Glutaminase Isoenzymes as Key Regulators in Metabolic and Oxidative Stress Against Cancer

Author(s): J.M. Mates, J.A. Segura, M. Martin-Rufian, J.A. Campos-Sandoval, F.J. Alonso, J. Marquez

Journal Name: Current Molecular Medicine

Volume 13 , Issue 4 , 2013

Become EABM
Become Reviewer
Call for Editor


Cancer cells require a robust supply of reduced nitrogen to produce nucleotides, non-essential amino acids and a high cellular redox activity. Glutamine provides a major substrate for respiration as well as nitrogen for the production of proteins, hexosamines, and macromolecules. Therefore, glutamine is one of key molecules in cancer metabolism during cell proliferation. The notion of targeting glutamine metabolism in cancer, originally rationalized by the number of pathways fed by this nutrient, has been reinforced by more recent studies demonstrating that its metabolism is regulated by oncogenes. Glutamine can exert its effects by modulating redox homeostasis, bioenergetics, nitrogen balance or other functions, including by being a precursor of glutathione, the major nonenzymatic cellular antioxidant. Glutaminase (GA) is the first enzyme that converts glutamine to glutamate, which is in turn converted to alpha-ketoglutarate for further metabolism in the tricarboxylic acid cycle. Different GA isoforms in mammals are encoded by two genes, Gls and Gls2. As each enzymatic form of GA has distinct kinetic and molecular characteristics, it has been speculated that the differential regulation of GA isoforms may reflect distinct functions or requirements in different tissues or cell states. GA encoded by Gls gene (GLS) has been demonstrated to be regulated by oncogenes and to support tumor cell growth. GA encoded by Gls2 gene (GLS2) reduces cellular sensitivity to reactive oxygen speciesassociated apoptosis possibly through glutathione-dependent antioxidant defense, and therefore to behave more like a tumor suppressor. Thus, modulation of GA function may be a new therapeutic target for cancer treatment.

Keywords: Cancer, c-Myc, glutaminase, glutamine, metabolism, p53, ROS, Warburg effect

Rights & PermissionsPrintExport Cite as

Article Details

Year: 2013
Published on: 02 April, 2013
Page: [514 - 534]
Pages: 21
DOI: 10.2174/1566524011313040005
Price: $65

Article Metrics

PDF: 94