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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1975 Sep;72(9):3551-5.

Central role for magnesium in coordinate control of metabolism and growth in animal cells.


The rate of DNA synthesis in cultures of chicken embryo fibroblasts is reduced by deprivation of serum, high population density, and other "physiological" effectors, through a reduction in the number of cells in the S-period of the cell cycle. The same effect can be produced by drastically reducing the concentration of Mg++ added to the medium. This effect is erratic, however, and better control of [Mg++] can be achieved with phosphorylated compounds which preferentially bind Mg++. Both ATP and ADP, at concentrations in the medium less than or equal to [Mg++], stimulate DNA synthesis in cultures, and at greater concentrations inhibit DNA synthesis by affe-ting the proportion of cells in the S-period. Sodium pyrophosphate, which strongly complexes Mg++, causes little stimulation of DNA synthesis at low concentrations, but causes a striking decrease at concentrations exceeding [Mg++] of the medium. The inhibition can be fully reversed by adding an excess of Mg++, and the kinetics of increase in DNA synthesis resemble those which follow the restoration of serum to serum-deprived cultures. Limitation of [Mg++] by pyrophosphate also reduces the rates of RNA and protein synthesis, 2-deoxy-D-glucose uptake, and lactic acid production to an extent comparable to the reduction caused by the removal of serum from the medium. A model for the coordinate control of metabolism, differentiated function, and growth through the activity of divalent cations is described. The compartmentalization of Mg++ within the cell serves as the key element in this coordinate control by regulating those metabolic pathways in which the rate-limiting steps are transphosphorylation reactions.

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