bims-almceb Biomed News
on Acute Leukemia Metabolism and Cell Biology
Issue of 2021‒03‒21
fifteen papers selected by
Camila Kehl Dias
Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul

  1. Biochim Biophys Acta Bioenerg. 2021 Mar 12. pii: S0005-2728(21)00043-8. [Epub ahead of print] 148410
      In post-mitotic cells, mitochondrial ATP/ADP exchange occurs by the adenine nucleotide translocator (ANT). Driven by membrane potential (ΔΨ), ANT catalyzes electrogenic exchange of ATP4- for ADP3-, leading to higher ATP/ADP ratios in the cytosol than mitochondria. In cancer cells, ATP/ADP exchange occurs not by ANT but likely via the non-electrogenic ATP-Mg/phosphate carrier. Consequences of non-electrogenic exchange are: 1) Cytosolic ATP/ADP decreases to stimulate aerobic glycolysis. 2) Without proton utilization for exchange, ATP/O increases by 35% for complete glucose oxidation. 3) Decreased cytosolic ATP/ADP•Pi increases NAD(P)H/NAD(P)+. Increased NADH increases lactate/pyruvate, and increased NADPH promotes anabolic metabolism. Fourth, increased mitochondrial NADH/NAD+ magnifies the redox span across Complexes I and III, which increases ΔΨ, reactive oxygen species generation, and susceptibility to ferroptosis. 5) Increased mitochondrial NADPH/NADP+ favors a reverse isocitrate dehydrogenase-2 reaction with citrate accumulation and export for biomass formation. Consequently, 2-oxoglutarate formation occurs largely via oxidation of glutamine, the preferred respiratory substrate of cancer cells. Overall, non-electrogenic ATP/ADP exchange promotes aerobic glycolysis (Warburg effect) and confers growth advantages to cancer cells.
    Keywords:  ATP/ADP exchange; Aerobic glycolysis; Cancer; Glutamine; Mitochondria; Warburg effect
  2. Trends Cancer. 2021 Mar 15. pii: S2405-8033(21)00046-7. [Epub ahead of print]
      Overcoming anticancer drug resistance is a major challenge in cancer therapy, requiring innovative strategies that consider the extensive tumor heterogeneity and adaptability. We provide recent evidence highlighting the key role of amino acid (AA) metabolic reprogramming in cancer cells and the supportive microenvironment in driving resistance to anticancer therapies. AAs sustain the acquisition of anticancer resistance by providing essential building blocks for biosynthetic pathways and for maintaining a balanced redox status, and modulating the epigenetic profile of both malignant and non-malignant cells. In addition, AAs support the reduced intrinsic susceptibility of cancer stem cells to antineoplastic therapies. These findings shed new light on the possibility of targeting nonresponding tumors by modulating AA availability through pharmacological or dietary interventions.
    Keywords:  amino acids; anticancer drug resistance; cancer metabolism
  3. Cell Death Differ. 2021 Mar 15.
      Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the US. Understanding the mechanisms of CRC progression is essential to improve treatment. Mitochondria is the powerhouse for healthy cells. However, in tumor cells, less energy is produced by the mitochondria and metabolic reprogramming is an early hallmark of cancer. The metabolic differences between normal and cancer cells are being interrogated to uncover new therapeutic approaches. Mitochondria targeting PTEN-induced kinase 1 (PINK1) is a key regulator of mitophagy, the selective elimination of damaged mitochondria by autophagy. Defective mitophagy is increasingly associated with various diseases including CRC. However, a significant gap exists in our understanding of how PINK1-dependent mitophagy participates in the metabolic regulation of CRC. By mining Oncomine, we found that PINK1 expression was downregulated in human CRC tissues compared to normal colons. Moreover, disruption of PINK1 increased colon tumorigenesis in two colitis-associated CRC mouse models, suggesting that PINK1 functions as a tumor suppressor in CRC. PINK1 overexpression in murine colon tumor cells promoted mitophagy, decreased glycolysis and increased mitochondrial respiration potentially via activation of p53 signaling pathways. In contrast, PINK1 deletion decreased apoptosis, increased glycolysis, and reduced mitochondrial respiration and p53 signaling. Interestingly, PINK1 overexpression in vivo increased apoptotic cell death and suppressed colon tumor xenograft growth. Metabolomic analysis revealed that acetyl-CoA was significantly reduced in tumors with PINK1 overexpression, which was partly due to activation of the HIF-1α-pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) kinase 1 (PDHK1)-PDHE1α axis. Strikingly, treating mice with acetate increased acetyl-CoA levels and rescued PINK1-suppressed tumor growth. Importantly, PINK1 disruption simultaneously increased xenografted tumor growth and acetyl-CoA production. In conclusion, mitophagy protein PINK1 suppresses colon tumor growth by metabolic reprogramming and reducing acetyl-CoA production.
