bims-camemi Biomed News
on Mitochondrial metabolism in cancer
Issue of 2020‒12‒13
thirty-four papers selected by
Christian Frezza
University of Cambridge, MRC Cancer Unit

  1. Cell Metab. 2020 Nov 26. pii: S1550-4131(20)30603-3. [Epub ahead of print]
      Recent studies suggest that mitochondria can be transferred between cells to support the survival of metabolically compromised cells. However, whether intercellular mitochondria transfer occurs in white adipose tissue (WAT) or regulates metabolic homeostasis in vivo remains unknown. We found that macrophages acquire mitochondria from neighboring adipocytes in vivo and that this process defines a transcriptionally distinct macrophage subpopulation. A genome-wide CRISPR-Cas9 knockout screen revealed that mitochondria uptake depends on heparan sulfates (HS). High-fat diet (HFD)-induced obese mice exhibit lower HS levels on WAT macrophages and decreased intercellular mitochondria transfer from adipocytes to macrophages. Deletion of the HS biosynthetic gene Ext1 in myeloid cells decreases mitochondria uptake by WAT macrophages, increases WAT mass, lowers energy expenditure, and exacerbates HFD-induced obesity in vivo. Collectively, this study suggests that adipocytes and macrophages employ intercellular mitochondria transfer as a mechanism of immunometabolic crosstalk that regulates metabolic homeostasis and is impaired in obesity.
    Keywords:  beige adipose tissue; brown adipose tissue; horizontal mitochondria transfer; immunometabolism; intercellular mitochondria transfer; macrophage; metabolism; mitochondria; obesity; white adipose tissue
  2. Cells. 2020 Dec 04. pii: E2600. [Epub ahead of print]9(12):
      Tumors remodel their metabolism to support anabolic processes needed for replication, as well as to survive nutrient scarcity and oxidative stress imposed by their changing environment. In most healthy tissues, the shift from anabolism to catabolism results in decreased glycolysis and elevated fatty acid oxidation (FAO). This change in the nutrient selected for oxidation is regulated by the glucose-fatty acid cycle, also known as the Randle cycle. Briefly, this cycle consists of a decrease in glycolysis caused by increased mitochondrial FAO in muscle as a result of elevated extracellular fatty acid availability. Closing the cycle, increased glycolysis in response to elevated extracellular glucose availability causes a decrease in mitochondrial FAO. This competition between glycolysis and FAO and its relationship with anabolism and catabolism is conserved in some cancers. Accordingly, decreasing glycolysis to lactate, even by diverting pyruvate to mitochondria, can stop proliferation. Moreover, colorectal cancer cells can effectively shift to FAO to survive both glucose restriction and increases in oxidative stress at the expense of decreasing anabolism. However, a subset of B-cell lymphomas and other cancers require a concurrent increase in mitochondrial FAO and glycolysis to support anabolism and proliferation, thus escaping the competing nature of the Randle cycle. How mitochondria are remodeled in these FAO-dependent lymphomas to preferably oxidize fat, while concurrently sustaining high glycolysis and increasing de novo fatty acid synthesis is unclear. Here, we review studies focusing on the role of mitochondrial FAO and mitochondrial-driven lipid synthesis in cancer proliferation and survival, specifically in colorectal cancer and lymphomas. We conclude that a specific metabolic liability of these FAO-dependent cancers could be a unique remodeling of mitochondrial function that licenses elevated FAO concurrent to high glycolysis and fatty acid synthesis. In addition, blocking this mitochondrial remodeling could selectively stop growth of tumors that shifted to mitochondrial FAO to survive oxidative stress and nutrient scarcity.
    Keywords:  ATF4; ISR; cancer; fatty acid oxidation; glycolysis; lipogenesis; mitochondria
  3. Autophagy. 2020 Dec 10. 1-25
      Mitochondrial dysfunction causes energy deficiency and nigrostriatal neurodegeneration which is integral to the pathogenesis of Parkinson disease (PD). Clearance of defective mitochondria involves fission and ubiquitin-dependent degradation via mitophagy to maintain energy homeostasis. We hypothesize that LRRK2 (leucine-rich repeat kinase 2) mutation disrupts mitochondrial turnover causing accumulation of defective mitochondria in aging brain. We found more ubiquitinated mitochondria with aberrant morphology associated with impaired function in aged (but not young) LRRK2R1441G knockin mutant mouse striatum compared to wild-type (WT) controls. LRRK2R1441G mutant mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) exhibited reduced MAP1LC3/LC3 activation indicating impaired macroautophagy/autophagy. Mutant MEFs under FCCP-induced (mitochondrial uncoupler) stress showed increased LC3-aggregates demonstrating impaired mitophagy. Using a novel flow cytometry assay to quantify mitophagic rates in MEFs expressing photoactivatable mito-PAmCherry, we found significantly slower mitochondria clearance in mutant cells. Specific LRRK2 kinase inhibition using GNE-7915 did not alleviate impaired mitochondrial clearance suggesting a lack of direct relationship to increased kinase activity alone. DNM1L/Drp1 knockdown in MEFs slowed mitochondrial clearance indicating that DNM1L is a prerequisite for mitophagy. DNM1L knockdown in slowing mitochondrial clearance was less pronounced in mutant MEFs, indicating preexisting impaired DNM1L activation. DNM1L knockdown disrupted mitochondrial network which was more evident in mutant MEFs. DNM1L-Ser616 and MAPK/ERK phosphorylation which mediate mitochondrial fission and downstream mitophagic processes was apparent in WT using FCCP-induced stress but not mutant MEFs, despite similar total MAPK/ERK and DNM1L levels. In conclusion, aberrant mitochondria morphology and dysfunction associated with impaired mitophagy and DNM1L-MAPK/ERK signaling are found in mutant LRRK2 MEFs and mouse brain. Abbreviations: ATP: adenosine triphosphate; BAX: BCL2-associated X protein; CDK1: cyclin-dependent kinase 1; CDK5: cyclin-dependent kinase 5; CQ: chloroquine; CSF: cerebrospinal fluid; DNM1L/DRP1: dynamin 1-like; ELISA: enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay; FACS: fluorescence-activated cell sorting; FCCP: carbonyl cyanide-4-(trifluoromethoxy)phenylhydrazone; GAPDH: glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase; LAMP2A: lysosomal-associated membrane protein 2A; LRRK2: leucine-rich repeat kinase 2; MAP1LC3/LC3: microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3; MAPK1/ERK2: mitogen-activated protein kinase 1; MEF: mouse embryonic fibroblast; MFN1: mitofusin 1; MMP: mitochondrial membrane potential; PAmCherry: photoactivatable-mCherry; PD: Parkinson disease; PINK1: PTEN induced putative kinase 1; PRKN/PARKIN: parkin RBR E3 ubiquitin protein ligase; RAB10: RAB10, member RAS oncogene family; RAF: v-raf-leukemia oncogene; SNCA: synuclein, alpha; TEM: transmission electron microscopy; VDAC: voltage-dependent anion channel; WT: wild type; SQSTM1/p62: sequestosome 1.
