bims-camemi Biomed News
on Mitochondrial metabolism in cancer
Issue of 2020‒12‒20
forty-seven papers selected by
Christian Frezza
University of Cambridge, MRC Cancer Unit


  1. Cell Metab. 2020 Dec 10. pii: S1550-4131(20)30657-4. [Epub ahead of print]
      Folate metabolism supplies one-carbon (1C) units for biosynthesis and methylation and has long been a target for cancer chemotherapy. Mitochondrial serine catabolism is considered the sole contributor of folate-mediated 1C units in proliferating cancer cells. Here, we show that under physiological folate levels in the cell environment, cytosolic serine-hydroxymethyltransferase (SHMT1) is the predominant source of 1C units in a variety of cancers, while mitochondrial 1C flux is overly repressed. Tumor-specific reliance on cytosolic 1C flux is associated with poor capacity to retain intracellular folates, which is determined by the expression of SLC19A1, which encodes the reduced folate carrier (RFC). We show that silencing SHMT1 in cells with low RFC expression impairs pyrimidine biosynthesis and tumor growth in vivo. Overall, our findings reveal major diversity in cancer cell utilization of the cytosolic versus mitochondrial folate cycle across tumors and SLC19A1 expression as a marker for increased reliance on SHMT1.
    Keywords:  SHMT; cancer metabolism; folate cycle; in vivo; isotope tracing; metabolomics; mitochondria; one-carbon flux; physiologic medium; reduced folate carrier; serine hydroxymethyltransferase
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2020.12.002
  2. Cell Rep. 2020 Dec 15. pii: S2211-1247(20)31489-3. [Epub ahead of print]33(11): 108500
      Immune cell function is influenced by metabolic conditions. Low-glucose, high-lactate environments, such as the placenta, gastrointestinal tract, and the tumor microenvironment, are immunosuppressive, especially for glycolysis-dependent effector T cells. We report that nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), which is reduced to NADH by lactate dehydrogenase in lactate-rich conditions, is a key point of metabolic control in T cells. Reduced NADH is not available for NAD+-dependent enzymatic reactions involving glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) and 3-phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase (PGDH). We show that increased lactate leads to a block at GAPDH and PGDH, leading to the depletion of post-GAPDH glycolytic intermediates, as well as the 3-phosphoglycerate derivative serine that is known to be important for T cell proliferation. Supplementing serine rescues the ability of T cells to proliferate in the presence of lactate-induced reductive stress. Directly targeting the redox state may be a useful approach for developing novel immunotherapies in cancer and therapeutic immunosuppression.
    Keywords:  3-phosphoglycerate; T cell metabolism; glycolysis; immunometabolism; lactate metabolism; nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide; redox metabolism; serine
