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Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2000 Apr;32(4):391-5.


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Division of Gastroenterology and Liver Diseases, USC Liver Disease Research Center, USC School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA 90033, USA.


S-Adenosyl-Lmethionine (SAM) is an important molecule in normal cell function and survival. SAM is utilized by three key metabolic pathways: transmethylation; transsulfuration; and polyamine synthesis. In transmethylation reactions, the methyl group of SAM is donated to a large variety of acceptor substrates including DNA, phospholipids and proteins. Thus, interference of these reactions can affect a wide spectrum of processes ranging from gene expression to membrane fluidity. In transsulfuration, the sulfur atom of the SAM is converted via a series of enzymatic steps to cysteine, a precursor of taurine and glutathione, a major cellular anti-oxidant. Polyamines are required for normal cell growth. Given the importance of SAM in tissue function, it is not surprising that this molecule is being investigated as a possible therapeutic agent for the treatment of various clinical disorders.

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