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      Cystine transporter SLC7A11/xCT in cancer: ferroptosis, nutrient dependency, and cancer therapy

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          Abstract

          The cystine/glutamate antiporter SLC7A11 (also commonly known as xCT) functions to import cystine for glutathione biosynthesis and antioxidant defense and is overexpressed in multiple human cancers. Recent studies revealed that SLC7A11 overexpression promotes tumor growth partly through suppressing ferroptosis, a form of regulated cell death induced by excessive lipid peroxidation. However, cancer cells with high expression of SLC7A11 (SLC7A11 high) also have to endure the significant cost associated with SLC7A11-mediated metabolic reprogramming, leading to glucose- and glutamine-dependency in SLC7A11 high cancer cells, which presents potential metabolic vulnerabilities for therapeutic targeting in SLC7A11 high cancer. In this review, we summarize diverse regulatory mechanisms of SLC7A11 in cancer, discuss ferroptosis-dependent and -independent functions of SLC7A11 in promoting tumor development, explore the mechanistic basis of SLC7A11-induced nutrient dependency in cancer cells, and conceptualize therapeutic strategies to target SLC7A11 in cancer treatment. This review will provide the foundation for further understanding SLC7A11 in ferroptosis, nutrient dependency, and tumor biology and for developing novel effective cancer therapies.

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          Most cited references130

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          Hallmarks of Cancer: The Next Generation

          The hallmarks of cancer comprise six biological capabilities acquired during the multistep development of human tumors. The hallmarks constitute an organizing principle for rationalizing the complexities of neoplastic disease. They include sustaining proliferative signaling, evading growth suppressors, resisting cell death, enabling replicative immortality, inducing angiogenesis, and activating invasion and metastasis. Underlying these hallmarks are genome instability, which generates the genetic diversity that expedites their acquisition, and inflammation, which fosters multiple hallmark functions. Conceptual progress in the last decade has added two emerging hallmarks of potential generality to this list-reprogramming of energy metabolism and evading immune destruction. In addition to cancer cells, tumors exhibit another dimension of complexity: they contain a repertoire of recruited, ostensibly normal cells that contribute to the acquisition of hallmark traits by creating the "tumor microenvironment." Recognition of the widespread applicability of these concepts will increasingly affect the development of new means to treat human cancer. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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            Ferroptosis: an iron-dependent form of nonapoptotic cell death.

            Nonapoptotic forms of cell death may facilitate the selective elimination of some tumor cells or be activated in specific pathological states. The oncogenic RAS-selective lethal small molecule erastin triggers a unique iron-dependent form of nonapoptotic cell death that we term ferroptosis. Ferroptosis is dependent upon intracellular iron, but not other metals, and is morphologically, biochemically, and genetically distinct from apoptosis, necrosis, and autophagy. We identify the small molecule ferrostatin-1 as a potent inhibitor of ferroptosis in cancer cells and glutamate-induced cell death in organotypic rat brain slices, suggesting similarities between these two processes. Indeed, erastin, like glutamate, inhibits cystine uptake by the cystine/glutamate antiporter (system x(c)(-)), creating a void in the antioxidant defenses of the cell and ultimately leading to iron-dependent, oxidative death. Thus, activation of ferroptosis results in the nonapoptotic destruction of certain cancer cells, whereas inhibition of this process may protect organisms from neurodegeneration. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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              Understanding the Warburg effect: the metabolic requirements of cell proliferation.

              In contrast to normal differentiated cells, which rely primarily on mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation to generate the energy needed for cellular processes, most cancer cells instead rely on aerobic glycolysis, a phenomenon termed "the Warburg effect." Aerobic glycolysis is an inefficient way to generate adenosine 5'-triphosphate (ATP), however, and the advantage it confers to cancer cells has been unclear. Here we propose that the metabolism of cancer cells, and indeed all proliferating cells, is adapted to facilitate the uptake and incorporation of nutrients into the biomass (e.g., nucleotides, amino acids, and lipids) needed to produce a new cell. Supporting this idea are recent studies showing that (i) several signaling pathways implicated in cell proliferation also regulate metabolic pathways that incorporate nutrients into biomass; and that (ii) certain cancer-associated mutations enable cancer cells to acquire and metabolize nutrients in a manner conducive to proliferation rather than efficient ATP production. A better understanding of the mechanistic links between cellular metabolism and growth control may ultimately lead to better treatments for human cancer.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                bgan@mdanderson.org
                Journal
                Protein Cell
                Protein Cell
                Protein & Cell
                Higher Education Press (Beijing )
                1674-800X
                1674-8018
                1 October 2020
                1 October 2020
                August 2021
                : 12
                : 8
                : 599-620
                Affiliations
                [1 ]GRID grid.240145.6, ISNI 0000 0001 2291 4776, Department of Experimental Radiation Oncology, , The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, ; Houston, TX USA
                [2 ]GRID grid.240145.6, ISNI 0000 0001 2291 4776, The University of Texas MD Anderson UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, ; Houston, TX USA
                Article
                789
                10.1007/s13238-020-00789-5
                8310547
                33000412
                39366ceb-de06-4946-9313-8f9c54a2199b
                © The Author(s) 2020

                Open AccessThis article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

                History
                : 28 July 2020
                : 28 August 2020
                Categories
                Review
                Custom metadata
                © The Author(s) 2021

                slc7a11,xct,cystine,cysteine,ferroptosis,nutrient dependency,cancer therapy

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