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Proteasome Inhibitors as Therapeutic Agents: Current and Future Strategies

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In cells, protein degradation is a key pathway for the destruction of abnormal or damaged proteins as well as for the elimination of proteins whose presence is no longer required. Among the various cell proteases, the proteasome, a multicatalytic macromolecular complex, is specifically required for the degradation of ubiquitinated proteins. In normal cells, the proteasome ensures the elimination of numerous proteins that play critical roles in cell functions throughout the cell cycle. Defects in the activity of this proteolytic machinery can lead to the disorders of cell function that is believed to be the root cause of certain diseases. Indeed, many proteins involved in the control of cell cycle transitions are readily destroyed by the proteasome once their tasks have been accomplished. Moreover, because proteasome inhibitors can provoke cell death, it has been suggested that proteasomes must be continually degrading certain apoptotic factors.

For these reasons, proteasome inhibition has become a new and potentially significant strategy for the drug development in cancer treatment. The proteasome possesses three major peptidase activities that can individually be targeted by drugs. Different classes of proteasome inhibitors are reviewed here. In addition, we present new pseudopeptides with the enriched nitrogen backbones bearing a side chain and a modified C-terminal position that inhibit proteasome activity.

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Keywords: Proteasome Inhibitors; apoptotic factors; pseudopeptides

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: 2003-03-01

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.
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