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Keywords:

  • fusicoccin;
  • 14-3-3 proteins;
  • protein-protein interaction;
  • drug development

Abstract

Summary The study of the structure and dynamics of protein–protein interaction networks has become overwhelming in all biological systems. Most of the biological events are the consequence of several protein–protein interactions finely regulated by covalent modifications and physiological effectors. Moreover, several studies have shown that the complex interactome responsible for the progress and control of vital processes is disturbed in diseases. Besides the basic information on the mechanisms involved in the processes driven by protein–protein interactions, it appears nowadays extremely challenging to study possible regulators of the lifespan of protein networks. Small molecules able to stabilize or to inhibit protein complexes could easily find applications as potential innovative drugs. In this article, we hypothesize that a natural product, the fungal phytotoxin fusicoccin, can play a role as a stabilizer of interactions between 14-3-3 proteins and specific natural targets. A very specific stabilizer molecule is the ideal starting point for the development of a family of structurally related drugs able to selectively tune 14-3-3 interaction with their targets. © 2013 IUBMB Life, 65(6):513–517, 2013