Targeting nucleotide metabolism as the nexus of viral infections, cancer, and the immune response

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Science Advances  19 May 2021:
Vol. 7, no. 21, eabg6165
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abg6165


Virus-infected cells and cancers share metabolic commonalities that stem from their insatiable need to replicate while evading the host immune system. These similarities include hijacking signaling mechanisms that induce metabolic rewiring in the host to up-regulate nucleotide metabolism and, in parallel, suppress the immune response. In both cancer and viral infections, the host immune cells and, specifically, lymphocytes augment nucleotide synthesis to support their own proliferation and effector functions. Consequently, established treatment modalities targeting nucleotide metabolism against cancers and virally infected cells may result in restricted immune response. Encouragingly, following the introduction of immunotherapy against cancers, multiple studies improved our understanding for improving antigen presentation to the immune system. We propose here that understanding the immune consequences of targeting nucleotide metabolism against cancers may be harnessed to optimize therapy against viral infections.

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