bims-camemi Biomed News
on Mitochondrial metabolism in cancer
Issue of 2020‒10‒11
forty-six papers selected by
Christian Frezza
University of Cambridge, MRC Cancer Unit

  1. Cell. 2020 Oct 03. pii: S0092-8674(20)31161-2. [Epub ahead of print]
      Cytoplasmic accumulation of TDP-43 is a disease hallmark for many cases of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), associated with a neuroinflammatory cytokine profile related to upregulation of nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) and type I interferon (IFN) pathways. Here we show that this inflammation is driven by the cytoplasmic DNA sensor cyclic guanosine monophosphate (GMP)-AMP synthase (cGAS) when TDP-43 invades mitochondria and releases DNA via the permeability transition pore. Pharmacologic inhibition or genetic deletion of cGAS and its downstream signaling partner STING prevents upregulation of NF-κB and type I IFN induced by TDP-43 in induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived motor neurons and in TDP-43 mutant mice. Finally, we document elevated levels of the specific cGAS signaling metabolite cGAMP in spinal cord samples from patients, which may be a biomarker of mtDNA release and cGAS/STING activation in ALS. Our results identify mtDNA release and cGAS/STING activation as critical determinants of TDP-43-associated pathology and demonstrate the potential for targeting this pathway in ALS.
    Keywords:  ALS; IFN; NF-κB; STING; TDP-43; cGAMP; cGAS; mPTP; mitochondria; neurodegeneration
  2. Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol. 2020 Oct 06. 36 265-289
      Maintaining mitochondrial health is essential for the survival and function of eukaryotic organisms. Misfunctioning mitochondria activate stress-responsive pathways to restore mitochondrial network homeostasis, remove damaged or toxic proteins, and eliminate damaged organelles via selective autophagy of mitochondria, a process termed mitophagy. Failure of these quality control pathways is implicated in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases. Impairment of mitochondrial quality control has been demonstrated to activate innate immune pathways, including inflammasome-mediated signaling and the antiviral cyclic GMP-AMP synthase (cGAS)/stimulator of interferon genes (STING)-regulated interferon response. Immune system malfunction is a common hallmark in many neurodegenerative diseases; however, whether inflammation suppresses or exacerbates disease pathology is still unclear. The goal of this review is to provide a historical overview of the field, describe mechanisms of mitochondrial quality control, and highlight recent advances on the emerging role of mitochondria in innate immunity and inflammation.
    Keywords:  immunity; inflammation; mitochondria; mitophagy; neurodegeneration
  3. Sci Signal. 2020 Oct 06. pii: eaax4585. [Epub ahead of print]13(652):
      Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) can exist in pro- and anti-inflammatory states. Anti-inflammatory TAMs (also referred to as M2-polarized) generally suppress antitumor immune responses and enhance the metastatic progression of cancer. To explore the mechanisms behind this phenomenon, we isolated macrophages from mice and humans, polarized them ex vivo, and examined their functional interaction with breast cancer cells in culture and in mice. We found that anti-inflammatory TAMs promoted a metabolic state in breast cancer cells that supported various protumorigenic phenotypes. Anti-inflammatory TAMs secreted the cytokine TGF-β that, upon engagement of its receptors in breast cancer cells, suppressed the abundance of the transcription factor STAT1 and, consequently, decreased that of the metabolic enzyme succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) in the tumor cells. The decrease in SDH levels in tumor cells resulted in an accumulation of succinate, which enhanced the stability of the transcription factor HIF1α and reprogrammed cell metabolism to a glycolytic state. TAM depletion-repletion experiments in a 4T1 mouse model additionally revealed that anti-inflammatory macrophages promoted HIF-associated vascularization and expression of the immunosuppressive protein PD-L1 in tumors. The findings suggest that anti-inflammatory TAMs promote tumor-associated angiogenesis and immunosuppression by altering metabolism in breast cancer cells.
  4. Cell. 2020 Sep 24. pii: S0092-8674(20)31091-6. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mg2+ is the most abundant divalent cation in metazoans and an essential cofactor for ATP, nucleic acids, and countless metabolic enzymes. To understand how the spatio-temporal dynamics of intracellular Mg2+ (iMg2+) are integrated into cellular signaling, we implemented a comprehensive screen to discover regulators of iMg2+ dynamics. Lactate emerged as an activator of rapid release of Mg2+ from endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stores, which facilitates mitochondrial Mg2+ (mMg2+) uptake in multiple cell types. We demonstrate that this process is remarkably temperature sensitive and mediated through intracellular but not extracellular signals. The ER-mitochondrial Mg2+ dynamics is selectively stimulated by L-lactate. Further, we show that lactate-mediated mMg2+ entry is facilitated by Mrs2, and point mutations in the intermembrane space loop limits mMg2+ uptake. Intriguingly, suppression of mMg2+ surge alleviates inflammation-induced multi-organ failure. Together, these findings reveal that lactate mobilizes iMg2+ and links the mMg2+ transport machinery with major metabolic feedback circuits and mitochondrial bioenergetics.
    Keywords:  Mrs2; calcium; cancer; channel; endoplasmic reticulum; inflammation; lactate; magnesium; metabolism; mitochondria
  5. Cell Metab. 2020 Oct 06. pii: S1550-4131(20)30486-1. [Epub ahead of print]
      Alterations in muscle mitochondrial substrate preference have been postulated to play a major role in the pathogenesis of muscle insulin resistance. In order to examine this hypothesis, we assessed the ratio of mitochondrial pyruvate oxidation (VPDH) to rates of mitochondrial citrate synthase flux (VCS) in muscle. Contrary to this hypothesis, we found that high-fat-diet (HFD)-fed insulin-resistant rats did not manifest altered muscle substrate preference (VPDH/VCS) in soleus or quadriceps muscles in the fasting state. Furthermore, hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic (HE) clamps increased VPDH/VCS in both muscles in normal and insulin-resistant rats. We then examined the muscle VPDH/VCS flux in insulin-sensitive and insulin-resistant humans and found similar relative rates of VPDH/VCS, following an overnight fast (∼20%), and similar increases in VPDH/VCS fluxes during a HE clamp. Altogether, these findings demonstrate that alterations in mitochondrial substrate preference are not an essential step in the pathogenesis of muscle insulin resistance.
    Keywords:  Randle Cycle; citrate synthase; glucose oxidation; insulin resistance; metabolic flux; metabolic inflexibility; mitochondria; muscle metabolism; pyruvate dehydrogenase; respiratory quotient
  6. Cell Rep. 2020 Oct 06. pii: S2211-1247(20)31220-1. [Epub ahead of print]33(1): 108231
      Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is characterized by extensive fibrosis and hypovascularization, resulting in significant intratumoral hypoxia (low oxygen) that contributes to its aggressiveness, therapeutic resistance, and high mortality. Despite oxygen being a fundamental requirement for many cellular and metabolic processes, and the severity of hypoxia in PDAC, the impact of oxygen deprivation on PDAC biology is poorly understood. Investigating how PDAC cells survive in the near absence of oxygen, we find that PDAC cell lines grow robustly in oxygen tensions down to 0.1%, maintaining mitochondrial morphology, membrane potential, and the oxidative metabolic activity required for the synthesis of key metabolites for proliferation. Disrupting electron transfer efficiency by targeting mitochondrial respiratory supercomplex assembly specifically affects hypoxic PDAC proliferation, metabolism, and in vivo tumor growth. Collectively, our results identify a mechanism that enables PDAC cells to thrive in severe, oxygen-limited microenvironments.
