discovery of DAACPs, including results of several recent studies using non-targeted discovery methods for revealing novel DAACPs, strongly suggesting that more DAACPs remain to be uncovered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number140553
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Proteins and Proteomics
Issue number1
Early online dateSep 28 2020
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • D-amino acids
  • Hormones
  • Neuropeptides
  • Peptide isomerization
  • Post-translational modifications

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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