Crabtree effect

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Crabtree effect


The Crabtree effect describes the observation that respiration is frequently inhibited when high concentrations of glucose or fructose are added to the culture medium - a phenomenon observed in numerous cell types, particularly in proliferating cells, not only in tumor cells, in bacteria, and yeast. The Pasteur effect (suppression of glycolysis by oxygen) is the converse of the Crabtree effect (aerobic glycolysis to lactate or ethanol).

Reference: Crabtree 1929 Biochem J

MitoPedia concepts: MiP concept 

MitoPedia methods: Respirometry 

Crabtree (1929)

Introduction: 'Warburg has suggested several generalisations, showing characteristic relationships between the magnitudes of the respiration and the aerobic and anaerobic glycolysis. The constant result which emerged was the abnormally high value of the anaerobic glycolysis as compared with the respiration. Assuming that the oxygen utilised was functioning at its maximum efficiency in causing the removal or non-formation of lactic acid under aerobic conditions, the respiration was found inadequate to check the glycolysis completely, a relatively large excess fermentation remaining. ...
Summary: 'The general result of these observations is to emphasise the difficulty of including the wide variations found in the carbohydrate metabolism of tumour tissue in one generalisation. The constant factor is the possession of a high aerobic glycolysis, which, though not specific for tumour tissue, is a source of energy available for uncontrolled proliferation.'
  • Crabtree HG (1929) Observations on the carbohydrate metabolism of tumours. Biochem J 23:536–45. »Bioblast link«

Gnaiger and Kemp (1990)

'At high fructose concen­trations, respiration is inhibited while glycolytic end products accumulate, a phenomenon known as the Crabtree effect. It is commonly believed that this effect is restric­ted to microbial and tumour cells with uniquely high glycolytic capaci­ties (Sussman et al, 1980). How­ever, inhibition of respiration and increase of lactate production are observed under aerobic condi­tions in beating rat heart cell cultures (Frelin et al, 1974) and in isolated rat lung cells (Ayuso-Parrilla et al, 1978). Thus, the same general mechanisms respon­sible for the integra­tion of respiration and glycolysis in tumour cells (Sussman et al, 1980) appear to be operating to some extent in several isolated mammalian cells.'
  • Gnaiger E, Kemp RB (1990) Anaerobic metabolism in aerobic mammalian cells: information from the ratio of calorimetric heat flux and respirometric oxygen flux. Biochim Biophys Acta 1016:328-32. »Bioblast link«


Perhaps an extended definition is required compared to the Wikipedia definition of the Crabtree effect.

Further references

  • Díaz-Ruiz R, Avéret N, Araiza D, Pinson B, Uribe-Carvajal S, Devin A, Rigoulet M (2008) Mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation is regulated by fructose 1,6-bisphosphate. A possible role in Crabtree effect induction? J Biol Chem 283:26948-55. »Bioblast link«
  • Díaz-Ruiz R, Rigoulet M, Devin A (2011) The Warburg and Crabtree effects: On the origin of cancer cell energy metabolism and of yeast glucose repression. Biochim Biophys Acta 1807:568-76. - »PubMed«
  • Vadlakonda L, Dash A, Pasupuleti M, Anil Kumar K, Reddanna P (2013) Did we get Pasteur, Warburg, and Crabtree on a right note? Front Oncol 3:186. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2013.00186. - »PubMed«

SUITbrowser question: Crabtree effect

Work in progress

In protocols focused on alaysis of Crabtree effect, saccharides such as glucose are added to analyse inhibition of respiration.