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Metabolism Out of Control

Does Dysfunctional Regulation Lead to Cancer?


Author(s)

Nora S. Green
Department of Chemistry
Randolph-Macon College
ngreen@rmc.edu

Abstract

Cancer is a complex and varied group of diseases. There are, however, several common characteristics among all cancers. For example, it has been known for a long time that glucose consumption and the rate of glycolysis is much higher in most cancer cells than normal cells (Warburg, 1956). Dysregulation of some aspects of metabolism, including glycolysis, the citric acid cycle, and oxidative phosphorylation also appears to be important in many cancers. This directed case study was presented to students in the second semester of a two-semester biochemistry course after the main topics of normal metabolism (glycolysis, gluconeogenesis, the citric acid cycle, beta-oxidation of lipids, and lipid catabolism) had been covered and before the topics of DNA replication, repairs, and transcription. In our biochemistry course, we cover these nucleic acid concepts in the context of cancer biochemistry, so this case study provides a bridge between these two main sections of the course, as well as providing an overall review of metabolic regulation.


Objectives

  • Explain the Warburg effect.
  • Predict the consequence of increased GLUT-1 expression.
  • Explain the differential reliance on glycolysis between normal and cancer cells.
  • Describe the effects of the transcription factors c-Myc and HIF-1-alpha on the major regulatory enzymes of glycolysis and the citric acid cycle.

Keywords

Glycolysis; citric acid cycle; metabolism; cancer; biochemistry; Warburg; Warburg effect; glucose transport; dysregulation; oxidative phosphorylation; GLUT-1

Topical Areas

N/A

Educational Level

Undergraduate upper division

Format

PDF

Type / Methods

Directed

Language

English

Subject Headings

Cell Biology  |   Biochemistry  |  


Date Posted

12/26/2019

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