The Plasma Membrane Calcium Pump in Pancreatic Cancer Cells Exhibiting the Warburg Effect Relies on Glycolytic ATP

Andrew D James, Waseema Patel, Zohra Butt, Magretta Adiamah, Raga Dakhel, Ayse Latif, Carolina Uggenti, Eileithyia Swanton, Hiromi Imamura, Ajith K Siriwardena, Jason I E Bruce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Evidence suggests that the plasma membrane Ca(2+)-ATPase (PMCA), which is critical for maintaining a low intracellular Ca(2+) concentration ([Ca(2+)]i), utilizes glycolytically derived ATP in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) and that inhibition of glycolysis in PDAC cell lines results in ATP depletion, PMCA inhibition, and an irreversible [Ca(2+)]i overload. We explored whether this is a specific weakness of highly glycolytic PDAC by shifting PDAC cell (MIA PaCa-2 and PANC-1) metabolism from a highly glycolytic phenotype toward mitochondrial metabolism and assessing the effects of mitochondrial versus glycolytic inhibitors on ATP depletion, PMCA inhibition, and [Ca(2+)]i overload. The highly glycolytic phenotype of these cells was first reversed by depriving MIA PaCa-2 and PANC-1 cells of glucose and supplementing with α-ketoisocaproate or galactose. These culture conditions resulted in a significant decrease in both glycolytic flux and proliferation rate, and conferred resistance to ATP depletion by glycolytic inhibition while sensitizing cells to mitochondrial inhibition. Moreover, in direct contrast to cells exhibiting a high glycolytic rate, glycolytic inhibition had no effect on PMCA activity and resting [Ca(2+)]i in α-ketoisocaproate- and galactose-cultured cells, suggesting that the glycolytic dependence of the PMCA is a specific vulnerability of PDAC cells exhibiting the Warburg phenotype.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24760-71
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number41
Publication statusPublished - 9 Oct 2015


  • Adenocarcinoma/pathology
  • Adenosine Triphosphate/metabolism
  • Calcium/metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Membrane/drug effects
  • Cytosol/drug effects
  • Enzyme Inhibitors/pharmacology
  • Galactose/pharmacology
  • Glycolysis/drug effects
  • Humans
  • Iodoacetic Acid/pharmacology
  • Keto Acids/pharmacology
  • Mitochondria/drug effects
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms/pathology
  • Plasma Membrane Calcium-Transporting ATPases/antagonists & inhibitors


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