bims-cagime Biomed News
on Cancer, aging and metabolism
Issue of 2022‒04‒10
38 papers selected by
Kıvanç Görgülü
Technical University of Munich

  1. Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2022 Apr 02. pii: S0165-6147(22)00057-8. [Epub ahead of print]
      Targeting metabolic reprogramming has proven successful in oncology, but this field requires better identification of drugs that inhibit mitochondrial metabolism in cancer cells. Recent work from Dr Wolf's group reveals that the primary target of the antitumor compound SMIP004-7 is mitochondrial complex I (NDUFS2 subunit), inhibition of which promotes anticancer immune surveillance.
    Keywords:  anticancer therapies; cancer metabolism; complex I; mitochondria; oxidative phosphorylation system; tumor microenvironment
  2. Exp Mol Med. 2022 Apr 06.
      Cancer cachexia syndrome is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in cancer patients in the advanced stage. It is a devastating disorder characterized by nutritional impairment, weakness, and wasting, and it affects treatment success and quality of life. Two major symptoms of cancer cachexia are anorexia and weight loss. Weight loss in cachexia is not reversed through increased food intake, suggesting that anorexia and weight loss in cancer patients are regulated by independent molecular mechanisms. Although the wasting phenotype mostly occurs in skeletal muscle and adipose tissue, other organs, such as the brain, liver, pancreas, heart, and gut, are also involved in cachexia. Thus, cachexia is a multiorgan syndrome. Although the molecular basis of cancer cachexia-induced weight loss is known, the mechanism underlying anorexia is poorly understood. Here, we highlight our recent discovery of a new anorexia mechanism by which a tumor-derived humoral factor induces cancer anorexia by regulating feeding-related neuropeptide hormones in the brain. Furthermore, we elucidated the process through which anorexia precedes tissue wasting in cachexia. This review article aims to provide an overview of the key molecular mechanisms of anorexia and tissue wasting caused by cancer cachexia.
  3. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2022 ;10 785252
      Macroautophagy (hereafter referred to as autophagy) is a homeostatic process that preserves cellular integrity. In mice, autophagy regulates pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) development in a manner dependent on the status of the tumor suppressor gene Trp53. Studies published so far have investigated the impact of autophagy blockage in tumors arising from Trp53-hemizygous or -homozygous tissue. In contrast, in human PDACs the tumor suppressor gene TP53 is mutated rather than allelically lost, and TP53 mutants retain pathobiological functions that differ from complete allelic loss. In order to better represent the patient situation, we have investigated PDAC development in a well-characterized genetically engineered mouse model (GEMM) of PDAC with mutant Trp53 (Trp53 R172H ) and deletion of the essential autophagy gene Atg7. Autophagy blockage reduced PDAC incidence but had no impact on survival time in the subset of animals that formed a tumor. In the absence of Atg7, non-tumor-bearing mice reached a similar age as animals with malignant disease. However, the architecture of autophagy-deficient, tumor-free pancreata was effaced, normal acinar tissue was largely replaced with low-grade pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasias (PanINs) and insulin expressing islet β-cells were reduced. Our data add further complexity to the interplay between Atg7 inhibition and Trp53 status in tumorigenesis.
    Keywords:  ATG7; autophagy; metastasis; p53; pancreatic cancer
  4. Cancer Discov. 2022 Apr 01. 12(4): 913-923
      Members of the family of RAS proto-oncogenes, discovered just over 40 years ago, were among the first cancer-initiating genes to be discovered. Of the three RAS family members, KRAS is the most frequently mutated in human cancers. Despite intensive biological and biochemical study of RAS proteins over the past four decades, we are only now starting to devise therapeutic strategies to target their oncogenic properties. Here, we highlight the distinct biochemical properties of common and rare KRAS alleles, enabling their classification into functional subtypes. We also discuss the implications of this functional classification for potential therapeutic avenues targeting mutant subtypes.SIGNIFICANCE: Efforts in the recent past to inhibit KRAS oncogenicity have focused on kinases that function in downstream signal transduction cascades, although preclinical successes have not translated to patients with KRAS-mutant cancer. Recently, clinically effective covalent inhibitors of KRASG12C have been developed, establishing two principles that form a foundation for future efforts. First, KRAS is druggable. Second, each mutant form of KRAS is likely to have properties that make it uniquely druggable.
  5. Nature. 2022 Apr 06.
      Mammalian embryogenesis requires rapid growth and proper metabolic regulation1. Midgestation features increasing oxygen and nutrient availability concomitant with fetal organ development2,3. Understanding how metabolism supports development requires approaches to observe metabolism directly in model organisms in utero. Here we used isotope tracing and metabolomics to identify evolving metabolic programmes in the placenta and embryo during midgestation in mice. These tissues differ metabolically throughout midgestation, but we pinpointed gestational days (GD) 10.5-11.5 as a transition period for both placenta and embryo. Isotope tracing revealed differences in carbohydrate metabolism between the tissues and rapid glucose-dependent purine synthesis, especially in the embryo. Glucose's contribution to the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle rises throughout midgestation in the embryo but not in the placenta. By GD12.5, compartmentalized metabolic programmes are apparent within the embryo, including different nutrient contributions to the TCA cycle in different organs. To contextualize developmental anomalies associated with Mendelian metabolic defects, we analysed mice deficient in LIPT1, the enzyme that activates 2-ketoacid dehydrogenases related to the TCA cycle4,5. LIPT1 deficiency suppresses TCA cycle metabolism during the GD10.5-GD11.5 transition, perturbs brain, heart and erythrocyte development and leads to embryonic demise by GD11.5. These data document individualized metabolic programmes in developing organs in utero.
