Glutaminase: A Hot Spot For Regulation Of Cancer Cell Metabolism?
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Received: December 6, 2010, Accepted: December 6, 2010, Published: December 9, 2010Cancer cells re-program their metabolic machinery in order to satisfy their bioenergetic and biosynthetic requirements. A critical aspect of the re-programming of cancer cell metabolism involves changes in the glycolytic pathway (referred to as the "Warburg effect"). As an outcome of these changes, much of the pyruvate generated via the glycolytic pathway is converted to lactic acid, rather than being used to produce acetyl-CoA and ultimately, the citrate which enters the citric acid cycle. In order to compensate for these changes and to help maintain a functioning citric acid cycle, cancer cells often rely on elevated glutamine metabolism. Recently, we have found that this is achieved through a marked elevation of glutaminase activity in cancer cells. Here we further consider these findings and the possible mechanisms by which this important metabolic activity is regulated.
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