bims-glucam Biomed News
on Glutamine cancer metabolism
Issue of 2021‒08‒08
seventeen papers selected by
Sreeparna Banerjee
Middle East Technical University

  1. EXCLI J. 2021 ;20 1170-1183
      Thyroid cancers (TCs) are the most prevalent malignancy of the endocrine system and the seventh most common cancer in women. According to estimates from the Global Cancer Observatory (GCO) in 2020, the incidence of thyroid cancer globally was 586,000 cases. As thyroid cancer incidences have dramatically increased, identifying the most important metabolic pathways and biochemical markers involved in thyroid tumorigenesis can be critical strategies for controlling the prevalence and ultimately treatment of this disease. Cancer cells undergo cellular metabolism and energy alteration in order to promote cell proliferation and invasion. Glutamine is one of the most abundant free amino acids in the human body that contributes to cancer metabolic remodeling as a carbon and nitrogen source to sustain cell growth and proliferation. In the present review, glutamine metabolism and its regulation in cancer cells are highlighted. Thereafter, emphasis is given to the perturbation of glutamine metabolism in thyroid cancer, focusing on metabolomics studies.
    Keywords:  amino acids; glutamine; metabolism; metabolomics; thyroid cancers
  2. Theranostics. 2021 ;11(16): 7844-7868
      Radiotherapy is one of the curative treatment options for localized prostate cancer (PCa). The curative potential of radiotherapy is mediated by irradiation-induced oxidative stress and DNA damage in tumor cells. However, PCa radiocurability can be impeded by tumor resistance mechanisms and normal tissue toxicity. Metabolic reprogramming is one of the major hallmarks of tumor progression and therapy resistance. Specific metabolic features of PCa might serve as therapeutic targets for tumor radiosensitization and as biomarkers for identifying the patients most likely to respond to radiotherapy. The study aimed to characterize a potential role of glutaminase (GLS)-driven glutamine catabolism as a prognostic biomarker and a therapeutic target for PCa radiosensitization. Methods: We analyzed primary cell cultures and radioresistant (RR) derivatives of the conventional PCa cell lines by gene expression and metabolic assays to identify the molecular traits associated with radiation resistance. Relative radiosensitivity of the cell lines and primary cell cultures were analyzed by 2-D and 3-D clonogenic analyses. Targeting of glutamine (Gln) metabolism was achieved by Gln starvation, gene knockdown, and chemical inhibition. Activation of the DNA damage response (DDR) and autophagy was assessed by gene expression, western blotting, and fluorescence microscopy. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) and the ratio of reduced glutathione (GSH) to oxidized glutathione (GSSG) were analyzed by fluorescence and luminescence probes, respectively. Cancer stem cell (CSC) properties were investigated by sphere-forming assay, CSC marker analysis, and in vivo limiting dilution assays. Single circulating tumor cells (CTCs) isolated from the blood of PCa patients were analyzed by array comparative genome hybridization. Expression levels of the GLS1 and MYC gene in tumor tissues and amino acid concentrations in blood plasma were correlated to a progression-free survival in PCa patients. Results: Here, we found that radioresistant PCa cells and prostate CSCs have a high glutamine demand. GLS-driven catabolism of glutamine serves not only for energy production but also for the maintenance of the redox state. Consequently, glutamine depletion or inhibition of critical regulators of glutamine utilization, such as GLS and the transcription factor MYC results in PCa radiosensitization. On the contrary, we found that a combination of glutamine metabolism inhibitors with irradiation does not cause toxic effects on nonmalignant prostate cells. Glutamine catabolism contributes to the maintenance of CSCs through regulation of the alpha-ketoglutarate (α-KG)-dependent chromatin-modifying dioxygenase. The lack of glutamine results in the inhibition of CSCs with a high aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) activity, decreases the frequency of the CSC populations in vivo and reduces tumor formation in xenograft mouse models. Moreover, this study shows that activation of the ATG5-mediated autophagy in response to a lack of glutamine is a tumor survival strategy to withstand radiation-mediated cell damage. In combination with autophagy inhibition, the blockade of glutamine metabolism might be a promising strategy for PCa radiosensitization. High blood levels of glutamine in PCa patients significantly correlate with a shorter prostate-specific antigen (PSA) doubling time. Furthermore, high expression of critical regulators of glutamine metabolism, GLS1 and MYC, is significantly associated with a decreased progression-free survival in PCa patients treated with radiotherapy. Conclusions: Our findings demonstrate that GLS-driven glutaminolysis is a prognostic biomarker and therapeutic target for PCa radiosensitization.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Cancer stem cells; GLS1; Prostate cancer; Radioresistance
