Metastatic cells require burning long chain fatty acids to promote metastasis (Pascual et al, Nature 2017; Pascual et al., Nature 2021; Martinez et al., Cell Metabolism 2022). However, we still do not know how metastatic cells outcompete their non-metastatic counterparts that are adjacent to them in within their same microenvironment to preferentially obtain energy from fatty acids within the primary tumors. In this paper we found that metastatic cells not only uptake more fatty acids through the fatty acid transporter CD36, buyt also express much higher levels than their non-metastatic counterparts of a mitochondrial specific methionine tRNA methyltransferase which enables them to express certain components of the electron transport chain much more efficiently. This makes them more efficient in burning fatty acids by beta-oxidation then the non-metastatic cells.
Salvador A. Benitah
Institut de Recerca Biomèdica (IRB Barcelona)
– Delaunay S, Pascual G, Feng B, et al. 2022, ‘Mitochondrial RNA modifications shape metabolic plasticity in metastasis‘, Nature, 607(7919):593-603.