bims-glucam Biomed News
on Glutamine cancer metabolism
Issue of 2021‒01‒10
seventeen papers selected by
Sreeparna Banerjee
Middle East Technical University

  1. Metabolites. 2021 Jan 02. pii: E27. [Epub ahead of print]11(1):
      There is a growing body of evidence that metabolic reprogramming contributes to the acquisition and maintenance of robustness associated with malignancy. The fine regulation of expression levels of amino acid and monocarboxylate transporters enables cancer cells to exhibit the metabolic reprogramming that is responsible for therapeutic resistance. Amino acid transporters characterized by xCT (SLC7A11), ASCT2 (SLC1A5), and LAT1 (SLC7A5) function in the uptake and export of amino acids such as cystine and glutamine, thereby regulating glutathione synthesis, autophagy, and glutaminolysis. CD44 variant, a cancer stem-like cell marker, stabilizes the xCT antiporter at the cellular membrane, and tumor cells positive for xCT and/or ASCT2 are susceptible to sulfasalazine, a system Xc(-) inhibitor. Inhibiting the interaction between LAT1 and CD98 heavy chain prevents activation of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) complex 1 by glutamine and leucine. mTOR signaling regulated by LAT1 is a sensor of dynamic alterations in the nutrient tumor microenvironment. LAT1 is overexpressed in various malignancies and positively correlated with poor clinical outcome. Metabolic reprogramming of glutamine occurs often in cancer cells and manifests as ASCT2-mediated glutamine addiction. Monocarboxylate transporters (MCTs) mediate metabolic symbiosis, by which lactate in cancer cells under hypoxia is exported through MCT4 and imported by MCT1 in less hypoxic regions, where it is used as an oxidative metabolite. Differential expression patterns of transporters cause functional intratumoral heterogeneity leading to the therapeutic resistance. Therefore, metabolic reprogramming based on these transporters may be a promising therapeutic target. This review highlights the pathological function and therapeutic targets of transporters including xCT, ASCT2, LAT1, and MCT.
    Keywords:  ASCT2 (SLC1A5); CD44 variant; LAT1 (SLC7A5); cancer stem-like cells; glutamine addiction; metabolic symbiosis; monocarboxylate transporter; redox stress; sulfasalazine; system Xc(-)
  2. J Diabetes Investig. 2021 Jan 08.
      AIMS/INTRODUCTION: Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the circulation. In this study, we investigated cell signaling in the amplification of insulin secretion by glutamine.MATERIALS AND METHODS: Clonal pancreatic β-cells MIN6-K8, wild-type B6 mouse islets, glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH) knockout clonal β-cells (Glud1KOβCL), and glutamate-oxaloacetate transaminase 1 (GOT1) knockout clonal β-cells (Got1KOβCL) were studied. Insulin secretion from these cells and islets was examined under various conditions, and intracellular glutamine metabolism was assessed by metabolic flux analysis. Intracellular Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+ ]i ) was also measured.
    RESULTS: Glutamine dose-dependently amplified insulin secretion in the presence of high glucose in both MIN6-K8 cells and Glud1KOβCL. Inhibition of glutaminases, the enzymes that convert glutamine to glutamate, dramatically reduced the glutamine-amplifying effect on insulin secretion. A substantial amount of glutamate was produced from glutamine through direct conversion by glutaminases. Glutamine also increased [Ca2+ ]i at high glucose, which was abolished by inhibition of glutaminases. Glutamic acid dimethylester (dm-Glu), a membrane permeable glutamate precursor that is converted to glutamate in cells, increased [Ca2+ ]i as well as induced insulin secretion at high glucose. These effects of glutamine and dm-Glu were dependent on calcium influx. Glutamine also induced insulin secretion in clonal β-cells MIN6-m14, which otherwise exhibit no insulin secretory response to glucose.
    CONCLUSIONS: Glutamate converted from glutamine is an essential mediator that enhances calcium signaling in the glutamine-amplifying effect on insulin secretion. Our data also suggest that glutamine exerts a permissive effect on glucose-induced insulin secretion.
