2-Hydroxylation of Fatty Acids Represses Colorectal Tumorigenesis and Metastasis via the YAP Transcriptional Axis

Liang Sun, Xiaoqin Yang, Xiaoheng Huang, Yizhou Yao, Xiangyu Wei, Shugao Yang, Diyuan Zhou, Wei Zhang, Zhimin Long, Xiaoyan Xu, Xinguo Zhu, Songbing He, Xiong Su

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Alteration in lipid composition is an important metabolic adaptation by cancer cells to support tumorigenesis and metastasis. Fatty acid 2-hydroxylase (FA2H) introduces a chiral hydroxyl group at the second carbon of fatty acid (FA) backbones and influences lipid structures and metabolic signaling. However, the underlying mechanisms through which FA 2-hydroxylation is coupled to metabolic adaptation and tumor growth remain elusive. Here, we show that FA2H regulates specific metabolic reprogramming and oncogenic signaling in the development of colorectal cancer. FA2H is highly expressed in normal colorectal tissues. Assessments through deciphering both published high-throughput data and curated human colorectal cancer samples revealed significant suppression of FA2H in tumors, which is correlated with unfavorable prognosis. Experiments with multiple models of genetic manipulation or treatment with an enzymatic product of FA2H, (R)-2hydroxy palmitic acid, demonstrated that FA 2-hydroxylation inhibits colorectal cancer cell proliferation, migration, epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition progression, and tumor growth. Bioinformatics analysis suggested that FA2H functions through AMP-activated protein kinase/Yes-associated protein (AMPK/YAP) pathway, which was confirmed in colorectal cancer cells, as well as in tumors. Lipidomics analysis revealed an accumulation of polyunsaturated fatty acids in cells with FA2H overexpression, which may contribute to the observed nutrient deficiency and AMPK activation. Collectively, these data demonstrate that FA 2-hydroxylation initiates a metabolic signaling cascade to suppress colorectal tumor growth and metastasis via the YAP transcriptional axis and provides a strategy to improve colorectal cancer treatment. Significance: These findings identify a novel metabolic mechanism regulating the tumor suppressor function of FA 2-hydroxyl-ation in colorectal cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-302
Number of pages14
JournalCancer research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 2021


Dive into the research topics of '2-Hydroxylation of Fatty Acids Represses Colorectal Tumorigenesis and Metastasis via the YAP Transcriptional Axis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this