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2020.108500
  3. Nature. 2020 Dec 16.
      Altered expression of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) occurs in ageing and a range of human pathologies (for example, inborn errors of metabolism, neurodegeneration and cancer). Here we describe first-in-class specific inhibitors of mitochondrial transcription (IMTs) that target the human mitochondrial RNA polymerase (POLRMT), which is essential for biogenesis of the oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) system1-6. The IMTs efficiently impair mtDNA transcription in a reconstituted recombinant system and cause a dose-dependent inhibition of mtDNA expression and OXPHOS in cell lines. To verify the cellular target, we performed exome sequencing of mutagenized cells and identified a cluster of amino acid substitutions in POLRMT that cause resistance to IMTs. We obtained a cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) structure of POLRMT bound to an IMT, which further defined the allosteric binding site near the active centre cleft of POLRMT. The growth of cancer cells and the persistence of therapy-resistant cancer stem cells has previously been reported to depend on OXPHOS7-17, and we therefore investigated whether IMTs have anti-tumour effects. Four weeks of oral treatment with an IMT is well-tolerated in mice and does not cause OXPHOS dysfunction or toxicity in normal tissues, despite inducing a strong anti-tumour response in xenografts of human cancer cells. In summary, IMTs provide a potent and specific chemical biology tool to study the role of mtDNA expression in physiology and disease.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-03048-z
  4. Nat Commun. 2020 12 11. 11(1): 6343
      D-mannose is a monosaccharide approximately a hundred times less abundant than glucose in human blood. Previous studies demonstrated that supraphysiological levels of D-mannose inhibit tumour growth and stimulate regulatory T cell differentiation. It is not known whether D-mannose metabolism affects the function of non-proliferative cells, such as inflammatory macrophages. Here, we show that D-mannose suppresses LPS-induced macrophage activation by impairing IL-1β production. In vivo, mannose administration improves survival in a mouse model of LPS-induced endotoxemia as well as decreases progression in a mouse model of DSS-induced colitis. Phosphomannose isomerase controls response of LPS-activated macrophages to D-mannose, which impairs glucose metabolism by raising intracellular mannose-6-phosphate levels. Such alterations result in the suppression of succinate-mediated HIF-1α activation, imposing a consequent reduction of LPS-induced Il1b expression. Disclosing an unrecognized metabolic hijack of macrophage activation, our study points towards safe D-mannose utilization as an effective intervention against inflammatory conditions.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-20164-6
  5. FEBS Lett. 2020 Dec 12.
      Most of the genetic information has been lost or transferred to the nucleus during the evolution of mitochondria. Neverthelss, mitochondria have retained their own genome that is essential for oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS). In mammals, a gene-dense circular mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) of about 16.5kb encodes 13 proteins, which constitute only 1% of the mitochondrial proteome. Mammalian mtDNA is present in thousands of copies per cell and mutations often affect only a fraction of them. Most pathogenic human mtDNA mutations are recessive and only cause OXPHOS defects if present above a certain critical threshold. However, emerging evidence strongly suggests that the proportion of mutated mtDNA copies is not the only determinant of disease but that also the absolute copy number matters. In this review, we critically discuss current knowledge of the role of mtDNA copy number regulation in various types of human diseases, including mitochondrial disorders, neurodegenerative disorders, and cancer, and during ageing. We also provide an overview of new exciting therapeutic strategies to directly manipulate mtDNA to restore OXPHOS in mitochondrial diseases.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer; Parkinson; TFAM; ageing; cancer; mitochondria; mitochondrial diseases; mtDNA; mtDNA copy number; neurodegenerative disorders; s disease
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1002/1873-3468.14021
  6. Cell Metab. 2020 Dec 11. pii: S1550-4131(20)30658-6. [Epub ahead of print]
      The metabolic rewiring of cardiomyocytes is a widely accepted hallmark of heart failure (HF). These metabolic changes include a decrease in mitochondrial pyruvate oxidation and an increased export of lactate. We identify the mitochondrial pyruvate carrier (MPC) and the cellular lactate exporter monocarboxylate transporter 4 (MCT4) as pivotal nodes in this metabolic axis. We observed that cardiac assist device-induced myocardial recovery in chronic HF patients was coincident with increased myocardial expression of the MPC. Moreover, the genetic ablation of the MPC in cultured cardiomyocytes and in adult murine hearts was sufficient to induce hypertrophy and HF. Conversely, MPC overexpression attenuated drug-induced hypertrophy in a cell-autonomous manner. We also introduced a novel, highly potent MCT4 inhibitor that mitigated hypertrophy in cultured cardiomyocytes and in mice. Together, we find that alteration of the pyruvate-lactate axis is a fundamental and early feature of cardiac hypertrophy and failure.
