Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Contributes to Drug Resistance of Lung Cancer Cells Through Epithelial Mesenchymal Transition

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Cevatemre B., ULUKAYA E., DERE E., Dilege S., Acilan C.

FRONTIERS IN CELL AND DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY, vol.9, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 9
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.3389/fcell.2021.738916
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, BIOSIS, EMBASE, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Keywords: epithelial mesenchymal transition, lung cancer, drug resistance, pyruvate dehydrogenase complex, cancer metabolism, DECREASED EXPRESSION, GROWTH-FACTOR, COLORECTAL-CANCER, PROMOTES, PATHWAY, COMPLEX, PDHA1, EMT, KINASE, CHEMORESISTANCE
  • Bursa Uludag University Affiliated: Yes


Recently, there has been a growing interest on the role of mitochondria in metastatic cascade. Several reports have shown the preferential utilization of glycolytic pathway instead of mitochondrial respiration for energy production and the pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) has been considered to be a contributor to this switch in some cancers. Since epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT) is proposed to be one of the significant mediators of metastasis, the molecular connections between cancer cell metabolism and EMT may reveal underlying mechanisms and improve our understanding on metastasis. In order to explore a potential role for PDH inhibition on EMT and associated drug resistance, we took both pharmacological and genetic approaches, and selectively inhibited or knocked down PDHA1 by using Cpi613 and shPDHA1, respectively. We found that both approaches triggered morphological changes and characteristics of EMT (increase in mesenchymal markers). This change was accompanied by enhanced wound healing and an increase in migration. Interestingly, cells were more resistant to many of the clinically used chemotherapeutics following PDH inhibition or PDHA1 knockdown. Furthermore, the TGF beta RI (known as a major inducer of the EMT) inhibitor (SB-431542) together with the PDHi, was effective in reversing EMT. In conclusion, interfering with PDH induced EMT, and more importantly resulted in chemoresistance. Therefore, our study demonstrates the need for careful consideration of PDH-targeting approaches in cancer treatment.