Metabolic reprogramming has been shown to occur in uveal melanoma (UM), the most common intraocular tumor in adults. Mechanisms driving metabolic reprogramming in UM are poorly understood. Elucidation of these mechanisms could inform development of new therapeutic strategies for metastatic UM, which has poor prognosis because existing therapies are ineffective. Here, we determined whether metabolic reprogramming is driven by constitutively active mutant α-subunits of the heterotrimeric G proteins Gq or G11 (Gq/11), the oncogenic drivers in ∼90% of UM patients. Using PET-computed tomography imaging, microphysiometry, and GC/MS, we found that inhibition of oncogenic Gq/11 with the small molecule FR900359 (FR) attenuated glucose uptake by UM cells in vivo and in vitro, blunted glycolysis and mitochondrial respiration in UM cell lines and tumor cells isolated from patients, and reduced levels of several glycolytic and tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediates. FR acutely inhibited glycolysis and respiration and chronically attenuated expression of genes in both metabolic processes. UM therefore differs from other melanomas that exhibit a classic Warburg effect. Metabolic reprogramming in UM cell lines and patient samples involved protein kinase C and extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase 1/2 signaling downstream of oncogenic Gq/11. Chronic administration of FR upregulated expression of genes involved in metabolite scavenging and redox homeostasis, potentially as an adaptive mechanism explaining why FR does not efficiently kill UM tumor cells or regress UM tumor xenografts. These results establish that oncogenic Gq/11 signaling is a crucial driver of metabolic reprogramming in UM and lay a foundation for studies aimed at targeting metabolic reprogramming for therapeutic development.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101495
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022


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