bims-cagime Biomed News
on Cancer, aging and metabolism
Issue of 2022‒01‒02
twenty-two papers selected by
Kıvanç Görgülü
Technical University of Munich

  1. Cancer Metastasis Rev. 2021 Dec 28.
      Branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) are essential amino acids utilized in anabolic and catabolic metabolism. While extensively studied in obesity and diabetes, recent evidence suggests an important role for BCAA metabolism in cancer. Elevated plasma levels of BCAA are associated with an increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer, namely pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), a tumor with one of the highest 1-year mortality rates. The dreadful prognosis for PDAC patients could be attributable also to the early and frequent development of cancer cachexia, a fatal host metabolic reprogramming leading to muscle and adipose wasting. We propose that BCAA dysmetabolism is a unifying component of several pathological conditions, i.e., obesity, insulin resistance, and PDAC. These conditions are mutually dependent since PDAC ranks among cancers tightly associated with obesity and insulin resistance. It is also well-established that PDAC itself can trigger insulin resistance and new-onset diabetes. However, the exact link between BCAA metabolism, development of PDAC, and tissue wasting is still unclear. Although tissue-specific intracellular and systemic metabolism of BCAA is being intensively studied, unresolved questions related to PDAC and cancer cachexia remain, namely, whether elevated circulating BCAA contribute to PDAC etiology, what is the biological background of BCAA elevation, and what is the role of adipose tissue relative to BCAA metabolism during cancer cachexia. To cover those issues, we provide our view on BCAA metabolism at the intracellular, tissue, and whole-body level, with special emphasis on different metabolic links to BCAA intermediates and the role of insulin in substrate handling.
    Keywords:  Adipose tissue; BCAA metabolism; Cancer cachexia; Insulin resistance; PDAC
  2. Methods Mol Biol. 2022 ;2445 27-38
      Accurate isolation of functional and intact lysosomes enables the quantification and analyses of abundances, dynamic changes and enrichment levels of lysosomal content, allowing specific lysosomal investigations induced by autophagy. In this protocol chapter, we describe detailed practical instructions and advices for an efficacious lysosomal enrichment and isolation procedure by differential multilayered density gradient centrifugations using human cancer cell lines. By this method, intact and autophagy competent lysosomes can be isolated from cancer cells based on their distinct density and obtained fractions can further be analyzed for functional lysosomal assays, as well as for protein or metabolic loads to identify select spatiotemporal changes by comparative quantitative measurement. This method has been used to enrich lysosomes from a variety of cancer cells with activated chaperone-mediated autophagy, but can be optimized for other cell lines and tissues for multiple autophagy-induced conditions.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Cancer; Chaperone-mediated autophagy; LAMP-2A; Lysosomes
  3. Mod Pathol. 2021 Dec 30.
      Pancreatic neoplasms are heterogenous and have traditionally been classified by assessing their lines of cellular differentiation using histopathologic methods, particularly morphologic and immunohistochemical evaluation. These methods frequently identify overlapping differentiation along ductal, acinar, and neuroendocrine lines, raising diagnostic challenges as well as questions regarding the relationship of these neoplasms. Neoplasms with acinar differentiation, in particular, frequently show more than one line of differentiation based on immunolabeling. Genome methylation signatures, in contrast, are better conserved within cellular lineages, and are increasingly used to support the classification of neoplasms. We characterized the epigenetic relationships between pancreatoblastomas, acinar cell carcinomas (including mixed variants), pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, solid pseudopapillary neoplasms, and pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas using a genome-wide array platform. Using unsupervised learning approaches, pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, solid pseudopapillary neoplasms, ductal adenocarcinomas, and normal pancreatic tissue samples all localized to distinct clusters based on their methylation profiles, whereas all neoplasms with acinar differentiation occupied a broad overlapping region located between the predominantly acinar normal pancreatic tissue and ductal adenocarcinoma clusters. Our data provide evidence to suggest that acinar cell carcinomas and pancreatoblastomas are similar at the epigenetic level. These findings are consistent with genomic and clinical observations that mixed acinar neoplasms are closely related to pure acinar cell carcinomas rather than to neuroendocrine tumors or ductal adenocarcinomas.
