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      VDAC1 as Pharmacological Target in Cancer and Neurodegeneration: Focus on Its Role in Apoptosis

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          Abstract

          Cancer and neurodegeneration are different classes of diseases that share the involvement of mitochondria in their pathogenesis. Whereas the high glycolytic rate (the so-called Warburg metabolism) and the suppression of apoptosis are key elements for the establishment and maintenance of cancer cells, mitochondrial dysfunction and increased cell death mark neurodegeneration. As a main actor in the regulation of cell metabolism and apoptosis, VDAC may represent the common point between these two broad families of pathologies. Located in the outer mitochondrial membrane, VDAC forms channels that control the flux of ions and metabolites across the mitochondrion thus mediating the organelle's cross-talk with the rest of the cell. Furthermore, the interaction with both pro-apoptotic and anti-apoptotic factors makes VDAC a gatekeeper for mitochondria-mediated cell death and survival signaling pathways. Unfortunately, the lack of an evident druggability of this protein, since it has no defined binding or active sites, makes the quest for VDAC interacting molecules a difficult tale. Pharmacologically active molecules of different classes have been proposed to hit cancer and neurodegeneration. In this work, we provide an exhaustive and detailed survey of all the molecules, peptides, and microRNAs that exploit VDAC in the treatment of the two examined classes of pathologies. The mechanism of action and the potential or effectiveness of each compound are discussed.

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          Most cited references 198

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          The glamour and gloom of glycogen synthase kinase-3.

          Glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK3) is now recognized as a key component of a surprisingly large number of cellular processes and diseases. Several mechanisms play a part in controlling the actions of GSK3, including phosphorylation, protein complex formation, and subcellular distribution. These are used to control and direct the far-reaching influences of GSK3 on cellular structure, growth, motility and apoptosis. Dysregulation of GSK3 is linked to several prevalent pathological conditions, such as diabetes and/or insulin resistance, and Alzheimer's disease. Therefore, much effort is currently directed towards understanding the functions and control of GSK3, and identifying methods capable of diminishing the deleterious impact of GSK3 in pathological conditions.
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            RAS-RAF-MEK-dependent oxidative cell death involving voltage-dependent anion channels.

            Therapeutics that discriminate between the genetic makeup of normal cells and tumour cells are valuable for treating and understanding cancer. Small molecules with oncogene-selective lethality may reveal novel functions of oncoproteins and enable the creation of more selective drugs. Here we describe the mechanism of action of the selective anti-tumour agent erastin, involving the RAS-RAF-MEK signalling pathway functioning in cell proliferation, differentiation and survival. Erastin exhibits greater lethality in human tumour cells harbouring mutations in the oncogenes HRAS, KRAS or BRAF. Using affinity purification and mass spectrometry, we discovered that erastin acts through mitochondrial voltage-dependent anion channels (VDACs)--a novel target for anti-cancer drugs. We show that erastin treatment of cells harbouring oncogenic RAS causes the appearance of oxidative species and subsequent death through an oxidative, non-apoptotic mechanism. RNA-interference-mediated knockdown of VDAC2 or VDAC3 caused resistance to erastin, implicating these two VDAC isoforms in the mechanism of action of erastin. Moreover, using purified mitochondria expressing a single VDAC isoform, we found that erastin alters the permeability of the outer mitochondrial membrane. Finally, using a radiolabelled analogue and a filter-binding assay, we show that erastin binds directly to VDAC2. These results demonstrate that ligands to VDAC proteins can induce non-apoptotic cell death selectively in some tumour cells harbouring activating mutations in the RAS-RAF-MEK pathway.
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              Apoptosis in neurodegenerative disorders.

               M Mattson (2000)
              Neuronal death underlies the symptoms of many human neurological disorders, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases, stroke, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The identification of specific genetic and environmental factors responsible for these diseases has bolstered evidence for a shared pathway of neuronal death--apoptosis--involving oxidative stress, perturbed calcium homeostasis, mitochondrial dysfunction and activation of cysteine proteases called caspases. These death cascades are counteracted by survival signals, which suppress oxyradicals and stabilize calcium homeostasis and mitochondrial function. With the identification of mechanisms that either promote or prevent neuronal apoptosis come new approaches for preventing and treating neurodegenerative disorders.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Front Chem
                Front Chem
                Front. Chem.
                Frontiers in Chemistry
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                2296-2646
                06 April 2018
                2018
                : 6
                Affiliations
                1Section of Molecular Biology, Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences, University of Catania , Catania, Italy
                2Section of Biology and Genetics, Department of Biomedicine and Biotechnology, National Institute for Biomembranes and Biosystems, Section of Catania , Catania, Italy
                Author notes

                Edited by: Cesare Indiveri, University of Calabria, Italy

                Reviewed by: Catherine Brenner, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM), France; Sandro Sonnino, Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy

                *Correspondence: Vito De Pinto vdpbiofa@ 123456unict.it

                This article was submitted to Chemical Biology, a section of the journal Frontiers in Chemistry

                †These authors have contributed equally to this work.

                Article
                10.3389/fchem.2018.00108
                5897536
                Copyright © 2018 Magrì, Reina and De Pinto.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 3, Tables: 0, Equations: 0, References: 225, Pages: 17, Words: 15504
                Categories
                Chemistry
                Review

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