    Keywords:  COX7A2L; aspartate; electron transport chain; hypoxia; pancreatic cancer; respiration; supercomplexes
  7. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020 Oct 06. pii: 202009838. [Epub ahead of print]
      Metabolic dysfunction occurs in many age-related neurodegenerative diseases, yet its role in disease etiology remains poorly understood. We recently discovered a potential causal link between the branched-chain amino acid transferase BCAT-1 and the neurodegenerative movement disorder Parkinson's disease (PD). RNAi-mediated knockdown of Caenorhabditis elegans bcat-1 is known to recapitulate PD-like features, including progressive motor deficits and neurodegeneration with age, yet the underlying mechanisms have remained unknown. Using transcriptomic, metabolomic, and imaging approaches, we show here that bcat-1 knockdown increases mitochondrial respiration and induces oxidative damage in neurons through mammalian target of rapamycin-independent mechanisms. Increased mitochondrial respiration, or "mitochondrial hyperactivity," is required for bcat-1(RNAi) neurotoxicity. Moreover, we show that post-disease-onset administration of the type 2 diabetes medication metformin reduces mitochondrial respiration to control levels and significantly improves both motor function and neuronal viability. Taken together, our findings suggest that mitochondrial hyperactivity may be an early event in the pathogenesis of PD, and that strategies aimed at reducing mitochondrial respiration may constitute a surprising new avenue for PD treatment.
    Keywords:  Caenorhabditis elegans; Parkinson’s disease; branched-chain amino acid metabolism; metformin; mitochondria
  8. Nat Immunol. 2020 Oct 05.
      The metabolic challenges present in tumors attenuate the metabolic fitness and antitumor activity of tumor-infiltrating T lymphocytes (TILs). However, it remains unclear whether persistent metabolic insufficiency can imprint permanent T cell dysfunction. We found that TILs accumulated depolarized mitochondria as a result of decreased mitophagy activity and displayed functional, transcriptomic and epigenetic characteristics of terminally exhausted T cells. Mechanistically, reduced mitochondrial fitness in TILs was induced by the coordination of T cell receptor stimulation, microenvironmental stressors and PD-1 signaling. Enforced accumulation of depolarized mitochondria with pharmacological inhibitors induced epigenetic reprogramming toward terminal exhaustion, indicating that mitochondrial deregulation caused T cell exhaustion. Furthermore, supplementation with nicotinamide riboside enhanced T cell mitochondrial fitness and improved responsiveness to anti-PD-1 treatment. Together, our results reveal insights into how mitochondrial dynamics and quality orchestrate T cell antitumor responses and commitment to the exhaustion program.
  9. Nat Metab. 2020 Oct 05.
      Mitochondria supply ATP essential for synaptic transmission. Neurons face exceptional challenges in maintaining energy homoeostasis at synapses. Regulation of mitochondrial trafficking and anchoring is critical for neurons to meet increased energy consumption during sustained synaptic activity. However, mechanisms recruiting and retaining presynaptic mitochondria in sensing synaptic ATP levels remain elusive. Here we reveal an energy signalling axis that controls presynaptic mitochondrial maintenance. Activity-induced presynaptic energy deficits can be rescued by recruiting mitochondria through the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK)-p21-activated kinase (PAK) energy signalling pathway. Synaptic activity induces AMPK activation within axonal compartments and AMPK-PAK signalling triggers phosphorylation of myosin VI, which drives mitochondrial recruitment and syntaphilin-mediated anchoring on presynaptic filamentous actin. This pathway maintains presynaptic energy supply and calcium clearance during intensive synaptic activity. Disrupting this signalling cross-talk triggers local energy deficits and intracellular calcium build-up, leading to impaired synaptic efficacy during trains of stimulation and reduced recovery from synaptic depression after prolonged synaptic activity. Our study reveals a mechanistic cross-talk between energy sensing and mitochondria anchoring to maintain presynaptic metabolism, thus fine-tuning short-term synaptic plasticity and prolonged synaptic efficacy.
  10. Nat Commun. 2020 10 07. 11(1): 5052
      The mechanism and function of autophagy as a highly-conserved bulk degradation pathway are well studied, but the physiological role of autophagy remains poorly understood. We show that autophagy is involved in the adaptation of Saccharomyces cerevisiae to respiratory growth through its recycling of serine. On respiratory media, growth onset, mitochondrial initiator tRNA modification and mitochondrial protein expression are delayed in autophagy defective cells, suggesting that mitochondrial one-carbon metabolism is perturbed in these cells. The supplementation of serine, which is a key one-carbon metabolite, is able to restore mitochondrial protein expression and alleviate delayed respiratory growth. These results indicate that autophagy-derived serine feeds into mitochondrial one-carbon metabolism, supporting the initiation of mitochondrial protein synthesis and allowing rapid adaptation to respiratory growth.
  11. Cell Metab. 2020 Oct 06. pii: S1550-4131(20)30419-8. [Epub ahead of print]32(4): 507-509
      Although a crucial role for mitochondrial metabolism in controlling T regulatory (Treg) cell function has been recognized, its contribution during autoimmunity has not yet been fully elucidated. In this issue of Cell Metabolism, Alissafi and colleagues demonstrate that during autoimmunity, Treg cell functional alterations associate with mitochondrial oxidative stress, dysfunctional mitophagy, and enhanced DNA damage response, culminating with their cell death.
  12. Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Oct 01. pii: E7278. [Epub ahead of print]21(19):
      The hexosamine biosynthetic pathway (HBP) converts glucose to uridine-diphosphate-N-acetylglucosamine, which, when added to serines or threonines, modulates protein function through protein O-GlcNAcylation. Glutamine-fructose-6-phosphate amidotransferase (GFAT) regulates HBP flux, and AMP-kinase phosphorylation of GFAT blunts GFAT activity and O-GlcNAcylation. While numerous studies demonstrate increased right ventricle (RV) glucose uptake in pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), the relationship between O-GlcNAcylation and RV function in PAH is unexplored. Therefore, we examined how colchicine-mediated AMP-kinase activation altered HBP intermediates, O-GlcNAcylation, mitochondrial function, and RV function in pulmonary artery-banded (PAB) and monocrotaline (MCT) rats. AMPK activation induced GFAT phosphorylation and reduced HBP intermediates and O-GlcNAcylation in MCT but not PAB rats. Reduced O-GlcNAcylation partially restored the RV metabolic signature and improved RV function in MCT rats. Proteomics revealed elevated expression of O-GlcNAcylated mitochondrial proteins in MCT RVs, which fractionation studies corroborated. Seahorse micropolarimetry analysis of H9c2 cardiomyocytes demonstrated colchicine improved mitochondrial function and reduced O-GlcNAcylation. Presence of diabetes in PAH, a condition of excess O-GlcNAcylation, reduced RV contractility when compared to nondiabetics. Furthermore, there was an inverse relationship between RV contractility and HgbA1C. Finally, RV biopsy specimens from PAH patients displayed increased O-GlcNAcylation. Thus, excess O-GlcNAcylation may contribute to metabolic derangements and RV dysfunction in PAH.