    Keywords:  LVAD; MCT4; MPC; VB124; cardiac metabolism; heart failure; hypertrophy; lactate; mitochondria; pyruvate
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2020.12.003
  7. Cell Calcium. 2020 Nov 26. pii: S0143-4160(20)30163-9. [Epub ahead of print]93 102321
      Mitochondria are autonomous and dynamic cellular organelles orchestrating a diverse range of cellular activities. Numerous cell-signaling pathways target these organelles and Ca2+ is one of the most significant. Mitochondria are able to rapidly and transiently take up Ca2+, thanks to the mitochondrial Ca2+ uniporter complex, as well as to extrude it through the Na+/Ca2+ and H+/Ca2+ exchangers. The transient accumulation of Ca2+ in the mitochondrial matrix impacts on mitochondrial functions and cell pathophysiology. Here we summarize the role of mitochondrial Ca2+ signaling in both physiological (yang) and pathological (yin) processes and the methods that can be used to investigate mitochondrial Ca2+ homeostasis. As an example of the pivotal role of mitochondria in pathology, we described the state of the art of mitochondrial Ca2+ alterations in different pathological conditions, with a special focus on Alzheimer's disease.
    Keywords:  ATP; Alzheimer’s disease; Autophagy; Calcium signaling; Cell death; Cell metabolism; Chemical biosensors; GECI; MCUC; Mitochondria; Presenilins
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ceca.2020.102321
  8. EMBO Rep. 2020 Dec 13. e50827
      Many cancer cells maintain enhanced aerobic glycolysis due to irreversible defective mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS). This phenomenon, known as the Warburg effect, is recently challenged because most cancer cells maintain OXPHOS. However, how cancer cells coordinate glycolysis and OXPHOS remains largely unknown. Here, we demonstrate that OMA1, a stress-activated mitochondrial protease, promotes colorectal cancer development by driving metabolic reprogramming. OMA1 knockout suppresses colorectal cancer development in AOM/DSS and xenograft mice models of colorectal cancer. OMA1-OPA1 axis is activated by hypoxia, increasing mitochondrial ROS to stabilize HIF-1α, thereby promoting glycolysis in colorectal cancer cells. On the other hand, under hypoxia, OMA1 depletion promotes accumulation of NDUFB5, NDUFB6, NDUFA4, and COX4L1, supporting that OMA1 suppresses OXPHOS in colorectal cancer. Therefore, our findings support a role for OMA1 in coordination of glycolysis and OXPHOS to promote colorectal cancer development and highlight OMA1 as a potential target for colorectal cancer therapy.
    Keywords:  OMA1; colorectal cancer; glycolysis; hypoxia; oxidative phosphorylation
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.15252/embr.202050827
  9. Cell Death Differ. 2020 Dec 16.
      The BCL2 family of proteins regulate apoptosis by controlling mitochondrial outer membrane permeability. However, the effects on mitochondrial structure and bioenergetics have also been reported. Here we comprehensively characterized the effects of BCL2 and BCL(X)L on cellular energetics in MCF7 breast cancer cells using time-lapse confocal single-cell imaging and mitochondrial and cytosolic FRET reporters. We found that BCL2 and BCL(X)L increase the metabolic robustness of MCF7 cells, and that this was associated with increased mitochondrial NAD(P)H and ATP levels. Experiments with the F1F0 synthase inhibitor oligomycin demonstrated that BCL2 and in particular BCL(X)L, while not affecting ATP synthase activity, more efficiently coupled the mitochondrial proton motive force with ATP production. This metabolic advantage was associated with an increased resistance to nutrient deprivation and enhanced clonogenic survival in response to metabolic stress, in the absence of profound effects on cell death. Our data suggest that a primary function of BCL(X)L and BCL2 overexpression in tumor cells is to increase their resistance to metabolic stress in the tumor microenvironment, independent of cell death signaling.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41418-020-00683-x
  10. Elife. 2020 Dec 15. pii: e58053. [Epub ahead of print]9
      Aging is characterized by extensive metabolic reprogramming. To identify metabolic pathways associated with aging, we analyzed age-dependent changes in the metabolomes of long-lived Drosophila melanogaster. Among the metabolites that changed, levels of tyrosine were increased with age in long-lived flies. We demonstrate that the levels of enzymes in the tyrosine degradation pathway increase with age in wild-type flies. Whole-body and neuronal-specific downregulation of enzymes in the tyrosine degradation pathway significantly extends Drosophila lifespan, causes alterations of metabolites associated with increased lifespan, and upregulates the levels of tyrosine-derived neuromediators. Moreover, feeding wild-type flies with tyrosine increased their lifespan. Mechanistically, we show that suppression of ETC complex I drives the upregulation of enzymes in the tyrosine degradation pathway, an effect that can be rescued by tigecycline, an FDA-approved drug that specifically suppresses mitochondrial translation. In addition, tyrosine supplementation partially rescued lifespan of flies with ETC complex I suppression. Altogether, our study highlights the tyrosine degradation pathway as a regulator of longevity.
