Pyruvate carboxylase is required for glutamine-independent growth of tumor cells.
ABSTRACT: Tumor cells require a constant supply of macromolecular precursors, and interrupting this supply has been proposed as a therapeutic strategy in cancer. Precursors for lipids, nucleic acids, and proteins are generated in the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle and removed from the mitochondria to participate in biosynthetic reactions. Refilling the pool of precursor molecules (anaplerosis) is therefore crucial to maintain cell growth. Many tumor cells use glutamine to feed anaplerosis. Here we studied how "glutamine-addicted" cells react to interruptions of glutamine metabolism. Silencing of glutaminase (GLS), which catalyzes the first step in glutamine-dependent anaplerosis, suppressed but did not eliminate the growth of glioblastoma cells in culture and in vivo. Profiling metabolic fluxes in GLS-suppressed cells revealed induction of a compensatory anaplerotic mechanism catalyzed by pyruvate carboxylase (PC), allowing the cells to use glucose-derived pyruvate rather than glutamine for anaplerosis. Although PC was dispensable when glutamine was available, forcing cells to adapt to low-glutamine conditions rendered them absolutely dependent on PC for growth. Furthermore, in other cell lines, measuring PC activity in nutrient-replete conditions predicted dependence on specific anaplerotic enzymes. Cells with high PC activity were resistant to GLS silencing and did not require glutamine for survival or growth, but displayed suppressed growth when PC was silenced. Thus, PC-mediated, glucose-dependent anaplerosis allows cells to achieve glutamine independence. Induction of PC during chronic suppression of glutamine metabolism may prove to be a mechanism of resistance to therapies targeting glutaminolysis.
Project description:Anabolic biosynthesis requires precursors supplied by the Krebs cycle, which in turn requires anaplerosis to replenish precursor intermediates. The major anaplerotic sources are pyruvate and glutamine, which require the activity of pyruvate carboxylase (PC) and glutaminase 1 (GLS1), respectively. Due to their rapid proliferation, cancer cells have increased anabolic and energy demands; however, different cancer cell types exhibit differential requirements for PC- and GLS-mediated pathways for anaplerosis and cell proliferation. Here, we infused patients with early-stage non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with uniformly 13C-labeled glucose before tissue resection and determined that the cancerous tissues in these patients had enhanced PC activity. Freshly resected paired lung tissue slices cultured in 13C6-glucose or 13C5,15N2-glutamine tracers confirmed selective activation of PC over GLS in NSCLC. Compared with noncancerous tissues, PC expression was greatly enhanced in cancerous tissues, whereas GLS1 expression showed no trend. Moreover, immunohistochemical analysis of paired lung tissues showed PC overexpression in cancer cells rather than in stromal cells of tumor tissues. PC knockdown induced multinucleation, decreased cell proliferation and colony formation in human NSCLC cells, and reduced tumor growth in a mouse xenograft model. Growth inhibition was accompanied by perturbed Krebs cycle activity, inhibition of lipid and nucleotide biosynthesis, and altered glutathione homeostasis. These findings indicate that PC-mediated anaplerosis in early-stage NSCLC is required for tumor survival and proliferation.
Project description:We recently showed that the anaplerotic enzyme pyruvate carboxylase (PC) is up-regulated in human breast cancer tissue and its expression is correlated with the late stages of breast cancer and tumor size [Phannasil et al., PloS One 10, e0129848, 2015]. In the current study we showed that PC enzyme activity is much higher in the highly invasive breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-231 than in less invasive breast cancer cell lines. We generated multiple stable PC knockdown cell lines from the MDA-MB-231 cell line and used mass spectrometry with 13C6-glucose and 13C5-glutamine to discern the pathways that use PC in support of cell growth. Cells with severe PC knockdown showed a marked reduction in viability and proliferation rates suggesting the perturbation of pathways that are involved in cancer invasiveness. Strong PC suppression lowered glucose incorporation into downstream metabolites of oxaloacetate, the product of the PC reaction, including malate, citrate and aspartate. Levels of pyruvate, lactate, the redox partner of pyruvate, and acetyl-CoA were also lower suggesting the impairment of mitochondrial pyruvate cycles. Serine, glycine and 5-carbon sugar levels and flux of glucose into fatty acids were decreased. ATP, ADP and NAD(H) levels were unchanged indicating that PC suppression did not significantly affect mitochondrial energy production. The data indicate that the major metabolic roles of PC in invasive breast cancer are primarily anaplerosis, pyruvate cycling and mitochondrial biosynthesis of precursors of cellular components required for breast cancer cell growth and replication.
