LRH-1-dependent programming of mitochondrial glutamine processing drives liver cancer.
ABSTRACT: Various tumors develop addiction to glutamine to support uncontrolled cell proliferation. Here we identify the nuclear receptor liver receptor homolog 1 (LRH-1) as a key regulator in the process of hepatic tumorigenesis through the coordination of a noncanonical glutamine pathway that is reliant on the mitochondrial and cytosolic transaminases glutamate pyruvate transaminase 2 (GPT2) and glutamate oxaloacetate transaminase 1 (GOT1), which fuel anabolic metabolism. In particular, we show that gain and loss of function of hepatic LRH-1 modulate the expression and activity of mitochondrial glutaminase 2 (GLS2), the first and rate-limiting step of this pathway. Acute and chronic deletion of hepatic LRH-1 blunts the deamination of glutamine and reduces glutamine-dependent anaplerosis. The robust reduction in glutaminolysis and the limiting availability of ?-ketoglutarate in turn inhibit mTORC1 signaling to eventually block cell growth and proliferation. Collectively, these studies highlight the importance of LRH-1 in coordinating glutamine-induced metabolism and signaling to promote hepatocellular carcinogenesis.
Project description:Cancer cells often require glutamine for growth, thereby distinguishing them from most normal cells. Here we show that PIK3CA mutations reprogram glutamine metabolism by upregulating glutamate pyruvate transaminase 2 (GPT2) in colorectal cancer (CRC) cells, making them more dependent on glutamine. Compared with isogenic wild-type (WT) cells, PIK3CA mutant CRCs convert substantially more glutamine to ?-ketoglutarate to replenish the tricarboxylic acid cycle and generate ATP. Mutant p110? upregulates GPT2 gene expression through an AKT-independent, PDK1-RSK2-ATF4 signalling axis. Moreover, aminooxyacetate, which inhibits the enzymatic activity of aminotransferases including GPT2, suppresses xenograft tumour growth of CRCs with PIK3CA mutations, but not with WT PIK3CA. Together, these data establish oncogenic PIK3CA mutations as a cause of glutamine dependency in CRCs and suggest that targeting glutamine metabolism may be an effective approach to treat CRC patients harbouring PIK3CA mutations.
Project description:Increased glutamine metabolism is a hallmark of cancer. Mitochondrial glutamic pyruvate transaminase (GPT2) catalyzes the reversible transamination between alanine and ?-ketoglutarate (?-KG), also known as 2-oxoglutarate, to generate pyruvate and glutamate during cellular glutamine catabolism. However, the precise role of GPT2 in tumorigenesis remains elusive. Here, we report that in breast cancer tissue samples and breast cancer cell lines, GPT2 expression level was markedly elevated and correlated with the pathological grades of breast cancers. GPT2 overexpression increased the subpopulation of breast cancer stem cells in vitro and promoted tumorigenesis in mice. GPT2 reduced ?-KG level in cells leading to the inhibition of proline hydroxylase 2 (PHD2) activity involved in the regulation of HIF1? stability. Accumulation of HIF1?, resulting from GPT2-?-KG-PHD2 axial, constitutively activates sonic hedgehog (Shh) signaling pathway. Overall, GPT2 promotes tumorigenesis and stemness of breast cancer cells by activating the Shh signaling, suggesting that GTP2 is a potential target for breast cancer therapy.
Project description:The transcriptional regulators TAZ and YAP (TAZ/YAP) have emerged as pro-tumorigenic factors that drive many oncogenic traits, including induction of cell growth, resistance to cell death, and activation of processes that promote migration and invasion. Here, we report that TAZ/YAP reprogram cellular energetics to promote the dependence of breast cancer cell growth on exogenous glutamine. Rescue experiments with glutamine-derived metabolites suggest an essential role for glutamate and ?-ketoglutarate (AKG) in TAZ/YAP-driven cell growth in the absence of glutamine. Analysis of enzymes that mediate the conversion of glutamate to AKG shows that TAZ/YAP induce glutamic-oxaloacetic transaminase (GOT1) and phosphoserine aminotransferase (PSAT1) expression and that TAZ/YAP activity positively correlates with transaminase expression in breast cancer patients. Notably, we find that the transaminase inhibitor aminooxyacetate (AOA) represses cell growth in a TAZ/YAP-dependent manner, identifying transamination as a potential vulnerable metabolic requirement for TAZ/YAP-driven breast cancer.
