Hexokinase 2 couples glycolysis with the profibrotic actions of TGF-β

Xueqian Yin, Malay Choudhury, Jeong Han Kang, Kyle J. Schaefbauer, Mi Yeon Jung, Mahefatiana Andrianifahanana, Danielle M. Hernandez, Edward B. Leof

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Metabolic dysregulation in fibroblasts is implicated in the profibrotic actions of transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β). Here, we present evidence that hexokinase 2 (HK2) is important for mediating the fibroproliferative activity of TGF-β both in vitro and in vivo. Both Smad-dependent and Smad-independent TGF-β signaling induced HK2 accumulation in murine and human lung fibroblasts through induction of the transcription factor c-Myc. Knockdown of HK2 or pharmacological inhibition of HK2 activity with Lonidamine decreased TGF-β-stimulated fibrogenic processes, including profibrotic gene expression, cell migration, colony formation, and activation of the transcription factors YAP and TAZ, with no apparent effect on cellular viability. Fibroblasts from patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) exhibited an increased abundance of HK2. In a mouse model of bleomycin-induced lung fibrosis, Lonidamine reduced the expression of genes encoding profibrotic markers (collagenIα1, EDA-fibronectin, α smooth muscle actin, and connective tissue growth factor) and stabilized or improved lung function as assessed by measurement of peripheral blood oxygenation. These findings provide evidence of how metabolic dysregulation through HK2 can be integrated within the context of profibrotic TGF-β signaling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbereaax4067
JournalScience Signaling
Issue number612
StatePublished - Dec 17 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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