Activity-Based Protein Profiling of Oncogene-Driven Changes in Metabolism Reveals Broad Dysregulation of PAFAH1B2 and 1B3 in Cancer

ACS Chem Biol. 2015 Jul 17;10(7):1624-30. doi: 10.1021/acschembio.5b00053. Epub 2015 May 7.


Targeting dysregulated metabolic pathways is a promising therapeutic strategy for eradicating cancer. Understanding how frequently altered oncogenes regulate metabolic enzyme targets would be useful in identifying both broad-spectrum and targeted metabolic therapies for cancer. Here, we used activity-based protein profiling to identify serine hydrolase activities that were consistently upregulated by various human oncogenes. Through this profiling effort, we found oncogenic regulatory mechanisms for several cancer-relevant serine hydrolases and discovered that platelet activating factor acetylhydrolase 1B2 and 1B3 (PAFAH1B2 and PAFAH1B3) activities were consistently upregulated by several oncogenes, alongside previously discovered cancer-relevant hydrolases fatty acid synthase and monoacylglycerol lipase. While we previously showed that PAFAH1B2 and 1B3 were important in breast cancer, our most recent profiling studies have revealed that these enzymes may be dysregulated broadly across many types of cancers. Here, we find that pharmacological blockade of both enzymes impairs cancer pathogenicity across multiple different types of cancer cells, including breast, ovarian, melanoma, and prostate cancer. We also show that pharmacological blockade of PAFAH1B2 and 1B3 causes unique changes in lipid metabolism, including heightened levels of tumor-suppressing lipids. Our results reveal oncogenic regulatory mechanisms of several cancer-relevant serine hydrolases using activity-based protein profiling, and we show that PAFAH1B2 and 1B3 are important in maintaining cancer pathogenicity across a wide spectrum of cancer types.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • 1-Alkyl-2-acetylglycerophosphocholine Esterase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • 1-Alkyl-2-acetylglycerophosphocholine Esterase / metabolism*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism / drug effects
  • Metabolome / drug effects
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / pathology*


  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • 1-Alkyl-2-acetylglycerophosphocholine Esterase
  • PAFAH1B2 protein, human
  • PAFAH1B3 protein, human