  4. Methods Mol Biol. 2022 ;2445 99-115
      Autophagy and autophagy-associated genes are implicated in a growing list of cellular, physiological, and pathophysiological processes and conditions. Therefore, it is ever more important to be able to reliably monitor and quantify autophagic activity. Whereas autophagic markers, such as LC3 can provide general indications about autophagy, specific and accurate detection of autophagic activity requires assessment of autophagic cargo flux. Here, we provide protocols on how to monitor bulk and selective autophagy by the use of inducible expression of exogenous probes based on the fluorescent coral protein Keima. To exemplify and demonstrate the power of this system, we provide data obtained by analyses of cytosolic and mitochondrially targeted Keima probes in human retinal epithelial cells treated with the mTOR-inhibitor Torin1 or with the iron chelator deferiprone (DFP). Our data indicate that Torin1 induces autophagic flux of cytosol and mitochondria to a similar degree, that is, compatible with induction of bulk autophagy, whereas DFP induces a highly selective form of mitophagy that efficiently excludes cytosol.
    Keywords:  Autophagic cargo flux; Autophagy; Bulk autophagy; Deferiprone; LDHB-mKeima; Mito-mKeima; Mitophagy; Selective autophagy; Torin1; mKeima
  5. Methods Mol Biol. 2022 ;2445 329-335
      Cancer cells possess an elevated demand for nutrients and metabolites due to their uncontrolled proliferation and need to survive in unfavorable conditions. Autophagy is a conservative degradation pathway that counters lack of nutrients and provides organelle and protein quality control, beyond maintenance of cellular metabolism.Mass spectrometry-based metabolomics is a powerful tool to study the metabolome of a cell. Such analysis requires proper sample preparation including the extraction of metabolites. Here, we provide a protocol for the extraction of metabolites from adherent cancer cells suitable for global metabolome profiling by mass spectrometry.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; CE-MS; Cancer metabolism; Chaperone-mediated autophagy; GC-MS; LC-MS; Mass spectrometry; Metabolism; Methanol extraction
  6. Methods Mol Biol. 2022 ;2445 243-253
      Autophagy of the endoplasmic reticulum, or ER-phagy, maintains the homeostasis of the secretory pathway. This is particularly prominent in specialized secretory cells such as the acinar cells of the exocrine pancreas. The role for such a homeostatic pathway during ageing of mammals is modelled best by in vivo genetic or pharmacologic intervention in mice. This is due to the paucity of cellular models that can maintain acinar identity outside of an animal. Here we present methods for isolation of soluble and insoluble protein fractions of ER luminal proteins from the pancreas, alongside RNA. Analysis of these macromolecules allows inference of changes in ER luminal proteostasis upon autophagy-targeted interventions. These methods will likely be more widely applicable, beyond autophagy research.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; ER stress; ER-phagy; Endoplasmic reticulum; Pancreas; UPR
  7. Elife. 2021 Dec 31. pii: e68213. [Epub ahead of print]10
      Human mitochondria express a genome that encodes thirteen core subunits of the oxidative phosphorylation system (OXPHOS). These proteins insert into the inner membrane co-translationally. Therefore, mitochondrial ribosomes engage with the OXA1L-insertase and membrane-associated proteins, which support membrane insertion of translation products and early assembly steps into OXPHOS complexes. To identify ribosome-associated biogenesis factors for the OXPHOS system, we purified ribosomes and associated proteins from mitochondria. We identified TMEM223 as a ribosome-associated protein involved in complex IV biogenesis. TMEM223 stimulates the translation of COX1 mRNA and is a constituent of early COX1 assembly intermediates. Moreover, we show that SMIM4 together with C12ORF73 interacts with newly synthesized cytochrome b to support initial steps of complex III biogenesis in complex with UQCC1 and UQCC2. Our analyses define the interactome of the human mitochondrial ribosome and reveal novel assembly factors for complex III and IV biogenesis that link early assembly stages to the translation machinery.
