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EMBO J. 2014 Jul 1;33(13):1454-73. doi: 10.15252/embj.201488598. Epub 2014 May 13.

Wnt signaling directs a metabolic program of glycolysis and angiogenesis in colon cancer.

Author information

1
Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA.
2
Laboratory of Fluorescence Dynamics, Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA.
3
Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA.
4
Departments of Pathology, Pediatrics, and Bioengineering, David Geffen School of Medicine University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
5
Department of Epidemiology, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA.
6
Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA marian.waterman@uci.edu.

Abstract

Much of the mechanism by which Wnt signaling drives proliferation during oncogenesis is attributed to its regulation of the cell cycle. Here, we show how Wnt/β-catenin signaling directs another hallmark of tumorigenesis, namely Warburg metabolism. Using biochemical assays and fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) to probe metabolism in vitro and in living tumors, we observe that interference with Wnt signaling in colon cancer cells reduces glycolytic metabolism and results in small, poorly perfused tumors. We identify pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 1 (PDK1) as an important direct target within a larger gene program for metabolism. PDK1 inhibits pyruvate flux to mitochondrial respiration and a rescue of its expression in Wnt-inhibited cancer cells rescues glycolysis as well as vessel growth in the tumor microenvironment. Thus, we identify an important mechanism by which Wnt-driven Warburg metabolism directs the use of glucose for cancer cell proliferation and links it to vessel delivery of oxygen and nutrients.

KEYWORDS:

Wnt; angiogenesis; colon cancer; fluorescence lifetime imaging; metabolism

PMID:
24825347
PMCID:
PMC4194089
DOI:
10.15252/embj.201488598
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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