α-enolase (ENOA) is a metabolic enzyme involved in the synthesis of pyruvate. It also acts as a plasminogen receptor and thus mediates activation of plasmin and extracellular matrix degradation. In tumor cells, ΕΝΟΑ is upregulated and supports anaerobic proliferation (Warburg effect), it is expressed at the cell surface, where it promotes cancer invasion, and is subjected to a specific array of post-translational modifications, namely acetylation, methylation and phosphorylation. Both ENOA overexpression and its post-translational modifications could be of diagnostic and prognostic value in cancer. This review will discuss recent information on the biochemical, proteomics and immunological characterization of ENOA, particularly its ability to trigger a specific humoral and cellular immune response. In our opinion, this information can pave the way for effective new therapeutic and diagnostic strategies to counteract the growth of the most aggressive human disease.
© 2011 The Authors Journal compilation © 2011 FEBS.