bims-glucam Biomed News
on Glutamine cancer metabolism
Issue of 2021‒05‒30
thirteen papers selected by
Sreeparna Banerjee
Middle East Technical University

  1. Clin Transl Oncol. 2021 May 23.
      Glutamine metabolism is one of the hallmarks of cancers which is described as an essential role in serving as a major energy and building blocks supply to cell proliferation in cancer cells. Many malignant tumor cells always display glutamine addiction. The "kidney-type" glutaminase (GLS1) is a metabolism enzyme which plays a significant part in glutaminolysis. Interestingly, GLS1 is often overexpressed in highly proliferative cancer cells to fulfill enhanced glutamine demand. So far, GLS1 has been proved to be a significant target during the carcinogenesis process, and emerging evidence reveals that its inhibitors could provide a benefit strategy for cancer therapy. Herein, we summarize the prognostic value of GLS1 in multiple cancer type and its related regulatory factors which are associated with antitumor activity. Moreover, this review article highlights the remarkable reform of discovery and development for GLS1 inhibitors. On the basis of case studies, our perspectives for targeting GLS1 and development of GLS1 antagonist are discussed in the final part.
    Keywords:  Cancer research; GLS1; GLS1 inhibitors; Glutamine metabolism; Metabolic reprogramming
  2. Nucleic Acids Res. 2021 May 22. pii: gkab362. [Epub ahead of print]
      Appropriate regulation of the Integrated stress response (ISR) and mTORC1 signaling are central for cell adaptation to starvation for amino acids. Halofuginone (HF) is a potent inhibitor of aminoacylation of tRNAPro with broad biomedical applications. Here, we show that in addition to translational control directed by activation of the ISR by general control nonderepressible 2 (GCN2), HF increased free amino acids and directed translation of genes involved in protein biogenesis via sustained mTORC1 signaling. Deletion of GCN2 reduced cell survival to HF whereas pharmacological inhibition of mTORC1 afforded protection. HF treatment of mice synchronously activated the GCN2-mediated ISR and mTORC1 in liver whereas Gcn2-null mice allowed greater mTORC1 activation to HF, resulting in liver steatosis and cell death. We conclude that HF causes an amino acid imbalance that uniquely activates both GCN2 and mTORC1. Loss of GCN2 during HF creates a disconnect between metabolic state and need, triggering proteostasis collapse.
  3. Front Oncol. 2021 ;11 653621
      To meet the anabolic demands of the proliferative potential of tumor cells, malignant cells tend to rewire their metabolic pathways. Although different types of malignant cells share this phenomenon, there is a large intracellular variability how these metabolic patterns are altered. Fortunately, differences in metabolic patterns between normal tissue and malignant cells can be exploited to increase the therapeutic ratio. Modulation of cellular metabolism to improve treatment outcome is an emerging field proposing a variety of promising strategies in primary tumor and metastatic lesion treatment. These strategies, capable of either sensitizing or protecting tissues, target either tumor or normal tissue and are often focused on modulating of tissue oxygenation, hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) stabilization, glucose metabolism, mitochondrial function and the redox balance. Several compounds or therapies are still in under (pre-)clinical development, while others are already used in clinical practice. Here, we describe different strategies from bench to bedside to optimize the therapeutic ratio through modulation of the cellular metabolism. This review gives an overview of the current state on development and the mechanism of action of modulators affecting cellular metabolism with the aim to improve the radiotherapy response on tumors or to protect the normal tissue and therefore contribute to an improved therapeutic ratio.
    Keywords:  cancer; drug repurposing; metabolism; oncology; radiation; radiotherapy
  4. J Transl Med. 2021 May 24. 19(1): 219
      BACKGROUND: Generally, cancer cells undergo metabolic reprogramming to adapt to energetic and biosynthetic requirements that support their uncontrolled proliferation. However, the mutual relationship between two critical metabolic pathways, glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS), remains poorly defined.METHODS: We developed a "double-score" system to quantify glycolysis and OXPHOS in 9668 patients across 33 tumor types from The Cancer Genome Atlas and classified them into four metabolic subtypes. Multi-omics bioinformatical analyses was conducted to detect metabolism-related molecular features.
    RESULTS: Compared with patients with low glycolysis and high OXPHOS (LGHO), those with high glycolysis and low OXPHOS (HGLO) were consistently associated with worse prognosis. We identified common dysregulated molecular features between different metabolic subgroups across multiple cancers, including gene, miRNA, transcription factor, methylation, and somatic alteration, as well as investigated their mutual interfering relationships.
    CONCLUSION: Overall, this work provides a comprehensive atlas of metabolic heterogeneity on a pan-cancer scale and identified several potential drivers of metabolic rewiring, suggesting corresponding prognostic and therapeutic utility.
