Anisomycin is a bacterial antibiotic isolated from Streptomyces griseolus. Anisomycin is mainly known as a potent and reversible inhibitor of protein synthesis in eukaryotic organisms that acts by binding and inhibiting peptidyl transferase activity of 60S ribosomal subunit. Interestingly, anisomycin has been widely used as an extremely potent activator of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascades in mammalian cells, especially of JNK, p38, and ERK1/2, and it can also modulate other signal transduction pathways. Regulation of gene expression is another intriguing effect of anisomycin given that it is able to superinduce the expression of certain genes, or cause degradation of some proteins. Furthermore, it also affects both pro- and anti-apoptotic mechanisms. Recently, a potential therapeutic use for anisomycin has been proposed as it can sensitize malignant cells to death, either alone or in combination with certain drugs; anisomycin may also function as an immunosuppressant by inhibiting T cells and transplant rejection in mice. Anisomycin has been applied in the study of memory in animals, and it has been shown that it inhibits the consolidation of new memories and cause amnesia; however, it is necessary to carry out more studies in order for anisomycin to be considered as a potential psychiatric drug in humans. Notably, the multifunctional feature of anisomycin has yielded great benefits for biochemical research even though some of its mechanisms of action remain unknown.
Keywords: Anisomycin, protein synthesis inhibition, ribotoxic stress, apoptosis, signaling, cancer, MAPKs
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