    Keywords:  Aging; Dnm1l/DRP1; SQSTM1/p62; knockin mice; macroautophagy; mitochondria dysfunction; mitochondrial fission; mitophagy; parkinson disease; ubiquitination
  4. Cells. 2020 Dec 04. pii: E2598. [Epub ahead of print]9(12):
      Hypoxia is a condition commonly observed in the core of solid tumors. The hypoxia-inducible factors (HIF) act as hypoxia sensors that orchestrate a coordinated response increasing the pro-survival and pro-invasive phenotype of cancer cells, and determine a broad metabolic rewiring. These events favor tumor progression and chemoresistance. The increase in glucose and amino acid uptake, glycolytic flux, and lactate production; the alterations in glutamine metabolism, tricarboxylic acid cycle, and oxidative phosphorylation; the high levels of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species; the modulation of both fatty acid synthesis and oxidation are hallmarks of the metabolic rewiring induced by hypoxia. This review discusses how metabolic-dependent factors (e.g., increased acidification of tumor microenvironment coupled with intracellular alkalinization, and reduced mitochondrial metabolism), and metabolic-independent factors (e.g., increased expression of drug efflux transporters, stemness maintenance, and epithelial-mesenchymal transition) cooperate in determining chemoresistance in hypoxia. Specific metabolic modifiers, however, can reverse the metabolic phenotype of hypoxic tumor areas that are more chemoresistant into the phenotype typical of chemosensitive cells. We propose these metabolic modifiers, able to reverse the hypoxia-induced metabolic rewiring, as potential chemosensitizer agents against hypoxic and refractory tumor cells.
    Keywords:  cancer; chemoresistance; hypoxia; metabolic reprogramming
  5. Cell Metab. 2020 Dec 01. pii: S1550-4131(20)30651-3. [Epub ahead of print]
      Neutrophils can function and survive in injured and infected tissues, where oxygen and metabolic substrates are limited. Using radioactive flux assays and LC-MS tracing with U-13C glucose, glutamine, and pyruvate, we observe that neutrophils require the generation of intracellular glycogen stores by gluconeogenesis and glycogenesis for effective survival and bacterial killing. These metabolic adaptations are dynamic, with net increases in glycogen stores observed following LPS challenge or altitude-induced hypoxia. Neutrophils from patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease have reduced glycogen cycling, resulting in impaired function. Metabolic specialization of neutrophils may therefore underpin disease pathology and allow selective therapeutic targeting.
    Keywords:  COPD; GYS1; gluconeogenesis; glycogen; glycogenesis; glycogenolysis; glycolysis; inflammation; neutrophil
  6. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2020 Dec 09.
      Calcium (Ca2+) signaling is critical for cell function and cell survival. Mitochondria play a major role in regulating the intracellular Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]i). Mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake is an important determinant of cell fate and governs respiration, mitophagy/autophagy, and mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis. Mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake occurs via the mitochondrial Ca2+ uniporter (MCU) complex. This review summarizes the current knowledge on the function of MCU complex, regulation of MCU channel, and the role of MCU in Ca2+ homeostasis and human disease pathogenesis. The channel core consists of four MCU subunits and EMRE. Regulatory proteins that interact with them include mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake 1/2 (MICU1/2), MCU dominant negative beta subunit (MCUb), MCU regu-lator 1 (MCUR1) and solute carrier 25A23 (SLC25A23). In addition to these proteins, cardiolipin, a mito-chondrial mem-brane-specific phospholipid, has been shown to interact with the channel core. The dynamic interplay between the core and regu-latory proteins modulates MCU channel activity after sensing local changes in [Ca2+]i, reactive oxygen species, and other environmental factors. Here, we highlight the structural details of the human MCU heteromeric assemblies and their known roles in regulating mitochondrial Ca2+ homeostasis. MCU dysfunction has been shown to alter mitochondrial Ca2+ dynamics, in turn eliciting cell apoptosis. Changes in mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake have been implicated in pathological con-ditions af-fecting multiple organs, including the heart, skeletal muscle, and brain. However, our structural and functional knowledge of this vital protein complex remains incomplete and under-standing the precise role for MCU-mediated mito-chondrial Ca2+ signaling in disease requires further research ef-forts.
    Keywords:  Calcium; Channel; MCU; mitochondria; uniporter
  7. Trends Cancer. 2020 Dec 03. pii: S2405-8033(20)30278-8. [Epub ahead of print]
      Lipid metabolic reprogramming is an established trait of cancer metabolism that guides response and resistance to antitumoral therapies. Enhanced lipogenesis, increased lipid content (either free or stored into lipid droplets), and lipid-dependent catabolism sustain therapy desensitization and the emergence of a resistant phenotype of tumor cells exposed to chemotherapy or targeted therapies. Aberrant lipid metabolism, therefore, has emerged as a potential metabolic vulnerability of therapy-resistant cancers that could be exploited for therapeutic interventions or for identifying tumors more likely to respond to further lines of therapies. This review gathers recent findings on the role of aberrant lipid metabolism in influencing antitumoral therapy response and in sustaining the emergence of resistance.
    Keywords:  lipid droplets; lipid metabolism; metabolic reprogramming; metabolic targeting; therapy resistance
  8. Nature. 2020 Dec 09.
      The formation of arteries is thought to occur by the induction of a highly conserved arterial genetic programme in a subset of vessels that will later experience an increase in oxygenated blood flow1,2. The initial steps of arterial specification require both the VEGF and Notch signalling pathways3-5. Here, we combine inducible genetic mosaics and transcriptomics to modulate and define the function of these signalling pathways in cell proliferation, arteriovenous differentiation and mobilization. We show that endothelial cells with high levels of VEGF or Notch signalling are intrinsically biased to mobilize and form arteries; however, they are not genetically pre-determined, and can also form veins. Mechanistically, we found that increased levels of VEGF and Notch signalling in pre-arterial capillaries suppresses MYC-dependent metabolic and cell-cycle activities, and promotes the incorporation of endothelial cells into arteries. Mosaic lineage-tracing studies showed that endothelial cells that lack the Notch-RBPJ transcriptional activator complex rarely form arteries; however, these cells regained the ability to form arteries when the function of MYC was suppressed. Thus, the development of arteries does not require the direct induction of a Notch-dependent arterial differentiation programme, but instead depends on the timely suppression of endothelial cell-cycle progression and metabolism, a process that precedes arterial mobilization and complete differentiation.
  9. Nat Metab. 2020 Dec 07.
      Hibernation is a state of extraordinary metabolic plasticity. The pathways of amino acid metabolism as they relate to nitrogen homeostasis in hibernating mammals in vivo are unknown. Here we show, using pulse isotopic tracing, evidence of increased myofibrillar (skeletal muscle) protein breakdown and suppressed whole-body production of metabolites in vivo throughout deep torpor. As whole-body production of metabolites is suppressed, amino acids with nitrogenous side chains accumulate during torpor, while urea cycle intermediates do not. Using 15N stable isotope methodology in arctic ground squirrels (Urocitellus parryii), we provide evidence that free nitrogen is buffered and recycled into essential amino acids, non-essential amino acids and the gamma-glutamyl system during the inter-bout arousal period of hibernation. In the absence of nutrient intake or physical activity, our data illustrate the orchestration of metabolic pathways that sustain the provision of essential and non-essential amino acids and prevent ammonia toxicity during hibernation.
  10. EMBO J. 2020 Dec 09. e107326
      Mitochondria are dynamic organelles adapting their morphology by cycles of fission and fusion events to control cellular homeostasis. In this issue of The EMBO Journal, Murata and colleagues (2020) show that lack of mitochondrial division leads to safeguard mechanisms, induced by transient mitochondrial membrane depolarization and activation of the metalloprotease OMA1, to prevent extreme mitochondrial fusion and to maintain optimal mitochondrial bioenergetics.
  11. Nat Commun. 2020 12 09. 11(1): 6314
      Blood and lymphatic vessels structurally bear a strong resemblance but never share a lumen, thus maintaining their distinct functions. Although lymphatic vessels initially arise from embryonic veins, the molecular mechanism that maintains separation of these two systems has not been elucidated. Here, we show that genetic deficiency of Folliculin, a tumor suppressor, leads to misconnection of blood and lymphatic vessels in mice and humans. Absence of Folliculin results in the appearance of lymphatic-biased venous endothelial cells caused by ectopic expression of Prox1, a master transcription factor for lymphatic specification. Mechanistically, this phenotype is ascribed to nuclear translocation of the basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor Transcription Factor E3 (TFE3), binding to a regulatory element of Prox1, thereby enhancing its venous expression. Overall, these data demonstrate that Folliculin acts as a gatekeeper that maintains separation of blood and lymphatic vessels by limiting the plasticity of committed endothelial cells.
  12. Int J Cancer. 2020 Dec 07.
      Here we sought metabolic alterations specifically associated with MYCN amplification as nodes to indirectly target the MYCN oncogene. Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry-based proteomics identified 7 proteins consistently correlated with MYCN in proteomes from 49 neuroblastoma biopsies and 13 cell lines. Among these was phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase (PHGDH), the rate-limiting enzyme in de novo serine synthesis. MYCN associated with two regions in the PHGDH promoter, supporting transcriptional PHGDH regulation by MYCN. Pulsed stable isotope-resolved metabolomics utilizing 13 C-glucose labeling demonstrated higher de novo serine synthesis in MYCN-amplified cells compared to cells with diploid MYCN. An independence of MYCN-amplified cells from exogenous serine and glycine was demonstrated by serine and glycine starvation, which attenuated nucleotide pools and proliferation only in cells with diploid MYCN but did not diminish these endpoints in MYCN-amplified cells. Proliferation was attenuated in MYCN-amplified cells by CRISPR/Cas9-mediated PHGDH knockout or treatment with PHGDH small molecule inhibitors without affecting cell viability. PHGDH inhibitors administered as single-agent therapy to NOG mice harboring patient-derived MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma xenografts slowed tumor growth. However, combining a PHGDH inhibitor with the standard-of-care chemotherapy drug, cisplatin, revealed antagonism of chemotherapy efficacy in vivo. Emergence of chemotherapy resistance was confirmed in the genetic PHGDH knockout model in vitro. Altogether, PHGDH knockout or inhibition by small molecules consistently slows proliferation, but stops short of killing the cells, which then establish resistance to classical chemotherapy. Although PHGDH inhibition with small molecules has produced encouraging results in other preclinical cancer models, this approach has limited attractiveness for patients with neuroblastoma.