    Keywords:  calcium; glutamate; glutamine; insulin secretion
  3. Nat Genet. 2021 Jan;53(1): 16-26
      Oncogenic KRAS mutations and inactivation of the APC tumor suppressor co-occur in colorectal cancer (CRC). Despite efforts to target mutant KRAS directly, most therapeutic approaches focus on downstream pathways, albeit with limited efficacy. Moreover, mutant KRAS alters the basal metabolism of cancer cells, increasing glutamine utilization to support proliferation. We show that concomitant mutation of Apc and Kras in the mouse intestinal epithelium profoundly rewires metabolism, increasing glutamine consumption. Furthermore, SLC7A5, a glutamine antiporter, is critical for colorectal tumorigenesis in models of both early- and late-stage metastatic disease. Mechanistically, SLC7A5 maintains intracellular amino acid levels following KRAS activation through transcriptional and metabolic reprogramming. This supports the increased demand for bulk protein synthesis that underpins the enhanced proliferation of KRAS-mutant cells. Moreover, targeting protein synthesis, via inhibition of the mTORC1 regulator, together with Slc7a5 deletion abrogates the growth of established Kras-mutant tumors. Together, these data suggest SLC7A5 as an attractive target for therapy-resistant KRAS-mutant CRC.
  4. Cancer Metab. 2021 Jan 07. 9(1): 1
      BACKGROUND: Mitochondrial phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK-M; PCK2) is expressed in all cancer types examined and in neuroprogenitor cells. The gene is upregulated by amino acid limitation and ER-stress in an ATF4-dependent manner, and its activity modulates the PEP/Ca2+ signaling axis, providing clear arguments for a functional relationship with metabolic adaptations for cell survival. Despite its potential relevance to cancer metabolism, the mechanisms responsible for its pro-survival activity have not been completely elucidated.METHODS: [U-13C]glutamine and [U-13C]glucose labeling of glycolytic and TCA cycle intermediates and their anabolic end-products was evaluated quantitatively using LC/MS and GC/MS in conditions of abundant glucose and glucose limitation in loss-of-function (shRNA) and gain-of-function (lentiviral constitutive overexpression) HeLa cervix carcinoma cell models. Cell viability was assessed in conjunction with various glucose concentrations and in xenografts in vivo.
    RESULTS: PEPCK-M levels linearly correlated with [U-13C]glutamine label abundance in most glycolytic and TCA cycle intermediate pools under nutritional stress. In particular, serine, glycine, and proline metabolism, and the anabolic potential of the cell, were sensitive to PEPCK-M activity. Therefore, cell viability defects could be rescued by supplementing with an excess of those amino acids. PEPCK-M silenced or inhibited cells in the presence of abundant glucose showed limited growth secondary to TCA cycle blockade and increased ROS. In limiting glucose conditions, downregulation of PKC-ζ tumor suppressor has been shown to enhance survival. Consistently, HeLa cells also sustained a survival advantage when PKC-ζ tumor suppressor was downregulated using shRNA, but this advantage was abolished in the absence of PEPCK-M, as its inhibition restores cell growth to control levels. The relationship between these two pathways is also highlighted by the anti-correlation observed between PEPCK-M and PKC-ζ protein levels in all clones tested, suggesting co-regulation in the absence of glucose. Finally, PEPCK-M loss negatively impacted on anchorage-independent colony formation and xenograft growth in vivo.
    CONCLUSIONS: All in all, our data suggest that PEPCK-M might participate in the mechanisms to regulate proteostasis in the anabolic and stalling phases of tumor growth. We provide molecular clues into the clinical relevance of PEPCK-M as a mechanism of evasion of cancer cells in conditions of nutrient stress.
