Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

, Volume 67, Issue 1, pp 9–16 | Cite as

Cyclotides: macrocyclic peptides with applications in drug design and agriculture

  • David J. Craik
  • Joshua S. Mylne
  • Norelle L. Daly
Visions & Reflections (Minireview)


Cyclotides are disulfide-rich peptides from plants that are exceptionally stable as a result of their unique cyclic cystine knot structural motif. Their natural role is thought to be as plant defence agents, most notably against insect pests, but they also have potential applications in drug design and agriculture. This article identifies gaps in current knowledge on cyclotides and suggests future directions for research into this fascinating family of ultra-stable mini-proteins.


Circular proteins Cyclic cystine knot Cyclisation Kalata B1 



Work in our laboratory on cyclotides is supported by grants from the Australian Research Council and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). D.J.C. is a NHMRC Professorial Fellow, N.L.D. is a Queensland Smart State Fellow, J.S.M. is an ARC QEII Fellow. We thank colleagues from our laboratory and collaborators listed in the references for their valuable contributions to cyclotide research.


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel/Switzerland 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • David J. Craik
    • 1
  • Joshua S. Mylne
    • 1
  • Norelle L. Daly
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Molecular BioscienceThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

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