Mitochondrial methylenetetrahydrofolate dehydrogenase (MTHFD2) overexpression is associated with tumor cell proliferation and is a novel target for drug development

Tedeschi, P.M., Vazquez, A. , Kerrigan, J.E. and Bertino, J.R. (2015) Mitochondrial methylenetetrahydrofolate dehydrogenase (MTHFD2) overexpression is associated with tumor cell proliferation and is a novel target for drug development. Molecular Cancer Research, 13(10), pp. 1361-1366. (doi:10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-15-0117) (PMID:26101208) (PMCID:PMC4618031)

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Abstract

Rapidly proliferating tumors attempt to meet the demands for nucleotide biosynthesis by upregulating folate pathways that provide the building blocks for pyrimidine and purine biosynthesis. In particular, the key role of mitochondrial folate enzymes in providing formate for de novo purine synthesis and for providing the one-carbon moiety for thymidylate synthesis has been recognized in recent studies. We have shown a significant correlation between the upregulation of the mitochondrial folate enzymes, high proliferation rates, and sensitivity to the folate antagonist methotrexate (MTX). Burkitt lymphoma and diffuse large-cell lymphoma tumor specimens have the highest levels of mitochondrial folate enzyme expression and are known to be sensitive to treatment with MTX. A key enzyme upregulated in rapidly proliferating tumors but not in normal adult cells is the mitochondrial enzyme methylenetetrahydrofolate dehydrogenase (MTHFD2). This perspective outlines the rationale for specific targeting of MTHFD2 and compares known and generated crystal structures of MTHFD2 and closely related enzymes as a molecular basis for developing therapeutic agents against MTHFD2. Importantly, the development of selective inhibitors of mitochondrial methylenetetrahydrofolate dehydrogenase is expected to have substantial activity, and this perspective supports the investigation and development of MTHFD2 inhibitors for anticancer therapy.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Vazquez, Alexei
Authors: Tedeschi, P.M., Vazquez, A., Kerrigan, J.E., and Bertino, J.R.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Cancer Sciences
Journal Name:Molecular Cancer Research
Publisher:American Association for Cancer Research
ISSN:1541-7786
ISSN (Online):1557-3125
Published Online:22 June 2015

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