  6. Subcell Biochem. 2022 ;98 205-221
      Macropinocytosis is a critical route of nutrient acquisition in pancreatic cancer cells. Constitutive macropinocytosis is promoted by mutant KRAS, which activates the PI3Kα lipid kinase and RAC1, to drive membrane ruffling, macropinosome uptake and processing. However, our recent study on the KRASG12R mutant indicated the presence of a KRAS-independent mode of macropinocytosis in pancreatic cancer cell lines, thereby increasing the complexity of this process. We found that KRASG12R-mutant cell lines promote macropinocytosis independent of KRAS activity using PI3Kγ and RAC1, highlighting the convergence of regulation on RAC signaling. While macropinocytosis has been proposed to be a therapeutic target for the treatment of pancreatic cancer, our studies have underscored how little we understand about the activation and regulation of this metabolic process. Therefore, this review seeks to highlight the differences in macropinocytosis regulation in the two cellular subtypes while also highlighting the features that make the KRASG12R mutant atypical.
    Keywords:  KRAS; Macropinocytosis; Metabolism; Mutant-specific signaling; PI3K; Pancreatic cancer
  7. Methods Cell Biol. 2022 ;pii: S0091-679X(21)00118-7. [Epub ahead of print]168 139-159
      Chronic inflammation is known to be associated with pancreatic cancer, however a complete picture regarding how these pathologies intersect is still being characterized. In vivo model systems are critical for the study of mechanisms underlying how inflammation accelerates neoplasia. Repeat injection of cerulein, a cholecystokinin (CCK) analog, is widely used to experimentally induce acute and chronic pancreatitis in vivo. Chronic cerulein administration into genetically engineered mouse models (GEMMs) with predisposition to pancreatic cancer can induce a pro-inflammatory immune response, pancreatic acinar cell damage, pancreatic stellate cell activation, and accelerate the onset of neoplasia. Here we provide a detailed protocol and insights into using cerulein to induce pancreatitis in GEMMs, and methods to experimentally assess inflammation and pancreatic neoplasia.
    Keywords:  In vivo modeling; Inflammation; Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma; Pancreatitis
  8. Nat Commun. 2022 Apr 04. 13(1): 1804
      Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) is an inherently immune cell deprived tumor, characterized by desmoplastic stroma and suppressive immune cells. Here we systematically dissect PDA intrinsic mechanisms of immune evasion by in vitro and in vivo CRISPR screening, and identify Vps4b and Rnf31 as essential factors required for escaping CD8+ T cell killing. For Vps4b we find that inactivation impairs autophagy, resulting in increased accumulation of CD8+ T cell-derived granzyme B and subsequent tumor cell lysis. For Rnf31 we demonstrate that it protects tumor cells from TNF-mediated caspase 8 cleavage and subsequent apoptosis induction, a mechanism that is conserved in human PDA organoids. Orthotopic transplantation of Vps4b- or Rnf31 deficient pancreatic tumors into immune competent mice, moreover, reveals increased CD8+ T cell infiltration and effector function, and markedly reduced tumor growth. Our work uncovers vulnerabilities in PDA that might be exploited to render these tumors more susceptible to the immune system.
  9. Cell Rep. 2022 Apr 05. pii: S2211-1247(22)00357-6. [Epub ahead of print]39(1): 110609
      Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) are a major cellular component in the tumor microenvironment (TME). However, the relationship between the phenotype and metabolic pattern of TAMs remains poorly understood. We performed single-cell transcriptome profiling on hepatic TAMs from mice bearing liver metastatic tumors. We find that TAMs manifest high heterogeneity at the levels of transcription, development, metabolism, and function. Integrative analyses and validation experiments indicate that increased purine metabolism is a feature of TAMs with pro-tumor and terminal differentiation phenotypes. Like mouse TAMs, human TAMs are highly heterogeneous. Human TAMs with increased purine metabolism exhibit a pro-tumor phenotype and correlate with poor therapeutic efficacy to immune checkpoint blockade. Altogether, our work demonstrates that TAMs are developmentally, metabolically, and functionally heterogeneous and purine metabolism may be a key metabolic feature of a pro-tumor macrophage population.
    Keywords:  CP: Cancer; CP: Metabolism; cancer; checkpoint; immunosuppression; immunotherapy; liver; macrophage; metabolism; purine; single-cell RNA sequencing; tumor microenvironment
  10. Front Oncol. 2022 ;12 857686
      The ability of cancer cells to adjust their metabolism in response to environmental changes is a well-recognized hallmark of cancer. Diverse cancer and non-cancer cells within tumors compete for metabolic resources. Metabolic demands change frequently during tumor initiation, progression and metastasis, challenging our quest to better understand tumor biology and develop novel therapeutics. Vascularization, physical constraints, immune responses and genetic instability promote tumor evolution resulting in immune evasion, opportunities to breach basement membrane barriers and spread through the circulation and lymphatics. In addition, the unfolded protein response linked to the ubiquitin proteasome system is a key player in addressing stoichiometric imbalances between nuclear and mitochondrially-encoded protein subunits of respiratory complexes, and nuclear-encoded mitochondrial ribosomal protein subunits. While progressive genetic changes, some of which affect metabolic adaptability, contribute to tumorigenesis and metastasis through clonal expansion, epigenetic changes are also important and more dynamic in nature. Understanding the role of stromal and immune cells in the tumor microenvironment in remodeling cancer cell energy metabolism has become an increasingly important area of research. In this perspective, we discuss the adaptations made by cancer cells to balance mitochondrial and glycolytic energy metabolism. We discuss how hypoxia and nutrient limitations affect reductive and oxidative stress through changes in mitochondrial electron transport activity. We propose that integrated responses to cellular stress in cancer cells are central to metabolic flexibility in general and bioenergetic adaptability in particular and are paramount in tumor progression and metastasis.
    Keywords:  bioenergetic flexibility; glycolysis-OXPHOS continuum; mito-nuclear gene expression; tumor microenvironment (TME); tumor progression and metastasis
  11. Mol Metab. 2022 Mar 30. pii: S2212-8778(22)00047-3. [Epub ahead of print] 101478
      OBJECTIVE: Profound metabolic alterations characterize cancer development and, beyond glucose addiction, amino acid (AA) dependency is now recognized as a hallmark of tumour growth. Therefore, targeting the metabolic addiction of tumours by reprogramming their substrate utilization is an attractive therapeutic strategy. We hypothesized that a dietary approach targeted to stimulate oxidative metabolism could reverse the metabolic inflexibility of tumours and represent a proper adjuvant therapy.METHODS: We measured tumour development in xenografted mice fed with a designer, casein-deprived diet enriched in free essential amino acids (EAAs; SFA-EAA diet), or two control isocaloric, isolipidic, and isonitrogenous diets, identical to the SFA-EAA diet except for casein presence (SFA diet), or casein replacement by the free AA mixture designed on the AA profile of casein (SFA-CAA diet). Moreover, we investigated the metabolic, biochemical, and molecular effects of two mixtures that reproduce the AA composition of the SFA-EAA diet (i.e., EAAm) and SFA-CAA diet (i.e., CAAm) in diverse cancer and non-cancer cells.
    RESULTS: The SFA-EAA diet reduced tumour growth in vivo, promoted endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, and inhibited mechanistic/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) activity in the tumours. Accordingly, in culture, the EAAm, but not the CAAm, activated apoptotic cell death in cancer cells without affecting the survival and proliferation of non-cancer cells. The EAAm increased branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) oxidation and decreased glycolysis, ATP levels, redox potential, and intracellular content of selective non-essential amino acids (NEAA) in cancer cells. The EAAm-induced NEAA starvation activated the GCN2-ATF4 stress pathway, leading to ER stress, mTOR inactivation, and apoptosis in cancer cells, unlike non-cancer cells.
    CONCLUSION: Together, these results confirm the efficacy of specific EAA mixtures in promoting cancer cells' death and suggest that manipulation of dietary EAA content and profile could be a valuable support to the standard chemotherapy for specific cancers.
    Keywords:  Branched-chain amino acids; Cancer metabolism; Essential amino acids; Glycolysis; Mechanistic/mammalian target of rapamycin; Mitochondria
  12. Science. 2022 Apr 08. 376(6589): eabg5601
      We established a genome-wide compendium of somatic mutation events in 3949 whole cancer genomes representing 19 tumor types. Protein-coding events captured well-established drivers. Noncoding events near tissue-specific genes, such as ALB in the liver or KLK3 in the prostate, characterized localized passenger mutation patterns and may reflect tumor-cell-of-origin imprinting. Noncoding events in regulatory promoter and enhancer regions frequently involved cancer-relevant genes such as BCL6, FGFR2, RAD51B, SMC6, TERT, and XBP1 and represent possible drivers. Unlike most noncoding regulatory events, XBP1 mutations primarily accumulated outside the gene's promoter, and we validated their effect on gene expression using CRISPR-interference screening and luciferase reporter assays. Broadly, our study provides a blueprint for capturing mutation events across the entire genome to guide advances in biological discovery, therapies, and diagnostics.
  13. Trends Cancer. 2022 Mar 31. pii: S2405-8033(22)00065-6. [Epub ahead of print]
      Genetic studies suggest that sequential dissemination from a primary metastasis, usually at the bone, is a major route of metastatic progression in early, radically resected cancer. Disseminated tumor cells (DTCs) can likely infiltrate but not grow, and may remain dormant once disseminated for extended intervals (from months to decades). The stationary nature of DTCs prevents them from being successfully treated as an asymptomatic residual disease in the adjuvant setting; critically, they can eventually relapse, adapt, and develop therapy resistance, causing incurable overt metastasis. Metastatic lesions usually first appear in one tissue, which invigorates metastatic cells for further dissemination to other organs, with a fatal outcome. Clinical and genetic data now indicate that metastatic lesions in one organ can seed secondary metastases in other organs: in other words, metastasis arising from metastasis. Herein we discuss recent insight into metastasis cell dormancy mechanisms, survival, communication with the local microenvironment, and eventual changes that endow DTCs with the capacity to expand and colonize to other metastatic sites.
    Keywords:  adaptation; dormancy; evolution; metastasis; microenvironment
  14. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2022 ;10 861622
      Cancer cachexia is a debilitating syndrome characterized by skeletal muscle wasting, weakness and fatigue. Several pathogenetic mechanisms can contribute to these muscle derangements. Mitochondrial alterations, altered metabolism and increased oxidative stress are known to promote muscle weakness and muscle catabolism. To the extent of improving cachexia, several drugs have been tested to stimulate mitochondrial function and normalize the redox balance. The aim of this study was to test the potential beneficial anti-cachectic effects of Mitoquinone Q (MitoQ), one of the most widely-used mitochondria-targeting antioxidant. Here we show that MitoQ administration (25 mg/kg in drinking water, daily) in vivo was able to improve body weight loss in Colon-26 (C26) bearers, without affecting tumor size. Consistently, the C26 hosts displayed ameliorated skeletal muscle and strength upon treatment with MitoQ. In line with improved skeletal muscle mass, the treatment with MitoQ was able to partially correct the expression of the E3 ubiquitin ligases Atrogin-1 and Murf1. Contrarily, the anabolic signaling was not improved by the treatment, as showed by unchanged AKT, mTOR and 4EBP1 phosphorylation. Assessment of gene expression showed altered levels of markers of mitochondrial biogenesis and homeostasis in the tumor hosts, although only Mitofusin-2 levels were significantly affected by the treatment. Interestingly, the levels of Pdk4 and CytB, genes involved in the regulation of mitochondrial function and metabolism, were also partially increased by MitoQ, in line with the modulation of hexokinase (HK), pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) and succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) enzymatic activities. The improvement of the oxidative metabolism was associated with reduced myosteatosis (i.e., intramuscular fat infiltration) in the C26 bearers receiving MitoQ, despite unchanged muscle LDL receptor expression, therefore suggesting that MitoQ could boost β-oxidation in the muscle tissue and promote a glycolytic-to-oxidative shift in muscle metabolism and fiber composition. Overall, our data identify MitoQ as an effective treatment to improve skeletal muscle mass and function in tumor hosts and further support studies aimed at testing the anti-cachectic properties of mitochondria-targeting antioxidants also in combination with routinely administered chemotherapy agents.
