Environment Impacts the Metabolic Dependencies of Ras-Driven Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer.
ABSTRACT: Cultured cells convert glucose to lactate, and glutamine is the major source of tricarboxylic acid (TCA)-cycle carbon, but whether the same metabolic phenotype is found in tumors is less studied. We infused mice with lung cancers with isotope-labeled glucose or glutamine and compared the fate of these nutrients in tumor and normal tissue. As expected, lung tumors exhibit increased lactate production from glucose. However, glutamine utilization by both lung tumors and normal lung was minimal, with lung tumors showing increased glucose contribution to the TCA cycle relative to normal lung tissue. Deletion of enzymes involved in glucose oxidation demonstrates that glucose carbon contribution to the TCA cycle is required for tumor formation. These data suggest that understanding nutrient utilization by tumors can predict metabolic dependencies of cancers in vivo. Furthermore, these data argue that the in vivo environment is an important determinant of the metabolic phenotype of cancer cells.
Project description:Dysregulated metabolism is a hallmark of cancer cells and is driven in part by specific genetic alterations in various oncogenes or tumor suppressors. The retinoblastoma protein (pRb) is a tumor suppressor that canonically regulates cell cycle progression; however, recent studies have highlighted a functional role for pRb in controlling cellular metabolism. Here, we report that loss of the gene encoding pRb (Rb1) in a transgenic mutant Kras-driven model of lung cancer results in metabolic reprogramming. Our tracer studies using bolus dosing of [U-13C]-glucose revealed an increase in glucose carbon incorporation into select glycolytic intermediates. Consistent with this result, Rb1-depleted tumors exhibited increased expression of key glycolytic enzymes. Interestingly, loss of Rb1 did not alter mitochondrial pyruvate oxidation compared to lung tumors with intact Rb1. Additional tracer studies using [U-13C,15N]-glutamine and [U-13C]-lactate demonstrated that loss of Rb1 did not alter glutaminolysis or utilization of circulating lactate within the tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA) in vivo. Taken together, these data suggest that the loss of Rb1 promotes a glycolytic phenotype, while not altering pyruvate oxidative metabolism or glutamine anaplerosis in Kras-driven lung tumors.
Project description:Cancer cells consume glucose and secrete lactate in culture. It is unknown whether lactate contributes to energy metabolism in living tumors. We previously reported that human non-small-cell lung cancers (NSCLCs) oxidize glucose in the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle. Here, we show that lactate is also a TCA cycle carbon source for NSCLC. In human NSCLC, evidence of lactate utilization was most apparent in tumors with high 18fluorodeoxyglucose uptake and aggressive oncological behavior. Infusing human NSCLC patients with 13C-lactate revealed extensive labeling of TCA cycle metabolites. In mice, deleting monocarboxylate transporter-1 (MCT1) from tumor cells eliminated lactate-dependent metabolite labeling, confirming tumor-cell-autonomous lactate uptake. Strikingly, directly comparing lactate and glucose metabolism in vivo indicated that lactate's contribution to the TCA cycle predominates. The data indicate that tumors, including bona fide human NSCLC, can use lactate as a fuel in vivo.
Project description:Metabolic rewiring is an established hallmark of cancer, but the details of this rewiring at a systems level are not well characterized. Here we acquire this insight in a melanoma cell line panel by tracking metabolic flux using isotopically labeled nutrients. Metabolic profiling and flux balance analysis were used to compare normal melanocytes to melanoma cell lines in both normoxic and hypoxic conditions. All melanoma cells exhibited the Warburg phenomenon; they used more glucose and produced more lactate than melanocytes. Other changes were observed in melanoma cells that are not described by the Warburg phenomenon. Hypoxic conditions increased fermentation of glucose to lactate in both melanocytes and melanoma cells (the Pasteur effect). However, metabolism was not strictly glycolytic, as the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle was functional in all melanoma lines, even under hypoxia. Furthermore, glutamine was also a key nutrient providing a substantial anaplerotic contribution to the TCA cycle. In the WM35 melanoma line glutamine was metabolized in the "reverse" (reductive) direction in the TCA cycle, particularly under hypoxia. This reverse flux allowed the melanoma cells to synthesize fatty acids from glutamine while glucose was primarily converted to lactate. Altogether, this study, which is the first comprehensive comparative analysis of metabolism in melanoma cells, provides a foundation for targeting metabolism for therapeutic benefit in melanoma.
