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J Biol Chem. 2004 Jul 16;279(29):30540-5. Epub 2004 May 11.

A fatty acid synthase blockade induces tumor cell-cycle arrest by down-regulating Skp2.

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  • 1Cancer Research Center, The Burnham Institute, La Jolla, California 92037, USA.


In eukaryotes, fatty acid synthase (FAS) is the enzyme responsible for synthesis of palmitate, the precursor of long-chain nonessential fatty acids. FAS is up-regulated in a wide range of cancers and has been suggested as a relevant drug target. Here, two independent approaches are taken toward knocking down FAS and then probing its connection to tumor cell proliferation. In one approach, Orlistat, a drug approved for treating obesity, is used as a potent inhibitor of the thioesterase function of FAS. In a separate strategy, the expression of FAS is suppressed by targeted knock-down with small interfering RNA. In both circumstances, the ablation of FAS activity causes a dramatic down-regulation of Skp2, a component of the E3 ubiquitin ligase that controls the turnover of p27Kip1. These effects ultimately tie into the retinoblastoma protein pathway and lead to a cell-cycle arrest at the G1/S boundary. Altogether, the findings of the study reveal unappreciated links between fatty acid synthase and ubiquitin-dependent proteolysis of cell-cycle regulatory proteins.

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