Glutamine reliance in cell metabolism

Hee Chan Yoo, Ya Chun Yu, Yulseung Sung, Jung Min Han

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

150 Citations (Scopus)


As knowledge of cell metabolism has advanced, glutamine has been considered an important amino acid that supplies carbon and nitrogen to fuel biosynthesis. A recent study provided a new perspective on mitochondrial glutamine metabolism, offering mechanistic insights into metabolic adaptation during tumor hypoxia, the emergence of drug resistance, and glutaminolysis-induced metabolic reprogramming and presenting metabolic strategies to target glutamine metabolism in cancer cells. In this review, we introduce the various biosynthetic and bioenergetic roles of glutamine based on the compartmentalization of glutamine metabolism to explain why cells exhibit metabolic reliance on glutamine. Additionally, we examined whether glutamine derivatives contribute to epigenetic regulation associated with tumorigenesis. In addition, in discussing glutamine transporters, we propose a metabolic target for therapeutic intervention in cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1496-1516
Number of pages21
JournalExperimental and Molecular Medicine
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Sep 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea funded by the Ministry of Education (2018R1A6A1A03023718 and 2020R1I1A1A01067423) and by the NRF grant funded by the Korean government (MSIT) (2020M3E5E2040282). H.C.Y. was supported by the Graduate School of Yonsei University Research Scholarship Grants in 2019.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, The Author(s).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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