Project description:Liver receptor homolog 1 (LRH-1), an established regulator of cholesterol and bile acid homeostasis, has recently emerged as a potential drug target for liver disease. Although LRH-1 activation may protect the liver against diet-induced steatosis and insulin resistance, little is known about how LRH-1 controls hepatic glucose and fatty acid metabolism under physiological conditions. We therefore assessed the role of LRH-1 in hepatic intermediary metabolism. In mice with conditional deletion of Lrh1 in liver, analysis of hepatic glucose fluxes revealed reduced glucokinase (GCK) and glycogen synthase fluxes as compared with those of wild-type littermates. These changes were attributed to direct transcriptional regulation of Gck by LRH-1. Impaired glucokinase-mediated glucose phosphorylation in LRH-1-deficient livers was also associated with reduced glycogen synthesis, glycolysis, and de novo lipogenesis in response to acute and prolonged glucose exposure. Accordingly, hepatic carbohydrate response element-binding protein activity was reduced in these animals. Cumulatively, these data identify LRH-1 as a key regulatory component of the hepatic glucose-sensing system required for proper integration of postprandial glucose and lipid metabolism.
Project description:Glutamate Pyruvate Transaminase 2(GPT2) is highly expressed in MDA MB 468 cells. Knockdown of this gene slows down cell growth. This experiment was conducted to assess the effect at gene expression level to explain the phenotypic differences seen as a result of GPT2 knockdown.
Project description:Excess lipid accumulation is an early signature of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Although liver receptor homolog 1 (LRH-1) (encoded by NR5A2) is suppressed in human NAFLD, evidence linking this phospholipid-bound nuclear receptor to hepatic lipid metabolism is lacking. Here, we report an essential role for LRH-1 in hepatic lipid storage and phospholipid composition based on an acute hepatic KO of LRH-1 in adult mice (LRH-1AAV8-Cre mice). Indeed, LRH-1-deficient hepatocytes exhibited large cytosolic lipid droplets and increased triglycerides (TGs). LRH-1-deficient mice fed high-fat diet displayed macrovesicular steatosis, liver injury, and glucose intolerance, all of which were reversed or improved by expressing wild-type human LRH-1. While hepatic lipid synthesis decreased and lipid export remained unchanged in mutants, elevated circulating free fatty acid helped explain the lipid imbalance in LRH-1AAV8-Cre mice. Lipidomic and genomic analyses revealed that loss of LRH-1 disrupts hepatic phospholipid composition, leading to lowered arachidonoyl (AA) phospholipids due to repression of Elovl5 and Fads2, two critical genes in AA biosynthesis. Our findings reveal a role for the phospholipid sensor LRH-1 in maintaining adequate pools of hepatic AA phospholipids, further supporting the idea that phospholipid diversity is an important contributor to healthy hepatic lipid storage.
Project description:Liver fibrosis is the excessive accumulation of extracellular matrix proteins, which is mainly caused by accumulation of activated hepatic stellate cells (HSCs). The mechanisms of activation and proliferation of HSCs, two key events after liver damage, have been studied for many years. Here we report a novel pathway to control HSCs by regulating glutamine metabolism. We demonstrated that the proliferation of HSCs is critically dependent on glutamine that is used to generate ?-ketoglutarate (?-KG) and non-essential amino acid (NEAA). In addition, both culture- and in vivo-activated HSCs have increased glutamine utilization and increased expression of genes related to glutamine metabolism, including GLS (glutaminase), aspartate transaminase (GOT1) and glutamate dehydrogenase (GLUD1). Inhibition of these enzymes, as well as glutamine depletion, had a significant inhibitory effect on HSCs activation. In addition to providing energy expenditure, conversion of glutamine to proline is enhanced. The pool of free proline may also be increased via downregulation of POX expression. Hedgehog signaling plays an important role in the regulation of glutamine metabolism, as well as TGF-?1, c-Myc, and Ras signalings, via transcriptional upregulation and repression of key metabolic enzymes in this pathway. Finally, changes in glutamine metabolism were also found in mouse liver tissue following CCl4-induced acute injury.Glutamine metabolism plays an important role in regulating the proliferation and activation of HSCs. Strategies that are targeted at glutamine metabolism may represent a novel therapeutic approach to the treatment of liver fibrosis.
