Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is typically characterized by high chemoresistance and metastatic spread, features mainly attributable to cancer stem cells (CSCs). It is of central interest the characterization of CSCs and, in particular, the study of their metabolic features in order to selectively identify their peculiarities for an efficient therapeutic approach. In this study, CSCs have been obtained by culturing different PDAC cell lines with a specific growth medium. Cells were characterized for the typical stem/mesenchymal properties at short-, medium-, and long-term culture. Metabolomics, proteomics, analysis of oxygen consumption rate in live cells, and the effect of the inhibition of lactate transporter on cell proliferation have been performed to delineate the metabolism of CSCs. I show that gradually de-differentiated pancreatic cancer cells progressively increase the expression of both stem and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition markers (EMT/MET), shift their metabolism from a glycolytic to an oxidative one, and lastly gain a quiescent state. These quiescent stem cells are characterized by high chemo-resistance, clonogenic ability, and metastatic potential. Re-differentiation reverts these features, re-activating their proliferative capacity and glycolytic metabolism, which generally correlates with high aggressiveness. These observations add an important piece of knowledge to the comprehension of the biology of CSCs, whose metabolic plasticity could be exploited for the generation of promising and selective therapeutic approaches for PDAC patients. To achieve this aim, a major attention will be given to the identification of proteins that play a key role in the determination of EMT/MET and metabolic changes in CSCs, in order to determine a possible causal link between these two events. In this sense, the study on TRAP1 is showing interesting results that could bring to light a new alternative for the fight against pancreatic cancer.

Progressively de-differentiated pancreatic cancer cells undergo metabolic shift achieving quiescence: the emerging role of TRAP1

Giulia Ambrosini
2022

Abstract

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is typically characterized by high chemoresistance and metastatic spread, features mainly attributable to cancer stem cells (CSCs). It is of central interest the characterization of CSCs and, in particular, the study of their metabolic features in order to selectively identify their peculiarities for an efficient therapeutic approach. In this study, CSCs have been obtained by culturing different PDAC cell lines with a specific growth medium. Cells were characterized for the typical stem/mesenchymal properties at short-, medium-, and long-term culture. Metabolomics, proteomics, analysis of oxygen consumption rate in live cells, and the effect of the inhibition of lactate transporter on cell proliferation have been performed to delineate the metabolism of CSCs. I show that gradually de-differentiated pancreatic cancer cells progressively increase the expression of both stem and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition markers (EMT/MET), shift their metabolism from a glycolytic to an oxidative one, and lastly gain a quiescent state. These quiescent stem cells are characterized by high chemo-resistance, clonogenic ability, and metastatic potential. Re-differentiation reverts these features, re-activating their proliferative capacity and glycolytic metabolism, which generally correlates with high aggressiveness. These observations add an important piece of knowledge to the comprehension of the biology of CSCs, whose metabolic plasticity could be exploited for the generation of promising and selective therapeutic approaches for PDAC patients. To achieve this aim, a major attention will be given to the identification of proteins that play a key role in the determination of EMT/MET and metabolic changes in CSCs, in order to determine a possible causal link between these two events. In this sense, the study on TRAP1 is showing interesting results that could bring to light a new alternative for the fight against pancreatic cancer.
Cancer stem cells, Metabolism, Epithelial mesenchyme transition, PDAC
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Descrizione: PhD thesis of the candidate Ambrosini Giulia
Tipologia: Tesi di dottorato
Licenza: Creative commons
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/1069326
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