    Keywords:  AAR; ATF4; Activating transcription factor 4; Amino acid deprivation; Amino acid response; Cancer metabolism; Cataplerosis; ER stress; GCN2; PCK2; PEP; PEPCK; PEPCK-M; PKC-ζ; PRODH/POX; PYCR; Phosphoenolpyruvate; Phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase; Proline metabolism; Serine/glycine metabolism; TCA cycle
  5. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Jan 03. pii: E127. [Epub ahead of print]13(1):
      The metabolism of cancer cells is generally very different from what is found in normal counterparts. However, in a tumor mass, the continuous crosstalk and competition for nutrients and oxygen among different cells lead to metabolic alterations, not only in cancer cells, but also in the different stromal and immune cells of the tumor microenvironment (TME), which are highly relevant for tumor progression. MicroRNAs (miRs) are small non-coding RNAs that silence their mRNA targets post-transcriptionally and are involved in numerous physiological cell functions as well as in the adaptation to stress situations. Importantly, miRs can also be released via extracellular vesicles (EVs) and, consequently, take part in the bidirectional communication between tumor and surrounding cells under stress conditions. Certain miRs are abundantly expressed in stromal and immune cells where they can regulate various metabolic pathways by directly suppressing enzymes or transporters as well as by controlling important regulators (such as transcription factors) of metabolic processes. In this review, we discuss how miRs can induce metabolic reprogramming in stromal (fibroblasts and adipocytes) and immune (macrophages and T cells) cells and, in turn, how the biology of the different cells present in the TME is able to change. Finally, we debate the rebound of miR-dependent metabolic alterations on tumor progression and their implications for cancer management.
    Keywords:  metabolism; miR; tumor microenvironment
  6. J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2021 Jan 05. 40(1): 6
      BACKGROUND: Gastric cancer (GC) is one of the most common malignant tumors worldwide. Currently, the overall survival rate of GC is still unsatisfactory despite progress in diagnosis and treatment. Therefore, studying the molecular mechanisms involved in GC is vital for diagnosis and treatment. CircRNAs, a type of noncoding RNA, have been proven to act as miRNA sponges that can widely regulate various cancers. By this mechanism, circRNA can regulate tumors at the genetic level by releasing miRNA from inhibiting its target genes. The WNT2/β-Catenin regulatory pathway is one of the canonical signaling pathways in tumors. It can not only promote the development of tumors but also provide energy for tumor growth through cell metabolism (such as glutamine metabolism).METHODS: Through RNA sequencing, we found that hsa_circ_0008259 (circLMO7) was highly expressed in GC tissues. After verifying the circular characteristics of circLMO7, we determined the downstream miRNA (miR-30a-3p) of circLMO7 by RNA pull-down and luciferase reporter assays. We verified the effect of circLMO7 and miR-30a-3p on GC cells through a series of functional experiments, including colony formation, 5-ethynyl-2'-deoxyuridine and Transwell assays. Through Western blot and immunofluorescence analyses, we found that WNT2 was the downstream target gene of miR-30a-3p and further confirmed that the circLMO7-miR-30a-3p-WNT2 axis could promote the development of GC. In addition, measurement of related metabolites confirmed that this axis could also provide energy for the growth of GC cells through glutamine metabolism. We found that circLMO7 could promote the growth and metastasis of GC in vivo by the establishment of nude mouse models. Finally, we also demonstrated that HNRNPL could bind to the flanking introns of the circLMO7 exons to promote circLMO7 cyclization.
    RESULTS: CircLMO7 acted as a miR-30a-3p sponge affecting the WNT2/β-Catenin pathway to promote the proliferation, migration and invasion of GC cells. Moreover, animal results also showed that circLMO7 could promote GC growth and metastasis in vivo. CircLMO7 could also affect the glutamine metabolism of GC cells through the WNT2/β-Catenin pathway to promote its malignant biological function. In addition, we proved that HNRNPL could promote the self-cyclization of circLMO7.
    CONCLUSIONS: CircLMO7 promotes the development of GC by releasing the inhibitory effect of miR-30a-3p on its target gene WNT2.
    Keywords:  Gastric cancer; Glutaminolysis; HNRNPL; WNT2; circRNA; miRNA
  7. Cancer Metab. 2021 Jan 07. 9(1): 2
      Tumor cellular metabolism exhibits distinguishing features that collectively enhance biomass synthesis while maintaining redox balance and cellular homeostasis. These attributes reflect the complex interactions between cell-intrinsic factors such as genomic-transcriptomic regulation and cell-extrinsic influences, including growth factor and nutrient availability. Alongside glucose and amino acid metabolism, fatty acid metabolism supports tumorigenesis and disease progression through a range of processes including membrane biosynthesis, energy storage and production, and generation of signaling intermediates. Here, we highlight the complexity of cellular fatty acid metabolism in cancer, the various inputs and outputs of the intracellular free fatty acid pool, and the numerous ways that these pathways influence disease behavior.
