1. Department of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, the First Affiliated Hospital of Naval Medical University, Shanghai, People's Republic of China.
2. Department of Cardiology, Seventh People's Hospital of Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai, China.
†These authors contributed equally to this work and share first authorship.
Purpose: PLEKHG2 is a member of the diffuse B-cell lymphoma family. The function of PLEKHG2 in NSCLC was still unclear. This study aimed to investigate the relationship between the upregulated expression of PLEKHG2 and the prognosis of NSCLC and to revealed its mechanisms.
Materials and methods: The expression of PLEKHG2 in NSCLC patients and its relationship with prognosis were first determined by analyzing public databases. Validation was performed in NSCLC cell lines and patient`s tumor tissues. PLEKHG2-silenced H1299 cells and PLEKHG2 overexpressing PC9 cells were constructed and used to validate its function. Glycolysis was evaluated by assaying cellular metabolites, glucose uptake and the expression levels of biomarkers of glycolysis. The relationship of PLEKHG2 and the PI3K/Akt pathway was demonstrated by small molecule inhibitors. The function of PLEKHG2 was evaluated in vivo by a H1299 cell derived xenograft (CDX) model.
Results: PLEKEHG2 was highly expressed in NSCLC tissues and associated with poor prognosis. In PLEKHG2 knockdown H1299 cells, ATP and lactate production and glucose uptake were significantly inhibited. The opposite results were observed in PC9 cells with PLEKHG2 overexpression. The increased glycolysis following PLEKHG2 overexpression was abolished by adding the PI3K/AKT pathway inhibitor LY294002, suggesting that PLEKHG2 promotes glycolysis in NSCLC cells via activation of the PI3K/AKT pathway. Finally, we found that PLEKHG2 knockdown inhibited the tumor growth in the H1299 CDX model.
Conclusion: PLEKHG2 contributed to NSCLC development by promoting glycolysis via activation of the PI3K/AKT pathway. PLEKHG2 was a potential therapeutic target and biomarker for poor prognosis of NSCLC.
Keywords: PLEKHG2, NSCLC, glycolysis, PI3K/AKT pathway