An international team of researchers has participated in the discovery of new mechanisms to regulate the activity of a gene essential in the central metabolism, the phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PCK1), with implications for pathologies related to alterations in glucose levels in the body, such as diabetes or metastasis in some types of cancer.
The prestigious journal Molecular Cell has just published this work in which researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (USA), Harvard University, the University of La Rioja (Spain), the University of New South Wales (Australia), and the University of Zaragoza (Spain) have collaborated.
The study has been carried out mainly by Dr. Pedro Latorre Muro, the leading author of the report, who had the opportunity to collaborate with scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where part of the research was carried out. He collaborated directly with Ramon Hurtado-Guerrero and Pascual Lopez Buesa, from the University of Zaragoza, and headed by Jose Alberto Carrodeguas from the same University and John Denu from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The research focused on the mechanisms for regulating the activity of a protein that participates in energy metabolism, that is, in those chemical reactions that occur in the body related to the synthesis and degradation of nutrients that support the various tissues.
Researchers found how a gene known as phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PCK1) is implicated in diabetes and metastasis
This protein, an enzyme known as phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PCK1), is participating in numerous metabolic pathways that are essential for cell survival and has traditionally been considered an enzyme linked to the maintenance of fasting glucose levels through a process called gluconeogenesis (the production of new glucose).
This enzyme is present in some tissues such as the liver or kidney, and with its activity can supply glucose to other tissues that feed mainly on it, such as the brain.
These findings, therefore, have implications in pathologies related to alterations in glucose levels in the body, such as diabetes, but also with different types of cancer, by providing tumor cells with molecules that they need for proliferation.
The study found that the acetylation of PCK1 may favor oxidative metabolism in tumor cells, which has been shown to decrease aggressiveness and metastasis capacity in some types of cancer.