Metabolic Adjustments following Glutaminase Inhibition by CB-839 in Glioblastoma Cell Lines

Juan De los Santos-Jiménez, Tracy Rosales, Bookyung Ko, José A. Campos-Sandoval, Francisco J. Alonso, Javier Márquez, Ralph J. DeBerardinis, José M. Matés

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Most tumor cells can use glutamine (Gln) for energy generation and biosynthetic purposes. Glutaminases (GAs) convert Gln into glutamate and ammonium. In humans, GAs are encoded by two genes: GLS and GLS2. In glioblastoma, GLS is commonly overexpressed and considered pro-oncogenic. We studied the metabolic effects of inhibiting GLS activity in T98G, LN229, and U87MG human glioblastoma cell lines by using the inhibitor CB-839. We performed metabolomics and isotope tracing experiments using U-13C-labeled Gln, as well as 15N-labeled Gln in the amide group, to determine the metabolic fates of Gln carbon and nitrogen atoms. In the presence of the inhibitor, the results showed an accumulation of Gln and lower levels of tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediates, and aspartate, along with a decreased oxidative labeling and diminished reductive carboxylation-related labeling of these metabolites. Additionally, CB-839 treatment caused decreased levels of metabolites from pyrimidine biosynthesis and an accumulation of intermediate metabolites in the de novo purine nucleotide biosynthesis pathway. The levels of some acetylated and methylated metabolites were significantly increased, including acetyl-carnitine, trimethyl-lysine, and 5-methylcytosine. In conclusion, we analyzed the metabolic landscape caused by the GLS inhibition of CB-839 in human glioma cells, which might lead to the future development of new combination therapies with CB-839.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number531
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • CB-839
  • aspartate
  • cancer
  • cancer metabolism
  • citrate
  • glioblastoma
  • glutaminase
  • glutamine
  • metabolic reprogramming
  • metabolomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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