    Keywords:  assembly; biochemistry; cell biology; chemical biology; mitochondria; oxidative phosphorylation; ribosome; translation
  8. Cell. 2021 Dec 22. pii: S0092-8674(21)01426-4. [Epub ahead of print]
    Immunoprofiler Consortium
      Cancers display significant heterogeneity with respect to tissue of origin, driver mutations, and other features of the surrounding tissue. It is likely that individual tumors engage common patterns of the immune system-here "archetypes"-creating prototypical non-destructive tumor immune microenvironments (TMEs) and modulating tumor-targeting. To discover the dominant immune system archetypes, the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Immunoprofiler Initiative (IPI) processed 364 individual tumors across 12 cancer types using standardized protocols. Computational clustering of flow cytometry and transcriptomic data obtained from cell sub-compartments uncovered dominant patterns of immune composition across cancers. These archetypes were profound insofar as they also differentiated tumors based upon unique immune and tumor gene-expression patterns. They also partitioned well-established classifications of tumor biology. The IPI resource provides a template for understanding cancer immunity as a collection of dominant patterns of immune organization and provides a rational path forward to learn how to modulate these to improve therapy.
    Keywords:  Pan Cancer analysis; immune profiling; solid tumor microenvironement; system immunology; tumor immunology; unsupervised clustering
  9. Methods Mol Biol. 2022 ;2445 65-74
      Autophagy is deregulated in cancer cells and often activated as a cellular stress response to anticancer therapies. Flow cytometry-based assays enable detection and quantification of various cellular markers in live or fixed cells. Here, a flow cytometry-based assay to characterize autophagy across the cell cycle is described. This method is based on selective plasma membrane permeabilization with digitonin and extraction of membrane-unbound LC3 protein followed by staining of the autophagosome-bound LC3 protein with antibody and labeling of DNA with propidium iodide. Staining with the LC3 antibody described here can be also combined with the staining of other cellular markers, allowing to quantitatively assess autophagy in relation to different cellular processes by flow cytometry.
    Keywords:  Autophagic flux; Autophagosome formation; Autophagy; Cell cycle; Cell permeabilization; DNA staining; Flow cytometry; LC3; Quantification
  10. Mol Cell. 2021 Dec 16. pii: S1097-2765(21)01037-6. [Epub ahead of print]
      Genetically encoded biosensors are powerful tools to monitor cellular behavior, but the difficulty in generating appropriate reporters for chromatin factors hampers our ability to dissect epigenetic pathways. Here, we present TRACE (transgene reporters across chromatin environments), a high-throughput, genome-wide technique to generate fluorescent human reporter cell lines responsive to manipulation of epigenetic factors. By profiling GFP expression from a large pool of individually barcoded lentiviral integrants in the presence and absence of a perturbation, we identify reporters responsive to pharmacological inhibition of the histone lysine demethylase LSD1 and genetic ablation of the PRC2 subunit SUZ12. Furthermore, by manipulating the HIV-1 host factor LEDGF through targeted deletion or fusion to chromatin reader domains, we alter lentiviral integration site preferences, thus broadening the types of chromatin examined by TRACE. The phenotypic reporters generated through TRACE will allow the genetic interrogation of a broad range of epigenetic pathways, furthering our mechanistic understanding of chromatin biology.
    Keywords:  LEDGF; PRC2; Polycomb; SUZ12; TRACE; TRIP; chromatin; epigenetics; fluorescent reporter; lentiviral integration
  11. Autophagy. 2021 Dec 29. 1-20
      By promoting anabolism, MTORC1 is critical for muscle growth and maintenance. However, genetic MTORC1 upregulation promotes muscle aging and produces age-associated myopathy. Whether MTORC1 activation is sufficient to produce myopathy or indirectly promotes it by accelerating tissue aging is elusive. Here we examined the effects of muscular MTORC1 hyperactivation, produced by simultaneous depletion of TSC1 and DEPDC5 (CKM-TD). CKM-TD mice produced myopathy, associated with loss of skeletal muscle mass and force, as well as cardiac failure and bradypnea. These pathologies were manifested at eight weeks of age, leading to a highly penetrant fatality at around twelve weeks of age. Transcriptome analysis indicated that genes mediating proteasomal and macroautophagic/autophagic pathways were highly upregulated in CKM-TD skeletal muscle, in addition to inflammation, oxidative stress, and DNA damage signaling pathways. In CKM-TD muscle, autophagosome levels were increased, and the AMPK and ULK1 pathways were activated; in addition, autophagy induction was not completely blocked in CKM-TD myotubes. Despite the upregulation of autolysosomal markers, CKM-TD myofibers exhibited accumulation of autophagy substrates, such as SQSTM1/p62 and ubiquitinated proteins, suggesting that the autophagic activities were insufficient. Administration of a superoxide scavenger, tempol, normalized most of these molecular pathologies and subsequently restored muscle histology and force generation. However, CKM-TD autophagy alterations were not normalized by rapamycin or tempol, suggesting that they may involve non-canonical targets other than MTORC1. These results collectively indicate that the concomitant muscle deficiency of TSC1 and DEPDC5 can produce early-onset myopathy through accumulation of oxidative stress, which dysregulates myocellular homeostasis.Abbreviations: AMPK: AMP-activated protein kinase; CKM: creatine kinase, M-type; COX: cytochrome oxidase; DEPDC5: DEP domain containing 5, GATOR1 subcomplex subunit; DHE: dihydroethidium; EDL: extensor digitorum longus; EIF4EBP1: eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E binding protein 1; GAP: GTPase-activating protein; GTN: gastrocnemius; MTORC1: mechanistic target of rapamycin kinase complex 1; PLA: plantaris; QUAD: quadriceps; RPS6KB/S6K: ribosomal protein S6 kinase beta; SDH: succinate dehydrogenase; SOL: soleus; SQSTM1: sequestosome 1; TA: tibialis anterior; TSC1: TSC complex subunit 1; ULK1: unc-51 like autophagy activating kinase 1.
    Keywords:  MTORC1; ULK1; myopathy; oxidative stress; tempol
  12. Methods Mol Biol. 2022 ;2445 207-226
      Damaged, dysfunctional, or excess mitochondria are removed from cells via a selective form of macroautophagy termed mitophagy. The clearance of mitochondria during mitophagy is mediated by double-membrane vesicles called autophagosomes, which encapsulate mitochondria that have been tagged for mitophagic removal before delivering them to lysosomes for degradation. A variety of different mitophagy pathways exist that differ in their mechanisms of initiation but share a common pathway of autophagosome formation. Autophagosome biogenesis is regulated by a number of autophagy factors which translocate from the cytosol to spatially defined focal points (foci) on the mitochondrial surface after mitophagy has been initiated. The functional analysis of autophagosome biogenesis requires the use of microscopy-based techniques which assess the recruitment of autophagy factors to mitophagic foci representing autophagosome formation sites. Here, we describe a routine method for the quantitative 3D analysis of mitophagic foci in PINK1/Parkin mitophagy immunofluorescence samples through the application of object-based image analysis (OBIA) to 3D confocal imaging datasets. The approach enables unbiased high-throughput characterisation of autophagosome biogenesis during mitophagy.
    Keywords:  ImageJ/FIJI; Object-based image analysis (OBIA); PINK1/Parkin mitophagy; Phagophore biogenesis; Regions of interest (ROI)
  13. J Biol Chem. 2021 Dec 24. pii: S0021-9258(21)01350-8. [Epub ahead of print] 101540
      Persistent inactivity promotes skeletal muscle atrophy, marked by mitochondrial aberrations that affect strength, mobility, and metabolic health leading to the advancement of disease. Mitochondrial quality control (MQC) pathways include biogenesis (synthesis), mitophagy/lysosomal turnover, and the mitochondrial unfolded protein response (UPRmt) which serve to maintain an optimal organelle network. Tumor suppressor p53 has been implicated in regulating muscle mitochondria in response to cellular stress; however, its role in the context of muscle disuse has yet to be explored, and whether p53 is necessary for MQC remains unclear. To address this, we subjected p53 muscle-specific knockout (mKO) and wild-type (WT) mice to unilateral denervation. Transcriptomic and pathway analyses revealed dysregulation of pathways pertaining to mitochondrial function, and especially turnover, in mKO muscle following denervation. Protein and mRNA data of the MQC pathways indicated activation of the UPRmt and mitophagy-lysosome systems along with reductions in mitochondrial biogenesis and content in WT and mKO tissue following chronic denervation. However, p53 ablation also attenuated the expression of autophagy/mitophagy machinery, reduced autophagic flux, and enhanced lysosomal dysfunction. While similar reductions in mitochondrial biogenesis and content were observed between genotypes, MQC dysregulation exacerbated mitochondrial dysfunction in mKO fibers, evidenced by elevated reactive oxygen species (ROS). Moreover, acute experiments indicate that p53 mediates the expression of transcriptional regulators of MQC pathways as early as 1 day following denervation. Together, our data illustrate exacerbated mitochondrial dysregulation with denervation stress in p53 mKO tissue, thus indicating that p53 contributes to organellar maintenance via regulation of MQC pathways during muscle atrophy.
    Keywords:  lysosome; mitochondria; mitochondrial biogenesis; mitochondrial quality control; mitophagy; muscle atrophy; p53; skeletal muscle; transcriptomics; unfolded protein response (UPR)
  14. Methods Mol Biol. 2022 ;2445 53-64
      Since the discovery of autophagy genes and proteins in the early1990s, numerous previously unknown physiological and pathological functions have been discovered for autophagy. At the same time, precise monitoring of autophagy has become important, and western blotting and fluorescence microscopy of the marker protein LC3 is widely used for this purpose. Here, we describe a modification of the widely used method, number of LC3 dots per cell. This protocol provides the proportion of vesicular LC3 staining over the total LC3 staining in the same cell. The approach is well suitable for quantification of endogenous LC3.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Cell profiler; Fluorescence microscopy; Image analysis; Immunofluorescence; LC3
  15. Mol Carcinog. 2021 Dec 27.
      Tumor metabolism has emerged as a hallmark of cancer and is involved in carcinogenesis and tumor growth. Reprogramming of tumor metabolism is necessary for cancer cells to sustain high proliferation rates and enhanced demands for nutrients. Recent studies suggest that metabolic plasticity in cancer cells can decrease the efficacy of anticancer therapies by enhancing antioxidant defenses and DNA repair mechanisms. Studying radiation-induced metabolic changes will lead to a better understanding of radiation response mechanisms as well as the identification of new therapeutic targets, but there are few robust studies characterizing the metabolic changes induced by radiation therapy in cancer. In this review, we will highlight studies that provide information on the metabolic changes induced by radiation and oxidative stress in cancer cells and the associated underlying mechanisms.
    Keywords:  cancer; metabolism; oxidative stress; radiation therapy; radiosensitivity
  16. J Cachexia Sarcopenia Muscle. 2021 Dec 27.
  17. Hum Mol Genet. 2021 Nov 20. pii: ddab343. [Epub ahead of print]
      The 5-year overall survival (OS) of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is only 10%, partly owing to the lack of reliable diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers. The raw gene-cell matrix for single-cell RNA-seq (scRNA-seq) analysis was downloaded from the GSA database. We drew cell atlas for PDAC and normal pancreatic tissues. The inferCNV analysis was used to distinguish tumor cells from normal ductal cells. We identified differential expression genes (DEGs) by comparing tumor cells and normal ductal cells. The common DEGs were used to conduct prognostic and diagnostic model using univariate and multivariate Cox or logistic regression analysis. Four genes, MET, KLK10, PSMB9 and ITGB6, were utilized to create risk score formula to predict OS and to establish diagnostic model for PDAC. Finally, we drew an easy-to-use nomogram to predict 2-year and 3-year OSs. In conclusion, we developed and validated the prognostic and diagnostic model for PDAC based on scRNA-seq and bulk-seq datasets.
  18. J Invest Dermatol. 2021 Dec 28. pii: S0022-202X(21)02640-3. [Epub ahead of print]
      Senescence is a well-characterized cellular state associated with specific markers such as permanent cell proliferation arrest, and the secretion of messenger molecules by cells expressing the Senescence-Associated Secretory Phenotype (SASP). The SASP composition depends on many factors such as the cell type or the nature of the stress that induces senescence. Since the skin constitutes a barrier with the external environment, it is particularly subjected to different types of stresses, and consequently prone to premature cellular aging. The dicarbonyl compounds glyoxal and methylglyoxal are precursors of Advanced Glycation End-products (AGEs), whose presence marks normal and pathological aging. In this study, we demonstrate that glyoxal treatment provokes oxidative stress by increasing reactive oxygen species and AGEs levels and induces senescence in human keratinocytes. Furthermore, glyoxal-induced senescence bears a unique molecular progression profile: an "early-stage" when AKT-FOXO3a-p27KIP1 pathway mediates cell-cycle arrest, and a "late-stage" senescence maintained by the p16INK4/pRb pathway. Moreover, we characterized the resulting secretory phenotype during early senescence by mass spectrometry. Our study provides evidence that glyoxal can affect keratinocyte functions and act as a driver of human skin aging. Hence, senotherapeutics aimed at modulating glyoxal-associated senescence phenotype hold promising potential.
  19. Epigenomes. 2021 Jun 18. pii: 14. [Epub ahead of print]5(2):
      During the process of aging, extensive epigenetic alterations are made in response to both exogenous and endogenous stimuli. Here, we summarize the current state of knowledge regarding one such alteration, H3K4 methylation (H3K4me), as it relates to aging in different species. We especially highlight emerging evidence that links this modification with metabolic pathways, which may provide a mechanistic link to explain its role in aging. H3K4me is a widely recognized marker of active transcription, and it appears to play an evolutionarily conserved role in determining organism longevity, though its influence is context specific and requires further clarification. Interestingly, the modulation of H3K4me dynamics may occur as a result of nutritional status, such as methionine restriction. Methionine status appears to influence H3K4me via changes in the level of S-adenosyl methionine (SAM, the universal methyl donor) or the regulation of H3K4-modifying enzyme activities. Since methionine restriction is widely known to extend lifespan, the mechanistic link between methionine metabolic flux, the sensing of methionine concentrations and H3K4me status may provide a cogent explanation for several seemingly disparate observations in aging organisms, including age-dependent H3K4me dynamics, gene expression changes, and physiological aberrations. These connections are not yet entirely understood, especially at a molecular level, and will require further elucidation. To conclude, we discuss some potential H3K4me-mediated molecular mechanisms that may link metabolic status to the aging process.
    Keywords:  H3K4 methylation; aging; metabolism
  20. Semin Immunol. 2021 Dec 25. pii: S1044-5323(21)00114-7. [Epub ahead of print] 101583
      Neutrophils are critical innate immune cells for the host anti-bacterial defense. Throughout their lifecycle, neutrophils are exposed to different microenvironments and modulate their metabolism to survive and sustain their functions. Although tumor cell metabolism has been intensively investigated, how neutrophil metabolism is affected in cancer remains largely to be discovered. Neutrophils are described as mainly glycolytic cells. However, distinct tumor-associated neutrophil (TAN) states may co-exist in tumors and adapt their metabolism to exert different or even opposing activities ranging from tumor cell killing to tumor support. In this review, we gather evidence about the metabolic mechanisms that underly TANs' pro- or anti-tumoral functions in cancer. We first discuss how tumor-secreted factors and the heterogenous tumor microenvironment can have a strong impact on TAN metabolism. We then describe alternative metabolic pathways used by TANs to exert their functions in cancer, from basic glycolysis to more recently-recognized but less understood metabolic shifts toward mitochondrial oxidative metabolism, lipid and amino acid metabolism and even autophagy. Last, we discuss promising strategies targeting neutrophil metabolism to combat cancer.
    Keywords:  Cancer metabolism; Neutrophil metabolism; Tumor-associated neutrophils