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Recent advances in the development and discovery of pharmacological interventions within the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) have uncovered an enormous potential for possible novel treatments of neurodegenerative disease, cancer, immunological disorder and microbial infection. Interference with proteasome activity, although initially considered unlikely to be exploitable clinically, has already proved to be very effective against haematological malignancies, and more specific derivatives that target subsets of proteasomes are emerging. Recent small-molecule screens have revealed inhibitors against ubiquitin-conjugating and -deconjugating enzymes, many of which have been evaluated for their potential use as therapeutics, either as single agents or in synergy with other drugs. Here, we discuss recent advances in the characterisation of novel UPS modulators (in particular, inhibitors of ubiquitin-conjugating and -deconjugating enzymes) and how they pave the way towards new therapeutic approaches for the treatment of proteotoxic disease, cancer and microbial infection.

Original publication




Journal article


Expert Rev Mol Med

Publication Date





Animals, Communicable Diseases, Drug Design, Humans, Molecular Targeted Therapy, Neoplasms, Neurodegenerative Diseases, Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex, Ubiquitin, Ubiquitin Thiolesterase, Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases, Ubiquitin-Specific Peptidase 7