Mechanism of action

Mechanism of action describes the process by which a molecule, such as a drug, functions to produce a pharmacological effect. A drug’s mechanism of action may refer to its effects on a biological readout such as cell growth, or its interaction and modulation of its direct biomolecular target, for example a protein or nucleic acid.

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News and Comment

  • News & Views |

    The fungal sterol receptor and transcription factor Upc2 activates the transcription of ergosterol biosynthesis genes in response to ergosterol depletion in yeast. A structural and biochemical study reveals an Hsp90-dependent translocation activation mechanism of Upc2, with implications for triazole antifungal resistance.

    • P. David Rogers
    Nature Chemical Biology 18, 1170-1171
  • News & Views |

    Precision oncology requires an understanding of the genes and pathways that dictate therapeutic response. Through specialized analysis of drug sensitivity patterns across hundreds of genomically annotated cancer cell lines, specific and actionable drivers of intrinsic resistance have been identified.

    • Kris C. Wood
  • News & Views |

    Natural self-cleaving RNAs employ a wide range of catalytic strategies, but it is not known whether artificial ribozymes are capable of the same catalytic diversity. New structures of a methyltransferase ribozyme reveal the potential variety of RNA reactions and mechanisms.

    • David A. Hiller
    •  & Scott A. Strobel
  • News & Views |

    Pharmacological agents exert their therapeutic effects by altering the biochemical activities of drug targets and, consequently, manipulating cell and organism physiology. A new study combines CRISPR interference with metabolomic profiling to rapidly elucidate drug mechanisms of action.

    • Jason H. Yang