Hangzi Chen: Nuclear Receptor Nur77 Facilitates Melanoma Cell Survival under Metabolic Stress by Protecting Fatty Acid Oxidation
Summary: Fatty acid oxidation (FAO) is crucial for cells to overcome metabolic stress by providing ATP and NADPH. However, the mechanism by which FAO is regulated in tumors remains elusive. Here we show that Nur77 is required for the metabolic adaptation of melanoma cells by protecting FAO. Glucose deprivation activates ERK2 to phosphorylate and induce Nur77 translocation to the mitochondria, where Nur77 binds to TPb, a rate-limiting enzyme in FAO. Although TPb activity is normally inhibited by oxidation under glucose deprivation, the Nur77-TPb association results in Nur77 self-sacrifice to protect TPb from oxidation. FAO is therefore able to maintain NADPH and ATP levels and prevent ROS increase and cell death. The Nur77-TPb interaction further promotes melanoma metastasis by facilitating circulating melanoma cell survival. This study demonstrates a novel regulatory function of Nur77 with linkage of the FAO-NADPH-ROS pathway during metabolic stress, suggesting Nur77 as a potential therapeutic target in melanoma.