Activation of the NRF2 antioxidant program generates an imbalance in central carbon metabolism in cancer
Author(s)Sayin, Volkan I; LeBoeuf, Sarah E; Singh, Simranjit X; Biancur, Douglas; Guzelhan, Betul S; Alvarez, Samantha W; Wu, Warren L; Karakousi, Triantafyllia R; Zavitsanou, Anastasia Maria; Ubriaco, Julian; Karagiannis, Dimitris; Morris, Patrick J; Thomas, Craig J; Possemato, Richard; Papagiannakopoulos, Thales; Davidson, Shawn M; Muir, Alexander; Vander Heiden, Matthew G.; ... Show more Show less
MetadataShow full item record
During tumorigenesis, the high metabolic demand of cancer cells results in increased production of reactive oxygen species. To maintain oxidative homeostasis, tumor cells increase their antioxidant production through hyperactivation of the NRF2 pathway, which promotes tumor cell growth. Despite the extensive characterization of NRF2-driven metabolic rewiring, little is known about the metabolic liabilities generated by this reprogramming. Here, we show that activation of NRF2, in either mouse or human cancer cells, leads to increased dependency on exogenous glutamine through increased consumption of glutamate for glutathione synthesis and glutamate secretion by xc-antiporter system. Together, this limits glutamate availability for the tricarboxylic acid cycle and other biosynthetic reactions creating a metabolic bottleneck. Cancers with genetic or pharmacological activation of the NRF2 antioxidant pathway have a metabolic imbalance between supporting increased antioxidant capacity over central carbon metabolism, which can be therapeutically exploited.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Biology; Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT
eLife Sciences Publications, Ltd
Sayin, Volkan I, Sarah E LeBoeuf, Simranjit X Singh, Shawn M Davidson, Douglas Biancur, Betul S Guzelhan, Samantha W Alvarez, et al. “Activation of the NRF2 Antioxidant Program Generates an Imbalance in Central Carbon Metabolism in Cancer.” eLife 6 (October 2017): e28083
Final published version