bims-cagime Biomed News
on Cancer, aging and metabolism
Issue of 2021‒10‒24
37 papers selected by
Kıvanç Görgülü
Technical University of Munich

  1. Cell Death Dis. 2021 Oct 20. 12(11): 973
      Pancreatic cancer (PC) is one of the leading causes of cancer-related death worldwide due to delayed diagnosis and limited treatments. More than 90% of all pancreatic cancers are pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). Extensive communication between tumour cells and other cell types in the tumour microenvironment have been identified which regulate cancer hallmarks during pancreatic tumorigenesis via secretory factors and extracellular vesicles (EVs). The EV-capsuled factors not only facilitate tumour growth locally, but also enter circulation and reach distant organs to construct a pre-metastatic niche. In this review, we delineate the key factors in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma derived EVs that mediate different tumour processes. Also, we highlight the factors that are related to the crosstalk with cancer stem cells/cancer-initiating cells (CSC/CIC), the subpopulation of cancer cells that can efficiently metastasize and resist currently used chemotherapies. Lastly, we discuss the potential of EV-capsuled factors in early diagnosis and antitumour therapeutic strategies.
  2. Oncogene. 2021 Oct 18.
      Human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) harboring one KRAS mutant allele often displays increasing genomic loss of the remaining wild-type (WT) allele (known as LOH at KRAS) as tumors progress to metastasis, yet the molecular ramification of this WT allelic loss is unknown. In this study, we showed that the restoration of WT KRAS expression in human PDAC cell lines with LOH at KRAS significantly attenuated the malignancy of PDAC cells both in vitro and in vivo, demonstrating a tumor-suppressive role of the WT KRAS allele. Through RNA-Seq, we identified the HIPPO signaling pathway to be positively regulated by WT KRAS in PDAC cells. In accordance with this observation, PDAC cells with LOH at KRAS exhibited increased nuclear localization and activation of transcriptional co-activator YAP1. Mechanistically, we discovered that WT KRAS expression sequestered YAP1 from the nucleus, through enhanced 14-3-3zeta interaction with phosphorylated YAP1 at S127. Consistently, expression of a constitutively-active YAP1 mutant in PDAC cells bypassed the growth inhibitory effects of WT KRAS. In patient samples, we found that the YAP1-activation genes were significantly upregulated in tumors with LOH at KRAS, and YAP1 nuclear localization predicted poor survival for PDAC patients. Collectively, our results reveal that the WT allelic loss leads to functional activation of YAP1 and enhanced tumor malignancy, which explains the selection advantage of the tumor cells with LOH at KRAS during pancreatic cancer clonal evolution and progression to metastasis, and should be taken into consideration in future therapeutic strategies targeting KRAS.
  3. Nat Immunol. 2021 Oct 22.
      Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) display pro-tumorigenic phenotypes for supporting tumor progression in response to microenvironmental cues imposed by tumor and stromal cells. However, the underlying mechanisms by which tumor cells instruct TAM behavior remain elusive. Here, we uncover that tumor-cell-derived glucosylceramide stimulated unconventional endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress responses by inducing reshuffling of lipid composition and saturation on the ER membrane in macrophages, which induced IRE1-mediated spliced XBP1 production and STAT3 activation. The cooperation of spliced XBP1 and STAT3 reinforced the pro-tumorigenic phenotype and expression of immunosuppressive genes. Ablation of XBP1 expression with genetic manipulation or ameliorating ER stress responses by facilitating LPCAT3-mediated incorporation of unsaturated lipids to the phosphatidylcholine hampered pro-tumorigenic phenotype and survival in TAMs. Together, we uncover the unexpected roles of tumor-cell-produced lipids that simultaneously orchestrate macrophage polarization and survival in tumors via induction of ER stress responses and reveal therapeutic targets for sustaining host antitumor immunity.
  4. Nat Rev Cancer. 2021 Oct 21.
      Accurate control of gene expression is essential for normal development and dysregulation of transcription underpins cancer onset and progression. Similar to cell cycle regulation, RNA polymerase II-driven transcription can be considered as a unidirectional multistep cycle, with thousands of unique transcription cycles occurring in concert within each cell. Each transcription cycle comprises recruitment, initiation, pausing, elongation, termination and recycling stages that are tightly controlled by the coordinated action of transcriptional cyclin-dependent kinases and their cognate cyclins as well as the opposing activity of transcriptional phosphatases. Oncogenic dysregulation of transcription can entail defective control of gene expression, either at select loci or more globally, impacting a large proportion of the genome. The resultant dependency on the core-transcriptional machinery is believed to render 'transcriptionally addicted' cancers sensitive to perturbation of transcription. Based on these findings, small molecules targeting transcriptional cyclin-dependent kinases and associated proteins hold promise for the treatment of cancer. Here, we utilize the transcription cycles concept to explain how dysregulation of these finely tuned gene expression processes may drive tumorigenesis and how therapeutically beneficial responses may arise from global or selective transcriptional perturbation. This conceptual framework helps to explain tumour-selective transcriptional dependencies and facilitates the rational design of combination therapies.
  5. Nat Cancer. 2021 May;2(5): 487-497
      Several current immunotherapy approaches target private neoantigens derived from mutations that are unique to individual patients' tumors. However, immunotherapeutic agents can also be developed against public neoantigens derived from recurrent mutations in cancer driver genes. The latter approaches target proteins that are indispensable for tumor growth, and each therapeutic agent can be applied to numerous patients. Here we review the opportunities and challenges involved in the identification of suitable public neoantigen targets and the development of therapeutic agents targeting them.
