Macropinocytosis is a nonspecific endocytic process that may enhance cancer cell survival under nutrient-poor conditions. Ataxia-Telangiectasia mutated (ATM) is a tumor suppressor that has been previously shown to play a role in cellular metabolic reprogramming. We report that the suppression of ATM increases macropinocytosis to promote cancer cell survival in nutrient-poor conditions. Combined inhibition of ATM and macropinocytosis suppressed proliferation and induced cell death both in vitro and in vivo. Supplementation of ATM-inhibited cells with amino acids, branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) in particular, abrogated macropinocytosis. Analysis of ATM-inhibited cells in vitro demonstrated increased BCAA uptake, and metabolomics of ascites and interstitial fluid from tumors indicated decreased BCAAs in the microenvironment of ATM-inhibited tumors. These data reveal a novel basis of ATM-mediated tumor suppression whereby loss of ATM stimulates protumorigenic uptake of nutrients in part via macropinocytosis to promote cancer cell survival and reveal a potential metabolic vulnerability of ATM-inhibited cells.

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