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

The effect of folate analogues and vitamin B12 on provision of thymine nucleotides for DNA synthesis in megaloblastic anemia.

The role of vitamin B12 in the folate dependent biosynthesis of thymidine nucleotides is controversial. In an attempt to clarify this, three methods have been used to assess the relative efficacy of vitamin B12 (hydroxocobalamin) and various folate analogues in titrated concentrations at correcting 'de novo' thymidylate synthesis by megaloblastic human marrow cells: (1) The deoxyuridine (dU) suppression test which analyses the reduction in (3H)-thymidine labeling of DNA by unlabeled dU. Marrow cells were also labeled with (6-3H)-dU with assessment of (2) its incorporation into DNA and (3) the accumulation of (6-3H)-deoxyuridine monophosphate (3H-dUMP). The three methods gave similar results. In both, N6-formyl tetrahydrofolate (formyl-FH4) was the most effective agent at correcting thymidylate synthesis in megaloblastic anemia due to vitamin B12 or folate deficiency. Vitamin B12 corrected the lesion in vitamin B12 deficiency but not in folate deficiency. Tetrahydrofolate (FH4) and folic acid were effective in deficiency of vitamin B12 or folate, although in both deficiencies they were less effective than formyl-FH4. Methyl-FH4 was effective in folate deficiency but not in vitamin B12 deficiency. These results confirm the failure of methyl-FH4 utilisation in vitamin B12 deficiency. They suggest that if vitamin B12 is needed in the formylation of FH4, this is a minor role in provision of the correct coenzyme for thymidylate synthesis compared with its major role of provision of FH4 from methyl-FH4.[1]


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