bims-cagime Biomed News
on Cancer, aging and metabolism
Issue of 2020‒09‒20
seventy-two papers selected by
Kıvanç Görgülü
Technical University of Munich

  1. Cell. 2020 Sep 09. pii: S0092-8674(20)31073-4. [Epub ahead of print]
      Cardiomyocytes are subjected to the intense mechanical stress and metabolic demands of the beating heart. It is unclear whether these cells, which are long-lived and rarely renew, manage to preserve homeostasis on their own. While analyzing macrophages lodged within the healthy myocardium, we discovered that they actively took up material, including mitochondria, derived from cardiomyocytes. Cardiomyocytes ejected dysfunctional mitochondria and other cargo in dedicated membranous particles reminiscent of neural exophers, through a process driven by the cardiomyocyte's autophagy machinery that was enhanced during cardiac stress. Depletion of cardiac macrophages or deficiency in the phagocytic receptor Mertk resulted in defective elimination of mitochondria from the myocardial tissue, activation of the inflammasome, impaired autophagy, accumulation of anomalous mitochondria in cardiomyocytes, metabolic alterations, and ventricular dysfunction. Thus, we identify an immune-parenchymal pair in the murine heart that enables transfer of unfit material to preserve metabolic stability and organ function.
    Keywords:  autophagy; heart; macrophage; mitochondria; phagocytosis; proteostasis
  2. Cell. 2020 Sep 15. pii: S0092-8674(20)31081-3. [Epub ahead of print]
      In response to skeletal muscle contraction during exercise, paracrine factors coordinate tissue remodeling, which underlies this healthy adaptation. Here we describe a pH-sensing metabolite signal that initiates muscle remodeling upon exercise. In mice and humans, exercising skeletal muscle releases the mitochondrial metabolite succinate into the local interstitium and circulation. Selective secretion of succinate is facilitated by its transient protonation, which occurs upon muscle cell acidification. In the protonated monocarboxylic form, succinate is rendered a transport substrate for monocarboxylate transporter 1, which facilitates pH-gated release. Upon secretion, succinate signals via its cognate receptor SUCNR1 in non-myofibrillar cells in muscle tissue to control muscle-remodeling transcriptional programs. This succinate-SUCNR1 signaling is required for paracrine regulation of muscle innervation, muscle matrix remodeling, and muscle strength in response to exercise training. In sum, we define a bioenergetic sensor in muscle that utilizes intracellular pH and succinate to coordinate tissue adaptation to exercise.
    Keywords:  SUCNR1; exercise; innervation; muscle; succinate
  3. Sci Adv. 2020 Jul;pii: eaba5345. [Epub ahead of print]6(31):
      Heteroplasmy, multiple variants of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in the same cytoplasm, may be naturally generated by mutations but is counteracted by a genetic mtDNA bottleneck during oocyte development. Engineered heteroplasmic mice with nonpathological mtDNA variants reveal a nonrandom tissue-specific mtDNA segregation pattern, with few tissues that do not show segregation. The driving force for this dynamic complex pattern has remained unexplained for decades, challenging our understanding of this fundamental biological problem and hindering clinical planning for inherited diseases. Here, we demonstrate that the nonrandom mtDNA segregation is an intracellular process based on organelle selection. This cell type-specific decision arises jointly from the impact of mtDNA haplotypes on the oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) system and the cell metabolic requirements and is strongly sensitive to the nuclear context and to environmental cues.
  4. Sci Adv. 2020 Jul;pii: eabb8725. [Epub ahead of print]6(31):
      Autophagy is involved in the occurrence and development of tumors. Here, a pH-responsive polymersome codelivering hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and tunicamycin (Tuni) drugs is developed to simultaneously induce endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and autophagic flux blockade for achieving an antitumor effect and inhibiting tumor metastasis. The pH response of poly(β-amino ester) and HCQ synergistically deacidifies the lysosomes, thereby blocking the fusion of autophagosomes and lysosomes and lastly blocking autophagic flux. The function mechanism of regulating autophagy was systematically investigated on orthotopic luciferase gene-transfected, 4T1 tumor-bearing BALB/c mice through Western blot and immunohistochemistry analyses. The Tuni triggers ER stress to regulate the PERK/Akt signaling pathway to increase the autophagic level. The "autophagic stress" generated by triggering ER stress-induced autophagy and blocking autophagic flux is effective against tumors. The reduced expression of matrix metalloproteinase-2 due to ER stress and reduced focal adhesions turnover due to the blockade of autophagic flux synergistically inhibit tumor metastasis.
  5. Sci Adv. 2020 Jun;pii: eabb2210. [Epub ahead of print]6(25):
      Inhibitors of cyclin-dependent kinases CDK4 and CDK6 have been approved for treatment of hormone receptor-positive breast cancers. In contrast, triple-negative breast cancers (TNBCs) are resistant to CDK4/6 inhibition. Here, we demonstrate that a subset of TNBC critically requires CDK4/6 for proliferation, and yet, these TNBC are resistant to CDK4/6 inhibition due to sequestration of CDK4/6 inhibitors into tumor cell lysosomes. This sequestration is caused by enhanced lysosomal biogenesis and increased lysosomal numbers in TNBC cells. We developed new CDK4/6 inhibitor compounds that evade the lysosomal sequestration and are efficacious against resistant TNBC. We also show that coadministration of lysosomotropic or lysosome-destabilizing compounds (an antibiotic azithromycin, an antidepressant siramesine, an antimalaria compound chloroquine) renders resistant tumor cells sensitive to currently used CDK4/6 inhibitors. Lastly, coinhibition of CDK2 arrested proliferation of CDK4/6 inhibitor-resistant cells. These observations may extend the use of CDK4/6 inhibitors to TNBCs that are refractory to current anti-CDK4/6 therapies.
  6. Sci Adv. 2020 Jul;pii: eabb2529. [Epub ahead of print]6(31):
      Mild mitochondrial stress experienced early in life can have beneficial effects on the life span of organisms through epigenetic regulations. Here, we report that acetyl-coenzyme A (CoA) represents a critical mitochondrial signal to regulate aging through the chromatin remodeling and histone deacetylase complex (NuRD) in Caenorhabditis elegans Upon mitochondrial stress, the impaired tricarboxylic acid cycle results in a decreased level of citrate, which accounts for reduced production of acetyl-CoA and consequently induces nuclear accumulation of the NuRD and a homeodomain-containing transcription factor DVE-1, thereby enabling decreased histone acetylation and chromatin reorganization. The metabolic stress response is thus established during early life and propagated into adulthood to allow transcriptional regulation for life-span extension. Furthermore, adding nutrients to restore acetyl-CoA production is sufficient to counteract the chromatin changes and diminish the longevity upon mitochondrial stress. Our findings uncover the molecular mechanism of the metabolite-mediated epigenome for the regulation of organismal aging.
  7. EMBO J. 2020 Sep 16. e103420
      Short telomeres are a principal defining feature of telomere biology disorders, such as dyskeratosis congenita (DC), for which there are no effective treatments. Here, we report that primary fibroblasts from DC patients and late generation telomerase knockout mice display lower nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) levels, and an imbalance in the NAD metabolome that includes elevated CD38 NADase and reduced poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase and SIRT1 activities, respectively, affecting many associated biological pathways. Supplementation with the NAD precursor, nicotinamide riboside, and CD38 inhibition improved NAD homeostasis, thereby alleviating telomere damage, defective mitochondrial biosynthesis and clearance, cell growth retardation, and cellular senescence of DC fibroblasts. These findings reveal a direct, underlying role of NAD dysregulation when telomeres are short and underscore its relevance to the pathophysiology and interventions of human telomere-driven diseases.
    Keywords:  CD38 NADase; NAD metabolism; mitochondrial impairment; replicative senescence; telomere biology disorders
  8. Nat Commun. 2020 09 16. 11(1): 4653
      Cancer cells demand excess nutrients to support their proliferation, but how tumours exploit extracellular amino acids during systemic metabolic perturbations remain incompletely understood. Here, we use a Drosophila model of high-sugar diet (HSD)-enhanced tumourigenesis to uncover a systemic host-tumour metabolic circuit that supports tumour growth. We demonstrate coordinate induction of systemic muscle wasting with tumour-autonomous Yorkie-mediated SLC36-family amino acid transporter expression as a proline-scavenging programme to drive tumourigenesis. We identify Indole-3-propionic acid as an optimal amino acid derivative to rationally target the proline-dependency of tumour growth. Insights from this whole-animal Drosophila model provide a powerful approach towards the identification and therapeutic exploitation of the amino acid vulnerabilities of tumourigenesis in the context of a perturbed systemic metabolic network.
  9. Oncoimmunology. 2020 Jul 22. 9(1): 1797292
      Type I interferon (IFN) release by irradiated cancer cells is paramount for radiation therapy to elicit anticancer immunity. Our findings demonstrate that mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization (MOMP) triggered by RT enables exposure of mitochondrial DNA to the cytosol, hence setting off CGAS-driven type I IFN synthesis. These data point to the existence of a therapeutically actionable mitochondrial checkpoint that restricts innate immune signaling in irradiated cancer cells.
