bims-glucam Biomed News
on Glutamine cancer metabolism
Issue of 2022‒12‒18
fifteen papers selected by
Sreeparna Banerjee
Middle East Technical University

  1. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Nov 26. pii: 14808. [Epub ahead of print]23(23):
      Metabolic alterations that support the supply of biosynthetic molecules necessary for rapid and sustained proliferation are characteristic of cancer. Some cancer cells rely on glutamine to maintain their energy requirements for growth. Glutamine is an important metabolite in cells because it not only links to the tricarboxylic acid cycle by producing α-ketoglutarate by glutaminase and glutamate dehydrogenase but also supplies other non-essential amino acids, fatty acids, and components of nucleotide synthesis. Altered glutamine metabolism is associated with cancer cell survival, proliferation, metastasis, and aggression. Furthermore, altered glutamine metabolism is known to be involved in therapeutic resistance. In recent studies, lncRNAs were shown to act on amino acid transporters and glutamine-metabolic enzymes, resulting in the regulation of glutamine metabolism. The lncRNAs involved in the expression of the transporters include the abhydrolase domain containing 11 antisense RNA 1, LINC00857, plasmacytoma variant translocation 1, Myc-induced long non-coding RNA, and opa interacting protein 5 antisense RNA 1, all of which play oncogenic roles. When it comes to the regulation of glutamine-metabolic enzymes, several lncRNAs, including nuclear paraspeckle assembly transcript 1, XLOC_006390, urothelial cancer associated 1, and thymopoietin antisense RNA 1, show oncogenic activities, and others such as antisense lncRNA of glutaminase, lincRNA-p21, and ataxin 8 opposite strand serve as tumor suppressors. In addition, glutamine-dependent cancer cells with lncRNA dysregulation promote cell survival, proliferation, and metastasis by increasing chemo- and radio-resistance. Therefore, understanding the roles of lncRNAs in glutamine metabolism will be helpful for the establishment of therapeutic strategies for glutamine-dependent cancer patients.
    Keywords:  glutamine anaplerosis; glutamine metabolism; long non-coding RNA; therapeutic resistance
  2. Front Oncol. 2022 ;12 1018642
      Glutamine is a non-essential amino acid that can be synthesized by cells. It plays a vital role in the growth and proliferation of mammalian cells cultured in vitro. In the process of tumor cell proliferation, glutamine not only contributes to protein synthesis but also serves as the primary nitrogen donor for purine and pyrimidine synthesis. Studies have shown that glutamine-addicted tumor cells depend on glutamine for survival and reprogram glutamine utilization through the Krebs cycle. Potential therapeutic approaches for ovarian cancer including blocking the entry of glutamine into the tricarboxylic acid cycle in highly aggressive ovarian cancer cells or inhibiting glutamine synthesis in less aggressive ovarian cancer cells. Glutamine metabolism is associated with poor prognosis of ovarian cancer. Combining platinum-based chemotherapy with inhibition of glutamine metabolic pathways may be a new strategy for treating ovarian cancer, especially drug-resistant ovarian cancer. This article reviews the role of glutamine metabolism in the biological behaviors of ovarian cancer cells, such as proliferation, invasion, and drug resistance. Its potential use as a new target or biomarker for ovarian cancer diagnosis, treatment, and the prognosis is investigated.
    Keywords:  glutamine (Gln); mechanism; metabolism; ovarian cancer; resistance
  3. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Dec 04. pii: 15296. [Epub ahead of print]23(23):
      Rare subpopulations of cancer stem cells (CSCs) have the ability to self-renew and are the primary driving force behind cancer metastatic dissemination and the preeminent hurdle to cancer treatment. As opposed to differentiated, non-malignant tumor offspring, CSCs have sophisticated metabolic patterns that, depending on the kind of cancer, rely mostly on the oxidation of major fuel substrates such as glucose, glutamine, and fatty acids for survival. Glutaminolysis is a series of metabolic reactions that convert glutamine to glutamate and, eventually, α-ketoglutarate, an intermediate in the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle that provides biosynthetic building blocks. These building blocks are mostly utilized in the synthesis of macromolecules and antioxidants for redox homeostasis. A recent study revealed the cellular and molecular interconnections between glutamine and cancer stemness in the cell. Researchers have increasingly focused on glutamine catabolism in their attempt to discover an effective therapy for cancer stem cells. Targeting catalytic enzymes in glutaminolysis, such as glutaminase (GLS), is achievable with small molecule inhibitors, some of which are in early-phase clinical trials and have promising safety profiles. This review summarizes the current findings in glutaminolysis of CSCs and focuses on novel cancer therapies that target glutaminolysis in CSCs.
    Keywords:  cancer stem cells; glutaminase; glutaminolysis; metabolic compensation; therapeutic resistance
  4. Cells. 2022 Dec 04. pii: 3924. [Epub ahead of print]11(23):
      Glutamine metabolism is critical both for the proliferation of cancer cells and the activation of CD8T cells to kill cancer cells. We aim to explore the relationship between the glutamine metabolism of CD8T cells and cancer cells and tumor immunity in the tumor microenvironment. In a TCGA cohort, we found that patients with high scores of glutamine-metabolism-related genes showed poor prognoses, and that a high score of glutamine-metabolism-related genes was an independent risk factor for HCC patients. In single-cell RNA-seq data, we found that, in some patients, the glutamine metabolism gene scores of tumor cells were significantly higher than those of CD8T cells, while decreased ratios of CD8-Tef-GZMA and suppressed tumor-killing activity of CD8-Tef-APOC2 were observed. A further genetic dynamics pseudotime analysis suggested that immune remodeling of these two subpopulations was accompanied by metabolic reprogramming. CD8-Tef-APOC2 in the dominant group tended to metabolize exogenous lipids, while the metabolic program of CD8-Tef-GZMA in the nondominant group was characterized by amino acid and endogenous lipid synthesis. In addition, we found that the glutamine metabolism inhibitor JHU083 promoted the proliferation of CD8T cells and improved the efficacy of PD-1 blockers. We proposed a new tool to quantify the glutamine partitioning between tumor cells and CD8T cells, through which the unique immune microenvironment could be identified at the transcriptome level. Furthermore, the simultaneous destruction of the glutamine metabolism in tumor cells and CD8T cells facilitated the enrichment of tumor-infiltrating CD8T cells and enhanced the efficacy of immunotherapy.
    Keywords:  CD8T cell subpopulation; JHU083; glutamine metabolism; immunotherapy; primary hepatocellular carcinoma
  5. Sci Adv. 2022 Dec 16. 8(50): eabp8293
      Targeting metabolic vulnerabilities has been proposed as a therapeutic strategy in renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Here, we analyzed the metabolism of patient-derived xenografts (tumorgrafts) from diverse subtypes of RCC. Tumorgrafts from VHL-mutant clear cell RCC (ccRCC) retained metabolic features of human ccRCC and engaged in oxidative and reductive glutamine metabolism. Genetic silencing of isocitrate dehydrogenase-1 or isocitrate dehydrogenase-2 impaired reductive labeling of tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle intermediates in vivo and suppressed growth of tumors generated from tumorgraft-derived cells. Glutaminase inhibition reduced the contribution of glutamine to the TCA cycle and resulted in modest suppression of tumorgraft growth. Infusions with [amide-15N]glutamine revealed persistent amidotransferase activity during glutaminase inhibition, and blocking these activities with the amidotransferase inhibitor JHU-083 also reduced tumor growth in both immunocompromised and immunocompetent mice. We conclude that ccRCC tumorgrafts catabolize glutamine via multiple pathways, perhaps explaining why it has been challenging to achieve therapeutic responses in patients by inhibiting glutaminase.
  6. Eur J Med Chem. 2022 Dec 12. pii: S0223-5234(22)00916-3. [Epub ahead of print]246 115014
      Tumor cells often exhibit metabolic reprogramming to maintain their rapid growth and proliferation. Glutaminase 1 (GLS1) has been viewed as a promising target in the glutamine metabolism pathway for the treatment of malignant tumors. Using structure-based drug design approaches, a novel series of GLS1 allosteric inhibitors were designed and synthesized. Compound 41a (LWG-301) with an alkane chain "tail" group had potent biochemical and cellular GLS1 activity, and improved metabolic stability. LWG-301 exhibited moderate antitumor effects in HCT116 xenograft model, with TGI of 38.9% in vivo. Mechanistically, LWG-301 could significantly block glutamine metabolism, resulting in changes in the corresponding amino acid levels in cells, induce a concentration-dependent increase in intracellular ROS levels, and induce apoptosis. Taken together, this paper provides more structural references and new design strategy for the development of GLS1 allosteric inhibitors.
