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Ricin and Ricin-Containing Immunotoxins: Insights into Intracellular Transport and Mechanism of action in Vitro

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Author(s): Monika Słomińska-Wojewódzka | Kirsten Sandvig

Journal: Antibodies
ISSN 2073-4468

Volume: 2;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 236;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: ricin | ricin-based immunotoxins | intracellular transport | apoptosis | vascular leak syndrome

ABSTRACT
Ricin is a type II ribosome inactivating protein (RIP) isolated from castor beans. Its high toxicity classifies it as a possible biological weapon. On the other hand, ricin linked to specific monoclonal antibodies or used in other conjugates has powerful medical applications. Ricin consists of an A-chain (RTA) that damages ribosomes and inhibits protein synthesis, and a B-chain that plays a role in binding and cellular uptake. A number of recent studies have demonstrated that ricin-induced inhibition of protein synthesis is not the only mechanism responsible for cell death. It turns out that ricin is able to induce apoptosis in different cell lines and multiple organs in animals. However, the molecular link between protein synthesis inhibition and ricin-dependent triggering of apoptotic cell death is unclear. This review describes the intracellular transport of ricin and ricin-based immunotoxins and their mechanism of action in different non-malignant and cancer cell lines. Moreover, various ricin-containing immunotoxins, their composition, medical applications and side-effects will be described and discussed. Understanding the mechanism of action of ricin-based immunotoxins will facilitate construction of effectively acting immunotoxins that can be used in the clinic for cancer treatment.
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