Metformin Decouples Phospholipid Metabolism in Breast Cancer Cells
During entry into the cell cycle a phosphatidylcholine (PC) metabolic cycle is activated. We have examined the hypothesis that PC synthesis during the G(0) to G(1) transition is controlled by one or more lipid products of PC turnover acting directly on the rate-limiting enzyme in the synthesis pathway, CTP: phosphocholine cytidylyltransferase (CCT). The acceleration of PC synthesis was two- to threefold during the first hour after addition of serum to quiescent IIC9 fibroblasts. The rate increased to approximately 15-fold above the basal rate during the second hour. The production of arachidonic acid, diacylglycerol (DAG), and phosphatidic acid (PA) preceded the second, rapid phase of PC synthesis. However, an increase in the cellular content of these lipid mediators was detected only for DAG. CCT activation and translocation to membranes accompanied the second phase of the PC synthesis acceleration. Bromoenol lactone (BEL), an inhibitor of calcium-independent phospholipase A(2) and PA phosphatase, blocked production of fatty acids and DAG, inhibited both phases of the PC synthesis response to serum, and reduced CCT activity and membrane affinity. The effect of BEL on PC synthesis was partially reversed by in situ generation of DAG via exogenous PC-specific phospholipase C to generate approximately 2-fold elevation in PC-derived DAG. Exogenous arachidonic acid also partially reversed the inhibition by BEL, but only at a concentration that generated a supra-physiological cellular content of free fatty acid. 1-Butanol, which blocks PA production, had no effect on DAG generation, or on PC synthesis. We conclude that fatty acids and DAG could contribute to the initial slow phase of the PC synthesis response. DAG is the most likely lipid regulator of CCT activity and the rapid phase of PC synthesis. However, processes other than direct activation of CCT by lipid mediators likely contribute to the highly accelerated phase during entry into the cell cycle.