One of the major features of cancer is Otto Warburg’s observation that many tumors have increased extracellular acidification compared to healthy tissues. Since Warburg’s observation, the importance of extracellular acidification in cancer is now considered a hallmark of cancer. Human MAP3K4 functions upstream of the p38 and JNK mitogen activated protein kinases (MAPKs). Additionally, MAP3K4 is required for cell migration and extracellular acidification of breast cancer cells in response to HER2/HER3 signaling. Here, we demonstrate that GIT1 interacts with MAP3K4 by immunoprecipitation, while cellular lactate production and the capacity of MCF-7 cells for anchorage independent growth in soft agar were dependent on GIT1. Additionally, we show that activation of HER2/HER3 signaling leads to reduced expression of lactate receptor (GPR81) mRNA and that both, GIT1 and MAP3K4, are necessary for constitutive expression of GPR81 mRNA. Our study suggests that targeting downstream proteins in the HER2/HER3-induced extracellular lactate signaling pathway may be a way to inhibit the Warburg Effect to disrupt tumor growth.
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