UDP-sugar accumulation drives hyaluronan synthesis in breast cancer
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CitationOikari, S. Kettunen, T. Tiainen, S. Häyrinen, J. Masarwah, A. Sudah, M. Sutela, A. Vanninen, R. Tammi, M. Auvinen, P. (2018). UDP-sugar accumulation drives hyaluronan synthesis in breast cancer. MATRIX BIOLOGY, 67, 63-74. 10.1016/j.matbio.2017.12.015.
Increased uptake of glucose, a general hallmark of malignant tumors, leads to an accumulation of intermediate metabolites of glycolysis. We investigated whether the high supply of these intermediates promotes their flow into UDP-sugars, and consequently into hyaluronan, a tumor-promoting matrix molecule. We quantified UDP-N-Acetylglucosamine (UDP-GlcNAc) and UDP-glucuronic acid (UDP-GlcUA) in human breast cancer biopsies, the levels of enzymes contributing to their synthesis, and their association with the hyaluronan accumulation in the tumor. The content of UDP-GlcUA was 4 times, and that of UDP-GlcNAc 12 times higher in the tumors as compared to normal glandular tissue obtained from breast reductions. The surge of UDP-GlcNAc correlated with an elevated mRNA expression of glutamine-fructose-6-phosphate aminotransferase 2 (GFAT2), one of the key enzymes in the biosynthesis of UDP-GlcNAc, and the expression of GFAT1 was also elevated. The contents of both UDP-sugars strongly correlated with tumor hyaluronan levels. Interestingly, hyaluronan content did not correlate with the mRNA levels of the hyaluronan synthases (HAS1–3), thus emphasizing the role of the UDP-sugar substrates of these enzymes. The UDP-sugars showed a trend to higher levels in ductal vs. lobular cancer subtypes. The results reveal for the first time a dramatic increase of UDP-sugars in breast cancer, and suggest that their high supply drives the accumulation of hyaluronan, a known promoter of breast cancer and other malignancies. In general, the study shows how the disturbed glucose metabolism typical for malignant tumors can influence cancer microenvironment through UDP-sugars and hyaluronan.