Project description:The hepatic TCA cycle supports oxidative and biosynthetic metabolism. This dual responsibility requires anaplerotic pathways, such as pyruvate carboxylase (PC), to generate TCA cycle intermediates necessary for biosynthesis without disrupting oxidative metabolism. Liver-specific PC knockout (LPCKO) mice were created to test the role of anaplerotic flux in liver metabolism. LPCKO mice have impaired hepatic anaplerosis, diminution of TCA cycle intermediates, suppressed gluconeogenesis, reduced TCA cycle flux, and a compensatory increase in ketogenesis and renal gluconeogenesis. Loss of PC depleted aspartate and compromised urea cycle function, causing elevated urea cycle intermediates and hyperammonemia. Loss of PC prevented diet-induced hyperglycemia and insulin resistance but depleted NADPH and glutathione, which exacerbated oxidative stress and correlated with elevated liver inflammation. Thus, despite catalyzing the synthesis of intermediates also produced by other anaplerotic pathways, PC is specifically necessary for maintaining oxidation, biosynthesis, and pathways distal to the TCA cycle, such as antioxidant defenses.
Project description:Rapid metabolism differentiates cancer cells from normal cells and relies on anaplerotic pathways. However, the mechanisms of anaplerosis-associated enzymes are rarely understood. The lack of potent and selective antimetabolism drugs restrains further clinical investigations. A small molecule ZY-444 ((N 4-((5-(4-(benzyloxy)phenyl)-2-thiophenyl)methyl)-N 2-isobutyl-2,4-pyrimidinediamine) is discovered to inhibit cancer cell proliferation specifically, having potent efficacies against tumor growth, metastasis, and recurrence. ZY-444 binds to cellular pyruvate carboxylase (PC), a key anaplerotic enzyme of the tricarboxylic acid cycle, and inactivates its catalytic activity. PC inhibition suppresses breast cancer growth and metastasis through inhibiting the Wnt/?-catenin/Snail signaling pathway. Lower PC expression in patient tumors is correlated with significant survival benefits. Comparative profiles of PC expression in cancer versus normal tissues implicate the tumor selectivity of ZY-444. Overall, ZY-444 holds promise therapeutically as an anti-cancer metabolism agent.
Project description:Anaplerosis, the synthesis of citric acid cycle intermediates, by pancreatic beta cell mitochondria has been proposed to be as important for insulin secretion as mitochondrial energy production. However, studies designed to lower the rate of anaplerosis in the beta cell have been inconclusive. To test the hypothesis that anaplerosis is important for insulin secretion, we lowered the activity of pyruvate carboxylase (PC), the major enzyme of anaplerosis in the beta cell. Stable transfection of short hairpin RNA was used to generate a number of INS-1 832/13-derived cell lines with various levels of PC enzyme activity that retained normal levels of control enzymes, insulin content, and glucose oxidation. Glucose-induced insulin release was decreased in proportion to the decrease in PC activity. Insulin release in response to pyruvate alone, 2-aminobicyclo[2,2,1]heptane-2-carboxylic acid (BCH) plus glutamine, or methyl succinate plus beta-hydroxybutyrate was also decreased in the PC knockdown cells. Consistent with a block at PC, the most PC-deficient cells showed a metabolic crossover point at PC with increased basal and/or glucose-stimulated pyruvate plus lactate and decreased malate and citrate. In addition, in BCH plus glutamine-stimulated PC knockdown cells, pyruvate plus lactate was increased, whereas citrate was severely decreased, and malate and aspartate were slightly decreased. The incorporation of 14C into lipid from [U-14C]glucose was decreased in the PC knockdown cells. The results confirm the central importance of PC and anaplerosis to generate metabolites from glucose that support insulin secretion and even suggest PC is important for insulin secretion stimulated by noncarbohydrate insulin secretagogues.
