Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.


Grasping for aspartate in tumour metabolism

The metabolic phenotype of tumours is shaped by a complex interplay between cancer cells and their microenvironment. Two studies now show that aspartate acquisition is a metabolic limitation encountered by certain tumours in their native in vivo environment, and that overcoming this limitation is advantageous for tumour growth.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Get just this article for as long as you need it


Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Fig. 1: Schematic summary of strategies used by Sullivan et al. and Garcia-Bermudez et al. to overcome limitations in aspartate acquisition in tumours.


  1. Lyssiotis, C. A. & Kimmelman, A. C. Trends Cell Biol. 27, 863–875 (2017).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Vander Heiden, M. G. & DeBerardinis, R. J. Cell 168, 657–669 (2017).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Garcia-Bermudez, J. et al. Nat. Cell Biol. (2018).

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  4. Sullivan, L. B. et al. Nat. Cell Biol. (2018).

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  5. Birsoy, K. et al. Cell 162, 540–551 (2015).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Sullivan, L. B. et al. Cell 162, 552–563 (2015).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Mayers, J. R. & Vander Heiden, M. G. Trends Biochem. Sci. 40, 130–140 (2015).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Krall, A. S., Xu, S., Graeber, T. G., Braas, D. & Christofk, H. R. Nat. Commun. 7, 11457 (2016).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Zhang, J. et al. Mol. Cell 56, 205–218 (2014).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Gui, D. Y. et al. Cell Metab. 24, 716–727 (2016).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Rabinovich, S. et al. Nature 527, 379–383 (2015).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. Commisso, C. et al. Nature 497, 633–637 (2013).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. Davidson, S. M. et al. Nat. Med. 23, 235–241 (2017).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. Cardaci, S. et al. Nat. Cell Biol. 17, 1317–1326 (2015).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. Sellers, K. et al. J. Clin. Invest. 125, 687–698 (2015).

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Nika N. Danial.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Fu, A., Danial, N.N. Grasping for aspartate in tumour metabolism. Nat Cell Biol 20, 738–739 (2018).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


Quick links

Nature Briefing: Cancer

Sign up for the Nature Briefing: Cancer newsletter — what matters in cancer research, free to your inbox weekly.

Get what matters in cancer research, free to your inbox weekly. Sign up for Nature Briefing: Cancer