The RAS superfamily of small GTPases regulates major physiological cellular processes. Mutation or deregulation of these small GTPases, their regulators and/or their effectors are associated with many diseases including cancer. Hence, targeting these classes of proteins is an important therapeutic strategy in cancer. This has been recently achieved with the approval of the first KRASG12C covalent inhibitors for the clinic. However, many other mutants and small GTPases are still considered as ‘undruggable' with small molecule inhibitors because of a lack of well-defined pocket(s) at their surface. Therefore, alternative therapeutic strategies have been developed to target these proteins. In this review, we discuss the use of intracellular antibodies and derivatives — reagents that bind their antigen inside the cells — for the discovery of novel inhibitory mechanisms, targetable features and therapeutic strategies to inhibit small GTPases and their downstream pathways. These reagents are also versatile tools used to better understand the biological mechanisms regulated by small GTPases and to accelerate the drug discovery process.
Long Terminal Repeat (LTR) retrotransposons replicate through “copy and paste” mechanisms mediated by reverse transcription in virus-like particles (VLPs) and integration in the nucleus (see article from Lee and Martienssen, pp. 2241–2251). VLP DNA-sequencing reveals complementary DNA (cDNA) replication intermediates from active retrotransposons. Instead of functional linear intermediates that integrate in the nucleus, the Arabidopsis retroelement SISYPHUS lacks features important for nuclear import, and instead accumulates circular cDNA from futile autointegration within the VLP. In Greek mythology, Sisyphus was condemned to the futile task of rolling a huge boulder uphill eternally. Image created and provided Seung Cho Lee, Evan Ernst, and Robert A. Martienssen.
Targeting small GTPases and their downstream pathways with intracellular macromolecule binders to define alternative therapeutic strategies in cancer
Marie Sorbara, Nicolas Bery; Targeting small GTPases and their downstream pathways with intracellular macromolecule binders to define alternative therapeutic strategies in cancer. Biochem Soc Trans 1 November 2021; 49 (5): 2021–2035. doi: https://doi.org/10.1042/BST20201059
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