    Keywords:  cancer cell metabolism; cell death; de novo serine synthesis pathway; one-carbon metabolism; therapy resistance
  13. Nat Commun. 2020 12 08. 11(1): 6296
      Macrophages represent a major immune cell population in atherosclerotic plaques and play central role in the progression of this lipid-driven chronic inflammatory disease. Targeting immunometabolism is proposed as a strategy to revert aberrant macrophage activation to improve disease outcome. Here, we show ATP citrate lyase (Acly) to be activated in inflammatory macrophages and human atherosclerotic plaques. We demonstrate that myeloid Acly deficiency induces a stable plaque phenotype characterized by increased collagen deposition and fibrous cap thickness, along with a smaller necrotic core. In-depth functional, lipidomic, and transcriptional characterization indicate deregulated fatty acid and cholesterol biosynthesis and reduced liver X receptor activation within the macrophages in vitro. This results in macrophages that are more prone to undergo apoptosis, whilst maintaining their capacity to phagocytose apoptotic cells. Together, our results indicate that targeting macrophage metabolism improves atherosclerosis outcome and we reveal Acly as a promising therapeutic target to stabilize atherosclerotic plaques.
  14. Cancer Metab. 2020 Dec 10. 8(1): 28
      BACKGROUND: Of the genes that control mitochondrial biogenesis and function, ERRα emerges as a druggable metabolic target to be exploited for cancer therapy. Of the genes mutated in cancer, TP53 remains the most elusive to target. A clear understanding of how mitochondrial druggable targets can be accessed to exploit the underlying mechanism(s) explaining how p53-deficient tumors promote cell survival remains elusive.METHODS: We performed protein-protein interaction studies to demonstrate that ERRα binds to p53. Moreover, we used gene silencing and pharmacological approaches in tandem with quantitative proteomics analysis by SWATH-MS to investigate the role of the ERRα/p53 complex in mitochondrial biogenesis and function in colon cancer. Finally, we designed in vitro and in vivo studies to investigate the possibility of targeting colon cancers that exhibit defects in p53.
    RESULTS: Here, we are the first to identify a direct protein-protein interaction between the ligand-binding domain (LBD) of ERRα and the C-terminal domain (CTD) of p53. ERRα binds to p53 regardless of p53 mutational status. Furthermore, we show that the ERRα and p53 complex cooperatively control mitochondrial biogenesis and function. Targeting ERRα creates mitochondrial metabolic stresses, such as production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and mitochondrial membrane permeabilization (MMP), leading to a greater cytotoxic effect that is dependent on the presence of p53. Pharmacological inhibition of ERRα impairs the growth of p53-deficient cells and of p53 mutant patient-derived colon xenografts (PDX).
    CONCLUSIONS: Therefore, our data suggest that by using the status of the p53 protein as a selection criterion, the ERRα/p53 transcriptional axis can be exploited as a metabolic vulnerability.
    Keywords:  Apoptosis; ERRα; Mitochondrial biogenesis; Mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (mtOxPhos); PDX colon cancer model; p53-deficient
  15. Front Physiol. 2020 ;11 580167
      Acetate is a major end product of bacterial fermentation of fiber in the gut. Acetate, whether derived from the diet or from fermentation in the colon, has been implicated in a range of health benefits. Acetate is also generated in and released from various tissues including the intestine and liver, and is generated within all cells by deacetylation reactions. To be utilized, all acetate, regardless of the source, must be converted to acetyl coenzyme A (acetyl-CoA), which is carried out by enzymes known as acyl-CoA short-chain synthetases. Acyl-CoA short-chain synthetase-2 (ACSS2) is present in the cytosol and nuclei of many cell types, whereas ACSS1 is mitochondrial, with greatest expression in heart, skeletal muscle, and brown adipose tissue. In addition to acting to redistribute carbon systemically like a ketone body, acetate is becoming recognized as a cellular regulatory molecule with diverse functions beyond the formation of acetyl-CoA for energy derivation and lipogenesis. Acetate acts, in part, as a metabolic sensor linking nutrient balance and cellular stress responses with gene transcription and the regulation of protein function. ACSS2 is an important task-switching component of this sensory system wherein nutrient deprivation, hypoxia and other stressors shift ACSS2 from a lipogenic role in the cytoplasm to a regulatory role in the cell nucleus. Protein acetylation is a critical post-translational modification involved in regulating cell behavior, and alterations in protein acetylation status have been linked to multiple disease states, including cancer. Improving our fundamental understanding of the "acetylome" and how acetate is generated and utilized at the subcellular level in different cell types will provide much needed insight into normal and neoplastic cellular metabolism and the epigenetic regulation of phenotypic expression under different physiological stressors. This article is Part 1 of 2 - for Part 2 see doi: 10.3389/fphys.2020.580171.
