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Nature. 2015 Apr 16;520(7547):363-7. doi: 10.1038/nature14363. Epub 2015 Apr 8.

SHMT2 drives glioma cell survival in ischaemia but imposes a dependence on glycine clearance.

Author information

1
1] Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Nine Cambridge Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142, USA [2] Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA [3] The David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA [4] Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA [5] Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, Seven Cambridge Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142, USA.
2
1] The David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA [2] Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA [3] Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, Seven Cambridge Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142, USA.
3
Human Metabolome Technologies, Inc., Tsuruoka 997-0052, Japan.
4
1] Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Nine Cambridge Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142, USA [2] Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA [3] The David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA [4] Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA [5] Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, Seven Cambridge Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142, USA [6] Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA.
5
Human Metabolome Technologies America, Inc., Boston, Massachusetts 02134, USA.
6
1] Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Nine Cambridge Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142, USA [2] Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.
7
1] Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA [2] Department of Pathology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA [3] Department of Pathology, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.
8
Department of Pathology, NYU Langone Medical Center and Medical School, New York, New York 10016, USA.
9
1] The David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA [2] Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA [3] Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, Seven Cambridge Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142, USA [4] Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA.

Abstract

Cancer cells adapt their metabolic processes to support rapid proliferation, but less is known about how cancer cells alter metabolism to promote cell survival in a poorly vascularized tumour microenvironment. Here we identify a key role for serine and glycine metabolism in the survival of brain cancer cells within the ischaemic zones of gliomas. In human glioblastoma multiforme, mitochondrial serine hydroxymethyltransferase (SHMT2) and glycine decarboxylase (GLDC) are highly expressed in the pseudopalisading cells that surround necrotic foci. We find that SHMT2 activity limits that of pyruvate kinase (PKM2) and reduces oxygen consumption, eliciting a metabolic state that confers a profound survival advantage to cells in poorly vascularized tumour regions. GLDC inhibition impairs cells with high SHMT2 levels as the excess glycine not metabolized by GLDC can be converted to the toxic molecules aminoacetone and methylglyoxal. Thus, SHMT2 is required for cancer cells to adapt to the tumour environment, but also renders these cells sensitive to glycine cleavage system inhibition.

PMID:
25855294
PMCID:
PMC4533874
DOI:
10.1038/nature14363
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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