Hypoxia-like signatures induced by BCR-ABL potentially alter the glutamine uptake for maintaining oxidative phosphorylation

Pallavi Sontakke, Katarzyna M. Koczula, Jennifer Jaques, Albertus T.J. Wierenga, Annet Z. Brouwers-Vos, Maurien Pruis, Ulrich L. Günther, Edo Vellenga, Jan Jacob Schuringa

9 Citations (Scopus)


The Warburg effect is probably the most prominent metabolic feature of cancer cells, although little is known about the underlying mechanisms and consequences. Here, we set out to study these features in detail in a number of leukemia backgrounds. The transcriptomes of human CB CD34+ cells transduced with various oncogenes, including BCR-ABL, MLL-AF9, FLT3-ITD, NUP98-HOXA9, STAT5A and KRASG12V were analyzed in detail. Our data indicate that in particular BCR-ABL, KRASG12V and STAT5 could impose hypoxic signaling under normoxic conditions. This coincided with an upregulation of glucose importers SLC2A1/3, hexokinases and HIF1 and 2. NMR-based metabolic profiling was performed in CB CD34+ cells transduced with BCR-ABL versus controls, both cultured under normoxia and hypoxia. Lactate and pyruvate levels were increased in BCR-ABL-expressing cells even under normoxia, coinciding with enhanced glutaminolysis which occurred in an HIF1/ 2-dependent manner. Expression of the glutamine importer SLC1A5 was increased in BCR-ABL+ cells, coinciding with an increased susceptibility to the glutaminase inhibitor BPTES. Oxygen consumption rates also decreased upon BPTES treatment, indicating a glutamine dependency for oxidative phosphorylation. The current study suggests that BCRABL- positive cancer cells make use of enhanced glutamine metabolism to maintain TCA cell cycle activity in glycolytic cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0153226
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 04.2016

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)


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