    Keywords:  Abscopal responses; STING; autophagy; caspases; immunogenic cell death; micronuclei; venetoclax
  10. Nat Commun. 2020 09 15. 11(1): 4618
      The identification of genes and interventions that slow or reverse aging is hampered by the lack of non-invasive metrics that can predict the life expectancy of pre-clinical models. Frailty Indices (FIs) in mice are composite measures of health that are cost-effective and non-invasive, but whether they can accurately predict health and lifespan is not known. Here, mouse FIs are scored longitudinally until death and machine learning is employed to develop two clocks. A random forest regression is trained on FI components for chronological age to generate the FRIGHT (Frailty Inferred Geriatric Health Timeline) clock, a strong predictor of chronological age. A second model is trained on remaining lifespan to generate the AFRAID (Analysis of Frailty and Death) clock, which accurately predicts life expectancy and the efficacy of a lifespan-extending intervention up to a year in advance. Adoption of these clocks should accelerate the identification of longevity genes and aging interventions.
  11. Nat Commun. 2020 09 16. 11(1): 4643
      Time-restricted feeding (TRF) improves metabolism independent of dietary macronutrient composition or energy restriction. To elucidate mechanisms underpinning the effects of short-term TRF, we investigated skeletal muscle and serum metabolic and transcriptomic profiles from 11 men with overweight/obesity after TRF (8 h day-1) and extended feeding (EXF, 15 h day-1) in a randomised cross-over design (trial registration: ACTRN12617000165381). Here we show that muscle core clock gene expression was similar after both interventions. TRF increases the amplitude of oscillating muscle transcripts, but not muscle or serum metabolites. In muscle, TRF induces rhythmicity of several amino acid transporter genes and metabolites. In serum, lipids are the largest class of periodic metabolites, while the majority of phase-shifted metabolites are amino acid related. In conclusion, short-term TRF in overweight men affects the rhythmicity of serum and muscle metabolites and regulates the rhythmicity of genes controlling amino acid transport, without perturbing core clock gene expression.
  12. Cell. 2020 Sep 10. pii: S0092-8674(20)31076-X. [Epub ahead of print]
      Metazoan organisms rely on conserved stress response pathways to alleviate adverse conditions and preserve cellular integrity. Stress responses are particularly important in stem cells that provide lifetime support for tissue formation and repair, but how these protective systems are integrated into developmental programs is poorly understood. Here we used myoblast differentiation to identify the E3 ligase CUL2FEM1B and its substrate FNIP1 as core components of the reductive stress response. Reductive stress, as caused by prolonged antioxidant signaling or mitochondrial inactivity, reverts the oxidation of invariant Cys residues in FNIP1 and allows CUL2FEM1B to recognize its target. The ensuing proteasomal degradation of FNIP1 restores mitochondrial activity to preserve redox homeostasis and stem cell integrity. The reductive stress response is therefore built around a ubiquitin-dependent rheostat that tunes mitochondrial activity to redox needs and implicates metabolic control in coordination of stress and developmental signaling.
    Keywords:  FEM1B; FNIP1; KEAP1; mitochondria; oxidative stress; proteasome; reactive oxygen; reductive stress; ubiquitin
  13. Nat Commun. 2020 Sep 17. 11(1): 4706
      Yeast physiology is temporally regulated, this becomes apparent under nutrient-limited conditions and results in respiratory oscillations (YROs). YROs share features with circadian rhythms and interact with, but are independent of, the cell division cycle. Here, we show that YROs minimise energy expenditure by restricting protein synthesis until sufficient resources are stored, while maintaining osmotic homeostasis and protein quality control. Although nutrient supply is constant, cells sequester and store metabolic resources via increased transport, autophagy and biomolecular condensation. Replete stores trigger increased H+ export which stimulates TORC1 and liberates proteasomes, ribosomes, chaperones and metabolic enzymes from non-membrane bound compartments. This facilitates translational bursting, liquidation of storage carbohydrates, increased ATP turnover, and the export of osmolytes. We propose that dynamic regulation of ion transport and metabolic plasticity are required to maintain osmotic and protein homeostasis during remodelling of eukaryotic proteomes, and that bioenergetic constraints selected for temporal organisation that promotes oscillatory behaviour.
  14. EMBO J. 2020 Sep 18. e105111
      Elevated ribosome biogenesis in oncogene-driven cancers is commonly targeted by DNA-damaging cytotoxic drugs. Our previous first-in-human trial of CX-5461, a novel, less genotoxic agent that specifically inhibits ribosome biogenesis via suppression of RNA polymerase I (Pol I) transcription, revealed single-agent efficacy in refractory blood cancers. Despite this clinical response, patients were not cured. In parallel, we demonstrated a marked improvement in the in vivo efficacy of CX-5461 in combination with PI3K/AKT/mTORC1 pathway inhibitors. Here, we reveal the molecular basis for this improved efficacy observed in vivo, which is associated with specific suppression of translation of mRNAs encoding regulators of cellular metabolism. Importantly, acquired resistance to this cotreatment is driven by translational rewiring that results in dysregulated cellular metabolism and induction of a cAMP-dependent pathway critical for the survival of blood cancers including lymphoma and acute myeloid leukemia. Our studies thus identify key molecular mechanisms underpinning the response of blood cancers to selective inhibition of ribosome biogenesis and define metabolic vulnerabilities that will facilitate the rational design of more effective regimens for Pol I-directed therapies.
    Keywords:  RNA Polymerase I inhibitor; cAMP-EPAC1/2 pathway; hematological cancers; metformin; ribosome biogenesis and function
  15. Nat Genet. 2020 Sep 14.
      Cancers accumulate mutations that lead to neoantigens, novel peptides that elicit an immune response, and consequently undergo evolutionary selection. Here we establish how negative selection shapes the clonality of neoantigens in a growing cancer by constructing a mathematical model of neoantigen evolution. The model predicts that, without immune escape, tumor neoantigens are either clonal or at low frequency; hypermutated tumors can only establish after the evolution of immune escape. Moreover, the site frequency spectrum of somatic variants under negative selection appears more neutral as the strength of negative selection increases, which is consistent with classical neutral theory. These predictions are corroborated by the analysis of neoantigen frequencies and immune escape in exome and RNA sequencing data from 879 colon, stomach and endometrial cancers.
  16. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020 Sep 14. pii: 202000060. [Epub ahead of print]
      PIK3CA hotspot mutation is well established as an oncogenic driver event in cancer and its durable and efficacious inhibition is a focus in the development and testing of clinical cancer therapeutics. However, hundreds of cancer-associated PIK3CA mutations remain uncharacterized, their sensitivity to PI3K inhibitors unknown. Here, we describe a series of PIK3CA C-terminal mutations, primarily nucleotide insertions, that produce a frame-shifted protein product with an extended C terminus. We report that these mutations occur at a low frequency across multiple cancer subtypes, including breast, and are sufficient to drive oncogenic transformation in vitro and in vivo. We demonstrate that the oncogenicity of these mutant p110α proteins is dependent on p85 but not Ras association. P110α-selective pharmacologic inhibition blocks transformation in cells and mammary tumors characterized by PIK3CA C-terminal mutation. Taken together, these results suggest patients with breast and other tumors characterized by PIK3CA C-terminal frameshift mutations may derive benefit from p110α-selective inhibitors, including the recently FDA-approved alpelisib.
    Keywords:  PI3K; cancer; signal transduction
  17. Nat Commun. 2020 Sep 17. 11(1): 4684
      Cancer cells have a characteristic metabolism, mostly caused by alterations in signal transduction networks rather than mutations in metabolic enzymes. For metabolic drugs to be cancer-selective, signaling alterations need to be identified that confer a druggable vulnerability. Here, we demonstrate that many tumor cells with an acquired cancer drug resistance exhibit increased sensitivity to mechanistically distinct inhibitors of cancer metabolism. We demonstrate that this metabolic vulnerability is driven by mTORC1, which promotes resistance to chemotherapy and targeted cancer drugs, but simultaneously suppresses autophagy. We show that autophagy is essential for tumor cells to cope with therapeutic perturbation of metabolism and that mTORC1-mediated suppression of autophagy is required and sufficient for generating a metabolic vulnerability leading to energy crisis and apoptosis. Our study links mTOR-induced cancer drug resistance to autophagy defects as a cause of a metabolic liability and opens a therapeutic window for the treatment of otherwise therapy-refractory tumor patients.
  18. Clin Cancer Res. 2020 Sep 17. pii: clincanres.1066.2020. [Epub ahead of print]
      PURPOSE: Danvatirsen is a therapeutic antisense oligonucleotide (ASO) that selectively targets STAT3 and has shown clinical activity in two Phase 1 clinical studies. We interrogated the clinical mechanism of action using danvatirsen-treated patient samples and conducted back-translational studies to further elucidate its immunomodulatory mechanism of action.EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Paired biopsies and blood samples from danvatirsen-treated patients were evaluated using immunohistochemistry and gene expression analysis. To gain mechanistic insight, we used mass cytometry, flow cytometry, and immunofluorescence analysis of CT26 tumors treated with a mouse surrogate STAT3 ASO, and human immune cells treated in vitro with danvatirsen.
    RESULTS: Within the tumors of treated patients, danvatirsen uptake was observed mainly in cells of the tumor microenvironment (TME). Gene expression analysis comparing baseline and on-treatment tumor samples showed increased expression of pro-inflammatory genes. In mouse models, STAT3 ASO demonstrated partial tumor growth inhibition and enhanced the anti-tumor activity when combined with anti-PD-L1. Immune profiling revealed reduced STAT3 protein in immune and stromal cells, and decreased suppressive cytokines correlating with increased pro-inflammatory macrophages and cytokine production. These changes led to enhanced T-cell abundance and function in combination with anti-PD-L1.