Project description:Mammalian tissues are fuelled by circulating nutrients, including glucose, amino acids, and various intermediary metabolites. Under aerobic conditions, glucose is generally assumed to be burned fully by tissues via the tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA cycle) to carbon dioxide. Alternatively, glucose can be catabolized anaerobically via glycolysis to lactate, which is itself also a potential nutrient for tissues and tumours. The quantitative relevance of circulating lactate or other metabolic intermediates as fuels remains unclear. Here we systematically examine the fluxes of circulating metabolites in mice, and find that lactate can be a primary source of carbon for the TCA cycle and thus of energy. Intravenous infusions of 13C-labelled nutrients reveal that, on a molar basis, the circulatory turnover flux of lactate is the highest of all metabolites and exceeds that of glucose by 1.1-fold in fed mice and 2.5-fold in fasting mice; lactate is made primarily from glucose but also from other sources. In both fed and fasted mice, 13C-lactate extensively labels TCA cycle intermediates in all tissues. Quantitative analysis reveals that during the fasted state, the contribution of glucose to tissue TCA metabolism is primarily indirect (via circulating lactate) in all tissues except the brain. In genetically engineered lung and pancreatic cancer tumours in fasted mice, the contribution of circulating lactate to TCA cycle intermediates exceeds that of glucose, with glutamine making a larger contribution than lactate in pancreatic cancer. Thus, glycolysis and the TCA cycle are uncoupled at the level of lactate, which is a primary circulating TCA substrate in most tissues and tumours.
Project description:Cancer cells share several metabolic traits, including aerobic production of lactate from glucose (Warburg effect), extensive glutamine utilization and impaired mitochondrial electron flow. It is still unclear how these metabolic rearrangements, which may involve different molecular events in different cells, contribute to a selective advantage for cancer cell proliferation. To ascertain which metabolic pathways are used to convert glucose and glutamine to balanced energy and biomass production, we performed systematic constraint-based simulations of a model of human central metabolism. Sampling of the feasible flux space allowed us to obtain a large number of randomly mutated cells simulated at different glutamine and glucose uptake rates. We observed that, in the limited subset of proliferating cells, most displayed fermentation of glucose to lactate in the presence of oxygen. At high utilization rates of glutamine, oxidative utilization of glucose was decreased, while the production of lactate from glutamine was enhanced. This emergent phenotype was observed only when the available carbon exceeded the amount that could be fully oxidized by the available oxygen. Under the latter conditions, standard Flux Balance Analysis indicated that: this metabolic pattern is optimal to maximize biomass and ATP production; it requires the activity of a branched TCA cycle, in which glutamine-dependent reductive carboxylation cooperates to the production of lipids and proteins; it is sustained by a variety of redox-controlled metabolic reactions. In a K-ras transformed cell line we experimentally assessed glutamine-induced metabolic changes. We validated computational results through an extension of Flux Balance Analysis that allows prediction of metabolite variations. Taken together these findings offer new understanding of the logic of the metabolic reprogramming that underlies cancer cell growth.
Project description:Background:Metabolic reprogramming is a key feature of malignant cells. While glucose is one of the primary substrates for malignant cells, cancer cells also display a remarkable metabolic flexibility. Depending on nutrient availability and requirements, cancer cells will utilize alternative fuel sources to maintain the TCA cycle for bioenergetic and biosynthetic requirements. Lactate was typically viewed as a passive byproduct of cancer cells. However, studies now show that lactate is an important substrate for the TCA cycle in breast, lung, and pancreatic cancer. Methods:Metabolic analysis of colorectal cancer (CRC) cells was performed using a combination of bioenergetic analysis and 13C stable isotope tracing. Results:We show here that CRC cells use lactate to fuel the TCA cycle and promote growth especially under nutrient-deprived conditions. This was mediated in part by maintaining cellular bioenergetics. Therefore targeting the ability of cancer cells to utilize lactate via the TCA cycle would have a significant therapeutic benefit. Phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK) is an important cataplerotic enzyme that promotes TCA cycle activity in CRC cells. Treatment of CRC cells with low micromolar doses of a PEPCK inhibitor (PEPCKi) developed for diabetes decreased cell proliferation and utilization of lactate by the TCA cycle in vitro and in vivo. Mechanistically, we observed that the PEPCKi increased nutrient stress as determined by decreased cellular bioenergetics including decreased respiration, ATP levels, and increased AMPK activation. 13C stable isotope tracing showed that the PEPCKi decreased the incorporation of lactate into the TCA cycle. Conclusions:These studies highlight lactate as an important substrate for CRC and the use of PEPCKi as a therapeutic approach to target lactate utilization in CRC cells.