    Keywords:  Glycolysis; Metabolism; Oxidative phosphorylation; Pan-cancer; Warburg effect
  5. FEBS J. 2021 May 25.
      Adaptation of cellular function with the nutrient environment is essential for survival. Failure to adapt can lead to cell death and/or disease. Indeed, energy metabolism alterations are a major contributing factor for many pathologies, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. In particular, a primary characteristic of cancer cells is altered metabolism that promotes survival and proliferation even in the presence of limited nutrients. Interestingly, recent studies demonstrate that metabolic pathways produce intermediary metabolites that directly influence epigenetic modifications in the genome. Emerging evidence demonstrates that metabolic processes in cancer cells fuel malignant growth, in part, through epigenetic regulation of gene expression programs important for proliferation and adaptive survival. In this review, recent progress towards understanding the relationship of cancer cell metabolism, epigenetic modification, and transcriptional regulation will be discussed. Specifically, the need for adaptive cell metabolism and its modulation in cancer cells will be introduced. Current knowledge on the emerging field of metabolite production and epigenetic modification will also be reviewed. Alterations of DNA (de)methylation, histone modifications, such as (de)methylation and (de)acylation, as well as chromatin remodeling, will be discussed in the context of cancer cell metabolism. Finally, how these epigenetic alterations contribute to cancer cell phenotypes will summarized. Collectively, these studies reveal that both metabolic and epigenetic pathways in cancer cells are closely linked, representing multiple opportunities to therapeutically target the unique features of malignant growth.
    Keywords:  DNA methylation; acetylation; acylation; cancer; glycolysis; histone; metabolism; methylation; oxidative phosphorylation
  6. Sci Rep. 2021 May 27. 11(1): 11137
      A growing body of evidence indicates that cellular metabolism is involved in immune cell functions, including cytokine production. Serine is a nutritionally non-essential amino acid that can be generated by de novo synthesis and conversion from glycine. Serine contributes to various cellular responses, but the role in inflammatory responses remains poorly understood. Here, we show that macrophages rely on extracellular serine to suppress aberrant cytokine production. Depleting serine from the culture media reduced the cellular serine content in macrophages markedly, suggesting that macrophages depend largely on extracellular serine rather than cellular synthesis. Under serine deprivation, macrophages stimulated with lipopolysaccharide showed aberrant cytokine expression patterns, including a marked reduction of anti-inflammatory interleukin-10 expression and sustained expression of interleukine-6. Transcriptomic and metabolomics analyses revealed that serine deprivation causes mitochondrial dysfunction: reduction in the pyruvate content, the NADH/NAD+ ratio, the oxygen consumption rate, and the mitochondrial production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). We also found the role of mitochondrial ROS in appropriate cytokine production. Thus, our results indicate that cytokine production in macrophages is tightly regulated by the nutritional microenvironment.
  7. Genes Cells. 2021 May 25.
      During periods of crisis, cells must compensate to survive. To this end, cells may need to alter the subcellular localization of crucial proteins. Here, we show that during starvation, VCP, the most abundant soluble ATPase, relocalizes and forms aggregate-like structures at peri-nuclear regions in PC3 prostate cancer cells. This movement is associated with a lowered metabolic state, in which mitochondrial activity and ROS production are reduced. VCP appears to explicitly sense glutamine levels, as removal of glutamine from complete medium triggered VCP relocalization and its addition to starvation media blunted VCP relocalization. Cells cultured in Gln(+) starvation media exhibited uniformly distributed VCP in the cytoplasm (free VCP) and underwent ferroptotic cell death, which was associated with a decrease in GSH levels. Moreover, the addition of a VCP inhibitor, CB-5083, in starvation media prevented VCP relocalization and triggered ferroptotic cell death. Likewise, expression of GFP-fused VCP proteins, irrespective of ATPase activities, displayed free VCP and triggered cell death during starvation. These results indicate that free VCP is essential for the maintenance of mitochondrial function and that PC3 cells employ a strategy of VCP self-aggregation to suppress mitochondrial activity in order to escape cell death during starvation, a novel VCP-mediated survival mechanism.
  8. Nat Metab. 2021 May;3(5): 665-681
      Cancer metabolism adapts the metabolic network of its tissue of origin. However, breast cancer is not a disease of a single origin. Multiple epithelial populations serve as the culprit cell of origin for specific breast cancer subtypes, yet our knowledge of the metabolic network of normal mammary epithelial cells is limited. Using a multi-omic approach, here we identify the diverse metabolic programmes operating in normal mammary populations. The proteomes of basal, luminal progenitor and mature luminal cell populations revealed enrichment of glycolysis in basal cells and of oxidative phosphorylation in luminal progenitors. Single-cell transcriptomes corroborated lineage-specific metabolic identities and additional intra-lineage heterogeneity. Mitochondrial form and function differed across lineages, with clonogenicity correlating with mitochondrial activity. Targeting oxidative phosphorylation and glycolysis with inhibitors exposed lineage-rooted metabolic vulnerabilities of mammary progenitors. Bioinformatics indicated breast cancer subtypes retain metabolic features of their putative cell of origin. Thus, lineage-rooted metabolic identities of normal mammary cells may underlie breast cancer metabolic heterogeneity and targeting these vulnerabilities could advance breast cancer therapy.