    Keywords:  Cellular membrane; De novo synthesis; Fatty acid; Lipid; Lipid droplets; Mitochondria; Oxidation; Peroxisome
  8. Cell Metab. 2021 Jan 05. pii: S1550-4131(20)30664-1. [Epub ahead of print]33(1): 9-20
      Sustained proliferative potential of cancer cells creates heightened energetic and biosynthetic demands. The resulting overt dependence of cancer cells on unperturbed nutrient supply has prompted a widespread interest in amino acid restriction strategies as potential cancer therapeutics. However, owing to rapid signaling and metabolic reprogramming in cancer cells, the prospects for success of amino acid restriction approaches remain unclear. We thus recognize that the identification of co-vulnerabilities of amino acid-restricted cancers may inform actionable targets for effective combined interventions. In this perspective, we outline the current state of key cellular mechanisms underlying adaptation to amino acid restriction and discuss the role of signal transduction pathways governing cancer cell resistance to amino acid restriction, with potential ramifications for the design of future therapeutic efforts.
    Keywords:  ATF4; MAPK; NRF2; adaptation; amino acids; c-MYC; cancer; mTORC1; metabolism; resistance
  9. Front Oncol. 2020 ;10 537930
      Most human tumors possess a high heterogeneity resulting from both clonal evolution and cell differentiation program. The process of cell differentiation is initiated from a population of cancer stem cells (CSCs), which are enriched in tumor-regenerating and tumor-propagating activities and responsible for tumor maintenance and regrowth after treatment. Intrinsic resistance to conventional therapies, as well as a high degree of phenotypic plasticity, makes CSCs hard-to-target tumor cell population. Reprogramming of CSC metabolic pathways plays an essential role in tumor progression and metastatic spread. Many of these pathways confer cell adaptation to the microenvironmental stresses, including a shortage of nutrients and anti-cancer therapies. A better understanding of CSC metabolic dependences as well as metabolic communication between CSCs and the tumor microenvironment are of utmost importance for efficient cancer treatment. In this mini-review, we discuss the general characteristics of CSC metabolism and potential metabolic targeting of CSC populations as a potent strategy to enhance the efficacy of conventional treatment approaches.
    Keywords:  OXPHOS; cancer stem cells; fatty acid metabolism; glutamine metabolism; glycolysis; metabolic targeting; therapy resistance; tumor microenvironment
  10. Amino Acids. 2021 Jan 04.
      Glioblastoma (GB) is the most common primary brain tumour in adults. The lack of molecular biomarker, non-specific symptoms and fast growth rate often result in a significant delay in diagnosis. Despite multimodal treatment, the prognosis remains poor. Here, we verified the hypothesis that amino acids (AA) regulating the critical metabolic pathways necessary for maintenance, growth, reproduction, and immunity of an organism, may constitute a favourable target in GB biomarker research. We measured the plasma amino acids levels in 18 GB patients and 15 controls and performed the quantitative and qualitative metabolomic analysis of free AA applying high-performance liquid chromatography quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (LC-QTOF-MS). We present both the raw data and the results of our statistical analysis. The majority of AA were lowered in the study group in comparison to the control group. Five of these (arginine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, and histidine) differed significantly (all p < 10-5 and AUC > 0.9). Plasma levels of leucine and phenylalanine decreased in the case of GB with lost alpha-thalassemia/mental retardation X-linked (ATRX) expression on immunohistochemistry (p = 0.003 and 0.045, respectively). We demonstrated for the first time that certain plasma-free AA levels of GB patients were significantly different from those in healthy volunteers. Target profiling of plasma-free AA, identified utilizing LC-QTOF-MS, may present prognostic value by indicating GB patients with lost ATRX expression. The on-going quest for glioma biomarkers still aims to determine the detailed metabolic profile and evaluate its impact on therapy and prognosis.