Project description:In cancer tumors, lactate accumulation was initially attributed to high glucose consumption associated with the Warburg Effect. Now it is evident that lactate can also serve as an energy source in cancer cell metabolism. Additionally, lactate has been shown to promote metastasis, generate gene expression patterns in cancer cells consistent with "cancer stem cell" phenotypes, and result in treatment resistant tumors. Therefore, the goal of this work was to quantify the impact of lactate on metabolism in three breast cell lines (one normal and two breast cancer cell lines-MCF 10A, MCF7, and MDA-MB-231), in order to better understand the role lactate may have in different disease cell types. Parallel labeling metabolic flux analysis (13C-MFA) was used to quantify the intracellular fluxes under normal and high extracellular lactate culture conditions. Additionally, high extracellular lactate cultures were labelled in parallel with [U-13C] lactate, which provided qualitative information regarding the lactate uptake and metabolism. The 13C-MFA model, which incorporated the measured extracellular fluxes and the parallel labeling mass isotopomer distributions (MIDs) for five glycolysis, four tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA), and three intracellular amino acid metabolites, predicted lower glycolysis fluxes in the high lactate cultures. All three cell lines experienced reductive carboxylation of glutamine to citrate in the TCA cycle as a result of high extracellular lactate. Reductive carboxylation previously has been observed under hypoxia and other mitochondrial stresses, whereas these cultures were grown aerobically. In addition, this is the first study to investigate the intracellular metabolic responses of different stages of breast cancer progression to high lactate exposure. These results provide insight into the role lactate accumulation has on metabolic reaction distributions in the different disease cell types while the cells are still proliferating in lactate concentrations that do not significantly decrease exponential growth rates.
Project description:Metabolic abnormalities occur after traumatic brain injury (TBI). Glucose is conventionally regarded as the major energy substrate, although lactate can also be an energy source. We compared 3-13C lactate metabolism in TBI with "normal" control brain and muscle, measuring 13C-glutamine enrichment to assess tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle metabolism. Microdialysis catheters in brains of nine patients with severe TBI, five non-TBI brain surgical patients, and five resting muscle (non-TBI) patients were perfused (24?h in brain, 8?h in muscle) with 8?mmol/L sodium 3-13C lactate. Microdialysate analysis employed ISCUS and nuclear magnetic resonance. In TBI, with 3-13C lactate perfusion, microdialysate glucose concentration increased nonsignificantly (mean +11.9%, p?=?0.463), with significant increases (p?=?0.028) for lactate (+174%), pyruvate (+35.8%), and lactate/pyruvate ratio (+101.8%). Microdialysate 13C-glutamine fractional enrichments (median, interquartile range) were: for C4 5.1 (0-11.1) % in TBI and 5.7 (4.6-6.8) % in control brain, for C3 0 (0-5.0) % in TBI and 0 (0-0) % in control brain, and for C2 2.9 (0-5.7) % in TBI and 1.8 (0-3.4) % in control brain. 13C-enrichments were not statistically different between TBI and control brain, showing both metabolize 3-13C lactate via TCA cycle, in contrast to muscle. Several patients with TBI exhibited 13C-glutamine enrichment above the non-TBI control range, suggesting lactate oxidative metabolism as a TBI "emergency option."
Project description:Glutamine is an essential nutrient for cancer cell survival and proliferation. Enhanced utilization of glutamine often depletes its local supply, yet how cancer cells adapt to low glutamine conditions is largely unknown. Here, we report that I?B kinase ? (IKK?) is activated upon glutamine deprivation and is required for cell survival independently of NF-?B transcription. We demonstrate that IKK? directly interacts with and phosphorylates 6-phosphofructo-2-kinase/fructose-2,6-biphosphatase isoform 3 (PFKFB3), a major driver of aerobic glycolysis, at Ser269 upon glutamine deprivation to inhibit its activity, thereby down-regulating aerobic glycolysis when glutamine levels are low. Thus, due to lack of inhibition of PFKFB3, IKK?-deficient cells exhibit elevated aerobic glycolysis and lactate production, leading to less glucose carbons contributing to tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle intermediates and the pentose phosphate pathway, which results in increased glutamine dependence for both TCA cycle intermediates and reactive oxygen species suppression. Therefore, coinhibition of IKK? and glutamine metabolism results in dramatic synergistic killing of cancer cells both in vitro and in vivo. In all, our results uncover a previously unidentified role of IKK? in regulating glycolysis, sensing low-glutamine-induced metabolic stress, and promoting cellular adaptation to nutrient availability.
Project description:Oncogenes such as K-ras mediate cellular and metabolic transformation during tumorigenesis. To analyze K-Ras-dependent metabolic alterations, we employed ¹³C metabolic flux analysis (MFA), non-targeted tracer fate detection (NTFD) of ¹?N-labeled glutamine, and transcriptomic profiling in mouse fibroblast and human carcinoma cell lines. Stable isotope-labeled glucose and glutamine tracers and computational determination of intracellular fluxes indicated that cells expressing oncogenic K-Ras exhibited enhanced glycolytic activity, decreased oxidative flux through the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, and increased utilization of glutamine for anabolic synthesis. Surprisingly, a non-canonical labeling of TCA cycle-associated metabolites was detected in both transformed cell lines. Transcriptional profiling detected elevated expression of several genes associated with glycolysis, glutamine metabolism, and nucleotide biosynthesis upon transformation with oncogenic K-Ras. Chemical perturbation of enzymes along these pathways further supports the decoupling of glycolysis and TCA metabolism, with glutamine supplying increased carbon to drive the TCA cycle. These results provide evidence for a role of oncogenic K-Ras in the metabolic reprogramming of cancer cells.