    Keywords:  ACSS1; ACSS2; N-acetylaspartate; NAT8L; acetylation; aspartoacylase; deacetylation; transcription factor
  16. J Biol Chem. 2020 Dec 09. pii: jbc.RA120.016551. [Epub ahead of print]
      The transcription factor nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) regulates the expression of genes involved in antioxidant defenses to modulate fundamental cellular processes such as mitochondrial function and glutathione metabolism. Previous reports proposed that mitochondrial ROS production and disruption of the glutathione pool activate the Nrf2 pathway, suggesting that Nrf2 senses mitochondrial redox signals and/or oxidative damage and signals to the nucleus to respond appropriately. However, until now it has not been possible to disentangle the overlapping effects of mitochondrial superoxide/ hydrogen peroxide production as a redox signal from changes to mitochondrial thiol homeostasis on Nrf2. Recently, we developed mitochondria-targeted reagents that can independently induce mitochondrial superoxide and hydrogen peroxide production (MitoPQ), or selectively disrupt mitochondrial thiol homeostasis (MitoCDNB). Using these reagents, here we have determined how enhanced generation of mitochondrial superoxide and hydrogen peroxide, or disruption of mitochondrial thiol homeostasis affect activation of the Nrf2 system in cells, which was assessed by Nrf2 protein level, nuclear translocation and expression of its target genes. We found that selective disruption of the mitochondrial glutathione pool and inhibition of its thioredoxin system by MitoCDNB led to Nrf2 activation, while using MitoPQ to enhance production of mitochondrial superoxide and hydrogen peroxide alone did not. We further showed that Nrf2 activation by MitoCDNB requires cysteine sensors of Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1 (Keap1). These findings provide important information on how disruption to mitochondrial redox homeostasis is sensed in the cytoplasm and signaled to the nucleus.
    Keywords:  Nuclear factor 2 (erythroid-derived 2-like factor) (NFE2L2) (Nrf2); mitochondria; reactive oxygen species (ROS); superoxide ion; thiol
  17. Elife. 2020 Dec 08. pii: e62307. [Epub ahead of print]9
      An inadequate supply of amino acids leads to accumulation of uncharged tRNAs, which can bind and activate GCN2 kinase to reduce translation. Here, we show that glutamine-specific tRNAs selectively become uncharged when extracellular amino acid availability is compromised. In contrast, all other tRNAs retain charging of their cognate amino acids in a manner that is dependent upon intact lysosomal function. In addition to GCN2 activation and reduced total translation, the reduced charging of tRNAGln in amino acid-deprived cells also leads to specific depletion of proteins containing polyglutamine tracts including core binding factor α1, mediator subunit 12, transcriptional coactivator CBP and TATA-box binding protein. Treating amino acid-deprived cells with exogenous glutamine or glutaminase inhibitors restores tRNAGln charging and the levels of polyglutamine-containing proteins. Together, these results demonstrate that the activation of GCN2 and the translation of polyglutamine-encoding transcripts serve as key sensors of glutamine availability in mammalian cells.
    Keywords:  cell biology; human; mouse
  18. Cell Rep Med. 2020 Nov 17. 1(8): 100143
      Mitochondrial respiration (oxidative phosphorylation, OXPHOS) is an emerging target in currently refractory cancers such as pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). However, the variability of energetic metabolic adaptations between PDAC patients has not been assessed in functional investigations. In this work, we demonstrate that OXPHOS rates are highly heterogeneous between patient tumors, and that high OXPHOS tumors are enriched in mitochondrial respiratory complex I at protein and mRNA levels. Therefore, we treated PDAC cells with phenformin (complex I inhibitor) in combination with standard chemotherapy (gemcitabine), showing that this treatment is synergistic specifically in high OXPHOS cells. Furthermore, phenformin cooperates with gemcitabine in high OXPHOS tumors in two orthotopic mouse models (xenografts and syngeneic allografts). In conclusion, this work proposes a strategy to identify PDAC patients likely to respond to the targeting of mitochondrial energetic metabolism in combination with chemotherapy, and that phenformin should be clinically tested in appropriate PDAC patient subpopulations.
    Keywords:  OXPHOS; cancer metabolism; energetic metabolism; metabolic heterogeneity; mitochondria; mitochondrial Complex I; pancreatic cancer; personalized medicine; phenformin; therapeutic strategy
  19. Cell Calcium. 2020 Nov 22. pii: S0143-4160(20)30162-7. [Epub ahead of print]93 102320
      Cytosolic cAMP signalling in live cells has been extensively investigated in the past, while only in the last decade the existence of an intramitochondrial autonomous cAMP homeostatic system began to emerge. Thanks to the development of novel tools to investigate cAMP dynamics and cAMP/PKA-dependent phosphorylation within the matrix and in other mitochondrial compartments, it is now possible to address directly and in intact living cells a series of questions that until now could be addressed only by indirect approaches, in isolated organelles or through subcellular fractionation studies. In this contribution we discuss the mechanisms that regulate cAMP dynamics at the surface and inside mitochondria, and its crosstalk with organelle Ca2+ handling. We then address a series of still unsolved questions, such as the intramitochondrial localization of key elements of the cAMP signaling toolkit, e.g., adenylate cyclases, phosphodiesterases, protein kinase A (PKA) and Epac. Finally, we discuss the evidence for and against the existence of an intramitochondrial PKA pool and the functional role of cAMP increases within the organelle matrix.
    Keywords:  Epac; Mitochondria; PKA; Phosphatases; Signalling microdomains; cAMP
  20. JCI Insight. 2020 Dec 08. pii: 139826. [Epub ahead of print]
      Chronic kidney disease (CKD) results in a progressive skeletal myopathy involving atrophy, weakness, and fatigue. Mitochondria have been thought to contribute to skeletal myopathy, however, the molecular mechanisms underlying changes in muscle metabolism in CKD are unknown. This study employed a comprehensive mitochondrial phenotyping platform to elucidate the mechanisms of skeletal muscle mitochondrial impairment in mice with adenine-induced CKD. CKD mice displayed significant reductions in mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS), which was strongly correlated with glomerular filtration rate, suggesting a link between kidney function and muscle mitochondrial health. Biochemical assays uncovered that OXPHOS dysfunction was driven principally by reduced activity of matrix dehydrogenases. Untargeted metabolomics analyses in skeletal muscle revealed a distinct metabolite profile in CKD muscle including accumulation of uremic toxins that strongly associated with the degree of mitochondrial impairment. Additional muscle phenotyping found that CKD mice experienced muscle atrophy and increased muscle protein degradation, but only male CKD mice had lower maximal contractile force. CKD mice also had morphological changes indicative of destabilization in the neuromuscular junction. This study provides the first comprehensive evaluation of mitochondrial health in murine CKD muscle and uncovers several unknown uremic metabolites that are strongly associated with the degree of mitochondrial impairment.
