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Cancer Res. 1999 Jun 15;59(12):2798-801.

Eponemycin exerts its antitumor effect through the inhibition of proteasome function.

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Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06520-8103, USA.


Cell cycle progression requires the proteasome-mediated degradation of key regulatory proteins such as cyclins, cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors, and anaphase-inhibitory proteins. Given the central role of the proteasome in the destruction of these proteins, proteasome inhibition has been proposed as a possible cancer therapy. We report here that dihydroeponemycin, an analogue of the antitumor and antiangiogenic natural product eponemycin, selectively targets the 20S proteasome. Dihydroeponemycin covalently modifies a subset of catalytic proteasomal subunits, binding preferentially to the IFN-gamma-inducible subunits LMP2 and LMP7. Moreover, the three major peptidolytic activities of the proteasome are inhibited by dihydroeponemycin at different rates. In addition, dihydroeponemycin-mediated proteasome inhibition induces a spindle-like cellular morphological change and apoptosis. These results validate the proteasome as a target for antitumor pharmacological intervention and are relevant for the design of novel chemotherapeutic strategies.

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