Inhibition by 6-fluoromevalonate demonstrates that mevalonate or one of the mevalonate phosphates is necessary for lymphocyte proliferation

Jennifer A. Cuthbert, Peter E. Lipsky

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48 Scopus citations


The sterol synthesis inhibitor 6-fluoromevalonate (Fmev) was used to explore the role of mevalonate products in lymphocyte proliferation. Fmev blocks the synthesis of isopentenyl pyrophosphate and all more distal products in the sterol pathway. When cells were cultured in lipoprotein-deficient medium, Fmev (200 μM) completely inhibited mitogen-stimulated human lymphocyte proliferation, quantified by measuring DNA synthesis. The addition of low density lipoprotein (LDL) restored lymphocyte responses to normal, whereas mevalonate was totally ineffective. Similar results were obtained with concentrations of Fmev up to 1 mM. These results contrast with those observed when sterol biosynthesis was blocked with lovastatin, an inhibitor or 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase. When lymphocyte proliferation was blocked with lovastatin (5 μM), either high concentrations of mevalonate or LDL together with low concentrations of mevalonate was required to restore responses. In contrast, neither LDL nor low concentrations of mevalonate when alone was able to restore lymphocyte DNA synthesis in cultures blocked with 5 μM lovastatin. The effect of Fmev on the capacity of exogenous mevalonate to restore proliferation of lovastatin-blocked lymphocytes was directly examined. Fmev had no effect on the capacity of LDL plus low concentrations of mevalonate to restore DNA synthesis to lovastatin-blocked lymphocytes, indicating that the synthesis of the necessary factor from mevalonate was unaltered by Fmev. Fmev profoundly blocked lymphocyte endogenous sterol synthesis, decreasing incorporation of radiolabeled acetate into digitonin-precipitable sterols by up to 98%. LDL did not alter the capacity of Fmev to block sterol synthesis. The possibility that Fmev allowed shunting of endogenous mevalonate into essential lipid products was assessed by examining the incorporation of radiolabeled mevalonate. Fmev (200 μM) inhibited the incorporation of mevalonate into all lipids, including ubiquinone, dolichol, and other non-sterol lipids by up to 98%, and this was not altered by LDL. Furthermore, Fmev (200 μM) suppressed the incorporation of radiolabeled mevalonate into protein by up to 97%. These data confirm that a product of mevalonate is essential for cell proliferation. However, the results indicate that the required product is directly synthesized from mevalonate or mevalonate phosphates rather than from a more distal isoprenoid metabolite.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18568-18575
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number30
StatePublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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