6-Phosphofructo-2-kinase (PFKFB3) promotes cell cycle progression and suppresses apoptosis via Cdk1-mediated phosphorylation of p27

YALÇIN A., Clem B. F., Imbert-Fernandez Y., Ozcan S. C., Peker S., O'Neal J., ...More

CELL DEATH & DISEASE, vol.5, 2014 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 5
  • Publication Date: 2014
  • Doi Number: 10.1038/cddis.2014.292
  • Journal Name: CELL DEATH & DISEASE
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Bursa Uludag University Affiliated: Yes


The control of glucose metabolism and the cell cycle must be coordinated in order to guarantee sufficient ATP and anabolic substrates at distinct phases of the cell cycle. The family of 6-phosphofructo-2-kinase/fructose-2,6-bisphosphatases (PFKFB1-4) are well established regulators of glucose metabolism via their synthesis of fructose-2,6-bisphosphate (F2,6BP), a potent allosteric activator of 6-phosphofructo-1-kinase (Pfk-1). PFKFB3 is overexpressed in human cancers, regulated by HIF-1 alpha, Akt and PTEN, and required for the survival and growth of multiple cancer types. Although most functional studies of the role of PFKFB3 in cancer progression have invoked its well-recognized function in the regulation of glycolysis, recent observations have established that PFKFB3 also traffics to the nucleus and that its product, F2,6BP, activates cyclin-dependent kinases (Cdks). In particular, F2,6BP stimulates the Cdk-mediated phosphorylation of the Cip/Kip protein p27 (threonine 187), which in turn results in p27's ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation. As p27 is a potent suppressor of the G1/S transition and activator of apoptosis, we hypothesized that the known requirement of PFKFB3 for cell cycle progression and prevention of apoptosis may be partly due to the ability of F2,6BP to activate Cdks. In this study, we demonstrate that siRNA silencing of endogenous PFKFB3 inhibits Cdk1 activity, which in turn stabilizes p27 protein levels causing cell cycle arrest at G1/S and increased apoptosis in HeLa cells. Importantly, we demonstrate that the increase in apoptosis and suppression of the G1/S transition caused by siRNA silencing of PFKFB3 expression is reversed by co-siRNA silencing of p27. Taken together with prior publications, these observations support a model whereby PFKFB3 and F2,6BP function not only as regulators of Pfk-1 but also of Cdk1 activity, and therefore serve to couple glucose metabolism with cell proliferation and survival in transformed cells.