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J Biol Chem. 2011 Dec 9;286(49):42626-34. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.282046. Epub 2011 Oct 13.

Comparative metabolic flux profiling of melanoma cell lines: beyond the Warburg effect.

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  • 1Cancer Research Center, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, La Jolla, California 92037, USA.

Abstract

Metabolic rewiring is an established hallmark of cancer, but the details of this rewiring at a systems level are not well characterized. Here we acquire this insight in a melanoma cell line panel by tracking metabolic flux using isotopically labeled nutrients. Metabolic profiling and flux balance analysis were used to compare normal melanocytes to melanoma cell lines in both normoxic and hypoxic conditions. All melanoma cells exhibited the Warburg phenomenon; they used more glucose and produced more lactate than melanocytes. Other changes were observed in melanoma cells that are not described by the Warburg phenomenon. Hypoxic conditions increased fermentation of glucose to lactate in both melanocytes and melanoma cells (the Pasteur effect). However, metabolism was not strictly glycolytic, as the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle was functional in all melanoma lines, even under hypoxia. Furthermore, glutamine was also a key nutrient providing a substantial anaplerotic contribution to the TCA cycle. In the WM35 melanoma line glutamine was metabolized in the "reverse" (reductive) direction in the TCA cycle, particularly under hypoxia. This reverse flux allowed the melanoma cells to synthesize fatty acids from glutamine while glucose was primarily converted to lactate. Altogether, this study, which is the first comprehensive comparative analysis of metabolism in melanoma cells, provides a foundation for targeting metabolism for therapeutic benefit in melanoma.

PMID:
21998308
PMCID:
PMC3234981
DOI:
10.1074/jbc.M111.282046
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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