BMC Cancer (2021-02-01)

Reprogramming of glutamine metabolism via glutamine synthetase silencing induces cisplatin resistance in A2780 ovarian cancer cells

  • Jing Guo,
  • Kiyotoshi Satoh,
  • Sho Tabata,
  • Masaru Mori,
  • Masaru Tomita,
  • Tomoyoshi Soga

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 21, no. 1
pp. 1 – 11


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Abstract Background Cisplatin (CDDP) significantly prolongs survival in various cancers, but many patients also develop resistance that results in treatment failure. Thus, this study aimed to elucidate the underlying mechanisms by which ovarian cancer cells acquire CDDP resistance. Methods We evaluated the metabolic profiles in CDDP-sensitive ovarian cancer A2780 cells and CDDP-resistant A2780cis cells using capillary electrophoresis-time-of-flight mass spectrometry (CE-TOFMS). We further examined the expression of glutamine metabolism enzymes using real-time PCR and Western blot analyses. Cell viability was accessed using 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. Results The results showed that levels of glutamine, glutamate, and glutathione (GSH), a key drug resistance mediator synthesized from glutamate, were significantly elevated in A2780cis cells than those in A2780 cells. Furthermore, glutamine starvation decreased the GSH levels and CDDP resistance in A2780cis cells. Interestingly, the expression of glutamine synthetase (GS/GLUL), which synthesizes glutamine from glutamate and thereby negatively regulates GSH production, was almost completely suppressed in resistant A2780cis cells. In addition, treatment of A2780cis cells with 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine, a DNA-demethylating agent, restored GS expression and reduced CDDP resistance. In contrast, GS knockdown in CDDP-sensitive A2780 cells induced CDDP resistance. Conclusions The results indicate that upregulation of GSH synthesis from glutamine via DNA methylation-mediated silencing of GS causes CDDP resistance in A2780cis cells. Therefore, glutamine metabolism could be a novel therapeutic target against CDDP resistance.