skip to main content

Title: DLST-dependence dictates metabolic heterogeneity in TCA-cycle usage among triple-negative breast cancer
Abstract Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is traditionally considered a glycolytic tumor with a poor prognosis while lacking targeted therapies. Here we show that high expression of dihydrolipoamide S-succinyltransferase (DLST), a tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle enzyme, predicts poor overall and recurrence-free survival among TNBC patients. DLST depletion suppresses growth and induces death in subsets of human TNBC cell lines, which are capable of utilizing glutamine anaplerosis. Metabolomics profiling reveals significant changes in the TCA cycle and reactive oxygen species (ROS) related pathways for sensitive but not resistant TNBC cells. Consequently, DLST depletion in sensitive TNBC cells increases ROS levels while N-acetyl-L-cysteine partially rescues cell growth. Importantly, suppression of the TCA cycle through DLST depletion or CPI-613, a drug currently in clinical trials for treating other cancers, decreases the burden and invasion of these TNBC. Together, our data demonstrate differential TCA-cycle usage in TNBC and provide therapeutic implications for the DLST-dependent subsets.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Communications Biology
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract Circulating tumor cell (CTC) clusters mediate metastasis at a higher efficiency and are associated with lower overall survival in breast cancer compared to single cells. Combining single-cell RNA sequencing and protein analyses, here we report the profiles of primary tumor cells and lung metastases of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). ICAM1 expression increases by 200-fold in the lung metastases of three TNBC patient-derived xenografts (PDXs). Depletion of ICAM1 abrogates lung colonization of TNBC cells by inhibiting homotypic tumor cell-tumor cell cluster formation. Machine learning-based algorithms and mutagenesis analyses identify ICAM1 regions responsible for homophilic ICAM1-ICAM1 interactions, thereby directing homotypic tumor cell clustering, as well as heterotypic tumor-endothelial adhesion for trans-endothelial migration. Moreover, ICAM1 promotes metastasis by activating cellular pathways related to cell cycle and stemness. Finally, blocking ICAM1 interactions significantly inhibits CTC cluster formation, tumor cell transendothelial migration, and lung metastasis. Therefore, ICAM1 can serve as a novel therapeutic target for metastasis initiation of TNBC. 
    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    The paucity of targeted therapies for triple‐negative breast cancer (TNBC) causes patients with this aggressive disease to suffer a poor clinical prognosis. A promising target for therapeutic intervention is the Wnt signaling pathway, which is activated in TNBC cells when extracellular Wnt ligands bind overexpressed Frizzled7 (FZD7) transmembrane receptors. This stabilizes intracellular β‐catenin proteins that in turn promote transcription of oncogenes that drive tumor growth and metastasis. To suppress Wnt signaling in TNBC cells, this work develops therapeutic nanoparticles (NPs) functionalized with FZD7 antibodies and β‐catenin small interfering RNAs (siRNAs). The antibodies enable TNBC cell specific binding and inhibit Wnt signaling by locking FZD7 receptors in a ligand unresponsive state, while the siRNAs suppress β‐catenin through RNA interference. Compared to NPs coated with antibodies or siRNAs individually, NPs coated with both agents more potently reduce the expression of several Wnt related genes in TNBC cells, leading to greater inhibition of cell proliferation, migration, and spheroid formation. In two murine models of metastatic TNBC, the dual antibody/siRNA nanocarriers outperformed controls in terms of inhibiting tumor growth, metastasis, and recurrence. These findings demonstrate suppressing Wnt signaling at both the receptor and mRNA levels via antibody/siRNA nanocarriers is a promising approach to combat TNBC.

