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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

p-Alkoxyphenols, a new class of inhibitors of mammalian R2 ribonucleotide reductase: possible candidates for antimelanotic drugs.

The inhibition by different p-alkoxyphenol derivatives of the growth-regulating enzyme ribonucleotide reductase (RR) in purified Escherichia coli and mouse R2 protein preparations was studied by EPR spectroscopy. The inhibitor-induced inactivation of the catalytic subunit protein R2 was measured at 77 degrees K by observing the decrease of the typical EPR signal from the functionally essential protein-linked tyrosyl free radical. p-Methoxy-, p-ethoxy-, p-propoxy-, and p-allyloxyphenol were about 2 orders of magnitude more effective in inhibiting mouse R2, compared with E. coli R2. Among the p-alkoxyphenols studied, p-propoxyphenol was the most effective inhibitor of mouse R2 (IC50, 0.7 microM) and p-methoxyphenol was the least effective (IC50, 11 microM); p-ethoxy- and p-allyloxyphenol were intermediate. The observed half-maximal inhibition values characterized p-alkoxyphenols as a new class of strong inhibitors of the R2 protein of mammalian RR. p-Propoxy-, p-ethoxy-, and p-allyloxyphenol could be considered as new candidates for anticancer drugs. A special cellular inhibition assay of RR in proliferating tumor cells, in which the tyrosyl radical of R2 at natural concentration was monitored by EPR, showed that the four para-substituted alkoxyphenols also inhibited the enzyme with high efficiency in tumor cells (IC50, between 0.5 microM and 5 microM). Our results with inactivation of protein R2 of RR imply that the cytostatic effect of p-alkoxyphenols on melanoma cells, which has been hitherto explained by inhibition of tyrosinase [Melanoma Res. 2:295-304 (1992)], may be caused at least partly by inhibition of RR. Protein R2 of RR may be considered as an additional target that could be used for future cancer chemotherapy.[1]


  1. p-Alkoxyphenols, a new class of inhibitors of mammalian R2 ribonucleotide reductase: possible candidates for antimelanotic drugs. Pötsch, S., Drechsler, H., Liermann, B., Gräslund, A., Lassmann, G. Mol. Pharmacol. (1994) [Pubmed]
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