Protein prenylation: from discovery to prospects for cancer treatment

Curr Opin Chem Biol. 1998 Feb;2(1):40-8. doi: 10.1016/s1367-5931(98)80034-3.


A specific set of proteins in eukaryotic cells contain covalently attached carboxy-terminal prenyl groups (15-carbon farnesyl and 20-carbon geranylgeranyl). Many of them are signaling proteins including Ras, heterotrimeric G proteins and Rab proteins. The protein prenyltransferases which attach prenyl groups to proteins have been well characterized, and an X-ray structure is available for protein farnesyltransferase. Inhibitors of protein farnesyltransferase are showing sufficient promise in preclinical trials as anti-cancer drugs to warrant widespread interest in the pharmaceutical industry.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alkyl and Aryl Transferases / metabolism*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemistry
  • Antineoplastic Agents / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Protein Prenylation*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Alkyl and Aryl Transferases
  • p21(ras) farnesyl-protein transferase