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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)