Shift from stochastic to spatially-ordered expression of serine-glycine synthesis enzymes in 3D microtumors

Manjulata Singh, Katsuhiko Warita, Tomoko Warita, James R. Faeder, Robin E.C. Lee, Shilpa Sant, Zoltán N. Oltvai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Cell-to-cell differences in protein expression in normal tissues and tumors are a common phenomenon, but the underlying principles that govern this heterogeneity are largely unknown. Here, we show that in monolayer cancer cell-line cultures, the expression of the five metabolic enzymes of serine-glycine synthesis (SGS), including its rate-limiting enzyme, phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase (PHGDH), displays stochastic cell-to-cell variation. By contrast, in cancer cell line-derived three-dimensional (3D) microtumors PHGDH expression is restricted to the outermost part of the microtumors' outer proliferative cell layer, while the four other SGS enzymes display near uniform expression throughout the microtumor. A mathematical model suggests that metabolic stress in the microtumor core activates factors that restrict PHGDH expression. Thus, intracellular enzyme expression in growing cell ecosystems can shift to spatially ordered patterns in 3D structured environments due to emergent cell-cell communication, with potential implications for the design of effective anti-metabolic cancer therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9388
JournalScientific reports
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

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    Singh, M., Warita, K., Warita, T., Faeder, J. R., Lee, R. E. C., Sant, S., & Oltvai, Z. N. (2018). Shift from stochastic to spatially-ordered expression of serine-glycine synthesis enzymes in 3D microtumors. Scientific reports, 8(1), [9388]. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-27266-8