    Keywords:  metabolism; mitochondria; post-translational modification; pulmonary hypertension; right ventricle
  13. Nat Commun. 2020 10 05. 11(1): 4983
      The energetic demands of a cell are believed to increase during mitosis, but the rates of ATP synthesis and consumption during mitosis have not been quantified. Here, we monitor mitochondrial membrane potential of single lymphocytic leukemia cells and demonstrate that mitochondria hyperpolarize from the G2/M transition until the metaphase-anaphase transition. This hyperpolarization was dependent on cyclin-dependent kinase 1 (CDK1) activity. By using an electrical circuit model of mitochondria, we quantify mitochondrial ATP synthesis rates in mitosis from the single-cell time-dynamics of mitochondrial membrane potential. We find that mitochondrial ATP synthesis decreases by approximately 50% during early mitosis and increases back to G2 levels during cytokinesis. Consistently, ATP levels and ATP synthesis are lower in mitosis than in G2 in synchronized cell populations. Overall, our results provide insights into mitotic bioenergetics and suggest that cell division is not a highly energy demanding process.
  14. Nat Cell Biol. 2020 Oct 05.
      PIWI-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) are abundantly expressed during cardiac hypertrophy. However, their functions and molecular mechanisms remain unknown. Here, we identified a cardiac-hypertrophy-associated piRNA (CHAPIR) that promotes pathological hypertrophy and cardiac remodelling by targeting METTL3-mediated N6-methyladenosine (m6A) methylation of Parp10 mRNA transcripts. CHAPIR deletion markedly attenuates cardiac hypertrophy and restores heart function, while administration of a CHAPIR mimic enhances the pathological hypertrophic response in pressure-overloaded mice. Mechanistically, CHAPIR-PIWIL4 complexes directly interact with METTL3 and block the m6A methylation of Parp10 mRNA transcripts, which upregulates PARP10 expression. The CHAPIR-dependent increase in PARP10 promotes the mono-ADP-ribosylation of GSK3β and inhibits its kinase activity, which results in the accumulation of nuclear NFATC4 and the progression of pathological hypertrophy. Hence, our findings reveal that a piRNA-mediated RNA epigenetic mechanism is involved in the regulation of cardiac hypertrophy and that the CHAPIR-METTL3-PARP10-NFATC4 signalling axis could be therapeutically targeted for treating pathological hypertrophy and maladaptive cardiac remodelling.
  15. Front Pharmacol. 2020 ;11 565160
      Aims: Several recent reports have shown irisin protects the heart against ischemia/reperfusion injury. However, the effect of irisin on I/R injury in diabetic mice has not been described. The present study was designed to investigate the role of irisin in myocardial ischemia-reperfusion (MI/R) injury in diabetic mice.Methods: A mouse model of diabetes was established by feeding wild type or gene-manipulated adult male mice with a high-fat diet. All the mice received intraperitoneal injection of irisin or PBS. Thirty minutes after injection, mice were subjected to 30 min of myocardial ischemia followed by 3h (for cell apoptosis and protein determination), 24 h (for infarct size and cardiac function).
    Results: Knock-out of gene FNDC5 augmented MI/R injury in diabetic mice, while irisin treatment attenuated MI/R injury, improved cardiac function, cellular ATP biogenetics, mitochondria potential, and impaired mitochondrion-related cell death. More severely impaired AMPK pathway was observed in diabetic FNDC5-/- mice received MI/R. Knock-out of gene AMPK blocks the beneficial effects of irisin on MI/R injury, cardiac function, cellular ATP biogenetics, mitochondria potential, and mitochondrion-related cell death.
    Conclusions: Our present study demonstrated that irisin improves the mitochondria function and attenuates MI/R injury in diabetic mice through AMPK pathway.
    Keywords:  AMPK; diabetes; irisin; ischemia/reperfusion; mitochondria
  16. Mol Cell. 2020 Sep 29. pii: S1097-2765(20)30648-1. [Epub ahead of print]
      Cancer metastasis accounts for the major cause of cancer-related deaths. How disseminated cancer cells cope with hostile microenvironments in secondary site for full-blown metastasis is largely unknown. Here, we show that AMPK (AMP-activated protein kinase), activated in mouse metastasis models, drives pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDHc) activation to maintain TCA cycle (tricarboxylic acid cycle) and promotes cancer metastasis by adapting cancer cells to metabolic and oxidative stresses. This AMPK-PDHc axis is activated in advanced breast cancer and predicts poor metastasis-free survival. Mechanistically, AMPK localizes in the mitochondrial matrix and phosphorylates the catalytic alpha subunit of PDHc (PDHA) on two residues S295 and S314, which activates the enzymatic activity of PDHc and alleviates an inhibitory phosphorylation by PDHKs, respectively. Importantly, these phosphorylation events mediate PDHc function in cancer metastasis. Our study reveals that AMPK-mediated PDHA phosphorylation drives PDHc activation and TCA cycle to empower cancer cells adaptation to metastatic microenvironments for metastasis.
    Keywords:  AMPK; PDHA; TCA cycle; breast cancer; cancer metastasis; metabolic stress
  17. Prostate. 2020 Oct 06.
      BACKGROUND: Nerves are key factors in prostate cancer (PCa) progression. Here, we propose that neuropeptide Y (NPY) nerves are key regulators of cancer-nerve interaction.METHODS: We used in vitro models for NPY inhibition studies and subsequent metabolomics, apoptotic and migration assays, and nuclear transcription factor-κB (NF-κB) translocation studies. Human naïve and radiated PCa tissues were used for NPY nerve density biomarker studies. Tissues derived from a Botox denervation clinical trial were used to corroborate metabolomic changes in humans.
    RESULTS: Cancer cells increase NPY positive nerves in vitro and in preneoplastic human tissues. NPY-specific inhibition resulted in increased cancer apoptosis, decreased motility, and energetic metabolic pathway changes. A comparison of metabolomic response in NPY-inhibited cells with the transcriptome response in human PCa patients treated with Botox showed shared 13 pathways, including the tricarboxylic acid cycle. We identified that NF-κB is a potential NPY downstream mediator. Using in vitro models and tissues derived from a previous human chemical denervation study, we show that Botox specifically, but not exclusively, inhibits NPY in cancer. Quantification of NPY nerves is independently predictive of PCa-specific death. Finally, NPY nerves might be involved in radiation therapy (RT) resistance, as radiation-induced apoptosis is reduced when PCa cells are cocultured with dorsal root ganglia/nerves and NPY positive nerves are increased in prostates of patients that failed RT.
    CONCLUSION: These data suggest that targeting the NPY neural microenvironment may represent a therapeutic approach for the treatment of PCa and resistance through the regulation of multiple oncogenic mechanisms.
    Keywords:  cancer; metabolism; nerves; neurogenesis; neuropeptide Y; prostate; radiation resistance
  18. Br J Pharmacol. 2020 Oct 10.
      BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The mitochondrial enzyme F1 Fo -ATPsynthase is core to cellular homeostasis. Its function is compromised in acute pathologies such as ischemia, as well as in those caused by long-term acquired metabolic dysfunctions. This makes the F1 Fo -ATPsynthase an important target for therapeutic interventions in diseases such as cancer. Despite this, pharmacological tools to selectively inhibit the hydrolysis of ATP by the F1 Fo-ATPase without affecting its synthesis remain scarce. Here, we report the synthesis and in vitro characterization of the NH-Sulfoximine (NHS) that is the suxolfimine analogue of the compound BTB-06584 (BTB) which we characterized as F1 Fo-ATPase inhibitor.EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH: The chemical structure of BTB worked as template to gain the sulfoximine analogue NHS whose activity was assessed in human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cell line. In this we profiled ATP levels (i), cell viability (ii), and mitochondrial quality control mechanisms (iii) when it was given alone or in combination with either the glucose analogue 2-deoxyglucose (2-DG) or the chemotherapeutic agent etoposide (Eto).
