Lactylome analysis suggests lactylation-dependent mechanisms of metabolic adaptation in hepatocellular carcinoma

Nat Metab. 2023 Jan;5(1):61-79. doi: 10.1038/s42255-022-00710-w. Epub 2023 Jan 2.


Enhanced glycolysis and accumulation of lactate is a common feature in various types of cancer. Intracellular lactate drives a recently described type of posttranslational modification, lysine lactylation (Kla), on core histones. However, the impact of lactylation on biological processes of tumour cells remains largely unknown. Here we show a global lactylome profiling on a prospectively collected hepatitis B virus-related hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cohort. Integrative lactylome and proteome analysis of the tumours and adjacent livers identifies 9,275 Kla sites, with 9,256 sites on non-histone proteins, indicating that Kla is a prevalent modification beyond histone proteins and transcriptional regulation. Notably, Kla preferentially affects enzymes involved in metabolic pathways, including the tricarboxylic acid cycle, and carbohydrate, amino acid, fatty acid and nucleotide metabolism. We further verify that lactylation at K28 inhibits the function of adenylate kinase 2, facilitating the proliferation and metastasis of HCC cells. Our study therefore reveals that Kla plays an important role in regulating cellular metabolism and may contribute to HCC progression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular* / metabolism
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lactates
  • Liver Neoplasms* / metabolism


  • Histones
  • Lactates