    Keywords:  Amino acid; Biomarker; Glioblastoma; Immunohistochemistry; Plasma
  11. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Jan 02. pii: E125. [Epub ahead of print]13(1):
      Tumorigenesis is driven by metabolic reprogramming. Oncogenic mutations and epigenetic alterations that cause metabolic rewiring may also upregulate the reactive oxygen species (ROS). Precise regulation of the intracellular ROS levels is critical for tumor cell growth and survival. High ROS production leads to the damage of vital macromolecules, such as DNA, proteins, and lipids, causing genomic instability and further tumor evolution. One of the hallmarks of cancer metabolism is deregulated amino acid uptake. In fast-growing tumors, amino acids are not only the source of energy and building intermediates but also critical regulators of redox homeostasis. Amino acid uptake regulates the intracellular glutathione (GSH) levels, endoplasmic reticulum stress, unfolded protein response signaling, mTOR-mediated antioxidant defense, and epigenetic adaptations of tumor cells to oxidative stress. This review summarizes the role of amino acid transporters as the defender of tumor antioxidant system and genome integrity and discusses them as promising therapeutic targets and tumor imaging tools.
    Keywords:  Enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2); SLC1A5/ASCT2; SLC7A11/xCT; SLC7A5/LAT1; amino acid transporters; epigenetic regulation; glutathione (GSH); oxidative stress; reactive oxygen species (ROS); α-ketoglutarate (αKG)
  12. Metabolites. 2021 Jan 02. pii: E28. [Epub ahead of print]11(1):
      Cancer cells face various metabolic challenges during tumor progression, including growth in the nutrient-altered and oxygen-deficient microenvironment of the primary site, intravasation into vessels where anchorage-independent growth is required, and colonization of distant organs where the environment is distinct from that of the primary site. Thus, cancer cells must reprogram their metabolic state in every step of cancer progression. Metabolic reprogramming is now recognized as a hallmark of cancer cells and supports cancer growth. Elucidating the underlying mechanisms of metabolic reprogramming in cancer cells may help identifying cancer targets and treatment strategies. This review summarizes our current understanding of metabolic reprogramming during cancer progression and metastasis, including cancer cell adaptation to the tumor microenvironment, defense against oxidative stress during anchorage-independent growth in vessels, and metabolic reprogramming during metastasis.
    Keywords:  anchorage-independent growth; cancer metabolism; cancer metastasis; metabolic reprograming; therapeutic strategy; tumor microenvironments
  13. Cell Metab. 2021 Jan 05. pii: S1550-4131(20)30670-7. [Epub ahead of print]33(1): 33-50
      Key pathological, including oncogenic, signaling pathways regulate the canonical functions of metabolic enzymes that serve the cellular metabolic needs. Importantly, these signaling pathways also confer a large number of metabolic enzymes to have noncanonical or nonmetabolic functions that are referred to as "moonlighting" functions. In this review, we highlight how aberrantly regulated metabolic enzymes with such activities play critical roles in the governing of a wide spectrum of instrumental cellular activities, including gene expression, cell-cycle progression, DNA repair, cell proliferation, survival, apoptosis, and tumor microenvironment remodeling, thereby promoting the pathologic progression of disease, including cancer.
    Keywords:  DNA repair; apoptosis; cell proliferation; cell-cycle progression; gene expression; metabolic enzyme; noncanonical function; survival; tumor microenvironment
  14. J Biol Chem. 2020 Nov 24. pii: S0021-9258(20)00035-6. [Epub ahead of print]296 100049
      Although senescent cells display various morphological changes including vacuole formation, it is still unclear how these processes are regulated. We have recently identified the gene, lymphocyte antigen 6 complex, locus D (LY6D), to be upregulated specifically in senescent cells. LY6D is a glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored cell-surface protein whose function remains unknown. Here, we analyzed the functional relationship between LY6D and the senescence processes. We found that overexpression of LY6D induced vacuole formation and knockdown of LY6D suppressed the senescence-associated vacuole formation. The LY6D-induced vacuoles were derived from macropinocytosis, a distinct form of endocytosis. Furthermore, Src family kinases and Ras were found to be recruited to membrane lipid rafts in an LY6D-dependent manner, and inhibition of their activity impaired the LY6D-induced macropinocytosis. Finally, reduction of senescent-cell survival induced by glutamine deprivation was recovered by albumin supplementation to the culture media in an LY6D-dependent manner. Because macropinocytosis acts as an amino acid supply route, these results suggest that LY6D-mediated macropinocytosis contributes to senescent-cell survival through the incorporation of extracellular nutrients.
