Autophagy traditionally sustains metabolism in stressed cells by promoting intracellular catabolism and nutrient recycling. Here, we demonstrate that in response to stresses requiring increased glycolytic demand, the core autophagy machinery also facilitates glucose uptake and glycolytic flux by promoting cell surface expression of the glucose transporter GLUT1/Slc2a1. During metabolic stress, LC3+ autophagic compartments bind and sequester the RabGAP protein TBC1D5 away from its inhibitory interactions with the retromer complex, thereby enabling retromer recruitment to endosome membranes and GLUT1 plasma membrane translocation. In contrast, TBC1D5 inhibitory interactions with the retromer are maintained in autophagy-deficient cells, leading to GLUT1 mis-sorting into endolysosomal compartments. Furthermore, TBC1D5 depletion in autophagy-deficient cells rescues retromer recruitment to endosomal membranes and GLUT1 surface recycling. Hence, TBC1D5 shuttling to autophagosomes during metabolic stress facilitates retromer-dependent GLUT1 trafficking. Overall, our results illuminate key interconnections between the autophagy and endosomal pathways dictating GLUT1 trafficking and extracellular nutrient uptake.
Cancer cells show different metabolic requirements from normal cells. In prostate cancer, particularly, glycolytic metabolism differs in androgen-responsive and nonresponsive cells. In addition, some natural compounds with antiproliferative activities are able to modify glucose entry into cells by either modulating glucose transporter (GLUT) expression or by altering glucose binding. The aim of this work was to study the regulation of some GLUTs (GLUT1 and GLUT4) in both androgen-sensitive (LNCaP) and -insensitive (PC-3) prostate cancer cells by 4 structurally different flavonoids (ie, genistein, phloretin, apigenin, and daidzein). Glucose uptake was measured using nonradiolabeled 2-deoxyglucose. The evaluation of protein levels as well as subcellular distribution of GLUT1/4 were analyzed by Western blot and immunocytochemistry, respectively. Androgen-insensitive LNCaP-R and androgen-sensitive PC-3-AR cells were used to study the effect of androgen signaling. Additionally, a docking simulation was employed to compare interactions between flavonoids and XylE, a bacterial homolog of GLUT1 to -4. Results show for the first time the presence of functionally relevant GLUT4 in prostate cancer cells. Furthermore, differences in GLUT1 and GLUT4 levels and glucose uptake were found, without differences on subcellular distribution, after incubation with flavonoids. Docking simulation showed that all compounds interact with the same location of transporters. More importantly, differences between androgen-sensitive and -insensitive prostate cancer cells were found in both GLUT protein levels and glucose uptake. Thus, phenotypic characteristics of prostate cancer cells are responsible for the different effects of these flavonoids in glucose uptake and in GLUT expression rather than their structural differences, with the most effective in reducing cell growth being the highest in modifying glucose uptake and GLUT levels.