A positive feedback between cholesterol synthesis and the pentose phosphate pathway rather than glycolysis promotes hepatocellular carcinoma

Junjie Hu, Ningning Liu, David Song, Clifford J. Steer, Guohua Zheng, Guisheng Song

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Hepatic cholesterol accumulation and hypercholesterolemia are implicated in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, the therapeutic effects of cholesterol-lowering drugs on HCC are controversial, indicating that the relationship between cholesterol metabolism and HCC is more complex than anticipated. A positive feedback between cholesterol synthesis and the pentose phosphate pathway (PPP) rather than glycolysis was formed in tumors of c-Myc mice. Blocking the PPP prevented cholesterol synthesis and thereby HCC in c-Myc mice, while ablating glycolysis did not affect cholesterol synthesis and failed to prevent c-Myc-induced HCC. Unexpectedly, HMGCR (3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase) and G6PD (glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase), the rate-limiting enzymes of cholesterol synthesis and the PPP, were identified as direct targets of microRNA-206. By targeting Hmgcr and G6pd, microRNA-206 disrupted the positive feedback and fully prevented HCC in c-Myc mice, while 100% of control mice died of HCC. Disrupting the interaction of microRNA-206 with Hmgcr and G6pd restored cholesterol synthesis, the PPP and HCC growth that was inhibited by miR-206. This study identified a previously undescribed positive feedback loop between cholesterol synthesis and the PPP, which drives HCC, while microRNA-206 prevents HCC by disrupting this loop. Cholesterol synthesis as a process rather than cholesterol itself is the major contributor of HCC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2892-2904
Number of pages13
JournalOncogene
Volume42
Issue number39
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 22 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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