    Keywords:  Bioenergetics; Mitochondria; Muscle Biology; Nephrology; Skeletal muscle
  21. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020 Dec 07. pii: 202006828. [Epub ahead of print]
      Ferroptosis is an iron-dependent regulated necrosis mediated by lipid peroxidation. Cancer cells survive under metabolic stress conditions by altering lipid metabolism, which may alter their sensitivity to ferroptosis. However, the association between lipid metabolism and ferroptosis is not completely understood. In this study, we found that the expression of elongation of very long-chain fatty acid protein 5 (ELOVL5) and fatty acid desaturase 1 (FADS1) is up-regulated in mesenchymal-type gastric cancer cells (GCs), leading to ferroptosis sensitization. In contrast, these enzymes are silenced by DNA methylation in intestinal-type GCs, rendering cells resistant to ferroptosis. Lipid profiling and isotope tracing analyses revealed that intestinal-type GCs are unable to generate arachidonic acid (AA) and adrenic acid (AdA) from linoleic acid. AA supplementation of intestinal-type GCs restores their sensitivity to ferroptosis. Based on these data, the polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) biosynthesis pathway plays an essential role in ferroptosis; thus, this pathway potentially represents a marker for predicting the efficacy of ferroptosis-mediated cancer therapy.
    Keywords:  ELOVL5; FADS1; arachidonic acid; ferroptosis; lipid peroxidation
  22. Nat Commun. 2020 12 09. 11(1): 6316
      The transcription factor MYC is deregulated in almost all human cancers, especially in aggressive lymphomas, through chromosomal translocation, amplification, and transcription hyperactivation. Here, we report that high expression of tribbles homologue 3 (TRIB3) positively correlates with elevated MYC expression in lymphoma specimens; TRIB3 deletion attenuates the initiation and progression of MYC-driven lymphoma by reducing MYC expression. Mechanistically, TRIB3 interacts with MYC to suppress E3 ubiquitin ligase UBE3B-mediated MYC ubiquitination and degradation, which enhances MYC transcriptional activity, causing high proliferation and self-renewal of lymphoma cells. Use of a peptide to disturb the TRIB3-MYC interaction together with doxorubicin reduces the tumor burden in MycEμ mice and patient-derived xenografts. The pathophysiological relevance of UBE3B, TRIB3 and MYC is further demonstrated in human lymphoma. Our study highlights a key mechanism for controlling MYC expression and a potential therapeutic option for treating lymphomas with high TRIB3-MYC expression.
  23. Cancer Metab. 2020 Nov 26. 8(1): 26
      BACKGROUND: Aspartate biosynthesis and its delivery to the cytosol can be crucial for tumor growth in vivo. However, the impact of intracellular aspartate levels on metastasis has not been studied. We previously described that loss-of-aspartate glutamate carrier 1 (SLC25A12 or AGC1), an important component of the malate-aspartate shuttle, impairs cytosolic aspartate levels, NAD+/NADH ratio, mitochondrial respiration, and tumor growth. Here, we report the impact of AGC1-knockdown on metastasis.RESULTS: Low AGC1 expression correlates with worse patient prognosis in many cancers. AGC1-knockdown in mouse lung carcinoma and melanoma cell lines leads to increased pulmonary metastasis following subcutaneous or intravenous injections, respectively. On the other hand, conventional in vitro metastasis assays show no indication of increased metastasis capacity of AGC1-knockdown cells.
    CONCLUSION: This study highlights that certain branches of metabolism impact tumor growth and tumor metastasis differently. In addition, it also argues that commonly known metastasis indicators, including EMT genes, cell migration, or colony formation, do not always reflect metastatic capacity in vivo.
    Keywords:  AGC1; Aralar; Aspartate; Malate-Aspartate Shuttle; Metastasis; SLC25A12
  24. Trends Immunol. 2020 Dec 02. pii: S1471-4906(20)30262-3. [Epub ahead of print]
      The rapidly evolving area of immunometabolism has shed new light on the fundamental properties of products and intermediates of cellular metabolism (metabolites), highlighting their key signaling roles in cell-to-cell communication. Recent evidence identifies the succinate-succinate receptor 1 (SUCNR1) axis as an essential regulator of tissue homeostasis. Succinate signaling via SUCNR1 guides divergent responses in immune cells, which are tissue and context dependent. Herein, we explore the main cellular pathways regulated by the succinate-SUCNR1 axis and focus on the biology of SUCNR1 and its roles influencing the function of myeloid cells. Hence, we identify new therapeutic targets and putative therapeutic approaches aimed at resolving detrimental myeloid cell responses in tissues, including those occurring in the persistently inflamed central nervous system (CNS).
  25. Cell Rep. 2020 Dec 08. pii: S2211-1247(20)31478-9. [Epub ahead of print]33(10): 108489
      In multicellular organisms, neurons integrate a diverse array of external cues to affect downstream changes in organismal health. Specifically, activation of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) unfolded protein response (UPRER) in neurons increases lifespan by preventing age-onset loss of ER proteostasis and driving lipid depletion in a cell non-autonomous manner. The mechanism of this communication is dependent on the release of small clear vesicles from neurons. We find dopaminergic neurons are necessary and sufficient for activation of cell non-autonomous UPRER to drive lipid depletion in peripheral tissues, whereas serotonergic neurons are sufficient to drive protein homeostasis in peripheral tissues. These signaling modalities are unique and independent and together coordinate the beneficial effects of neuronal cell non-autonomous ER stress signaling upon health and longevity.
