Differentiated cells primarily metabolize glucose for energy via the tricarboxylic acid cycle and oxidative phosphorylation, but cancer cells thrive on a different mechanism to produce energy, characterized as the Warburg effect, which describes the increased dependence on aerobic glycolysis. The M2 isoform of pyruvate kinase (PKM2), which is responsible for catalyzing the final step of aerobic glycolysis, is highly expressed in cancer cells and may contribute to the Warburg effect. However, whether PKM2 plays a contributing role during early cancer development is unclear. In our studies, we have made an attempt to elucidate the effects of varying mitochondrial respiration substrates on skin cell transformation and expression of PKM2. Tumorigenicity in murine skin epidermal JB6 P+ (promotable) cells was measured in a soft agar assay using 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) as a tumor promoter. We observed a significant reduction in cell transformation upon pretreatment with the mitochondrial respiration substrate succinate or malate/pyruvate.Weobserved that increased expression and activity ofPKM2in TPA-treated JB6 P+ cells and pretreatment with succinate or malate/pyruvate suppressed the effects. In addition, TPA treatment also induced PKM2 whereas PKM1 expression was suppressed in mouse skin epidermal tissues in vivo. In comparison with JB6 P+ cells, the nonpromotable JB6 P- cells showed no increase in PKM2 expression or activity upon TPA treatment. Knockdown of PKM2 using a siRNA approach significantly reduced skin cell transformation. Thus, our results suggest that PKM2 activation could be an early event and play a contributing role in skin tumorigenesis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research