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1.  Control of Nutrient Stress-Induced Metabolic Reprogramming by PKCζ in Tumorigenesis 
Cell  2013;152(3):599-611.
SUMMARY
Tumor cells have high-energetic and anabolic needs and are known to adapt their metabolism to be able to survive and keep proliferating under conditions of nutrient stress. We show that PKCζ deficiency promotes the plasticity necessary for cancer cells to reprogram their metabolism to utilize glutamine through the serine biosynthetic pathway in the absence of glucose. PKCζ represses the expression of two key enzymes of the pathway, PHGDH and PSAT1, and phosphorylates PHGDH at key residues to inhibit its enzymatic activity. Interestingly, the loss of PKCζ in mice results in enhanced intestinal tumorigenesis and increased levels of these two metabolic enzymes, whereas patients with low levels of PKCζ have a poor prognosis. Furthermore, PKCζ and caspase-3 activities are correlated with PHGDH levels in human intestinal tumors. Taken together, this demonstrates that PKCζ is a critical metabolic tumor suppressor in mouse and human cancer.
doi:10.1016/j.cell.2012.12.028
PMCID: PMC3963830  PMID: 23374352
2.  HNF4α Antagonists Discovered by a High-Throughput Screen for Modulators of the Human Insulin Promoter 
Chemistry & biology  2012;19(7):806-818.
SUMMARY
Hepatocyte Nuclear Factor (HNF)4α is a central regulator of gene expression in cell types that play a critical role in metabolic homeostasis, including hepatocytes, enterocytes, and pancreatic β-cells. Although fatty acids were found to occupy the HNF4α ligand-binding pocket and proposed to act as ligands, there is controversy about both the nature of HNF4α ligands as well as the physiological role of the binding. Here, we report the discovery of potent synthetic HNF4α antagonists through a high-throughput screen for effectors of the human insulin promoter. These molecules bound to HNF4α with high affinity and modulated the expression of known HNF4α target genes. Notably, they were found to be selectively cytotoxic to cancer cell lines in vitro and in vivo, although in vivo potency was limited by suboptimal pharmacokinetic properties. The discovery of bioactive modulators for HNF4α raises the possibility that diseases involving HNF4α, such as diabetes and cancer, might be amenable to pharmacologic intervention by modulation of HNF4α activity.
doi:10.1016/j.chembiol.2012.05.014
PMCID: PMC3447631  PMID: 22840769
3.  Functional Specialization in Proline Biosynthesis of Melanoma 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e45190.
Proline metabolism is linked to hyperprolinemia, schizophrenia, cutis laxa, and cancer. In the latter case, tumor cells tend to rely on proline biosynthesis rather than salvage. Proline is synthesized from either glutamate or ornithine; both are converted to pyrroline-5-carboxylate (P5C), and then to proline via pyrroline-5-carboxylate reductases (PYCRs). Here, the role of three isozymic versions of PYCR was addressed in human melanoma cells by tracking the fate of 13C-labeled precursors. Based on these studies we conclude that PYCR1 and PYCR2, which are localized in the mitochondria, are primarily involved in conversion of glutamate to proline. PYCRL, localized in the cytosol, is exclusively linked to the conversion of ornithine to proline. This analysis provides the first clarification of the role of PYCRs to proline biosynthesis.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0045190
PMCID: PMC3443215  PMID: 23024808
4.  Mitochondrial p32 Protein Is a Critical Regulator of Tumor Metabolism via Maintenance of Oxidative Phosphorylation ▿  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2010;30(6):1303-1318.
p32/gC1qR/C1QBP/HABP1 is a mitochondrial/cell surface protein overexpressed in certain cancer cells. Here we show that knocking down p32 expression in human cancer cells strongly shifts their metabolism from oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) to glycolysis. The p32 knockdown cells exhibited reduced synthesis of the mitochondrial-DNA-encoded OXPHOS polypeptides and were less tumorigenic in vivo. Expression of exogenous p32 in the knockdown cells restored the wild-type cellular phenotype and tumorigenicity. Increased glucose consumption and lactate production, known as the Warburg effect, are almost universal hallmarks of solid tumors and are thought to favor tumor growth. However, here we show that a protein regularly overexpressed in some cancers is capable of promoting OXPHOS. Our results indicate that high levels of glycolysis, in the absence of adequate OXPHOS, may not be as beneficial for tumor growth as generally thought and suggest that tumor cells use p32 to regulate the balance between OXPHOS and glycolysis.
doi:10.1128/MCB.01101-09
PMCID: PMC2832503  PMID: 20100866
5.  Central carbon metabolism in the progression of mammary carcinoma 
There is a growing belief that the metabolic program of breast tumor cells could be a therapeutic target. Yet, without detailed information on central carbon metabolism in breast tumors it is impossible to know which metabolic pathways to target, and how their inhibition might influence different stages of breast tumor progression. Here we perform the first comprehensive profiling of central metabolism in the MCF10 model of mammary carcinoma, where the steps of breast tumor progression (transformation, tumorigenicity and metastasis) can all be examined in the context of the same genetic background. The metabolism of [U-13C]-glucose by a series of progressively more aggressive MCF10 cell lines was tracked by 2D NMR and mass spectrometry. From this analysis the flux of carbon through distinct metabolic reactions was quantified by isotopomer modeling. The results indicate widespread changes to central metabolism upon cellular transformation including increased carbon flux through the pentose phosphate pathway (PPP), the TCA cycle, as well as increased synthesis of glutamate, glutathione and fatty acids (including elongation and desaturation). The de novo synthesis of glycine increased upon transformation as well as at each subsequent step of breast tumor cell progression. Interestingly, the major metabolic shift in metastatic cells is a large increase in the de novo synthesis of proline. This work provides the first comprehensive view of changes to central metabolism as a result of breast tumor progression.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10549-007-9732-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1007/s10549-007-9732-3
PMCID: PMC2440942  PMID: 17879159
Cellular metabolism; Flux modeling; Glucose; Glycolysis; Metastasis; Tumor progression
6.  Rigidin E, a New Pyrrolopyrimidine Alkaloid from a Papua New Guinea Tunicate Eudistoma Species 
Marine Drugs  2003;1(4):27-33.
A new pyrrolopyrimidine alkaloid, rigidin E (1) and the known metabolites rigidin (2) and 1-methylherbipoline (3) have been isolated from a Papua New Guinea tunicate Eudistoma sp. A combination of spectroscopic data were used to determine the structures of these metabolites.
PMCID: PMC3783872
Tunicate; Eudistoma sp.; rigidin E; cytotoxicity; HCT 116; A431

Results 1-6 (6)