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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Golgi Acidification by NHE7 Regulates Cytosolic pH Homeostasis in Pancreatic Cancer Cells


Cancer cells reprogram their metabolism to meet elevated energy demands and favor glycolysis for energy production. This boost in glycolytic flux supports proliferation, but also generates acid in the form of hydrogen ions that must be eliminated from the cytoplasm to maintain the alkaline intracellular pH (pHi) associated with transformation. To cope with acid production, tumor cells employ ion transport systems, including the family of sodium-hydrogen exchangers (NHE). Here, we identify NHE7 as a novel regulator of pHi in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). We determine that NHE7 suppression causes alkalinization of the Golgi, leading to a buildup of cytosolic acid that diminishes tumor cell fitness mainly through the dysregulation of actin. Importantly, NHE7 knockdown in vivo leads to the abrogation of tumor growth. These results identify Golgi acidification as a mechanism to control pHi and point to the regulation of pHi as a possible therapeutic vulnerability in PDAC. SIGNIFICANCE: NHE7 regulates cytosolic pH through Golgi acidification, which points to the Golgi as a "proton sink" for metabolic acid. Disruption of cytosolic pH homeostasis via NHE7 suppression compromises PDAC cell viability and tumor growth.See related commentary by Ward and DeNicola, p. 768.This article is highlighted in the In This Issue feature, p. 747.

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