  4. Cell Death Differ. 2021 Mar 19.
      Fatty acid synthase (FASN) is the only human lipogenic enzyme available for de novo fatty acid synthesis and is often highly expressed in cancer cells. We found that FASN mRNA levels were significantly higher in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients than in healthy granulocytes or CD34+ hematopoietic progenitors. Accordingly, FASN levels decreased during all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA)-mediated granulocytic differentiation of acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) cells, partially via autophagic degradation. Furthermore, our data suggest that inhibition of FASN expression levels using RNAi or (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) accelerated the differentiation of APL cell lines and significantly re-sensitized ATRA refractory non-APL AML cells. FASN reduction promoted translocation of transcription factor EB (TFEB) to the nucleus, paralleled by activation of CLEAR network genes and lysosomal biogenesis. Together, our data demonstrate that inhibition of FASN expression in combination with ATRA treatment facilitates granulocytic differentiation of APL cells and may extend differentiation therapy to non-APL AML cells.
  5. Nat Chem Biol. 2021 Mar 15.
      The protein complexes of the mitochondrial electron transport chain exist in isolation and in higher order assemblies termed supercomplexes (SCs) or respirasomes (SC I+III2+IV). The association of complexes I, III and IV into the respirasome is regulated by unknown mechanisms. Here, we designed a nanoluciferase complementation reporter for complex III and IV proximity to determine in vivo respirasome levels. In a chemical screen, we found that inhibitors of the de novo pyrimidine synthesis enzyme dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHODH) potently increased respirasome assembly and activity. By-passing DHODH inhibition via uridine supplementation decreases SC assembly by altering mitochondrial phospholipid composition, specifically elevated peroxisomal-derived ether phospholipids. Cell growth rates upon DHODH inhibition depend on ether lipid synthesis and SC assembly. These data reveal that nucleotide pools signal to peroxisomes to modulate synthesis and transport of ether phospholipids to mitochondria for SC assembly, which are necessary for optimal cell growth in conditions of nucleotide limitation.
  6. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2021 ;1316 41-47
      The tumor microenvironment represents the dynamic network consisting of tumor cells, stromal cells, and multiple lineages of immune subsets. It is well recognized that metabolic crosstalk within the tumor microenvironment (TME) greatly shapes both the composition and functionality of the infiltrated immune cells and therefore critically regulate the antitumor immunity. In general, most solid tumors are considered as lipid-enriched environment, which is beneficial for tumor cell growth and immune escape. Here we briefly summarize the effects of accumulated lipids on tumor cells and immune cells. We also discuss the possibility of targeting lipid metabolism within the TME and potential strategies for optimizing cancer treatment.
    Keywords:  Antitumor immunity; Immunosuppression; Lipid metabolism; T cells; Tumor microenvironment
  7. Blood. 2021 Mar 15. pii: blood.2020008551. [Epub ahead of print]
      Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells have an atypical metabolic phenotype characterized by increased mitochondrial mass as well as a greater reliance on oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) and fatty acid oxidation (FAO) for survival. To exploit this altered metabolism, we assessed publicly available databases to identify FAO enzyme overexpression. VLCAD (ACADVL) was found to be overexpressed and critical to leukemia cell mitochondrial metabolism. Genetic attenuation or pharmacological inhibition of VLCAD hindered mitochondrial respiration and FAO contribution to the TCA cycle, resulting in decreased viability, proliferation, clonogenic growth and AML cell engraftment. Suppression of FAO at VLCAD triggered an increase in PDH activity insufficient to increase glycolysis but resulted in ATP depletion and AML cell death with no effect in normal hematopoietic cells. Together, these results demonstrate the importance of VLCAD in AML cell biology and highlight a novel metabolic vulnerability for this devastating disease.
