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Glyphosate and AMPA inhibit cancer cell growth through inhibiting intracellular glycine synthesis

Authors Li Q, Lambrechts MJ, Zhang Q, Liu S, Ge D, Yin R, Xi M, You Z

Received 30 May 2013

Accepted for publication 25 June 2013

Published 24 July 2013 Volume 2013:7 Pages 635—643

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/DDDT.S49197

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3


Qingli Li,1,2 Mark J Lambrechts,1 Qiuyang Zhang,1 Sen Liu,1 Dongxia Ge,1 Rutie Yin,2 Mingrong Xi,2 Zongbing You1

1Departments of Structural and Cellular Biology and Orthopaedic Surgery, Tulane Cancer Center and Louisiana Cancer Research Consortium, Tulane Center for Stem Cell Research and Regenerative Medicine, and Tulane Center for Aging, Tulane University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, LA, USA; 2Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, West China Second University Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, People’s Republic of China

Abstract: Glycine is a nonessential amino acid that is reversibly converted from serine intracellularly by serine hydroxymethyltransferase. Glyphosate and its degradation product, aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA), are analogs to glycine, thus they may inhibit serine hydroxymethyltransferase to decrease intracellular glycine synthesis. In this study, we found that glyphosate and AMPA inhibited cell growth in eight human cancer cell lines but not in two immortalized human normal prostatic epithelial cell lines. AMPA arrested C4-2B and PC-3 cancer cells in the G1/G0 phase and inhibited entry into the S phase of the cell cycle. AMPA also promoted apoptosis in C4-2B and PC-3 cancer cell lines. AMPA upregulated p53 and p21 protein levels as well as procaspase 9 protein levels in C4-2B cells, whereas it downregulated cyclin D3 protein levels. AMPA also activated caspase 3 and induced cleavage of poly (adenosine diphosphate [ADP]-ribose) polymerase. This study provides the first evidence that glyphosate and AMPA can inhibit proliferation and promote apoptosis of cancer cells but not normal cells, suggesting that they have potentials to be developed into a new anticancer therapy.

Keywords: serine hydroxymethyltransferase, prostate cancer, apoptosis

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