Project description:Metabolic reprogramming is critical to oncogenesis, but the emergence and function of this profound reorganization remain poorly understood. Here we find that cooperating oncogenic mutations drive large-scale metabolic reprogramming, which is both intrinsic to cancer cells and obligatory for the transition to malignancy. This involves synergistic regulation of several genes encoding metabolic enzymes, including the lactate dehydrogenases LDHA and LDHB and mitochondrial glutamic pyruvate transaminase 2 (GPT2). Notably, GPT2 engages activated glycolysis to drive the utilization of glutamine as a carbon source for TCA cycle anaplerosis in colon cancer cells. Our data indicate that the Warburg effect supports oncogenesis via GPT2-mediated coupling of pyruvate production to glutamine catabolism. Although critical to the cancer phenotype, GPT2 activity is dispensable in cells that are not fully transformed, thus pinpointing a metabolic vulnerability specifically associated with cancer cell progression to malignancy.
Project description:Deamidation of glutamine to glutamate by glutaminase 1 (GLS1, also called GLS) and GLS2 is an essential step in both glutaminolysis and glutathione (GSH) biosynthesis. However, mechanisms whereby cancer cells regulate glutamine catabolism remains largely unknown. We report here that N-Myc, an essential Myc family member, promotes conversion of glutamine to glutamate in MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma cells by directly activating GLS2, but not GLS1, transcription. Abrogation of GLS2 function profoundly inhibited glutaminolysis, which resulted in feedback inhibition of aerobic glycolysis likely due to thioredoxin-interacting protein (TXNIP) activation, dramatically decreasing cell proliferation and survival in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, elevated GLS2 expression is significantly elevated in MYCN-amplified neuroblastomas in comparison with non-amplified ones, correlating with unfavorable patient survival. In aggregate, these results reveal a novel mechanism deciphering context-dependent regulation of metabolic heterogeneities, uncovering a previously unsuspected link between Myc, GLS2 and tumor metabolism.
Project description:Mutations that cause neurological phenotypes are highly informative with regard to mechanisms governing human brain function and disease. We report autosomal recessive mutations in the enzyme glutamate pyruvate transaminase 2 (GPT2) in large kindreds initially ascertained for intellectual and developmental disability (IDD). GPT2 [also known as alanine transaminase 2 (ALT2)] is one of two related transaminases that catalyze the reversible addition of an amino group from glutamate to pyruvate, yielding alanine and ?-ketoglutarate. In addition to IDD, all affected individuals show postnatal microcephaly and ?80% of those followed over time show progressive motor symptoms, a spastic paraplegia. Homozygous nonsense p.Arg404* and missense p.Pro272Leu mutations are shown biochemically to be loss of function. The GPT2 gene demonstrates increasing expression in brain in the early postnatal period, and GPT2 protein localizes to mitochondria. Akin to the human phenotype, Gpt2-null mice exhibit reduced brain growth. Through metabolomics and direct isotope tracing experiments, we find a number of metabolic abnormalities associated with loss of Gpt2. These include defects in amino acid metabolism such as low alanine levels and elevated essential amino acids. Also, we find defects in anaplerosis, the metabolic process involved in replenishing TCA cycle intermediates. Finally, mutant brains demonstrate misregulated metabolites in pathways implicated in neuroprotective mechanisms previously associated with neurodegenerative disorders. Overall, our data reveal an important role for the GPT2 enzyme in mitochondrial metabolism with relevance to developmental as well as potentially to neurodegenerative mechanisms.