Quantitative Method to Investigate the Balance between Metabolism and Proteome Biomass: Starting from Glycine

Haiwei Gu, Patrick A. Carroll, Jianhai Du, Jiangjiang Zhu, Fausto Carnevale Neto, Robert N. Eisenman, Daniel Raftery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


The balance between metabolism and biomass is very important in biological systems; however, to date there has been no quantitative method to characterize the balance. In this methodological study, we propose to use the distribution of amino acids in different domains to investigate this balance. It is well known that endogenous or exogenous amino acids in a biological system are either metabolized or incorporated into free amino acids (FAAs) or proteome amino acids (PAAs). Using glycine (Gly) as an example, we demonstrate a novel method to accurately determine the amounts of amino acids in various domains using serum, urine, and cell samples. As expected, serum and urine had very different distributions of FAA- and PAA-Gly. Using Tet21N human neuroblastoma cells, we also found that Myc(oncogene)-induced metabolic reprogramming included a higher rate of metabolizing Gly, which provides additional evidence that the metabolism of proliferating cells is adapted to facilitate producing new cells. It is therefore anticipated that our method will be very valuable for further studies of the metabolism and biomass balance that will lead to a better understanding of human cancers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15646-15650
Number of pages5
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number50
StatePublished - Dec 12 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Warburg effect
  • biomass
  • cancer
  • glycine
  • metabolism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry


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