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Transketolase (TKT) activity and nuclear localization promote hepatocellular carcinoma in a metabolic and a non-metabolic manner.

Journal of experimental & clinical cancer research : CR (2019-04-12)
Zhaoyu Qin, Chan Xiang, Fan Zhong, Yang Liu, Qiongzhu Dong, Kai Li, Wenhao Shi, Chen Ding, Lunxiu Qin, Fuchu He
ABSTRACT

Metabolic reprogramming is one of the hallmarks of cancer cells. The pentose phosphate pathway (PPP), a branch of glycolysis, is an important metabolic pathway for the survival and biosynthesis of cancer cells. Transketolase (TKT) is a key enzyme in the non-oxidative phase of PPP. The mechanistic details of TKT in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) development remain unclear. TKT level and subcellular location were examined in HCC cell lines and tissue samples. We established the TKT overexpression and knocking-down stable cells in HCC cell lines. Proliferation, migration, viability and enzyme activity assays in vitro, tumor growth and metastasis assays in vivo were employed to test the effects of TKT on HCC development. GFP-tagged TKT truncations and mutants were used to locate the nuclear localization sequence (NLSs) of TKT. Cross-linking co-IP/MS was applied to identify the interaction proteins of nuclear TKT. We showed that TKT increased the proliferation and migration of HCC cells, as well as the viability under oxidative stress in vitro and accelerated the growth and metastasis of HCC cells in vivo. We found as a key enzyme of PPP, TKT could promote the proliferation, cell cycle, migration and viability by regulating the metabolic flux. Moreover, it was firstly reported that unlike other key enzymes in PPP, TKT showed a strong nuclear localization in HCC cells. We found not only high TKT expression, but also its nuclear localization was a prediction for poor prognosis of HCC patients. We further identified the nuclear localization sequences (NLS) for TKT and demonstrated the NLS mutations decreased the pro-tumor function of TKT independent of the enzyme activity. Cross-linking Co-IP/MS showed that nuclear TKT interacted with kinases and transcriptional coregulators such as EGFR and MAPK3, which are associated with cell activation or stress response processes. EGF treatment significantly increased the viability and proliferation of HCC cells in the enzyme-inactivating mutation TKT-D155A overexpression cells but not in the NLS-D155A double mutant group, which could be blocked by EGFR inhibitor erlotinib treatment. Our research suggests that in addition to the metabolic manner, TKT can promote the development of HCC in a non-metabolic manner via its nuclear localization and EGFR pathway.

MATERIALS
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Brand
Product Description

Sigma-Aldrich
Glucose (GO) Assay Kit, sufficient for 20 assays
Sigma-Aldrich
Picropodophyllotoxin, ≥96% (HPLC), powder