Enhanced aerobic glycolysis of nasopharyngeal carcinoma cells by Epstein-Barr virus latent membrane protein 1

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Latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1) is a principal viral oncoprotein in Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-associated malignancies, including nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC), which acts through regulating tumorigenesis and metabolic reprogramming of cancers. In the presence of oxygen, we demonstrated that glucose consumption, lactate production and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activity were significantly increased upon LMP1 expression in NPC cells and in a LMP1 variant derived from NPC patients-transformed BALB/c-3T3 cells. The amounts of the α subunit of hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1α), a key regulator of aerobic glycolysis, and its targets, pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 1 (PDK1) and the pyruvate kinase M2 (PKM2) isoform, were also consistently elevated by LMP1. Moreover, in parallel with reductions in the oxygen consumption rate and mitochondrial membrane potential in cells, an augmented extracellular lactate concentration was observed due to LMP1 induction. In conclusion, our results proved facilitation of the Warburg effect by LMP1 through alteration of mitochondrial function in NPC cells.

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