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      Glutathione transferases: substrates, inihibitors and pro-drugs in cancer and neurodegenerative diseases

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          Abstract

          Glutathione transferase classical GSH conjugation activity plays a critical role in cellular detoxification against xenobiotics and noxious compounds as well as against oxidative stress. However, this feature is also exploited by cancer cells to acquire drug resistance and improve their survival. As a result, various members of the family were found overexpressed in a number of different cancers. Moreover several GST polymorphisms, ranging from null phenotypes to point mutations, were detected in members of the family and found to correlate with the onset of neuro-degenerative diseases. In the last decades, a great deal of research aimed at clarifying the role played by GSTs in drug resistance, at developing inhibitors to counteract this activity but also at exploiting GSTs for prodrugs specific activation in cancer cells. Here we summarize some of the most important achievements reached in this lively area of research.

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          Most cited references 114

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          Glutathione transferases.

          This review describes the three mammalian glutathione transferase (GST) families, namely cytosolic, mitochondrial, and microsomal GST, the latter now designated MAPEG. Besides detoxifying electrophilic xenobiotics, such as chemical carcinogens, environmental pollutants, and antitumor agents, these transferases inactivate endogenous alpha,beta-unsaturated aldehydes, quinones, epoxides, and hydroperoxides formed as secondary metabolites during oxidative stress. These enzymes are also intimately involved in the biosynthesis of leukotrienes, prostaglandins, testosterone, and progesterone, as well as the degradation of tyrosine. Among their substrates, GSTs conjugate the signaling molecules 15-deoxy-delta(12,14)-prostaglandin J2 (15d-PGJ2) and 4-hydroxynonenal with glutathione, and consequently they antagonize expression of genes trans-activated by the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARgamma) and nuclear factor-erythroid 2 p45-related factor 2 (Nrf2). Through metabolism of 15d-PGJ2, GST may enhance gene expression driven by nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB). Cytosolic human GST exhibit genetic polymorphisms and this variation can increase susceptibility to carcinogenesis and inflammatory disease. Polymorphisms in human MAPEG are associated with alterations in lung function and increased risk of myocardial infarction and stroke. Targeted disruption of murine genes has demonstrated that cytosolic GST isoenzymes are broadly cytoprotective, whereas MAPEG proteins have proinflammatory activities. Furthermore, knockout of mouse GSTA4 and GSTZ1 leads to overexpression of transferases in the Alpha, Mu, and Pi classes, an observation suggesting they are part of an adaptive mechanism that responds to endogenous chemical cues such as 4-hydroxynonenal and tyrosine degradation products. Consistent with this hypothesis, the promoters of cytosolic GST and MAPEG genes contain antioxidant response elements through which they are transcriptionally activated during exposure to Michael reaction acceptors and oxidative stress.
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            Structure, function and evolution of glutathione transferases: implications for classification of non-mammalian members of an ancient enzyme superfamily.

            The glutathione transferases (GSTs; also known as glutathione S-transferases) are major phase II detoxification enzymes found mainly in the cytosol. In addition to their role in catalysing the conjugation of electrophilic substrates to glutathione (GSH), these enzymes also carry out a range of other functions. They have peroxidase and isomerase activities, they can inhibit the Jun N-terminal kinase (thus protecting cells against H(2)O(2)-induced cell death), and they are able to bind non-catalytically a wide range of endogenous and exogenous ligands. Cytosolic GSTs of mammals have been particularly well characterized, and were originally classified into Alpha, Mu, Pi and Theta classes on the basis of a combination of criteria such as substrate/inhibitor specificity, primary and tertiary structure similarities and immunological identity. Non-mammalian GSTs have been much less well characterized, but have provided a disproportionately large number of three-dimensional structures, thus extending our structure-function knowledge of the superfamily as a whole. Moreover, several novel classes identified in non-mammalian species have been subsequently identified in mammals, sometimes carrying out functions not previously associated with GSTs. These studies have revealed that the GSTs comprise a widespread and highly versatile superfamily which show similarities to non-GST stress-related proteins. Independent classification systems have arisen for groups of organisms such as plants and insects. This review surveys the classification of GSTs in non-mammalian sources, such as bacteria, fungi, plants, insects and helminths, and attempts to relate them to the more mainstream classification system for mammalian enzymes. The implications of this classification with regard to the evolution of GSTs are discussed.
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              Glutathione catalysis and the reaction mechanisms of glutathione-dependent enzymes.

              Glutathione-dependent catalysis is a metabolic adaptation to chemical challenges encountered by all life forms. In the course of evolution, nature optimized numerous mechanisms to use glutathione as the most versatile nucleophile for the conversion of a plethora of sulfur-, oxygen- or carbon-containing electrophilic substances. This comprehensive review summarizes fundamental principles of glutathione catalysis and compares the structures and mechanisms of glutathione-dependent enzymes, including glutathione reductase, glutaredoxins, glutathione peroxidases, peroxiredoxins, glyoxalases 1 and 2, glutathione transferases and MAPEG. Moreover, open mechanistic questions, evolutionary aspects and the physiological relevance of glutathione catalysis are discussed for each enzyme family. It is surprising how little is known about many glutathione-dependent enzymes, how often reaction geometries and acid-base catalysts are neglected, and how many mechanistic puzzles remain unsolved despite almost a century of research. On the one hand, several enzyme families with non-related protein folds recognize the glutathione moiety of their substrates. On the other hand, the thioredoxin fold is often used for glutathione catalysis. Ancient as well as recent structural changes of this fold did not only significantly alter the reaction mechanism, but also resulted in completely different protein functions. Glutathione-dependent enzymes are excellent study objects for structure-function relationships and molecular evolution. Notably, in times of systems biology, the outcome of models on glutathione metabolism and redox regulation is more than questionable as long as fundamental enzyme properties are neither studied nor understood. Furthermore, several of the presented mechanisms could have implications for drug development. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Cellular functions of glutathione. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                +39 0871 355 4807 , nerino.allocati@unich.it
                Journal
                Oncogenesis
                Oncogenesis
                Oncogenesis
                Nature Publishing Group UK (London )
                2157-9024
                24 January 2018
                24 January 2018
                January 2018
                : 7
                : 1
                Affiliations
                [1 ]ISNI 0000 0001 2181 4941, GRID grid.412451.7, Department of Medical, Oral and Biotechnological Sciences, , University “G. d’Annunzio”, ; Chieti, Italy
                [2 ]ISNI 0000 0001 2181 4941, GRID grid.412451.7, CESI-MET, , University “G. d’Annunzio”, ; Chieti, Italy
                Article
                25
                10.1038/s41389-017-0025-3
                5833873
                29362397
                © The Author(s) 2018

                Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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                Review Article
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                © The Author(s) 2018

                Oncology & Radiotherapy

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