dUTP pyrophosphatase as a potential target for chemotherapeutic drug development

Acta Biochim Pol. 1997;44(2):159-71.


Aberrant dUTP metabolism plays a critical role in the molecular mechanism of cell killing induced by inhibitors of dihydrofolate reductase and thymidylate synthase. While considerable effort has been directed towards discovering new, more potent inhibitors of these two enzymes, little attention has been given dUTP pyrophosphatase (dUTPase)--the key modulator of cellular dUTP levels--as a potential target for chemotherapeutic drug development. Recent studies have provided evidence that dUTPase is vital for cellular and, in some cases, viral DNA replication. Furthermore, some retroviruses encode dUTPases--a fact which suggests that cellular dUTP metabolism may be more important than previously realized. Here, we briefly review current knowledge of cellular and viral dUTPases and discuss the potential of these enzymes as targets for cancer chemotherapeutic and anti-viral drug development.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Deoxyuracil Nucleotides / metabolism
  • Drug Design
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Pyrophosphatases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Pyrophosphatases / drug effects*
  • Pyrophosphatases / metabolism


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Deoxyuracil Nucleotides
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Pyrophosphatases
  • dUTP pyrophosphatase