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Targeting glutaminase 1 attenuates stemness properties in hepatocellular carcinoma by increasing reactive oxygen species and suppressing Wnt/beta-catenin pathway.


ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is an aggressive malignant disease with poor prognosis. Recent advances suggest the existence of cancer stem cells (CSCs) within liver cancer, which are considered to be responsible for tumor relapse, metastasis, and chemoresistance. However, novel therapeutic approaches for eradicating CSCs are yet to be established. Here, we aimed to identify the role of glutaminase 1 (GLS1) in stemness, and the feasibility that GLS1 serves as a therapeutic target for elimination CSCs as well as the possible mechanism. METHODS:Publicly-available data from the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) was mined to unearth the association between GLS1 and stemness phenotype. Using big data, human tissues and multiple cell lines, we gained a general picture of GLS1 expression in HCC progression. We generated stable cell lines by lentiviral-mediated overexpression or CRISPR/Cas9-based knockout. Sphere formation assays and colony formation assays were employed to analyze the relationship between GLS1 and stemness. A series of bioinformatics analyses and molecular experiments including qRT-PCR, immunoblotting, flow cytometry, and immunofluorescence were employed to investigate the role of GLS1 in regulating stemness in vitro and in vivo. FINDINGS:We observed GLS1 (both KGA and GAC isoform) is highly expressed in HCC, and that high expression of GAC predicts a poor prognosis. GLS1 is exclusively expressed in the mitochondrial matrix. Upregulation of GLS1 is positively associated with advanced clinicopathological features and stemness phenotype. Targeting GLS1 reduced the expression of stemness-related genes and suppressed CSC properties in vitro. We further found GLS1 regulates stemness properties via ROS/Wnt/?-catenin signaling and that GLS1 knockout inhibits tumorigenicity in vivo. INTERPRETATION:Targeting GLS1 attenuates stemness properties in HCC by increasing ROS accumulation and suppressing Wnt/?-catenin pathway, which implied that GLS1 could serve as a therapeutic target for elimination of CSCs.

SUBMITTER: Li B 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6355660 | BioStudies | 2019-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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