  8. Front Immunol. 2021 ;12 613492
      Dendritic cells (DCs) are a type of an antigen-presenting cell which undertake a job on capturing antigens coming from pathogens or tumors and presenting to T cells for immune response. The metabolism of DCs controls its development, polarization, and maturation processes and provides energy support for its functions. However, the immune activity of DCs in tumor microenvironment (TME) is inhibited generally. Abnormal metabolism of tumor cells causes metabolic changes in TME, such as hyperglycolysis, lactate and lipid accumulation, acidification, tryptophan deprivation, which limit the function of DCs and lead to the occurrence of tumor immune escape. Combined metabolic regulation with immunotherapy can strengthen the ability of antigen-presentation and T cell activation of DCs, improve the existing anti-tumor therapy, and overcome the defects of DC-related therapies in the current stage, which has great potential in oncology therapy. Therefore, we reviewed the glucose, lipid, and amino acid metabolism of DCs, as well as the metabolic changes after being affected by TME. Together with the potential metabolic targets of DCs, possible anti-tumor therapeutic pathways were summarized.
    Keywords:  amino acid; dendritic cells; glucose; lipid; metabolism; therapy; tumor microenvironment
  9. Eur J Pharmacol. 2021 Mar 13. pii: S0014-2999(21)00181-3. [Epub ahead of print] 174028
      Prostate cancer is among the most common cancer diagnoses in men, and the best treatment for patients with metastatic disease in advanced stages is still unclear. Previously, we have demonstrated that the three 1-(3-(aryl-4,5-dihydroisoxazol-5-yl)methyl)-4-trihalomethyl-1H-pyrimidin-2- ones derivatives (8a, 8e and 9c) present important cytotoxicity and selectivity for tumoral cells. Considering that various cytotoxic drugs have been assessed in patients with prostate cancer, but few drugs show survival advantage, we decided to study these three compounds (8a, 8e and 9c) in prostate cancer cells, androgen receptor (AR)-positive 22Rv-1 and AR-negative PC-3 cells. We obtained the half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) of 8a, 8e and 9c in prostate cancer cells and based on high selectivity of 9c to PC-3 cells, we determined the mechanism of this compound to induce cell death through different methods. We show here that 9c compound induces cell cycle arrest in G2/M, increasing the levels of reactive oxygen species and DNA damage, and triggers DNA damage response by ataxia-telangiectasia mutated (ATM) and histone H2AX phosphorylation induction. The compound also led PC-3 to lipid peroxidation and mitochondrial depolarization which triggered the activation of intrinsic pathway, confirmed by increase of cleaved caspase-9 and 3. In this work we also show the ability of 9c in reducing vascular endothelial growth factor expression (VEGF) and inhibiting topoisomerase I enzyme, therefore indicating a potential new molecule to be further investigated for prostate cancer management.
    Keywords:  cleaved caspase-9; cytotoxic activity; mitochondrial apoptotic pathway; pyrimidine derivative
  10. Blood Lymphat Cancer. 2021 ;11 11-24
      Although much progress has been made in the treatment of multiple myeloma, the majority of patients fail to be cured and require numerous lines of therapy. Inhibitors of the BCL2 family represent an exciting new class of drugs with a novel mechanism of action that are likely to have activity as single agents and in combination with existing myeloma therapies. The BCL2 proteins are oncogenes that promote cell survival and are frequently upregulated in multiple myeloma, making them attractive targets. Venetoclax, a BCL2 specific inhibitor, is furthest along in development and has shown promising results in a subset of myeloma characterized by the t(11;14) translocation. Combining venetoclax with proteasome inhibitors and monoclonal antibodies has improved responses in a broader group of patients, but has come at the expense of a toxicity safety signal that requires additional follow-up. MCL1 inhibitors are likely to be effective in a broader range of patients and are currently in early clinical trials. This review will cover much of what is known about the biology of these drugs, biomarkers that predict response, mechanisms of resistance, and unanswered questions as they pertain to multiple myeloma.
    Keywords:  BCL2 family inhibitors; multiple myeloma; venetoclax
  11. Brief Funct Genomics. 2021 Mar 19. pii: elab010. [Epub ahead of print]
      Ageing is accompanied by loss of tissue integrity and organismal homeostasis partly due to decline in stem cell function. The age-associated decrease in stem cell abundance and activity is often referred to as stem cell exhaustion and is considered one major hallmark of ageing. Importantly, stem cell proliferation and differentiation potential are tightly coupled to the cellular epigenetic state. Thus, research during the last years has started to investigate how the epigenome regulates stem cell function upon ageing. Here, we summarize the role of epigenetic regulation in stem cell fate decisions and we review the impact of age-related changes of the epigenome on stem cell activity. Finally, we discuss how targeted interventions on the epigenetic landscape might delay ageing and extend health-span.
