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Neurochem Int. 2009 Jul-Aug;55(1-3):71-5. doi: 10.1016/j.neuint.2009.01.008. Epub 2009 Feb 7.

Glutamine in neoplastic cells: focus on the expression and roles of glutaminases.

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  • 1Department of Neurotoxicology, Mossakowski Medical Research Centre, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland.


Glutamine is an important source of energy for neoplastic tissues, and products of its metabolism include, among others, glutamate (Glu) and glutathione (GSH), the two molecules that play a key role in tumor proliferation, invasiveness and resistance to therapy. Glutamine hydrolysis in normal and transforming mammalian tissues alike, is carried out by different isoforms of glutaminases, of which the two major are liver-type glutaminase (LGA) and kidney-type glutaminase (KGA). This brief review summarizes available data on the expression profiles and activities of these isoenzymes in different neoplastic tissues as compared to the tissues of origin, and dwells on recent work demonstrating effects of manipulation of glutaminase expression on tumor growth. A comment is devoted to the emerging evidence that LGA, apart from degrading Gln for metabolic purposes, is involved in gene transcription; its enforced overexpression in glioma cells was found to reduce their proliferation and migration.

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