Arrest of cell growth in the G1 phase of the cell cycle by serine deprivation

Robert W. Allen, Merwin Moskowitz

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23 Scopus citations


BHK21 cells cultured in minimal essential medium (Eagle) supplemented with 10% dialyzed fetal calf serum did not grow as they did in whole serum containing medium. Logarithmic growth was, however, initiated after a lag period, the length of which was dependent upon the cell density: medium volume ratio. The quiescent cells conditioned the medium during this lag period, and growth stimulation was apparently due to the release of serine into the medium. Cells cultured in 10% dialyzed serum plus the low molecular weight fraction of serum (serum dialysate), grew with kinetics similar to cells cultured in serum containing medium. When serum dialysate was chromatographed on Bio-gel P-2 the growth promoting activity eluted with the amino acids. Each of the non-essential amino acids was tested for its ability to stimulate the growth of cells in 10% dialyzed serum. Serine was capable of stimulating cell growth to the same extent as 10% serum dialysate and its concentration optimum was similar to its concentration in 10% serum dialysate. The remaining non-essential amino acids were either slightly stimulatory or had no effect on cell growth. Shifting a logarithmically growing population of cells to serine-free medium resulted in the accumulation of 95% of the cells in the G1 phase of the cell cycle within 24 h. Escape from the G1 block could occur if serine was added to the medium or if the cells were allowed to condition the medium. Entry of cells into S phase after the addition of 0.05 μmoles/ml of serine followed a 4-6 h lag and 80% of the cells were synthesizing DNA 12 h after shift-up.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-137
Number of pages11
JournalExperimental Cell Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Oct 1978


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