One-carbon metabolism is usually represented as having three canonical functions: purine synthesis, thymidylate synthesis and methylation reactions. There is however a fourth major function: the metabolism of some amino acids (serine, glycine, tryptophan and histidine), as well as choline. These substrates can provide cells with more one-carbon groups than they need for these three canonical functions. Therefore, there must be mechanisms for the disposal of these one-carbon groups (when in excess) which maintain the complement of these groups required for the canonical functions. The key enzyme for these mechanisms is 10-formyl-THF (tetrahydrofolate) dehydrogenase (both mitochondrial and cytoplasmic isoforms) which oxidizes the formyl group to CO2 with the attendant reduction of NADP+ to NADPH and release of THF. In addition to oxidizing the excess of these compounds, this process can reduce substantial quantities of NADP+ to NADPH.

You do not currently have access to this content.