Metabolic reprogramming is a hallmark of transformed cells, but knowledge of the specific pathways that are altered in cancer is still limited. To identify metabolic pathways commonly altered in multiple cancers, Jain, Nilsson et al. applied consumption and release (CORE) profiling to the NCI-60 cell lines (60 primary human cancer cell lines from nine tumour types). This led to the identification of glycine – a non-essential amino acid – as a metabolite that is consumed by rapidly growing cancer cells and released by slow-growing cancer cells. Glycine is endogenously produced in both the cytosol and mitochondria; using genetic profiling, the authors determined that transformed cells have an increased reliance on either exogenous glycine or glycine produced by the mitochondrial pathway. Analysis of existing transcriptome datasets from six independent cohorts of early-stage breast cancer patients showed that increased expression of genes associated with the mitochondrial glycine biosynthesis pathway is associated with increased mortality. Thus, glycine metabolism might be a promising therapeutic target in breast and possibly other types of cancer.
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RESEARCH HIGHLIGHT| 01 July 2012
Selective requirement for glycine by cancer cells
Online Issn: 1754-8411
Print Issn: 1754-8403
Written by editorial staff. © 2012. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0), which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium provided that the original work is properly cited and all further distributions of the work or adaptation are subject to the same Creative Commons License terms
Dis Model Mech (2012) 5 (4): 415.
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Selective requirement for glycine by cancer cells. Dis Model Mech 1 July 2012; 5 (4): 415. doi:
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