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Genes Dev. 2013 Apr 15;27(8):836-52. doi: 10.1101/gad.217406.113.

What a difference a hydroxyl makes: mutant IDH, (R)-2-hydroxyglutarate, and cancer.

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  • 1Department of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA.


Mutations in metabolic enzymes, including isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 (IDH1) and IDH2, in cancer strongly implicate altered metabolism in tumorigenesis. IDH1 and IDH2 catalyze the interconversion of isocitrate and 2-oxoglutarate (2OG). 2OG is a TCA cycle intermediate and an essential cofactor for many enzymes, including JmjC domain-containing histone demethylases, TET 5-methylcytosine hydroxylases, and EglN prolyl-4-hydroxylases. Cancer-associated IDH mutations alter the enzymes such that they reduce 2OG to the structurally similar metabolite (R)-2-hydroxyglutarate [(R)-2HG]. Here we review what is known about the molecular mechanisms of transformation by mutant IDH and discuss their implications for the development of targeted therapies to treat IDH mutant malignancies.

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