Project description:Vascular remodeling is considered a key event in the pathogenesis of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). However, mechanisms of gaining the proliferative phenotype by pulmonary vascular cells are still unresolved. Due to well-established pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) deficiency in PAH pathogenesis, we hypothesized that the activation of another branch of pyruvate metabolism, anaplerosis, via pyruvate carboxylase (PC) could be a key contributor to the metabolic reprogramming of the vasculature. In sugen/hypoxic PAH rats, vascular proliferation was found to be accompanied by increased activation of Akt signaling, which upregulated membrane Glut4 translocation and caused upregulation of hexokinase and pyruvate kinase-2, and an overall increase in the glycolytic flux. Decreased PDH activity and upregulation of PC shuttled more pyruvate to oxaloacetate. This results in the anaplerotic reprogramming of lung vascular cells and their subsequent proliferation. Treatment of sugen/hypoxia rats with the PC inhibitor, phenylacetic acid 20 mg/kg, starting after one week from disease induction, significantly attenuated right ventricular systolic pressure, Fulton index, and pulmonary vascular cell proliferation. PC inhibition reduced the glycolytic shift by attenuating Akt-signaling, glycolysis, and restored mitochondrial pyruvate oxidation. Our findings suggest that targeting PC mediated anaplerosis is a potential therapeutic intervention for the resolution of vascular remodeling in PAH.
Project description:The purpose of study was to explore the role of glutamine-dependent anaplerosis in cell fate determination (proliferation and senescence) and the potential associated mechanism by employing a pharmacological inhibitor of glutamine-dependent anaplerosis, amino-oxyacetate (AOA). Using the WI38 normal human embryonic fibroblast cell line, we found that exposure to AOA induced mTORC1 inactivation-mTORC2 activation (within day 1), cell cycle arrest (day 2-6) and cellular senescence (day 4-6). These AOA effects were blocked by concomitantly providing anaplerotic factors [α-ketoglutarate (αKG), pyruvate or oxaloacetate], and not affected by ROS scavenger N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC). Moreover, AOA-induced cellular senescence in WI38 cells is associated with elevated protein levels of p53, p21CIP1 and p16INK4A and decreased Rb protein level, which was blocked by αKG supplementation. In p16INK4A-deficient U2OS human osteosarcoma cells and p16INK4A-knockdown WI38 cells, AOA exposure also induced similar effects on cell proliferation, and protein level of P-Rb-S807/811 and Rb. Interestingly, no AOA induction of cellular senescence was observed in U2OS cells, yet was still seen in p16INK4A-knockdown WI38 cells accompanied by the presence of p16 antibody-reactive p12. In summary, we disclose that glutamine-dependent anaplerosis is essential to cell growth and closely associated with mTORC1 activation and mTORC2 inactivation, and impedes cellular senescence particularly associated with p16INK4A.
Project description:Tumor cell proliferation requires rapid synthesis of macromolecules including lipids, proteins, and nucleotides. Many tumor cells exhibit rapid glucose consumption, with most of the glucose-derived carbon being secreted as lactate despite abundant oxygen availability (the Warburg effect). Here, we used 13C NMR spectroscopy to examine the metabolism of glioblastoma cells exhibiting aerobic glycolysis. In these cells, the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle was active but was characterized by an efflux of substrates for use in biosynthetic pathways, particularly fatty acid synthesis. The success of this synthetic activity depends on activation of pathways to generate reductive power (NADPH) and to restore oxaloacetate for continued TCA cycle function (anaplerosis). Surprisingly, both these needs were met by a high rate of glutamine metabolism. First, conversion of glutamine to lactate (glutaminolysis) was rapid enough to produce sufficient NADPH to support fatty acid synthesis. Second, despite substantial mitochondrial pyruvate metabolism, pyruvate carboxylation was suppressed, and anaplerotic oxaloacetate was derived from glutamine. Glutamine catabolism was accompanied by secretion of alanine and ammonia, such that most of the amino groups from glutamine were lost from the cell rather than incorporated into other molecules. These data demonstrate that transformed cells exhibit a high rate of glutamine consumption that cannot be explained by the nitrogen demand imposed by nucleotide synthesis or maintenance of nonessential amino acid pools. Rather, glutamine metabolism provides a carbon source that facilitates the cell's ability to use glucose-derived carbon and TCA cycle intermediates as biosynthetic precursors.
