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Molecules 2016, 21(11), 1560; doi:10.3390/molecules21111560

Plants Producing Ribosome-Inactivating Proteins in Traditional Medicine

Department of Experimental, Diagnostic and Specialty Medicine-DIMES, Alma Mater Studiorum, University of Bologna, Via San Giacomo 14, 40126 Bologna, Italy
These authors contributed equally to this work.
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Els Van Damme
Received: 3 October 2016 / Revised: 4 November 2016 / Accepted: 9 November 2016 / Published: 18 November 2016
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Abstract

Ribosome-inactivating proteins (RIPs) are enzymes that deadenylate nucleic acids and are broadly distributed in the plant kingdom. Many plants that contain RIPs are listed in the pharmacopoeias of folk medicine all over the world, mostly because of their toxicity. This review analyses the position occupied in traditional medicine by plants from which RIPs have been isolated. The overview starts from the antique age of the Mediterranean area with ancient Egypt, followed by the Greek and Roman classic period. Then, the ancient oriental civilizations of China and India are evaluated. More recently, Unani medicine and European folk medicine are examined. Finally, the African and American folk medicines are taken into consideration. In conclusion, a list of RIP-expressing plants, which have been used in folk medicine, is provided with the geographical distribution and the prescriptions that are recommended by traditional healers. Some final considerations are provided on the present utilization of such herbal treatments, both in developing and developed countries, often in the absence of scientific validation. The most promising prospect for the medicinal use of RIP-expressing plants is the conjugation of purified RIPs to antibodies that recognise tumour antigens for cancer therapy. View Full-Text
Keywords: ribosome-inactivating proteins; plant toxins; anticancer drugs; folk medicine; ethnopharmacology; ancient Egypt medicine; classic age medicine; traditional Chinese medicine; Ayurveda medicine; Unani medicine ribosome-inactivating proteins; plant toxins; anticancer drugs; folk medicine; ethnopharmacology; ancient Egypt medicine; classic age medicine; traditional Chinese medicine; Ayurveda medicine; Unani medicine
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Polito, L.; Bortolotti, M.; Maiello, S.; Battelli, M.G.; Bolognesi, A. Plants Producing Ribosome-Inactivating Proteins in Traditional Medicine. Molecules 2016, 21, 1560.

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