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Clinical data
ATC code
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CAS Number
PubChem CID
ECHA InfoCard 100.003.692 Edit this at Wikidata
Chemical and physical data
Formula C5H7N3O4
Molar mass 173.127 g/mol
3D model (JSmol)
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Azaserine is a naturally occurring serine derivative diazo compound with antineoplastic and antibiotic properties deriving from its action as a purinergic antagonist and structural similarity to glutamine. Azazerine acts by competitively inhibiting glutamine amidotransferase, a key enzyme responsible for glutamine metabolism.

Mechanism of Action[edit]

Azaserine inhibits the rate limiting step of the metabolic hexosamine pathway and irreversibly inhibits γ-glutamyltransferase by acting directly at the substrate-binding pocket. Independent of hexosamine pathway inhibition, azaserine has been demonstrated to protect against hyperglycemic endothelial damage by elevating serum concentrations of manganese-superoxide dismutase, directly reducing the concentration of reactive oxygen species.

Azaserine also downregulates the expression of VCAM-1 and ICAM-1 in response to TNF-α, and research indicates that it may have potential in identifying the L-leucine-favoring system transporter in human T-lymphocytes.


Azaserine has a solubility of 50 mg/mL in water, a melting point of 146-162 °C, a vapor pressure of 1.53x10−10mmHg at 25 °C, and decomposes before melting.[citation needed]


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  • Hull, R.L., et al. 2007. Am. J. Physiol., Cell Physiol. 293: C1586-C1593. PMID 17804609
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  • Rajapakse, A.G., et al. 2009. Am. J. Physiol. Heart Circ. Physiol. 296: H815-H822. PMID 19136606
  • Angana Gupta Rajapakse, Xiu-Fen Ming, João M. Carvas, and Zhihong Yang. The hexosamine biosynthesis inhibitor azaserine prevents endothelial inflammation and dysfunction under hyperglycemic condition through antioxidant effects.
  • Lebedeva ZI, Kabanova EA, Berezov TT. 1986 Mar;12(3):413-20. 6-diazo-5-oxo-L-norleucine and azaserine as affinity inhibitors of glutamin(asparagin)ase.