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Journal of Environmental Pathology, Toxicology and Oncology
Factor de Impacto: 1.241 Factor de Impacto de 5 años: 1.349 SJR: 0.356 SNIP: 0.613 CiteScore™: 1.61

ISSN Imprimir: 0731-8898
ISSN En Línea: 2162-6537

Journal of Environmental Pathology, Toxicology and Oncology

DOI: 10.1615/JEnvPathToxOncol.v22.i2.10
18 pages

Molecular Regulation of Cholesterol Biosynthesis: Implications in Carcinogenesis

R. P. Singh
Department of Biotechnology, Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, India
Raj Kumar
Division of Radiopharmaceuticals and Radiation Biology, Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences, Delhi, India
Nidhi Kapur
Department of Biotechnology, Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, India


Cholesterol synthesis was demonstrated to be mandatory for cellular growth and serves to supply one of the necessary building blocks for new membranes demanded by dividing cells during growth. The mevalonate pathway, which is regulated through a finely tuned mechanism, is responsible mainly for cholesterol enrichment to cells. Among the various steps, the production of mevalonate from 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) is the most critically regulated step catalyzed by HMG-CoA reductase. The ability of sterols to regulate both the transcriptional rates of the reductase gene and the degradative machinery for the reductase protein provides a multilevel system for controlling the expression of this enzyme. Much convincing evidence indicates that cells manifest a higher flux through the mevalonate pathway when proliferating than when they are in the cell cycle arrest condition; furthermore, tumors undergo deregulated cholesterogenesis mainly at the critical rate-controlling juncture (i.e., the reaction catalyzed by HMG-CoA reductase). The mevalonate component of the cholesterol biosynthesis plays a key role in controlling cell proliferation by generating prenyl intermediates, particularly farnesyl and geranyl–geranyl moieties. These isoprenoids covalently modify and thus modulate the biological activity of signal transducing proteins, such as that of the Ras superfamily. The prenylated Ras-mediated signal transduction pathway provides much of the molecular information needed to trigger cell proliferation. Therefore, depletion of mevalonate can block both the processing and the transforming activities of Ras, indicating that drugs such as lovastatin and compactin, which had previously been exploited for lowering cholesterol levels, may be useful chemotherapeutic agents for treating tumors harboring oncogenic Ras mutation. In addition, Ras prenylation, which provides much of the molecular information needed to trigger cell proliferation, represents an inviting target for the design of chemotherapeutic drugs that would interrupt such signaling events and arrest tumor cell proliferation.

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