1. Laboratory of Cancer Biology, Key Lab of Biotherapy in Zhejiang, Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital, Medical School of Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China;
2. Department of Medical Oncology, Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital, Medical School of Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China;
3. Department of Radiation Oncology, Shunde Hospital, Southern Medical University, China;
4. Department of Surgery, Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital, Medical School of Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China;
5. School of Biomedical Sciences, The Chinese University of Hong Kong;
6. Institute of Molecular Cell Biology, Jena University Hospital, Jena, Germany.
Background & Aims: Dysregulation of metabolism plays an important role in the development and progression of cancers, while the underlying mechanisms remain largely unknown. This study aims to explore the regulation and relevance of glycolysis in chemoresistance of gastric cancer.
Methods: Biochemical differences between chemoresistant and chemosensitive cancer cells were determined by metabolism profiling, microarray gene expression, PCR or western blotting. Cancer cell growth in vitro or in vivo were analyzed by viability, apoptosis and nude mice assay. Immunoprecipation was used to explore the interaction of proteins with other proteins or DNAs.
Results: By metabolic and gene expression profiling, we found that pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 3 (PDK3) was highly expressed to promote glycolysis in chemoresistant cancer cells. Its genetic or chemical inhibition reverted chemoresistance in vitro and in vivo. It was transcriptionally regulated by transcription factor HSF1 (Heat shock factor 1). Interestingly, PDK3 can localize in the nucleus and interact with HSF1 to disrupt its phosphorylation by GSK3β. Since HSF1 was subjected to FBXW7-catalyzed polyubiquitination in a phosphorylation-dependent manner, PDK3 prevented HSF1 from proteasomal degradation. Thus, metabolic enzyme PDK3 and transcription factor HSF1 forms a positive feedback loop to promote glycolysis. As a result, inhibition of HSF1 impaired enhanced glycolysis and reverted chemoresistance both in vitro and in vivo.
Conclusions: PDK3 forms a positive feedback loop with HSF1 to drive glycolysis in chemoresistance. Targeting this mitonuclear communication may represent a novel approach to overcome chemoresistance.
Keywords: chemoresistance, glycolysis, PDK3, HSF1, metabolism