Steinmetz J, Senkowski W, Lengqvist J, Rubin J, Ossipova E, Herman S, Larsson R, Jakobsson PJ, Fryknäs M, Kultima K
ACS Omega 5 (28) 17242-17254 [2020-07-21; online 2020-07-06]
We have previously identified selective upregulation of the mevalonate pathway genes upon inhibition of oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) in quiescent cancer cells. Using mass spectrometry-based proteomics, we here investigated whether these responses are corroborated on the protein level and whether proteomics could yield unique insights into context-dependent biology. HCT116 colon carcinoma cells were cultured as monolayer cultures, proliferative multicellular tumor spheroids (P-MCTS), or quiescent (Q-MCTS) multicellular tumor spheroids and exposed to OXPHOS inhibitors: nitazoxanide, FCCP, oligomycin, and salinomycin or the HMG-CoA-reductase inhibitor simvastatin at two different doses for 6 and 24 h. Samples were processed using an in-depth bottom-up proteomics workflow resulting in a total of 9286 identified protein groups. Gene set enrichment analysis showed profound differences between the three cell systems and confirmed differential enrichment of hypoxia, OXPHOS, and cell cycle progression-related protein responses in P-MCTS and Q-MCTS. Treatment experiments showed that the observed drug-induced alterations in gene expression of metabolically challenged cells are not translated directly to the protein level, but the results reaffirmed OXPHOS as a selective vulnerability of quiescent cancer cells. This work provides rationale for the use of deep proteome profiling to identify context-dependent treatment responses and encourages further studies investigating metabolic processes that could be co-targeted together with OXPHOS to eradicate quiescent cancer cells.