  3. Biol Chem. 2021 Jul 30.
      Hepatic encephalopathy (HE) is a well-studied, neurological syndrome caused by liver dysfunctions. Ammonia, the major toxin during HE pathogenesis, impairs many cellular processes within astrocytes. Yet, the molecular mechanisms causing HE are not fully understood. Here we will recapitulate possible underlying mechanisms with a clear focus on studies revealing a link between altered energy metabolism and HE in cellular models and in vivo. The role of the mitochondrial glutamate dehydrogenase and its role in metabolic rewiring of the TCA cycle will be discussed. We propose an updated model of ammonia-induced toxicity that may also be exploited for therapeutic strategies in the future.
    Keywords:  TCA cycle; autophagy; glutamine metabolism; hepatic encephalopathy; hyperammonemia; mitochondrial dysfunction
  4. Adv Cancer Res. 2021 ;pii: S0065-230X(21)00049-X. [Epub ahead of print]152 103-177
      Metabolism is an important part of tumorigenesis as well as progression. The various cancer metabolism pathways, such as glucose metabolism and glutamine metabolism, directly regulate the development and progression of cancer. The pathways by which the cancer cells rewire their metabolism according to their needs, surrounding environment and host tissue conditions are an important area of study. The regulation of these metabolic pathways is determined by various oncogenes, tumor suppressor genes, as well as various constituent cells of the tumor microenvironment. Expanded studies on metabolism will help identify efficient biomarkers for diagnosis and strategies for therapeutic interventions and countering ways by which cancers may acquire resistance to therapy.
    Keywords:  Cancer; Hypoxia; Metabolism; Therapy; Warburg effect
  5. Front Pharmacol. 2021 ;12 659590
      Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is the fourth leading cause of cancer related death in western countries. The successful treatment of PDAC remains limited. We investigated the effect of Fraction B, which is a fraction purified from catfish (Arius bilineatus, Val.) skin secretions containing proteins and lipids, on PDAC biology both in-vivo and in-vitro. We report here that Fraction B potently suppressed the proliferation of both human and mouse pancreatic cancer cells in vitro and significantly reduced the growth of their relevant xenograft (Panc02) and orthotopic tumors (human Panc-1 cells) (p < 0.05). The Reverse Phase Protein Array (RPPA) data obtained from the tumor tissues derived from orthotopic tumor bearing mice treated with Fraction B showed that Fraction B altered the cancer stem cells related pathways and regulated glucose and glutamine metabolism. The down-regulation of the cancer stem cell marker CD44 expression was further confirmed in Panc-1 cells. CBC and blood chemistry analyses showed no systemic toxicity in Fraction B treated Panc-1 tumor bearing mice compared to that of control group. Our data support that Fraction B is a potential candidate for PDAC treatment.
    Keywords:  Fraction B; apoptosis; cancer metabolism; cancer stemness; catfish; pancreatic cancer
  6. Biol Chem. 2021 Jul 30.
      The structural-functional organization of ammonia and glutamine metabolism in the liver acinus involves highly specialized hepatocyte subpopulations like glutamine synthetase (GS) expressing perivenous hepatocytes (scavenger cells). However, this cell population has not yet been characterized extensively regarding expression of other genes and potential subpopulations. This was investigated in the present study by proteome profiling of periportal GS-negative and perivenous GS-expressing hepatocytes from mouse and rat. Apart from established markers of GS+ hepatocytes such as glutamate/aspartate transporter II (GLT1) or ammonium transporter Rh type B (RhBG), we identified novel scavenger cell-specific proteins like basal transcription factor 3 (BTF3) and heat-shock protein 25 (HSP25). Interestingly, BTF3 and HSP25 were heterogeneously distributed among GS+ hepatocytes in mouse liver slices. Feeding experiments showed that RhBG expression was increased in livers from mice fed with high protein diet compared to standard chow. While spatial distributions of GS and carbamoylphosphate synthetase 1 (CPS1) were unaffected, periportal areas constituted by glutaminase 2 (GLS2)-positive hepatocytes were enlarged or reduced in response to high or low protein diet, respectively. The data suggest that the population of perivenous GS+ scavenger cells is heterogeneous and not uniform as previously suggested which may reflect a functional heterogeneity, possibly relevant for liver regeneration.
    Keywords:  glutaminase; glutamine synthetase; liver zonation; proteomics; scavenger cells
  7. Transl Oncol. 2021 Jul 28. pii: S1936-5233(21)00178-9. [Epub ahead of print]14(10): 101186
      TMEM180, a novel colon cancer-specific protein with a 12-transmembrane topology, is upregulated at low oxygen. Previously, we established a humanized monoclonal antibody against TMEM180 aimed at clinical trials. Prior to such trials, it is necessary to clarify the function of TMEM180 in cancer. To compare SW480 human colon cancer cells and their TMEM180-knockdown derivatives, we analyzed proliferation and oxygen consumption, and also performed phosphorylation proteomics, metabolomics, and next-generation sequencing (NGS). The preliminary results revealed that TMEM180 appeared to promote the growth of colon cancer but had almost no effect on oxygen consumption or expression of phosphorylated proteins. By contrast, glycolysis differed dramatically between SW480 and TMEM180-knockdown cells. The NGS analysis revealed that TMEM180 promotes enzyme expression in nitric oxide (NO) synthesis system, suggesting that it promotes glucose and glutamine metabolism, thereby contributing to cancer growth. Overall, the results of this study warrant further basic studies of TMEM180 molecule.
    Keywords:  MFSD13A; Metabolomics; Nitric oxide synthase; TMEM180
  8. Cell Death Discov. 2021 Aug 05. 7(1): 204
      Adriamycin (ADR) is a chemotherapeutic drug widely utilized to treat multiple types of cancers; however, the clinical efficacy of ADR is compromised due to the development of drug resistance in patients. The combination of drugs with ADR may provide a better therapeutic regimen to overcome this obstacle. Glutaminase (GLS) has been explored as a therapeutic cancer target, and its inhibition also results in increased sensitivity of tumor cells to chemotherapeutic agents. This study aimed to investigate whether GLS inhibition could reverse ADR resistance. We treated the ADR-resistant MCF-7 (MCF-7ADR) cells with a GLS inhibitor, compound 968 or CB-839, in combination with ADR. We found that compound 968, rather than CB-839, together with ADR synergistically inhibited the cell viability. These results indicated that compound 968 reversed ADR resistance in MCF-7ADR cells independently of GLS. Moreover, we modified the structure of compound 968 and finally obtained a compound 968 derivative, SY-1320, which was more potent than compound 968 in eliminating the drug resistance in MCF-7ADR cells. Furthermore, using drug affinity responsive target stability and streptavidin-biotin immunoprecipitation assays, we demonstrated that SY-1320 could specifically target P-glycoprotein (P-gp) and increase ADR accumulation through inhibition of P-gp, thereby resulting in cell death in MCF-7ADR cells. Together, our findings indicate that compound 968 or SY-1320 might be a promising drug for new combination chemotherapy in breast cancer to overcome the drug resistance.