    Keywords:  D. melanogaster; ETC Complex I; TAT; genetics; genomics; mitochondria; neurotransmitters; tigecycline; tyrosine aminotransferase
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.58053
  11. FEBS Lett. 2020 Dec 14.
      The majority of proteins localised to mitochondria are encoded by the nuclear genome, with approximately 1500 proteins imported into mammalian mitochondria. Dysfunction in this fundamental cellular process is linked to a variety of pathologies including neuropathies, cardiovascular disorders, myopathies, neurodegenerative diseases and cancer, demonstrating the importance of mitochondrial protein import machinery for cellular function. Correct import of proteins into mitochondria requires the co-ordinated activity of multimeric protein translocation and sorting machineries located in both the outer and inner mitochondrial membranes, directing the imported proteins to the destined mitochondrial compartment. This dynamic process maintains cellular homeostasis, and its dysregulation significantly affects cellular signalling pathways and metabolism. This review summarises current knowledge of the mammalian mitochondrial import machinery and the pathological consequences of mutation of its components. In addition, we will discuss the role of mitochondrial import in cancer, and our current understanding of the role of mitochondrial import in neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's disease, Parkinson's disease.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer’s disease; Cancer; Huntington’s disease; Mitochondria; Neurodegeneration; Parkinson’s disease; Protein Import; TIM; TOM
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1002/1873-3468.14022
  12. Front Physiol. 2020 ;11 543564
      A metabolic hallmark of many cancers is the increase in glucose consumption coupled to excessive lactate production. Mindful that L-lactate originates only from pyruvate, the question arises as to how can this be sustained in those tissues where pyruvate kinase activity is reduced due to dimerization of PKM2 isoform or inhibited by oxidative/nitrosative stress, posttranslational modifications or mutations, all widely reported findings in the very same cells. Hereby 17 pathways connecting glucose to lactate bypassing pyruvate kinase are reviewed, some of which transit through the mitochondrial matrix. An additional 69 converging pathways leading to pyruvate and lactate, but not commencing from glucose, are also examined. The minor production of pyruvate and lactate by glutaminolysis is scrutinized separately. The present review aims to highlight the ways through which L-lactate can still be produced from pyruvate using carbon atoms originating from glucose or other substrates in cells with kinetically impaired pyruvate kinase and underscore the importance of mitochondria in cancer metabolism irrespective of oxidative phosphorylation.