  6. Nature. 2021 Oct 20.
      Dietary interventions can change metabolite levels in the tumour microenvironment, which might then affect cancer cell metabolism to alter tumour growth1-5. Although caloric restriction (CR) and a ketogenic diet (KD) are often thought to limit tumour progression by lowering blood glucose and insulin levels6-8, we found that only CR inhibits the growth of select tumour allografts in mice, suggesting that other mechanisms contribute to tumour growth inhibition. A change in nutrient availability observed with CR, but not with KD, is lower lipid levels in the plasma and tumours. Upregulation of stearoyl-CoA desaturase (SCD), which synthesises monounsaturated fatty acids, is required for cancer cells to proliferate in a lipid-depleted environment, and CR also impairs tumour SCD activity to cause an imbalance between unsaturated and saturated fatty acids to slow tumour growth. Enforcing cancer cell SCD expression or raising circulating lipid levels through a higher-fat CR diet confers resistance to the effects of CR. By contrast, although KD also impairs tumour SCD activity, KD-driven increases in lipid availability maintain the unsaturated to saturated fatty acid ratios in tumours, and changing the KD fat composition to increase tumour saturated fatty acid levels cooperates with decreased tumour SCD activity to slow tumour growth. These data suggest that diet-induced mismatches between tumour fatty acid desaturation activity and the availability of specific fatty acid species determine whether low glycaemic diets impair tumour growth.
  7. Oncogene. 2021 Oct 19.
      Calcineurin is a calcium- and calmodulin-dependent serine/threonine protein phosphatase that connects the Ca2+-dependent signalling to multiple cellular responses. Calcineurin inhibitors (CNIs) have been widely used to suppress immune response in allograft patients. However, CNIs significantly increase cancer incidence in transplant recipients compared with the general population. Accumulating evidence suggests that CNIs may promote the malignant transformation of cancer cells in addition to its role in immunosuppression, but the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. Here, we show that calcineurin interacts with pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDC), a mitochondrial gatekeeper enzyme that connects two key metabolic pathways of cells, glycolysis and the tricarboxylic acid cycle. Mitochondrial-localized calcineurin dephosphorylates PDHA1 at Ser232, Ser293 and Ser300, and thus enhances PDC enzymatic activity, remodels cellular glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation, and suppresses cancer cell proliferation. Hypoxia attenuates mitochondrial translocation of calcineurin to promote PDC inactivation. Moreover, CNIs promote metabolic remodelling and the Warburg effect by blocking calcineurin-mediated PDC activation in cancer cells. Our findings indicate that calcineurin is a critical regulator of mitochondrial metabolism and suggest that CNIs may promote tumorigenesis through inhibition of the calcineurin-PDC pathway.
  8. Oncogene. 2021 Oct 18.
      Recent developments in immuno-oncology demonstrate that not only cancer cells, but also the tumor microenvironment can guide precision medicine. A comprehensive and in-depth characterization of the tumor microenvironment is challenging since its cell populations are diverse and can be important even if scarce. To identify clinically relevant microenvironmental and cancer features, we applied single-cell RNA sequencing to ten human lung adenocarcinomas and ten normal control tissues. Our analyses revealed heterogeneous carcinoma cell transcriptomes reflecting histological grade and oncogenic pathway activities, and two distinct microenvironmental patterns. The immune-activated CP²E microenvironment was composed of cancer-associated myofibroblasts, proinflammatory monocyte-derived macrophages, plasmacytoid dendritic cells and exhausted CD8+ T cells, and was prognostically unfavorable. In contrast, the inert N³MC microenvironment was characterized by normal-like myofibroblasts, non-inflammatory monocyte-derived macrophages, NK cells, myeloid dendritic cells and conventional T cells, and was associated with a favorable prognosis. Microenvironmental marker genes and signatures identified in single-cell profiles had progonostic value in bulk tumor profiles. In summary, single-cell RNA profiling of lung adenocarcinoma provides additional prognostic information based on the microenvironment, and may help to predict therapy response and to reveal possible target cell populations for future therapeutic approaches.
  9. Cells. 2021 Oct 02. pii: 2637. [Epub ahead of print]10(10):
      Autophagy is a physiological degradation process that removes unnecessary or dysfunctional components of cells. It is important for normal cellular homeostasis and as a response to a variety of stresses, such as nutrient deprivation. Defects in autophagy have been linked to numerous human diseases, including cancers. Cancer cells require autophagy to migrate and to invade. Here, we study the intracellular topology of this interplay between autophagy and cell migration by an interdisciplinary live imaging approach which combines micro-patterning techniques and an autophagy reporter (RFP-GFP-LC3) to monitor over time, during directed migration, the back-front spatial distribution of LC3-positive compartments (autophagosomes and autolysosomes). Moreover, by exploiting a genetically controlled cell model, we assessed the impact of transformation by the Ras oncogene, one of the most frequently mutated genes in human cancers, which is known to increase both cell motility and basal autophagy. Static cells displayed an isotropic distribution of autophagy LC3-positive compartments. Directed migration globally increased autophagy and polarized both autophagosomes and autolysosomes at the front of the nucleus of migrating cells. In Ras-transformed cells, the front polarization of LC3 compartments was much less organized, spatially and temporally, as compared to normal cells. This might be a consequence of altered lysosome positioning. In conclusion, this work reveals that autophagy organelles are polarized toward the cell front during migration and that their spatial-temporal dynamics are altered in motile cancer cells that express an oncogenic Ras protein.
    Keywords:  Ras; autophagy; cancer; micro-patterns; migration
  10. Mol Cancer Ther. 2021 Oct 21. pii: molcanther.0293.2021. [Epub ahead of print]
      Pancreatic cancer is the 3rd leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States with a 5-year survival less than 5%. Resistance to standard therapy and limited response to immune checkpoint blockade due to the immunosuppressive and stroma-rich microenvironment remain major challenges in the treatment of pancreatic cancer. A key cellular program involved in therapy resistance is epithelial plasticity, which is also associated with invasion, metastasis, and evasion of immune surveillance. The receptor tyrosine kinase AXL is a key driver of tumor cell epithelial plasticity. High expression and activity of AXL is associated with poor prognosis, metastasis, and therapy resistance in multiple types of cancer including pancreatic. Here, we show that an AXL inhibitor (TP-0903), has anti-tumor and therapy sensitizing effects in pre-clinical models of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA). We demonstrate that TP-0903 as a single agent or in combination with gemcitabine and/or anti-programmed cell death protein 1 (PD1) antibody has anti-metastatic and anti-tumor effects in PDA tumor bearing mice, leading to increased survival. Additionally, gene expression analysis of tumors demonstrated upregulation of pro-inflammatory and immune activation genes in tumors from TP-0903-treated animals compared to the vehicle, indicating pharmacologic inhibition of AXL activation leads to an immunostimulatory microenvironment. This effect was augmented when TP-0903 was combined with gemcitabine and anti-PD1 antibody. These results provide clear rationale for evaluating TP-0903 in the treatment of pancreatic cancer.
  11. Nat Rev Cancer. 2021 Oct 20.
      Transforming growth factor-β (TGFβ) signalling controls multiple cell fate decisions during development and tissue homeostasis; hence, dysregulation of this pathway can drive several diseases, including cancer. Here we discuss the influence that TGFβ exerts on the composition and behaviour of different cell populations present in the tumour immune microenvironment, and the context-dependent functions of this cytokine in suppressing or promoting cancer. During homeostasis, TGFβ controls inflammatory responses triggered by exposure to the outside milieu in barrier tissues. Lack of TGFβ exacerbates inflammation, leading to tissue damage and cellular transformation. In contrast, as tumours progress, they leverage TGFβ to drive an unrestrained wound-healing programme in cancer-associated fibroblasts, as well as to suppress the adaptive immune system and the innate immune system. In consonance with this key role in reprogramming the tumour microenvironment, emerging data demonstrate that TGFβ-inhibitory therapies can restore cancer immunity. Indeed, this approach can synergize with other immunotherapies - including immune checkpoint blockade - to unleash robust antitumour immune responses in preclinical cancer models. Despite initial challenges in clinical translation, these findings have sparked the development of multiple therapeutic strategies that inhibit the TGFβ pathway, many of which are currently in clinical evaluation.
  12. Nat Metab. 2021 Oct;3(10): 1357-1371
      The multifunctional roles of metabolic enzymes allow for the integration of multiple signals to precisely transduce external stimuli into cell fate decisions. Elevation of 3-phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase (PHGDH), the rate-limiting enzyme for de novo serine biosynthesis, is broadly associated with human cancer development; although how PHGDH activity is regulated and its implication in tumorigenesis remains unclear. Here we show that glucose restriction induces the phosphorylation of PHGDH by p38 at Ser371, which promotes the translocation of PHGDH from the cytosol into the nucleus. Concurrently, AMPK phosphorylates PHGDH-Ser55, selectively increasing PHGDH oxidation of malate into oxaloacetate, thus generating NADH. In the nucleus, the altered PHGDH activity restricts NAD+ level and compartmentally repressed NAD+-dependent PARP1 activity for poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation of c-Jun, thereby leading to impaired c-Jun transcriptional activity linked to cell growth inhibition. Physiologically, nuclear PHGDH sustains tumour growth under nutrient stress, and the levels of PHGDH-Ser371 and PHGDH-Ser55 phosphorylation correlate with p38 and AMPK activity, respectively, in clinical human pancreatic cancer specimens. These findings illustrate a previously unidentified nutrient-sensing mechanism with the critical involvement of a non-canonical metabolic effect of PHGDH and underscore the functional importance of alternative PHGDH activity in tumorigenesis.
  13. Autophagy. 2021 Oct 18. 1-16
      Macroautophagy/autophagy is an evolutionarily well-conserved recycling process in response to stress conditions, including a burst of reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. High level of ROS attack key cellular macromolecules. Protein cysteinyl thiols or non-protein thiols as the major redox-sensitive targets thus constitute the first-line defense. Autophagy is unique, because it removes not only oxidized/damaged proteins but also bulky ROS-generating organelles (such as mitochondria and peroxisome) to restrict further ROS production. The oxidative regulations of autophagy occur in all processes of autophagy, from induction, phagophore nucleation, phagophore expansion, autophagosome maturation, cargo delivery to the lysosome, and finally to degradation of the cargo and recycling of the products, as well as autophagy gene transcription. Mechanically, these regulations are achieved through direct or indirect manners. Direct thiol oxidation of key proteins such as ATG4, ATM and TFEB are responsible for specific regulations in phagophore expansion, cargo recognition and autophagy gene transcription, respectively. Meanwhile, oxidation of certain redox-sensitive chaperone-like proteins (e.g. PRDX family members and PARK7) may impair a nonspecifically local reducing environment in the phagophore membrane, and influence BECN1-involved phagophore nucleation and mitophagy recognition. However, ROS do exhibit some inhibitory effects on autophagy through direct oxidation of key autophagy regulators such as ATG3, ATG7 and SENP3 proteins. SQSTM1 provides an alternative antioxidant mechanism when autophagy is unavailable or impaired. However, it is yet to be unraveled how cells evolve to equip