Question

In: Chemistry

In many cancer cell lines, PDH kinase (PDK) activity is increased. The result of this regulation...

In many cancer cell lines, PDH kinase (PDK) activity is increased. The result of this regulation is that pyruvate is directed towards a pathway other than the TCA cycle. Once again, using your excellent research skills, explain the reason cancer cells might direct pyruvate to an alterative pathway and what advantage this might provide to cancer cells

Solutions

Expert Solution

1. Cancer cells oxidize a decreased fraction of the pyruvate generated from glycolysis

2. The mitochondrial pyruvate carrier (MPC), composed of the products of the MPC1 and MPC2 genes, modulates fractional pyruvate oxidation. MPC1 is deleted or underexpressed in multiple cancers and correlates with poor prognosis.

3. Cancer cells tend to express a partially inhibited splice variant of pyruvate kinase (PK-M2), leading to decreased pyruvate production.

4. The two proteins that mediate pyruvate conversion to lactate and its export, M-type lactate dehydrogenase and the monocarboxylate transporter MCT-4, are commonly upregulated in cancer cells leading to decreased pyruvate oxidation.

5. The enzymatic step following mitochondrial entry is the conversion of pyruvate to acetyl-CoA by the pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) complex. Cancer cells frequently exhibit increased expression of the PDH kinase PDK1, which phosphorylates and inactivates PDH. This PDH regulatory mechanism is required for oncogene induced transformation and reversed in oncogene-induced senescence.

This is called as Otto Heinrich Warburg effect.

Otto Warburg’s demonstration that tumor cells rapidly use glucose and convert the majority of it to lactate is still the most fundamental and enduring observation in tumor metabolism. His work, which ushered in an era of study on tumor metabolism focused on the relationship between glycolysis and cellular bioenergetics, has been revisited and expanded by generations of tumor biologists. It is now accepted that a high rate of glucose metabolism, exploited clinically by 18FDGPET scanning, is a metabolic hallmark of rapidly dividing cells, correlates closely with transformation, and accounts for a significant percentage of ATP generated during cell proliferation. A ‘metabolic transformation’ is required for tumorigenesis. Research over the past few years has reinforced this idea, revealing the conservation of metabolic activities among diverse tumor types, and proving that oncogenic mutations can promote metabolic autonomy by driving nutrient uptake to levels that often exceed those required for cell growth and proliferation.

In order to engage in replicative division, a cell must duplicate its genome, proteins, and lipids and assemble the components into daughter cells; in short, it must become a factory for macromolecular biosynthesis. These activities require that cells take up extracellular nutrients like glucose and glutamine and allocate them into metabolic pathways that convert them into biosynthetic precursors. Tumor cells can achieve this phenotype through changes in the expression of enzymes that determine metabolic flux rates, including nutrient transporters and enzymes.

1. First, both use glucose as a carbon source.

2. Second, both consume TCA cycle intermediates, imposing the need for a mechanism to replenish the cycle.

3. Third, both require reductive power in the form of NADPH.

It was Warburg who made the observation that cancer cells metabolize glucose by fermentation in much the way Pasteur 60 years earlier observed fermentation of yeast cells. This metabolic phenomenon occurs even in the presence of an oxygen supply, which would provide a huge deficit in ATP production compared with respiration. The cancer cell is “addicted to glucose” and produced lactic acid.


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