AKT supports the metabolic fitness of multiple myeloma cells by restricting FOXO activity

Timon A Bloedjes, Guus de Wilde, Gerarda H Khan, Timothy Cody Ashby, John D Shaughnessy, Fenghuang Zhan, Riekelt H Houtkooper, Richard J Bende, Carel J M van Noesel, Marcel Spaargaren, Jeroen Ej Guikema

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Metabolic alterations are important cancer-associated features that allow cancer cell transformation and their survival under stress conditions. Multiple myeloma (MM) plasma cells show increased glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS), characteristics associated with recurrent genetic aberrations that drive the proliferation and survival of MM cells. The protein kinase B/AKT acts as a central node in cellular metabolism and is constitutively active in MM cells. Despite the known role of AKT in modulating cellular metabolism, little is known about the downstream factors of AKT that control the metabolic adaptability of MM cells. Here, we demonstrate that negative regulation of the forkhead box O (FOXO) transcription factors (TF) by AKT is crucial to prevent metabolic shutdown in MM cells, thus contributing to their metabolic adaptability. Our results demonstrate that the expression of several key metabolic genes involved in glycolysis, the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle and OXPHOS, are repressed by FOXO TFs. Moreover, the FOXO-dependent repression of glycolysis- and TCA-associated genes correlates with a favorable prognosis in a large MM patient cohort. Our data suggest that repression of FOXO by AKT is essential to sustain glycolysis and the TCA cycle activity in MM cells, and as such predicts patient survival.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBlood advances
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Nov 2022

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