    Keywords:  MitoQ; cachexia; cancer; metabolism; mitochondria; muscle
  15. Cell. 2022 Mar 27. pii: S0092-8674(22)00265-3. [Epub ahead of print]
      Protein aggregation is a hallmark of multiple human pathologies. Autophagy selectively degrades protein aggregates via aggrephagy. How selectivity is achieved has been elusive. Here, we identify the chaperonin subunit CCT2 as an autophagy receptor regulating the clearance of aggregation-prone proteins in the cell and the mouse brain. CCT2 associates with aggregation-prone proteins independent of cargo ubiquitination and interacts with autophagosome marker ATG8s through a non-classical VLIR motif. In addition, CCT2 regulates aggrephagy independently of the ubiquitin-binding receptors (P62, NBR1, and TAX1BP1) or chaperone-mediated autophagy. Unlike P62, NBR1, and TAX1BP1, which facilitate the clearance of protein condensates with liquidity, CCT2 specifically promotes the autophagic degradation of protein aggregates with little liquidity (solid aggregates). Furthermore, aggregation-prone protein accumulation induces the functional switch of CCT2 from a chaperone subunit to an autophagy receptor by promoting CCT2 monomer formation, which exposes the VLIR to ATG8s interaction and, therefore, enables the autophagic function.
    Keywords:  CCT2; FUS; GABARAP; Huntington’s disease; LC3; NBR1; P62; SOD1; TAX1BP1; TRiC; aggrephagy; autophagy; chaperone; chaperonin; huntingtin; neurodegeneration; phase separation; protein aggregates; protein aggregation; tau
  16. JCI Insight. 2022 Apr 08. pii: e151593. [Epub ahead of print]7(7):
      We investigate how myeloid subsets differentially shape immunity to pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA). We show that tumor antigenicity sculpts myeloid cell composition and functionality. Antigenicity promotes accumulation of type 1 dendritic cells (cDC1), which is driven by Xcr1 signaling, and overcomes macrophage-mediated suppression. The therapeutic activity of adoptive T cell therapy or programmed cell death ligand 1 blockade required cDC1s, which sustained splenic Klrg1+ cytotoxic antitumor T cells and functional intratumoral T cells. KLRG1 and cDC1 genes correlated in human tumors, and PDA patients with high intratumoral KLRG1 survived longer than patients with low intratumoral KLRG1. The immunotherapy CD40 agonist also required host cDC1s for maximal therapeutic benefit. However, CD40 agonist exhibited partial therapeutic benefit in cDC1-deficient hosts and resulted in priming of tumor-specific yet atypical CD8+ T cells with a regulatory phenotype and that failed to participate in tumor control. Monocyte/macrophage depletion using clodronate liposomes abrogated T cell priming yet enhanced the antitumor activity of CD40 agonist in cDC1-deficient hosts via engagement of innate immunity. In sum, our study supports that cDC1s are essential for sustaining effective antitumor T cells and supports differential roles for cDC1s and monocytes/macrophages in instructing T cell fate and immunotherapy response.
    Keywords:  Antigen-presenting cells; Cancer immunotherapy; Immunology; T cells
  17. Endocrinology. 2022 Apr 02. pii: bqac041. [Epub ahead of print]
      The mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway is the central regulator of cell growth and proliferation by integrating growth factor and nutrient availability. Under healthy physiological conditions, this process is tightly coordinated and essential to maintain whole-body homeostasis. Not surprisingly, dysregulated mTOR signaling underpins several diseases with increasing incidence worldwide, including obesity, diabetes and cancer. Consequently, there is significant clinical interest in developing therapeutic strategies that effectively target this pathway. The transition of mTOR inhibitors from the bench to bedside, however, has largely been marked with challenges and shortcomings, such as the development of therapy resistance and adverse side effects in patients. In this review, we discuss the current status of first, second and third generation mTOR inhibitors as a cancer therapy in both pre-clinical and clinical settings, with a particular emphasis on the mechanisms of drug resistance. We focus especially on the emerging role of diet as an important environmental determinant of therapy response, and posit a conceptual framework that links nutrient availability and whole-body metabolic states such as obesity with many of the previously defined processes that drive resistance to mTOR-targeted therapies. Given the role of mTOR as a central integrator of cell metabolism and function, we propose that modulating nutrient inputs through dietary interventions may influence the signaling dynamics of this pathway and compensatory nodes. In doing so, new opportunities for exploiting diet/drug synergies are highlighted that may unlock the therapeutic potential of mTOR inhibitors as a cancer treatment.
    Keywords:  diet; drug resistance; mTOR; metabolism
  18. Cell Death Discov. 2022 Apr 04. 8(1): 162
      Tumor-derived exosomes are emerging mediators of cancer cachexia, a kind of multifactorial syndrome characterized by serious loss of skeletal muscle mass and function. Our previous study had showed that microRNAs in exosomes of C26 colon tumor cells were involved in induction of muscle atrophy. Here, we focus on studying proteins in tumor-derived exosomes which might also contribute to the development of cancer cachexia. Results of comparing the protein profiles of cachexic C26 exosomes and non-cachexic MC38 exosomes suggested that growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF-15) was rich in C26 exosomes. Western blotting analysis confirmed the higher levels of GDF-15 in C26 cells and C26 exosomes, compared with that of MC38 cells. Results of animal study also showed that GDF-15 was rich in tumor tissues, serum exosomes, and gastrocnemius (GA) muscle tissues of C26 tumor-bearing mice. GDF-15 protein could directly induce muscle atrophy of cultured C2C12 myotubes via regulating Bcl-2/caspase-3 pathways. What's more, overexpression of GDF-15 in MC38 cells could increase the potency of MC38 conditioned medium or exosomes in inducing muscle atrophy. Knockdown of GDF-15 in C26 cells decreased the potency of C26 conditioned medium or exosomes in inducing muscle atrophy. These results suggested that GDF-15 in tumor-derived exosomes could contribute to induction of muscle atrophy and also supported the possibility of targeting GDF-15 in treatment of cancer cachexia.
  19. Nat Commun. 2022 Apr 06. 13(1): 1853
      Protein homeostatic control of mitochondria is key to age-related diseases and organismal decline. However, it is unknown how the diverse types of stress experienced by mitochondria can be integrated and appropriately responded to in human cells. Here we identify perturbations in the ancient conserved processes of mitochondrial protein import and processing as sources of DELE1 activation: DELE1 is continuously sorted across both mitochondrial membranes into the matrix and detects different types of perturbations along the way. DELE1 molecules in transit can become licensed for mitochondrial release and stress signaling through proteolytic removal of N-terminal sorting signals. Import defects that occur at the mitochondrial surface allow DELE1 precursors to bind and activate downstream factor HRI without the need for cleavage. Genome-wide genetics reveal that DELE1 additionally responds to compromised presequence processing by the matrix proteases PITRM1 and MPP, which are mutated in neurodegenerative diseases. These mechanisms rationalize DELE1-dependent mitochondrial stress integration in the human system and may inform future therapies of neuropathies.
  20. Mol Metab. 2022 Apr 04. pii: S2212-8778(22)00058-8. [Epub ahead of print] 101489
      OBJECTIVE: There is strong evidence that mitochondrial DNA mutations and mitochondrial dysfunction play a role in diabetes pathogenesis. The homozygous knock-in mtDNA mutator mouse is a model of premature aging due to the accumulation of mitochondrial DNA mutations. We used this mouse model to investigate the relationship between mitochondrial subunit expression and pancreatic islet cell composition.METHODS: Quadruple immunofluorescence was used to quantify mitochondrial subunit expression (complex I and IV) and cell composition in pancreatic islets from mitochondrial DNA mutator mice (PolgAmut/mut) and control C57BL/6 mice at 12 and 44 weeks of age.
    RESULTS: Mitochondrial complex I subunit expression was decreased in islets from 12 week PolgAmut/mut mice. This complex I deficiency persisted with age and was associated with decreased insulin staining intensity at 44 weeks. Complex I deficiency was greater in α-cells compared with β-cells in islets from 44 week PolgAmut/mut mice. Islet cell composition was normal in 12 week PolgAmut/mut mice, but the β: α cell ratio was decreased in islets from 44 week PolgAmut/mut mice. This was due to an increase in α-cell number linked to an increase in α-cell proliferation.
    CONCLUSION: Complex I deficiency promotes α-cell proliferation and alters islet cell composition.
    Keywords:  Mitochondria; mtDNA; mtDNA mutator mice; pancreatic islets
  21. BMJ Open. 2022 Apr 04. 12(4): e057128
    Minimally Invasive Treatment Group in the Pancreatic Disease Branch of China’s International Exchange and Promotion Association for Medicine and Healthcare (MITG-P-CPAM)
      INTRODUCTION: Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancers and pancreaticoduodenectomy (PD) is recommended as the optimal operation for resectable pancreatic head cancer. Minimally invasive surgery, which initially emerged as hybrid-laparoscopy and recently developed into total laparoscopy surgery, has been widely used for various abdominal surgeries. However, controversy persists regarding whether laparoscopic PD (LPD) is inferior to open PD (OPD) for resectable pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) treatment. Further studies, especially randomised clinical trials, are warranted to compare these two surgical techniques.METHODS AND ANALYSIS: The TJDBPS07 study is designed as a prospective, randomised controlled, parallel-group, open-label, multicentre noninferiority study. All participating pancreatic surgical centres comprise specialists who have performed no less than 104 LPDs and OPDs, respectively. A total of 200 strictly selected PD candidates diagnosed with PDAC will be randomised to receive LPD or OPD. The primary outcome is the 5-year overall survival rate, whereas the secondary outcomes include overall survival, disease-free survival, 90-day mortality, complication rate, comprehensive complication index, length of stay and intraoperative indicators. We hypothesise that LPD is not inferior to OPD for the treatment of resectable PDAC. The enrolment schedule is estimated to be 2 years and follow-up for each patient will be 5 years.
    ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: This study received approval from the Tongji Hospital Ethics Committee of Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, and monitor from an independent third-party organisation. Results of this trial will be presented in international meetings and published in a peer-reviewed journal.
    Keywords:  Clinical trials; Gastrointestinal tumours; Pancreatic disease; Pancreatic surgery
  22. Expert Rev Mol Diagn. 2022 Apr 08.
      INTRODUCTION: Adaptations of eukaryotic cells to environmental changes are important for their survival. However, under some circumstances, microenvironmental changes promote that eukaryotic cells utilize a metabolic signature resembling a unicellular organism named the Warburg effect. Most cancer cells share the Warburg effect displaying lactic fermentation and high glucose uptake. The Warburg effect also induces a metabolic rewiring stimulating glutamine consumption and lipid synthesis, also considered cancer hallmarks. Amino acid metabolism alteration due to the Warburg effect increases plasma levels of proline and branched-chain amino acids in several cancer types. Proline and lipids are probably used as electron transfer molecules in carcinogenic cells. In addition, branched-chain amino acids fuel the Krebs cycle, protein synthesis, and signaling in cancer cells.AREAS COVERED: This review covers how metabolomics studies describe changes in some metabolites and proteins associated with the Warburg effect and related metabolic pathways.
    EXPERT OPINION: In this review, we analyze the metabolic signature of the Warburg effect and related phenotypes and propose some Warburg effect-related metabolites and proteins (lactate, glucose uptake, glucose transporters, glutamine, branched-chain amino acids, proline, and some lipogenic enzymes) as promising cancer biomarkers.
    Keywords:  Biomarker; Warburg effect; cancer; diagnosis; metabolism; molecular prognosis
  23. Sci Adv. 2022 Apr 08. 8(14): eabm7985
      The ability to break down fructose is dependent on ketohexokinase (KHK) that phosphorylates fructose to fructose-1-phosphate (F1P). We show that KHK expression is tightly controlled and limited to a small number of organs and is down-regulated in liver and intestinal cancer cells. Loss of fructose metabolism is also apparent in hepatocellular adenoma and carcinoma (HCC) patient samples. KHK overexpression in liver cancer cells results in decreased fructose flux through glycolysis. We then developed a strategy to detect this metabolic switch in vivo using hyperpolarized magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Uniformly deuterating [2-13C]-fructose and dissolving in D2O increased its spin-lattice relaxation time (T1) fivefold, enabling detection of F1P and its loss in models of HCC. In summary, we posit that in the liver, fructolysis to F1P is lost in the development of cancer and can be used as a biomarker of tissue function in the clinic using metabolic imaging.
  24. Subcell Biochem. 2022 ;98 15-40
      Macropinocytosis is an evolutionarily conserved endocytic pathway that mediates the nonselective acquisition of extracellular material via large endocytic vesicles known as macropinosomes. In addition to other functions, this uptake pathway supports cancer cell metabolism through the uptake of nutrients. Cells harboring oncogene or tumor suppressor mutations are known to display heightened macropinocytosis, which confers to the cancer cells the ability to survive and proliferate despite the nutrient-scarce conditions of the tumor microenvironment. Thus, macropinocytosis is associated with cancer malignancy. Macropinocytic uptake can be induced in cancer cells by different stress stimuli, acting as an adaptive mechanism for the cells to resist stresses in the tumor milieu. Here, we review the cellular stresses that are known to promote macropinocytosis, as well as the underlying molecular mechanisms that drive this process.
    Keywords:  Cancer malignancy; Cell metabolism; Macropinocytosis; Nutrient scarcity; Nutrient uptake; Stress stimuli
  25. Semin Cancer Biol. 2022 Apr 04. pii: S1044-579X(22)00079-7. [Epub ahead of print]
      Cancer cells possess various biological processes to ensure survival and proliferation even under unfavorable conditions such as hypoxia, nutrient deprivation, and oxidative stress. One of the defining hallmarks of cancer cells is their ability to reprogram their metabolism to suit their needs. Building on over a decade of research in the field of cancer metabolism, numerous unique metabolic capabilities are still being discovered in the present day. One recent discovery in the field of cancer metabolism that was hitherto unexpected is the ability of cancer cells to store vital metabolites in forms that can be readily converted to glucose and glutamine for later use. We called these forms "metabolic reservoirs." While many studies have been conducted on storage molecules such as glycogen, triglyceride, and phosphocreatine (PCr), few have explored the concept of "metabolic reservoirs" for cancer as a whole. In this review, we will provide an overview of this concept, the previously known reservoirs including glycogen, triglyceride, and PCr, and the new discoveries made including the newly discovered reservoirs such as N-acetyl-aspartyl-glutamate (NAAG), lactate, and γ- aminobutyric acid (GABA). We will also discuss whether disrupting these reservoir cycles may be a new avenue for cancer treatment.
    Keywords:  Metabolic reservoir; N-acetyl-aspartyl-glutamate (NAAG); cancer metabolism; gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA); lactate
  26. Oncogene. 2022 Apr 07.
      Cancer cells often experience high basal levels of DNA replication stress (RS), for example due to hyperactivation of oncoproteins like MYC or RAS. Therefore, cancer cells are considered to be sensitive to drugs that exacerbate the level of RS or block the intra S-phase checkpoint. Consequently, RS-inducing drugs including ATR and CHK1 inhibitors are used or evaluated as anti-cancer therapies. However, drug resistance and lack of biomarkers predicting therapeutic efficacy limit efficient use. This raises the question what determines sensitivity of individual cancer cells to RS. Here, we report that oncogenic RAS does not only enhance the sensitivity to ATR/CHK1 inhibitors by directly causing RS. Instead, we observed that HRASG12V dampens the activation of the P53-dependent transcriptional response to drug-induced RS, which in turn confers sensitivity to RS. We demonstrate that inducible expression of HRASG12V sensitized cells to ATR and CHK1 inhibitors. Using RNA-sequencing of FACS-sorted cells we discovered that P53 signaling is the sole transcriptional response to RS. However, oncogenic RAS attenuates the transcription of P53 and TGF-β pathway components which consequently dampens P53 target gene expression. Accordingly, live cell imaging showed that HRASG12V exacerbates RS in S/G2-phase, which could be rescued by stabilization of P53. Thus, our results demonstrate that transcriptional control of P53 target genes is the prime determinant in the response to ATR/CHK1 inhibitors and show that hyperactivation of the MAPK pathway impedes this response. Our findings suggest that the level of oncogenic MAPK signaling could predict sensitivity to intra-S-phase checkpoint inhibition in cancers with intact P53.
  27. Front Immunol. 2022 ;13 842489
      Stimulator of interferon response cGAMP interactor 1 (STING1), also known as TMEM173, is an immune adaptor protein that governs signal crosstalk that is implicated in many physiological and pathological processes. Although it has been established that STING1 traffics from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to Golgi apparatus (Golgi) upon DNA-triggered activation, emerging evidence reveals that STING1 can be transported to different organelles, which dictate its immune-dependent (e.g., the production of type I interferons and pro-inflammatory cytokines) and -independent (e.g., the activation of autophagy and cell death) functions. In this brief review, we outline the roles of STING1 in different organelles (including the ER, ER-Golgi intermediate compartment, Golgi, mitochondria, endosomes, lysosomes, and nucleus) and discuss the potential relevance of these roles to diseases and pharmacological interventions.
