Hexokinase 2-mediated Warburg effect is required for PTEN- and p53-deficiency-driven prostate cancer growth

Cell Rep. 2014 Sep 11;8(5):1461-74. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2014.07.053. Epub 2014 Aug 28.


Accumulating evidence suggests that codeletion of the tumor suppressor genes Pten and p53 plays a crucial role in the development of castration-resistant prostate cancer in vivo. However, the molecular mechanism underlying Pten-/p53-deficiency-driven prostate tumorigenesis remains incompletely understood. Building upon insights gained from our studies with Pten-/p53-deficient mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs), we report here that hexokinase 2 (HK2) is selectively upregulated by the combined loss of Pten and p53 in prostate cancer cells. Mechanistically, Pten deletion increases HK2 mRNA translation through the activation of the AKT-mTORC1-4EBP1 axis, and p53 loss enhances HK2 mRNA stability through the inhibition of miR143 biogenesis. Genetic studies demonstrate that HK2-mediated aerobic glycolysis, known as the Warburg effect, is required for Pten-/p53-deficiency-driven tumor growth in xenograft mouse models of prostate cancer. Our findings suggest that HK2 might be a therapeutic target for prostate cancer patients carrying Pten and p53 mutations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Animals
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factors
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Gene Deletion
  • Glycolysis*
  • Hexokinase / genetics
  • Hexokinase / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1
  • Mice
  • Multiprotein Complexes / metabolism
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase / deficiency
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase / genetics*
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase / metabolism
  • Phosphoproteins / metabolism
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / genetics
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Protein Biosynthesis
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / deficiency
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / genetics*
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Eif4ebp1 protein, mouse
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factors
  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • Phosphoproteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • Hexokinase
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • hexokinase 2, mouse
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase
  • Pten protein, mouse