    CONCLUSIONS: STAT3 ASO treatment reverses a suppressive TME and promotes pro-inflammatory gene expression changes in patients' tumors and mouse models. Preclinical data provide evidence that ASO-mediated inhibition of STAT3 in the immune compartment is sufficient to remodel the TME and enhance the activity of checkpoint blockade without direct STAT3 inhibition in tumor cells. Collectively, these data provide rationale for testing this combination in the clinic.
  19. Aging (Albany NY). 2020 Sep 14. 12
      The diabetes drug metformin has recently been shown to possess anti-cancer properties when used with other chemotherapeutic drugs. However, detailed mechanisms by which metformin improves cancer treatment are poorly understood. Here we provide evidence in HepG2 hepatocellular carcinoma cells that metformin sensitizes cisplatin-resistant HepG2 cells (HepG2/DDP) through increasing cellular glycolysis and suppressing Nrf2-dependent transcription. We show that metformin increases glucose uptake and enhances glucose metabolism through glycolytic pathway, resulting in elevated concentrations of intracellular NADPH and lactate. Consistently, high glucose medium suppresses Nrf2-dependent transcription and sensitizes HepG2/DDP cells to cisplatin. Elevated glycolysis was required for metformin to regulate Nrf2-dependent transcription and cisplatin sensitivity, as inhibition of glycolysis with 2-Deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG) significantly mitigates the beneficial effect of metformin. Together, our study has revealed an important biological process and gene transcriptional program underlying the beneficial effect of metformin on reducing chemo-resistance in HepG2 cells and provided new information on improving chemotherapy of liver cancers.
    Keywords:  HepG2; Nrf2; glycolysis; liver cancer; metformin
  20. Nat Commun. 2020 09 14. 11(1): 4611
      Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) and cancer-associated cachexia (CAC) are multifactorial and characterized by dysregulated inflammatory networks. Whether the proinflammatory cytokine IL-20 is involved in the complex networks of PDAC and CAC remains unclear. Here, we report that elevated IL-20 levels in tumor tissue correlate with poor overall survival in 72 patients with PDAC. In vivo, we establish a transgenic mouse model (KPC) and an orthotopic PDAC model and examine the therapeutic efficacy of an anti-IL-20 monoclonal antibody (7E). Targeting IL-20 not only prolongs survival and attenuates PD-L1 expression in both murine models but also inhibits tumor growth and mitigates M2-like polarization in the orthotopic PDAC model. Combination treatment with 7E and an anti-PD-1 antibody shows better efficacy in inhibiting tumor growth than either treatment alone in the orthotopic PDAC model. Finally, 7E mitigates cachexic symptoms in CAC models. Together, we conclude IL-20 is a critical mediator in PDAC progression.
  21. Trends Mol Med. 2020 Sep 11. pii: S1471-4914(20)30210-0. [Epub ahead of print]
      As the major feature of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), desmoplastic stroma poses a significant obstacle for treatment. Recent studies revealed that connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) aggravates the fibrotic environment and drives cancer initiation and progression, thus suggesting CTGF as a novel target for PDAC treatment.
    Keywords:  CTGF; pancreatic cancer; stroma; targeted therapies; tumor microenvironment
  22. Sci Adv. 2020 Aug;6(35): eabb4591
      Human genome-wide association studies have linked single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in NEMP1 (nuclear envelope membrane protein 1) with early menopause; however, it is unclear whether NEMP1 has any role in fertility. We show that whole-animal loss of NEMP1 homologs in Drosophila, Caenorhabditis elegans, zebrafish, and mice leads to sterility or early loss of fertility. Loss of Nemp leads to nuclear shaping defects, most prominently in the germ line. Biochemical, biophysical, and genetic studies reveal that NEMP proteins support the mechanical stiffness of the germline nuclear envelope via formation of a NEMP-EMERIN complex. These data indicate that the germline nuclear envelope has specialized mechanical properties and that NEMP proteins play essential and conserved roles in fertility.
  23. Mol Cell Oncol. 2020 ;7(5): 1791671
      In search of anti-aging interventions with differential effects on normal and cancer cells, we show that cycles of a fasting-mimicking diet plus pharmacological doses of vitamin C can be effective in targeting KRAS-mutant cancers. This approach represents a promising strategy able to protect the organism while killing cancer cells.
    Keywords:  Fasting-mimicking diet; KRAS-mutant cancers; iron metabolism; vitamin C
  24. Nat Metab. 2020 Sep 14.
      Acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC) catalyses the first step of de novo lipogenesis (DNL). Pharmacologic inhibition of ACC has been of interest for therapeutic intervention in a wide range of diseases. We demonstrate here that ACC and DNL are essential for platelet production in humans and monkeys, but in not rodents or dogs. During clinical evaluation of a systemically distributed ACC inhibitor, unexpected dose-dependent reductions in platelet count were observed. While platelet count reductions were not observed in rat and dog toxicology studies, subsequent studies in cynomolgus monkeys recapitulated these platelet count reductions with a similar concentration response to that in humans. These studies, along with ex vivo human megakaryocyte maturation studies, demonstrate that platelet lowering is a consequence of DNL inhibition likely to result in impaired megakaryocyte demarcation membrane formation. These observations demonstrate that while DNL is a minor quantitative contributor to global lipid balance in humans, DNL is essential to specific lipid pools of physiological importance.
  25. Br J Cancer. 2020 Sep 15.
      Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is characterised by early metastasis and resistance to anti-cancer therapy, leading to an overall poor prognosis. Despite continued research efforts, no targeted therapy has yet shown meaningful efficacy in PDAC; mutations in the oncogene KRAS and the tumour suppressor TP53, which are the most common genomic alterations in PDAC, have so far shown poor clinical actionability. Autophagy, a conserved process allowing cells to recycle altered or unused organelles and cellular components, has been shown to be upregulated in PDAC and is implicated in resistance to both cytotoxic chemotherapy and targeted therapy. Autophagy is thus regarded as a potential therapeutic target in PDAC and other cancers. Although the molecular mechanisms of autophagy activation in PDAC are only beginning to emerge, several groups have reported interesting results when combining inhibitors of the extracellular-signal-regulated kinase/mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway and inhibitors of autophagy in models of PDAC and other KRAS-driven cancers. In this article, we review the existing preclinical data regarding the role of autophagy in PDAC, as well as results of relevant clinical trials with agents that modulate autophagy in this cancer.
  26. Nature. 2020 Sep 16.
      Ferroptosis-an iron-dependent, non-apoptotic cell death process-is involved in various degenerative diseases and represents a targetable susceptibility in certain cancers1. The ferroptosis-susceptible cell state can either pre-exist in cells that arise from certain lineages or be acquired during cell-state transitions2-5. However, precisely how susceptibility to ferroptosis is dynamically regulated remains poorly understood. Here we use genome-wide CRISPR-Cas9 suppressor screens to identify the oxidative organelles peroxisomes as critical contributors to ferroptosis sensitivity in human renal and ovarian carcinoma cells. Using lipidomic profiling we show that peroxisomes contribute to ferroptosis by synthesizing polyunsaturated ether phospholipids (PUFA-ePLs), which act as substrates for lipid peroxidation that, in turn, results in the induction of ferroptosis. Carcinoma cells that are initially sensitive to ferroptosis can switch to a ferroptosis-resistant state in vivo in mice, which is associated with extensive downregulation of PUFA-ePLs. We further find that the pro-ferroptotic role of PUFA-ePLs can be extended beyond neoplastic cells to other cell types, including neurons and cardiomyocytes. Together, our work reveals roles for the peroxisome-ether-phospholipid axis in driving susceptibility to and evasion from ferroptosis, highlights PUFA-ePL as a distinct functional lipid class that is dynamically regulated during cell-state transitions, and suggests multiple regulatory nodes for therapeutic interventions in diseases that involve ferroptosis.
  27. FEBS Open Bio. 2020 Sep 15.
      Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) are key components of the dense, proliferating stroma observed in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), and CAF subpopulations drive tumor heterogeneity and play a major role in PDAC progression and drug resistance. CAFs consist of heterogenous subpopulations such as myoblastic CAF (myCAF) and inflammatory CAF (iCAF), and each has distinct essential roles. However, it is not clear how CAF subpopulations are formed in PDAC. Adipose-derived MSCs (AD-MSCs), which possess a high multilineage potential and self-renewal capacity, are reported to be one of the in vivo CAF sources. Here, we aimed to investigate whether AD-MSCs can act as precursors for CAFs in vitro. We recorded morphological features and collected omics data from two in vitro co-culture models for recapitulating clinical PDAC. Additionally, we tested the advantages of the co-culture model in terms of accurately modelling morphology and CAF heterogeneity. We showed that AD-MSCs differentiate into two distinct CAF subpopulations: direct contact co-culture with PDAC cell line Capan-1 induced differentiation into myCAFs and iCAFs, while indirect co-culture induced differentiation into only iCAFs. Using these co-culture systems, we also identified novel CAF markers that may be helpful for elucidating the mechanisms of CAFs in the tumor microenvironment. In conclusion, AD-MSCs can differentiate into distinct CAF subtypes depending on the different co-culture conditions in vitro, and the identification of potential CAF markers may aid in future investigations of the mechanisms underlying the role of CAFs in the tumor microenvironment.
