NADK-mediated de novo NADP(H) synthesis is a metabolic adaptation essential for breast cancer metastasis

Didem Ilter, Stanislav Drapela, Tanya Schild, Nathan P. Ward, Emma Adhikari, Vivien Low, John Asara, Thordur Oskarsson, Eric K. Lau, Gina M. DeNicola, Melanie R. McReynolds, Ana P. Gomes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Metabolic reprogramming and metabolic plasticity allow cancer cells to fine-tune their metabolism and adapt to the ever-changing environments of the metastatic cascade, for which lipid metabolism and oxidative stress are of particular importance. NADPH is a central co-factor for both lipid and redox homeostasis, suggesting that cancer cells may require larger pools of NADPH to efficiently metastasize. NADPH is recycled through reduction of NADP+ by several enzymatic systems in cells; however, de novo NADP+ is synthesized only through one known enzymatic reaction, catalyzed by NAD+ kinase (NADK). Here, we show that NADK is upregulated in metastatic breast cancer cells enabling de novo production of NADP(H) and the expansion of the NADP(H) pools thereby increasing the ability of these cells to adapt to the challenges of the metastatic cascade and efficiently metastasize. Mechanistically, we found that metastatic signals lead to a histone H3.3 variant-mediated epigenetic regulation of the NADK promoter, resulting in increased NADK levels in cells with metastatic ability. Together, our work presents a previously uncharacterized role for NADK and de novo NADP(H) production as a contributor to breast cancer progression and suggests that NADK constitutes an important and much needed therapeutic target for metastatic breast cancers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102627
JournalRedox Biology
StatePublished - May 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Organic Chemistry


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