    Keywords:  LY6D; Ras protein; cellular senescence/endocytosis; lipid raft; macropinocytosis; vacuole
  15. Redox Biol. 2020 Dec 28. pii: S2213-2317(20)31055-7. [Epub ahead of print]40 101850
      One-carbon metabolism is a central metabolic hub that provides one-carbon units for essential biosynthetic reactions and for writing epigenetics marks. The leading role in this hub is performed by the one-carbon carrier tetrahydrofolate (THF), which accepts formaldehyde usually from serine generating one-carbon THF intermediates in a set of reactions known as the folate or one-carbon cycle. THF derivatives can feed one-carbon units into purine and thymidine synthesis, and into the methionine cycle that produces the universal methyl-donor S-adenosylmethionine (AdoMet). AdoMet delivers methyl groups for epigenetic methylations and it is metabolized to homocysteine (Hcy), which can enter the transsulfuration pathway for the production of cysteine and lastly glutathione (GSH), the main cellular antioxidant. This vital role of THF comes to an expense. THF and other folate derivatives are susceptible to oxidative breakdown releasing formaldehyde, which can damage DNA -a consequence prevented by the Fanconi Anaemia DNA repair pathway. Epigenetic demethylations catalysed by lysine-specific demethylases (LSD) and Jumonji histone demethylases can also release formaldehyde, constituting a potential threat for genome integrity. In mammals, the toxicity of formaldehyde is limited by a metabolic route centred on the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase 5 (ADH5/GSNOR), which oxidizes formaldehyde conjugated to GSH, lastly generating formate. Remarkably, this formate can be a significant source of one-carbon units, thus defining a formaldehyde cycle that likely restricts the toxicity of one-carbon metabolism and epigenetic demethylations. This work describes recent advances in one-carbon metabolism and epigenetics, focusing on the steps that involve formaldehyde flux and that might lead to cytotoxicity affecting human health.
    Keywords:  ADH5; Epigenetics; Fanconi anemia; Formaldehyde; Glutathione; One-carbon metabolism
  16. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2020 ;8 613416
      Amino acids are essential for protein synthesis, epigenetic modification through the methylation of histones, and the maintenance of a controlled balance of oxidoreduction via the production of glutathione and are precursors of certain neurotransmitters. T lymphocytes are particularly sensitive to fluctuations in amino acid levels. During evolution, the production of amino-acid catabolizing enzymes by mainly antigen-presenting cells has become a physiological mechanism to control T-cell activation and polarization. The action of these enzymes interferes with TCR and co-stimulation signaling, allowing tuning of the T-cell response. These capacities can be altered in certain pathological conditions, with relevant consequences for the development of disease.
    Keywords:  TCR signaling; amino acid catabolizing enzymes; amino acid transporters; amino acids; immunoregulation
  17. Transl Oncol. 2021 Jan;pii: S1936-5233(20)30474-5. [Epub ahead of print]14(1): 100982
      PURPOSE: TP53, encoding the protein p53, is among the most frequently mutated genes in all cancers. A high frequency of 60 - 90% mutations is seen in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) patients. Certain p53 mutants show gain-of-function (GoF) oncogenic features unrelated to its wild type functions.METHODS: This study functionally characterized a panel of p53 mutants in individual ESCC cell lines and assayed for GoF oncogenic properties.
    RESULTS: The ESCC cell line with endogenous p53R248Q expression showed suppressed tumor growth in an immunocompromised mouse model and suppressed colony growth in in vitro three-dimensional culture, when depleted of the endogenous p53 protein expression. This suppression is accompanied by suppressed cell cycle progression, along with reduced integrin expression and decreased focal adhesion kinase and extracellular-regulated protein kinase signaling and can be compensated by expression of a constitutively active mitogen-activated protein. P53R248Q enhances cell proliferation upon glutamine deprivation, as compared to other non-GoF mutants.
    CONCLUSIONS: In summary, study of the functional contributions of endogenous p53 mutants identified a novel GoF mechanism through which a specific p53 mutant exerts oncogenic features and contributes to ESCC tumorigenesis.
    Keywords:  Esophageal cancer; Extracellular matrix; Signal transduction