SLC25A22, which encodes the mitochondrial glutamate transporter, is overexpressed in colorectal cancer (CRC) and is essential for the proliferation of CRC cells harboring KRAS mutations. However, the role of SLC25A22 on metabolic regulation in KRAS-mutant CRC cells has not been comprehensively characterized. We performed non-targeted metabolomics, targeted metabolomics and isotope kinetic analysis of KRAS-mutant DLD1 cells with or without SLC25A22 knockdown using ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC) coupled to Orbitrap mass spectrometry (MS) or tandem MS (MS/MS). Global metabolomics analysis identified 35 altered metabolites, which were attributed to alanine, aspartate and glutamate metabolism, urea cycle and polyamine metabolism. Targeted metabolomics including 24 metabolites revealed that most tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle intermediates, aspartate-derived asparagine, alanine and ornithine-derived polyamines were strongly down-regulated in SLC25A22 knockdown cells. Moreover, targeted kinetic isotope analysis showed that most of the 13C-labeled ornithine-derived polyamines were significantly decreased in SLC25A22 knockdown cells and culture medium. Exogenous addition of polyamines could significantly promote cell proliferation in DLD1 cells, highlighting their potential role as oncogenic metabolites that function downstream of SLC25A22-mediated glutamine metabolism. Collectively, SLC25A22 acts as an essential metabolic regulator during CRC progression as it promotes the synthesis of aspartate-derived amino acids and polyamines in KRAS mutant CRC cells.
Scopus Subject Areas
- KRAS-mutant colorectal cancer