Loss of Merlin induces metabolomic adaptation that engages dependence on Hedgehog signaling

Academic Article


  • The tumor suppressor protein Merlin is proteasomally degraded in breast cancer. We undertook an untargeted metabolomics approach to discern the global metabolomics profile impacted by Merlin in breast cancer cells. We discerned specific changes in glutathione metabolites that uncovered novel facets of Merlin in impacting the cancer cell metabolome. Concordantly, Merlin loss increased oxidative stress causing aberrant activation of Hedgehog signaling. Abrogation of GLI-mediated transcription activity compromised the aggressive phenotype of Merlin-deficient cells indicating a clear dependence of cells on Hedgehog signaling. In breast tumor tissues, GLI1 expression enhanced tissue identification and discriminatory power of Merlin, cumulatively presenting a powerful substantiation of the relationship between these two proteins. We have uncovered, for the first time, details of the tumor cell metabolomic portrait modulated by Merlin, leading to activation of Hedgehog signaling. Importantly, inhibition of Hedgehog signaling offers an avenue to target the vulnerability of tumor cells with loss of Merlin.
  • Published In

  • Scientific Reports  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Das S; Jackson WP; Prasain JK; Hanna A; Bailey SK; Tucker JA; Bae S; Wilson LS; Samant RS; Barnes S
  • Volume

  • 7