Serine and Functional Metabolites in Cancer
Folate metabolism functions to supply one-carbon units that are vital for a range of biochemical reactions. Cancer cells can utilise serine as a major source of one-carbon units, rendering them dependent upon extracellular serine uptake or de novo serine synthesis for maximal growth and proliferation. One-carbon units are required for the production of critical cellular components, such as nucleotides, which enable cancer cells to maintain high proliferate rates. Of recent interest, one-carbon metabolism contributes to the biosynthesis and recycling of functional metabolites, such as ATP, S-adenosyl-methionine (SAM), and NAD(P)H, with important downstream consequences for cancer cell survival. In this review, we describe recent advances in our understanding of the importance of one-carbon metabolism in cancer, focussing upon the routes through which cancer cells obtain and use one-carbon units.
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