    more » « less
  3. Hyperactive sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) signaling is associated with a poor prognosis of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). Despite recent evidence that links the S1P receptor 1 (S1P1) to TNBC cell survival, its role in TNBC invasion and the underlying mechanisms remain elusive. Combining analyses of human TNBC cells with zebrafish xenografts, we found that phosphorylation of S1P receptor 1 (S1P1) at threonine 236 (T236) is critical for TNBC dissemination. Compared to luminal breast cancer cells, TNBC cells exhibit a significant increase of phospho-S1P1 T236 but not the total S1P1 levels. Misexpression of phosphorylation-defective S1P1 T236A (alanine) decreases TNBC cell migration in vitro and disease invasion in zebrafish xenografts. Pharmacologic disruption of S1P1 T236 phosphorylation, using either a pan-AKT inhibitor (MK2206) or an S1P1 functional antagonist (FTY720, an FDA-approved drug for treating multiple sclerosis), suppresses TNBC cell migration in vitro and tumor invasion in vivo. Finally, we show that human TNBC cells with AKT activation and elevated phospho-S1P1 T236 are sensitive to FTY720-induced cytotoxic effects. These findings indicate that the AKT-enhanced phosphorylation of S1P1 T236 mediates much of the TNBC invasiveness, providing a potential biomarker to select TNBC patients for the clinical application of FTY720. 
    more » « less
  4. null (Ed.)
    The basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factors inhibitor of differentiation 1 (Id1) and inhibitor of differentiation 3 (Id3) (referred to as Id) have an important role in maintaining the cancer stem cell (CSC) phenotype in the triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) subtype. In this study, we aimed to understand the molecular mechanism underlying Id control of CSC phenotype and exploit it for therapeutic purposes. We used two different TNBC tumor models marked by either Id depletion or Id1 expression in order to identify Id targets using a combinatorial analysis of RNA sequencing and microarray data. Phenotypically, Id protein depletion leads to cell cycle arrest in the G0/G1 phase, which we demonstrate is reversible. In order to understand the molecular underpinning of Id proteins on the cell cycle phenotype, we carried out a large-scale small interfering RNA (siRNA) screen of 61 putative targets identified by using genomic analysis of two Id TNBC tumor models. Kinesin Family Member 11 (Kif11) and Aurora Kinase A (Aurka), which are critical cell cycle regulators, were further validated as Id targets. Interestingly, unlike in Id depletion conditions, Kif11 and Aurka knockdown leads to a G2/M arrest, suggesting a novel Id cell cycle mechanism, which we will explore in further studies. Therapeutic targeting of Kif11 to block the Id1–Kif11 axis was carried out using small molecular inhibitor ispinesib. We finally leveraged our findings to target the Id/Kif11 pathway using the small molecule inhibitor ispinesib in the Id+ CSC results combined with chemotherapy for better response in TNBC subtypes. This work opens up exciting new possibilities of targeting Id targets such as Kif11 in the TNBC subtype, which is currently refractory to chemotherapy. Targeting the Id1–Kif11 molecular pathway in the Id1+ CSCs in combination with chemotherapy and small molecular inhibitor results in more effective debulking of TNBC. 
    more » « less
  5. Abstract High-risk neuroblastoma remains therapeutically challenging to treat, and the mechanisms promoting disease aggression are poorly understood. Here, we show that elevated expression of dihydrolipoamide S-succinyltransferase (DLST) predicts poor treatment outcome and aggressive disease in patients with neuroblastoma. DLST is an E2 component of the α-ketoglutarate (αKG) dehydrogenase complex, which governs the entry of glutamine into the tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA) for oxidative decarboxylation. During this irreversible step, αKG is converted into succinyl-CoA, producing NADH for oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS). Utilizing a zebrafish model of MYCN-driven neuroblastoma, we demonstrate that even modest increases in DLST expression promote tumor aggression, while monoallelic dlst loss impedes disease initiation and progression. DLST depletion in human MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma cells minimally affected glutamine anaplerosis and did not alter TCA cycle metabolites other than αKG. However, DLST loss significantly suppressed NADH production and impaired OXPHOS, leading to growth arrest and apoptosis of neuroblastoma cells. In addition, multiple inhibitors targeting the electron transport chain, including the potent IACS-010759 that is currently in clinical testing for other cancers, efficiently reduced neuroblastoma proliferation in vitro. IACS-010759 also suppressed tumor growth in zebrafish and mouse xenograft models of high-risk neuroblastoma. Together, these results demonstrate that DLST promotes neuroblastoma aggression and unveils OXPHOS as an essential contributor to high-risk neuroblastoma. Significance: These findings demonstrate a novel role for DLST in neuroblastoma aggression and identify the OXPHOS inhibitor IACS-010759 as a potential therapeutic strategy for this deadly disease. 
    more » « less