Tumorigenicity of hypoxic respiring cancer cells revealed by a hypoxia–cell cycle dual reporter
The Warburg effect is the observation that, during tumorigenesis, there exists a metabolic shift from oxidative phosphorylation to glycolysis. In this report, the authors highlight the metabolic heterogeneity of cancer, by developing a dual reporter of HIF (hypoxia-inducible factor) and cell division. They find, in HEK 293T cells, that there exists a sub-population of non-HIF and non-cycling cells. These cells overexpressed certain mitochondrial genes and had an increased oxygen consumption, suggesting they respire aerobically. Despite this, they were found to be unexpectedly tumorigenic, relative to their glycolytic counterparts.