BARX2/FOXA1/HK2 axis promotes lung adenocarcinoma progression and energy metabolism reprogramming

Kai Xie, Jian Feng, Dingwei Fan, Shi Wang, Jing Luo, Zhijian Ren, Chao Zheng, Yifei Diao, Ramon Andrade De Mello, Simona Tavolari, Giovanni Brandi, Anja C. Roden, Binhui Ren, Yi Shen, Lin Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Metabolic reprogramming is an emerging cancer feature that has recently drawn special attention since it promotes tumor cell growth and proliferation. However, the mechanism of the Warburg effect is still largely unknown. This research aimed to reveal the effects of BarH-like homeobox 2 (BARX2) in regulating tumor progression and glucose metabolism in lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD). Methods: Expression of BARX2 was measured by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) in LUAD cell line and tissues, and the tumor-promoting function of BARX2 in LUAD cells was detected in vitro and in vivo xenograft models. The metabolic effects of BARX2 were examined by detecting glucose uptake, the production levels of lactate and pyruvate, and the extracellular acidification rate (ECAR). Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assay and luciferase reporter gene assay were used to identify the underlying molecular mechanism of BARX2 regulation of HK2. Further studies showed that transcription factor FOXA1 directly interacts with BARX2 and promotes the transcriptional activity of BARX2. Results: BARX2 was remarkably up-regulated in LUAD tissues and positively linked to advanced clinical stage and poor prognosis. In vitro and in vivo data indicated ectopic expression of BARX2 enhanced cell proliferation and tumorigenesis, whereas BARX2 knockdown suppressed these effects. Metabolic-related experiments showed BARX2 promoted the reprogramming of glucose metabolism. Mechanistically, the BARX2/FOXA1/HK2 axis promoted LUAD progression and energy metabolism reprogramming. Conclusions: In summary, our research first defined BARX2 as a tumor-promoting factor in LUAD and that it may act as a novel prognostic biomarker and new therapeutic target for the disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1405-1419
Number of pages15
JournalTranslational Lung Cancer Research
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2022


  • BARX2
  • HK2
  • Transcription factor
  • glucose metabolism
  • lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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