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Sci. Signal., 30 August 2011
Vol. 4, Issue 188, p. re1
Inositol Pyrophosphates as Mammalian Cell Signals
Seyun Kim1, and
Solomon H. Snyder1,2,3*
1 The Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA. 2 Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA. 3 Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.
Gloss: The inositol pyrophosphates are biological messenger molecules with diverse functions in organisms ranging from slime molds to mammals. Although the existence of inositol pyrophosphates was demonstrated in the early 1990s, substantial progress in understanding their functions in mammalian signaling awaited the identification and cloning of their biosynthetic enzymes and the recent generation of relevant knockout mice. Inositol pyrophosphates have been linked to cellular processes as diverse as vesicular trafficking, telomere length maintenance, apoptosis, and insulin secretion. Phenotypic alterations of mice with targeted deletion of key biosynthetic enzymes have revealed roles for these enzymes and their products in carbohydrate and lipid metabolism, protein synthesis, cancer, and innate immunity. Although yeast and other primitive organisms have provided valuable insights, this review, in the interest of brevity, focuses primarily on mammalian systems.