Glycolytic reprogramming in cancer cells: PKM2 dimer predominance induced by pulsatile PFK-1 activity.
The glycolytic enzyme pyruvate kinase M2 (PKM2) exists in both catalytically inactive dimeric and active tetrameric forms. In cancer cells, PKM2 dimer predominance contributes to tumor growth by triggering glycolytic reprogramming. However, the mechanism that promotes PKM2 dimer predominance over tetramer in cancer cells remains elusive. Here, we show that pulsatile phosphofructokinase (PFK-1) activity results in PKM2 dimer predominance. Mathematical simulations predict that pulsatile PFK-1 activity prevents the formation of PKM2 tetramer even under high levels of fructose-1,6-bisphosphate (FBP), a PKM2 tetramer-promoting metabolite produced by PFK-1. We experimentally confirm these predictions at the single-molecule level by providing evidence for pulsatile PFK-1 activity-induced synchronized dissociation of PKM2 tetramers and the subsequent accumulation of PKM2 dimers under high levels of FBP in HeLa cells. Moreover, we show that pulsatile PFK-1 activity-induced PKM2 dimer predominance also controls cell proliferation. Thus, our study reveals the significance of pulsatile PFK-1 activity in cancer cell metabolism.
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