    Keywords:  STING1; adaptor protein; autophagy; cell death; immunity; organelle
  28. J Pathol. 2022 Apr 03.
      Despite numerous advances in our molecular understanding of cancer biology, success in precision medicine trials has remained elusive for many malignancies. Emerging evidence now supports that these challenges are partly driven by proteogenomic discordances across molecular readouts and heterogenous biology that is spatially distributed across tumors. Here we discuss these key limitations and how integrating the promise of mass-spectrometry-based global proteomics and computational imaging can help prioritize and direct regional sampling to help overcome these important challenges of biologic variation in cancer. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Keywords:  Mass spectrometry; artificial intelligence; cancer; computational pathology; deep learning; heterogeneity; pathology; proteomics
  29. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Apr 12. 119(15): e2118740119
      SignificanceMultiple human genetic diseases are caused by mutations in the maternally transmitted DNA of mitochondria, the powerhouses of the cell. It is important to study how these mutations arise and accumulate with age, especially because humans in many societies now choose to have children at an older age. However, this is difficult to accomplish in humans, particularly for female germline cells, oocytes. To overcome this limitation, we studied mitochondrial mutation origins and accumulation with age in a primate model species, rhesus macaque. We found that new mutations accumulate the fastest in metabolically active liver and the slowest in oocytes. Thus, primate oocytes might have developed a mechanism to protect their mitochondrial DNA from excessive mutations, allowing reproduction later in life.
    Keywords:  duplex sequencing; heteroplasmy; mitochondria; mutations; oocytes
  30. STAR Protoc. 2022 Jun 17. 3(2): 101246
      Tumor Treating Fields (TTFields) are an FDA-approved anticancer treatment using alternating electric fields. Here, we present a protocol to perform live-cell imaging (LCI) of cells during TTFields treatment with the Inovitro LiveTM system. The setup we describe dissipates TTFields-related heat production and can be used in conjunction with any LCI-compatible microscope setup. This approach will enable further elucidation of TTFields' mechanism of action at the molecular level and facilitate the development of promising combination strategies.
    Keywords:  Cancer; Cell Biology; Cell culture; Microscopy
  31. Front Physiol. 2022 ;13 865105
      Pancreatic stellate cells play a pivotal role in the development of pancreatic fibrosis. A wide variety of external stimuli can cause PSC activation accompanied by metabolic changes, which alters the tissue microenvironment by producing extracellular matrix proteins, cytokines, growth factors, and other mediators. Several metabolites aggravate fibrosis and inflammation by acting as key activating factors for PSCs. In other words, PSCs sense systemic metabolic changes. The detrimental effects of PSC activation on normal pancreatic cells, especially islet cells, further complicate metabolic imbalance through the dysregulation of glucose metabolism. PSC activation promotes cancer by altering the metabolism in pancreatic cancer cells, which collaborate with PSCs to efficiently adapt to environmental changes, promoting their growth and survival. This collaboration also contributes to the acquisition of chemoresistance. PSCs sequester chemotherapeutic agents and produce competing molecules as additional resistance mechanisms. The application of these metabolic targets for novel therapeutic strategies is currently being explored. This mini-review summarizes the role of PSCs in metabolic regulation of normal and cancerous cells.
    Keywords:  PSC activation; fibrosis; metabolism; pancreatic cancer; pancreatic stellate cells
  32. Curr Med Chem. 2022 Apr 01.
      Mitochondria are the main energy factory in living cells. To rapidly proliferate and metastasize, neoplastic cells increase their energy requirements. Thus, mitochondria become one of the most important organelles for them. Indeed, much research shows the interplay between cancer chemoresistance and altered mitochondrial function. In this review we focus on the differences in energy metabolism between cancer and normal cells, to better understand their resistance and how to develop drugs targeting energy metabolism and nucleotide synthesis. One of the differences between cancer and normal cells is the higher nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) level, a cofactor for the tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA), which enhances their proliferation and helps cancer cells survive under hypoxic conditions. An important change is a metabolic switch, called the Warburg effect. This effect is based on the change of energy harvesting from oxygen-dependent transformation to oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS), adapt them to the tumor environment. Another mechanism is the high expression of one carbon (1C) metabolism enzymes. Again, this allows cancer cells to increase proliferation by producing precursors for the synthesis of nucleotides and amino acids. We reviewed drugs in clinical practice and in development targeting NAD+, OXPHOS, and 1C metabolism. Combinations of novel drugs with conventional antineoplastic agents may prove to be a promising new way of anticancer treatment.
    Keywords:  1C Metabolism; Cancer; Mitochondria; NAD+; Oxidative Phosphorylation (OXPHOS); Resistance
  33. Ann Surg Oncol. 2022 Apr 03.
      BACKGROUND: Liver metastasis (LM) after pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) resection is common but difficult to predict and has grave prognosis. We combined preoperative clinicopathological variables and quantitative analysis of computed tomography (CT) imaging to predict early LM.METHODS: We retrospectively evaluated patients with PDAC submitted to resection between 2005 and 2014 and identified clinicopathological variables associated with early LM. We performed liver radiomic analysis on preoperative contrast-enhanced CT scans and developed a logistic regression classifier to predict early LM (< 6 months).
