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Biochem Pharmacol. 2002 Feb 1;63(3):381-91.

Methionine synthase activity and sulphur amino acid levels in the rat liver tumour cells HTC and Phi-1.

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Department of Pharmacy, Kings College London, UK.


Methionine dependence has been reported in tumour cells and suggested as a possible target for chemotherapeutic drugs. The underlying defect has not been extensively researched, nor have levels of sulphur amino acids been examined in these cells. This study compared two rat liver tumour cell lines. One was found to be methionine dependent (HTC) and the other found to be methionine independent (Phi-1). The methionine-dependent cell line (HTC) was discovered to contain markedly less methionine synthase activity, the enzyme activity being less responsive to methionine concentration than in the methionine-independent cells (Phi-1). HTC cells had lower cysteine requirements and contained larger concentrations of reduced glutathione (GSH) and taurine than the Phi-1 cells. Also, in contrast to Phi-1 cells, no glutathione was found in the media of the HTC cells, although large quantities of cysteinylglycine were detected. These results suggested that differences in methionine synthase activity might be partly responsible for methionine dependence and that methionine-dependent cells may have different metabolic requirements for other sulphur amino acids.

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