Author(s): Fang EF, Ng TB
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Abstract Ribonucleases (RNases) are a type of nucleases that catalyze the degradation of RNA into smaller components. They exist in a wide range of life forms from prokaryotes to eukaryotes. RNase-controlled RNA degradation is a determining factor in the control of gene expression, maturation and turnover, which are further associated with the progression of cancers and infectious diseases. Over the years, RNases purified from multiple origins have drawn increasing attention from medical scientists due to their remarkable antitumor properties. In this review, we present a brief summary of the representative RNases of fungal, bacterial, plant, and animal origins and outline their potential medicinal value in the treatment of tumor and AIDS. Among them, the most clinically promising RNases are mushroom RNases, Binase and Barnase from bacteria, ginseng RNases, and Onconase from frog (Rana pipiens). Fast developing protein engineering of RNases, which display more potent cytotoxic activity on and greater selectivity for malignant cells, has also aroused the interest of researchers. The multiple anti-cancer mechanisms of RNases are also included. To sum up, these inspiring studies unveil a new perspective for RNases as potential therapeutic agents. Copyright Â© 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Biochim Biophys Acta
and referenced in Medicinal & Aromatic Plants