Modification of cysteine residues in proteins, due to a) the participation of the thiol moiety of this amino acid in oxido-reduction reactions, b) its ability to strongly coordinate transition metal ions, or c) its nucleophilic nature and facile reaction with electrophiles, may be critically important for the design of novel types of pharmacological agents. Application of such procedures recently led to the design of novel antivirals, mainly based on the reaction of zinc finger proteins with disulfides and related derivatives. This approach was particularly successful for developing novel antiviral agents for human immunodeficiency virus and human papilloma virus. Several new anticancer therapeutic approaches, mainly targeting tubulin, have also been reported. Thus, this unique amino acid offers very interesting possibilities for developing particularly useful pharmacological agents, which generally possess a completely different mechanism of action compared with classic agents in clinical use, thus avoiding major problems such as multidrug resistance (for antiviral and anticancer agents) or high toxici
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