proteins with different redox susceptibility and in their correct subcellular positions, and how cells fine-tune autophagy machinery in response to different levels of ROS.Abbreviations: AKT1/PKB: AKT serine/threonine kinase 1; AMPK: AMP-activated protein kinase; ATG: autophagy related; ATM: ATM serine/threonine kinase; BAX: BCL2 associated X, apoptosis regulator; BECN1: beclin 1; BH3: BCL2-homology-3; CAV1: caveolin 1; CCCP: carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenylhydrazone; CTSB: cathepsin B; CTSL: cathepsin L; DAPK: death associated protein kinase; ER: endoplasmic reticulum; ETC: electron transport chain; GSH: glutathione; GSTP1: glutathione S-transferase pi 1; H2O2: hydrogen peroxide; HK2: hexokinase 2; KEAP1: kelch like ECH associated protein 1; MAMs: mitochondria-associated ER membranes; MAP1LC3B/LC3: microtubule associated protein 1 light chain 3 beta; MAPK8/JNK1: mitogen-activated protein kinase 8; MAP3K5/ASK1: mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinase 5; MCOLN1: mucolipin 1; MMP: mitochondrial membrane potential; MTOR: mechanistic target of rapamycin kinase; NFE2L2/NRF2: nuclear factor, erythroid 2 like 2; NFKB1: nuclear factor kappa B subunit 1; NOX: NADPH oxidase; O2-: superoxide radical anion; p-Ub: phosphorylated Ub; PARK7/DJ-1: Parkinsonism associated deglycase; PE: phosphatidylethanolamine; PEX5: peroxisomal biogenesis factor 5; PINK1: PTEN induced kinase 1; PPP3CA/calcineurin: protein phosphatase 3 catalytic subunit beta; PRDX: peroxiredoxin; PRKAA1: protein kinase AMP-activated catalytic subunit alpha 1; PRKD/PKD: protein kinase D; PRKN/parkin: parkin RBR E3 ubiquitin protein ligase; PtdIns3K: class III phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase; PtdIns3P: phosphatidylinositol-3-phosphate; PTEN: phosphatase and tensin homolog; ROS: reactive oxygen species; SENP3: SUMO specific peptidase 3; SIRT1: sirtuin 1; SOD1: superoxide dismutase 1; SQSTM1/p62: sequestosome 1; SUMO: small ubiquitin like modifier; TFEB: transcription factor EB; TRAF6: TNF receptor associated factor 6; TSC2: TSC complex subunit 2; TXN: thioredoxin; TXNRD1: thioredoxin reductase 1; TXNIP: thioredoxin interacting protein; Ub: ubiquitin; ULK1: unc-51 like autophagy activating kinase 1.
    Keywords:  ATGs; ROS; autophagy; oxidative regulation; protein thiols
  14. J Cell Sci. 2021 Oct 21. pii: jcs.259091. [Epub ahead of print]
      Hepatic lipid homeostasis depends on intracellular pathways that respire fatty acid (FA) in peroxisomes and mitochondria and on systemic pathways that secrete FA into the bloodstream, either free or condensed in very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) triglycerides. These systemic and intracellular pathways are interdependent, but it is unclear whether and how they integrate into a single cellular circuit. Here, we report that mouse liver wrappER, a distinct ER compartment with apparent FA- and VLDL-secretion functions, connects peroxisomes and mitochondria. Correlative light electron microscopy, quantitative serial section electron tomography, and 3D organelle reconstruction analysis show that the number of peroxisome-wrappER-mitochondria complexes changes throughout fasting-to-feeding transitions and doubles when VLDL synthesis stops following acute genetic ablation of Mttp in the liver. Quantitative proteomic analysis of peroxisome-wrappER-mitochondria complex-enriched fractions indicates that the loss of Mttp upregulates global FA β-oxidation, thereby integrating the dynamics of this three-organelle association into hepatic FA flux responses. Therefore, liver lipid homeostasis occurs through the convergence of systemic and intracellular FA-elimination pathways in the peroxisome-wrappER-mitochondria complex.
    Keywords:  Fatty acid; Inter-organelle contacts; Liver lipid homeostasis; Mitochondria; Peroxisome; WrappER
  15. Cancer Metastasis Rev. 2021 Oct 19.
      Current cancer therapies aim at eradicating cancer cells from the body. However, killing cells generates cell "debris" which can promote tumor progression. Thus, therapy can be a double-edged sword. Specifically, injury and debris generated by cancer therapies, including chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery, may offset their benefit by promoting the secretion of pro-tumorigenic factors (e.g., eicosanoid-driven cytokines) that stimulate regrowth and metastasis of surviving cells. The debris produced by cytotoxic cancer therapy can also contribute to a tumor microenvironment that promotes tumor progression and recurrence. Although not well understood, several molecular mechanisms have been implicated in debris-stimulated tumor growth that we review here, such as the involvement of extracellular vesicles, exosomal miR-194-5p, Bax, Bak, Smac, HMGB1, cytokines, and caspase-3. We discuss the cases of pancreatic and other cancer types where debris promotes postoperative tumor recurrence and metastasis, thus offering a new opportunity to prevent cancer progression intrinsically linked to treatment by stimulating resolution of tumor-promoting debris.
    Keywords:  Bak; Bax; Caspase-3; Chemotherapy; Debris; Exosomal miR-194-5p; Extracellular vesicles; HMGB1; Inflammation; Metastasis; Platelet activating factor; Radiation; Recurrence; Resolution of inflammation; Smac; Specialized pro-resolving mediators; Surgery; Tumor progression
  16. Cell. 2021 Oct 18. pii: S0092-8674(21)01175-2. [Epub ahead of print]
      Glucose consumption is generally increased in tumor cells to support tumor growth. Interestingly, we report that glycogen accumulation is a key initiating oncogenic event during liver malignant transformation. We found that glucose-6-phosphatase (G6PC) catalyzing the last step of glycogenolysis is frequently downregulated to augment glucose storage in pre-malignant cells. Accumulated glycogen undergoes liquid-liquid phase separation, which results in the assembly of the Laforin-Mst1/2 complex and consequently sequesters Hippo kinases Mst1/2 in glycogen liquid droplets to relieve their inhibition on Yap. Moreover, G6PC or another glycogenolysis enzyme-liver glycogen phosphorylase (PYGL) deficiency in both human and mice results in glycogen storage disease along with liver enlargement and tumorigenesis in a Yap-dependent manner. Consistently, elimination of glycogen accumulation abrogates liver growth and cancer incidence, whereas increasing glycogen storage accelerates tumorigenesis. Thus, we concluded that cancer-initiating cells adapt a glycogen storing mode, which blocks Hippo signaling through glycogen phase separation to augment tumor incidence.