    Keywords:  Allosteric inhibitors; Glutaminase 1; Glutamine metabolism
  7. Mol Metab. 2022 Dec 13. pii: S2212-8778(22)00224-1. [Epub ahead of print] 101655
      BACKGROUND: Excessive extra-cellular-matrix production and uncontrolled proliferation of the fibroblasts are characteristics of many fibrotic diseases, including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). The fibroblasts have enhanced glutaminolysis with up-regulated glutaminase, GLS1, which converts glutamine to glutamate. Here, we investigated the role of glutaminolysis and glutaminolysis-derived metabolite α-ketoglutarate (α-KG) on IPF fibroblast phenotype and gene expression.METHODS: Reduced glutamine conditions were carried out either using glutamine-free culture medium or silencing the expression of GLS1 with siRNA, with or without α-KG compensation. Cell phenotype has been characterized under these different conditions, and gene expression profile was examined by RNA-Seq. Specific profibrotic genes (Col3A1 and PLK1) expression were examined by real-time PCR and western blots. The levels of repressive histone H3K27me3, which demethylase activity is affected by glutaminolysis, were examined and H3K27me3 association with promoter region of Col3A1 and PLK1 were checked by ChIP assays. Effects of reduced glutaminolysis on fibrosis markers were checked in an animal model of lung fibrosis.
    RESULTS: The lack of glutamine in the culture medium alters the profibrotic phenotype of activated fibroblasts. The addition of exogenous and glutaminolysis-derived metabolite α-KG to glutamine-free media barely restores the pro-fibrotic phenotype of activated fibroblasts. Many genes are down-regulated in glutamine-free medium, α-KG supplementation only rescues a limited number of genes. As α-KG is a cofactor for histone demethylases of H3K27me3, the reduced glutaminolysis alters H3K27me3 levels, and enriches H3K27me3 association with Col3A1 and PLK1 promoter region. Adding α-KG in glutamine-free medium depleted H3K27me3 association with Col3A1 promoter region but not that of PLK1. In a murine model of lung fibrosis, mice with reduced glutaminolysis showed markedly reduced fibrotic markers.
    CONCLUSIONS: This study indicates that glutamine is critical for supporting pro-fibrotic fibroblast phenotype in lung fibrosis, partially through α-KG-dependent and -independent mechanisms, and supports targeting fibroblast metabolism as a therapeutic method for fibrotic diseases.
    Keywords:  Col3A1; Glutamine; H3K27me3; PLK1; lung fibrosis; α-KG
  8. Cancers (Basel). 2022 Nov 24. pii: 5779. [Epub ahead of print]14(23):
      The human isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) gene encodes for the isoenzymes IDH1, 2, and 3, which catalyze the conversion of isocitrate and α-ketoglutarate (α-KG) and are required for normal mammalian metabolism. Isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 and 2 catalyze the reversible conversion of isocitrate to α-KG. Isocitrate dehydrogenase 3 is the key enzyme that mediates the production of α-KG from isocitrate in the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle. In the TCA cycle, the decarboxylation reaction catalyzed by isocitrate dehydrogenase mediates the conversion of isocitrate to α-KG accompanied by dehydrogenation, a process commonly known as oxidative decarboxylation. The formation of 6-C isocitrate from α-KG and CO2 catalyzed by IDH is termed reductive carboxylation. This IDH-mediated reversible reaction is of great importance in tumor cells. We outline the role of the various isocitrate dehydrogenase isoforms in cancer, discuss the metabolic implications of interference with IDH, summarize therapeutic interventions targeting changes in IDH expression, and highlight areas for future research.
