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Cell Prolif 1994 Jul;27(7):395-406

The effect of folic acid and/or methionine deficiency on deoxyribonucleotide pools and cell cycle distribution in mitogen-stimulated rat lymphocytes

James SJ, Miller BJ, McGarrity LJ, Morris SM


Folate deficiency will induce abnormal deoxynucleoside triphosphate (dNTP) metabolism because folate-derived one-carbon groups are essential for de novo synthesis of purines and the pyrimidine, thymidylate. Under conditions of methionine deprivation, a functional folate deficiency for deoxynucleoside triphosphate synthesis is induced as a result of the irreversible diversion of available folates toward endogenous methionine resynthesis from homocysteine. The purpose of the present study was to examine the effect of nutritional folate and/or methionine deprivation in vitro on intracellular dNTP pools as related to DNA synthesis activity and cell cycle progression. Primary cultures of mitogen-stimulated rat splenic T-cells were incubated in complete RPMI 1640 medium or in custom-prepared RPMI 1640 medium lacking in folic acid and/or methionine. Parallel cultures, initiated from the same cell suspension, were analysed for deoxyribonucleotide pool levels and for cell proliferation. The distribution of cells within the cell cycle was quantified by dual parameter flow cytometric bromodeoxyuridine/propidium iodide DNA analysis which allows more accurate definition of DNA synthesizing S-phase cells than the traditional DNA-specific staining with propidium iodide alone. Relative to cells cultured in complete RPMI 1640 media, the cells cultured in media deficient in folate, methionine or in both nutrients manifested increases in the deoxythymidylate pool and an apparent depletion of the deoxyguanosine triphosphate pool. Both adenosine triphosphate and nicotinamide adenine diphosphate levels were significantly reduced with single or combined deficiencies of folate and methionine. These nucleotide pool alterations were associated with a decrease in the proportion of cells actively synthesizing DNA and an increase in cells in G2+ M phase of the cell cycle. Folate deprivation in the presence of adequate methionine produced a moderate decrease in DNA synthesizing cells over the 68 h incubation. However, methionine deprivation, in the presence or absence of folate, severely compromised DNA synthesis activity. These results are consistent with the established `methyl trap¿ diversion of available folates towards the resynthesis of methionine from homocysteine and away from nucleotide synthesis. The data confirm the metabolic interdependence of folic acid and methionine and emphasize the pivotal role of methionine on the availability of folate one-carbon groups for deoxynucleotide synthesis. The decrease in DNA synthesis activity under nutrient conditions that negatively affect nucleotide biosynthesis suggest a possible role for abnormal dNTP metabolism in the regulation of cell cycle progression and DNA synthesis.

Category: Journal Article
DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2184.1994.tb01471.x
Includes FDA Authors from Scientific Area(s): Toxicological Research
Entry Created: 2012-11-13