PTEN is a tumor suppressor that is often inactivated in cancer and possesses both lipid and protein phosphatase activities. We report the metabolic regulator PDHK1 (pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase1) is a synthetic-essential gene in PTEN-deficient cancer and normal cells. The predominant mechanism of PDHK1 regulation and dependency is the PTEN protein phosphatase dephosphorylates NFκ;B activating protein (NKAP) and limits NFκB activation to suppress expression of PDHK1, a NFκB target gene. Loss of the PTEN protein phosphatase upregulates PDHK1 to drive aerobic glycolysis and induce PDHK1 cellular dependence. PTEN-deficient human tumors harbor increased PDHK1, which is a biomarker of decreased patient survival, establishing clinical relevance. This study uncovers a PTEN-regulated signaling pathway and reveals PDHK1 as a potential target in PTEN-deficient cancers. SIGNIFICANCE The tumor suppressor PTEN is widely inactivated in cancers and tumor syndromes. PTEN antagonizes PI3K/AKT signaling via its lipid phosphatase activity. The modest success of PI3K/AKT inhibition in PTEN-deficient cancer patients provides rationale for identifying other vulnerabilities in PTEN-deficient cancers to improve clinical outcomes. We show that PTEN-deficient cells are uniquely sensitive to PDHK1 inhibition. PTEN and PDHK1 co-suppression reduced colony formation and induced cell death in vitro and tumor regression in vivo. PDHK1 levels were high in PTEN-deficient patient tumors and associated with inferior patient survival, establishing clinical relevance. Our study identifies a PTEN-regulated signaling pathway linking the PTEN protein phosphatase to the metabolic regulator PDHK1 and provides a mechanistic basis for PDHK1 targeting in PTEN-deficient cancers. The copyright holder for this preprint is the author/funder, who has granted bioRxiv a license to display the preprint in perpetuity. All rights reserved. No reuse allowed without permission.
Export Date: 27 November 2022
Correspondence Address: Bivona, T.G.; Department of Medicine, United States; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- protein phosphatase
- synthetic lethality
- Cancer Biology