    Keywords:  cancer metabolism; isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH); nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH); oxidative decarboxylation; reductive carboxylation; α-ketoglutarate (α-KG)
  9. Cells. 2022 Nov 30. pii: 3863. [Epub ahead of print]11(23):
      Targeting cancer metabolism has become one of the strategies for a rational anti-tumor therapy. However, cellular plasticity, driven by a major regulator of cellular growth and metabolism, mTORC1, often leads toward treatment resistance. Sestrin2, a stress-inducible protein, has been described as an mTORC1 inhibitor upon various types of stress signals. Immune assays and online measurements of cellular bioenergetics were employed to investigate the nature of Sestrin2 regulation, and finally, by silencing the SESN2 gene, to identify the role of induced Sestrin2 upon a single amino acid deprivation in cancer cells of various origins. Our data suggest that a complex interplay of either oxidative, energetic, nutritional stress, or in combination, play a role in Sestrin2 regulation upon single amino acid deprivation. Therefore, cellular metabolic background and sequential metabolic response dictate Sestrin2 expression in the absence of an amino acid. While deprivations of essential amino acids uniformly induce Sestrin2 levels, non-essential amino acids regulate Sestrin2 differently, drawing a characteristic Sestrin2 expression fingerprint, which could serve as a first indication of the underlying cellular vulnerability. Finally, we show that canonical GCN2-ATF4-mediated Sestrin2 induction leads to mTORC1 inhibition only in amino acid auxotroph cells, where the amino acid cannot be replenished by metabolic reprogramming.
    Keywords:  Sestrin2; amino acid deprivation; mTORC1; metabolic adaptation; nutritional stress
  10. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2022 ;10 1069555
      The Warburg effect is known as the hyperactive glycolysis that provides the energy needed for rapid growth and proliferation in most tumor cells even under the condition of sufficient oxygen. This metabolic pattern can lead to a large accumulation of lactic acid and intracellular acidification, which can affect the growth of tumor cells and lead to cell death. Proton-coupled monocarboxylate transporters (MCTs) belong to the SLC16A gene family, which consists of 14 members. MCT1-4 promotes the passive transport of monocarboxylate (e.g., lactate, pyruvate, and ketone bodies) and proton transport across membranes. MCT1-4-mediated lactate shuttling between glycolytic tumor cells or cancer-associated fibroblasts and oxidative tumor cells plays an important role in the metabolic reprogramming of energy, lipids, and amino acids and maintains the survival of tumor cells. In addition, MCT-mediated lactate signaling can promote tumor angiogenesis, immune suppression and multidrug resistance, migration and metastasis, and ferroptosis resistance and autophagy, which is conducive to the development of tumor cells and avoid death. Although there are certain challenges, the study of targeted drugs against these transporters shows great promise and may form new anticancer treatment options.
    Keywords:  MCT inhibitors; angiogenesis; autophagy; lactate; metastasis; monocarboxylate transporters; tumor metabolism; tumor microenvironment
  11. Cells. 2022 Nov 26. pii: 3790. [Epub ahead of print]11(23):
      Cancer stem cells (CSCs) have high tumorigenicity, high metastasis and high resistance to treatment. They are the key factors for the growth, metastasis and drug resistance of malignant tumors, and are also the important reason for the occurrence and recurrence of tumors. Metabolic reprogramming refers to the metabolic changes that occur when tumor cells provide sufficient energy and nutrients for themselves. Metabolic reprogramming plays an important role in regulating the growth and activity of cancer cells and cancer stem cells. In addition, the immune cells or stromal cells in the tumor microenvironment (TME) will change due to the metabolic reprogramming of cancer cells. Summarizing the characteristics and molecular mechanisms of metabolic reprogramming of cancer stem cells will provide new ideas for the comprehensive treatment of malignant tumors. In this review, we summarized the changes of the main metabolic pathways in cancer cells and cancer stem cells.
    Keywords:  ALDH1; cancer stem cell; ferroptosis; metabolism; tumor microenvironment
  12. Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2022 Dec 13. 15353702221134093
      Dysregulated metabolism has long been recognized as a feature of many metabolic disorders. However, recent studies demonstrating that metabolic reprogramming occurs in immune cells have led to a growing interest in the relationship between metabolic rewiring and immune-mediated disease pathogeneses. It is clear now that immune cell subsets engage in different metabolic pathways depending on their activation and/or maturation state. As a result, it may be possible to modulate metabolic reprogramming for clinical benefit. In this review, we provide an overview of immune cell metabolism with focus on endogenous drivers of metabolic reprogramming given their link to a number of immune-mediated disorders.
