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Mechanism that makes tumor cells sugar addicted discovered

Date:
April 4, 2014
Source:
IDIBELL-Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute
Summary:
Cancer cells feel a special appetite for a type of sugar called glucose, research demonstrated nearly a hundred years ago. The tumor uses glucose like a sports car uses gasoline -- it depends on it to burn faster, to grow and to multiply rapidly. In cancer cells, glucose superaccelerates cell division in what is known as the Warburg effect. New research shows that in one in four human tumors, there is an excess of glucose receptors in the external face of the cell membrane and this protein acts as a magnet attracting all the glucose from the bloodstream.

Left, healthy cells with glucose receptors in red. Right, tumor cells with glucose in red receptors.
Credit: Image courtesy of IDIBELL-Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute

For almost a hundred years ago is known that cancer cells feel a special appetite for a type of sugar called glucose. The tumor uses this molecule is like the gasoline which depends a sports car to burn faster and grows and multiplies rapidly. It is a little cash process from the energy point of view but allows a superaccelerated cancer cell division. It is what is known as the Warburg effect, which was described in 1927.

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Until now little was known about how healthy cells that have a balanced energy consumption depend on this "fast food" calorie in the tumor cell. Today, an article published in Nature Communications led by Manel Esteller, Director of Epigenetics and Cancer Biology, Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL), ICREA researcher and Professor of Genetics at the University of Barcelona, ​​provides an important clue to understand this process. Research shows that in one in four human tumors, there is an excess of glucose receptors in the external face of the cell membrane and this protein acts as a magnet attracting all the glucose from the bloodstream.

"We were looking for genes that did not work in tumor cells and we found an altered one, but unaware what his function. we discovered that it was responsible for removing excess of glucose receptors" explained Esteller . "So what happens is that the gene that should degrade glucose receptor is inactivated in sound condition and quit, this tumor has an overactivation of this receptor that captures all the glucose molecules around it and used to obtain quick energy to proliferate. It is a cancer that has become addicted to this caloric molecule. "


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by IDIBELL-Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Paula Lopez-Serra, Miguel Marcilla, Alberto Villanueva, Antonio Ramos-Fernandez, Anna Palau, Lucνa Leal, Jessica E. Wahi, Fernando Setien-Baranda, Karolina Szczesna, Catia Moutinho, Anna Martinez-Cardus, Holger Heyn, Juan Sandoval, Sara Puertas, August Vidal, Xavier Sanjuan, Eva Martinez-Balibrea, Francesc Viρals, Jose C. Perales, Jesper B. Bramsem, Torben F. Ψrntoft, Claus L. Andersen, Josep Tabernero, Ultan McDermott, Matthew B. Boxer, Matthew G. Vander Heiden, Juan Pablo Albar, Manel Esteller. A DERL3-associated defect in the degradation of SLC2A1 mediates the Warburg effect. Nature Communications, 2014; 5 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms4608

Cite This Page:

IDIBELL-Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute. "Mechanism that makes tumor cells sugar addicted discovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140404092937.htm>.
IDIBELL-Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute. (2014, April 4). Mechanism that makes tumor cells sugar addicted discovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140404092937.htm
IDIBELL-Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute. "Mechanism that makes tumor cells sugar addicted discovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140404092937.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

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