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The Ubiquitin-Dependent Proteolytic System and other Potential Targets for the Modulation of Nuclear Factor-kB (NF-kB)

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Nuclear Factor-kB (NF-kB), is a transcription factor composed of dimeric complexes of p50 (NF-kB1) or p52 (NF-kB2) usually associated with members of the Rel family (p65, c-Rel, Rel B) which have potent transactivation domains. Different combinations of NF-kB/Rel proteins bind distinct kB sites to regulate the transcription of different genes. In resting cells NF-kB resides in the cytoplasm in inactive form, complexed to members of a family of inhibitory proteins referred to as IkB. The bound IkB masks the NF-kB nuclear localization signal and thereby inhibits its nuclear transport. NF-kB can be activated by a variety of signals relevant to pathophysiology including inflammatory cytokines and bacterial lipopolysaccharides (LPS) as well as oxidative and fluid mechanical stress. Upon activation by these stimuli, IkB is phosphorylated and subsequently degraded. Phosphorylation targets IkB for ubiquitination and degradation by the 26S proteasome thus leading to NF-kB nuclear translocation. The same proteolytic pathway is involved in the processing of the p105 and p100 precursors to generate mature p50 and p52 subunits, respectively. Once in the nucleus, NF-kB is able to regulate the expression of many genes involved in the immune and inflammatory responses (i.e. inflammatory cytokines and adhesion molecules).

Thus, new approaches to modulating NF-kB activation, and as a consequence inflammatory or metastatic processes, may take advantage of the selectivity of the ubiquitination and ATP-dependent proteolytic processes leading to IkB turnover. This review will analyze the current strategies aimed at interfering with NF-kB activation and will consider the ubiquitination system as a new selective target for the development of new anti-inflammatory therapies.
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Keywords: Anti inflammatory; IKB inhibitor; Nuclear factor; Ubiquitin; matastatic; mutagenesis; protesome; transcription

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: 2000-12-01

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  • Current Drug Targets aims to cover the latest and most outstanding developments on the medicinal chemistry and pharmacology of molecular drug targets e.g. disease specific proteins, receptors, enzymes, genes. Each issue of the journal will be devoted to a single timely topic, with series of in-depth reviews, written by leaders in the field, covering a range of current topics on drug targets. These issues will be organized and led by a guest editor who is a recognized expert in the overall topic. As the discovery, identification, characterisation and validation of novel human drug targets for drug discovery continues to grow; this journal will be essential reading for all pharmaceutical scientists involved in drug discovery and development.
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