DOI: 10.1101/459602Nov 1, 2018Paper

Cysteine dioxygenase 1 is a metabolic liability for non-small cell lung cancer

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Yun Pyo KangGina M DeNicola


NRF2 is emerging as a major regulator of cellular metabolism. However, most studies have been performed in cancer cells, where co-occurring mutations and tumor selective pressures complicate the influence of NRF2 on metabolism. Here we use genetically engineered, non-transformed primary cells to isolate the most immediate effects of NRF2 on cellular metabolism. We find that NRF2 promotes the accumulation of intracellular cysteine and engages the cysteine homeostatic control mechanism mediated by cysteine dioxygenase 1 (CDO1), which catalyzes the irreversible metabolism of cysteine to cysteine sulfinic acid (CSA). Notably, CDO1 is preferentially silenced by promoter methylation in non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC) harboring mutations in KEAP1, the negative regulator of NRF2. CDO1 silencing promotes proliferation of NSCLC by limiting the futile metabolism of cysteine to the wasteful and toxic byproducts CSA and sulfite, and depletion of cellular NADPH. Thus, CDO1 is a metabolic liability for NSCLC cells with high intracellular cysteine, particularly NRF2/KEAP1 mutant cells.

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