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Recent studies have shown that cellular bioenergetics may be involved in stem cell differentiation. Considering that during cancerogenesis cells acquire numerous properties of stem cells, it is possible to assume that the energy metabolism in tumorigenic cells might be differently regulated. The aim of this study was to compare the mitochondrial bioenergetic profile of normal pluripotent human embryonic stem cells (hESC) and relatively nullipotent embryonal carcinoma cells (2102Ep cell line). We examined three parameters related to cellular bioenergetics: phosphotransfer system, aerobic glycolysis, and oxygen consumption. Activities and expression levels of main enzymes that facilitate energy transfer were measured. The oxygen consumption rate studies were performed to investigate the respiratory capacity of cells. 2102Ep cells showed a shift in energy distribution towards adenylate kinase network. The total AK activity was almost 3 times higher in 2102Ep cells compared to hESCs (179.85±5.73 vs 64.39±2.55mU/mg of protein) and the expression of AK2 was significantly higher in these cells, while CK was downregulated. 2102Ep cells displayed reduced levels of oxygen consumption and increased levels of aerobic glycolysis compared to hESCs. The compromised respiration of 2102Ep cells is not the result of increased mitochondrial mass, increased proton leak, and reduced respiratory reserve capacity of the cells or impairment of respiratory chain complexes. Our data showed that the bioenergetic profile of 2102Ep cells clearly distinguishes them from normal hESCs. This should be considered when this cell line is used as a reference, and highlight the importance of further research concerning energy metabolism of stem cells.

Original publication




Journal article


Biochim biophys acta gen subj

Publication Date





2146 - 2154


Cellular bioenergetics, Embryonal carcinoma, Human embryonic stem cells, Adenylate Kinase, Cell Line, Tumor, Creatine Kinase, Embryonal Carcinoma Stem Cells, Energy Metabolism, Glycolysis, Human Embryonic Stem Cells, Humans, Mitochondria, Oxygen Consumption