    Keywords:  Mesenchymal stem cell; adipose; cancer-associated fibroblast; heterogeneity; pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC); tumor microenvironment
  28. Clin Cancer Res. 2020 Sep 15. pii: clincanres.1675.2020. [Epub ahead of print]
      PURPOSE: Mutational activation of GNAQ or GNA11 (GNAQ/11), detected in >90% of uveal melanomas, leads to constitutive activation of oncogenic pathways, including MAP kinase and YAP. To date, chemo- or pathway-targeted therapies, either alone or in combination, have proven ineffective in the treatment of metastatic uveal melanoma patients.EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: We tested the efficacy of chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine, in combination with MAP kinase pathway inhibition in GNAQ/11-mutated cells in vitro and in vivo and identified mechanisms of MEK1/2 inhibitor plus chloroquine-induced cytotoxicity.
    RESULTS: Inhibition of GNAQ/11-mediated activation of MAP kinase signaling resulted in the induction of autophagy. Combined inhibition of Gα and autophagy or lysosome function resulted in enhanced cell death. Moreover, the combination of MEK1/2 inhibition, using trametinib, with the lysosome inhibitor, chloroquine, also increased cytotoxicity. Treatment of mice bearing GNAQ/11-driven melanomas with trametinib plus hydroxychloroquine resulted in inhibition of tumor growth and significantly prolonged survival. Interestingly, lysosomal- and autophagy-specific inhibition with bafilomycin A1 was not sufficient to promote cytotoxicity in combination with trametinib. However, the addition of YAP inhibition with trametinib plus bafilomycin A1 resulted in cell death at comparable levels to trametinib plus chloroquine (T/CQ) treatment. Furthermore, T/CQ-treated cells displayed decreased YAP nuclear localization and decreased YAP transcriptional activity. Expression of a constitutively active YAP5SA mutant conferred resistance to T/CQ-induced cell death.
    CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that YAP, MEK1/2, and lysosome function are necessary and critical targets for the therapy of GNAQ/11-driven melanoma, and identify trametinib plus hydroxychloroquine as a potential treatment strategy for metastatic uveal melanoma.
  29. Aging Cell. 2020 Sep 15. e13229
      Epigenetic clocks, developed using DNA methylation data, have been widely used to quantify biological aging in multiple tissues/cells. However, many existing epigenetic clocks are weakly correlated with each other, suggesting they may capture different biological processes. We utilize multi-omics data from diverse human tissue/cells to identify shared features across eleven existing epigenetic clocks. Despite the striking lack of overlap in CpGs, multi-omics analysis suggested five clocks (Horvath1, Horvath2, Levine, Hannum, and Lin) share transcriptional associations conserved across purified CD14+ monocytes and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. The pathways enriched in the shared transcriptional association suggested links between epigenetic aging and metabolism, immunity, and autophagy. Results from in vitro experiments showed that two clocks (Levine and Lin) were accelerated in accordance with two hallmarks of aging-cellular senescence and mitochondrial dysfunction. Finally, using multi-tissue data to deconstruct the epigenetic clock signals, we developed a meta-clock that demonstrated improved prediction for mortality and robustly related to hallmarks of aging in vitro than single clocks.
    Keywords:  DNA methylation; biological aging; cellular senescence; epigenetic clock; mitochondria
  30. Nat Metab. 2020 Sep;2(9): 849-857
      Unhealthful lifestyle factors, such as obesity, disrupt organismal homeostasis and accelerate cancer pathogenesis, partly through metabolic and immunological dysregulation. Exercise is a prototypical strategy that maintains and restores homeostasis at the organismal, tissue, cellular and molecular levels and can prevent or inhibit numerous disease conditions, including cancer. Here, we review unhealthful lifestyle factors that contribute to metabolic and immunological dysregulation and drive tumourigenesis, focusing on patient physiology (host)-tissue-tumour microenvironment interactions. We also discuss how exercise may influence distant tissue microenvironments, thereby improving tissue function through both metabolic and immunospecific pathways. Finally, we consider future directions that merit consideration in basic and clinical translational exercise studies.
  31. J Clin Invest. 2020 Sep 15. pii: 137186. [Epub ahead of print]
      Therapeutic strategies designed to target TP53-deficient cancer cells remain elusive. Here, we showed that TP53 loss initiated a pharmacologically actionable secretory process that drove lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD) progression. Molecular, biochemical, and cell biological studies showed that TP53 loss increased the expression of Golgi reassembly and stacking protein 55 kD (G55), a Golgi stacking protein that maintains Golgi organelle integrity and is part of a GOLGIN45/myosin IIA-containing protein complex that activates secretory vesicle biogenesis in the Golgi. TP53 loss activated G55-dependent secretion by relieving G55 and myosin IIA from miR-34a-dependent silencing. G55-dependent secreted proteins enhanced the proliferative and invasive activities of TP53-deficient LUAD cells and promoted angiogenesis and CD8+ T cell exhaustion in the tumor microenvironment. A small molecule that blocks G55/G45 interactions impaired secretion and reduced TP53-deficient LUAD growth and metastasis. These results identified a targetable secretory vulnerability in TP53-deficient LUAD cells.
    Keywords:  Cell Biology; Lung cancer; Oncology; P53; Protein traffic
  32. J Cell Sci. 2020 Sep 16. pii: jcs240333. [Epub ahead of print]133(18):
      The endosomal sorting complexes required for transport (ESCRTs) I, -II and -III, and their associated factors are a collection of ∼20 proteins in yeast and ∼30 in mammals, responsible for severing membrane necks in processes that range from multivesicular body formation, HIV release and cytokinesis, to plasma and lysosomal membrane repair. ESCRTs are best known for 'reverse-topology' membrane scission, where they act on the inner surface of membrane necks, often when membranes are budded away from the cytosol. These events are driven by membrane-associated assemblies of dozens to hundreds of ESCRT molecules. ESCRT-III proteins form filaments with a variety of geometries and ESCRT-I has now been shown to also form helical structures. The complex nature of the system and the unusual topology of its action has made progress challenging, and led to controversies with regard to its underlying mechanism. This Review will focus on recent advances obtained by structural in vitro reconstitution and in silico mechanistic studies, and places them in their biological context. The field is converging towards a consensus on the broad outlines of a mechanism that is driven by a progressive ATP-dependent treadmilling exchange of ESCRT subunits, as well as compositional change and geometric transitions in ESCRT filaments.
    Keywords:  Cryo-electron microscopy; ESCRT; Endosome; Giant unilamellar vesicle; HIV; In vitro reconstitution; Membrane biophysics; Membrane scission; Optical tweezers
  33. Cancer Cell. 2020 Aug 25. pii: S1535-6108(20)30415-3. [Epub ahead of print]
      Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) is among the most immune-resistant tumor types. Its unique genomic landscape shaped by oncogenic drivers promotes immune suppression from the earliest stages of tumor inception to subvert adaptive T cell immunity. Single-agent immune modulators have thus far proven clinically ineffective, and multi-modal therapies targeting mechanisms of immunotherapy resistance are likely needed. Here, we review novel immunotherapy strategies currently under investigation to (1) confer antigen specificity, (2) enhance T cell effector function, and (3) neutralize immunosuppressive elements within the tumor microenvironment that may be rationally combined to untangle the web of immune resistance in PDA and other tumors.
    Keywords:  immunotherapy; pancreatic cancer
  34. Elife. 2020 Sep 17. pii: e60541. [Epub ahead of print]9
      A large fraction of human cancers contain genetic alterations within the Mitogen Activated Protein Kinase (MAPK) signaling network that promote unpredictable phenotypes. Previous studies have shown that the temporal patterns of MAPK activity (i.e. signaling dynamics) differentially regulate cell behavior. However, the role of signaling dynamics in mediating the effects of cancer driving mutations has not been systematically explored. Here, we show that oncogene expression leads to either pulsatile or sustained ERK activity that correlate with opposing cellular behaviors (i.e. proliferation vs. cell cycle arrest, respectively). Moreover, sustained-but not pulsatile-ERK activity triggers ERK activity waves in unperturbed neighboring cells that depend on the membrane metalloprotease ADAM17 and EGFR activity. Interestingly, the ADAM17-EGFR signaling axis coordinates neighboring cell migration toward oncogenic cells and is required for oncogenic cell extrusion. Overall, our data suggests that the temporal patterns of MAPK activity differentially regulate cell autonomous and non-cell autonomous effects of oncogene expression.
    Keywords:  biosensors; cancer biology; cell biology; human; live-cell imaging; signaling dynamics
  35. J Cachexia Sarcopenia Muscle. 2020 Sep 13.
      BACKGROUND: Cancer cachexia is a complex metabolic disease with unmet medical need. Although many rodent models are available, none are identical to the human disease. Therefore, the development of new preclinical models that simulate some of the physiological, biochemical, and clinical characteristics of the human disease is valuable. The HT-1080 human fibrosarcoma tumour cell line was reported to induce cachexia in mice. Therefore, the purpose of this work was to determine how well the HT-1080 tumour model could recapitulate human cachexia and to examine its technical performance. Furthermore, the efficacy of ghrelin receptor activation via anamorelin treatment was evaluated, because it is one of few clinically validated mechanisms.METHODS: Female severe combined immunodeficient mice were implanted subcutaneously or heterotopically (renal capsule) with HT-1080 tumour cells. The cachectic phenotype was evaluated during tumour development, including body weight, body composition, food intake, muscle function (force and fatigue), grip strength, and physical activity measurements. Heterotopic and subcutaneous tumour histology was also compared. Energy balance was evaluated at standard and thermoneutral housing temperatures in the subcutaneous model. The effect of anamorelin (ghrelin analogue) treatment was also examined.
