Posttranslational regulation of PGC-1α and its implication in cancer metabolism

Xiangjian Luo, Chaoliang Liao, Jing Quan, Can Cheng, Xu Zhao, Ann M. Bode, Ya Cao

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Deregulation of cellular metabolism is well established in cancer. The mitochondria are dynamic organelles and act as the center stage for energy metabolism. Central to mitochondrial regulatory network is peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ coactivator 1a (PGC-1α), which serves as a master regulator of mitochondrial proliferation and metabolism. The activity and stability of PGC-1α are subject to dynamic and versatile posttranslational modifications including phosphorylation, ubiquitination, methylation and acetylation in response to metabolic stress and other environmental signals. In this review, we describe the structure of PGC-1α. Then, we discuss recent advances in the posttranslational regulatory machinery of PGC-1α, which affects its transcriptional activity, stability and organelle localization. Furthermore, we address the important roles of PGC-1α in tumorigenesis and malignancy. Finally, we also mention the clinical therapeutic potentials of PGC-1α modulators. A better understanding of the elegant function of PGC-1α in cancer progression could provide novel insights into therapeutic interventions through the targeting of PGC-1α signaling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1475-1483
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 15 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Key words: PGC-1α, posttranslational modifications, cancer metabolism Conflict of interest: No potential conflicts of interest were disclosed. *C.L. and J.Q. contributed equally to this work Grant sponsor: The National Key Research and Development Program of China; Grant number: 2016YFC0902000; Grant sponsor: National Natural Science Foundation of China; Grant numbers: 81573014, 81874195; Grant sponsor: the Natural Science Foundation of Hunan Province; Grant number: 2016JJ2171; Grant sponsor: the Open-End Fund for the Valuable and Precision Instruments of Central South University; Grant number: CSUZC201842 DOI: 10.1002/ijc.32253 This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes. History: Received 10 Nov 2018; Accepted 4 Mar 2019; Online 8 Mar 2019. Correspondence to: Xiangjian Luo, Key Laboratory of Carcinogenesis and Invasion, Chinese Ministry of Education, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, Hunan 410078, China, E-mail:

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Authors. International Journal of Cancer published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of UICC


  • PGC-1α
  • cancer metabolism
  • posttranslational modifications


Dive into the research topics of 'Posttranslational regulation of PGC-1α and its implication in cancer metabolism'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this