Research Papers:

The adaptive regulation of thiamine pyrophosphokinase-1 facilitates malignant growth during supplemental thiamine conditions

Hunter C. Jonus, Bradley S. Hanberry, Shivani Khatu, Jaeah Kim, Hendrik Luesch, Long H. Dang, Michael G. Bartlett and Jason A. Zastre _

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Oncotarget. 2018; 9:35422-35438. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.26259

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Hunter C. Jonus1, Bradley S. Hanberry2, Shivani Khatu1, Jaeah Kim1, Hendrik Luesch3, Long H. Dang4, Michael G. Bartlett1 and Jason A. Zastre1

1Department of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, United States of America

2Department of Pediatrics, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, United States of America

3Department of Medicinal Chemistry, College of Pharmacy, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, United States of America

4Division of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Florida Shands Cancer Center, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, United States of America

Correspondence to:

Jason A. Zastre, email: [email protected]

Keywords: thiamine; cancer; hypoxia-inducible factor-1α; reactive oxygen species; thiamine pyrophosphokinase-1

Received: August 22, 2018     Accepted: October 06, 2018     Published: October 23, 2018


Supplemental levels of vitamin B1 (thiamine) have been implicated in tumor progression. Tumor cells adaptively up-regulate thiamine transport during hypoxic stress. Upon uptake, thiamine pyrophosphokinase-1 (TPK1) facilitates the rapid phosphorylation of thiamine into thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP). However, the regulation of TPK1 during hypoxic stress is undefined. Understanding how thiamine homeostasis changes during hypoxia will provide critical insight into the malignant advantage supplemental thiamine may provide cancer cells. Using Western blot analysis and RT-PCR, we have demonstrated the post-transcriptional up-regulation of TPK1 in cancer cells following hypoxic exposure. TPK1 expression was also adaptively up-regulated following alterations of redox status by chemotherapeutic and antioxidant treatments. Although TPK1 was functionally up-regulated by hypoxia, HPLC analysis revealed a reduction in intracellular TPP levels. This loss was reversed by treatment with cell-permeable antioxidants and corresponded with reduced ROS production and enhanced cellular proliferation during supplemental thiamine conditions. siRNA-mediated knockdown of TPK1 directly enhanced basal ROS levels and reduced tumor cell proliferation. These findings suggest that the adaptive regulation of TPK1 may be an essential component in the cellular response to oxidative stress, and that during supplemental thiamine conditions its expression may be exploited by tumor cells for a redox advantage contributing to tumor progression.

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