    RESULTS: The HT-1080 tumour model had excellent technical performance and was reproducible across multiple experimental conditions. Heterotopic and subcutaneous tumour cell implantation resulted in similar cachexia phenotypes independent of housing temperature. Tumour weight and histology was comparable between both routes of administration with minimal inflammation. Subcutaneous HT-1080 tumour-bearing mice presented with weight loss (decreased fat mass and skeletal muscle mass/fibre cross-sectional area), reduced food intake, impaired muscle function (reduced force and grip strength), and decreased spontaneous activity and voluntary wheel running. Key circulating inflammatory biomarkers were produced by the tumour, including growth differentiation factor 15, Activin A, interleukin 6, and TNF alpha. Anamorelin prevented but did not reverse anorexia and weight loss in the subcutaneous model.
    CONCLUSIONS: The subcutaneous HT-1080 tumour model displays many of the perturbations of energy balance and physical performance described in human cachexia, consistent with the production of key inflammatory factors. Anamorelin was most effective when administered early in disease progression. The HT-1080 tumour model is valuable for studying potential therapeutic targets for the treatment of cachexia.
    Keywords:  Anamorelin; Cachexia; Fibrosarcoma; Food intake; HT-1080 tumour model; Muscle force
  36. Mol Cell Oncol. 2020 ;7(4): 1754723
      Reduced autophagy has been implicated in aging, yet whether its loss can promote aging phenotypes and pathologies in mammals, and how reversible this process is, has never been fully explored. Using inducible short hairpin RNA (shRNA) mouse models, we have recently shown that autophagy inhibition accelerates aging, and that even a temporary block in autophagy can create irreversible damage that increases a cancer risk.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; aging; cancer; senescence
  37. Mol Cell Oncol. 2020 ;7(5): 1789419
      We investigated the genetic and transcriptional changes associated with Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) associated protein 9 (Cas9) expression in human cancer cell lines. For a subset of cell lines with a wild-type tumor protein TP53 (best known as p53), we detected p53 pathway activation, DNA damage accumulation and emerging p53-inactivating mutations following Cas9 introduction. We discuss the potential implications of our findings in basic and translational research.
    Keywords:  CRISPR; Cas9; DNA damage response; TP53 mutation; genome editing; p53 pathway
  38. Science. 2020 Sep 18. 369(6510): 1497-1500
      Binary interactions dominate the evolution of massive stars, but their role is less clear for low- and intermediate-mass stars. The evolution of a spherical wind from an asymptotic giant branch (AGB) star into a nonspherical planetary nebula (PN) could be due to binary interactions. We observed a sample of AGB stars with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and found that their winds exhibit distinct nonspherical geometries with morphological similarities to planetary nebulae (PNe). We infer that the same physics shapes both AGB winds and PNe; additionally, the morphology and AGB mass-loss rate are correlated. These characteristics can be explained by binary interaction. We propose an evolutionary scenario for AGB morphologies that is consistent with observed phenomena in AGB stars and PNe.
  39. Oncoscience. 2020 Jul;7(7-8): 44-46
      Neoadjuvant therapy with conventional chemotherapies have visibly improved the prognosis of locally advanced pancreatic cancer (PCa). However, molecular targeted therapies that have provided durable responses in other tumor entities, have not yet found access into neoadjuvant therapy of PCa. In fact, due to the presence of the tumor burden serving as an antigen source for T cell priming, neoadjuvant chemotherapy may unleash a more potent antitumoral immune response than adjuvant or palliative chemotherapy.
    Keywords:  immunotherapy; neoadjuvant therapy; pancreatic cancer; tregs
  40. Methods Mol Biol. 2021 ;2179 3-6
      The epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) encompasses a complex cascade of events through which a cell transits to reduce its epithelial characteristics and become migratory. Classically, this transition has been considered complete upon loss of molecular markers characteristic of an "epithelial" state and acquisition of those associated with "mesenchymal" cells. Recently, however, evidence from both developmental and cancer EMT contexts suggest that cells undergoing EMT are often heterogeneous, concomitantly expressing both epithelial and mesenchymal markers to varying degrees; rather, cells frequently display a "partial" EMT phenotype and do not necessarily require full "mesenchymalization" to become migratory. Here, we offer a brief perspective on recent important advances in our fundamental understanding of the spectrum of cellular states that occur during partial EMT in the context of development and cancer metastasis.
    Keywords:  Cancer; Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition; Heterogeneity; Partial EMT; Post-transcriptional regulation
  41. FASEB Bioadv. 2020 Sep;2(9): 538-553
      Skeletal muscle atrophy is debilitating consequence of a large number of chronic disease states, aging, and disuse conditions. Skeletal muscle mass is regulated through coordinated activation of a number of signaling cascades. Transforming growth factor-β activated kinase 1 (TAK1) is a central kinase that mediates the activation of multiple signaling pathways in response to various growth factors, cytokines, and microbial products. Accumulating evidence suggests that TAK1 promotes skeletal muscle growth and essential for the maintenance of muscle mass in adults. Targeted inactivation of TAK1 leads to severe muscle wasting and kyphosis in mice. However, the mechanisms by which TAK1 prevents loss of muscle mass remain poorly understood. Through generation of inducible skeletal muscle-specific Tak1-knockout mice, we demonstrate that targeted ablation of TAK1 disrupts redox signaling leading to the accumulation of reactive oxygen species and loss of skeletal muscle mass and contractile function. Suppression of oxidative stress using Trolox improves muscle contractile function and inhibits the activation of catabolic signaling pathways in Tak1-deficient muscle. Moreover, Trolox inhibits the activation of ubiquitin-proteasome system and autophagy markers in skeletal muscle of Tak1-deficient mice. Furthermore, inhibition of oxidative stress using Trolox prevents the slow-to-fast type fiber transition and improves mitochondrial respiration in skeletal muscle of Tak1-deficient mice. Overall, our results demonstrate that TAK1 maintains skeletal muscle mass and health through redox homeostasis.
    Keywords:  TAK1; autophagy; cachexia; signaling; skeletal muscle wasting; ubiquitin‐proteasome system
  42. J Cell Mol Med. 2020 Sep 15.
      The catabolic autophagy eliminates cytoplasmic components and organelles via lysosomes. Non-selective bulk autophagy and selective autophagy (mitophagy) are linked in intracellular homeostasis both normal and cancer cells. Autophagy has complex and paradoxical dual role in cancers; it can play either tumour suppressor or tumour promoter depending on the tumour type, stage, microenvironment and genetic context. Cancer stem cells (CSCs) cause tumour recurrence and promote resistant to therapy for driving poor clinical consequences. Thus, new healing strategies are urgently needed to annihilate and eradicate CSCs. As chloroquine (CQ) analogues show positive clinical outcome in several clinical trials either standalone or combination with several chemotherapies. Moreover, CQ analogues are known to eliminate CSCs via altering DNA methylation. However, several obstacles such as higher concentrations and dose-dependent toxicity are noticeable in the treatment of cancers. As tumour cells predominantly rely on mitochondrial actions, mitochondrial targeting FDA-approved antibiotics are reported to effectively eradicate CSCs alone or combination with chemotherapy. However, antibiotics cause metabolic glycolytic shift in cancer cells for survival and repopulation. This review will provide a sketch of the inhibiting roles of current chloroquine analogues and antibiotic combination in CSC autophagy process and discuss the possibility that pre-clinical and clinical potential therapeutic strategy for anticancer therapy.
    Keywords:  CSCs therapy; antibiotics; autophagy; chloroquine analogues; drug repurposing; mitochondrial target
  43. Cancer Invest. 2020 Sep 16. 1-5
      Pancreatic cancer (PC) is associated with a high mortality rate. We explored the interindividual variation of cancer outcomes, attributable to DNA methylation, gene expression, and clinical factors among PC patients. We aim to determine whether we could differentiate subjects with greater nodal involvement, higher cancer staging, and subsequent survival. We modeled every response variable as a function of a linear predictor involving the effects of clinical variables, methylation, and gene expression in a Bayesian framework. Our results highlight the overall importance of wide-spread alterations in methylation and gene expression patterns associated with survival, nodal metastasis, and staging.
    Keywords:  DNA methylation; Pancreatic cancer; biostatistics; cancer genetics; gene expression
  44. Exp Mol Med. 2020 Sep 17.
      As knowledge of cell metabolism has advanced, glutamine has been considered an important amino acid that supplies carbon and nitrogen to fuel biosynthesis. A recent study provided a new perspective on mitochondrial glutamine metabolism, offering mechanistic insights into metabolic adaptation during tumor hypoxia, the emergence of drug resistance, and glutaminolysis-induced metabolic reprogramming and presenting metabolic strategies to target glutamine metabolism in cancer cells. In this review, we introduce the various biosynthetic and bioenergetic roles of glutamine based on the compartmentalization of glutamine metabolism to explain why cells exhibit metabolic reliance on glutamine. Additionally, we examined whether glutamine derivatives contribute to epigenetic regulation associated with tumorigenesis. In addition, in discussing glutamine transporters, we propose a metabolic target for therapeutic intervention in cancer.
