Phosphofructokinase 1 (PFK1) is expressed in T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL), where its upregulation is linked with cancer progression. While PFK1 functions in the glycolysis pathway within the cytoplasm, it is also present in the nucleus where it regulates gene transcription. In this issue of the JCI, Xueliang Gao, Shenghui Qin, et al. focus their mechanism-based investigation on the nucleocytoplasmic shuttling aspect of the PFK1 platelet isoform, PFKP. Functional nuclear export and localization sequences stimulated CXC chemokine receptor type 4 (CXCR4) expression to promote T-ALL invasion that involved cyclin D3/CDK6, c-Myc, and importin-9. Since the presence of nuclear PFKP is associated with poor survival in T-ALL, nuclear PFKP–induced CXCR4 expression might serve as a prognostic marker for T-ALL. More promising, though, are the mechanistic insights suggesting that approaches to dampening metastatic migration may have application to benefit patients with T-ALL.
Hal E. Broxmeyer