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.
Crown Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.