    RESULTS: In 688 resected PDAC patients, there were 516 recurrences (75%). The cumulative incidence of LM at 5 years was 41%, and patients who developed LM first (n = 194) had the lowest 1-year overall survival (OS) (34%), compared with 322 patients who developed extrahepatic recurrence first (61%). Independent predictors of time to LM included poor tumor differentiation (hazard ratio (HR) = 2.30; P < 0.001), large tumor size (HR = 1.17 per 2-cm increase; P = 0.048), lymphovascular invasion (HR = 1.50; P = 0.015), and liver Fibrosis-4 score (HR = 0.89 per 1-unit increase; P = 0.029) on multivariate analysis. A model using radiomic variables that reflect hepatic parenchymal heterogeneity identified patients at risk for early LM with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) of 0.71; the performance of the model was improved by incorporating preoperative clinicopathological variables (tumor size and differentiation status; AUC = 0.74, negative predictive value (NPV) = 0.86).
    CONCLUSIONS: We confirm the adverse survival impact of early LM after resection of PDAC. We further show that a model using radiomic data from preoperative imaging combined with tumor-related variables has great potential for identifying patients at high risk for LM and may help guide treatment selection.
  34. Front Pharmacol. 2022 ;13 805782
      Fluxomics is an innovative -omics research field that measures the rates of all intracellular fluxes in the central metabolism of biological systems. Fluxomics gathers data from multiple different -omics fields, portraying the whole picture of molecular interactions. Recently, fluxomics has become one of the most relevant approaches to investigate metabolic phenotypes. Metabolic flux using 13C-labeled molecules is increasingly used to monitor metabolic pathways, to probe the corresponding gene-RNA and protein-metabolite interaction networks in actual time. Thus, fluxomics reveals the functioning of multi-molecular metabolic pathways and is increasingly applied in biotechnology and pharmacology. Here, we describe the main fluxomics approaches and experimental platforms. Moreover, we summarize recent fluxomic results in different biological systems.
    Keywords:  flux; fluxomics; mass spectrometry (MS); metabolomics; nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR); pharmacometabolomics
  35. Sci Adv. 2022 Apr 08. 8(14): eabm0756
      Cells responding to DNA damage implement complex adaptive programs that often culminate in one of two distinct outcomes: apoptosis or senescence. To systematically identify factors driving each response, we analyzed human IMR-90 fibroblasts exposed to increasing doses of the genotoxin etoposide and identified SRC as a key kinase contributing early to this dichotomous decision. SRC was activated by low but not high levels of etoposide. With low DNA damage, SRC-mediated activation of p38 critically promoted expression of cell survival and senescence proteins, while SRC-mediated repression of p53 prevented a rise in proapoptotic proteins. With high DNA damage, failure to activate SRC led to elevation of p53, inhibition of p38, and apoptosis. In mice exposed to DNA damage, pharmacologic inhibition of SRC prevented the accumulation of senescent cells in tissues. We propose that inhibiting SRC could be exploited to favor apoptosis over senescence in tissues to improve health outcomes.
  36. Microscopy (Oxf). 2022 Apr 08. pii: dfac017. [Epub ahead of print]
      A small number of oncogenic mutated cells sporadically arise within the epithelial monolayer. Newly emerging Ras- or Src-transformed epithelial cells are often apically eliminated during competitive interaction between normal and transformed cells. Our recent electron microscopy (EM) analyses revealed that characteristic finger-like membrane protrusions are formed at the interface between normal and RasV12-transformed cells via the cdc42-FBP17 pathway, potentially playing a positive role in intercellular recognition during apical extrusion. However, the spatial distribution and ultrastructural characteristics of finger-like protrusions remain unknown. In this study, we performed both X-Y and X-Z EM analyses of finger-like protrusions during the apical extrusion of RasV12-transformed cells. Quantification of the distribution and widths of the protrusions showed comparable results between the X-Y and X-Z sections. Finger-like protrusions were observed throughout the cell boundary between normal and RasV12 cells, except for apicalmost tight junctions. In addition, a non-cell-autonomous reduction in protrusion widths was observed between RasV12 cells and surrounding normal cells under the mix culture condition. In the finger-like protrusions, intercellular adhesions via thin electron-dense plaques were observed, implying that immature and transient forms of desmosomes, adherens junctions, or unknown weak adhesions were distributed. Interestingly, unlike RasV12-transformed cells, Src-transformed cells form fewer evident protrusions, and FBP17 in Src cells is dispensable for apical extrusion. Collectively, these results suggest that the dynamic reorganization of intercellular adhesions via finger-like protrusions may positively control cell competition between normal and RasV12-transformed cells. Furthermore, our data indicate a cell context-dependent diversity in the modes of apical extrusion.
    Keywords:  FBP17; Finger-like membrane protrusions; Ras; Src; cell competition; epithelial cells
  37. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2022 Apr 07. 79(5): 226
      BACKGROUND: The impact of the absence of gravity on cancer cells is of great interest, especially today that space is more accessible than ever. Despite advances, few and contradictory data are available mainly due to different setup, experimental design and time point analyzed.METHODS: Exploiting a Random Positioning Machine, we dissected the effects of long-term exposure to simulated microgravity (SMG) on pancreatic cancer cells performing proteomic, lipidomic and transcriptomic analysis at 1, 7 and 9 days.
    RESULTS: Our results indicated that SMG affects cellular morphology through a time-dependent activation of Actin-based motility via Rho and Cdc42 pathways leading to actin rearrangement, formation of 3D spheroids and enhancement of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition. Bioinformatic analysis reveals that SMG may activates ERK5/NF-κB/IL-8 axis that triggers the expansion of cancer stem cells with an increased migratory capability. These cells, to remediate energy stress and apoptosis activation, undergo a metabolic reprogramming orchestrated by HIF-1α and PI3K/Akt pathways that upregulate glycolysis and impair β-oxidation, suggesting a de novo synthesis of triglycerides for the membrane lipid bilayer formation.
    CONCLUSIONS: SMG revolutionizes tumor cell behavior and metabolism leading to the acquisition of an aggressive and metastatic stem cell-like phenotype. These results dissect the time-dependent cellular alterations induced by SMG and pave the base for altered gravity conditions as new anti-cancer technology.
    Keywords:  Cancer stem cells; Lipidomic; Metabolism; Microgravity; Proteomic