Cancer cells exhibit unregulated growth, altered metabolism, enhanced metastatic potential and altered cell surface glycans. Fueled by oncometabolism and elevated uptake of glucose and glutamine, the hexosamine biosynthetic pathway (HBP) sustains glycosylation in the endomembrane system. In addition, the elevated pools of UDP-GlcNAc drives the O-GlcNAc modification of key targets in the cytoplasm, nucleus and mitochondrion. These targets include transcription factors, kinases, key cytoplasmic enzymes of intermediary metabolism, and electron transport chain complexes. O-GlcNAcylation can thereby alter epigenetics, transcription, signaling, proteostasis, and bioenergetics, key ‘hallmarks of cancer’. In this review, we summarize accumulating evidence that many cancer hallmarks are linked to dysregulation of O-GlcNAc cycling on cancer-relevant targets. We argue that onconutrient and oncometabolite-fueled elevation increases HBP flux and triggers O-GlcNAcylation of key regulatory enzymes in glycolysis, Kreb’s cycle, pentose-phosphate pathway, and the HBP itself. The resulting rerouting of glucose metabolites leads to elevated O-GlcNAcylation of oncogenes and tumor suppressors further escalating elevation in HBP flux creating a ‘vicious cycle’. Downstream, elevated O-GlcNAcylation alters DNA repair and cellular stress pathways which influence oncogenesis. The elevated steady-state levels of O-GlcNAcylated targets found in many cancers may also provide these cells with a selective advantage for sustained growth, enhanced metastatic potential, and immune evasion in the tumor microenvironment.
Journal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 29, 2018
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