An Upstream Open Reading Frame in Phosphatase and Tensin Homolog Encodes a Circuit Breaker of Lactate Metabolism

Cell Metab. 2021 Jan 5;33(1):128-144.e9. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2020.12.008.


The metabolic role of micropeptides generated from untranslated regions remains unclear. Here we describe MP31, a micropeptide encoded by the upstream open reading frame (uORF) of phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) acting as a "circuit breaker" that limits lactate-pyruvate conversion in mitochondria by competing with mitochondrial lactate dehydrogenase (mLDH) for nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+). Knocking out the MP31 homolog in mice enhanced global lactate metabolism, manifesting as accelerated oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) and increased lactate consumption and production. Conditional knockout (cKO) of MP31 homolog in mouse astrocytes initiated gliomagenesis and shortened the overall survival of the animals, establishing a tumor-suppressing role for MP31. Recombinant MP31 administered intraperitoneally penetrated the blood-brain barrier and inhibited mice GBM xenografts without neurological toxicity, suggesting the clinical implication and application of this micropeptide. Our findings reveal a novel mode of MP31-orchestrated lactate metabolism reprogramming in glioblastoma.

Keywords: LDH; MP31; OXPHOS; PTEN; glioblastoma; lactate oxidation; tumorigenesis; uORF.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Lactic Acid / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Peptides / deficiency
  • Peptides / metabolism*
  • Phosphoric Monoester Hydrolases / metabolism*
  • Tensins / metabolism*


  • Peptides
  • Tensins
  • Lactic Acid
  • Phosphoric Monoester Hydrolases