  9. Am J Nephrol. 2021 Jul 19. 52(6): 467-478
      BACKGROUND: The remarkable ability of the body to adapt to long-term starvation has been critical for survival of primitive man. An appreciation of these processes can provide the clinician better insight into many clinical conditions characterized by ketoacidosis.SUMMARY: The body adapts to long-term fasting by conserving nitrogen, as the brain increasingly utilizes keto acids, sparing the need for glucose. This shift in fuel utilization decreases the need for mobilization of amino acids from the muscle for purposes of gluconeogenesis. Loss of urinary nitrogen is initially in the form of urea when hepatic gluconeogenesis is dominant and later as ammonia reflecting increased glutamine uptake by the kidney. The carbon skeleton of glutamine is utilized for glucose production and regeneration of consumed HCO3-. The replacement of urea with NH4+ provides the osmoles needed for urine flow and waste product excretion. Over time, the urinary loss of nitrogen is minimized as kidney uptake of filtered ketone bodies becomes more complete. Adjustments in urine Na+ serve to minimize kidney K+ wasting and, along with changes in urine pH, minimize the likelihood of uric acid precipitation. There is a sexual dimorphism in response to starvation. Key Message: Ketoacidosis is a major feature of common clinical conditions to include diabetic ketoacidosis, alcoholic ketoacidosis, salicylate intoxication, SGLT2 inhibitor therapy, and calorie sufficient but carbohydrate-restricted diets. Familiarity with the pathophysiology and metabolic consequences of ketogenesis is critical, given the potential for the clinician to encounter one of these conditions.
    Keywords:  Euglycemic ketoacidosis; Gluconeogenesis; Ketoacidosis; Ketone bodies; Starvation
  10. Cells. 2021 Jul 13. pii: 1772. [Epub ahead of print]10(7):
      Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are heterogeneous cells with stem cell-like properties that are responsible for therapeutic resistance, recurrence, and metastasis, and are the major cause for cancer treatment failure. Since CSCs have distinct metabolic characteristics that plays an important role in cancer development and progression, targeting metabolic pathways of CSCs appears to be a promising therapeutic approach for cancer treatment. Here we classify and discuss the unique metabolisms that CSCs rely on for energy production and survival, including mitochondrial respiration, glycolysis, glutaminolysis, and fatty acid metabolism. Because of metabolic plasticity, CSCs can switch between these metabolisms to acquire energy for tumor progression in different microenvironments compare to the rest of tumor bulk. Thus, we highlight the specific conditions and factors that promote or suppress CSCs properties to portray distinct metabolic phenotypes that attribute to CSCs in common cancers. Identification and characterization of the features in these metabolisms can offer new anticancer opportunities and improve the prognosis of cancer. However, the therapeutic window of metabolic inhibitors used alone or in combination may be rather narrow due to cytotoxicity to normal cells. In this review, we present current findings of potential targets in these four metabolic pathways for the development of more effective and alternative strategies to eradicate CSCs and treat cancer more effectively in the future.
    Keywords:  cancer stem cell; fatty acid metabolism; glutamninolysis; glycolysis; metabolic pathway; metabolic plasticity; mitochondrial respiration
  11. Khirurgiia (Mosk). 2021 ; 98-106
      Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the human body that is involved in various metabolic processes. The development of hypermetabolic and hypercatabolic syndrome that accompanies critical conditions of ICU patients is associated with a decrease in the concentration of glutamine, especially in the blood plasma and muscles. This process may last for quite a long time and lead to a number of complications up to a fatal outcome. This review was aimed to analyze clinical studies conducted over the past 20 years that demonstrate the effect of intravenous infusion of glutamine dipeptide as part of balanced parenteral nutrition on the perioperative period: the severity of inflammatory response; the state of the intestinal mucosa; the incidence and severity of complications; mortality; the duration of stay in the ICU and hospital in general, etc. The analysis was performed using systematic reviews and meta-analyses based on randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled trials in different countries selected in the main databases (PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science, The Cochrane Library, etc.). Most of the reports state that the inclusion of glutamine dipeptide in nutritional and metabolic therapy (NMT) in surgical patients reduces the frequency and severity of infectious complications and mortality, reduces the length of stay in ICU and in hospital in general, improves the biochemical parameters that reflect the condition of patients, and reduces the treatment costs. Thus, the conducted systematic reviews and meta-analyses confirm that the use of the parenteral form of glutamine dipeptide (Dipeptiven 20%) as part of balanced standard parenteral nutrition (PN) is a clinically and pharmacoeconomically justified strategy of NMT in surgical ICU patients.
