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Human Terminal Deoxynucleotidyl Transferases as Novel Targets for Anticancer Chemotherapy

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Mammalian terminal deoxyribonucleotidyl transferase (TDT) catalyzes the non-template-directed polymerization of deoxyribonucleoside triphosphates and has a key role in V(D)J recombination during lymphocyte and repertoire development. Over 90% of leukemic cells in acute lymphocytic leukemia and approximately 30% of leukemic cells in the chronic myelogenous leukemia crisis show elevated TDT activity. This finding is connected to a poor prognosis and response to chemotherapy and reduced survival time. On the other hand, recent data indicated that TDT is not the only terminal deoxyribonucleotidyl transferase in mammalian cells. Its close relative, DNA polymerase (pol) pol λ can synthesize DNA both in a template dependent (DNA polymerase) and template-independent (terminal deoxyribonucleotidyl transferase) fashion. Pol λ might be involved in the nonhomologous end-joining (NHEJ) recombinational repair pathway of DNA double strand breaks (DSBs). Specific inhibitors of these enzymes hold the potential to be developed into a novel class of antitumoral agents. In this review, we will summarize the recent advances in the synthesis and characterization of the first classes of specific inhibitors of mammalian terminal transferases and their potential applications.
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Keywords: Aryl Diketo Hexenoic Acid; DNA double strand breaks (DSB); DNA polymerases; Leukemias; Nucleoside Inhibitors; Resveratrol; transcriptional factors

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Istituto di Genetica Molecolare IGM-CNR, via Abbiategrasso 207, I-27100 Pavia, Italy.

Publication date: August 1, 2006

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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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