Regulation of nucleotide metabolism in cancers and immune disorders

Trends Cell Biol. 2023 Nov;33(11):950-966. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2023.03.003. Epub 2023 Mar 24.


Nucleotides are the foundational elements of life. Proliferative cells acquire nutrients for energy production and the synthesis of macromolecules, including proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids. Nucleotides are continuously replenished through the activation of the nucleotide synthesis pathways. Despite the importance of nucleotides in cell physiology, there is still much to learn about how the purine and pyrimidine synthesis pathways are regulated in response to intracellular and exogenous signals. Over the past decade, evidence has emerged that several signaling pathways [Akt, mechanistic target of rapamycin complex I (mTORC1), RAS, TP53, and Hippo-Yes-associated protein (YAP) signaling] alter nucleotide synthesis activity and influence cell function. Here, we examine the mechanisms by which these signaling networks affect de novo nucleotide synthesis in mammalian cells. We also discuss how these molecular links can be targeted in diseases such as cancers and immune disorders.

Keywords: cancer metabolism; de novo purine and pyrimidine synthesis; immune disorders; metabolic vulnerability; nucleotide signaling; signaling pathways.

Publication types

  • Review