    Keywords:  Warburg effect; cancer; glycolysis; lactate dehydrogenase; metabolomics; mitochondria; oncometabolism
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2020.543564
  13. Dev Cell. 2020 Dec 07. pii: S1534-5807(20)30925-4. [Epub ahead of print]
      Lysosomes promote cellular homeostasis through macromolecular hydrolysis within their lumen and metabolic signaling by the mTORC1 kinase on their limiting membranes. Both hydrolytic and signaling functions require precise regulation of lysosomal cholesterol content. In Niemann-Pick type C (NPC), loss of the cholesterol exporter, NPC1, causes cholesterol accumulation within lysosomes, leading to mTORC1 hyperactivation, disrupted mitochondrial function, and neurodegeneration. The compositional and functional alterations in NPC lysosomes and nature of aberrant cholesterol-mTORC1 signaling contribution to organelle pathogenesis are not understood. Through proteomic profiling of NPC lysosomes, we find pronounced proteolytic impairment compounded with hydrolase depletion, enhanced membrane damage, and defective mitophagy. Genetic and pharmacologic mTORC1 inhibition restores lysosomal proteolysis without correcting cholesterol storage, implicating aberrant mTORC1 as a pathogenic driver downstream of cholesterol accumulation. Consistently, mTORC1 inhibition ameliorates mitochondrial dysfunction in a neuronal model of NPC. Thus, cholesterol-mTORC1 signaling controls organelle homeostasis and is a targetable pathway in NPC.
    Keywords:  ESCRT; NPC1; autophagy; cholesterol; lysosome; mTORC1; mitochondria; proteolysis; proteomics
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.devcel.2020.11.016
  14. Elife. 2020 12 15. pii: e63694. [Epub ahead of print]9
      Mitophagy plays an important role in mitochondrial homeostasis. In yeast, the phosphorylation of the mitophagy receptor Atg32 by casein kinase 2 is essential for mitophagy. This phosphorylation is counteracted by the yeast equivalent of the STRIPAK complex consisting of the PP2A-like protein phosphatase Ppg1 and Far3-7-8-9-10-11 (Far complex), but the underlying mechanism remains elusive. Here we show that two subpopulations of the Far complex reside in the mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum, respectively, and play distinct roles; the former inhibits mitophagy via Atg32 dephosphorylation, and the latter regulates TORC2 signaling. Ppg1 and Far11 form a subcomplex, and Ppg1 activity is required for the assembling integrity of Ppg1-Far11-Far8. The Far complex preferentially interacts with phosphorylated Atg32, and this interaction is weakened by mitophagy induction. Furthermore, the artificial tethering of Far8 to Atg32 prevents mitophagy. Taken together, the Ppg1-mediated Far complex formation and its dissociation from Atg32 are crucial for mitophagy regulation.
    Keywords:  Atg32; Far complex; Ppg1; S. cerevisiae; STRIPAK complex; autophagy; cell biology; mitophagy
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.63694
  15. Nature. 2020 Dec 16.
      Extensive tumour inflammation, which is reflected by high levels of infiltrating T cells and interferon-γ (IFNγ) signalling, improves the response of patients with melanoma to checkpoint immunotherapy1,2. Many tumours, however, escape by activating cellular pathways that lead to immunosuppression. One such mechanism is the production of tryptophan metabolites along the kynurenine pathway by the enzyme indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase 1 (IDO1), which is induced by IFNγ3-5. However, clinical trials using inhibition of IDO1 in combination with blockade of the PD1 pathway in patients with melanoma did not improve the efficacy of treatment compared to PD1 pathway blockade alone6,7, pointing to an incomplete understanding of the role of IDO1 and the consequent degradation of tryptophan in mRNA translation and cancer progression. Here we used ribosome profiling in melanoma cells to investigate the effects of prolonged IFNγ treatment on mRNA translation. Notably, we observed accumulations of ribosomes downstream of tryptophan codons, along with their expected stalling at the tryptophan codon. This suggested that ribosomes bypass tryptophan codons in the absence of tryptophan. A detailed examination of these tryptophan-associated accumulations of ribosomes-which we term 'W-bumps'-showed that they were characterized by ribosomal frameshifting events. Consistently, reporter assays combined with proteomic and immunopeptidomic analyses demonstrated the induction of ribosomal frameshifting, and the generation and presentation of aberrant trans-frame peptides at the cell surface after treatment with IFNγ. Priming of naive T cells from healthy donors with aberrant peptides induced peptide-specific T cells. Together, our results suggest that IDO1-mediated depletion of tryptophan, which is induced by IFNγ, has a role in the immune recognition of melanoma cells by contributing to diversification of the peptidome landscape.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-03054-1
