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Mol Cells. 2013 Apr;35(4):335-41. doi: 10.1007/s10059-013-2319-4. Epub 2013 Mar 18.

Metabolic signature genes associated with susceptibility to pyruvate kinase, muscle type 2 gene ablation in cancer cells.

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Medical Genomics Research Center, Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Daejeon 305-806, Korea.


Pyruvate kinase, muscle type 2 (PKM2), is a key factor in the aerobic glycolysis of cancer cells. In our experiments, liver cancer cell lines exhibited a range of sensitivity to PKM2 knockdown-mediated growth inhibition. We speculated that this differential sensitivity is attributable to the variable dependency on glycolysis for the growth of different cell lines. Transcriptome data revealed overexpression of a glucose transporter (GLUT3) and a lactate transporter (MCT4) genes in PKM2 knockdown-sensitive cells. PKM2 knockdown-resistant cells expressed high levels of the lactate dehydrogenase B (LDHB) and glycine decarboxylase (GLDC) genes. Concordant with the gene expression results, PKM2 knockdown-sensitive cells generated high levels of lactate. In addition, ATP production was significantly reduced in the PKM2 knockdown-sensitive cells treated with a glucose analog, indicative of dependency of their cellular energetics on lactate-producing glycolysis. The PKM2 knockdown-resistant cells were further subdivided into less glycolytic and more (glycolysis branch pathway-dependent) glycolytic groups. Our findings collectively support the utility of PKM2 as a therapeutic target for high lactate-producing glycolytic hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

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