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    Extracellular Acidic pH Activates the Sterol Regulatory Element-Binding Protein 2 to Promote Tumor Progression.

    Cell Rep 2017 02;18(9):2228-2242
    The Translational Systems Biology and Medicine Initiative (TSBMI), Center for Disease Biology and Integrative Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo 113-8655, Japan; Laboratory for Systems Biology and Medicine, RCAST, The University of Tokyo, 4-6-1 Komaba, Meguro-ku, Tokyo, 153-8904, Japan. Electronic address:
    Conditions of the tumor microenvironment, such as hypoxia and nutrient starvation, play critical roles in cancer progression. However, the role of acidic extracellular pH in cancer progression is not studied as extensively as that of hypoxia. Here, we show that extracellular acidic pH (pH 6.8) triggered activation of sterol regulatory element-binding protein 2 (SREBP2) by stimulating nuclear translocation and promoter binding to its targets, along with intracellular acidification. Interestingly, inhibition of SREBP2, but not SREBP1, suppressed the upregulation of low pH-induced cholesterol biosynthesis-related genes. Moreover, acyl-CoA synthetase short-chain family member 2 (ACSS2), a direct SREBP2 target, provided a growth advantage to cancer cells under acidic pH. Furthermore, acidic pH-responsive SREBP2 target genes were associated with reduced overall survival of cancer patients. Thus, our findings show that SREBP2 is a key transcriptional regulator of metabolic genes and progression of cancer cells, partly in response to extracellular acidification.
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