PUBLICATION

Li, B. et al. Fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase opposes renal carcinoma progression. Nature 513, 251–255 (2014).

Clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC), the most common form of kidney cancer, is characterized by elevated glycogen levels and fat deposition. These consistent metabolic alterations are associated with normoxic stabilization of hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs) secondary to von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) mutations that occur in over 90% of ccRCC tumours. However, kidney-specific VHL deletion in mice fails to elicit ccRCC-specific metabolic phenotypes and tumour formation, suggesting that additional mechanisms are essential. Recent large-scale sequencing analyses revealed the loss of several chromatin remodelling enzymes in a subset of ccRCC (these included polybromo-1, SET domain containing 2 and BRCA1-associated protein-1, among others), indicating that epigenetic perturbations are probably important contributors to the natural history of this disease. Here we used an integrative approach comprising pan-metabolomic profiling and metabolic gene set analysis and determined that the gluconeogenic enzyme fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase 1 (FBP1) is uniformly depleted in over six hundred ccRCC tumours examined. Notably, the human FBP1 locus resides on chromosome 9q22, the loss of which is associated with poor prognosis for ccRCC patients. Our data further indicate that FBP1 inhibits ccRCC progression through two distinct mechanisms. First, FBP1 antagonizes glycolytic flux in renal tubular epithelial cells, the presumptive ccRCC cell of origin, thereby inhibiting a potential Warburg effect. Second, in pVHL (the protein encoded by the VHL gene)-deficient ccRCC cells, FBP1 restrains cell proliferation, glycolysis and the pentose phosphate pathway in a catalytic-activity-independent manner, by inhibiting nuclear HIF function via direct interaction with the HIF inhibitory domain. This unique dual function of the FBP1 protein explains its ubiquitous loss in ccRCC, distinguishing FBP1 from previously identified tumour suppressors that are not consistently mutated in all tumours.

Keywords: Animals, Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors, Carcinoma, Renal Cell, Cell Line, Tumor, Cell Proliferation, Disease Progression, Epithelial Cells, Fructose-Bisphosphatase, Glycolysis, Humans, Kidney Neoplasms, Models, Molecular, NADP, Protein Structure, Tertiary Swine.

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