Dr. Sean Brosnan - February 27

Formate, the key to one-carbon metabolism in the fetus

Formic acid, the simplest carboxylic acid, was discovered as the principal constituent of ant stings. Formate is a critical component of mammalian one-carbon metabolism, being incorporated into 10-formyl-tetrahydrofolate (THF = tetrahydrofolate), which may be used for purine synthesis. It may also be reduced to methylene-THF (required for thymidylate synthesis) which may be further reduced to methyl-THF (which supplies methyl groups for transmethylation reactions). Thus, formate can support the three principal functions of one-carbon metabolism: purine synthesis, thymidylate synthesis and methylation reactions. Novel data obtained in sheep, rats and mice will be presented that show that formate is critical to the growth and development of the fetus

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