A cell cycle-linked mechanism for the glutamine driven establishment of stem cell fate

Xiao M, Wu C, Meek G, Kelly B, Young LE, Martire S, Castillo DB, Saha P, Dube AL, Gentry MS, Banaszynski LA, Sun RC, Kikani CK.
Preprint from
25 March 2022
The cell cycle offers a unique opportunity for stem cells to sample metabolic and signaling cues to establish cell fate. Molecular pathways that integrate and convey these signals to cell cycle machinery to license cell fate transitions and drive terminal differentiation remain unknown. Here, we describe a signaling role of mitochondrial glutamine metabolism in driving exit from cell cycle-linked self-renewal to generate differentiation competent progenitors. In proliferating stem cells, mitochondrial glutamine metabolism opposes the WDR5-linked self-renewal network via acetylation and nuclear translocation of its upstream regulator, PASK. Nuclear PASK disrupts the mitotic WDR5-anaphase-promoting complex (APC/C) interaction to drive exit from self-renewal. Consistent with these roles, loss of PASK or inhibition of glutamine metabolism preserves stemness in vitro and in vivo during muscle regeneration. Our results suggest a mechanism whereby the proliferative functions of glutamine metabolism are co- opted by stem cells to establish cell fate.