    Keywords:  UPRER; aging; non-autonomous signaling; stress response
  26. Cell. 2020 Dec 07. pii: S0092-8674(20)31526-9. [Epub ahead of print]
      Obesity is a major cancer risk factor, but how differences in systemic metabolism change the tumor microenvironment (TME) and impact anti-tumor immunity is not understood. Here, we demonstrate that high-fat diet (HFD)-induced obesity impairs CD8+ T cell function in the murine TME, accelerating tumor growth. We generate a single-cell resolution atlas of cellular metabolism in the TME, detailing how it changes with diet-induced obesity. We find that tumor and CD8+ T cells display distinct metabolic adaptations to obesity. Tumor cells increase fat uptake with HFD, whereas tumor-infiltrating CD8+ T cells do not. These differential adaptations lead to altered fatty acid partitioning in HFD tumors, impairing CD8+ T cell infiltration and function. Blocking metabolic reprogramming by tumor cells in obese mice improves anti-tumor immunity. Analysis of human cancers reveals similar transcriptional changes in CD8+ T cell markers, suggesting interventions that exploit metabolism to improve cancer immunotherapy.
    Keywords:  CD8+ T cells; anti-tumor immunity; colorectal cancer; fat oxidation; metabolism; obesity; tumor microenvironment
  27. Elife. 2020 12 08. pii: e59258. [Epub ahead of print]9
      Liver metabolism follows diurnal fluctuations through the modulation of molecular clock genes. Disruption of this molecular clock can result in metabolic disease but its potential regulation by immune cells remains unexplored. Here, we demonstrated that in steady state, neutrophils infiltrated the mouse liver following a circadian pattern and regulated hepatocyte clock-genes by neutrophil elastase (NE) secretion. NE signals through c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK) inhibiting fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) and activating Bmal1 expression in the hepatocyte. Interestingly, mice with neutropenia, defective neutrophil infiltration or lacking elastase were protected against steatosis correlating with lower JNK activation, reduced Bmal1 and increased FGF21 expression, together with decreased lipogenesis in the liver. Lastly, using a cohort of human samples we found a direct correlation between JNK activation, NE levels and Bmal1 expression in the liver. This study demonstrates that neutrophils contribute to the maintenance of daily hepatic homeostasis through the regulation of the NE/JNK/Bmal1 axis.
    Keywords:  JNK; cell biology; circadian rhythm; immunology; inflammation; mouse; neutrophil elastase; steatosis
  28. Nature. 2020 Dec;588(7837): 331-336
      Most deaths from cancer are explained by metastasis, and yet large-scale metastasis research has been impractical owing to the complexity of in vivo models. Here we introduce an in vivo barcoding strategy that is capable of determining the metastatic potential of human cancer cell lines in mouse xenografts at scale. We validated the robustness, scalability and reproducibility of the method and applied it to 500 cell lines1,2 spanning 21 types of solid tumour. We created a first-generation metastasis map (MetMap) that reveals organ-specific patterns of metastasis, enabling these patterns to be associated with clinical and genomic features. We demonstrate the utility of MetMap by investigating the molecular basis of breast cancers capable of metastasizing to the brain-a principal cause of death in patients with this type of cancer. Breast cancers capable of metastasizing to the brain showed evidence of altered lipid metabolism. Perturbation of lipid metabolism in these cells curbed brain metastasis development, suggesting a therapeutic strategy to combat the disease and demonstrating the utility of MetMap as a resource to support metastasis research.
  29. Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2020 Dec 06. pii: S0958-1669(20)30166-X. [Epub ahead of print]68 144-150
      New small molecules are continuing to emerge as metabolically derived regulators of cell function. Itaconate is a recent example where endogenous mammalian synthesis was demonstrated only seven years ago. Since then, interest in the biochemistry and therapeutic potential of itaconate has grown dramatically. Itaconate is an unsaturated dicarboxylic acid that has antimicrobial properties and modulates metabolic pathways throughout the cell. Naturally occurring mutations of enzymes involved in human itaconate synthesis and degradation pathways are associated with disease susceptibility and immunity. Here, we highlight recent discoveries on itaconate metabolism and discuss the relevance of its evolutionary origin to its function in mammals. We also consider the therapeutic relevance of itaconate metabolism and its derivatives for treating metabolic and inflammatory diseases.
  30. EMBO Mol Med. 2020 Dec 09. e13122
      Metastasis is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in cancer patients. However, the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the ability of cancer cells to metastasize remain relatively poorly understood. Among all solid tumors, small cell lung cancer (SCLC) has remarkable metastatic proclivity, with a majority of patients diagnosed with metastatic disease. Our understanding of SCLC metastasis has been hampered for many years by the paucity of material from primary tumors and metastases, as well as the lack of faithful pre-clinical models. Here, we review recent advances that are helping circumvent these limitations. These advances include methods that employ circulating tumor cells from the blood of SCLC patients and the development of diverse genetically engineered mouse models of metastatic SCLC. New insights into the cellular mechanisms of SCLC metastasis include observations of cell fate changes associated with increased metastatic ability. Ongoing studies on cell migration and organ tropism promise to expand our understanding of SCLC metastasis. Ultimately, a better molecular understanding of metastatic phenotypes may be translated into new therapeutic options to limit metastatic spread and treat metastatic SCLC.
    Keywords:  NFIB; SCLC; lung cancer; metastasis; tumor heterogeneity
  31. Cardiovasc Diabetol. 2020 Dec 07. 19(1): 207
      BACKGROUND: Glucose oxidation is a major contributor to myocardial energy production and its contribution is orchestrated by insulin. While insulin can increase glucose oxidation indirectly by enhancing glucose uptake and glycolysis, it also directly stimulates mitochondrial glucose oxidation, independent of increasing glucose uptake or glycolysis, through activating mitochondrial pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH), the rate-limiting enzyme of glucose oxidation. However, how insulin directly stimulates PDH is not known. To determine this, we characterized the impacts of modifying mitochondrial insulin signaling kinases, namely protein kinase B (Akt), protein kinase C-delta (PKC-δ) and glycogen synthase kinase-3 beta (GSK-3β), on the direct insulin stimulation of glucose oxidation.METHODS: We employed an isolated working mouse heart model to measure the effect of insulin on cardiac glycolysis, glucose oxidation and fatty acid oxidation and how that could be affected when mitochondrial Akt, PKC-δ or GSK-3β is disturbed using pharmacological modulators. We also used differential centrifugation to isolate mitochondrial and cytosol fraction to examine the activity of Akt, PKC-δ and GSK-3β between these fractions. Data were analyzed using unpaired t-test and two-way ANOVA.
