Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Cell Res, auth.: group Fajas

E2F transcription factor-1 modulates expression of glutamine metabolic genes in mouse embryonic fibroblasts and uterine sarcoma cells

Katharina Huber 1Albert Giralt 2René Dreos 2Helene Michenthaler 3Sarah Geller 2Valentin Barquissau 2Dorian V Ziegler 2Daniele Tavernari 4Hector Gallart-Ayala 5Katarina Krajina 6Katharina Jonas 6Giovanni Ciriello 4Julijana Ivanisevic 5Andreas Prokesch 7Martin Pichler 8Lluis Fajas 9

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Metabolic reprogramming is considered as a hallmark of cancer and is clinically exploited as a novel target for therapy. The E2F transcription factor-1 (E2F1) regulates various cellular processes, including proliferative and metabolic pathways, and acts, depending on the cellular and molecular context, as an oncogene or tumor suppressor. The latter is evident by the observation that E2f1-knockout mice develop spontaneous tumors, including uterine sarcomas. This dual role warrants a detailed investigation of how E2F1 loss impacts metabolic pathways related to cancer progression. Our data indicate that E2F1 binds to the promoter of several glutamine metabolism-related genes. Interestingly, the expression of genes in the glutamine metabolic pathway were increased in mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) lacking E2F1. In addition, we confirm that E2f1-/- MEFs are more efficient in metabolizing glutamine and producing glutamine-derived precursors for proliferation. Mechanistically, we observe a co-occupancy of E2F1 and MYC on glutamine metabolic promoters, increased MYC binding after E2F1 depletion and that silencing of MYC decreased the expression of glutamine-related genes in E2f1-/- MEFs. Analyses of transcriptomic profiles in 29 different human cancers identified uterine sarcoma that showed a negative correlation between E2F1 and glutamine metabolic genes. CRISPR/Cas9 knockout of E2F1 in the uterine sarcoma cell line SK-UT-1 confirmed elevated glutamine metabolic gene expression, increased proliferation and increased MYC binding to glutamine-related promoters upon E2F1 loss. Together, our data suggest a crucial role of E2F1 in energy metabolism and metabolic adaptation in uterine sarcoma cells.