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Protein Knockdown Technology: Application of Ubiquitin Ligase to Cancer Therapy

[ Vol. 16 , Issue. 2 ]


Nobumichi Ohoka, Norihito Shibata, Takayuki Hattori and Mikihiko NaitoPages 136-146 (11)


Selective degradation of pathogenic proteins by small molecules in cells is a novel approach for development of therapeutic agents against various diseases, including cancer. We and others have developed a protein knockdown technology with a series of hybrid small compounds, called SNIPERs (Specific and Nongenetic IAP-dependent Protein ERasers); and peptidic chimeric molecules, called PROTACs (proteolysis-targeting chimeric molecules), which induce selective degradation of target proteins via the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. These compounds include two different ligands connected by a linker; one is a ligand for a ubiquitin ligase and the other is a ligand for the target protein, which are expected to crosslink these proteins in cells. Theoretically, any cytosolic protein can be targeted for degradation by this technology. To date, several SNIPERs and PROTACs against various oncogenic proteins have been developed, which specifically induce polyubiquitylation and proteasomal degradation of the oncogenic proteins, resulting in cell death, growth arrest, or impaired migration of cancer cells. Thus, this protein knockdown technology has a great potential for cancer therapy.


IAP, PROTAC (proteolysis-targeting chimeric molecule), proteasome, protein knockdown, SNIPER (Specific and Nongenetic IAP-dependent Protein ERasers), ubiquitin ligase.


Division of Molecular Target and Gene Therapy Products, National Institute of Health Sciences, 1-18-1 Kamiyoga, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 158-8501, Japan.

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