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Folate can promote the methionine-dependent reprogramming of glioblastoma cells towards pluripotency

Abstract : Methionine dependency of tumor growth, although not well-understood, is detectable by 11C-methionine positron emission tomography and may contribute to the aggressivity of glioblastomas (GBM) and meningiomas. Cytosolic folate cycle is required for methionine synthesis. Its dysregulation may influence cell reprogramming towards pluripotency. We evaluated methionine-dependent growth of monolayer (ML) cells and stem cell-like tumor spheres (TS) derived from 4 GBM (U251, U87, LN299, T98G) and 1 meningioma (IOMM-LEE) cell lines. Our data showed that for all cell lines studied, exogenous methionine is required for TS formation but not for ML cells proliferation. Furthermore, for GBM cell lines, regardless of the addition of folate cycle substrates (folic acid and formate), the level of 3 folate isoforms, 5-methytetrahydrofolate, 5,10-methenyltetrahydrofolate, and 10-formyltetrahydrofolate, were all downregulated in TS relative to ML cells. Unlike GBM cell lines, in IOMM-LEE cells, 5-methyltetrahydrofolate was actually more elevated in TS than ML, and only 5,10-methenyltetrahydrofolate and 10-formyltetrahydrofolate were downregulated. The functional significance of this variation in folate cycle repression was revealed by the finding that Folic Acid and 5-methyltetrahydrofolate promote the growth of U251 TS but not IOMM-LEE TS. Transcriptome-wide sequencing of U251 cells revealed that DHFR, SHMT1, and MTHFD1 were downregulated in TS vs ML, in concordance with the low activity cytosolic folate cycle observed in U251 TS. In conclusion, we found that a repressed cytosolic folate cycle underlies the methionine dependency of GBM and meningioma cell lines and that 5-methyltetrahydrofolate is a key metabolic switch for glioblastoma TS formation. The finding that folic acid facilitates TS formation, although requiring further validation in diseased human tissues, incites to investigate whether excessive folate intake could promote cancer stem cells formation in GBM patients.
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Contributor : Sébastien Hergalant <>
Submitted on : Thursday, August 8, 2019 - 6:24:56 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, October 13, 2020 - 10:45:57 AM

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Racha Zgheib, Shyue-Fang Battaglia-Hsu, Sébastien Hergalant, Maelle Quéré, Jean-Marc Alberto, et al.. Folate can promote the methionine-dependent reprogramming of glioblastoma cells towards pluripotency. Cell Death and Disease, Nature Publishing Group, 2019, 10 (596), ⟨10.1038/s41419-019-1836-2⟩. ⟨hal-02265213⟩



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