bims-cagime Biomed News
on Cancer, aging and metabolism
Issue of 2022‒01‒23
forty-one papers selected by
Kıvanç Görgülü
Technical University of Munich

  1. Sci Adv. 2022 Jan 21. 8(3): eabg6383
      Access to electron acceptors supports oxidized biomass synthesis and can be limiting for cancer cell proliferation, but how cancer cells overcome this limitation in tumors is incompletely understood. Nontransformed cells in tumors can help cancer cells overcome metabolic limitations, particularly in pancreatic cancer, where pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) promote cancer cell proliferation and tumor growth. However, whether PSCs affect the redox state of cancer cells is not known. By taking advantage of the endogenous fluorescence properties of reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide and oxidized flavin adenine dinucleotide cofactors we use optical imaging to assess the redox state of pancreatic cancer cells and PSCs and find that direct interactions between PSCs and cancer cells promote a more oxidized state in cancer cells. This suggests that metabolic interaction between cancer cells and PSCs is a mechanism to overcome the redox limitations of cell proliferation in pancreatic cancer.
  2. Cell. 2022 Jan 12. pii: S0092-8674(21)01565-8. [Epub ahead of print]
      Brain metastasis (BrM) is the most common form of brain cancer, characterized by neurologic disability and an abysmal prognosis. Unfortunately, our understanding of the biology underlying human BrMs remains rudimentary. Here, we present an integrative analysis of >100,000 malignant and non-malignant cells from 15 human parenchymal BrMs, generated by single-cell transcriptomics, mass cytometry, and complemented with mouse model- and in silico approaches. We interrogated the composition of BrM niches, molecularly defined the blood-tumor interface, and revealed stromal immunosuppressive states enriched with infiltrated T cells and macrophages. Specific single-cell interrogation of metastatic tumor cells provides a framework of 8 functional cell programs that coexist or anticorrelate. Collectively, these programs delineate two functional BrM archetypes, one proliferative and the other inflammatory, that are evidently shaped through tumor-immune interactions. Our resource provides a foundation to understand the molecular basis of BrM in patients with tumor cell-intrinsic and host environmental traits.
    Keywords:  CyTOF; blood tumor barrier; human metastasis; metastasis-associated macrophages; metastasis-infiltrated T cells; metastatic niche; metastatic program; metastatic tumor cells; metastatic tumors; single cell
  3. FEBS J. 2022 Jan 20.
      Senescence is a multi-functional cell fate, characterized by an irreversible cell-cycle arrest and a pro-inflammatory phenotype, commonly known as the Senescence-Associated secretory Phenotype (SASP). Emerging evidence indicates that accumulation of senescent cells in multiple tissues, drives tissue dysfunction and several age-related conditions. This has spurred the academic community and industry to identify new therapeutic interventions targeting this process. Mitochondrial dysfunction is an often-unappreciated hallmark of cellular senescence which plays important roles not only in the senescence growth arrest but also in the development of the SASP and resistance to cell-death. Here, we review the evidence that supports a role for mitochondria in the development of senescence and describe the underlying mechanisms. Finally, we propose that a detailed road map of mitochondrial biology in senescence will be crucial to guide the future development of senotherapies.
    Keywords:  Mitochondria; SASP; aging; senescence
  4. FEBS J. 2022 Jan 21.
      Macroautophagy is a membrane-trafficking process that delivers cytoplasmic material to lysosomes for degradation. The process preserves cellular integrity by removing damaged cellular constituents and can promote cell survival by providing substrates for energy production during hiatuses of nutrient availability. The process is also highly responsive to other forms of cellular stress. For example, DNA damage can induce autophagy and this involves up-regulation of the Damage-Regulated Autophagy Modulator-1 (DRAM-1) by the tumor suppressor p53. DRAM-1 belongs to an evolutionarily-conserved protein family, which has five members in humans and we describe here the initial characterization of two members of this family, which we term DRAM-4 and DRAM-5 for DRAM-Related/Associated Member 4/5. We show that the genes encoding these proteins are not regulated by p53, but instead are induced by nutrient deprivation. Similar to other DRAM family proteins, however, DRAM-4 principally localizes to endosomes and DRAM-5 to the plasma membrane and both modulate autophagy flux when over-expressed. Deletion of DRAM-4 using CRISPR/Cas-9 also increased autophagy flux, but we found that DRAM-4 and DRAM-5 undergo compensatory regulation, such that deletion of DRAM-4 does not affect autophagy flux in the absence of DRAM-5. Similarly, deletion of DRAM-4 also promotes cell survival following growth of cells in the absence of amino acids, serum or glucose, but this effect is also impacted by the absence of DRAM-5. In summary, DRAM-4 and DRAM-5 are nutrient-responsive members of the DRAM family that exhibit interconnected roles in the regulation of autophagy and cell survival under nutrient-deprived conditions.
  5. Nat Metab. 2022 Jan 20.
      Homeostasis maintains serum metabolites within physiological ranges. For glucose, this requires insulin, which suppresses glucose production while accelerating its consumption. For other circulating metabolites, a comparable master regulator has yet to be discovered. Here we show that, in mice, many circulating metabolites are cleared via the tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA) cycle in linear proportionality to their circulating concentration. Abundant circulating metabolites (essential amino acids, serine, alanine, citrate, 3-hydroxybutyrate) were administered intravenously in perturbative amounts and their fluxes were measured using isotope labelling. The increased circulating concentrations induced by the perturbative infusions hardly altered production fluxes while linearly enhancing consumption fluxes and TCA contributions. The same mass action relationship between concentration and consumption flux largely held across feeding, fasting and high- and low-protein diets, with amino acid homeostasis during fasting further supported by enhanced endogenous protein catabolism. Thus, despite the copious regulatory machinery in mammals, circulating metabolite homeostasis is achieved substantially through mass action-driven oxidation.
  6. Neuron. 2022 Jan 13. pii: S0896-6273(21)01046-1. [Epub ahead of print]
      Neurons depend on autophagy to maintain cellular homeostasis, and defects in autophagy are pathological hallmarks of neurodegenerative disease. To probe the role of basal autophagy in the maintenance of neuronal health, we isolated autophagic vesicles from mouse brain tissue and used proteomics to identify the major cargos engulfed within autophagosomes, validating our findings in rodent primary and human iPSC-derived neurons. Mitochondrial proteins were identified as a major cargo in the absence of mitophagy adaptors such as OPTN. We found that nucleoid-associated proteins are enriched compared with other mitochondrial components. In the axon, autophagic engulfment of nucleoid-enriched mitochondrial fragments requires the mitochondrial fission machinery Drp1. We proposed that localized Drp1-dependent fission of nucleoid-enriched fragments in proximity to the sites of autophagosome biogenesis enhances their capture. The resulting efficient autophagic turnover of nucleoids may prevent accumulation of mitochondrial DNA in the neuron, thus mitigating activation of proinflammatory pathways that contribute to neurodegeneration.
    Keywords:  Drp1; TFAM; autophagy; mitochondria; mitochondrial division; mitochondrial nucleoids; mitophagy; neurodegeneration; neuronal homeostasis
  7. J Cachexia Sarcopenia Muscle. 2022 Jan 19.
      BACKGROUND: Cancer-associated cachexia (CAC) is a complex syndrome of progressive muscle wasting and adipose loss with metabolic dysfunction, severely increasing the morbidity and mortality risk in cancer patients. However, there are limited studies focused on the underlying mechanisms of the progression of CAC due to the complexity of this syndrome and the lack of preclinical models that mimics its stagewise progression.METHODS: We characterized the initiation and progression of CAC in transgenic female mice with ovarian tumours. We measured proposed CAC biomarkers (activin A, GDF15, IL-6, IL-1β, and TNF-α) in sera (n = 6) of this mouse model. The changes of activin A and GDF15 (n = 6) were correlated with the decline of bodyweight over time. Morphometry and signalling markers of muscle atrophy (n ≥ 6) and adipose tissue wasting (n ≥ 7) were assessed during CAC progression.
    RESULTS: Cancer-associated cachexia symptoms of the transgenic mice model used in this study mimic the progression of CAC seen in humans, including drastic body weight loss, skeletal muscle atrophy, and adipose tissue wasting. Serum levels of two cachexia biomarkers, activin A and GDF15, increased significantly during cachexia progression (76-folds and 10-folds, respectively). Overactivation of proteolytic activity was detected in skeletal muscle through up-regulating muscle-specific E3 ligases Atrogin-1 and Murf-1 (16-folds and 14-folds, respectively) with decreasing cross-sectional area of muscle fibres (P < 0.001). Muscle wasting mechanisms related with p-p38 MAPK, FOXO3, and p-AMPKα were highly activated in concurrence with an elevation in serum activin A. Dramatic fat loss was also observed in this mouse model with decreased fat mass (n ≥ 6) and white adipocytes sizes (n = 6) (P < 0.0001). The adipose tissue wasting was based on thermogenesis, supported by the up-regulation of uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1). Fibrosis in adipose tissue was also observed in concurrence with adipose tissue loss (n ≥ 13) (p < 0.0001).
    CONCLUSIONS: Our novel preclinical CAC mouse model mimics human CAC phenotypes and serum biomarkers. The mouse model in this study showed proteolysis in muscle atrophy, browning in adipose tissue wasting, elevation of serum activin A and GDF15, and atrophy of pancreas and liver. This mouse line would be the best preclinical model to aid in clarifying molecular mediators of CAC and dissecting metabolic dysfunction and tissue atrophy during the progression of CAC.
    Keywords:  Activin A; Adipose; Cancer cachexia; Mouse model; Muscle; Ovarian tumour
  8. Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2022 Jan 19.
      The protein arginine methyltransferase 5 (PRMT5), which is highly expressed in tumour tissues, plays a crucial role in cancer development. However, the mechanism by which PRMT5 promotes cancer growth is poorly understood. Here, we report that PRMT5 contributes to lipid metabolism reprogramming, tumour growth and metastasis depending on the SIRT7-mediated desuccinylation of PRMT5 K387 in tumours. Mass spectrometric analysis identified PRMT5 lysine 387 as its succinylation site. Moreover, the desuccinylation of PRMT5 K387 enhances the methyltransferase activity of PRMT5. SIRT7 catalyses the desuccinylation of PRMT5 in cells. The SIRT7-mediated dessuccinylation of PRMT5 lysine 387 fails to bind to STUB1, decreasing PRMT5 ubiquitination and increasing the interaction between PRMT5 and Mep50, which promotes the formation of the PRMT5-Mep50 octamer. The PRMT5-Mep50 octamer increases PRMT5 methyltransferase activity, leading to arginine methylation of SREBP1a. The symmetric dimethylation of SREBP1a increases the levels of cholesterol, fatty acid, and triglyceride biogenesis in the cells, escaping degradation through the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. Functionally, the desuccinylation of PRMT5 K387 promotes lipid metabolism reprogramming, tumour growth and metastasis in vitro and in vivo in tumours.
    Keywords:  PRMT5; SIRT7; desuccinylation; lipid metabolism reprogramming; methyltransferase activity
  9. Metabolites. 2021 Dec 26. pii: 17. [Epub ahead of print]12(1):
      Energy metabolism, including alterations in energy intake and expenditure, is closely related to aging and longevity. Metabolomics studies have recently unraveled changes in metabolite composition in plasma and tissues during aging and have provided critical information to elucidate the molecular basis of the aging process. However, the metabolic changes in tissues responsible for food intake and lipid storage have remained unexplored. In this study, we aimed to investigate aging-related metabolic alterations in these tissues. To fill this gap, we employed NMR-based metabolomics in several tissues, including different parts of the intestine (duodenum, jejunum, ileum) and brown/white adipose tissues (BAT, WAT), of young (9-10 weeks) and old (96-104 weeks) wild-type (mixed genetic background of 129/J and C57BL/6) mice. We, further, included plasma and skeletal muscle of the same mice to verify previous results. Strikingly, we found that duodenum, jejunum, ileum, and WAT do not metabolically age. In contrast, plasma, skeletal muscle, and BAT show a strong metabolic aging phenotype. Overall, we provide first insights into the metabolic changes of tissues essential for nutrient uptake and lipid storage and have identified biomarkers for metabolites that could be further explored, to study the molecular mechanisms of aging.
    Keywords:  NMR spectroscopy; aging; energy metabolism; fat; intestine; metabolomics; mice
  10. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Jan 25. pii: e2119463119. [Epub ahead of print]119(4):
      Cancer immunotherapy frequently fails because most carcinomas have few T cells, suggesting that cancers can suppress T cell infiltration. Here, we show that cancer cells of human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA), colorectal cancer, and breast cancer are coated with transglutaminase-2 (TGM2)-dependent covalent CXCL12-keratin-19 (KRT19) heterodimers that are organized as filamentous networks. Since a dimeric form of CXCL12 suppresses the motility of human T cells, we determined whether this polymeric CXCL12-KRT19 coating mediated T cell exclusion. Mouse tumors containing control PDA cells exhibited the CXCL12-KRT19 coating, excluded T cells, and did not respond to treatment with anti-PD-1 antibody. Tumors containing PDA cells not expressing either KRT19 or TGM2 lacked the CXCL12-KRT19 coating, were infiltrated with activated CD8+ T cells, and growth was suppressed with anti-PD-1 antibody treatment. Thus, carcinomas assemble a CXCL12-KRT19 coating to evade cancer immune attack.
    Keywords:  CXCL12; T cells; cancer immunology; keratin-19; transglutaminase-2
  11. Elife. 2022 Jan 20. pii: e72588. [Epub ahead of print]11
      Integrin adhesion complexes (IACs) are integrin-based plasma membrane-associated compartments where cells sense environmental cues. The physical mechanisms and molecular interactions that mediate initial IAC formation are unclear. We found that both p130Cas ('Cas') and Focal adhesion kinase ('FAK') undergo liquid-liquid phase separation in vitro under physiologic conditions. Cas- and FAK- driven phase separation is sufficient to reconstitute kindlin-dependent integrin clustering in vitro with recombinant mammalian proteins. In vitro condensates and IACs in mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) exhibit similar sensitivities to environmental perturbations including changes in temperature and pH. Furthermore, mutations that inhibit or enhance phase separation in vitro reduce or increase the number of IACs in MEFs, respectively. Finally, we find that the Cas and FAK pathways act synergistically to promote phase separation, integrin clustering, IAC formation and partitioning of key components in vitro and in cells. We propose that Cas- and FAK- driven phase separation provides an intracellular trigger for integrin clustering and nascent IAC formation.
    Keywords:  biochemistry; cell biology; chemical biology; mouse
  12. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Jan 25. pii: e2116764119. [Epub ahead of print]119(4):
      Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is associated with extensive dysregulation of the epigenome and epigenetic regulators, such as bromodomain and extraterminal motif (BET) proteins, have been suggested as potential targets for therapy. However, single-agent BET inhibition has shown poor efficacy in clinical trials, and no epigenetic approaches are currently used in PDAC. To circumvent the limitations of the current generation of BET inhibitors, we developed the compound XP-524 as an inhibitor of the BET protein BRD4 and the histone acetyltransferase EP300/CBP, both of which are ubiquitously expressed in PDAC tissues and cooperate to enhance tumorigenesis. XP-524 showed increased potency and superior tumoricidal activity than the benchmark BET inhibitor JQ-1 in vitro, with comparable efficacy to higher-dose JQ-1 combined with the EP300/CBP inhibitor SGC-CBP30. We determined that this is in part due to the epigenetic silencing of KRAS in vitro, with similar results observed using ex vivo slice cultures of human PDAC tumors. Accordingly, XP-524 prevented KRAS-induced, neoplastic transformation in vivo and extended survival in two transgenic mouse models of aggressive PDAC. In addition to the inhibition of KRAS/MAPK signaling, XP-524 also enhanced the presentation of self-peptide and tumor recruitment of cytotoxic T lymphocytes, though these lymphocytes remained refractory from full activation. We, therefore, combined XP-524 with an anti-PD-1 antibody in vivo, which reactivated the cytotoxic immune program and extended survival well beyond XP-524 in monotherapy. Pending a comprehensive safety evaluation, these results suggest that XP-524 may benefit PDAC patients and warrant further exploration, particularly in combination with immune checkpoint inhibition.
    Keywords:  BET inhibitor; KRAS; PD-1; pancreatic cancer
  13. J Cell Biol. 2022 Feb 07. pii: e202103178. [Epub ahead of print]221(2):
      In selective autophagy of the nucleus (hereafter nucleophagy), nucleus-derived double-membrane vesicles (NDVs) are formed, sequestered within autophagosomes, and delivered to lysosomes or vacuoles for degradation. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the nuclear envelope (NE) protein Atg39 acts as a nucleophagy receptor, which interacts with Atg8 to target NDVs to the forming autophagosomal membranes. In this study, we revealed that Atg39 is anchored to the outer nuclear membrane via its transmembrane domain and also associated with the inner nuclear membrane via membrane-binding amphipathic helices (APHs) in its perinuclear space region, thereby linking these membranes. We also revealed that autophagosome formation-coupled Atg39 crowding causes the NE to protrude toward the cytoplasm, and the tips of the protrusions are pinched off to generate NDVs. The APHs of Atg39 are crucial for Atg39 crowding in the NE and subsequent NE protrusion. These findings suggest that the nucleophagy receptor Atg39 plays pivotal roles in NE deformation during the generation of NDVs to be degraded by nucleophagy.
  14. Nat Metab. 2022 Jan 17.
      The adipose tissue-derived hormone leptin can drive decreases in food intake while increasing energy expenditure. In diet-induced obesity, circulating leptin levels rise proportionally to adiposity. Despite this hyperleptinemia, rodents and humans with obesity maintain increased adiposity and are resistant to leptin's actions. Here we show that inhibitors of the cytosolic enzyme histone deacetylase 6 (HDAC6) act as potent leptin sensitizers and anti-obesity agents in diet-induced obese mice. Specifically, HDAC6 inhibitors, such as tubastatin A, reduce food intake, fat mass, hepatic steatosis and improve systemic glucose homeostasis in an HDAC6-dependent manner. Mechanistically, peripheral, but not central, inhibition of HDAC6 confers central leptin sensitivity. Additionally, the anti-obesity effect of tubastatin A is attenuated in animals with a defective central leptin-melanocortin circuitry, including db/db and MC4R knockout mice. Our results suggest the existence of an HDAC6-regulated adipokine that serves as a leptin-sensitizing agent and reveals HDAC6 as a potential target for the treatment of obesity.
  15. Cancers (Basel). 2022 Jan 11. pii: 342. [Epub ahead of print]14(2):
      Cachexia is a multifactorial syndrome that presents with, among other characteristics, progressive loss of muscle mass and anti-cardiac remodeling effect that may lead to heart failure. This condition affects about 80% of patients with advanced cancer and contributes to worsening patients' tolerance to anticancer treatments and to their premature death. Its pathogenesis involves an imbalance in metabolic homeostasis, with increased catabolism and inflammatory cytokines levels, leading to proteolysis and lipolysis, with insufficient food intake. A multimodal approach is indicated for patients with cachexia, with the aim of reducing the speed of muscle wasting and improving their quality of life, which may include nutritional, physical, pharmacologic, and psychological support. This review aims to outline the mechanisms of muscle loss, as well as to evaluate the current clinical evidence of the use of physical exercise in patients with cachexia.
    Keywords:  cancer cachexia; cardiac muscle wasting; muscle wasting; physical exercise
  16. Sci Adv. 2022 Jan 21. 8(3): eabh2635
      Cancer cells voraciously consume nutrients to support their growth, exposing metabolic vulnerabilities that can be therapeutically exploited. Here, we show in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells, xenografts, and patient-derived organoids that fasting improves sorafenib efficacy and acts synergistically to sensitize sorafenib-resistant HCC. Mechanistically, sorafenib acts noncanonically as an inhibitor of mitochondrial respiration, causing resistant cells to depend on glycolysis for survival. Fasting, through reduction in glucose and impeded AKT/mTOR signaling, prevents this Warburg shift. Regulating glucose transporter and proapoptotic protein expression, p53 is necessary and sufficient for the sorafenib-sensitizing effect of fasting. p53 is also crucial for fasting-mediated improvement of sorafenib efficacy in an orthotopic HCC mouse model. Together, our data suggest fasting and sorafenib as rational combination therapy for HCC with intact p53 signaling. As HCC therapy is currently severely limited by resistance, these results should instigate clinical studies aimed at improving therapy response in advanced-stage HCC.
  17. Oncogene. 2022 Jan 22.
      Metastases are often the direct cause of death from pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). The role of genomic alterations (GA) in mediating tropism and metastasis formation by PDAC cells is currently unknown. We aimed to identify GAs predisposing colonization of PDAC cells to the liver and decipher mechanisms enabling this process. In order to reveal specific genes, we studied the frequency of GA in 8,880 local and 7,983 metastatic PDAC samples. We observed differential pattern of GA in the local tumor and specific metastatic sites, with liver metastases characterized by deletion of CDKN2A/B (encoding p16/p15, respectively). The role of CDKN2A/B in promoting liver metastasis was evidenced by enhanced tumorigenic phenotype of p15/p16-deleted PDAC cells when exposed to hepatocytes conditioned media. The liver is characterized by high-ammonia low-glutamine environment and transcriptomic assays indicated unique adaptation of PDAC cells to these conditions, including regulation of genes leading to reduced glutaminolysis, like overexpression of GLUL and reduction in GLS2. Furthermore, metabolic assays indicated an increase in glutamate derived from [U-13C]-glucose in p15/p16-deleted cells. Importantly, these cells thrived under high ammonia condition. These data suggest a unique role for genomic alterations in mediating tropism of PDAC. Among these alterations, p15/16 deletion was identified as a promoter of liver metastases. Further studies indicated a unique role for p15/16 in regulating glutaminolysis. These findings reveal vulnerabilities in PDAC cells, which may pave the way for the development of novel therapeutic strategies aiming at the prevention of liver metastases formation.
  18. Trends Cell Biol. 2022 Jan 18. pii: S0962-8924(21)00266-X. [Epub ahead of print]
      Telomeres are distinctive structures that protect the ends of linear chromosomes and ensure genome stability. They are composed of long tracks of repetitive and G-rich DNA that is bound by shelterin, a dedicated six-subunit protein complex. In somatic cells, shelterin protects telomeres from the DNA damage response and regulates telomere length. Telomere repeats are replenished by telomerase, a specialized ribonucleoprotein composed of telomerase reverse transcriptase and an integral RNA component. Telomere protection and telomerase regulation have been primarily studied in somatic cells. However, recent evidence points out striking differences in the context of embryonic stem cells (ESCs). In this review, we discuss insights into telomere protection in ESCs versus somatic cells and summarize findings on telomerase regulation as a function of pluripotency.
    Keywords:  DNA damage response; embryonic stem cells; splicing; telomerase; telomere
  19. Cancer Discov. 2022 Jan 19.
      KRAS is the most frequently mutated oncogene, harboring mutations in approximately one in seven cancers. Allele-specific KRASG12C inhibitors are currently changing the treatment paradigm for patients with KRAS G12C-mutated non-small cell lung cancer and colorectal cancer. The success of addressing a previously elusive KRAS allele has fueled drug discovery efforts for all KRAS mutants. Pan-KRAS drugs have the potential to address broad patient populations, including KRAS G12D-, KRAS G12V-, KRAS G13D-, KRAS G12R-, and KRAS G12A-mutant or KRAS wild-type-amplified cancers, as well as cancers with acquired resistance to KRASG12C inhibitors. Here, we review actively pursued allele-specific and pan-KRAS inhibition strategies and their potential utility. SIGNIFICANCE: Mutant-selective KRASG12C inhibitors target a fraction (approximately 13.6%) of all KRAS-driven cancers. A broad arsenal of KRAS drugs is needed to comprehensively conquer KRAS-driven cancers. Conceptually, we foresee two future classes of KRAS medicines: mutant-selective KRAS drugs targeting individual variant alleles and pan-KRAS therapeutics targeting a broad range of KRAS alterations.
  20. Cancer Discov. 2022 Jan 19.
      The RAS Initiative was launched in 2013 to address unmet clinical needs of patients with KRAS-driven cancers. The Initiative is based at Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research in Frederick, MD, and involves multiple collaborations with the RAS research community in academia and industry with the shared goal of developing RAS therapies.
  21. Nat Metab. 2022 Jan 20.
      MODY8 (maturity-onset diabetes of the young, type 8) is a dominantly inherited monogenic form of diabetes associated with mutations in the carboxyl ester lipase (CEL) gene expressed by pancreatic acinar cells. MODY8 patients develop childhood-onset exocrine pancreas dysfunction followed by diabetes during adulthood. However, it is unclear how CEL mutations cause diabetes. In the present study, we report the transfer of CEL proteins from acinar cells to β-cells as a form of cross-talk between exocrine and endocrine cells. Human β-cells show a relatively higher propensity for internalizing the mutant versus the wild-type CEL protein. After internalization, the mutant protein forms stable intracellular aggregates leading to β-cell secretory dysfunction. Analysis of pancreas sections from a MODY8 patient reveals the presence of CEL protein in the few extant β-cells. The present study provides compelling evidence for the mechanism by which a mutant gene expressed specifically in acinar cells promotes dysfunction and loss of β-cells to cause diabetes.
  22. Nature. 2022 Jan 19.
      Ageing is accompanied by a decline in cellular proteostasis, which underlies many age-related protein misfolding diseases1,2. Yet, how ageing impairs proteostasis remains unclear. As nascent polypeptides represent a substantial burden on the proteostasis network3, we hypothesized that altered translational efficiency during ageing could help to drive the collapse of proteostasis. Here we show that ageing alters the kinetics of translation elongation in both Caenorhabditis elegans and Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Ribosome pausing was exacerbated at specific positions in aged yeast and worms, including polybasic stretches, leading to increased ribosome collisions known to trigger ribosome-associated quality control (RQC)4-6. Notably, aged yeast cells exhibited impaired clearance and increased aggregation of RQC substrates, indicating that ageing overwhelms this pathway. Indeed, long-lived yeast mutants reduced age-dependent ribosome pausing, and extended lifespan correlated with greater flux through the RQC pathway. Further linking altered translation to proteostasis collapse, we found that nascent polypeptides exhibiting age-dependent ribosome pausing in C. elegans were strongly enriched among age-dependent protein aggregates. Notably, ageing increased the pausing and aggregation of many components of proteostasis, which could initiate a cycle of proteostasis collapse. We propose that increased ribosome pausing, leading to RQC overload and nascent polypeptide aggregation, critically contributes to proteostasis impairment and systemic decline during ageing.
  23. Cancer Discov. 2022 Jan 21.
      Numerous mechanisms of resistance to direct KRAS G12C inhibition were revealed.
  24. Aging Cell. 2022 Jan;21(1): e13518
      Diet regulates complex life-history traits such as longevity. For optimal lifespan, organisms employ intricate adaptive mechanisms whose molecular underpinnings are less known. We show that Caenorhabditis elegans FLR-4 kinase prevents lifespan differentials on the bacterial diet having higher Vitamin B12 levels. The flr-4 mutants are more responsive to the higher B12 levels of Escherichia coli HT115 diet, and consequently, have enhanced flux through the one-carbon cycle. Mechanistically, a higher level of B12 transcriptionally downregulates the phosphoethanolamine methyltransferase pmt-2 gene, which modulates phosphatidylcholine (PC) levels. Pmt-2 downregulation activates cytoprotective gene expression through the p38-MAPK pathway, leading to increased lifespan only in the mutant. Evidently, preventing bacterial B12 uptake or inhibiting one-carbon metabolism reverses all the above phenotypes. Conversely, supplementation of B12 to E. coli OP50 or genetically reducing PC levels in the OP50-fed mutant extends lifespan. Together, we reveal how worms maintain adaptive capacity to diets having varying micronutrient content to ensure a normal lifespan.
    Keywords:   Caenorhabditis elegans ; flr-4 ; Vitamin B12; gene expression; life span; one-carbon metabolism; osmotic stress; p38-MAPK
  25. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2021 ;9 814955
      Nucleophagy is an organelle-selective subtype of autophagy that targets nuclear material for degradation. The macroautophagic delivery of micronuclei to the vacuole, together with the nucleus-vacuole junction-dependent microautophagic degradation of nuclear material, were first observed in yeast. Nuclear pore complexes and ribosomal DNA are typically excluded during conventional macronucleophagy and micronucleophagy, indicating that degradation of nuclear cargo is tightly regulated. In mammals, similarly to other autophagy subtypes, nucleophagy is crucial for cellular differentiation and development, in addition to enabling cells to respond to various nuclear insults and cell cycle perturbations. A common denominator of all nucleophagic processes characterized in diverse organisms is the dependence on the core autophagic machinery. Here, we survey recent studies investigating the autophagic processing of nuclear components. We discuss nucleophagic events in the context of pathology, such as neurodegeneration, cancer, DNA damage, and ageing.
    Keywords:  ageing; autophagy; cancer; neurodegeneration; nucleophagy
  26. Cell. 2022 Jan 13. pii: S0092-8674(21)01561-0. [Epub ahead of print]
      The relevance of extracellular magnesium in cellular immunity remains largely unknown. Here, we show that the co-stimulatory cell-surface molecule LFA-1 requires magnesium to adopt its active conformation on CD8+ T cells, thereby augmenting calcium flux, signal transduction, metabolic reprogramming, immune synapse formation, and, as a consequence, specific cytotoxicity. Accordingly, magnesium-sufficiency sensed via LFA-1 translated to the superior performance of pathogen- and tumor-specific T cells, enhanced effectiveness of bi-specific T cell engaging antibodies, and improved CAR T cell function. Clinically, low serum magnesium levels were associated with more rapid disease progression and shorter overall survival in CAR T cell and immune checkpoint antibody-treated patients. LFA-1 thus directly incorporates information on the composition of the microenvironment as a determinant of outside-in signaling activity. These findings conceptually link co-stimulation and nutrient sensing and point to the magnesium-LFA-1 axis as a therapeutically amenable biologic system.
    Keywords:  CAR T cells; Mg2+; T cell engaging antibodies; co-stimulation/LFA-1; immune control; integration of microenvironment and T cell function; magnesium; memory CD8 T cells; microenvironment; tumor-specific T cells
  27. Neuron. 2022 Jan 11. pii: S0896-6273(21)01037-0. [Epub ahead of print]
      The vagus nerve is an indispensable body-brain connection that controls vital aspects of autonomic physiology like breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, and gut motility, reflexes like coughing and swallowing, and survival behaviors like feeding, drinking, and sickness responses. Classical physiological studies and recent molecular/genetic approaches have revealed a tremendous diversity of vagal sensory neuron types that innervate different internal organs, with many cell types remaining poorly understood. Here, we review the state of knowledge related to vagal sensory neurons that innervate the respiratory, cardiovascular, and digestive systems. We focus on cell types and their response properties, physiological/behavioral roles, engaged neural circuits and, when possible, sensory receptors. We are only beginning to understand the signal transduction mechanisms used by vagal sensory neurons and upstream sentinel cells, and future studies are needed to advance the field of interoception to the level of mechanistic understanding previously achieved for our external senses.
  28. Science. 2022 Jan 21. 375(6578): 315-320
      Fast and selective isolation of single cells with unique spatial and morphological traits remains a technical challenge. Here, we address this by establishing high-speed image-enabled cell sorting (ICS), which records multicolor fluorescence images and sorts cells based on measurements from image data at speeds up to 15,000 events per second. We show that ICS quantifies cell morphology and localization of labeled proteins and increases the resolution of cell cycle analyses by separating mitotic stages. We combine ICS with CRISPR-pooled screens to identify regulators of the nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) pathway, enabling the completion of genome-wide image-based screens in about 9 hours of run time. By assessing complex cellular phenotypes, ICS substantially expands the phenotypic space accessible to cell-sorting applications and pooled genetic screening.
  29. EMBO J. 2022 Jan 17. e108599
      CDK4/6 inhibitors arrest the cell cycle in G1-phase. They are approved to treat breast cancer and are also undergoing clinical trials against a range of other tumour types. To facilitate these efforts, it is important to understand why a cytostatic arrest in G1 causes long-lasting effects on tumour growth. Here, we demonstrate that a prolonged G1 arrest following CDK4/6 inhibition downregulates replisome components and impairs origin licencing. Upon release from that arrest, many cells fail to complete DNA replication and exit the cell cycle in a p53-dependent manner. If cells fail to withdraw from the cell cycle following DNA replication problems, they enter mitosis and missegregate chromosomes causing excessive DNA damage, which further limits their proliferative potential. These effects are observed in a range of tumour types, including breast cancer, implying that genotoxic stress is a common outcome of CDK4/6 inhibition. This unanticipated ability of CDK4/6 inhibitors to induce DNA damage now provides a rationale to better predict responsive tumour types and effective combination therapies, as demonstrated by the fact that CDK4/6 inhibition induces sensitivity to chemotherapeutics that also cause replication stress.
    Keywords:  CDK6; Palbociclib; cyclin-dependent kinase; replication stress; senescence
  30. Elife. 2022 Jan 21. pii: e62863. [Epub ahead of print]11
      What is the origin of behaviour? Although typically associated with a nervous system, simple organisms also show complex behaviours. Among them, the slime mold Physarum polycephalum, a giant single cell, is ideally suited to study emergence of behaviour. Here, we show how locomotion and morphological adaptation behaviour emerge from self-organized patterns of rhythmic contractions of the actomyosin lining of the tubes making up the network-shaped organism. We quantify the spatio-temporal contraction dynamics by decomposing experimentally recorded contraction patterns into spatial contraction modes. Notably, we find a continuous spectrum of modes, as opposed to a few dominant modes. Our data suggests that the continuous spectrum of modes allows for dynamic transitions between a plethora of specific behaviours with transitions marked by highly irregular contraction states. By mapping specific behaviours to states of active contractions, we provide the basis to understand behaviour's complexity as a function of biomechanical dynamics.
    Keywords:  ethology; flow network; living matter; physics of living systems; self-organisation; unicellular
  31. JCO Precis Oncol. 2020 Nov;4 426-436
      PURPOSE: The combination chemotherapy of fluorouracil, leucovorin, irinotecan, and oxaliplatin (FOLFIRINOX) has provided clinically meaningful improvement for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). We previously uncovered a role for the serine hydrolase carboxylesterase 2 (CES2) in mediating intratumoral activation of the prodrug irinotecan, a constituent of FOLFIRINOX. We aimed to further test the predictive value of CES2 for response to irinotecan using patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models and to elucidate the determinants of CES2 expression and response to FOLFIRINOX treatment among patients with PDAC.METHODS: PDXs were engrafted subcutaneously into nude mice and treated for 4 weeks with either saline control or irinotecan. CES2 and hepatocyte nuclear factor 4 alpha (HNF4A) expression in PDAC tissues was evaluated by immunohistochemical and Western blot analysis. Kaplan-Meier and Cox regression analyses were applied to assess the association between overall survival and hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C) levels in patients who underwent neoadjuvant FOLFIRINOX treatment.
    RESULTS: High CES2 activity in PDAC PDXs was associated with increased sensitivity to irinotecan. Integrated gene expression, proteomic analyses, and in vitro genetic experiments revealed that nuclear receptor HNF4A, which is upregulated in diabetes, is the upstream transcriptional regulator of CES2 expression. Elevated CES2 protein expression in PDAC tissues was positively associated with a history of type 2 diabetes (odds ratio, 4.84; P = .02). High HbA1C levels were associated with longer overall survival in patients who received neoadjuvant FOLFIRINOX treatment (P = .04).
    CONCLUSION: To our knowledge, we provide, for the first time, evidence that CES2 expression is associated with a history of type 2 diabetes in PDAC and that elevated HbA1C, by predicting tumor CES2 expression, may represent a novel marker for stratifying patients most likely to respond to FOLFIRINOX therapy.
  32. EMBO J. 2022 Jan 17. e109800
      All living organisms adapt their membrane lipid composition in response to changes in their environment or diet. These conserved membrane-adaptive processes have been studied extensively. However, key concepts of membrane biology linked to regulation of lipid composition including homeoviscous adaptation maintaining stable levels of membrane fluidity, and gel-fluid phase separation resulting in domain formation, heavily rely upon in vitro studies with model membranes or lipid extracts. Using the bacterial model organisms Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis, we now show that inadequate in vivo membrane fluidity interferes with essential complex cellular processes including cytokinesis, envelope expansion, chromosome replication/segregation and maintenance of membrane potential. Furthermore, we demonstrate that very low membrane fluidity is indeed capable of triggering large-scale lipid phase separation and protein segregation in intact, protein-crowded membranes of living cells; a process that coincides with the minimal level of fluidity capable of supporting growth. Importantly, the in vivo lipid phase separation is not associated with a breakdown of the membrane diffusion barrier function, thus explaining why the phase separation process induced by low fluidity is biologically reversible.
    Keywords:  homeoviscous adaptation; lipid domains; lipid phase separation; membrane fluidity; protein partitioning
  33. Nat Aging. 2021 Dec;1(12): 1162-1174
      Amyloid-induced neurodegeneration plays a central role in Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathogenesis. Here, we show that telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) haploinsufficiency decreases BDNF and increases amyloid-β (Aβ) precursor in murine brain. Moreover, prior to disease onset, the TERT locus sustains accumulation of repressive epigenetic marks in murine and human AD neurons, implicating TERT repression in amyloid-induced neurodegeneration. To test the impact of sustained TERT expression on AD pathobiology, AD mouse models were engineered to maintain physiological levels of TERT in adult neurons, resulting in reduced Aβ accumulation, improved spine morphology, and preserved cognitive function. Mechanistically, integrated profiling revealed that TERT interacts with β-catenin and RNA polymerase II at gene promoters and upregulates gene networks governing synaptic signaling and learning processes. These TERT-directed transcriptional activities do not require its catalytic activity nor telomerase RNA. These findings provide genetic proof-of-concept for somatic TERT gene activation therapy in attenuating AD progression including cognitive decline.
  34. Pancreatology. 2022 Jan 14. pii: S1424-3903(22)00008-4. [Epub ahead of print]
      T7K24R mice carry mutation p.K24R in mouse cationic trypsinogen (isoform T7), which is analogous to the human hereditary pancreatitis-associated mutation p.K23R. The mutation renders trypsinogen more prone to autoactivation. We recently reported that T7K24R mice exhibit increased severity of acute pancreatitis induced by repeated cerulein injections. The objective of the present study was to test whether trypsinogen mutant mice are prone to develop chronic pancreatitis, as observed in patients. We characterized the natural course of cerulein-induced pancreatitis in T7K24R mice and the C57BL/6N parent strain from the acute episode to 3 months post-attack. As expected, an acute episode of pancreatitis in C57BL/6N mice was followed by rapid recovery and histological restitution. In stark contrast, T7K24R mice developed progressive chronic pancreatitis with acinar cell atrophy, persistent macrophage infiltration, and diffuse fibrosis. The nadir of pancreas damage occurred on days 5-6 after the acute episode and was accompanied by digestive dysfunction. Remarkably, histological recovery was markedly delayed and permanent, chronic changes were still detectable 1-3 months after the acute pancreatitis episode. We conclude that during cerulein-induced acute pancreatitis in T7K24R mice, trypsin triggers an autonomous inflammatory program resulting in chronic disease progression, even after the cessation of cerulein-mediated injury. We propose that this uniquely trypsin-dependent mechanism explains the development of hereditary chronic pancreatitis in humans. Trypsin inhibition during acute attacks should prevent or delay progression to chronic disease.
    Keywords:  Cerulein; Inflammation; Pancreas atrophy; Pancreatitis; Trypsin
  35. Nucleic Acids Res. 2022 Jan 17. pii: gkab1296. [Epub ahead of print]
      Although there are several pathways to ensure that proteins are folded properly in the cell, little is known about the molecular mechanisms regulating histone folding and proteostasis. In this work, we identified that chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA) is the main pathway involved in the degradation of newly synthesized histones H3 and H4. This degradation is finely regulated by the interplay between HSC70 and tNASP, two histone interacting proteins. tNASP stabilizes histone H3 levels by blocking the direct transport of histone H3 into lysosomes. We further demonstrate that CMA degrades unfolded histone H3. Thus, we reveal that CMA is the main degradation pathway involved in the quality control of histone biogenesis, evidencing an additional mechanism in the intricate network of histone cellular proteostasis.
  36. Ageing Res Rev. 2022 Jan 17. pii: S1568-1637(22)00011-3. [Epub ahead of print] 101569
      Growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF15) is recently emerging not only as a stress-related mitokine, but also as a key player in the aging process, being the most up-regulated protein with age and associated with a variety of age-related diseases (ARDs). Many data indicate that GDF15 has protective roles in several tissues during different stress and aging, thus playing a beneficial role in apparent contrast with the observed association with many ARDs. A possible detrimental role for this protein is then hypothesised to emerge with age. Therefore, GDF15 can be considered as a pleiotropic factor with beneficial activities that can turn detrimental in old age possibly when it is chronically elevated. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge on the biology of GDF15 during aging. We also propose GDF15 as a part of a dormancy program, where it may play as a mediator of defence processes aimed to protect from inflammatory damage and other stresses, according to the life history theory.
    Keywords:  GDF15; age-related diseases; dormancy program; inflammaging; metabolism; stress
  37. Cell Rep. 2022 Jan 18. pii: S2211-1247(21)01792-7. [Epub ahead of print]38(3): 110277
      Exosomes/small extracellular vesicles (sEVs) can serve as multifactorial mediators of cell-to-cell communication through their miRNA and protein cargo. Quantitative proteomic analysis of five cell lines representing metabolically important tissues reveals that each cell type has a unique sEV proteome. While classical sEV markers such as CD9/CD63/CD81 vary markedly in abundance, we identify six sEV markers (ENO1, GPI, HSPA5, YWHAB, CSF1R, and CNTN1) that are similarly abundant in sEVs of all cell types. In addition, each cell type has specific sEV markers. Using fat-specific Dicer-knockout mice with decreased white adipose tissue and increased brown adipose tissue, we show that these cell-type-specific markers can predict the changing origin of the serum sEVs. These results provide a valuable resource for understanding the sEV proteome of the cells and tissues important in metabolic homeostasis, identify unique sEV markers, and demonstrate how these markers can help in predicting the tissue of origin of serum sEVs.
    Keywords:  exosomes; extracellular vesicles; metabolism; proteomics; tissue communication; tissue markers
  38. Cell Rep. 2022 Jan 18. pii: S2211-1247(21)01766-6. [Epub ahead of print]38(3): 110254
      Cancer heterogeneity and evolution are not fully understood. Here, we show that mitochondrial DNA of the normal liver shapes tumor progression, histology, and immune environment prior to the acquisition of oncogenic mutation. Using conplastic mice, we show that mtDNA dictates the expression of the mitochondrial unfolded protein response (UPRmt) in the normal liver. Activation of oncogenic mutations in UPRmt-positive liver increases tumor incidence and histological heterogeneity. Further, in a subset of UPRmt-positive mice, invasive liver cancers develop. RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) analysis of the normal liver reveals that, in this subset, the PAPP-A/DDR2/SNAIL axis of invasion pre-exists along with elevated collagen. Since PAPP-A promotes immune evasion, we analyzed the immune signature and found that their livers are immunosuppressed. Further, the PAPP-A signature identifies the immune exhausted subset of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in humans. Our data suggest that mtDNA of normal liver shapes the entire liver cancer portrait upon acquisition of oncogenic mutations.
    Keywords:  DDR2; PAPP-A; UPRmt; collagen; conplastic mice; estrogen receptor; immune exhausted; liver cancer; mitochondrial UPR; sexual dimorphism
  39. Cancer Res. 2022 Jan 15. 82(2): 195-196
      Low oxygen concentrations (hypoxia) are detrimental to most species on Earth; thus, cells have evolved with adaptations allowing them to withstand transient hypoxia. As with other survival pathways, cancer cells have co-opted these mechanisms to keep up with the metabolic demands of rapid growth and proliferation in harsh tumor microenvironments. The most well-studied oxygen response pathway involves hypoxia-inducible factors (HIF) and their regulation by the von Hippel-Lindau protein (pVHL) and the prolyl hydroxylases (PHD1-3). This study from Zhong and colleagues, published in Cancer Research in 1999, was the first to show increased HIF1α expression in several cancer types and in metastases, suggesting a role for HIFs in disease progression. Since publication, significant progress has been made in the understanding of tumor hypoxia responses and efforts to target this pathway as a therapeutic strategy for patients with cancer are underway.See related article by Zhong and colleagues, Cancer Res 1999;59:5830-5.
  40. Gels. 2022 Jan 07. pii: 43. [Epub ahead of print]8(1):
      Despite the availability of a wide range of commercial kits, protein quantification is often unreliable, especially for tissue-derived samples, leading to uneven loading in subsequent experiments. Here we show that the widely used Bicinchoninic Acid (BCA) assay tends to underestimate protein concentrations of tissue samples. We present a Ponceau S staining-based dot-blot assay as an alternative for protein quantification. This method is simple, rapid, more reliable than the BCA assay, compatible with biological samples lysed in RIPA or 2x SDS gel-loading buffer, and also inexpensive.
    Keywords:  Western blot; dot blot; gel electrophoresis; protein quantification