Hypoxia is a universal driver of aggressive tumor behavior, but the underlying mechanisms are not completely understood. Using a phosphoproteomics screen, we now show that active Akt accumulates in the mitochondria during hypoxia and phosphorylates pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 1 (PDK1) on Thr346 to inactivate the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex. In turn, this pathway switches tumor metabolism toward glycolysis, antagonizes apoptosis and autophagy, dampens oxidative stress, and maintains tumor cell proliferation in the face of severe hypoxia. Mitochondrial Akt-PDK1 signaling correlates with unfavorable prognostic markers and shorter survival in glioma patients and may provide an "actionable" therapeutic target in cancer.
Recommended CitationChae, Young Chan; Vaira, Valentina; Caino, M. Cecilia; Tang, Hsin-Yao; Seo, Jae Ho; Kossenkov, Andrew V.; Ottobrini, Luisa; Martelli, Cristina; Lucignani, Giovanni; Bertolini, Irene; Locatelli, Marco; Bryant, Kelly G.; Ghosh, Jagadish C.; Lisanti, Sofia; Ku, Bonsu; Bosari, Silvano; Languino, Lucia R.; Speicher, David W.; and Altieri, Dario C., "Mitochondrial Akt Regulation of Hypoxic Tumor Reprogramming." (2016). Department of Cancer Biology Faculty Papers. Paper 127.
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