Accumulation of thymidine-derived sugars in thymidine phosphorylase overexpressing cells

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Thymidine phosphorylase (TP) is often overexpressed in cancer and potentially plays a role in the stimulation of angiogenesis. The exact mechanism of angiogenesis induction is unclear, but is postulated to be related to thymidine-derived sugars. TP catalyzes the conversion of thymidine (TdR) to thymine and deoxyribose-1-phosphate (dR-1-P), which can be converted to dR-5-P, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate (G3P) or deoxyribose (dR). However, it is unclear which sugar accumulates in this reaction. Therefore, in the TP overexpressing Colo320 TP1 and RT112/TP cells we determined by LC-MS/MS which sugars accumulated, their subcellular localization (using 3H-TdR) and whether dR was secreted from the cells. In both TP-overexpressing cell lines, dR-1-P and dR-5-P accumulated intracellularly at high levels and dR was secreted extensively by the cells. A specific inhibitor of TP completely blocked TdR conversion, and thus no sugars were formed. To examine whether these sugars may be used for the production of angiogenic factors or other products, we determined with 3H-TdR in which subcellular location these sugars accumulated. TdR-derived sugars accumulated in the cytoskeleton and to some extent in the cell membrane, while incorporation into the DNA was responsible for trapping in the nucleus. In conclusion, various metabolic routes were entered, of which the TdR-derived sugars accumulated in the cytoskeleton and membrane. Future studies should focus on which exact metabolic pathway is involved in the induction of angiogenesis.

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