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Issue 4, 2005
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On the track of antitumour ribonucleases

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Ribonucleases (RNases) are potential alternatives to non-mutagenic antitumour drugs. Among these enzymes, onconase, bovine-seminal ribonuclease and the Rana catesbeiana and Rana japonica lectins exert a cytotoxic activity that is selective for tumour cells. A model for the mechanism of cytotoxicity of these RNases which involves different steps is generally accepted. The model predicts that cytotoxicity requires interaction of the RNases with the cell membrane and internalisation to occur by endocytosis. Then, at a precise point, the RNases are translocated to the cytosol where they cleave cellular RNA if they have been able to preserve their ribonucleolytic activity. The cleavage of cellular RNA induces apoptosis but there is evidence suggesting that RNase-triggered apoptosis does not entirely result from the inhibition of protein synthesis. How efficiently a particular RNase carries out each of the steps determines its potency as a cytotoxin.

Graphical abstract: On the track of antitumour ribonucleases

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The article was received on 25 Feb 2005, accepted on 09 Sep 2005 and first published on 22 Sep 2005

Article type: Review Article
DOI: 10.1039/B502847G
Mol. BioSyst., 2005,1, 294-302

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    On the track of antitumour ribonucleases

    A. Benito, M. Ribó and M. Vilanova, Mol. BioSyst., 2005, 1, 294
    DOI: 10.1039/B502847G

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