Reprograming of the metabolism of cancer cells is an event recognized as a hallmark of the disease. The mitochondrial gatekeeper, voltage-dependent anion channel 1 (VDAC1), mediates transport of metabolites and ions in and out of mitochondria, and is involved in mitochondria-mediated apoptosis. Here, we compared the effects of reducing hVDAC1 expression in a glioblastoma xenograft using human-specific si-RNA (si-hVDAC1) for a short (19 days) and a long term (40 days). Tumors underwent reprograming, reflected in rewired metabolism, eradication of cancer stem cells (CSCs) and differentiation. Short- and long-term treatments of the tumors with si-hVDAC1 similarly reduced the expression of metabolism-related enzymes, and translocator protein (TSPO) and CSCs markers. In contrast, differentiation into cells expressing astrocyte or neuronal markers was noted only after a long period during which the tumor cells were hVDAC1-depleted. This suggests that tumor cell differentiation is a prolonged process that precedes metabolic reprograming and the “disappearance” of CSCs. Tumor proteomics analysis revealing global changes in the expression levels of proteins associated with signaling, synthesis and degradation of proteins, DNA structure and replication and epigenetic changes, all of which were highly altered after a long period of si-hVDAC1 tumor treatment. The depletion of hVDAC1 greatly reduced the levels of the multifunctional translocator protein TSPO, which is overexpressed in both the mitochondria and the nucleus of the tumor. The results thus show that VDAC1 depletion-mediated cancer cell metabolic reprograming involves a chain of events occurring in a sequential manner leading to a reversal of the unique properties of the tumor, indicative of the interplay between metabolism and oncogenic signaling networks.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited