Give it or take it: the flux of one-carbon in cancer cells

Johannes Meiser, Alexei Vazquez*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


The sequence of the human genome together with sequence similarity analyses has advanced the discovery of missing steps in the mitochondrial one-carbon metabolism pathway. That together with the revived interest in cancer metabolism has brought the research on one-carbon metabolism back under the spotlight. Here, we present a brief review of recent advances in the field of one-carbon metabolism, with a bias towards its relevance to cell growth and proliferation in human cancers. We will address the requirements of one-carbon metabolism for biosynthesis and the major sources to satisfy that demand. We will also discuss some recent discoveries indicating a role of one-carbon metabolism beyond biosynthesis. We conclude with a concise enumeration of some fundamental questions that remain unanswered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3695-3704
Number of pages10
JournalFEBS Journal
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • cancer metabolism
  • cell growth
  • folate metabolism
  • mitochondria metabolism
  • one-carbon metabolism


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