    Keywords:  Hippo signaling; Mst1; Mst2; cancer initiation; glycogen storage; liver cancer; phase separation
  17. Nat Metab. 2021 Oct;3(10): 1327-1341
      Calorie restriction (CR) promotes healthy ageing in diverse species. Recently, it has been shown that fasting for a portion of each day has metabolic benefits and promotes lifespan. These findings complicate the interpretation of rodent CR studies, in which animals typically eat only once per day and rapidly consume their food, which collaterally imposes fasting. Here we show that a prolonged fast is necessary for key metabolic, molecular and geroprotective effects of a CR diet. Using a series of feeding regimens, we dissect the effects of calories and fasting, and proceed to demonstrate that fasting alone recapitulates many of the physiological and molecular effects of CR. Our results shed new light on how both when and how much we eat regulate metabolic health and longevity, and demonstrate that daily prolonged fasting, and not solely reduced caloric intake, is likely responsible for the metabolic and geroprotective benefits of a CR diet.
  18. Biochem Soc Trans. 2021 Oct 19. pii: BST20210272. [Epub ahead of print]
      The pathway of mitochondrial-specific autophagy (mitophagy, defined here as the specific elimination of mitochondria following distinct mitochondrial injuries or developmental/metabolic alterations) is important in health and disease. This review will be focussed on the earliest steps of the pathway concerning the mechanisms and requirements for initiating autophagosome formation on a mitochondrial target. More specifically, and in view of the fact that we understand the basic mechanism of non-selective autophagy and are beginning to reshape this knowledge towards the pathways of selective autophagy, two aspects of mitophagy will be covered: (i) How does a machinery normally working in association with the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to make an autophagosome can also do so at a site distinct from the ER such as on the surface of the targeted cargo? and (ii) how does the machinery deal with cargo of multiple sizes?
    Keywords:  autophagy; endoplasmic reticulum; imaging techniques; mitochondria
  19. Biol Open. 2021 Oct 22. pii: bio.058688. [Epub ahead of print]
      The origin and evolution of cancer cells is considered to be mainly fueled by DNA mutations. Although translation errors could also expand the cellular proteome, their role in cancer biology remains poorly understood. Tumor suppressors called caretakers block cancer initiation and progression by preventing DNA mutations and/or stimulating DNA repair. If translational errors contribute to tumorigenesis, then caretakers genes should prevent such errors in normal cells in response to oncogenic stimuli. Here, we show that the process of cellular senescence induced by oncogenes, tumor suppressors or chemotherapeutic drugs is associated to a reduction in translational readthrough (TR) measured using reporters containing termination codons withing the context of both normal translation termination or programmed TR. Senescence reduced both basal TR and TR stimulated by aminoglycosides. Mechanistically, the reduction of TR during senescence is controlled by the RB tumor suppressor pathway. Cells that escape from cellular senescence either induced by oncogenes or chemotherapy have an increased TR. Also, breast cancer cells that escape from therapy-induced senescence express high levels of AGO1x, a TR isoform of AGO1 linked to breast cancer progression. We propose that senescence and the RB pathway reduce TR limiting proteome diversity and the expression of TR proteins required for cancer cell proliferation.
    Keywords:  Retinoblastoma (RB) tumor suppressor; Senescence; Translation termination; Translational readthrough
  20. Cell Rep. 2021 Oct 19. pii: S2211-1247(21)01319-X. [Epub ahead of print]37(3): 109852
      Effective treatments for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) are lacking, and targeted agents have demonstrated limited efficacy. It has been speculated that a rare population of cancer stem cells (CSCs) drives growth, therapy resistance, and rapid metastatic progression in PDAC. These CSCs demonstrate high clonogenicity in vitro and tumorigenic potential in vivo. However, their relevance in established PDAC tissue has not been determined. Here, we use marker-independent stochastic clonal labeling, combined with quantitative modeling of tumor expansion, to uncover PDAC tissue growth dynamics. We find that in contrast to the CSC model, all PDAC cells display clonogenic potential in situ. Furthermore, the proximity to activated cancer-associated fibroblasts determines tumor cell clonogenicity. This means that the microenvironment is dominant in defining the clonogenic activity of PDAC cells. Indeed, manipulating the stroma by Hedgehog pathway inhibition alters the tumor growth mode, revealing that tumor-stroma crosstalk shapes tumor growth dynamics and clonal architecture.