  45. Gut. 2020 Sep 15. pii: gutjnl-2020-320730. [Epub ahead of print]
      OBJECTIVE: To describe the clinical, pathological and genomic characteristics of pancreatic cancer with DNA mismatch repair deficiency (MMRD) and proficiency (MMRP).DESIGN: We identified patients with MMRD and MMRP pancreatic cancer in a clinical cohort (N=1213, 519 with genetic testing, 53 with immunohistochemistry (IHC)) and a genomic cohort (N=288 with whole-genome sequencing (WGS)).
    RESULTS: 12 out of 1213 (1.0%) in the clinical cohort were MMRD by IHC or WGS. Of the 14 patients with Lynch syndrome, 3 (21.4%) had an MMRP pancreatic cancer by IHC, and 4 (28.6%) were excluded because tissue was unavailable for testing. MMRD cancers had longer overall survival after surgery (weighted HR after coarsened exact matching 0.11, 95% CI 0.02 to 0.78, p=0.001). One patient with an unresectable MMRD cancer has an ongoing partial response 3 years after starting treatment with PD-L1/CTLA-4 inhibition. This tumour showed none of the classical histopathological features of MMRD. 9 out of 288 (3.1%) tumours with WGS were MMRD. Despite markedly higher tumour mutational burden and neoantigen loads, MMRD cancers were significantly less likely to have mutations in usual pancreatic cancer driver genes like KRAS and SMAD4, but more likely to have mutations in genes that drive cancers with microsatellite instability like ACV2RA and JAK1. MMRD tumours were significantly more likely to have a basal-like transcriptional programme and elevated transcriptional markers of immunogenicity.
    CONCLUSIONS: MMRD pancreatic cancers have distinct clinical, pathological and genomic profiles. Patients with MMRD pancreatic cancer should be considered for basket trials targeting enhanced immunogenicity or the unique genomic drivers in these malignancies.
    Keywords:  cancer genetics; cancer immunobiology; cancer syndromes; molecular genetics; pancreatic cancer
  46. Mol Cell. 2020 Sep 10. pii: S1097-2765(20)30605-5. [Epub ahead of print]
      The Cdk-Rb-E2F pathway integrates external and internal signals to control progression at the G1/S transition of the mammalian cell cycle. Alterations in this pathway are found in most human cancers, and specific cyclin-dependent kinase Cdk4/6 inhibitors are approved or in clinical trials for the treatment of diverse cancers. In the long-standing paradigm for G1/S control, Cdks inactivate the retinoblastoma tumor suppressor protein (Rb) through phosphorylation, which releases E2F transcription factors to drive cell-cycle progression from G1 to S. However, recent observations in the laboratory and clinic challenge central tenets of the current paradigm and demonstrate that our understanding of the Rb pathway and G1/S control is still incomplete. Here, we integrate these new findings with the previous paradigm to synthesize a current molecular and cellular view of the mammalian G1/S transition. A more complete and accurate understanding of G1/S control will lead to improved therapeutic strategies targeting the cell cycle in cancer.
    Keywords:  ▪▪▪
  47. Science. 2020 Sep 18. 369(6510): 1518-1524
      Associations between chronic kidney disease (CKD) and the gut microbiota have been postulated, yet questions remain about the underlying mechanisms. In humans, dietary protein increases gut bacterial production of hydrogen sulfide (H2S), indole, and indoxyl sulfate. The latter are uremic toxins, and H2S has diverse physiological functions, some of which are mediated by posttranslational modification. In a mouse model of CKD, we found that a high sulfur amino acid-containing diet resulted in posttranslationally modified microbial tryptophanase activity. This reduced uremic toxin-producing activity and ameliorated progression to CKD in the mice. Thus, diet can tune microbiota function to support healthy host physiology through posttranslational modification without altering microbial community composition.
  48. Nat Commun. 2020 09 16. 11(1): 4673
      RAS-MAPK signaling mediates processes critical to normal development including cell proliferation, survival, and differentiation. Germline mutation of RAS-MAPK genes lead to the Noonan-spectrum of syndromes. Here, we present a patient affected by a 6p-interstitial microdeletion with unknown underlying molecular etiology. Examination of 6p-interstitial microdeletion cases reveals shared clinical features consistent with Noonan-spectrum disorders including short stature, facial dysmorphia and cardiovascular abnormalities. We find the RAS-responsive element binding protein-1 (RREB1) is the common deleted gene in multiple 6p-interstitial microdeletion cases. Rreb1 hemizygous mice display orbital hypertelorism and cardiac hypertrophy phenocopying the human syndrome. Rreb1 haploinsufficiency leads to sensitization of MAPK signaling. Rreb1 recruits Sin3a and Kdm1a to control H3K4 methylation at MAPK pathway gene promoters. Haploinsufficiency of SIN3A and mutations in KDM1A cause syndromes similar to RREB1 haploinsufficiency suggesting genetic perturbation of the RREB1-SIN3A-KDM1A complex represents a new category of RASopathy-like syndromes arising through epigenetic reprogramming of MAPK pathway genes.
  49. Cancer Metastasis Rev. 2020 Sep 16.
      Somatic mutations in the RAS genes are frequent in human tumors, especially in pancreatic, colorectal, and non-small-cell lung cancers. Such mutations generally decrease the ability of Ras to hydrolyze GTP, maintaining the protein in a constitutively active GTP-bound form that drives uncontrolled cell proliferation. Efforts to develop drugs that target Ras oncoproteins have been unsuccessful. Recent emerging data suggest that Ras regulation is more complex than the scientific community has believed for decades. In this review, we summarize advances in the "textbook" view of Ras activation. We also discuss a novel type of Ras regulation that involves direct phosphorylation and dephosphorylation of Ras tyrosine residues. The discovery that pharmacological inhibition of the tyrosine phosphoprotein phosphatase SHP2 maintains mutant Ras in an inactive state suggests that SHP2 could be a novel drug target for the treatment of Ras-driven human cancers.
    Keywords:  Cancer therapy; Ras; Ras signaling; SHP2; SOS; Tyrosine phosphorylation
  50. Diabetes. 2020 Sep 18. pii: db191176. [Epub ahead of print]
      Nuclear factor-erythroid factor 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) may either ameliorate or worsen diabetic cardiomyopathy. However, the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. Herein we report a novel mechanism of Nrf2-mediated myocardial damage in type 1 diabetes (T1D). Global Nrf2 knockout (Nrf2KO) hardly affected the onset of cardiac dysfunction induced by T1D but slowed down its progression in mice independent of sex. In addition, Nrf2KO inhibited cardiac pathological remodeling, apoptosis and oxidative stress associated with both onset and advancement of cardiac dysfunction in T1D. Such Nrf2-mediated progression of diabetic cardiomyopathy was confirmed by cardiomyocyte-restricted (CR) Nrf2 transgenic (Tg) approach in mice. Moreover, cardiac autophagy inhibition via CR KO of autophagy related 5 gene (CR-Atg5KO) led to early onset and accelerated development of cardiomyopathy in T1D, and CR-Atg5KO-induced adverse phenotypes were rescued by additional Nrf2KO. Mechanistically, chronic T1D leads to glucolipotoxicity inhibiting autolysosome efflux, which in turn intensifies Nrf2-driven transcription to fuel lipid peroxidation while inactivating Nrf2-mediated antioxidant defense and impairing Nrf2-coordinated iron metabolism, thereby leading to ferroptosis in cardiomyocytes. These results demonstrate that diabetes over time causes autophagy deficiency, which turns off Nrf2-mediated defense while switching on Nrf2-operated pathological program toward ferroptosis in cardiomyocytes, thereby worsening the progression of diabetic cardiomyopathy.
  51. Cancers (Basel). 2020 Sep 14. pii: E2624. [Epub ahead of print]12(9):
      Aberrant glutamatergic signaling has been implicated in altered metabolic activity and the demand to synthesize biomass in several types of cancer including melanoma. In the last decade, there has been a significant contribution to our understanding of metabolic pathways. An increasing number of studies are now emphasizing the importance of glutamate functioning as a signaling molecule and a building block for cancer progression. To that end, our group has previously illustrated the role of glutamatergic signaling mediated by metabotropic glutamate receptor 1 (GRM1) in neoplastic transformation of melanocytes in vitro and spontaneous development of metastatic melanoma in vivo. Glutamate, the natural ligand of GRM1, is one of the most abundant amino acids in humans and the predominant excitatory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. Elevated levels of glutaminolytic mitochondrial tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle intermediates, especially glutamate, have been reported in numerous cancer cells. Herein, we highlight and critically review metabolic bottlenecks that are prevalent during tumor evolution along with therapeutic implications of limiting glutamate bioavailability in tumors.
    Keywords:  CB-839; cancer; glutamate; glutaminase (GLS); glutamine; glutaminolysis; metabolism
  52. Oncogenesis. 2020 Sep 18. 9(9): 83
      The essential G1-cyclin, CCND1, is a collaborative nuclear oncogene that is frequently overexpressed in cancer. D-type cyclins bind and activate CDK4 and CDK6 thereby contributing to G1-S cell-cycle progression. In addition to the nucleus, herein cyclin D1 was also located in the cytoplasmic membrane. In contrast with the nuclear-localized form of cyclin D1 (cyclin D1NL), the cytoplasmic membrane-localized form of cyclin D1 (cyclin D1MEM) induced transwell migration and the velocity of cellular migration. The cyclin D1MEM was sufficient to induce G1-S cell-cycle progression, cellular proliferation, and colony formation. The cyclin D1MEM was sufficient to induce phosphorylation of the serine threonine kinase Akt (Ser473) and augmented extranuclear localized 17β-estradiol dendrimer conjugate (EDC)-mediated phosphorylation of Akt (Ser473). These studies suggest distinct subcellular compartments of cell cycle proteins may convey distinct functions.
