Coupling of glucose deprivation with impaired histone H2B monoubiquitination in tumors

PLoS One. 2012;7(5):e36775. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0036775. Epub 2012 May 16.


Metabolic reprogramming is associated with tumorigenesis. However, glucose metabolism in tumors is poorly understood. Here, we report that glucose levels are significantly lower in bulk tumor specimens than those in normal tissues of the same tissue origins. We show that mono-ubiquitinated histone H2B (uH2B) is a semi-quantitative histone marker for glucose. We further show that loss of uH2B occurs specifically in cancer cells from a wide array of tumor specimens of breast, colon, lung and additional 23 anatomic sites. In contrast, uH2B levels remain high in stromal tissues or non-cancerous cells in the tumor specimens. Taken together, our data suggest that glucose deficiency and loss of uH2B are novel properties of cancer cells in vivo, which may represent important regulatory mechanisms of tumorigenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Histones / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Ubiquitination


  • Histones
  • Glucose