Glycogen synthase kinase 3alpha and 3beta mediate a glucose-sensitive antiapoptotic signaling pathway to stabilize Mcl-1.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Glucose uptake and utilization are growth factor-stimulated processes that are frequently upregulated in cancer cells and that correlate with enhanced cell survival. The mechanism of metabolic protection from apoptosis, however, has been unclear. Here we identify a novel signaling pathway initiated by glucose catabolism that inhibited apoptotic death of growth factor-deprived cells. We show that increased glucose metabolism protected cells against the proapoptotic Bcl-2 family protein Bim and attenuated degradation of the antiapoptotic Bcl-2 family protein Mcl-1. Maintenance of Mcl-1 was critical for this protection, as glucose metabolism failed to protect Mcl-1-deficient cells from apoptosis. Increased glucose metabolism stabilized Mcl-1 in both cell lines and primary lymphocytes via inhibitory phosphorylation of glycogen synthase kinase 3alpha and 3beta (GSK-3alpha/beta), which otherwise promoted Mcl-1 degradation. While a number of kinases can phosphorylate and inhibit GSK-3alpha/beta, we provide evidence that protein kinase C may be stimulated by glucose-induced alterations in diacylglycerol levels or distribution to phosphorylate GSK-3alpha/beta, maintain Mcl-1 levels, and inhibit cell death. These data provide a novel nutrient-sensitive mechanism linking glucose metabolism and Bcl-2 family proteins via GSK-3 that may promote survival of cells with high rates of glucose utilization, such as growth factor-stimulated or cancerous cells.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Zhao, Y; Altman, BJ; Coloff, JL; Herman, CE; Jacobs, SR; Wieman, HL; Wofford, JA; Dimascio, LN; Ilkayeva, O; Kelekar, A; Reya, T; Rathmell, JC

Published Date

  • June 2007

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 27 / 12

Start / End Page

  • 4328 - 4339

PubMed ID

  • 17371841

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC1900055

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0270-7306

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1128/MCB.00153-07


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States