Current status and biomedical applications of ribosome-inactivating proteins

Riccardo Vago, Rodolfo Ippoliti, Maria Serena Fabbrini

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Toxin domains from plants or bacterial origin (such as Diphtheria toxin (DT) or Pseudomonas exotoxin A (PEA), which are endowed with ADP-ribosylation activity of the Eukaryotic elongation factor-2) have been extensively exploited for research and therapeutic purposes. Denileukin diftitox is the first FDA approved recombinant fusion toxin between a truncated diphtheria toxin and human interleukin-2 for the treatment of cutaneous T cell lymphomas. Ribosome-inactivating proteins (RIPs) are also a class of potent inhibitors of protein synthesis that act differently, by catalytically depurinating an adenine residue (A4324 in rat) exposed in an universally conserved stem-loop region of 23/26/28S ribosomal RNA (rRNA), also known as the α-sarcin loop. This causes an irreversible block in protein synthesis, leading to apoptotic cell death of mammalian target cells. RIP-containing conjugates have been used in the therapy of cancer and other incurable diseases with potential promising results and failures. In the last decade, many research efforts have been dedicated to the development of more efficient and less immunogenic chimeric fusions. In this chapter we will mainly focus on plant RIPs with the aim to report some of the most promising biomedical applications currently under investigation and further discuss their future perspectives.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAntitumor Potential and other Emerging Medicinal Properties of Natural Compounds
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages35
ISBN (Print)9789400762145, 9400762135, 9789400762138
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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