- Metabolic reprogramming provides transformed cells with proliferative and/or survival advantages. Capitalizing on this therapeutically, however, has been only moderately successful because of the relatively small magnitude of these differences and because cancers may further adapt their metabolism to evade metabolic pathway inhibition. Mice lacking the peroxisomal bifunctional enzyme enoyl-CoA hydratase/3-hydroxyacyl CoA dehydrogenase (Ehhadh) and supplemented with the 12-carbon fatty acid lauric acid (C12) accumulate the toxic metabolite dodecanedioic acid (DDDA), which causes acute hepatocyte necrosis and liver failure.
- Analogous to the c-Myc (Myc)/Max family of bHLH-ZIP transcription factors, there exists a parallel regulatory network of structurally and functionally related proteins with Myc-like functions. Two related Myc-like paralogs, termed MondoA and MondoB/carbohydrate response element–binding protein (ChREBP), up-regulate gene expression in heterodimeric association with the bHLH-ZIP Max-like factor Mlx. Myc is necessary to support liver cancer growth, but not for normal hepatocyte proliferation. Here, we investigated ChREBP's role in these processes and its relationship to Myc.
- Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a common cancer that frequently overexpresses the c-Myc (Myc) oncoprotein. Using a mouse model of Myc-induced HCC, we studied the metabolic, biochemical, and molecular changes accompanying HCC progression, regression, and recurrence. These involved altered rates of pyruvate and fatty acid β-oxidation and the likely re-directing of glutamine into biosynthetic rather than energy-generating pathways. Initial tumors also showed reduced mitochondrial mass and differential contributions of electron transport chain complexes I and II to respiration.
- Hepatoblastoma (HB) is associated with aberrant activation of the β-catenin and Hippo/YAP signaling pathways. Overexpression of mutant β-catenin and YAP in mice induces HBs that express high levels of c-Myc (Myc). In light of recent observations that Myc is unnecessary for long-term hepatocyte proliferation, we have now examined its role in HB pathogenesis using the above model. Although Myc was found to be dispensable for in vivo HB initiation, it was necessary to sustain rapid tumor growth. Gene expression profiling identified key molecular differences between myc+/+ (WT) and myc−/− (KO) hepatocytes and HBs that explain these behaviors.