Plain Language Summary
This research highlighted the role of the PCK 1 enzymatic pathway in cancer cell growth. An in vivo study (using mice) was conducted to understand the pathway leading to the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), commonly known as liver cancer. The number of cancer cells is found to increase rapidly when the cells speed up its metabolic formation of fat, lipogenesis. This process is initiated by the activation of SREBPs, the binding proteins in cells. The activity of SREBPs can be inhibited by a complex consisting of INSIG proteins, SCAP, and sterols. The research demonstrated that AKT in HCC cells when activated by oncogenes, creates a chain of biochemical reactions starting with the PCK 1 enzyme. The alteration of PCK1 causes the binding of sterols to INSIG to reduce and disrupts the interaction between INSIG and SCAP. As a result, the complex that inhibits SREBP is incomplete, leaving only SCAP to bind to the SREBPs. As the SREBPs move on to the Golgi apparatus, it will lead to an increase in the formation of lipogenesis-related genes and tumor cells, eventually leading to HCC in mice.
In the cancer cell development pathways, interactions between enzymes and proteins play a crucial role. This research attempts to highlight the interaction between INSIG proteins and the SREBP-SCAP complex independent of sterols that potentially triggers tumor cell growth. The findings outlined a detailed pathway led by the activated AKT altering the PCK 1 enzyme, which led to increased tumor cell growth. By understanding the pathway, the opportunity for more refined research directions for various cancer therapies can be explored.
The SDG Impact
The disadvantages of chemotherapy are widely known and feared by many. In recent years, alternative treatment methods like immunotherapy, molecular therapy, etc., have been actively explored. The ultimate purpose of this research is to learn the biological pathways of cancer formation to prevent or cure cancer effectively through such therapeutic methods. This aligns perfectly with “Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being” of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. One of the targets to achieve this goal is to reduce premature mortality from non-communicable diseases by one third through prevention and treatment. With discoveries providing a molecular-level understanding of the tumor development, chances of early-stage detection or treatment are improved. Consequently, people will stand a better chance to prevent or battle cancer.