PCNA: a silent housekeeper or a potential therapeutic target?

Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2014 Apr;35(4):178-86. doi: 10.1016/j.tips.2014.02.004. Epub 2014 Mar 18.


Proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) is known as a molecular marker for proliferation given its role in replication. Three identical molecules of PCNA form a molecular sliding clamp around the DNA double helix. This provides an essential platform on which multiple proteins are dynamically recruited and coordinately regulated. Over the past decade, new research has provided a deeper comprehension of PCNA as a coordinator of essential cellular functions for cell growth, death, and maintenance. Although the biology of PCNA in proliferation has been comprehensively reviewed, research progress in unveiling the potential of targeting PCNA for disease treatment has not been systematically discussed. Here we briefly summarize the basic structural and functional characteristics of PCNA, and then discuss new developments in its protein interactions, trimer formation, and signaling regulation that open the door to possible therapeutic targeting of PCNA.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy
  • Peptides / pharmacokinetics
  • Peptides / pharmacology*
  • Proliferating Cell Nuclear Antigen / chemistry
  • Proliferating Cell Nuclear Antigen / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Peptides
  • Proliferating Cell Nuclear Antigen