Purpose: DNA-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit (DNA-PKcs, herein referred as DNA-PK) is a multifunctional kinase of high cancer relevance. DNA-PK is deregulated in multiple tumor types, including prostate cancer, and is associated with poor outcomes. DNA-PK was previously nominated as a therapeutic target and DNA-PK inhibitors are currently undergoing clinical investigation. Although DNA-PK is well studied in DNA repair and transcriptional regulation, much remains to be understood about the way by which DNA-PK drives aggressive disease phenotypes. Experimental Design: Here, unbiased proteomic and metabolomic approaches in clinically relevant tumor models uncovered a novel role of DNA-PK in metabolic regulation of cancer progression. DNA-PK regulation of metabolism was interrogated using pharmacologic and genetic perturbation using in vitro cell models, in vivo xenografts, and ex vivo in patient-derived explants (PDE). Results: Key findings reveal: (i) the first-in-field DNA-PK protein interactome; (ii) numerous DNA-PK novel partners involved in glycolysis; (iii) DNA-PK interacts with, phosphorylates (in vitro), and increases the enzymatic activity of glycolytic enzymes ALDOA and PKM2; (iv) DNA-PK drives synthesis of glucose-derived pyruvate and lactate; (v) DNA-PK regulates glycolysis in vitro, in vivo, and ex vivo; and (vi) combination of DNA-PK inhibitor with glycolytic inhibitor 2-deoxyglucose leads to additive anti-proliferative effects in aggressive disease. Conclusions: Findings herein unveil novel DNA-PK partners, substrates, and function in prostate cancer. DNA-PK impacts glycolysis through direct interaction with glycolytic enzymes and modulation of enzymatic activity. These events support energy production that may contribute to generation and/or maintenance of DNA-PK–mediated aggressive disease phenotypes.
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