A driver role for GABA metabolism in controlling stem and proliferative cell state through GHB production in glioma

Elias A. El-Habr, Luiz G. Dubois, Fanny Burel-Vandenbos, Alexandra Bogeas, Joanna Lipecka, Laurent Turchi, François Xavier Lejeune, Paulo Lucas Cerqueira Coehlo, Tomohiro Yamaki, Bryan M. Wittmann, Mohamed Fareh, Emna Mahfoudhi, Maxime Janin, Ashwin Narayanan, Ghislaine Morvan-Dubois, Charlotte Schmitt, Maité Verreault, Lisa Oliver, Ariane Sharif, Johan PalludBertrand Devaux, Stéphanie Puget, Penelope Korkolopoulou, Pascale Varlet, Chris Ottolenghi, Isabelle Plo, Vivaldo Moura-Neto, Thierry Virolle, Hervé Chneiweiss*, Marie Pierre Junier

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Cell populations with differing proliferative, stem-like and tumorigenic states co-exist in most tumors and especially malignant gliomas. Whether metabolic variations can drive this heterogeneity by controlling dynamic changes in cell states is unknown. Metabolite profiling of human adult glioblastoma stem-like cells upon loss of their tumorigenicity revealed a switch in the catabolism of the GABA neurotransmitter toward enhanced production and secretion of its by-product GHB (4-hydroxybutyrate). This switch was driven by succinic semialdehyde dehydrogenase (SSADH) downregulation. Enhancing GHB levels via SSADH downregulation or GHB supplementation triggered cell conversion into a less aggressive phenotypic state. GHB affected adult glioblastoma cells with varying molecular profiles, along with cells from pediatric pontine gliomas. In all cell types, GHB acted by inhibiting α-ketoglutarate-dependent Ten–eleven Translocations (TET) activity, resulting in decreased levels of the 5-hydroxymethylcytosine epigenetic mark. In patients, low SSADH expression was correlated with high GHB/α-ketoglutarate ratios, and distinguished weakly proliferative/differentiated glioblastoma territories from proliferative/non-differentiated territories. Our findings support an active participation of metabolic variations in the genesis of tumor heterogeneity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)645-660
Number of pages16
JournalActa Neuropathologica
Volume133
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • 5-hmC
  • ALDH5A1
  • Brain cancer
  • Cancer stem cell
  • DIPG
  • GABA
  • Valproate

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