Project description:Many mammalian cancer cell lines depend on glutamine as a major tri-carboxylic acid (TCA) cycle anaplerotic substrate to support proliferation. However, some cell lines that depend on glutamine anaplerosis in culture rely less on glutamine catabolism to proliferate in vivo. We sought to understand the environmental differences that cause differential dependence on glutamine for anaplerosis. We find that cells cultured in adult bovine serum, which better reflects nutrients available to cells in vivo, exhibit decreased glutamine catabolism and reduced reliance on glutamine anaplerosis compared to cells cultured in standard tissue culture conditions. We find that levels of a single nutrient, cystine, accounts for the differential dependence on glutamine in these different environmental contexts. Further, we show that cystine levels dictate glutamine dependence via the cystine/glutamate antiporter xCT/SLC7A11. Thus, xCT/SLC7A11 expression, in conjunction with environmental cystine, is necessary and sufficient to increase glutamine catabolism, defining important determinants of glutamine anaplerosis and glutaminase dependence in cancer.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Glutamine serves as an important nutrient with many cancer types displaying glutamine dependence. Following cellular uptake glutamine is converted to glutamate in a reaction catalysed by mitochondrial glutaminase. This glutamate has many uses, including acting as an anaplerotic substrate (via alpha-ketoglutarate) to replenish TCA cycle intermediates. CB-839 is a potent, selective, orally bioavailable inhibitor of glutaminase that has activity in Triple receptor-Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) cell lines and evidence of efficacy in advanced TNBC patients. METHODS:A panel of eleven breast cancer cell lines was used to investigate the anti-proliferative effects of the glutaminase inhibitors CB-839 and BPTES in different types of culture medium, with or without additional pyruvate supplementation. The abundance of the TCA cycle intermediate fumarate was quantified as a measure if TCA cycle anaplerosis. Pyruvate secretion by TNBC cultures was then assessed with or without AZD3965, a monocarboxylate transporter 1 (MCT1) inhibitor. Finally, two dimensional (2D) monolayer and three dimensional (3D) spheroid assays were used to compare the effect of microenvironmental growth conditions on CB-839 activity. RESULTS:The anti-proliferative activity of CB-839 in a panel of breast cancer cell lines was similar to published reports, but with a major caveat; growth inhibition by CB-839 was strongly attenuated in culture medium containing pyruvate. This pyruvate-dependent attenuation was also observed with a related glutaminase inhibitor, BPTES. Studies demonstrated that exogenous pyruvate acted as an anaplerotic substrate preventing the decrease of fumarate in CB-839-treated conditions. Furthermore, endogenously produced pyruvate secreted by TNBC cell lines was able to act in a paracrine manner to significantly decrease the sensitivity of recipient cells to glutaminase inhibition. Suppression of pyruvate secretion using the MCT1 inhibitor AZD3965, antagonised this paracrine effect and increased CB-839 activity. Finally, CB-839 activity was significantly compromised in 3D compared with 2D TNBC culture models, suggesting that 3D microenvironmental features impair glutaminase inhibitor responsiveness. CONCLUSION:This study highlights the potential influence that both circulating and tumour-derived pyruvate can have on glutaminase inhibitor efficacy. Furthermore, it highlights the benefits of 3D spheroid cultures to model the features of the tumour microenvironment and improve the in vitro investigation of cancer metabolism-targeted therapeutics.