PerspectiveChemical Biology

Systems- and Molecular-Level Elucidation of Signaling Processes Through Chemistry

Science Signaling  21 Oct 2008:
Vol. 1, Issue 42, pp. pe45
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.142pe45

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Complete understanding of the molecular mechanisms of signal transduction is a major focus of research in the postgenomic era. Efforts to realize this goal have benefited from interdisciplinary approaches, specifically through the development of new technologies. Several groups have now described new chemical strategies to probe signaling with broadly different degrees of focus. The first report employs an enzymatic tagging strategy to monitor global proteolytic cleavage events that occur during apoptosis. The second study illustrates a general method to functionally characterize a specific kinase through the identification of its substrates. Finally, the third report describes a synthetic route to generate ubiquitinated proteins and demonstrates the utility of protein chemistry in understanding the detailed biochemical mechanisms of signaling. Together, these papers highlight the power of chemical tools to examine specific networks, thereby expanding our understanding of signaling pathways.

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