    KEY RESULTS: NHS selectively blocks the consumption of ATP by mitochondria, independently of the F1 Fo -ATPase Inhibitory Factor 1 (IF1 ), leading to a subtle cytoxicity associated with the concomitant engagement of autophagy and impairment of cell viability.
    CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATIONS: This study describes a new pharmacological inhibitor of the mitochondrial F1 Fo -ATPase that is able, by selectively blocking ATP hydrolysis, to perturb the bioenergetic homeostasis of cancer cells leading to a non-apoptotic type of cell death.
  19. Mitochondrial DNA A DNA Mapp Seq Anal. 2020 Oct 07. 1-10
      Historically, mtDNA was considered a selectively neutral marker that was useful for estimating the population genetic history of the maternal lineage. Over time there has been an increasing appreciation of mtDNA and mitochondria in maintaining cellular and organismal health. Beyond energy production, mtDNA and mitochondria have critical cellular roles in signalling. Here we briefly review the structure of mtDNA and the role of the mitochondrion in energy production. We then discuss the predictions that can be obtained from quaternary structure modelling and focus on mitochondrial complex I. Complex I is the primary entry point for electrons into the electron transport system is the largest respiratory complex of the chain and produces about 40% of the proton flux used to synthesize ATP. A focus of the review is Drosophila's utility as a model organism to study the selective advantage of specific mutations. However, we note that the incorporation of insights from a multitude of systems is necessary to fully understand the range of roles that mtDNA has in organismal fitness. We speculate that dietary changes can illicit stress responses that influence the selective advantage of specific mtDNA mutations and cause spatial and temporal fluctuations in the frequencies of mutations. We conclude that developing our understanding of the roles mtDNA has in determining organismal fitness will enable increased evolutionary insight and propose we can no longer assume it is evolving as a strictly neutral marker without testing this hypothesis.
    Keywords:  Reactive oxygen species; diet; macronutrients; mito-nuclear interactions
  20. Nat Commun. 2020 10 05. 11(1): 4979
      Cellular senescence is a known driver of carcinogenesis and age-related diseases, yet senescence is required for various physiological processes. However, the mechanisms and factors that control the negative effects of senescence while retaining its benefits are still elusive. Here, we show that the rasGAP SH3-binding protein 1 (G3BP1) is required for the activation of the senescent-associated secretory phenotype (SASP). During senescence, G3BP1 achieves this effect by promoting the association of the cyclic GMP-AMP synthase (cGAS) with cytosolic chromatin fragments. In turn, G3BP1, through cGAS, activates the NF-κB and STAT3 pathways, promoting SASP expression and secretion. G3BP1 depletion or pharmacological inhibition impairs the cGAS-pathway preventing the expression of SASP factors without affecting cell commitment to senescence. These SASPless senescent cells impair senescence-mediated growth of cancer cells in vitro and tumor growth in vivo. Our data reveal that G3BP1 is required for SASP expression and that SASP secretion is a primary mediator of senescence-associated tumor growth.
  21. Cell Metab. 2020 Oct 06. pii: S1550-4131(20)30492-7. [Epub ahead of print]32(4): 512-513
      Mitochondrial dysfunction is a hallmark of heart disease. Nicolás-Ávila et al. (2020) now find that cardiomyocytes eject dysfunctional mitochondria in exopher vesicles, which require elimination by specialized heart-resident macrophages, altogether supporting proper heart function.
  22. Front Chem. 2020 ;8 783
      There is considerable interest in developing drugs and probes targeted to mitochondria in order to understand and treat the many pathologies associated with mitochondrial dysfunction. The large membrane potential, negative inside, across the mitochondrial inner membrane enables delivery of molecules conjugated to lipophilic phosphonium cations to the organelle. Due to their combination of charge and hydrophobicity, quaternary triarylphosphonium cations rapidly cross biological membranes without the requirement for a carrier. Their extent of uptake is determined by the magnitude of the mitochondrial membrane potential, as described by the Nernst equation. To further enhance this uptake here we explored whether incorporation of a carboxylic acid into a quaternary triarylphosphonium cation would enhance its mitochondrial uptake in response to both the membrane potential and the mitochondrial pH gradient (alkaline inside). Accumulation of arylpropionic acid derivatives depended on both the membrane potential and the pH gradient. However, acetic or benzoic derivatives did not accumulate, due to their lowered pKa. Surprisingly, despite not being taken up by mitochondria, the phenylacetic or phenylbenzoic derivatives were not retained within mitochondria when generated within the mitochondrial matrix by hydrolysis of their cognate esters. Computational studies, supported by crystallography, showed that these molecules passed through the hydrophobic core of mitochondrial inner membrane as a neutral dimer. This finding extends our understanding of the mechanisms of membrane permeation of lipophilic cations and suggests future strategies to enhance drug and probe delivery to mitochondria.
    Keywords:  computational chemistry; membrane permeation; membrane potential; mitochondria; mitochondria-targeting; pH gradient; phosphonium
  23. Front Aging Neurosci. 2020 ;12 560865
      The loss of cognitive function in Alzheimer's disease is pathologically linked with neurofibrillary tangles, amyloid deposition, and loss of neuronal communication. Cerebral insulin resistance and mitochondrial dysfunction have emerged as important contributors to pathogenesis supporting our hypothesis that cerebral fructose metabolism is a key initiating pathway for Alzheimer's disease. Fructose is unique among nutrients because it activates a survival pathway to protect animals from starvation by lowering energy in cells in association with adenosine monophosphate degradation to uric acid. The fall in energy from fructose metabolism stimulates foraging and food intake while reducing energy and oxygen needs by decreasing mitochondrial function, stimulating glycolysis, and inducing insulin resistance. When fructose metabolism is overactivated systemically, such as from excessive fructose intake, this can lead to obesity and diabetes. Herein, we present evidence that Alzheimer's disease may be driven by overactivation of cerebral fructose metabolism, in which the source of fructose is largely from endogenous production in the brain. Thus, the reduction in mitochondrial energy production is hampered by neuronal glycolysis that is inadequate, resulting in progressive loss of cerebral energy levels required for neurons to remain functional and viable. In essence, we propose that Alzheimer's disease is a modern disease driven by changes in dietary lifestyle in which fructose can disrupt cerebral metabolism and neuronal function. Inhibition of intracerebral fructose metabolism could provide a novel way to prevent and treat this disease.
    Keywords:  AMP deaminase; fructokinase; fructose; mitochondria; sugar; uric acid
  24. Front Oncol. 2020 ;10 1507
      Plasma metabolomics and lipidomics have been commonly used for biomarker discovery. Studies in white and Japanese populations suggested that gender and age can affect circulating plasma metabolite profiles; however, the metabolomics characteristics in Chinese population has not been surveyed. In our study, we applied liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry-based approach to analyze Chinese plasma metabolome and lipidome in a cohort of 534 healthy adults (aging from 15 to 79). Fatty-acid metabolism was found to be gender- and age-dependent in Chinese, similar with metabolomics characteristics in Japanese and white populations. Differently, lipids, such as TGs and DGs, were found to be gender-independent in Chinese population. Moreover, nicotinate and nicotinamide metabolism was found to be specifically age-related in Chinese. The application of plasma metabolome and lipidome for renal cell carcinoma diagnosis (143 RCC patients and 34 benign kidney tumor patients) showed good accuracy, with an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.971 for distinction from healthy control, and 0.839 for distinction from the benign. Bile acid metabolism was found to be related to RCC probably combination with intestinal microflora. Definition of the variation and characteristics of Chinese normal plasma metabolome and lipidome might provide a basis for disease biomarker analysis.
    Keywords:  biomarker; lipidomics; metabolomics; plasma; renal cell carcinoma
  25. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2020 ;11 617
      As important metabolic substrates, branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) and fatty acids (FAs) participate in many significant physiological processes, such as mitochondrial biogenesis, energy metabolism, and inflammation, along with intermediate metabolites generated in their catabolism. The increased levels of BCAAs and fatty acids can lead to mitochondrial dysfunction by altering mitochondrial biogenesis and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production and interfering with glycolysis, fatty acid oxidation, the tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA) cycle, and oxidative phosphorylation. BCAAs can directly activate the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway to induce insulin resistance, or function together with fatty acids. In addition, elevated levels of BCAAs and fatty acids can activate the canonical nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) signaling pathway and inflammasome and regulate mitochondrial dysfunction and metabolic disorders through upregulated inflammatory signals. This review provides a comprehensive summary of the mechanisms through which BCAAs and fatty acids modulate energy metabolism, insulin sensitivity, and inflammation synergistically.
    Keywords:  branched-amino acids; energy metabolism; fatty acids; inflammation; insulin resistance; mitochondrial biogenesis
  26. Biochim Biophys Acta Gen Subj. 2020 Oct 06. pii: S0304-4165(20)30271-3. [Epub ahead of print] 129760
      BACKGROUND: Cancer cells show highly increased glucose utilization which, among other cancer-essential functions, was found to facilitate DNA repair. Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activity is pivotal for supporting the high glycolytic flux of cancer cells; to our knowledge, a direct contribution of this enzyme in the control of DNA integrity was never investigated. In this paper, we looked into a possible LDH-mediated regulation of homologous recombination (HR) repair.METHODS: We identified two cancer cell lines with different assets in energy metabolism: either based on glycolytic ATP or on oxidative reactions. In cells with inhibited LDH, we assessed HR function by applying four different procedures.
    RESULTS: Our findings revealed an LDH-mediated control of HR, which was observed independently of cell metabolic asset. Since HR inhibition is known to make cancer cells responsive to PARP inhibitors, in both the cellular models we finally explored the effects of a combined inhibition of LDH and PARP.
    CONCLUSIONS: The obtained results suggest for LDH a central role in cancer cell biology, not merely linked to the control of energy metabolism. The involvement of LDH in the DNA damage response could suggest new drug combinations to obtain improved antineoplastic effects.
    GENERAL SIGNIFICANCE: Several evidences have correlated the metabolic features of cancer cells with drug resistance and LDH inhibition has been repeatedly shown to increase the antineoplastic power of chemotherapeutics. By shedding light on the processes linking cell metabolism to the control of DNA integrity, our findings also give a mechanistic explanation to these data.
    Keywords:  Cancer cell metabolism; Glycolysis; Homologous recombination; Lactate; Lactate dehydrogenase; Olaparib
  27. Sci Adv. 2020 Oct;pii: eabc7120. [Epub ahead of print]6(41):
      Tumor environment influences anticancer therapy response but which extracellular nutrients affect drug sensitivity is largely unknown. Using functional genomics, we determine modifiers of l-asparaginase (ASNase) response and identify thiamine pyrophosphate kinase 1 as a metabolic dependency under ASNase treatment. While thiamine is generally not limiting for cell proliferation, a DNA-barcode competition assay identifies leukemia cell lines that grow suboptimally under low thiamine and are characterized by low expression of solute carrier family 19 member 2 (SLC19A2), a thiamine transporter. SLC19A2 is necessary for optimal growth and ASNase resistance, when standard medium thiamine is lowered ~100-fold to human plasma concentrations. In addition, humanizing blood thiamine content of mice through diet sensitizes SLC19A2-low leukemia cells to ASNase in vivo. Together, our work reveals that thiamine utilization is a determinant of ASNase response for some cancer cells and that oversupplying vitamins may affect therapeutic response in leukemia.
  28. Brain. 2020 Oct 08. pii: awaa246. [Epub ahead of print]
      There is increasing evidence for a role of inflammation in Parkinson's disease. Recent research in murine models suggests that parkin and PINK1 deficiency leads to impaired mitophagy, which causes the release of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), thereby triggering inflammation. Specifically, the CGAS (cyclic GMP-AMP synthase)-STING (stimulator of interferon genes) pathway mitigates activation of the innate immune system, quantifiable as increased interleukin-6 (IL6) levels. However, the role of IL6 and circulating cell-free mtDNA in unaffected and affected individuals harbouring mutations in PRKN/PINK1 and idiopathic Parkinson's disease patients remain elusive. We investigated IL6, C-reactive protein, and circulating cell-free mtDNA in serum of 245 participants in two cohorts from tertiary movement disorder centres. We performed a hypothesis-driven rank-based statistical approach adjusting for multiple testing. We detected (i) elevated IL6 levels in patients with biallelic PRKN/PINK1 mutations compared to healthy control subjects in a German cohort, supporting the concept of a role for inflammation in PRKN/PINK1-linked Parkinson's disease. In addition, the comparison of patients with biallelic and heterozygous mutations in PRKN/PINK1 suggests a gene dosage effect. The differences in IL6 levels were validated in a second independent Italian cohort; (ii) a correlation between IL6 levels and disease duration in carriers of PRKN/PINK1 mutations, while no such association was observed for idiopathic Parkinson's disease patients. These results highlight the potential of IL6 as progression marker in Parkinson's disease due to PRKN/PINK1 mutations; (iii) increased circulating cell-free mtDNA serum levels in both patients with biallelic or with heterozygous PRKN/PINK1 mutations compared to idiopathic Parkinson's disease, which is in line with previous findings in murine models. By contrast, circulating cell-free mtDNA concentrations in unaffected heterozygous carriers of PRKN/PINK1 mutations were comparable to control levels; and (iv) that circulating cell-free mtDNA levels have good predictive potential to discriminate between idiopathic Parkinson's disease and Parkinson's disease linked to heterozygous PRKN/PINK1 mutations, providing functional evidence for a role of heterozygous mutations in PRKN or PINK1 as Parkinson's disease risk factor. Taken together, our study further implicates inflammation due to impaired mitophagy and subsequent mtDNA release in the pathogenesis of PRKN/PINK1-linked Parkinson's disease. In individuals carrying mutations in PRKN/PINK1, IL6 and circulating cell-free mtDNA levels may serve as markers of Parkinson's disease state and progression, respectively. Finally, our study suggests that targeting the immune system with anti-inflammatory medication holds the potential to influence the disease course of Parkinson's disease, at least in this subset of patients.
