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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 55-62

Identification and characterization of glycine decarboxylase as a direct target of snail in the epithelial–mesenchymal transition of cancer cells

1 Department of Pathology, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI, USA
2 Karmanos Cancer Institute, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI, USA
3 Department of Pathology; Cardiovascular Research Institute, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI, USA

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Jian Wang
6135 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48202
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/tme.tme_8_18

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Context/Aims: Metabolic reprogramming and cellular plasticity drive tumorigenesis. However, how these cellular events collectively contribute to the oncogenic process is poorly understood. Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), a fundamental mechanism of cellular plasticity, is governed by the EMT transcription repressors such as Snail. In the present study, through establishment and characterization of inducible overexpression of Snail in A549 lung cancer cells, we aim to define the metabolic reprogramming in response to Snail in the EMT of lung cancer cells. Methods/Results: Our metabolomic analysis suggests that forced expression of Snail accompanied reduced diversion of glycolytic metabolites to the serine/glycine metabolic shunt, a critical metabolic branch that distributes glucose catabolic intermediates to the major anabolic pathways. Our gene expression profiling and molecular characterization revealed that Snail actively suppressed the expression of glycine decarboxylase (GLDC), a key enzyme on the serine/glycine metabolic shunt, through binding to an evolutionarily conserved E-box motif and thereby inhibiting the promoter of the GLDC gene. Besides, knockdown of GLDC led to a cellular function shift from proliferation to migration. Conclusion: This study has revealed a novel molecular link that integrates the serine/glycine metabolism with the Snail-mediated EMT program in cancer cells.

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