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Mar Drugs. 2013 May 29;11(6):1866-77. doi: 10.3390/md11061866.

Self-association of okadaic acid: structural and pharmacological significance.

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University Institute for Bio-Organic Chemistry "Antonio González"-IUBO, University of La Laguna-ULL, Astrofísico Francisco Sánchez 2, 38206 La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain.


Okadaic acid (OA) has been an invaluable pharmacological tool in the study of cellular signaling. The great affinity of this polyether for its targets together with its high specificity to inhibit certain protein phosphatases enables the differential study of these proteins. Crystallographic structures of protein phosphatases in complex with OA show a 1:1 protein to toxin ratio. Nevertheless, it has been found that OA is able to self-associate under certain conditions although very little is known about the importance of this phenomenon. Here we review the available knowledge on the latter topic and we report on the existence of an unusual self-associated tetrameric form. The structure of these oligomers is proposed based on spectroscopic data and molecular modeling calculations.

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