    Keywords:  PDAC; cancer stem cells; lineage tracing; pancreatic cancer; stem cell dynamics; stroma
  21. Front Immunol. 2021 ;12 727610
      Early detection of Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma (PDAC), one of the most aggressive malignancies of the pancreas, is crucial to avoid metastatic spread to other body regions. Detection of pancreatic cancer is typically carried out by assessing the distribution and arrangement of tumor and immune cells in histology images. This is further complicated due to morphological similarities with chronic pancreatitis (CP), and the co-occurrence of precursor lesions in the same tissue. Most of the current automated methods for grading pancreatic cancers rely on extensive feature engineering involving accurate identification of cell features or utilising single number spatially informed indices for grading purposes. Moreover, sophisticated methods involving black-box approaches, such as neural networks, do not offer insights into the model's ability to accurately identify the correct disease grade. In this paper, we develop a novel cell-graph based Cell-Graph Attention (CGAT) network for the precise classification of pancreatic cancer and its precursors from multiplexed immunofluorescence histology images into the six different types of pancreatic diseases. The issue of class imbalance is addressed through bootstrapping multiple CGAT-nets, while the self-attention mechanism facilitates visualization of cell-cell features that are likely responsible for the predictive capabilities of the model. It is also shown that the model significantly outperforms the decision tree classifiers built using spatially informed metric, such as the Morisita-Horn (MH) indices.
    Keywords:  PDAC (pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma); attention network; cell-graph; chronic pancreatitis; graph convolutional network (GCN); pancreas; spatial method
  22. Nature. 2021 Oct 20.
      Tumours use various strategies to evade immune surveillance1,2. Immunotherapies targeting tumour immune evasion such as immune checkpoint blockade have shown considerable efficacy on multiple cancers3,4 but are ineffective for most patients due to primary or acquired resistance5-7. Recent studies showed that some epigenetic regulators suppress anti-tumour immunity2,8-12, suggesting that epigenetic therapies could boost anti-tumour immune responses and overcome resistance to current immunotherapies. Here we show that, in mouse melanoma models, depletion of KDM5B-an H3K4 demethylase that is critical for melanoma maintenance and drug resistance13-15-induces robust adaptive immune responses and enhances responses to immune checkpoint blockade. Mechanistically, KDM5B recruits the H3K9 methyltransferase SETDB1 to repress endogenous retroelements such as MMVL30 in a demethylase-independent manner. Derepression of these retroelements activates cytosolic RNA-sensing and DNA-sensing pathways and the subsequent type-I interferon response, leading to tumour rejection and induction of immune memory. Our results demonstrate that KDM5B suppresses anti-tumour immunity by epigenetic silencing of retroelements. We therefore reveal roles of KDM5B in heterochromatin regulation and immune evasion in melanoma, opening new paths for the development of KDM5B-targeting and SETDB1-targeting therapies to enhance tumour immunogenicity and overcome immunotherapy resistance.
  23. Nat Metab. 2021 Oct;3(10): 1290-1301
      Cellular senescence entails a permanent proliferative arrest, coupled to multiple phenotypic changes. Among these changes is the release of numerous biologically active molecules collectively known as the senescence-associated secretory phenotype, or SASP. A growing body of literature indicates that both senescence and the SASP are sensitive to cellular and organismal metabolic states, which in turn can drive phenotypes associated with metabolic dysfunction. Here, we review the current literature linking senescence and metabolism, with an eye toward findings at the cellular level, including both metabolic inducers of senescence and alterations in cellular metabolism associated with senescence. Additionally, we consider how interventions that target either metabolism or senescent cells might influence each other and mitigate some of the pro-aging effects of cellular senescence. We conclude that the most effective interventions will likely break a degenerative feedback cycle by which cellular senescence promotes metabolic diseases, which in turn promote senescence.
  24. EMBO J. 2021 Oct 18. e108428
      Mitochondrial cristae are extraordinarily crowded with proteins, which puts stress on the bilayer organization of lipids. We tested the hypothesis that the high concentration of proteins drives the tafazzin-catalyzed remodeling of fatty acids in cardiolipin, thereby reducing bilayer stress in the membrane. Specifically, we tested whether protein crowding induces cardiolipin remodeling and whether the lack of cardiolipin remodeling prevents the membrane from accumulating proteins. In vitro, the incorporation of large amounts of proteins into liposomes altered the outcome of the remodeling reaction. In yeast, the concentration of proteins involved in oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) correlated with the cardiolipin composition. Genetic ablation of either remodeling or biosynthesis of cardiolipin caused a substantial drop in the surface density of OXPHOS proteins in the inner membrane of the mouse heart and Drosophila flight muscle mitochondria. Our data suggest that OXPHOS protein crowding induces cardiolipin remodelling and that remodeled cardiolipin supports the high concentration of these proteins in the inner mitochondrial membrane.
    Keywords:  Barth syndrome; lipid-protein interaction; macromolecular crowding; mitochondria; oxidative phosphorylation
  25. Oncogene. 2021 Oct 21.
      Aberrant protein glycosylation has been shown to have a significant contribution in aggressive cancer, including pancreatic cancer (PC). Emerging evidence has implicated the involvement of cancer stem cells (CSCs) in PC aggressiveness; however, the contribution of glycosylation on self-renewal properties and maintenance of CSC is understudied. Here, using several in vitro and in vivo models lacking C1GALT1 expression, we identified the role of aberrant O-glycosylation in stemness properties and aggressive PC metastasis. A loss in C1GALT1 was found to result in the truncation of O-glycosylation on several glycoproteins with an enrichment of Tn carbohydrate antigen. Mapping of Tn-bearing glycoproteins in C1GALT1 KO cells identified significant Tn enrichment on CSC glycoprotein CD44. Notably, a loss of C1GALT1 in PC cells was found to enhance CSC features (side population-SP, ALDH1+, and tumorspheres) and self-renewal markers NANOG, SOX9, and KLF4. Furthermore, a loss of CD44 in existing C1GALT1 KO cells decreased NANOG expression and CSC features. We determined that O-glycosylation of CD44 activates ERK/NF-kB signaling, which results in increased NANOG expression in PC cells that facilitated the alteration of CSC features, suggesting that NANOG is essential for PC stemness. Finally, we identified that loss of C1GALT1 expression was found to augment tumorigenic and metastatic potential, while an additional loss of CD44 in these cells reversed the effects. Overall, our results identified that truncation of O-glycans on CD44 increases NANOG activation that mediates increased CSC activation.