  53. Cell. 2020 Sep 17. pii: S0092-8674(20)31001-1. [Epub ahead of print]182(6): 1372-1376
      Large scientific projects in genomics and astronomy are influential not because they answer any single question but because they enable investigation of continuously arising new questions from the same data-rich sources. Advances in automated mapping of the brain's synaptic connections (connectomics) suggest that the complicated circuits underlying brain function are ripe for analysis. We discuss benefits of mapping a mouse brain at the level of synapses.
  54. Cancer Cell. 2020 Sep 16. pii: S1535-6108(20)30477-3. [Epub ahead of print]
      Screening leads to meaningful reductions in deaths from cancers. However, reductions in all-cause mortality (ACM) are harder to demonstrate. Failure to demonstrate ACM benefit should not diminish advances in cancer screening. We consider how co-morbidities related to an aging and damaged soma can hinder achievement of ACM benefit.
  55. Elife. 2020 Sep 14. pii: e59499. [Epub ahead of print]9
      Respiratory chemoreceptors regulate breathing in response to changes in tissue CO2/H+. Blood flow is a fundamental determinant of tissue CO2/H+, yet little is known regarding how regulation of vascular tone in chemoreceptor regions contributes to respiratory behavior. Previously, we showed in rat that CO2/H+-vasoconstriction in the retrotrapezoid nucleus (RTN) supports chemoreception by a purinergic-dependent mechanism (Hawkins et al. 2017). Here, we show in mice that CO2/H+ dilates arterioles in other chemoreceptor regions, thus demonstrating CO2/H+ vascular reactivity in the RTN is unique. We also identify P2Y2 receptors in RTN smooth muscle cells as the substrate responsible for this response. Specifically, pharmacological blockade or genetic deletion of P2Y2 from smooth muscle cells blunted the ventilatory response to CO2, and re-expression of P2Y2 receptors only in RTN smooth muscle cells fully rescued the CO2/H+ chemoreflex. These results identify P2Y2 receptors in RTN smooth muscle cells as requisite determinants of respiratory chemoreception.
    Keywords:  mouse; neuroscience
  56. Dev Cell. 2020 Sep 08. pii: S1534-5807(20)30667-5. [Epub ahead of print]
      Extracellular pH is usually maintained around 7.4 in multicellular organisms, and cells are optimized to proliferate under this condition. Here, we find cells can adapt to a more acidic pH of 6.5 and become addicted to this acidic microenvironment by expressing phosphatase of regenerating liver (PRL), a driver of cancer malignancy. Genome-scale CRISPR-Cas9 knockout screening and subsequent analyses revealed that PRL promotes H+ extrusion and acid addiction by stimulating lysosomal exocytosis. Further experiments using cultured cells and Caenorhabditis elegans clarified the molecular link between PRL and lysosomal exocytosis across species, involving activation of lysosomal Ca2+ channel TRPML by ROS. Indeed, disruption of TRPML in cancer cells abolished PRL-stimulated lysosomal exocytosis, acid addiction, and metastasis. Thus, PRL is the molecular switch turning cells addicted to an acidic condition, which should benefit cancer cells to thrive in an acidic tumor microenvironment.
    Keywords:  PRL; TRPML; acid addiction; lysosomal exocytosis; phosphatase of regenerating liver; transient receptor potential mucolipin; tumor microenvironment
  57. Sci Adv. 2020 Jul;pii: eaba7443. [Epub ahead of print]6(27):
      How naturally arising human CD4+ T helper subsets affect cancer immunotherapy is unclear. We reported that human CD4+CD26high T cells elicit potent immunity against solid tumors. As CD26high T cells are often categorized as TH17 cells for their IL-17 production and high CD26 expression, we posited these populations would have similar molecular properties. Here, we reveal that CD26high T cells are epigenetically and transcriptionally distinct from TH17 cells. Of clinical importance, CD26high and TH17 cells engineered with a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) regressed large human tumors to a greater extent than enriched TH1 or TH2 cells. Only human CD26high T cells mediated curative responses, even when redirected with a suboptimal CAR and without aid by CD8+ CAR T cells. CD26high T cells cosecreted effector cytokines, produced cytotoxic molecules, and persisted long term. Collectively, our work underscores the promise of CD4+ T cell populations to improve durability of solid tumor therapies.
  58. Immunity. 2020 Sep 15. pii: S1074-7613(20)30370-8. [Epub ahead of print]53(3): 510-523
      Integrated immunometabolic responses link dietary intake, energy utilization, and storage to immune regulation of tissue function and is therefore essential for the maintenance and restoration of homeostasis. Adipose-resident leukocytes have non-traditional immunological functions that regulate organismal metabolism by controlling insulin action, lipolysis, and mitochondrial respiration to control the usage of substrates for production of heat versus ATP. Energetically expensive vital functions such as immunological responses might have thus evolved to respond accordingly to dietary surplus and deficit of macronutrient intake. Here, we review the interaction of dietary intake of macronutrients and their metabolism with the immune system. We discuss immunometabolic checkpoints that promote healthspan and highlight how dietary fate and regulation of glucose, fat, and protein metabolism might affect immunity.
  59. Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2020 Sep 14.
      The majority of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) powering cellular processes in eukaryotes is produced by the mitochondrial F1Fo ATP synthase. Here, we present the atomic models of the membrane Fo domain and the entire mammalian (ovine) F1Fo, determined by cryo-electron microscopy. Subunits in the membrane domain are arranged in the 'proton translocation cluster' attached to the c-ring and a more distant 'hook apparatus' holding subunit e. Unexpectedly, this subunit is anchored to a lipid 'plug' capping the c-ring. We present a detailed proton translocation pathway in mammalian Fo and key inter-monomer contacts in F1Fo multimers. Cryo-EM maps of F1Fo exposed to calcium reveal a retracted subunit e and a disassembled c-ring, suggesting permeability transition pore opening. We propose a model for the permeability transition pore opening, whereby subunit e pulls the lipid plug out of the c-ring. Our structure will allow the design of drugs for many emerging applications in medicine.
  60. Immunity. 2020 Sep 15. pii: S1074-7613(20)30369-1. [Epub ahead of print]53(3): 496-509
      Over the past 10 years, the field of immunometabolism made great strides to unveil the crucial role of intracellular metabolism in regulating immune cell function. Emerging insights into how systemic inflammation and metabolism influence each other provide a critical additional dimension on the organismal level. Here, we discuss the concept of systemic immunometabolism and review the current understanding of the communication circuits that underlie the reciprocal impact of systemic inflammation and metabolism across organs in inflammatory and infectious diseases, as well as how these mechanisms apply to homeostasis. We present current challenges of systemic immunometabolic research, and in this context, highlight opportunities and put forward ideas to effectively explore organismal physiological complexity in both health and disease.
  61. J Cell Biol. 2020 Nov 02. pii: e202004029. [Epub ahead of print]219(11):
      Mitophagy is an evolutionarily conserved process involving the autophagic targeting and clearance of mitochondria destined for removal. Recent insights into the complex nature of the overlapping pathways regulating mitophagy illustrate mitophagy's essential role in maintaining the health of the mitochondrial network. In this review, we highlight recent studies that have changed the way mitophagy is understood, from initiation through lysosomal degradation. We outline the numerous mitophagic receptors and triggers, with a focus on basal and physiologically relevant cues, offering insight into why they lead to mitochondrial removal. We also explore how mitophagy maintains mitochondrial homeostasis at the organ and system levels and how a loss of mitophagy may play a role in a diverse group of diseases, including cardiovascular, metabolic, and neurodegenerative diseases. With disrupted mitophagy affecting such a wide array of physiological processes, a deeper understanding of how to modulate mitophagy could provide avenues for numerous therapies.
  62. Nucleic Acids Res. 2020 Sep 17. pii: gkaa757. [Epub ahead of print]
      Cells rely on stress response pathways to uphold cellular homeostasis and limit the negative effects of harmful environmental stimuli. The stress- and mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinases, p38 and JNK, are at the nexus of numerous stress responses, among these the ribotoxic stress response (RSR). Ribosomal impairment is detrimental to cell function as it disrupts protein synthesis, increase inflammatory signaling and, if unresolved, lead to cell death. In this review, we offer a general overview of the three main translation surveillance pathways; the RSR, Ribosome-associated Quality Control (RQC) and the Integrated Stress Response (ISR). We highlight recent advances made in defining activation mechanisms for these pathways and discuss their commonalities and differences. Finally, we reflect on the physiological role of the RSR and consider the therapeutic potential of targeting the sensing kinase ZAKα for treatment of ribotoxin exposure.
