Fatty acid elongation regulates mitochondrial β-oxidation and cell viability in prostate cancer by controlling malonyl-CoA levels

Julia S. Scott, Lake Ee Quek, Andrew J. Hoy, Johannes V. Swinnen, Zeyad D. Nassar, Lisa M. Butler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recently, the fatty acid elongation enzyme ELOVL5 was identified as a critical pro-metastatic factor in prostate cancer, required for cell growth and mitochondrial homeostasis. The fatty acid elongation reaction catalyzed by ELOVL5 utilizes malonyl-CoA as the carbon donor. Here, we demonstrate that ELOVL5 knockdown causes malonyl-CoA accumulation. Malonyl-CoA is a cellular substrate that can inhibit fatty acid β-oxidation in the mitochondria through allosteric inhibition of carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1A (CPT1A), the enzyme that controls the rate-limiting step of the long chain fatty acid β-oxidation cycle. We hypothesized that changes in malonyl-CoA abundance following ELOVL5 knockdown could influence mitochondrial β-oxidation rates in prostate cancer cells, and regulate cell viability. Accordingly, we find that ELOVL5 knockdown is associated with decreased mitochondrial β-oxidation in prostate cancer cells. Combining ELOVL5 knockdown with FASN inhibition to increase malonyl-CoA abundance endogenously enhances the effect of ELOVL5 knockdown on prostate cancer cell viability, while preventing malonyl-CoA production rescues the cells from the effect of ELOVL5 knockdown. Our findings indicate an additional role for fatty acid elongation, in the control of malonyl-CoA homeostasis, alongside its established role in the production of long-chain fatty acid species, to explain the importance of fatty acid elongation for cell viability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number149273
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 8 Jan 2024


  • Fatty acid elongation
  • Fatty acid oxidation
  • Malonyl-CoA
  • Prostate cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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