Evidence for small ubiquitin-like modifier-dependent nuclear import of the thymidylate biosynthesis pathway. Academic Article uri icon


  • Perturbations in folate-mediated one-carbon metabolism increase rates of uracil misincorporation into DNA during replication, impair cellular methylation reactions, and increase risk for neural tube defects and cancer. One-carbon metabolism is compromised by folate deficiency and common genetic polymorphisms. In this study, the mechanism for the preferential partitioning of cytoplasmic serine hydroxymethyltransferase (cSHMT)-derived methylenetetrahydrofolate to de novo thymidylate biosynthesis was investigated. The cSHMT enzyme was shown to interact with UBC9 and was a substrate for UBC9-catalyzed small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO) modification in vitro. SUMOylated cSHMT was detected in extracts from S phase MCF-7 cells, and cSHMT was shown to localize to the nucleus and nuclear periphery during the S and G(2)/M phases of the cell cycle. A common single nucleotide polymorphism (L474F-cSHMT) impaired the UBC9-cSHMT interaction and inhibited cSHMT SUMOylation in vitro. The three folate-dependent enzymes that constitute the de novo thymidylate biosynthesis pathway, cSHMT, thymidylate synthase, and dihydrofolate reductase, all contain SUMO modification consensus sequences. Compartmentation of the folate-dependent de novo thymidylate biosynthesis pathway in the nucleus accounts for the preferential partitioning of cSHMT-derived folate-activated one-carbon units into thymidylate biosynthesis; the efficiency of nuclear folate metabolism is likely to be modified by the cSHMT L474F polymorphism.

published proceedings

  • J Biol Chem

altmetric score

  • 7

citation count

  • 104

complete list of authors

  • Woeller, Collynn F||Anderson, Donald D||Szebenyi, Doletha ME||Stover, Patrick J

publication date

  • April 2007