PFKP (phosphofructokinase, platelet), the major isoform of PFK1 expressed in T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL), is predominantly expressed in the cytoplasm to carry out its glycolytic function. Our study showed that PFKP is a nucleocytoplasmic shuttling protein with functional nuclear export and nuclear localization sequences (NLSs). Cyclin D3/CDK6 facilitated PFKP nuclear translocation by dimerization and by exposing the NLS of PFKP to induce the interaction between PFKP and importin 9. Nuclear PFKP stimulated the expression of C-X-C chemokine receptor type 4 (CXCR4), a chemokine receptor regulating leukemia homing/infiltration, to promote T-ALL cell invasion, which depended on the activity of c-Myc. In vivo experiments showed that nuclear PFKP promoted leukemia homing/infiltration into the bone marrow, spleen, and liver, which could be blocked with CXCR4 antagonists. Immunohistochemical staining of tissues from a clinically well-annotated cohort of T cell lymphoma/leukemia patients showed nuclear PFKP localization in invasive cancers, but not in nonmalignant T lymph node or reactive hyperplasia. The presence of nuclear PFKP in these specimens correlated with poor survival in patients with T cell malignancy, suggesting the potential utility of nuclear PFKP as a diagnostic marker.
Keywords: Cancer; Cell Biology; Cell cycle; Cell migration/adhesion; Oncology.