Enzymes of serine metabolism in normal, developing and neoplastic rat tissues

Adv Enzyme Regul. 1984;22:325-400. doi: 10.1016/0065-2571(84)90021-9.


The cellular pattern of serine metabolism was conceptualized into four main areas of metabolic sequences: the biosynthesis of serine from intermediates of the glycolytic pathway (the so-called "phosphorylated pathway"); and alternative pathways of serine utilization initiated by serine dehydratase, serine aminotransferase and serine hydroxymethyltransferase. The known regulatory and adaptive properties of the enzymes involved in these pathways were reviewed in detail and key enzymes associated with each pathway (phosphoserine aminotransferase, serine dehydratase, serine aminotransferase, and serine hydroxymethyltransferase, respectively) were selected for further investigation. Tissue distribution studies in the rat revealed that whereas serine dehydratase and serine aminotransferase activities were largely confined to the liver, phosphoserine aminotransferase and serine hydroxymethyltransferase activities were more broadly distributed. In particular in tissues with a high rate of cell turnover, phosphoserine aminotransferase and serine hydroxymethyltransferase activities were coordinately increased. An increase in serine hydroxymethyltransferase activity coincided temporally with the incorporation of [3-14C]serine and thymidine into DNA in normal human lymphocytes during proliferation after mitogenic stimulation by phytohemagglutinin. The evidence suggested a primarily gluconeogenic role for serine dehydratase and serine aminotransferase. Serine hydroxymethyltransferase has a role in providing glycine and one-carbon folate co-factors as precursors for nucleotide biosynthesis and in some situations serves to metabolically couple the pathway of serine biosynthesis to utilization for de novo purine and pyrimidine synthesis. Multiple enzymic forms were distinguished for serine dehydratase, serine aminotransferase and serine hydroxymethyltransferase. For serine dehydratase the two cytosolic multiple forms had no apparent functional significance; the multiple forms were catalytically unmodified by conditions promoting phosphorylation-dephosphorylation in vitro. The mitochondrial form of serine aminotransferase showed adaptive responses in gluconeogenic situations, and the hypothesis was proposed that the mitochondrial isoenzyme of serine hydroxymethyltransferase is associated together with serine aminotransferase in a pathway for gluconeogenesis from protein-derived amino acids such as glycine and hydroxyproline. The adaptive behaviour of the enzymes during the neonatal development of rat liver revealed that serine aminotransferase reached a peak in the mid-suckling period at a time when gluconeogenesis is known to be increased.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carbohydrate Dehydrogenases / metabolism
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Line
  • DNA / biosynthesis
  • Female
  • Fetus / enzymology
  • Glycine Hydroxymethyltransferase / metabolism
  • Growth
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism
  • L-Serine Dehydratase / metabolism
  • Liver / enzymology
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Phosphoglycerate Dehydrogenase
  • Phosphoric Monoester Hydrolases / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Serine / metabolism*
  • Subcellular Fractions / enzymology
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Transaminases / metabolism


  • Isoenzymes
  • Serine
  • DNA
  • Carbohydrate Dehydrogenases
  • Phosphoglycerate Dehydrogenase
  • Glycine Hydroxymethyltransferase
  • Transaminases
  • serine-pyruvate aminotransferase
  • phosphoserine aminotransferase
  • Phosphoric Monoester Hydrolases
  • phosphoserine phosphatase
  • L-Serine Dehydratase