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Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry Section, OPCB

Myung Hee Park, Ph.D. Chief


The goal of this section is the understanding of molecular structure/biological function relationships. Its major emphasis has been centered around enzymes involved in a unique posttranslational modification reaction resulting in the formation of the unusual amino acid hypusine in a single cellular protein, eukaryotic translation initiation factor 5A (eIF5A). The essential role of the hypusine modification in the activity of eIF5A and in eukaryotic cell proliferation has now been demonstrated in studies in yeast and mammalian cells, and the biosynthetic pathway of hypusine which involves two enzymes, deoxyhypusine synthase and deoxyhypusine hydroxylase, has been revealed through the Unit’s efforts. Potent inhibitors of one of these enzymes, deoxyhypusine synthase, have been developed and shown to exert strong antiproliferative effects on normal and cancer cells. These findings have furthered the knowledge of the role of hypusine modification and offered a potential mechanism for control of normal and aberrant cell growth.


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This page last updated: February 26, 2014