  63. Methods Mol Biol. 2021 ;2179 353-383
      Metastasis results from the ability of cancer cells to grow and to spread beyond the primary tumor to distant organs. Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT), a fundamental developmental process, is reactivated in cancer cells, and causes epithelial properties to evolve into mesenchymal and invasive ones. EMT changes cellular characteristics between two distinct states, yet, the process is not binary but rather reflects a broad spectrum of partial EMT states in which cells exhibit various degrees of intermediate epithelial and mesenchymal phenotypes. EMT is a complex multistep process that involves cellular reprogramming through numerous signaling pathways, alterations in gene expression, and changes in chromatin morphology. Therefore, expression of key proteins, including cadherins, occludin, or vimentin must be precisely regulated. A comprehensive understanding of how changes in nuclear organization, at the level of single genes clusters, correlates with these processes during formation of metastatic cells is still missing and yet may help personalized prognosis and treatment in the clinic. Here, we describe methods to correlate physiological and molecular states of cells undergoing an EMT process with chromatin rearrangements observed via FISH labeling of specific domains.
    Keywords:  Cancer; Chromatin reorganization; DNA-FISH; Epithelial-mesenchymal transition; Genome; High-throughput microscopy; Hybrid EMT; Metastasis; Plasticity
  64. Elife. 2020 Sep 15. pii: e58941. [Epub ahead of print]9
      Maintenance of skeletal muscle is beneficial in obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Mechanical stimulation can regulate skeletal muscle differentiation, growth and metabolism, however the molecular mechanosensor remains unknown. Here, we show that SWELL1 (Lrrc8a) functionally encodes a swell-activated anion channel that regulates PI3K-AKT, ERK1/2, mTOR signaling, muscle differentiation, myoblast fusion, cellular oxygen consumption, and glycolysis in skeletal muscle cells. LRRC8A over-expression in Lrrc8a KO myotubes boosts PI3K-AKT-mTOR signaling to supra-normal levels and fully rescues myotube formation. Skeletal muscle targeted Lrrc8a KO mice have smaller myofibers, generate less force ex vivo, and exhibit reduced exercise endurance, associated with increased adiposity under basal conditions, and glucose intolerance and insulin resistance when raised on a high-fat diet, compared to WT mice. These results reveal that the LRRC8 complex regulates insulin-PI3K-AKT-mTOR signalling in skeletal muscle to influence skeletal muscle differentiation in vitro and skeletal myofiber size, muscle function, adiposity and systemic metabolism in vivo.
    Keywords:  cell biology; mouse
  65. Oncogene. 2020 Sep 17.
      Transcription factors (TFs) coordinate the on-and-off states of gene expression typically in a combinatorial fashion. Studies from embryonic stem cells and other cell types have revealed that a clique of self-regulated core TFs control cell identity and cell state. These core TFs form interconnected feed-forward transcriptional loops to establish and reinforce the cell-type-specific gene-expression program; the ensemble of core TFs and their regulatory loops constitutes core transcriptional regulatory circuitry (CRC). Here, we summarize recent progress in computational reconstitution and biologic exploration of CRCs across various human malignancies, and consolidate the strategy and methodology for CRC discovery. We also discuss the genetic basis and therapeutic vulnerability of CRC, and highlight new frontiers and future efforts for the study of CRC in cancer. Knowledge of CRC in cancer is fundamental to understanding cancer-specific transcriptional addiction, and should provide important insight to both pathobiology and therapeutics.
  66. Oncogene. 2020 Sep 14.
      Evidence suggests that tripartite motif-containing 2 (TRIM2) is associated with carcinogenic effects in several malignancies. However, the expression patterns and roles of TRIM2 in pancreatic cancer are rarely studied. Our study demonstrated that TRIM2 was expressed in a high percentage of pancreatic tumors. High TRIM2 expression was negatively correlated with the outcome of pancreatic cancer. TRIM2 silencing significantly inhibited the proliferation, migration, invasion, and in vivo tumorigenicity of pancreatic cancer cells. Regarding the mechanism involved, TRIM2 activated ROS-related E2-related factor 2 (NRF2)/antioxidant response element (ARE) signaling and the integrin/focal adhesion kinase (FAK) pathway. Treatment of pancreatic cancer cells with the antioxidant N-acetyl-L-cysteine decreased ROS activity and expression level of NRF2 and ITGB7. Increased translocation of NRF2 protein into nucleus further rescued the inhibited ITGB7 transcription. Moreover, NRF2 bound to the potential ARE on the promoter region and enhanced the transcriptional activity of ITGB7, indicating the bridging effect of NRF2 between the two signaling pathways. In summary, our study provides evidence that upregulated TRIM2 in pancreatic cancer predicts short survival for pancreatic cancer patients. TRIM2 accelerates pancreatic cancer progression via the ROS-related NRF2/ITGB7/FAK axis.
  67. Nat Cell Biol. 2020 Sep 14.
      Although pyroptosis is critical for macrophages against pathogen infection, its role and mechanism in cancer cells remains unclear. PD-L1 has been detected in the nucleus, with unknown function. Here we show that PD-L1 switches TNFα-induced apoptosis to pyroptosis in cancer cells, resulting in tumour necrosis. Under hypoxia, p-Stat3 physically interacts with PD-L1 and facilitates its nuclear translocation, enhancing the transcription of the gasdermin C (GSDMC) gene. GSDMC is specifically cleaved by caspase-8 with TNFα treatment, generating a GSDMC N-terminal domain that forms pores on the cell membrane and induces pyroptosis. Nuclear PD-L1, caspase-8 and GSDMC are required for macrophage-derived TNFα-induced tumour necrosis in vivo. Moreover, high expression of GSDMC correlates with poor survival. Antibiotic chemotherapy drugs induce pyroptosis in breast cancer. These findings identify a non-immune checkpoint function of PD-L1 and provide an unexpected concept that GSDMC/caspase-8 mediates a non-canonical pyroptosis pathway in cancer cells, causing tumour necrosis.
  68. Methods Mol Biol. 2021 ;2179 315-326
      Metastasis and chemoresistance, the most lethal features of cancer progression, are strongly associated with a form of cellular plasticity known as the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Carcinoma cells undergoing EMT lose their epithelial morphology and become more mobile, allowing them to invade and migrate more efficiently. This shift is also associated with a change in vulnerability to chemotherapeutic agents. Importantly, EMT does not involve a single mechanism, but rather encompasses a spectrum of phenotypes with differing degrees of epithelial and mesenchymal characteristics. These hybrid/partial epithelial-mesenchymal states are associated with other important aspects of tumor biology, such as distinct modes of cellular invasion and drug resistance, illustrating the need to further characterize this phenomenon in tumor cells. Although simple in theory, the identification of tumor cells that have undergone EMT in vivo has proven difficult due to their high similarity to other mesenchymal cells that populate tumor stroma, such as cancer-associated fibroblasts. This protocol describes two methods for isolating epithelial and EMT cancer cell populations from primary murine tumors and cultured cancer cells to identify different EMT subtypes. These populations can then be used for several applications, including, but not limited to, functional studies of motility or invasion, gene expression analysis (RNA sequencing and RT-qPCR), DNA sequencing, epigenetic analysis, tumor subtyping, western blotting, immunohistochemistry, etc. Finally, we describe a flow cytometry-based approach to identify and study tumors cells that are undergoing partial EMT.
    Keywords:  E-cadherin; EMT; Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition; Flow cytometry-activated cell sorting; Magnetic-activated cell sorting; Partial EMT; Plasticity; Subtypes
  69. Mol Cancer Res. 2020 Sep 18. pii: molcanres.0488.2020. [Epub ahead of print]
      Chromosomal instability (CIN) is a hallmark of cancer. While low levels of CIN can be tumor promoting, high levels of CIN cause cell death and tumor suppression. The widely used chemotherapeutic paclitaxel (TaxolTM) exerts its anti-cancer effects by increasing CIN above a maximally tolerated threshold. One significant outstanding question is whether the p53 tumor suppressor is required for the cell death and tumor suppression caused by high CIN. Both p53 loss and reduction of the mitotic kinesin CENP-E cause low CIN. Combining both genetic insults in the same cell leads to high CIN. Here we test whether high CIN causes cell death and tumor suppression even in the absence p53. Despite a surprising sex-specific difference in tumor spectrum and latency in p53 heterozygous animals, these studies demonstrate that p53 is not required for high CIN to induce tumor suppression. Pharmacological induction of high CIN results in equivalent levels of cell death due to loss of essential chromosomes in p53+/+ and p53-/- cells, further demonstrating that high CIN elicits cell death independently of p53 function. Implications: These results provide support for the efficacy of anti-cancer therapies that induce high CIN, even in tumors that lack functional p53.
  70. Cancer Metastasis Rev. 2020 Sep 14.
      Recent developments in pre-clinical screening tools, that more reliably predict the clinical effects and adverse events of candidate therapeutic agents, has ushered in a new era of drug development and screening. However, given the rapid pace with which these models have emerged, the individual merits of these translational research tools warrant careful evaluation in order to furnish clinical researchers with appropriate information to conduct pre-clinical screening in an accelerated and rational manner. This review assesses the predictive utility of both well-established and emerging pre-clinical methods in terms of their suitability as a screening platform for treatment response, ability to represent pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic drug properties, and lastly debates the translational limitations and benefits of these models. To this end, we will describe the current literature on cell culture, organoids, in vivo mouse models, and in silico computational approaches. Particular focus will be devoted to discussing gaps and unmet needs in the literature as well as current advancements and innovations achieved in the field, such as co-clinical trials and future avenues for refinement.
    Keywords:  Cancer; GEMMs; PDX; Translational research; Xenograft; tumor immunology