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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Sep 1;106(35):14878-83. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0901221106. Epub 2009 Aug 17.

Glutamine-dependent anapleurosis dictates glucose uptake and cell growth by regulating MondoA transcriptional activity.

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Huntsman Cancer Institute, Department of Oncological Sciences, University of Utah, 2000 Circle of Hope, Room 4365, Salt Lake City, UT 84112-5550, USA.


Glucose and glutamine are abundant nutrients required for cell growth, yet how cells sense and adapt to changes in their levels is not well understood. The MondoA transcription factor forms a heterocomplex with its obligate partner Mlx to regulate approximately 75% of glucose-dependent transcription. By mediating glucose-induced activation of thioredoxin-interacting protein (TXNIP), MondoA:Mlx complexes directly repress glucose uptake. We show here that glutamine inhibits transcriptional activation of TXNIP by triggering the recruitment of a histone deacetylase-dependent corepressor to the amino terminus of MondoA. Therefore, in the presence of both glucose and glutamine, TXNIP expression is low, which favors glucose uptake and aerobic glycolysis; the Warburg effect. Consistent with MondoA functioning upstream of TXNIP, MondoA knockdown reduces TXNIP expression, elevates glucose uptake and stimulates cell proliferation. Although glutamine has many intracellular fates, a cell permeable analog of a tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA) intermediate, alpha-ketoglutarate, also blocks the transcriptional activity of MondoA at the TXNIP promoter and stimulates glucose uptake. Together our data suggest that glutamine-dependent mitochondrial anapleurosis dictates glucose uptake and aerobic glycolysis by blocking MondoA:Mlx-dependent transcriptional activation of TXNIP. We propose that this previously unappreciated coordination between glutamine and glucose utilization defines a metabolic checkpoint that restricts cell growth when subthreshold levels of these essential nutrients are available.

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