Glutamate carboxypeptidase II (GCPII) and its splice variants, paralogs and human homologs represent a family of proteins with diverse tissue distribution, cellular localization and largely unknown function which have been explored only recently. While GCPII itself has been thoroughly studied from different perspectives, as clearly documented in this series of reviews, very little is known about other members of its family, even though they might be biologically relevant. Differential expression of individual GCPII splice variants is associated with tumor progression and prognosis of prostate cancer. The best studied GCPII homolog, GCPIII or NAALADase II, may be a valid pharmaceutical target for itself since it may compensate for a lack of normal GCPII enzymatic activity. Detailed molecular characterization of this family of proteins is thus very important not only with respect to the potential therapeutic use of GCPII inhibitors, but also for better understanding of the biological role of GCPII within as well as outside the nervous system.
Keywords: PSMA, GCPIII, NAALADase L, PSMAL, Splice variants, Homologs, Glutamate carboxypeptidase II (GCPII), biological role, cancer metastasis
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