Phosphorylation of glutaminase by PKCε is essential for its enzymatic activity and critically contributes to tumorigenesis

Phosphorylation of glutaminase by PKCε is essential for its enzymatic activity and critically contributes to tumorigenesis

Abstract

Glutamine metabolism plays an important role in cancer development and progression. Glutaminase C (GAC), the first enzyme in glutaminolysis, has emerged as an important target for cancer therapy and many studies have focused on the mechanism of enhanced GAC expression in cancer cells. However, little is known about the post-translational modification of GAC. Here, we report that phosphorylation is a crucial post-translational modification of GAC, which is responsible for the higher glutaminase activity in lung tumor tissues and cancer cells. We identify the key Ser314 phosphorylation site on GAC that is regulated by the NF-κB-PKCε axis. Blocking Ser314 phosphorylation by the S314A mutation in lung cancer cells inhibits the glutaminase activity, triggers genetic reprogramming, and alleviates tumor malignancy. Furthermore, we find that a high level of GAC phosphorylation correlates with poor survival rate of lung cancer patients. These findings highlight a previously unappreciated mechanism for activation of GAC by phosphorylation and demonstrate that targeting glutaminase activitycan inhibit oncogenic transformation.

Authors: Han T1,2, Zhan W1,2, Gan M1, Liu F3, Yu B4, Chin YE5, Wang JB6.

Influence Factor: 15.606

Citation: Cell Res 28, 655-669 (2018).

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