    Keywords:  Immunometabolism; cellular respiration; damage or disease-associated molecular patterns; metabolic reprogramming
  13. Cancers (Basel). 2022 Nov 30. pii: 5912. [Epub ahead of print]14(23):
      Cancer stem cells (CSCs), a subpopulation of tumor cells with self-renewal capacity, have been associated with tumor initiation, progression, and therapy resistance. While the bulk of tumor cells mainly use glycolysis for energy production, CSCs have gained attention for their ability to switch between glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation, depending on their energy needs and stimuli from their microenvironment. This metabolic plasticity is mediated by signaling pathways that are also implicated in the regulation of CSC properties, such as the Wnt/β-catenin, Notch, and Hippo networks. Two other stemness-associated processes, autophagy and hypoxia, seem to play a role in the metabolic switching of CSCs as well. Importantly, accumulating evidence has linked the metabolic plasticity of CSCs to their increased resistance to treatment. In this review, we summarize the metabolic signatures of CSCs and the pathways that regulate them; we especially highlight research data that demonstrate the metabolic adaptability of these cells and their role in stemness and therapy resistance. As the development of drug resistance is a major challenge for successful cancer treatment, the potential of specific elimination of CSCs through targeting their metabolism is of great interest and it is particularly examined.
    Keywords:  aerobic glycolysis; autophagy; cancer stem cells; drug resistance; glycolysis; hypoxia; metabolic plasticity; metabolic reprogramming; metabolism; oxidative phosphorylation
  14. Mol Biol Rep. 2022 Dec 13.
      BACKGROUND: Nrf2 regulates oxidative stress, which is essential for cellular function. Fundamental initiation of Nrf2 in many malignancies increases prosurvival genes & endorses tumour cell propagation via metabolic reprogramming, suppression of tumour programmed cell death, & increased cancer stem cell self-renewal potential. More specifically, Nrf2 has been associated with cancer cell chemoresistance, radioresistance & inflammation-induced carcinogenesis.  METHODS AND RESULTS: Many Nrf2 inhibitors have been revealed for tumour treatment and targeting Nrf2 could be an effective cancer therapeutic method. Before spreading, cancer cells adapt to their surroundings. Cancer cells usually have mutations in tumor suppressor genes. In a variety of malignancies, somatic mutations & other anomalies in the Nrf2 genes, as well as renowned cancer suppressor genes including TP53, CDKN2A, PTEN & PIK3CA, have been found. In tumour cells, somatic mutations in the Nrf2 genes, as well as additional mechanisms that affect Nrf2 binding, and produce aberrant Nrf2 activation. Uncontrolled Nrf2 causes tumour cells to become resistant to antineoplastic drugs & reactive oxygen species (ROS), as well as guiding them toward metabolic reprogramming.  CONCLUSIONS: As a result, Nrf2 has been studied as potential malignancy treatment target. We covered the pathways, mechanisms, and dual characteristics of Nrf2 in malignancy in this article. We also discussed how Nrf2 inhibitors are targeted against cancer in this review.
    Keywords:  Anti-oncogenic; Anti-oxidation; Dual role; Nrf2; Pro-oncogenic; Therapeutics
  15. FEBS J. 2022 Dec 14.
      Advances in cancer biology over the past decades have revealed that metabolic adaptation of cancer cells is an essential aspect of tumorigenesis. However, recent insights into tumor metabolism in vivo have revealed dissimilarities with results obtained in vitro. This is partly due to the reductionism of in vitro cancer models that struggle to reproduce the complexity of tumor tissues. This review describes some of the discrepancies in cancer cell metabolism between in vitro and in vivo conditions, and presents current methodological approaches and tools used to bridge the gap with the clinically relevant microenvironment. As such, these approaches should generate new knowledge that could be more effectively translated into therapeutic opportunities.
    Keywords:  3D models; metabolic heterogeneity; metabolic sensors; tissue culture media; tumor cell metabolism