    Keywords:  glutamine; hypermetabolic and hypercatabolic syndrome; parenteral nutrition; surgical ICU patients
  12. Oncogene. 2021 Aug 04.
      Although the role of isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) mutation in promoting cancer development has been well-characterized, the impact of wild-type IDH on cancer cells remains unclear. Here we show that the wild-type isocitrate dehydrogenase 2 (IDH2) is highly expressed in colorectal cancer (CRC) cells, and plays an unexpected role in protecting the cancer cells from oxidative damage. Genetic abrogation of IDH2 in CRC cells leads to reactive oxygen species (ROS)-mediated DNA damage and an accumulation of 8-oxoguanine with DNA strand breaks, which activates DNA damage response (DDR) with elevated γH2AX and phosphorylation of ataxia telangiectasia-mutated (ATM) protein, leading to a partial cell cycle arrest and eventually cell senescence. Mechanistically, the suppression of IDH2 results in a reduction of the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle activity due to a decrease in the conversion of isocitrate to α-ketoglutarate (α-KG) with a concurrent decrease in NADPH production, leading to ROS accumulation and oxidative DNA damage. Importantly, abrogation of IDH2 inhibits CRC cell growth in vitro and in vivo, and renders CRC cells more vulnerable to DNA-damaging drugs. Screening of an FDA-approved drug library has identified oxaliplatin as a compound highly effective against CRC cells when IDH2 was suppressed. Our study has uncovered an important role of the wild-type IDH2 in protecting DNA from oxidative damage, and provides a novel biochemical basis for developing metabolic intervention strategy for cancer treatment.
  13. Sci Rep. 2021 Aug 02. 11(1): 15608
      The aim of the study was to investigate differences in metabolic profiles between patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) with full remission (FR) and healthy controls (HCs). A total of 119 age-matched MDD patients with FR (n = 47) and HCs (n = 72) were enrolled and randomly split into training and testing sets. A 1H-nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy-based metabolomics approach was used to identify differences in expressions of plasma metabolite biomarkers. Eight metabolites, including histidine, succinic acid, proline, acetic acid, creatine, glutamine, glycine, and pyruvic acid, were significantly differentially-expressed in the MDD patients with FR in comparison with the HCs. Metabolic pathway analysis revealed that pyruvate metabolism via the tricarboxylic acid cycle linked to amino acid metabolism was significantly associated with the MDD patients with FR. An algorithm based on these metabolites employing a linear support vector machine differentiated the MDD patients with FR from the HCs with a predictive accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity of nearly 0.85. A metabolomics-based approach could effectively differentiate MDD patients with FR from HCs. Metabolomic signatures might exist long-term in MDD patients, with metabolic impacts on physical health even in patients with FR.
  14. Cancer Res. 2021 Aug 04. pii: canres.0753.2021. [Epub ahead of print]
      Hypoxia is known to be commonly present in breast tumor microenvironments. Stem-like cells that repopulate breast tumors, termed tumor-repopulating cells (TRC), thrive under hypoxic conditions, but the underlying mechanism remains unclear. Here we show that hypoxia promotes the growth of breast TRCs through metabolic reprogramming. Hypoxia mobilized transcription factors HIF-1α and FoxO1 and induced epigenetic reprogramming to upregulate cytosolic phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PCK1), a key enzyme that initiates gluconeogenesis. PCK1 subsequently triggered retrograde carbon flow from gluconeogenesis to glycogenesis, glycogenolysis, and the pentose phosphate pathway. The resultant NADPH facilitated reduced glutathione production, leading to a moderate increase of reactive oxygen species that stimulated hypoxic breast TRC growth. Notably, this metabolic mechanism was absent in differentiated breast tumor cells. Targeting PCK1 synergized with paclitaxel to reduce the growth of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). These findings uncover an altered glycogen metabolic program in breast cancer, providing potential metabolic strategies to target hypoxic breast TRCs and TNBC.
