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p73α1, an Isoform of the p73 Tumor Suppressor, Modulates Lipid Metabolism and Cancer Cell Growth via Stearoyl-CoA Desaturase-1


Altered lipid metabolism is a hallmark of cancer. p73, a p53 family member, regulates cellular processes and is expressed as multiple isoforms. However, the role of p73 in regulating lipid metabolism is not well-characterized. Previously, we found that loss of p73 exon 12 (E12) leads to an isoform switch from p73α to p73α1, the latter of which has strong tumor suppressive activity. In this study, comprehensive untargeted metabolomics was performed to determine whether p73α1 alters lipid metabolism in non-small cell lung carcinoma cells. RNA-seq and molecular biology approaches were combined to identify lipid metabolism genes altered upon loss of E12 and identify a direct target of p73α1. We found that loss of E12 leads to decreased levels of phosphatidylcholines, and this was due to decreased expression of genes involved in phosphatidylcholine synthesis. Additionally, we found that E12-knockout cells had increased levels of phosphatidylcholines containing saturated fatty acids (FAs) and decreased levels of phosphatidylcholines containing monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). We then found that p73α1 inhibits cancer cell viability through direct transcriptional suppression of Stearoyl-CoA Desaturase-1 (SCD1), which converts saturated FAs to MUFAs. Finally, we showed that p73α1-mediated suppression of SCD1 leads to increased ratios of saturated FAs to MUFAs.

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