Metabolic flexibility maintains proliferation and migration of FGFR signaling–deficient lymphatic endothelial cells

Hongyuan Song, Jie Zhu, Ping Li, Fei Han, Longhou Fang, Pengchun Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Metabolic flexibility is the capacity of cells to alter fuel metabolism in response to changes in metabolic demand or nutrient availability. It is critical for maintaining cellular bio-energetics and is involved in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease and metabolic disorders. However, the regulation and function of metabolic flexibility in lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs) remain unclear. We have previously shown that glycolysis is the predominant metabolic pathway to generate ATP in LECs and that fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) signaling controls lymphatic vessel formation by promoting glycolysis. Here, we found that chemical inhibition of FGFR activity or knockdown of FGFR1 induces substantial upregulation of fatty acid β-oxidation (FAO) while reducing glycolysis and cellular ATP generation in LECs. Interestingly, such compensatory elevation was not observed in glucose oxidation and glutamine oxidation. Mechanistic studies show that FGFR blockade promotes the expression of carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1A (CPT1A), a rate-limiting enzyme of FAO; this is achieved by dampened extracellular signal–regulated protein kinase activation, which in turn upregulates the expression of the peroxisome proliferator–activated receptor alpha. Metabolic analysis further demonstrates that CPT1A depletion decreases total cellular ATP levels in FGFR1-deficient rather than wildtype LECs. This result suggests that FAO, which makes a negligible contribution to cellular energy under normal conditions, can partially compensate for energy deficiency caused by FGFR inhibition. Consequently, CPT1A silencing potentiates the effect of FGFR1 knockdown on impeding LEC proliferation and migration. Collectively, our study identified a key role of metabolic flexibility in modulating the effect of FGFR signaling on LEC growth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101149
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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