  15. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Jul 31. pii: 3874. [Epub ahead of print]13(15):
      Like other cancers, melanomas are associated with the hyperactivation of two major cell signaling cascades, the MAPK and PI3K/AKT pathways. Both pathways are activated by numerous genes implicated in the development and progression of melanomas such as mutated BRAF, RAS, and NF1. Our lab was the first to identify yet another driver of melanoma, Metabotropic Glutamate Receptor 1 (protein: mGluR1, mouse gene: Grm1, human gene: GRM1), upstream of the MAPK and PI3K/AKT pathways. Binding of glutamate, the natural ligand of mGluR1, activates MAPK and PI3K/AKT pathways and sets in motion the deregulated cellular responses in cell growth, cell survival, and cell metastasis. In this review, we will assess the proposed modes of action that mediate the oncogenic properties of mGluR1 in melanoma and possible application of anti-glutamatergic signaling modulator(s) as therapeutic strategy for the treatment of melanomas.
    Keywords:  MAPK; Metabotropic Glutamate Receptor; PI3K/AKT; anti-glutamatergic signaling inhibitor; cancer mouse models; glutamate; glutamatergic signaling; melanoma; therapeutic targeting
  16. Adv Cancer Res. 2021 ;pii: S0065-230X(21)00033-6. [Epub ahead of print]152 383-413
      Reductive stress is defined as a condition characterized by excess accumulation of reducing equivalents (e.g., NADH, NADPH, GSH), surpassing the activity of endogenous oxidoreductases. Excessive reducing equivalents can perturb cell signaling pathways, change the formation of disulfide bonding in proteins, disturb mitochondrial homeostasis or decrease metabolism. Reductive stress is influenced by cellular antioxidant load, its flux and a subverted homeostasis that paradoxically can result in excess ROS induction. Balanced reducing equivalents and antioxidant enzymes that contribute to reductive stress can be regulated by Nrf2, typically considered as an oxidative stress induced transcription factor. Cancer cells may coordinate distinct pools of redox couples under reductive stress and these may link to biological consequences from both molecular and translational standpoints. In cancer, there is recent interest in understanding how selective induction of reductive stress may influence therapeutic management and disease progression.
    Keywords:  Cellular homeostasis; GSH; NADH; NADPH; Oxidative stress; ROS; Reducing equivalents; Reductive stress
  17. EMBO Rep. 2021 Aug 06. e52247
      Our knowledge of the coordination of fuel usage in skeletal muscle is incomplete. Whether and how microRNAs are involved in the substrate selection for oxidation is largely unknown. Here we show that mice lacking miR-183 and miR-96 have enhanced muscle oxidative phenotype and altered glucose/lipid homeostasis. Moreover, loss of miR-183 and miR-96 results in a shift in substrate utilization toward fat relative to carbohydrates in mice. Mechanistically, loss of miR-183 and miR-96 suppresses glucose utilization in skeletal muscle by increasing PDHA1 phosphorylation via targeting FoxO1 and PDK4. On the other hand, loss of miR-183 and miR-96 promotes fat usage in skeletal muscle by enhancing intramuscular lipolysis via targeting FoxO1 and ATGL. Thus, our study establishes miR-183 and miR-96 as master coordinators of fuel selection and metabolic homeostasis owing to their capability of modulating both glucose utilization and fat catabolism. Lastly, we show that loss of miR-183 and miR-96 can alleviate obesity and improve glucose metabolism in high-fat diet-induced mice, suggesting that miR-183 and miR-96 may serve as therapeutic targets for metabolic diseases.
    Keywords:  fuel metabolism; lipolysis; metabolic flexibility; miR-183/96; skeletal muscle