  26. Eur Radiol. 2021 Nov;31(11): 8662-8670
      OBJECTIVES: Skeletal muscle mass is a prognostic factor in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). However, it remains unclear whether changes in body composition provide an incremental prognostic value to established risk factors, especially the Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors version 1.1 (RECISTv1.1). The aim of this study was to determine the prognostic value of CT-quantified body composition changes in patients with unresectable PDAC starting chemotherapy.METHODS: We retrospectively evaluated 105 patients with unresectable (locally advanced or metastatic) PDAC treated with FOLFIRINOX (n = 64) or gemcitabine-based (n = 41) first-line chemotherapy within a multicenter prospective trial. Changes (Δ) in skeletal muscle index (SMI), subcutaneous (SATI), and visceral adipose tissue index (VATI) between pre-chemotherapy and first follow-up CT were assessed. Cox regression models and covariate-adjusted survival curves were used to identify predictors of overall survival (OS).
    RESULTS: At multivariable analysis, adjusting for RECISTv1.1-response at first follow-up, ΔSMI was prognostic for OS with a hazard ratio (HR) of 1.2 (95% CI: 1.08-1.33, p = 0.001). No significant association with OS was observed for ΔSATI (HR: 1, 95% CI: 0.97-1.04, p = 0.88) and ΔVATI (HR: 1.01, 95% CI: 0.99-1.04, p = 0.33). At an optimal cutoff of 2.8 cm2/m2 per 30 days, the median survival of patients with high versus low ΔSMI was 143 versus 233 days (p < 0.001).
    CONCLUSIONS: Patients with a lower rate of skeletal muscle loss at first follow-up demonstrated improved survival for unresectable PDAC, regardless of their RECISTv1.1-category. Assessing ΔSMI at the first follow-up CT may be useful for prognostication, in addition to routine radiological assessment.
    KEY POINTS: • In patients with unresectable pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, change of skeletal muscle index (ΔSMI) in the early phase of chemotherapy is prognostic for overall survival, even after adjusting for Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors version 1.1 (RECISTv1.1) assessment at first follow-up. • Changes in adipose tissue compartments at first follow-up demonstrated no significant association with overall survival. • Integrating ΔSMI into routine radiological assessment may improve prognostic stratification and impact treatment decision-making at the first follow-up.
    Keywords:  Body composition; Pancreatic carcinoma; Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors; Sarcopenia; Tomography, X-ray computed
  27. Cell. 2021 Oct 11. pii: S0092-8674(21)01116-8. [Epub ahead of print]
      The human mitochondrial genome encodes thirteen core subunits of the oxidative phosphorylation system, and defects in mitochondrial gene expression lead to severe neuromuscular disorders. However, the mechanisms of mitochondrial gene expression remain poorly understood due to a lack of experimental approaches to analyze these processes. Here, we present an in vitro system to silence translation in purified mitochondria. In vitro import of chemically synthesized precursor-morpholino hybrids allows us to target translation of individual mitochondrial mRNAs. By applying this approach, we conclude that the bicistronic, overlapping ATP8/ATP6 transcript is translated through a single ribosome/mRNA engagement. We show that recruitment of COX1 assembly factors to translating ribosomes depends on nascent chain formation. By defining mRNA-specific interactomes for COX1 and COX2, we reveal an unexpected function of the cytosolic oncofetal IGF2BP1, an RNA-binding protein, in mitochondrial translation. Our data provide insight into mitochondrial translation and innovative strategies to investigate mitochondrial gene expression.
    Keywords:  IGF2BP1; antisense; mitochondria; mitochondrial ribosome; morpholino; oxidative phosphorylation; translation
  28. Nat Immunol. 2021 Oct 22.
      Intestinal epithelial cell (IEC) damage by T cells contributes to graft-versus-host disease, inflammatory bowel disease and immune checkpoint blockade-mediated colitis. But little is known about the target cell-intrinsic features that affect disease severity. Here we identified disruption of oxidative phosphorylation and an increase in succinate levels in the IECs from several distinct in vivo models of T cell-mediated colitis. Metabolic flux studies, complemented by imaging and protein analyses, identified disruption of IEC-intrinsic succinate dehydrogenase A (SDHA), a component of mitochondrial complex II, in causing these metabolic alterations. The relevance of IEC-intrinsic SDHA in mediating disease severity was confirmed by complementary chemical and genetic experimental approaches and validated in human clinical samples. These data identify a critical role for the alteration of the IEC-specific mitochondrial complex II component SDHA in the regulation of the severity of T cell-mediated intestinal diseases.
  29. Protein Cell. 2021 Oct 23.
      Zn2+ is required for the activity of many mitochondrial proteins, which regulate mitochondrial dynamics, apoptosis and mitophagy. However, it is not understood how the proper mitochondrial Zn2+ level is achieved to maintain mitochondrial homeostasis. Using Caenorhabditis elegans, we reveal here that a pair of mitochondrion-localized transporters controls the mitochondrial level of Zn2+. We demonstrate that SLC-30A9/ZnT9 is a mitochondrial Zn2+ exporter. Loss of SLC-30A9 leads to mitochondrial Zn2+ accumulation, which damages mitochondria, impairs animal development and shortens the life span. We further identify SLC-25A25/SCaMC-2 as an important regulator of mitochondrial Zn2+ import. Loss of SLC-25A25 suppresses the abnormal mitochondrial Zn2+ accumulation and defective mitochondrial structure and functions caused by loss of SLC-30A9. Moreover, we reveal that the endoplasmic reticulum contains the Zn2+ pool from which mitochondrial Zn2+ is imported. These findings establish the molecular basis for controlling the correct mitochondrial Zn2+ levels for normal mitochondrial structure and functions.