    RESULTS: Here we show that insulin-stimulated phosphorylation of mitochondrial Akt is a prerequisite for transducing insulin's direct stimulation of glucose oxidation. Inhibition of mitochondrial Akt completely abolishes insulin-stimulated glucose oxidation, independent of glucose uptake or glycolysis. We also show a novel role of mitochondrial PKC-δ in modulating mitochondrial glucose oxidation. Inhibition of mitochondrial PKC-δ mimics insulin stimulation of glucose oxidation and mitochondrial Akt. We also demonstrate that inhibition of mitochondrial GSK3β phosphorylation does not influence insulin-stimulated glucose oxidation.
    CONCLUSION: We identify, for the first time, insulin-stimulated mitochondrial Akt as a prerequisite transmitter of the insulin signal that directly stimulates cardiac glucose oxidation. These novel findings suggest that targeting mitochondrial Akt is a potential therapeutic approach to enhance cardiac insulin sensitivity in condition such as heart failure, diabetes and obesity.
    Keywords:  Glucose oxidation; Glycogen synthase kinase-3 beta (GSK-3β); Insulin signaling; Mitochondria; Protein kinase B (akt); Protein kinase C-delta (PKC-δ)
  32. Methods Mol Biol. 2021 ;2130 19-27
      Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) is a sensitive instrumental analysis technique used for multielemental and isotopic determination. Here we provide a sample preparation and circadian ICP-MS analysis protocol for use with mammalian tissues and cells, using mouse fibroblasts as a case study.
    Keywords:  Circadian clocks; Elemental analysis; Fibroblasts; ICP-MS; Mass spectrometry
  33. Cells. 2020 Dec 03. pii: E2591. [Epub ahead of print]9(12):
      Cancer cells undergo considerable metabolic changes to foster uncontrolled proliferation in a hostile environment characterized by nutrient deprivation, poor vascularization and immune infiltration. While metabolic reprogramming has been recognized as a hallmark of cancer, the role of micronutrients in shaping these adaptations remains scarcely investigated. In particular, the broad electron-transferring abilities of iron make it a versatile cofactor that is involved in a myriad of biochemical reactions vital to cellular homeostasis, including cell respiration and DNA replication. In cancer patients, systemic iron metabolism is commonly altered. Moreover, cancer cells deploy diverse mechanisms to increase iron bioavailability to fuel tumor growth. Although iron itself can readily participate in redox reactions enabling vital processes, its reactivity also gives rise to reactive oxygen species (ROS). Hence, cancer cells further rely on antioxidant mechanisms to withstand such stress. The present review provides an overview of the common alterations of iron metabolism occurring in cancer and the mechanisms through which iron promotes tumor growth.
    Keywords:  cancer metabolism; iron; iron-sulfur cluster; mitochondria
  34. Cancer Metab. 2020 Dec 04. 8(1): 27
      BACKGROUND: Protein synthesis is regulated by the availability of amino acids, the engagement of growth factor signaling pathways, and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels sufficient to support translation. Crosstalk between these inputs is extensive, yet other regulatory mechanisms remain to be characterized. For example, the translation initiation inhibitor rocaglamide A (RocA) induces thioredoxin-interacting protein (TXNIP). TXNIP is a negative regulator of glucose uptake; thus, its induction by RocA links translation to the availability of glucose. MondoA is the principal regulator of glucose-induced transcription, and its activity is triggered by the glycolytic intermediate, glucose 6-phosphate (G6P). MondoA responds to G6P generated by cytoplasmic glucose and mitochondrial ATP (mtATP), suggesting a critical role in the cellular response to these energy sources. TXNIP expression is entirely dependent on MondoA; therefore, we investigated how protein synthesis inhibitors impact its transcriptional activity.METHODS: We investigated how translation regulates MondoA activity using cell line models and loss-of-function approaches. We examined how protein synthesis inhibitors effect gene expression and metabolism using RNA-sequencing and metabolomics, respectively. The biological impact of RocA was evaluated using cell lines and patient-derived xenograft organoid (PDxO) models.
    RESULTS: We discovered that multiple protein synthesis inhibitors, including RocA, increase TXNIP expression in a manner that depends on MondoA, a functional electron transport chain and mtATP synthesis. Furthermore, RocA and cycloheximide increase mtATP and G6P levels, respectively, and TXNIP induction depends on interactions between the voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC) and hexokinase (HK), which generates G6P. RocA treatment impacts the regulation of ~ 1200 genes, and ~ 250 of those genes are MondoA-dependent. RocA treatment is cytotoxic to triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) cell lines and shows preferential cytotoxicity against estrogen receptor negative (ER-) PDxO breast cancer models. Finally, RocA-driven cytotoxicity is partially dependent on MondoA or TXNIP.
    CONCLUSIONS: Our data suggest that protein synthesis inhibitors rewire metabolism, resulting in an increase in mtATP and G6P, the latter driving MondoA-dependent transcriptional activity. Further, MondoA is a critical component of the cellular transcriptional response to RocA. Our functional assays suggest that RocA or similar translation inhibitors may show efficacy against ER- breast tumors and that the levels of MondoA and TXNIP should be considered when exploring these potential treatment options.