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Crit Rev Biochem Mol Biol. 2013 Jan-Feb;48(1):20-38. doi: 10.3109/10409238.2012.735643.

The role of phosphatidylcholine and choline metabolites to cell proliferation and survival.

Author information

1
Departments of Pediatrics and Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, The Atlantic Research Centre, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada. nridgway@dal.ca

Abstract

The reorganization of metabolic pathways in cancer facilitates the flux of carbon and reducing equivalents into anabolic pathways at the expense of oxidative phosphorylation. This provides rapidly dividing cells with the necessary precursors for membrane, protein and nucleic acid synthesis. A fundamental metabolic perturbation in cancer is the enhanced synthesis of fatty acids by channeling glucose and/or glutamine into cytosolic acetyl-CoA and upregulation of key biosynthetic genes. This lipogenic phenotype also extends to the production of complex lipids involved in membrane synthesis and lipid-based signaling. Cancer cells display sensitivity to ablation of fatty acid synthesis possibly as a result of diminished capacity to synthesize complex lipids involved in signaling or growth pathways. Evidence has accrued that phosphatidylcholine, the major phospholipid component of eukaryotic membranes, as well as choline metabolites derived from its synthesis and catabolism, contribute to both proliferative growth and programmed cell death. This review will detail our current understanding of how coordinated changes in substrate availability, gene expression and enzyme activity lead to altered phosphatidylcholine synthesis in cancer, and how these changes contribute directly or indirectly to malignant growth. Conversely, apoptosis targets key steps in phosphatidylcholine synthesis and degradation that are linked to disruption of cell cycle regulation, reinforcing the central role that phosphatidylcholine and its metabolites in determining cell fate.

PMID:
23350810
DOI:
10.3109/10409238.2012.735643
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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