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Yonsei Med J. 2008 Feb 29;49(1):19-27. doi: 10.3349/ymj.2008.49.1.19.

FLIP as an anti-cancer therapeutic target.

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Department of Chemistry, School of Natural Sciences, Soongsil University, Seoul, Korea.


Suppression of apoptosis is one of the hallmarks of carcinogenesis. Tumor cells endure apoptotic pressure by overexpressing several antiapoptotic proteins, and FLICE inhibitory protein (FLIP) is one of the important antiapoptotic proteins that have been shown to be overexpressed in various primary tumor cells. FLIP has two death-effector domains in tandem, mimicking the prodomain of procaspase-8. It is recruited to Fadd in death-inducing signaling complex, thereby preventing the activation of procaspase-8. To date, three isoforms of human cytosolic FLIP (c-FLIP) and six viral homologs (v-FLIP) have been identified. Recently, the crystal structure of v-FLIP MC159 was determined for the first time as an atomic-detail FLIP structure, which revealed that two death effector domains are packed tightly against each other mainly through conserved hydrophobic interactions. The overexpression of c-FLIP in tumor cells has been shown to be the determinant of the tumor's resistance to death ligands such as FasL and TRAIL. It has also been shown that the down-regulation of c-FLIP results in sensitizing resistant tumor cells. Therefore, the agents directly targeting c-FLIP at mRNA and protein levels are expected to be developed in near future and tested for the potential as a new class of anti-cancer drugs.

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