    Keywords:  IL6; PINK1; Parkinson’s disease; ccf-mtDNA; parkin
  29. Cancer Metab. 2020 ;8 12
      By providing the necessary building blocks for nucleic acids and precursors for cell membrane synthesis, pyrimidine ribonucleotides are essential for cell growth and proliferation. Therefore, depleting pyrimidine ribonucleotide pools has long been considered as a strategy to reduce cancer cell growth. Here, we review the pharmacological approaches that have been employed to modulate pyrimidine ribonucleotide synthesis and degradation routes and discuss their potential use in cancer therapy. New developments in the treatment of myeloid malignancies with inhibitors of pyrimidine ribonucleotide synthesis justify revisiting the literature as well as discussing whether targeting this metabolic pathway can be effective and sufficiently selective for cancer cells to warrant an acceptable therapeutic index in patients.
    Keywords:  CAD; CDA; CTPS; Cancer therapy; DHODH; Nucleoside transporters; Pyrimidine ribonucleotide metabolism; Therapeutic index; UMPS
  30. Nat Commun. 2020 10 06. 11(1): 5017
      The survival and recurrence of residual tumor cells following therapy constitutes one of the biggest obstacles to obtaining cures in breast cancer, but it remains unclear how the clonal composition of tumors changes during relapse. We use cellular barcoding to monitor clonal dynamics during tumor recurrence in vivo. We find that clonal diversity decreases during tumor regression, residual disease, and recurrence. The recurrence of dormant residual cells follows several distinct routes. Approximately half of the recurrent tumors exhibit clonal dominance with a small number of subclones comprising the vast majority of the tumor; these clonal recurrences are frequently dependent upon Met gene amplification. A second group of recurrent tumors comprises thousands of subclones, has a clonal architecture similar to primary tumors, and is dependent upon the Jak/Stat pathway. Thus the regrowth of dormant tumors proceeds via multiple routes, producing recurrent tumors with distinct clonal composition, genetic alterations, and drug sensitivities.
  31. Mol Syst Biol. 2020 Oct;16(10): e9649
      Metabolism is a highly compartmentalized process that provides building blocks for biomass generation during development, homeostasis, and wound healing, and energy to support cellular and organismal processes. In metazoans, different cells and tissues specialize in different aspects of metabolism. However, studying the compartmentalization of metabolism in different cell types in a whole animal and for a particular stage of life is difficult. Here, we present MEtabolic models Reconciled with Gene Expression (MERGE), a computational pipeline that we used to predict tissue-relevant metabolic function at the network, pathway, reaction, and metabolite levels based on single-cell RNA-sequencing (scRNA-seq) data from the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Our analysis recapitulated known tissue functions in C. elegans, captured metabolic properties that are shared with similar tissues in human, and provided predictions for novel metabolic functions. MERGE is versatile and applicable to other systems. We envision this work as a starting point for the development of metabolic network models for individual cells as scRNA-seq continues to provide higher-resolution gene expression data.
    Keywords:   Caenorhabditis elegans ; data integration; metabolic network; single-cell RNA-seq; tissue metabolism
  32. Ageing Res Rev. 2020 Oct 05. pii: S1568-1637(20)30323-8. [Epub ahead of print] 101188
      Metabolism plays a significant role in the regulation of aging at different levels, and metabolic reprogramming represents a major driving force in aging. Metabolic reprogramming leads to impaired organismal fitness, an age-dependent increase in susceptibility to diseases, decreased ability to mount a stress response, and increased frailty. The complexity of age-dependent metabolic reprogramming comes from the multitude of levels on which metabolic changes can be connected to aging and regulation of lifespan. This is further complicated by the different metabolic requirements of various tissues, cross-organ communication via metabolite secretion, and direct effects of metabolites on epigenetic state and redox regulation; however, not all of these changes are causative to aging. Studies in yeast, flies, worms, and mice have played a crucial role in identifying mechanistic links between observed changes in various metabolic traits and their effects on lifespan. Here, we review how changes in the organismal and organ-specific metabolome are associated with aging and how targeting of any one of over a hundred different targets in specific metabolic pathways can extend lifespan. An important corollary is that restriction or supplementation of different metabolites can change activity of these metabolic pathways in ways that improve healthspan and extend lifespan in different organisms. Due to the high levels of conservation of metabolism in general, translating findings from model systems to human beings will allow for the development of effective strategies for human health- and lifespan extension.
    Keywords:  Aging; C. elegans; Drosophila; Metabolism; Mice; Yeast
  33. EMBO J. 2020 Oct 06. e101767
      Changes in cell metabolism and plasma membrane potential have been linked to shifts between tissue growth and differentiation, and to developmental patterning. How such changes mediate these effects is poorly understood. Here, we use the developing wing of Drosophila to investigate the interplay between cell metabolism and a key developmental regulator-the Hedgehog (Hh) signalling pathway. We show that reducing glycolysis both lowers steady-state levels of ATP and stabilizes Smoothened (Smo), the 7-pass transmembrane protein that transduces the Hh signal. As a result, the transcription factor Cubitus interruptus accumulates in its full-length, transcription activating form. We show that glycolysis is required to maintain the plasma membrane potential and that plasma membrane depolarization blocks cellular uptake of N-acylethanolamides-lipoprotein-borne Hh pathway inhibitors required for Smo destabilization. Similarly, pharmacological inhibition of glycolysis in mammalian cells induces ciliary translocation of Smo-a key step in pathway activation-in the absence of Hh. Thus, changes in cell metabolism alter Hh signalling through their effects on plasma membrane potential.
    Keywords:  endocannabinoids; glycolysis; hedgehog signalling; metabolism; plasma membrane potential
  34. Trends Biochem Sci. 2020 Oct 01. pii: S0968-0004(20)30229-2. [Epub ahead of print]
      Lysosomes are in the center of the cellular control of catabolic and anabolic processes. These membrane-surrounded acidic organelles contain around 70 hydrolases, 200 membrane proteins, and numerous accessory proteins associated with the cytosolic surface of lysosomes. Accessory and transmembrane proteins assemble in signaling complexes that sense and integrate multiple signals and transmit the information to the nucleus. This communication allows cells to respond to changes in multiple environmental conditions, including nutrient levels, pathogens, energy availability, and lysosomal damage, with the goal of restoring cellular homeostasis. This review summarizes our current understanding of the major molecular players and known pathways that are involved in control of metabolic and stress responses that either originate from lysosomes or regulate lysosomal functions.
    Keywords:  TFEB; autophagy; lysosomes; mTOR; nutrient sensing; transcription factors
  35. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2020 ;8 819
      Background: In animal models of ventilation-induced lung injury, mitophagy triggers mitochondria damage and the release of mitochondrial (mt) DNA, which activates inflammation. However, the mechanism of this process is unclear.Methods: A model of cyclic stretching (CS)-induced lung epithelial cell injury was established. The genetic intervention of phosphatase and tensin homolog-induced kinase 1 (PINK1) expression via lentivirus transfection was used to identify the relationship between PINK1-mediated mitophagy and mtDNA release in stretching-induced inflammatory response and injury. Pharmacological inhabitation of Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) and myeloid differentiation factor 88 (MyD88) expression was performed via their related inhibitors, while pre-treatment of exogenous mtDNA was used to verify the role of mtDNA in stretching-induced inflammatory response and injury.
