Marts and marylation in the cytosol: Biological functions, mechanisms of action, and therapeutic potential

Sridevi Challa, Mikayla S. Stokes, W. Lee Kraus

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Mono(ADP‐ribosyl)ation (MARylation) is a regulatory post‐translational modification of proteins that controls their functions through a variety of mechanisms. MARylation is catalyzed by mono(ADP‐ribosyl) transferase (MART) enzymes, a subclass of the poly(ADP‐ribosyl) polymerase (PARP) family of enzymes. Although the role of PARPs and poly(ADP‐ribosyl)ation (PARylation) in cellular pathways, such as DNA repair and transcription, is well studied, the role of MARylation and MARTs (i.e., the PARP ‘monoenzymes’) are not well understood. Moreover, compared to PARPs, the development of MART‐targeted therapeutics is in its infancy. Recent studies are beginning to shed light on the structural features, catalytic targets, and biological functions of MARTs. The development of new technologies to study MARTs have uncovered essential roles for these enzymes in the regulation of cellular processes, such as RNA metabolism, cellular transport, focal adhesion, and stress responses. These insights have increased our understanding of the biological functions of MARTs in cancers, neuronal development, and immune responses. Furthermore, several novel inhibitors of MARTs have been developed and are nearing clinical utility. In this review, we summarize the biological functions and molecular mechanisms of MARTs and MARylation, as well as recent advances in technology that have enabled detection and inhibition of their activity. We emphasize PARP‐7, which is at the forefront of the MART subfamily with respect to understanding its biological roles and the development of therapeutically useful inhibitors. Collectively, the available studies reveal a growing understanding of the biochemistry, chemical biology, physiology, and pathology of MARTs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number313
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • ADP‐ribose (ADPR)
  • ADP‐ribosylation (ADPRylation)
  • ADP‐ribosylhydrolase
  • Chemical genetics
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Mono(ADP‐ribosyl) transferase (MART)
  • Mono(ADP‐ribosylation) (MARylation)
  • Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD)
  • PARP inhibitor
  • Poly(ADP‐ribosyl) polymerase (PARP)
  • Poly(ADP‐ribosylation) (PARylation)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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