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Altered propionate metabolism contributes to tumour progression and aggressiveness

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

The alteration of metabolic pathways is a critical strategy for cancer cells to attain the traits necessary for metastasis in disease progression. Here, we find that dysregulation of propionate metabolism produces a pro-aggressive signature in breast and lung cancer cells, increasing their metastatic potential. This occurs through the downregulation of methylmalonyl coenzyme A epimerase (MCEE), mediated by an extracellular signal-regulated kinase 2-driven transcription factor Sp1/early growth response protein 1 transcriptional switch driven by metastatic signalling at its promoter level. The loss of MCEE results in reduced propionate-driven anaplerotic flux and intracellular and intratumoral accumulation of methylmalonic acid, a by-product of propionate metabolism that promotes cancer cell invasiveness. Altogether, we present a previously uncharacterized dysregulation of propionate metabolism as an important contributor to cancer and a valuable potential target in the therapeutic treatment of metastatic carcinomas.
Journal: Nature Metabolism
ISSN: 2522-5812
Issue: 4
Volume: 4
Pages: 435 - 443
Accessibility:Embargoed