Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide. In the United States, only one in six lung cancer patients survives five years after diagnosis. These statistics may improve if new therapeutic targets are identified. We previously reported that an enzyme of fatty acid metabolism, very long-chain acyl-CoA synthetase 3 (ACSVL3), is overexpressed in malignant glioma, and that depleting glioblastoma cells of ACSVL3 diminishes their malignant properties. To determine whether ACSVL3 expression was also increased in lung cancer, we studied tumor histologic sections and lung cancer cell lines. Immunohistochemical analysis of normal human lung showed moderate ACSVL3 expression only in bronchial epithelial cells. In contrast, all of 69 different lung tumors tested, including adeno-, squamous cell, large cell, and small cell carcinomas, had robustly elevated ACSVL3 levels. Western blot analysis of lung cancer cell lines derived from these tumor types also had significantly increased ACSVL3 protein compared to normal bronchial epithelial cells. Decreasing the growth rate of lung cancer cell lines did not change ACSVL3 expression. However, knocking down ACSVL3 expression by RNA interference reduced cell growth rates in culture by 65-76%, and the ability of tumor cells to form colonies in soft agar suspension by 65-80%. We also conducted studies to gain a better understanding of the biochemical properties of human ACSVL3. ACSVL3 mRNA was detected in many human tissues, but the expression pattern differed somewhat from that of the mouse. The enzyme activated long- and very long-chain saturated fatty acid substrates, as well as long-chain mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids to their respective coenzyme A derivatives. Endogenous human ACSVL3 protein was found in a punctate subcellular compartment that partially colocalized with mitochondria as determined by immunofluorescence microscopy and subcellular fractionation. From these studies, we conclude that ACSVL3 is a promising new therapeutic target in lung cancer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)