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Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (CCLM)

Published in Association with the European Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (EFLM)

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Ed. by Gillery, Philippe / Lackner, Karl J. / Lippi, Giuseppe / Melichar, Bohuslav / Payne, Deborah A. / Schlattmann, Peter / Tate, Jillian R.

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Small ubiquitin-like modifier-1 (SUMO-1) modification of thymidylate synthase and dihydrofolate reductase

Donald D. Anderson1 / Collynn F. Woeller2 / Patrick J. Stover3

1Graduate Field of Biochemistry, Molecular and Cell Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA

2Graduate Field of Biochemistry, Molecular and Cell Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA

3Graduate Field of Biochemistry, Molecular and Cell Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA and Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA

Corresponding author: Patrick J. Stover, Professor and Director, Division of Nutritional Sciences, 315 Savage Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA Phone: +1-607-255-9751, Fax: +1-607-255-1033,

Citation Information: Clinical Chemical Laboratory Medicine. Volume 45, Issue 12, Pages 1760–1763, ISSN (Online) 14374331, ISSN (Print) 14346621, DOI: 10.1515/CCLM.2007.355, December 2007

Publication History

Published Online:


Background: Impairments in folate-mediated one-carbon metabolism are associated with pathologies and developmental anomalies, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, neurological disorders and neural tube defects. The mechanisms that detail the role of folate and one-carbon metabolism in these disorders remain to be established. Folate deficiency impairs folate-dependent thymidylate biosynthesis resulting in depleted dTTP levels, increased rates of uracil incorporation into DNA and genomic instability. Folate-dependent enzymes involved in the de novo thymidylate pathway include cytoplasmic serine hydroxymethyltransferase (cSHMT), thymidylate synthase (TS) and dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR). Previously, we demonstrated that cSHMT-derived folate activated one-carbon units are preferentially incorporated into thymidylate, and we provided evidence that this was achieved through modification with small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO) enabling SUMO-dependent nuclear localization of cSHMT during S-phase.

Methods and results: Here, we provide evidence that TS and DHFR are also substrates for UBC9-catalyzed SUMOylation in vitro by SUMO-1.

Conclusions: The SUMOylation of cSHMT, TS and DHFR provides a mechanism by which all three enzymes in the thymidylate synthesis pathway are directed and compartmentalized in the nucleus.

Clin Chem Lab Med 2007;45:1760–3.

Keywords: cytoplasmic serine hydroxymethyltransferase; dihydrofolate reductase; folate; small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO); thymidylate; thymidylate synthase

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