What is a peptide?
Peptides: the first piece of the puzzle

What once used to be a term used by scientists, peptides seem to be everywhere these days. Though much more common in day to day conversation than 10 years ago, there is still plenty of research to be done in this area and we’re excited to keep you up-to-date on it all.








Reference Lab

DEC 10, 2020


Whether it’s someone telling you to use the latest skincare product with peptides or to drink their new favorite peptide water if nothing else, 2020 has brought us peptides and from the looks of it, they are here to stay. This then begs the question of what exactly is a peptide A peptide is one or more amino acids linked by chemical bonds. The term also refers to the type of chemical... [ + ] read more genome.gov , and more importantly, why is everyone talking about them?

As with most things in life, it all starts with DNA DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is the central information storage system of most animals and plants... [ + ] read more genome.gov . Our DNA is made up of nucleic acids Nucleic acid is an important class of macromolecules found in all cells and viruses. The functions of nucleic acids have to do with the storage... [ + ] read more genome.gov . Remember Cs, Ts, Gs, and As? Or more properly referred to as cytosine, thymine, guanine, and adenine. Our body uses our DNA as a template to transcribe RNA Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is a molecule similar to DNA. Unlike DNA, RNA is single-stranded. An RNA strand has a backbone made of alternating sugar (ribose) and phosphate groups... [ + ] read more genome.gov and from there, our body produces Protein Proteins are an important class of molecules found in all living cells. A protein is composed of one or more long chains of amino acids, the sequence... [ + ] read more genome.gov . You can think of it in this sense: our DNA stores all of our genetic information, while our RNA stores our protein information.  OneFactOnly about 1-2% of our DNA is what is referred to as “coding DNA,” which refers to its ability to be translated to RNA to code for specific proteins. The other 98-99% is noncoding DNA, and though once thought of as junk DNA that served no purpose, scientists are constantly learning different ways it influences cell function and behavior[1]

By definition, proteins are macromolecules made up of at least 50 amino acids, though most proteins in our body are much larger, that are required for the structure, function, and regulation of our tissues and organs. So what does all of this have to do with peptides? Think of peptides as mini proteins. If a protein was a puzzle, a peptide would be a single piece of the puzzle.

Peptides can be as short as two amino acids, or as long as 50 amino acids, arranged in any order. Because of this, they can have a multitude of different functions. They can act to stimulate the body into secreting more of a specific protein, they can alter hormone function and even activate or inhibit various biological processes (just to name a few). Though you might not think you know much about peptides, there are many that you have likely heard of before. The commonly known protein insulin, is made up of 2 peptides of one 30 amino acid chain, and one 23 amino acid. Oxytocin, the “love hormone” is another example of a peptide as it is composed of 9 amino acids.

As you may know by now, science, peptides, and skin are a few of our favorite things here at OneSkin, and you can always count on us to bring you high impact research going on in this field. Many researchers (and consumers!) have a new found love of collagen peptides [2]. While early research is promising, science is showing that there is more to it than purchasing the latest flavored collagen peptide powder for your coffee. As we mentioned, a peptide can be any combination of between 2 and 50 amino acids. First off, there are multiple different types of collagen in our bodies, each being about 3000 amino acids.

Group Hint: this means there can be over 1,000,000 different combinations of peptides that are collagen peptides

Since not all peptides are created equal, this means that these peptides might have different effects on our bodies, or potentially no effect at all. This characteristic of peptides becomes applicable when thinking about the new trend of ingestible collagen peptides. But, there is still hope! Though there is much research to be done in this area, collagen peptides are still a source of amino acids, which are the building blocks of peptides and proteins, that could be useful for a variety of functions in your body, including the skin.

Now to our favorite part. Why do we care about peptides? Recognizing the promise of peptides, OneSkin years ago set out to find one that had the potential to improve skin health at the molecular level. After screening almost 1000 peptides, we found OS-01, the first peptide published to reduce the accumulation of senescent cells and target one of the root causes of skin aging. Interested in more OS-01 exclusives? Stay tuned for our future posts where we review some exciting data where OS-01 shows the ability to improve healthspan in vivo.



References
  • [1] Henninger, J. Harvard University Science in the News, 2012. Market Reports World, 2020.
  • [2] Jackowska, M., et al. Journal of Health Psychology, 2015