The EMBO journal

Reciprocal regulation of amino acid import and epigenetic state through Lat1 and EZH2.

PMID 25979827


Lat1 (SLC7A5) is an amino acid transporter often required for tumor cell import of essential amino acids (AA) including Methionine (Met). Met is the obligate precursor of S-adenosylmethionine (SAM), the methyl donor utilized by all methyltransferases including the polycomb repressor complex (PRC2)-specific EZH2. Cell populations sorted for surface Lat1 exhibit activated EZH2, enrichment for Met-cycle intermediates, and aggressive tumor growth in mice. In agreement, EZH2 and Lat1 expression are co-regulated in models of cancer cell differentiation and co-expression is observed at the invasive front of human lung tumors. EZH2 knockdown or small-molecule inhibition leads to de-repression of RXRα resulting in reduced Lat1 expression. Our results describe a Lat1-EZH2 positive feedback loop illustrated by AA depletion or Lat1 knockdown resulting in SAM reduction and concomitant reduction in EZH2 activity. shRNA-mediated knockdown of Lat1 results in tumor growth inhibition and points to Lat1 as a potential therapeutic target.