Potential role of N-myristoyltransferase in cancer

Prog Lipid Res. 2007 Jan;46(1):1-36. doi: 10.1016/j.plipres.2006.05.002. Epub 2006 Jun 12.


Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of malignant death, and better preventive strategies are needed. The treatment of colonic cancer remains difficult because of the lack of effective chemotherapeutic agents; therefore it is important to continue to search for cellular functions that can be disrupted by chemotherapeutic drugs resulting in the inhibition of the development and progression of cancer. The current knowledge of the modification of proteins by myristoylation involving myristoyl-CoA: protein N-myristoyltransferase (NMT) is in its infancy. This process is involved in the pathogenesis of cancer. We have reported for the first time that NMT activity and protein expression were higher in human colorectal cancer, gallbladder carcinoma and brain tumors. In addition, an increase in NMT activity appeared at an early stage in colonic carcinogenesis. It is conceivable therefore that NMT can be used as a potential marker for the early detection of cancer. These observations lead to the possibility of developing NMT specific inhibitors, which may be therapeutically useful. We proposed that HSC70 and/or enolase could be used as an anticancer therapeutic target. This review summarized the status of NMT in cancer which has been carried in our laboratory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acyltransferases / analysis
  • Acyltransferases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Acyltransferases / metabolism*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis
  • Brain Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / metabolism
  • Gallbladder Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Models, Molecular
  • Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Phosphorylation


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Acyltransferases
  • glycylpeptide N-tetradecanoyltransferase