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UGCG overexpression leads to increased glycolysis and increased oxidative phosphorylation of breast cancer cells

: Schömel, N.; Gruber, L.; Alexopoulos, S.J.; Trautmann, S.; Olzomer, E.M.; Byrne, F.L.; Hoehn, K.L.; Gurke, R.; Thomas, D.; Ferreiros, N.; Geisslinger, G.; Wegner, M.-S.

Fulltext ()

Scientific Reports 10 (2020), Art. 8182, 13 pp.
ISSN: 2045-2322
Journal Article, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer IME ()

The only enzyme in the glycosphingolipid (GSL) metabolic pathway, which produces glucosylceramide (GlcCer) de novo is UDP-glucose ceramide glucosyltransferase (UGCG). UGCG is linked to pro-cancerous processes such as multidrug resistance development and increased proliferation in several cancer types. Previously, we showed an UGCG-dependent glutamine metabolism adaption to nutrient-poor environment of breast cancer cells. This adaption includes reinforced oxidative stress response and fueling the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle by increased glutamine oxidation. In the current study, we investigated glycolytic and oxidative metabolic phenotypes following UGCG overexpression (OE). UGCG overexpressing MCF-7 cells underwent a metabolic shift from quiescent/aerobic to energetic metabolism by increasing both glycolysis and oxidative glucose metabolism. The energetic metabolic phenotype was not associated with increased mitochondrial mass, however, markers of mitochondrial turn over were increased. UGCG OE altered sphingolipid composition of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER)/mitochondria fractions that may contribute to increased mitochondrial turnover and increased cell metabolism. Our data indicate that GSL are closely connected to cell energy metabolism and this finding might contribute to development of novel therapeutic strategies for cancer treatment.