The hallmark of most cancer cells is the metabolic shift from mitochondrial to glycolytic metabolism for adapting to the surrounding environment. Although epigenetic modification is intimately linked to cancer, the molecular mechanism, by which epigenetic factors regulate cancer metabolism, is poorly understood. Here, we show that lysine-specific demethylase-1 (LSD1, KDM1A) has an essential role in maintaining the metabolic shift in human hepatocellular carcinoma cells. Inhibition of LSD1 reduced glucose uptake and glycolytic activity, with a concurrent activation of mitochondrial respiration. These metabolic changes coexisted with the inactivation of the hypoxia-inducible factor HIF1α, resulting in a decreased expression of GLUT1 and glycolytic enzymes. In contrast, during LSD1 inhibition, a set of mitochondrial metabolism genes was activated with the concomitant increase of methylated histone H3 at lysine 4 in the promoter regions. Consistently, both LSD1 and GLUT1 were significantly overexpressed in carcinoma tissues. These findings demonstrate the epigenetic plasticity of cancer cell metabolism, which involves an LSD1-mediated mechanism.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research