American Association for Cancer Research
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FigureS1-S11 from ASS1-Mediated Reductive Carboxylation of Cytosolic Glutamine Confers Ferroptosis Resistance in Cancer Cells

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-03, 16:00 authored by Qiangsheng Hu, Jie Dai, Zheng Zhang, Huansha Yu, Jing Zhang, Xinsheng Zhu, Yi Qin, Lele Zhang, Peng Zhang

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Induction of ferroptosis, a recently defined form of nonapoptotic cell death caused by iron-dependent lipid peroxidation, has emerged as an anticancer strategy. Erastin is a ferroptosis activator that promotes cell death that not only depends on the depletion of cellular cysteine but also relies on mitochondrial oxidative metabolism of glutamine. Here, we demonstrate that ASS1, a key enzyme involved in the urea cycle, plays a crucial role in ferroptosis resistance. Loss of ASS1 increased the sensitivity of non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells to erastin in vitro and decreased tumor growth in vivo. Metabolomics analysis with stable isotope-labeled glutamine showed that ASS1 promotes reductive carboxylation of cytosolic glutamine and compromises the oxidative tricarboxylic acid cycle from glutamine anaplerosis, reducing mitochondrial-derived lipid reactive oxygen species. Moreover, transcriptome sequencing showed that ASS1 activates the mTORC1–SREBP1–SCD5 axis to promote de novo monounsaturated fatty acid synthesis by using acetyl-CoA derived from the glutamine reductive pathway. Treating ASS1-deficient NSCLC cells with erastin combined with arginine deprivation significantly enhanced cell death compared with either treatment alone. Collectively, these results reveal a previously unknown regulatory role of ASS1 in ferroptosis resistance and provide a potential therapeutic target for ASS1-deficient NSCLC. ASS1 promotes reductive carboxylation of glutamine and confers ferroptosis resistance, providing multiple treatment options for ASS1-deficient non–small cell lung cancer.

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