    Results: Using a cell culture model of CS, we found that knocking down PINK1 in lung epithelial cells reduced mitophagy activation and mtDNA release, leading to milder inflammatory response and injury; conversely, up-regulating PINK1 exacerbated stretching-induced inflammation and injury, and similar effects were observed by upregulating TLR9 to induce expression of MyD88 and nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB)/p65. Down-regulating MyD88 protected lung epithelial cells from stretching injury and decreased NF-κB/p65 expression.
    Conclusion: These findings suggest that PINK1-dependent mitophagy and associated TLR9 activation is indeed a major factor in stretch-induced cell injury via a mechanism in which released mtDNA activates TLR9 and thereby the MyD88/NF-κB pathway. Inhibiting this process may be a therapeutic approach to prevent inflammation and cell injury in patients on mechanical ventilation.
    Keywords:  Toll-like receptor 9; lung injury; mechanical stretching; mitochondrial DNA; mitophagy
  36. Mol Oncol. 2020 Oct 06.
      Metabolic rewiring is a mechanism of adaptation to unfavorable environmental conditions and tumor progression. TRAP1 is an HSP90 molecular chaperone upregulated in human colorectal carcinomas (CRCs) and responsible for downregulation of oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) and adaptation to metabolic stress. The mechanism by which TRAP1 regulates glycolytic metabolism and the relevance of this regulation in resistance to EGFR inhibitors were investigated in patient-derived CRC spheres, human CRC cells, samples and patients. A linear correlation was observed between TRAP1 levels and 18 F-Fluoro-2-Deoxy-Glucose (18 F-FDG) uptake upon PET scan or GLUT1 expression in human CRCs. Consistently, TRAP1 enhances GLUT1 expression, glucose uptake and lactate production and downregulates OXPHOS in CRC patient-derived spheroids and cell lines. Mechanistically, TRAP1 maximizes lactate production to balance low OXPHOS through the regulation of the glycolytic enzyme phosphofructokinase-1 (PFK1); this depends on the interaction between TRAP1 and PFK1, which favors PFK1 glycolytic activity and prevents its ubiquitination/degradation. By contrast, TRAP1/PFK1 interaction is lost in conditions of enhanced OXPHOS, which results in loss of TRAP1 regulation of PFK1 activity and lactate production. Notably, TRAP1 regulation of glycolysis is involved in resistance of RAS-wild type CRCs to EGFR monoclonals. Indeed, either TRAP1 upregulation or high glycolytic metabolism impair cetuximab activity in vitro, whereas TRAP1 targeting and/or inhibition of glycolytic pathway enhance cell response to cetuximab. Finally, a linear correlation between 18 F-FDG PET uptake and poor response to cetuximab in first-line therapy in human metastatic CRCs was observed. These results suggest that TRAP1 is a key determinant of CRC metabolic rewiring and favors resistance to EGFR inhibitors through regulation of glycolytic metabolism.
    Keywords:  TRAP1; cetuximab; glycolysis; oxidative phosphorylation; phosphofructokinase 1
  37. Nat Rev Genet. 2020 Oct 06.
      DNA methylation is a key layer of epigenetic regulation. The deposition of methylation marks relies on the catalytic activity of DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs), and their active removal relies on the activity of ten-eleven translocation (TET) enzymes. Paradoxically, in important biological contexts these antagonistic factors are co-expressed and target overlapping genomic regions. The ensuing cyclic biochemistry of cytosine modifications gives rise to a continuous, out-of-thermal equilibrium transition through different methylation states. But what is the purpose of this intriguing turnover of DNA methylation? Recent evidence demonstrates that methylation turnover is enriched at gene distal regulatory elements, including enhancers, and can give rise to large-scale oscillatory dynamics. We discuss this phenomenon and propose that DNA methylation turnover might facilitate key lineage decisions.
  38. Heliyon. 2020 Sep;6(9): e05097
      While therapies targeting deficiencies in the homologous recombination (HR) pathway are emerging as the standard treatment for high grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC) patients, this strategy is limited to the ~50% of patients with a deficiency in this pathway. Therefore, patients with HR-proficient tumors are likely to be resistant to these therapies and require alternative strategies. We found that the HR gene Ataxia Telangiectasia Mutated (ATM) is wildtype and its activity is upregulated in HGSOC compared to normal fallopian tube tissue. Interestingly, multiple pathways related to metabolism are inversely correlated with ATM expression in HGSOC specimens, suggesting that combining ATM inhibition with metabolic drugs would be effective. Analysis of FDA-approved drugs from the Dependency Map demonstrated that ATM-low cells are more sensitive to fenofibrate, a PPARα agonist that affects multiple cellular metabolic pathways. Consistently, PPARα signaling is associated with ATM expression. We validated that combined inhibition of ATM and treatment with fenofibrate is synergistic in multiple HGSOC cell lines by inducing senescence. Together, our results suggest that metabolic changes induced by ATM inhibitors are a potential target for the treatment of HGSOC.
    Keywords:  Biochemistry; Bioinformatics; Cancer research; Cell biology; Cellular metabolism; Cellular senescence; Drug combinations; Homologous recombination; Metabolite; Molecular biology; PPARa
  39. EMBO Rep. 2020 Oct 05. e51015
      Respiratory chains are crucial for cellular energy conversion and consist of multi-subunit complexes that can assemble into supercomplexes. These structures have been intensively characterized in various organisms, but their physiological roles remain unclear. Here, we elucidate their function by leveraging a high-resolution structural model of yeast respiratory supercomplexes that allowed us to inhibit supercomplex formation by mutation of key residues in the interaction interface. Analyses of a mutant defective in supercomplex formation, which still contains fully functional individual complexes, show that the lack of supercomplex assembly delays the diffusion of cytochrome c between the separated complexes, thus reducing electron transfer efficiency. Consequently, competitive cellular fitness is severely reduced in the absence of supercomplex formation and can be restored by overexpression of cytochrome c. In sum, our results establish how respiratory supercomplexes increase the efficiency of cellular energy conversion, thereby providing an evolutionary advantage for aerobic organisms.
    Keywords:  bioenergetics; competitive fitness; cryo-EM; mitochondria; respiratory chain supercomplexes
  40. J Clin Invest. 2020 Oct 08. pii: 138315. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mutations in the core RNA splicing factor SF3B1 are prevalent in leukemias and uveal melanoma but hotspot SF3B1 mutations are also seen in epithelial malignancies such as breast cancer. Although hotspot mutations in SF3B1 alter hematopoietic differentiation, whether SF3B1 mutations contribute to epithelial cancer development and progression is unknown. Here, we identify that SF3B1 mutations in mammary epithelial and breast cancer cells induce a recurrent pattern of aberrant splicing leading to activation of AKT and NF-kB, enhanced cell migration, and accelerated tumorigenesis. Transcriptomic analysis of human cancer specimens, MMTV-cre Sf3b1K700E/WT mice, and isogenic mutant cell lines identified hundreds of aberrant 3' splice sites (3'ss) induced by mutant SF3B1. Consistently between mouse and human tumors, mutant SF3B1 promoted aberrant splicing (dependent on aberrant branchpoints as well as pyrimidines downstream of the cryptic 3'ss) and consequent suppression of PPP2R5A and MAP3K7, critical negative regulators of AKT and NF-kB. Coordinate activation of NF-kB and AKT signaling was observed in the knock-in models, leading to accelerated cell migration and tumor development in combination with mutant PIK3CA but also hypersensitizing cells to AKT kinase inhibitors. These data identify hotspot mutations in SF3B1 as an important contributor to breast tumorigenesis and reveal unique vulnerabilities in cancers harboring them.
