Department of Biological Sciences, Hunter College of the City University of New York, New York, NY, USA; Biochemistry PhD Program, The Graduate Center, City University of New York, New York, NY, USA; Department of Pharmacology, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, NY, USA. Electronic address: [Email]
Cancer cells consume glutamine, a nonessential amino acid (NEAA), at exceedingly high rates to fulfill their energetic and biosynthetic requirements for proliferation. Glutamine plays distinct roles from essential amino acids in cell cycle progression and in the activation of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). Furthermore, the need of cancer cells for glutamine can be exploited therapeutically - especially those driven by KRas. In this review we explore several distinct cellular roles for glutamine that contribute to glutamine addiction in KRas-driven cancer cells and discuss opportunities for therapeutic intervention created by glutamine addiction.