PHGDH (D-3-phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase)

Author: Gianpiero Pescarmona
Date: 18/07/2011



PHGDH is an enzyme that in humans is encoded by the PHGDH gene. 3-Phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase (PHGDH; EC catalyzes the transition of 3-phosphoglycerate into 3-phosphohydroxypyruvate, which is the first and rate-limiting step in the phosphorylated pathway of serine biosynthesis, using NAD+/NADH as a cofactor.

followed by the reaction

O-Phospho-L-serine + 2-Oxoglutarate <=> 3-Phosphonooxypyruvate + L-Glutamate

The overall reaction requires Glutamate and NAD+ and produces NADH and 2-Oxoglutarate.


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When relevant for the function

  • Primary structure
  • Secondary structure
  • Tertiary structure
  • Quaternary structure

Protein Aminoacids Percentage
The Protein Aminoacids Percentage gives useful information on the local environment and the metabolic status of the cell (starvation, lack of essential AA, hypoxia)

Protein Aminoacids Percentage (Width 700 px)


mRNA synthesis
protein synthesis

post-translational modifications


cellular localization,
biological function

  • Enzymes
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KEGG Pathways"URL":
Human Metabolome Database"URL":
  • Cell signaling and Ligand transport
  • Structural proteins



Papers PHGDH breast cancer

Functional genomics reveal that the serine synthesis pathway is essential in breast cancer. , 2011 Nature. 2011 Jul 14. doi: 10.1038/nature10350.

  • Cancer cells adapt their metabolic processes to drive macromolecular biosynthesis for rapid cell growth and proliferation. RNA interference (RNAi)-based loss-of-function screening has proven powerful for the identification of new and interesting cancer targets, and recent studies have used this technology in vivo to identify novel tumour suppressor genes. Here we developed a method for identifying novel cancer targets via negative-selection RNAi screening using a human breast cancer xenograft model at an orthotopic site in the mouse. Using this method, we screened a set of metabolic genes associated with aggressive breast cancer and stemness to identify those required for in vivo tumorigenesis. Among the genes identified, phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase (PHGDH) is in a genomic region of recurrent copy number gain in breast cancer and PHGDH protein levels are elevated in 70% of oestrogen receptor (ER)-negative breast cancers. PHGDH catalyses the first step in the serine biosynthesis pathway, and breast cancer cells with high PHGDH expression have increased serine synthesis flux. Suppression of PHGDH in cell lines with elevated PHGDH expression, but not in those without, causes a strong decrease in cell proliferation and a reduction in serine synthesis. We find that PHGDH suppression does not affect intracellular serine levels, but causes a drop in the levels of α-ketoglutarate, another output of the pathway and a tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle intermediate. In cells with high PHGDH expression, the serine synthesis pathway contributes approximately 50% of the total anaplerotic flux of glutamine into the TCA cycle. These results reveal that certain breast cancers are dependent upon increased serine pathway flux caused by PHGDH overexpression and demonstrate the utility of in vivo negative-selection RNAi screens for finding potential anticancer targets.

Oncogene activation induces metabolic transformation resulting in insulin-independence in human breast cancer cells. 2011

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