Affordable Access

Publisher Website

Adaptations of energy metabolism during cerebellar neurogenesis are co-opted in medulloblastoma

  • Tech, Katherine
  • Deshmukh, Mohanish
  • Gershon, Timothy R.1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 6, 8, 6
  • 1 Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering
  • 2 NC State University and UNC Chapel Hill
  • 3 Department of Cell Biology and Physiology
  • 4 University of North Carolina
  • 5 Neuroscience Center
  • 6 University of North Carolina School of Medicine
  • 7 Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • 8 Department of Neurology
Published Article
Cancer Letters
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2014
DOI: 10.1016/j.canlet.2014.02.017


Recent studies show that metabolic patterns typical of cancer cells, including aerobic glycolysis and increased lipogenesis, are not unique to malignancy, but rather originate in physiologic development. In the postnatal brain, where sufficient oxygen for energy metabolism is scrupulously maintained, neural progenitors nevertheless metabolize glucose to lactate and prioritize lipid synthesis over fatty acid oxidation. Medulloblastoma, a cancer of neural progenitors that is the most common malignant brain tumor in children, recapitulates the metabolic phenotype of brain progenitor cells. During the physiologic proliferation of neural progenitors, metabolic enzymes generally associated with malignancy, including Hexokinase 2 (Hk2) and Pyruvate kinase M2 (PkM2) configure energy metabolism to support growth. In these non-malignant cells, expression of Hk2 and PkM2 is driven by transcriptional regulators that are typically identified as oncogenes, including N-myc. Importantly, N-myc continues to drive Hk2 and PkM2 in medulloblastoma. Similarly E2F transcription factors and PPARγ function in both progenitors and medulloblastoma to optimize energy metabolism to support proliferation. These findings show that the “metabolic transformation” that is a hallmark of cancer is not specifically limited to cancer. Rather, metabolic transformation represents a co-opting of developmental programs integral to physiologic growth. Despite their physiologic origins, the molecular mechanisms that mediate metabolic transformation may nevertheless present ideal targets for novel anti-tumor therapy.

Report this publication


Seen <100 times