IntroductionProtein-protein interactions (PPIs) have been often considered undruggable targets although they are attractive for the discovery of new therapeutics. The spread of artificial intelligence and machine learning complemented with experimental methods is likely to change the perspectives of protein-protein modulator research. Noteworthy, some novel low molecular weight (LMW) and short peptide modulators of PPIs are already in clinical trials for the treatment of relevant diseases.Areas coveredThis review focuses on the main molecular properties of protein-protein interfaces and on key concepts pertaining to the modulation of PPIs. The authors survey recently reported state-of-the-art methods dealing with the rational design of PPI modulators and highlight the role of several computer-based approaches.Expert opinionInterfering specifically with large protein interfaces is still an open challenge. The initial concerns about the unfavorable physicochemical properties of many of these modulators are nowadays less acute with several molecules lying beyond the rule of 5, orally available and successful in clinical trials. As the cost of biologics interfering with PPIs is very high, it would seem reasonable to put more effort, both in academia and the private sectors, on actively developing novel low molecular weight compounds and short peptides to perform this task.
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