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Trends Biochem Sci. 2014 Apr;39(4):191-8. doi: 10.1016/j.tibs.2014.02.004. Epub 2014 Mar 20.

Serine and glycine metabolism in cancer.

Author information

1
Medical Research Council, Toxicology Unit, Hodgkin Building, Leicester University, Lancaster Road, P.O. Box 138, Leicester LE1 9HN, UK. Electronic address: ia119@le.ac.uk.
2
Department of Biochemical Sciences, University of Rome "Sapienza", 00185 Rome, Italy. Electronic address: francesca.cutruzzola@uniroma1.it.
3
Medical Research Council, Toxicology Unit, Hodgkin Building, Leicester University, Lancaster Road, P.O. Box 138, Leicester LE1 9HN, UK.
4
Medical Research Council, Toxicology Unit, Hodgkin Building, Leicester University, Lancaster Road, P.O. Box 138, Leicester LE1 9HN, UK; Biochemistry Laboratory, IDI-IRCCS, and Department of Experimental Medicine and Surgery, University of Rome "Tor Vergata", 00133 Rome, Italy. Electronic address: gm89@leicester.ac.uk.

Abstract

Serine and glycine are biosynthetically linked, and together provide the essential precursors for the synthesis of proteins, nucleic acids, and lipids that are crucial to cancer cell growth. Moreover, serine/glycine biosynthesis also affects cellular antioxidative capacity, thus supporting tumour homeostasis. A crucial contribution of serine/glycine to cellular metabolism is through the glycine cleavage system, which refuels one-carbon metabolism; a complex cyclic metabolic network based on chemical reactions of folate compounds. The importance of serine/glycine metabolism is further highlighted by genetic and functional evidence indicating that hyperactivation of the serine/glycine biosynthetic pathway drives oncogenesis. Recent developments in our understanding of these pathways provide novel translational opportunities for drug development, dietary intervention, and biomarker identification of human cancers.

KEYWORDS:

cancer metabolism; folate; glycine; one-carbon metabolism; serine

PMID:
24657017
PMCID:
PMC3989988
DOI:
10.1016/j.tibs.2014.02.004
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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