Lin28/let-7 axis regulates aerobic glycolysis and cancer progression via PDK1

Xiaoyu Ma, Chenchen Li, Linchong Sun, De Huang, Tingting Li, Xiaoping He, Gongwei Wu, Zheng Yang, Xiuying Zhong, Libing Song, Ping Gao, Huafeng Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aberrant expression of Lin28 and let-7 has been observed in many human malignancies. However, its functions and underlying mechanisms remain largely elusive. Here we show that aberrant expression of Lin28 and let-7 facilitates aerobic glycolysis, or Warburg effect, in cancer cells. Mechanistically, we discover that Lin28A and Lin28B enhance, whereas let-7 suppresses, aerobic glycolysis via targeting pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 1, or PDK1, in a hypoxia-or hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1)-independent manner, illustrating a novel pathway to mediate aerobic glycolysis of cancer cells even in ambient oxygen levels. Importantly, we further demonstrate that PDK1 is critical for Lin28A-and Lin28B-mediated cancer proliferation both in vitro and in vivo, establishing a previously unappreciated mechanism by which Lin28/let-7 axis facilitates Warburg effect to promote cancer progression. Our findings suggest a potential rationale to target PDK1 for cancer therapy in malignancies with aberrant expression of Lin28 and let-7.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5212
JournalNature communications
StatePublished - 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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