The importance of glutamine (Gln) metabolism in multiple myeloma (MM) cells and its potential role as a therapeutic target are still unknown, although it has been reported that human myeloma cell lines (HMCLs) are highly sensitiveto Gln depletion. In this study, we found that both HMCLs and primary bone marrow (BM) CD138+ cells produced large amounts of ammonium in the presence of Gln. MM patients have lower BM plasma Gln with higher ammonium and glutamate than patients with indolent monoclonal gam-mopathies. Interestingly, HMCLs expressed glutaminase (GLS1) and were sensitivetoits inhibition, whereas they exhibited negligible expression of glutamine synthetase (GS). High GLS1 and low GS expression were also observed in primary CD138+ cells. Gln-free incubation or treatment with the glutaminolytic enzyme L-asparaginase depleted the cell contents of Gln, glutamate, and the anaplerotic substrate 2-oxoglutarate, inhibiting MM cell growth. Consistent with the dependence of MM cells on extracellular Gln, a gene expression profile analysis, on both proprietary and published datasets, showed an increased expression of the Gln transporters SNAT1, ASCT2, and LAT1 by CD138+ cells across the progression of monoclonal gammopathies. Among these transporters, only ASCT2 inhibition in HMCLs caused a marked decrease in Gln uptake and a significant fall in cell growth. Consistently, stable ASCT2 down regulation by alentiviral approach inhibited HMCL growth inv itro and in a murine model. In conclusion, M Mcells strictly depend on extracellular Gln and show features of Gln addiction. Therefore, the inhibition of Gln uptake is a new attractive therapeutic strategy for MM.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology