Intracellular citrate accumulation by oxidized ATM-mediated metabolism reprogramming via PFKP and CS enhances hypoxic breast cancer cell invasion and metastasis

Meixi Peng, Dan Yang, Yixuan Hou, Shuiqing Liu, Maojia Zhao, Yilu Qin, Rui Chen, Yong Teng, Manran Liu

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3 Scopus citations


Citrate, a substance being related to de novo fatty acid synthesis and tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, has a pivotal role in cell survival. However, the molecular mechanisms that regulate intracellular citrate in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), especially under hypoxic condition, remain poorly understood. Here we find that hypoxia (1% O2) induces DNA damage-independent ATM activation (oxidized ATM) and suppression of oxidized ATM reduces intracellular citrate via decreasing the levels of phosphofructokinase (PFKP) and citrate synthase (CS), two key glucose metabolism-associated enzymes. Mechanistically, PFKP is regulated by HIF1A at the translational level, whereas CS is of posttranscriptional regulation by UBR5-mediated ubiquitination. Interestingly, accumulation of citrate in cytoplasm or exogenous citrate significantly enhances cell migration, invasion, and metastasis of hypoxic TNBC cells in vitro and in mice xenografts. The underlying mechanism mainly involves citrate-stimulated activation of the AKT/ERK/MMP2/9 signaling axis. Our findings unravel a novel function of oxidized ATM in promoting migration, invasion, and metastasis of TNBC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number228
JournalCell Death and Disease
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology
  • Cancer Research

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