    Keywords:  Breast cancer; Oncology; RNA processing
  41. Nat Commun. 2020 10 08. 11(1): 5073
      Brain cells continuously produce and release protons into the extracellular space, with the rate of acid production corresponding to the levels of neuronal activity and metabolism. Efficient buffering and removal of excess H+ is essential for brain function, not least because all the electrogenic and biochemical machinery of synaptic transmission is highly sensitive to changes in pH. Here, we describe an astroglial mechanism that contributes to the protection of the brain milieu from acidification. In vivo and in vitro experiments conducted in rodent models show that at least one third of all astrocytes release bicarbonate to buffer extracellular H+ loads associated with increases in neuronal activity. The underlying signalling mechanism involves activity-dependent release of ATP triggering bicarbonate secretion by astrocytes via activation of metabotropic P2Y1 receptors, recruitment of phospholipase C, release of Ca2+ from the internal stores, and facilitated outward HCO3- transport by the electrogenic sodium bicarbonate cotransporter 1, NBCe1. These results show that astrocytes maintain local brain extracellular pH homeostasis via a neuronal activity-dependent release of bicarbonate. The data provide evidence of another important metabolic housekeeping function of these glial cells.
  42. Front Oncol. 2020 ;10 553342
      Metastasis remains the cause of over 90% of cancer-related deaths. Cells undergoing metastasis use phenotypic plasticity to adapt to their changing environmental conditions and avoid therapy and immune response. Reversible transitions between epithelial and mesenchymal phenotypes - epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and its reverse mesenchymal-epithelial transition (MET) - form a key axis of phenotypic plasticity during metastasis and therapy resistance. Recent studies have shown that the cells undergoing EMT/MET can attain one or more hybrid epithelial/mesenchymal (E/M) phenotypes, the process of which is termed as partial EMT/MET. Cells in hybrid E/M phenotype(s) can be more aggressive than those in either epithelial or mesenchymal state. Thus, it is crucial to identify the factors and regulatory networks enabling such hybrid E/M phenotypes. Here, employing an integrated computational-experimental approach, we show that the transcription factor nuclear factor of activated T-cell (NFATc) can inhibit the process of complete EMT, thus stabilizing the hybrid E/M phenotype. It increases the range of parameters enabling the existence of a hybrid E/M phenotype, thus behaving as a phenotypic stability factor (PSF). However, unlike previously identified PSFs, it does not increase the mean residence time of the cells in hybrid E/M phenotypes, as shown by stochastic simulations; rather it enables the co-existence of epithelial, mesenchymal and hybrid E/M phenotypes and transitions among them. Clinical data suggests the effect of NFATc on patient survival in a tissue-specific or context-dependent manner. Together, our results indicate that NFATc behaves as a non-canonical PSF for a hybrid E/M phenotype.
    Keywords:  NFATc; cancer systems biology; epithelial–mesenchymal transition; hybrid epithelial/mesenchymal; mathematical modeling; phenotypic stability factor
  43. Nat Med. 2020 Oct;26(10): 1519-1530
      Insights into the role of the tumor suppressor pVHL in oxygen sensing motivated the testing of drugs that target the transcription factor HIF or HIF-responsive growth factors, such as VEGF, for the treatment of cancers caused by VHL inactivation, such as clear-cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC). Multiple VEGF inhibitors are now approved for the treatment of ccRCC, and a HIF2α inhibitor has advanced to phase 3 development for this disease. These inhibitors are now also increasingly combined with immune-checkpoint blockers. In this Perspective, we describe the understanding of the mechanisms of oxygen sensing and hypoxia signaling that resulted in the development of HIF2α-targeted therapies for patients with VHL-associated tumors. We also present future directions for extending the use of these therapies to other cancers.
  44. Semin Cancer Biol. 2020 Oct 06. pii: S1044-579X(20)30203-0. [Epub ahead of print]
      Epigenetic regulation of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is an emerging and fast-developing field of research. Compared to regulation of nucler DNA, mechanisms of mtDNA epigenetic regulation (mitoepigenetics) remain less investigated. However, mitochondrial signaling directs various vital intracellular processes including aerobic respiration, apoptosis, cell proliferation and survival, nucleic acid synthesis, and oxidative stress. The later process and associated mismanagement of reactive oxygen species (ROS) cascade were associated with cancer progression. It has been demonstrated that cancer cells contain ROS/oxidative stress-mediated defects in mtDNA repair system and histone protection. Furthermore, mtDNA is vulnerable to damage caused by somatic mutations, resulting in the dysfunction of the mitochondrial respiratory chain and energy production, which fosters further generation of ROS and promotes oncogenicity. Mitochondrial proteins are encoded by the collective mitochondrial genome that comprises both nuclear and mitochondrial genomes coupled by crosstalk. Recent reports determined the defects in the collective mitochondrial genome that are conducive to breast cancer initiation and progression. Mutational damage to mtDNA, as well as its overproliferation and deletions, were reported to alter the nuclear epigenetic landscape. Unbalanced mitoepigenetics and adverse regulation of oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) can efficiently facilitate cancer cell survival. Accordingly, several mitochondria-targeting therapeutic agents (biguanides, OXPHOS inhibitors, vitamin-E analogues, and antibiotic bedaquiline) were suggested for future clinical trials in breast cancer patients. However, crosstalk mechanisms between altered mitoepigenetics and cancer-associated mtDNA mutations remain largely unclear. Hence, mtDNA mutations and epigenetic modifications could be considered as a potential molecular marker for early diagnosis and targeted therapy of breast cancer. This review discusses the role of mitoepigenetic regulation in cancer cells and potential employment of mtDNA modifications as novel anti-cancer targets.
    Keywords:  Mitoepigenetics; breast cancer; mitochondria; mtDNA; oxidative stress
  45. Cancer Discov. 2020 Oct 06. pii: CD-20-0331. [Epub ahead of print]
      Glioblastoma is a universally lethal cancer driven by glioblastoma stem cells (GSCs). Here, we interrogated N6-methyladenosine (m6A) mRNA modifications in GSCs by methyl RNA-immunoprecipitation followed by sequencing (meRIP-seq) and transcriptome analysis, finding transcripts marked by m6A often upregulated compared to normal neural stem cells (NSCs). Interrogating m6A regulators, GSCs displayed preferential expression, as well as in vitro and in vivo dependency, of the m6A reader, YTHDF2, in contrast to NSCs. While YTHDF2 has been reported to destabilize mRNAs, YTHDF2 stabilized MYC and VEGFA transcripts in GSCs in an m6A-dependent manner. We identified IGFBP3 as a downstream effector of the YTHDF2-MYC axis in GSCs. The IGF1/IGF1R inhibitor, linsitinib, preferentially targeted YTHDF2-expressing cells, inhibiting GSC viability without affecting NSCs and impairing in vivo glioblastoma growth. Thus, YTHDF2 links RNA epitranscriptomic modifications and GSC growth, laying the foundation for the YTHDF2-MYC-IGFBP3 axis as a specific and novel therapeutic target in glioblastoma.