    Keywords:  ageing; chromatin; epigenetics; stem cells
  12. FEBS Lett. 2021 Mar 20.
      In animals, mitochondria are mainly organised into an interconnected tubular network extending across the cell along a cytoskeletal scaffold. Mitochondrial fission and fusion, as well as distribution along cytoskeletal tracks, are counterbalancing mechanisms acting in concert to maintain a mitochondrial network tuned to cellular function. Balanced mitochondrial dynamics permits quality control of the network including biogenesis and turnover, distribution of mtDNA, and are tuned to metabolic status. Cellular and organismal health relies on a delicate balance between fission and fusion and large rearrangements in the mitochondrial network can be seen in response to cellular insults and disease. Indeed, dysfunction in the major components of the fission and fusion machineries including Dynamin-related protein 1 (DRP1), Mitofusins 1 and 2 (MFN1, MFN2) and Optic atrophy protein 1 (OPA1) and ensuing imbalance of mitochondrial dynamics can lead to neurodegenerative disease. Altered mitochondrial dynamics is also seen in more common diseases. In this review, the machinery involved in mitochondrial dynamics and their dysfunction in disease will be discussed.
    Keywords:  membrane dynamics; mitochondria; mitochondrial disease; mitochondrial fission; mitochondrial fusion; organelles; oxidative phosphorylation
  13. Haematologica. 2021 Mar 18.
      RAS pathway alterations have been implicated in the pathogenesis of various hematological malignancies. However, their clinical relevance in pediatric acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is not well characterized. We analyzed the frequency, clinical significance, and prognostic relevance of RAS pathway alterations in 328 pediatric patients with de novo AML. RAS pathway alterations were detected in 80 (24.4%) out of 328 patients: NF1 (n = 7, 2.1%), PTPN11 (n = 15, 4.6%), CBL (n = 6, 1.8%), NRAS (n = 44, 13.4%), KRAS (n = 12, 3.7%). Most of these alterations were mutually exclusive and were also mutually exclusive with other aberrations of signal transduction pathways such as FLT3-ITD (p = 0.001) and KIT mutation (p = 0.004). NF1 alterations were frequently detected in patients with complex karyotype (p = 0.031) and were found to be independent predictors of poor overall survival (OS) in multivariate analysis (p = 0.007). At least four of seven patients with NF1 alterations had bi-allelic inactivation. NRAS mutations were frequently observed in patients with CBFB-MYH11 and were independent predictors of favorable outcomes in multivariate analysis [OS, p = 0.023; event-free survival (EFS), p = 0.037]. Patients with PTPN11 mutations more frequently received stem cell transplantation (p = 0.035) and showed poor EFS than patients without PTPN11 mutations (p = 0.013). Detailed analysis of RAS pathway alterations may enable a more accurate prognostic stratification of pediatric AML and may provide novel therapeutic molecular targets related to this signal transduction pathway.
  14. Front Oncol. 2021 ;11 621566
      With the treatment advances over the last three decades, acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) has evolved from being the most malignant form of acute leukemia to a leukemia with excellent long term survival rates. In the present review, we have summarized data leading to the development of the currently used treatment regimens for APL, which incorporate either none or minimal chemotherapeutic drugs. We have discussed the historical aspects of APL treatment along with the challenges associated with chemotherapy-based approaches and our experience with the use of single agent arsenic trioxide (ATO) which was one of the first successful, non-chemotherapy approaches used for APL. Subsequently, we have reviewed the data from major clinical trials in low-intermediate risk APL and high risk APL which guide the current clinical practice in APL management. With accumulating data on oral ATO, we postulate that the treatment for low-intermediate risk APL will be a completely oral ATO + ATRA regimen in the future. While for high-risk APL, we believe that minimal anthracycline use with ATO + ATRA might become the standard of care soon. A number of promising non-chemotherapy drugs with pre-clinical data would merit clinical testing in the high risk and relapsed setting, with potential to translate to a complete oral chemotherapy free combination regimen in combination with ATO and ATRA.
    Keywords:  acute promyelocytic leukemia; all-trans retinoid acid (ATRA); arsenic trioxide; differentiation therapy; non-chemotherapeutic treatment