Protein kinase C-β-dependent changes in the glucose metabolism of bone marrow stromal cells of chronic lymphocytic leukemia

Stem Cells. 2021 Jun;39(6):819-830. doi: 10.1002/stem.3352. Epub 2021 Feb 17.


Survival of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cells critically depends on the support of an adapted and therefore appropriate tumor microenvironment. Increasing evidence suggests that B-cell receptor-associated kinases such as protein kinase C-β (PKCβ) or Lyn kinase are essential for the formation of a microenvironment supporting leukemic growth. Here, we describe the impact of PKCβ on the glucose metabolism in bone marrow stromal cells (BMSC) upon CLL contact. BMSC get activated by CLL contact expressing stromal PKCβ that diminishes mitochondrial stress and apoptosis in CLL cells by stimulating glucose uptake. In BMSC, the upregulation of PKCβ results in increased mitochondrial depolarization and leads to a metabolic switch toward oxidative phosphorylation. In addition, PKCβ-deficient BMSC regulates the expression of Hnf1 promoting stromal insulin signaling after CLL contact. Our data suggest that targeting PKCβ and the glucose metabolism of the leukemic niche could be a potential therapeutic strategy to overcome stroma-mediated drug resistance.

Keywords: Bone marrow stromal cells; PKCβ; chronic lymphocytic leukemia; glucose metabolism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bone Marrow Cells / drug effects
  • Bone Marrow Cells / metabolism*
  • Cell Communication / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Lymphocytic, Chronic, B-Cell / drug therapy
  • Leukemia, Lymphocytic, Chronic, B-Cell / metabolism*
  • Leukemia, Lymphocytic, Chronic, B-Cell / pathology
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / drug effects
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Protein Kinase C beta / drug effects
  • Protein Kinase C beta / metabolism*
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Tumor Microenvironment / drug effects


  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • PRKCB protein, human
  • Protein Kinase C beta
  • Glucose