Antitumor Ribonucleases

  • Marc RibóEmail author
  • Antoni BenitoEmail author
  • Maria VilanovaEmail author
Part of the Nucleic Acids and Molecular Biology book series (NUCLEIC)


Ribonucleases are small basic proteins that have shown remarkable antitumor activity linked to their ability to destroy RNA. Therefore, they are a second line of cancer chemotherapeutics as they are not genotoxic. This chapter summarizes the main biochemical characteristics of these enzymes and the key factors responsible for their cytotoxic mechanism. Some of them are shared by most cytotoxins, but each RNase has particular cancer cell killing abilities. The effects on the cell cycle and the induced apoptosis mechanism are cell dependent. The knowledge obtained from the cytotoxic mechanism of natural cytotoxic RNases has been used to artificially engineer more potent and selective RNA-degrading enzymes. These approaches are also described. The chapter ends with a brief description of the results of the clinical trials performed with RNases.


Ribonuclease Inhibitor Eosinophil Cationic Protein Cytotoxic Mechanism Human Breast Cancer Xenograft Ribonucleolytic Activity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work has been supported by grants BFU2009-06935 from MICINN (Spain) and GRCT04 from the University of Girona.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratori d’Enginyeria de Proteïnes, Departament de Biologia, Facultat de CiènciesUniversitat de GironaGironaSpain
  2. 2.Institut d’Investigació Biomèdica de Girona Josep Trueta (IdIBGi)GironaSpain

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