Metabolic reprogramming, in which altered utilization of glucose and glutamine supports rapid growth, is a hallmark of most cancers. Mutations in the oncogenes KRAS and BRAF drive metabolic reprogramming through enhanced glucose uptake, but the broader impact of these mutations on pathways of carbon metabolism is unknown. Global shotgun proteomic analysis of isogenic DLD-1 and RKO colon cancer cell lines expressing mutant and wild type KRAS or BRAF, respectively, failed to identify significant differences (at least 2-fold) in metabolic protein abundance. However, a multiplexed parallel reaction monitoring (PRM) strategy targeting 73 metabolic proteins identified significant protein abundance increases of 1.25-twofold in glycolysis, the nonoxidative pentose phosphate pathway, glutamine metabolism, and the phosphoserine biosynthetic pathway in cells with KRAS G13D mutations or BRAF V600E mutations. These alterations corresponded to mutant KRAS and BRAF-dependent increases in glucose uptake and lactate production. Metabolic reprogramming and glucose conversion to lactate in RKO cells were proportional to levels of BRAF V600E protein. In DLD-1 cells, these effects were independent of the ratio of KRAS G13D to KRAS wild type protein. A study of 8 KRAS wild type and 8 KRAS mutant human colon tumors confirmed the association of increased expression of glycolytic and glutamine metabolic proteins with KRAS mutant status. Metabolic reprogramming is driven largely by modest (<2-fold) alterations in protein expression, which are not readily detected by the global profiling methods most commonly employed in proteomic studies. The results indicate the superiority of more precise, multiplexed, pathway-targeted analyses to study functional proteome systems. Data are available through MassIVE Accession MSV000079486 at ftp://MSV000079486@massive.ucsd.edu.
© 2016 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.