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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

5-Methylthioribose. Its effects and function in mammalian cells.

The growth responses of 5-deoxy-5-methylthioribose on a 5'-deoxy-5'-methylthioadenosine phosphorylase containing cell line (BW5147) and the methylthioadenosine phosphorylase-deficient cell line (L1210D) were examined. Methylthioribose was shown to dramatically affect these cells, increasing their growth rate, saturation density, and viability. It was also found that methylthioribose could satisfy the methylthio dependence of the enzyme-deficient cell line, L1210D. A model is proposed to explain the selective growth of methylthioadenosine phosphorylase-deficient cells in medium lacking a methylthio donor but containing fetal calf serum. It is hypothesized that cellularly exported methylthioadenosine is degraded to methylthioribose in the presence of medium containing serum of high methylthioadenosine phosphorylase activity (i.e. fetal calf serum). The resultant methylthioribose can then be used to satisfy the methylthio requirement of these cells. To test this theory, various purified preparations of bovine liver methylthioadenosine phosphorylase were used to artificially increase the specific activity of methylthioadenosine phosphorylase in horse serum. In each case, it was demonstrated that only medium containing serum of enzyme activity nearly equal to that of the glutathione-stimulated fetal calf serum activity, supported the growth of methylthio-dependent cells in the absence of methylthio compounds. The data suggest that the degradation of methylthioadenosine and subsequent formation of methylthioribose represents an essential process in the growth of mammalian cells.[1]


  1. 5-Methylthioribose. Its effects and function in mammalian cells. Riscoe, M.K., Ferro, A.J. J. Biol. Chem. (1984) [Pubmed]
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