Multi-parametric metabolic assessment of cells under stress conditions

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Waters, Alicia H. C.
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University College Cork
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Glycolysis, glutaminolysis, the Krebs cycle and oxidative phosphorylation are the main metabolic pathways. Exposing cells to key metabolic substrates (glucose, glutamine and pyruvate); investigation of the contribution of substrates in stress conditions such as uncoupling and hypoxia was conducted. Glycolysis, O2 consumption, O2 and ATP levels and hypoxia inducible factor (HIF) signalling in PC12 cells were investigated. Upon uncoupling with FCCP mitochondria were depolarised similarly in all cases, but a strong increase in respiration was only seen in the cells fed on glutamine with either glucose or pyruvate. Inhibition of glutaminolysis reversed the glutamine dependant effect. Differential regulation of the respiratory response to FCCP by metabolic environment suggests mitochondrial uncoupling has a potential for substrate-specific inhibition of cell function. At reduced O2 availability (4 % and 0 % O2), cell bioenergetics and local oxygenation varied depending on the substrate composition. Results indicate that both supply and utilisation of key metabolic substrates can affect the pattern of HIF-1/2α accumulation by differentially regulating iO2¬, ATP levels and Akt/Erk/AMPK pathways. Inhibition of key metabolic pathways can modulate HIF regulatory pathways, metabolic responses and survival of cancer cells in hypoxia. Hypoxia leads to transcriptional activation, by HIF, of pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) kinase which phosphorylates and inhibits PDH, a mitochondrial enzyme that converts pyruvate into acetyl-CoA. The levels of PDH (total and phosphorylated), PDH kinase and HIF-1α were analysed in HCT116 and HCT116 SCO2-/- (deficient in complex IV of the respiratory chain) grown under 20.9 % and 3 % O2. Data indicate that regulation of PDH can occur in a manner independent of the HIF-1/PDH kinase 1 axis, mitochondrial respiration and the demand for acetyl-CoA. Collectively these results can be applied to many diseases; reduced nutrient supply and O2 during ischemia/stroke, hypoglycaemia in diabetes mellitus and cancer associated changes in uncoupling protein expression levels.
Bioenergtics , Metabolism , Uncoupling , Mitochondria , Hypoxia inducible factor , Hypoxia
Waters, A. H. C. 2015. Multi-parametric metabolic assessment of cells under stress conditions. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.