DNA damage-inducible transcript 4 (DDIT4) is known to participate in various cancers, including glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). However, contradictory roles of DDIT4 exist in inducing cell death and possessing anti-apoptotic functions against cancer progression. Herein, we investigated DDIT4 signaling in GBM and temozolomide (TMZ) drug resistance. We identified that TMZ induced DDIT4 upregulation, leading to desensitization against TMZ cytotoxicity in GBM cells. Higher DDIT4 levels were found in glioma cells and mesenchymal-type GBM patients, and these higher levels were positively correlated with mesenchymal markers. Furthermore, patients with lower DDIT4 levels, especially O-6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT)-methylated patients, exhibited better TMZ therapeutic efficacy. We determined that higher levels of 5 DDIT4-associated downstream genes, including SLC2A3 (also known as glucose transporter 3 (GLUT3)), can be used to predict a poor prognosis. Among these 5 genes, only GLUT3 was upregulated in both TMZ-treated and DDIT4-overexpressing cells. DDIT4-mediated GLUT3 expression was also identified, and its expression decreased TMZ’s cytotoxicity. A significant correlation existed between DDIT4 and GLUT3. DDIT4 signaling was found to be involved in both glycolytic and autophagic pathways. However, GLUT3 only participated in the exhibition of DDIT4-mediated stemness, resulting from glycolytic regulation, but not in DDIT4-mediated autophagic signaling. Finally, we identified TMZ-upregulated activating transcription factor 4 (ATF4) as an upstream regulator of DDIT4-mediated GLUT3/stemness signaling and autophagy. Consequently, ATF4/DDIT4 signaling was connected to both autophagy and GLUT3-regulated stemness, which are involved in TMZ drug resistance and the poor prognoses of GBM patients. Targeting DDIT4/GLUT3 signaling might be a new direction for glioma therapy.
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