Affiliation: Institute of Biomolecular Chemistry of CNR, Padova Unit, Via F. Marzolo 1, I-35131 Padova, Italy.
Besides catalyzing the inactivation of various electrophile-producing anticancer agents via conjugation to the tripeptide glutathione, some cytosolic proteins belonging to the glutathione transferase (formerly glutatione-S-transferase; GST) superfamily are emerging as negative modulators of stress/drug-induced cell apoptosis through the interaction with specific signaling kinases. In addition, several data link the overexpression of some GSTs, in particular GSTP1-1, to both natural and acquired resistance to various structurally unrelated anticancer drugs. Tumor overexpression of these proteins has provided a rationale for the search of GST inhibitors and GSTactivated cytotoxic prodrugs. In the present review we discuss the current structural and pharmacological knowledge of both types of GST-targeting compounds.