The activities of 3-phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase and serine hydroxymethyltransferase increased markedly during the transition of hepatoma cells from a resting non-proliferating culture into the proliferating growth phase. Activities declined as cells reached confluency and entered the plateau growth phase. This pattern was paralleled by changes in [14C]serine incorporation into nucleic acids. The experiments support the hypothesis that the biosynthesis of serine is metabolically coupled to its utilization for nucleotide precursor formation in cancer cells.

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