  9. Front Mol Biosci. 2021 ;8 671865
      Solute carrier (SLC) transporters regulate amino acids, glucose, ions, and metabolites that flow across cell membranes. In the brain, SLCs are the key regulators of neurotransmission, in particular, the glutamate/GABA-glutamine (GGG) cycle. Genetic mutations in SLCs are associated with various neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases. In this study, we have investigated the role of SLC38A10 under acute oxidative and glutamate stress in mouse primary cortical cells from SLC38A10 knockout (KO) mice. The ER/golgi localized transporter, SLC38A10, transports glutamate, glutamine, and alanine in brain cells, and the aim of this study was to determine the possible effects of removal of SLC38A10 in primary cortical cells under glutamate and oxidative challenges. Primary cortical neuronal cultures of wild-type (WT) cell and SLC38A10 KO mice were subjected to different concentrations of glutamate and hydrogen peroxide. There was no morphological change observed between KO and WT cortical neurons in culture. Interestingly, KO cells showed significantly lower cell viability and higher cell death compared to WT cells under both glutamate and hydrogen peroxide exposure. Further, we evaluated the possible role of p53 in neuronal cell apoptosis in KO cells. We found decreased intracellular p53 protein levels under glutamate and hydrogen peroxide treatment in KO cortical cells. In contrast, caspase 3/7 activity remains unaltered under all conditions. These results demonstrate an indirect relationship between the expression of SLC38A10 and p53 and a role in the cell defense mechanism against neurotoxicity.
    Keywords:  SLC38 family; SLC38A10; cell survival; glutamate toxicity; oxidative stress; p53; primary cortex cells
  10. Protein Cell. 2021 May 29.
      Metabolic rewiring and epigenetic remodeling, which are closely linked and reciprocally regulate each other, are among the well-known cancer hallmarks. Recent evidence suggests that many metabolites serve as substrates or cofactors of chromatin-modifying enzymes as a consequence of the translocation or spatial regionalization of enzymes or metabolites. Various metabolic alterations and epigenetic modifications also reportedly drive immune escape or impede immunosurveillance within certain contexts, playing important roles in tumor progression. In this review, we focus on how metabolic reprogramming of tumor cells and immune cells reshapes epigenetic alterations, in particular the acetylation and methylation of histone proteins and DNA. We also discuss other eminent metabolic modifications such as, succinylation, hydroxybutyrylation, and lactylation, and update the current advances in metabolism- and epigenetic modification-based therapeutic prospects in cancer.
    Keywords:  cancer therapy; epigenetics; metabolic reprogramming; tumor immunity; tumorigenesis
  11. Mol Cell Oncol. 2021 ;8(3): 1901558
      The metabolic checkpoint of ferroptosis remains obscure. We find that glucose favors system xc- inhibitor-induced ferroptosis by activating pyruvate oxidation, thereby promoting fatty acid synthesis and subsequent lipid peroxidation. In contrast, the upregulation of pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 4 (PDK4) switches into a ferroptosis-resistant state in pancreatic cancer cells.
    Keywords:  Ferroptosis; fatty acid synthesis; metabolic basis; pancreatic cancer; pyruvate oxidation
  12. Trends Cancer. 2021 May 19. pii: S2405-8033(21)00097-2. [Epub ahead of print]
      Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) remains an aggressive malignancy with a 5-year survival rate below 10%. Its unique genetic makeup and tumor microenvironment produce a lack of response to current treatments, including chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and immunotherapy. Recent preclinical studies have revealed that ferroptosis, an iron-dependent form of nonapoptotic cell death driven by unrestricted lipid peroxidation, may be an attractive therapeutic goal in PDAC. Understanding the dual role of ferroptotic cell death in both promoting and suppressing tumor immunity, as well as its integrated regulatory mechanisms and signaling pathways, may lead to more effective treatment designs for clinical trials of PDAC and may minimize or delay the emergence of drug resistance or side effects.
    Keywords:  cell death; ferroptosis; pancreatic cancer; redox signaling; therapy resistance; tumor microenvironment
  13. iScience. 2021 May 21. 24(5): 102403
      Cancer cells acquire genotypic and phenotypic changes over the course of the disease. A minority of these changes enhance cell fitness, allowing a tumor to evolve and overcome environmental constraints and treatment. Cancer evolution is driven by diverse processes governed by different rules, such as discrete and irreversible genetic variants and continuous and reversible plastic reprogramming. In this perspective, we explore the role of cell plasticity in tumor evolution through specific examples. We discuss epigenetic and transcriptional reprogramming in "disease progression" of solid tumors, through the lens of the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, and "treatment resistance", in the context endocrine therapy in hormone-driven cancers. These examples offer a paradigm of the features and challenges of cell plastic evolution, and we investigate how recent technological advances can address these challenges. Cancer evolution is a multi-faceted process, whose understanding and harnessing will require an equally diverse prism of perspectives and approaches.
    Keywords:  Cancer; Evolutionary Biology