Alternative splicing at the human glucuronosyltransferase 1 gene locus (UGT1) produces alternate isoforms UGT1A_i2s that control glucuronidation activity through protein-protein interactions. Here, we hypothesized that UGT1A_i2s function into a complex protein network connecting other metabolic pathways with influence on cancer cell metabolism. This is based on a pathway enrichment analysis of proteomic data that identified several high-confidence candidate interaction proteins of UGT1A_i2 proteins in human tissues, namely the rate-limiting enzyme of glycolysis pyruvate kinase (PKM), which plays a critical role in cancer cell metabolism and tumor growth. The partnership of UGT1A_i2 and PKM2 was confirmed by co-immunoprecipitation in the HT115 colon cancer cells and was supported by a partial co-localization of these two proteins. In support of a functional role for this partnership, depletion of UGT1A_i2 proteins in HT115 cells enforced the Warburg effect with higher glycolytic rate at the expense of mitochondrial respiration, and led to lactate accumulation. Untargeted metabolomics further revealed a significantly altered cellular content of 58 metabolites including many intermediates derived from the glycolysis and TCA cycle pathways. These metabolic changes were associated with a greater migration potential. The potential relevance of our observations is supported by the down-regulation of UGT1A_i2s mRNA in colon tumors compared to normal tissues. Alternate UGT1A variants may thus be part of the expanding compendium of metabolic pathways involved in cancer biology directly contributing to the oncogenic phenotype of colon cancer cells. Findings uncover new aspects of UGT functions diverging from their transferase activity.
- The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics