Aerobic glycolysis: Meeting the metabolic requirements of cell proliferation

Sophia Y. Lunt, Matthew G. Vander Heiden

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

  • 649 Citations

Abstract

Warburg's observation that cancer cells exhibit a high rate of glycolysis even in the presence of oxygen (aerobic glycolysis) sparked debate over the role of glycolysis in normal and cancer cells. Although it has been established that defects in mitochondrial respiration are not the cause of cancer or aerobic glycolysis, the advantages of enhanced glycolysis in cancer remain controversial. Many cells ranging from microbes to lymphocytes use aerobic glycolysis during rapid proliferation, which suggests it may play a fundamental role in supporting cell growth. Here, we review how glycolysis contributes to the metabolic processes of dividing cells. We provide a detailed accounting of the biosynthetic requirements to construct a new cell and illustrate the importance of glycolysis in providing carbons to generate biomass. We argue that the major function of aerobic glycolysis is to maintain high levels of glycolytic intermediates to support anabolic reactions in cells, thus providing an explanation for why increased glucose metabolism is selected for in proliferating cells throughout nature.

LanguageEnglish (US)
Pages441-464
Number of pages24
JournalAnnual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology
Volume27
DOIs
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

Profile

Glycolysis
Cell Proliferation
Neoplasms
Biomass
Respiration
Carbon
Observation
Lymphocytes
Oxygen
Glucose
Growth

Keywords

  • Biosynthesis
  • Cancer metabolism
  • Cell metabolism
  • Warburg effect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology

Cite this

Aerobic glycolysis : Meeting the metabolic requirements of cell proliferation. / Lunt, Sophia Y.; Vander Heiden, Matthew G.

In: Annual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology, Vol. 27, 2011, p. 441-464.

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

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