    Keywords:  C. elegans; ER-mitochondrial contact; Zn2+ transporter; development; mitochondria
  30. J Cell Sci. 2021 Oct 15. pii: jcs258469. [Epub ahead of print]134(20):
      Hypoxia inhibits the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle and leaves glycolysis as the primary metabolic pathway responsible for converting glucose into usable energy. However, the mechanisms that compensate for this loss in energy production due to TCA cycle inactivation remain poorly understood. Glycolysis enzymes are typically diffuse and soluble in the cytoplasm under normoxic conditions. In contrast, recent studies have revealed dynamic compartmentalization of glycolysis enzymes in response to hypoxic stress in yeast, C. elegans and mammalian cells. These messenger ribonucleoprotein (mRNP) structures, termed glycolytic (G) bodies in yeast, lack membrane enclosure and display properties of phase-separated biomolecular condensates. Disruption of condensate formation correlates with defects such as impaired synaptic function in C. elegans neurons and decreased glucose flux in yeast. Concentrating glycolysis enzymes into condensates may lead to their functioning as 'metabolons' that enhance rates of glucose utilization for increased energy production. Besides condensates, glycolysis enzymes functionally associate in other organisms and specific tissues through protein-protein interactions and membrane association. However, as discussed in this Review, the functional consequences of coalescing glycolytic machinery are only just beginning to be revealed. Through ongoing studies, we anticipate the physiological importance of metabolic regulation mediated by the compartmentalization of glycolysis enzymes will continue to emerge.
    Keywords:  Condensate; G body; Glycolysis; Hypoxia
  31. Nat Chem Biol. 2021 Oct 21.
      The pace of progress in biomedical research directly depends on techniques that enable the quantitative interrogation of interactions between proteins and other biopolymers, or with their small-molecule ligands. Time-resolved Förster resonance energy transfer (TR-FRET) assay platforms offer high sensitivity and specificity. However, the paucity of accessible and biocompatible luminescent lanthanide complexes, which are essential reagents for TR-FRET-based approaches, and their poor cellular permeability have limited broader adaptation of TR-FRET beyond homogeneous and extracellular assay applications. Here, we report the development of CoraFluors, a new class of macrotricyclic terbium complexes, which are synthetically readily accessible, stable in biological media and exhibit photophysical and physicochemical properties that are desirable for biological studies. We validate the performance of CoraFluors in cell-free systems, identify cell-permeable analogs and demonstrate their utility in the quantitative domain-selective characterization of Keap1 ligands, as well as in isoform-selective target engagement profiling of HDAC1 inhibitors in live cells.
  32. Nat Med. 2021 Oct 18.
      Genes involved in distinct diabetes types suggest shared disease mechanisms. Here we show that One Cut Homeobox 1 (ONECUT1) mutations cause monogenic recessive syndromic diabetes in two unrelated patients, characterized by intrauterine growth retardation, pancreas hypoplasia and gallbladder agenesis/hypoplasia, and early-onset diabetes in heterozygous relatives. Heterozygous carriers of rare coding variants of ONECUT1 define a distinctive subgroup of diabetic patients with early-onset, nonautoimmune diabetes, who respond well to diabetes treatment. In addition, common regulatory ONECUT1 variants are associated with multifactorial type 2 diabetes. Directed differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells revealed that loss of ONECUT1 impairs pancreatic progenitor formation and a subsequent endocrine program. Loss of ONECUT1 altered transcription factor binding and enhancer activity and NKX2.2/NKX6.1 expression in pancreatic progenitor cells. Collectively, we demonstrate that ONECUT1 controls a transcriptional and epigenetic machinery regulating endocrine development, involved in a spectrum of diabetes, encompassing monogenic (recessive and dominant) as well as multifactorial inheritance. Our findings highlight the broad contribution of ONECUT1 in diabetes pathogenesis, marking an important step toward precision diabetes medicine.
  33. Pancreatology. 2021 Oct 04. pii: S1424-3903(21)00579-2. [Epub ahead of print]
      BACKGROUND: Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is one of the most aggressive cancers with poor survival. The dense desmoplastic stroma in PDAC contributes to treatment resistance. Among the components comprising the tumor stroma, hyaluronan (HA) has been demonstrated to play a critical role in tumor progression and survival. Previous preliminary studies have suggested differences in HA expression in primary and metastatic foci of PDAC. However, the effects of treatment and location of HA expression as a biomarker signature remain unknown; this study sought to compare HA expression in primary and metastatic sites of PDAC.METHODS: Tissue from primary and metastatic PDACs were obtained from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center along with associated clinical data. Tissue slides were stained for H&E, HA, and CD44. Associations between HA levels and the evaluated variables were examined including progression free survival and overall survival.
    RESULTS: HA score was significantly higher in primary PDACs compared to sites of metastases (p = 0.0148). Within the metastases, HA score was significantly higher in liver metastases compared to metastases at other sites (p = 0.0478). In the treatment-naive liver metastasis cohort, patients with HA high status had decreased progression free survival and overall survival compared to patients with HA low status (p = 0.0032 and p = 0.0478, respectively).
    CONCLUSIONS: HA score is variable between primary PDAC, PDAC metastatic to the liver, and PDAC metastatic to other sites. Within liver metastases, patients with HA high status had decreased progression free survival and overall survival compared to patients with HA low status. HA levels can serve as a potential biomarker to guide pancreatic cancer treatments and trial design for agents targeting the stroma.
    Keywords:  Biomarker; Hyaluronan; Hyaluronic acid; Pancreatic cancer; Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma; Stromal prognostic