  16. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2020 ;8 607392
      Parkinson's disease (PD) is a complex neurodegenerative disease with pathological hallmarks including progressive neuronal loss from the substantia nigra pars compacta and α-synuclein intraneuronal inclusions, known as Lewy bodies. Although the etiology of PD remains elusive, mitochondrial damage has been established to take center stage in the pathogenesis of PD. Mitochondria are critical to cellular energy production, metabolism, homeostasis, and stress responses; the association with PD emphasizes the importance of maintenance of mitochondrial network integrity. To accomplish the pleiotropic functions, mitochondria are dynamic not only within their own network but also in orchestrated coordination with other organelles in the cellular community. Through physical contact sites, signal transduction, and vesicle transport, mitochondria and intracellular organelles achieve the goals of calcium homeostasis, redox homeostasis, protein homeostasis, autophagy, and apoptosis. Herein, we review the finely tuned interactions between mitochondria and surrounding intracellular organelles, with focus on the nucleus, endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi apparatus, peroxisomes, and lysosomes. Participants that may contribute to the pathogenic mechanisms of PD will be highlighted in this review.
    Keywords:  Parkinson's disease; endoplasmic reticulum; golgi apparatus; interorganelle communication; lysosome; mitochondria; mitophagy; peroxisome
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3389/fcell.2020.607392
  17. Cancer Discov. 2020 Dec 16. pii: CD-20-0652. [Epub ahead of print]
      KRAS-mutant colorectal cancers (CRC) are resistant to therapeutics, presenting a significant problem for ~40% of cases. Rapalogs, which inhibit mTORC1 and thus protein synthesis, are significantly less potent in KRAS-mutant CRC. Using Kras-mutant mouse models and mouse- and patient-derived organoids we demonstrate that KRAS with G12D mutation fundamentally rewires translation to increase both bulk and mRNA-specific translation initiation. This occurs via the MNK/eIF4E pathway culminating in sustained expression of c-MYC. By genetic and small molecule targeting of this pathway, we acutely sensitize KRASG12D models to rapamycin via suppression of c-MYC. We show that 45% of CRCs have high signaling through mTORC1 and the MNKs, with this signature correlating with a 3.5-year shorter cancer-specific survival in a subset of patients. This work provides a c-MYC-dependent co-targeting strategy with remarkable potency in multiple Kras-mutant mouse models and metastatic human organoids and identifies a patient population who may benefit from its clinical application.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1158/2159-8290.CD-20-0652
  18. Mitochondrion. 2020 Dec 11. pii: S1567-7249(20)30224-5. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitochondria play vital role in regulating the cellular energetics and metabolism. Further, it is a signaling hub for cell survival and apoptotic pathways. One of the key determinants that calibrate both cellular energetics and survival functions is mitochondrial calcium (Ca2+) dynamics. Mitochondrial Ca2+ regulates three Ca2+-sensitive dehydrogenase enzymes involved in tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA) cycle thereby directly controlling ATP synthesis. On the other hand, excessive Ca2+ concentration within the mitochondrial matrix elevates mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (mROS) levels and causes mitochondrial membrane depolarization. This leads to opening of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore (mPTP) and release of cytochrome c into cytosol eventually triggering apoptosis. Therefore, it is critical for cell to maintain mitochondrial Ca2+ concentration. Since cells can neither synthesize nor metabolize Ca2+, it is the dynamic interplay of Ca2+ handling proteins involved in mitochondrial Ca2+ influx and efflux that take the center stage. In this review we would discuss the key molecular machinery regulating mitochondrial Ca2+ concentration. We would focus on the channel complex involved in bringing Ca2+ into mitochondrial matrix i.e. Mitochondrial Ca2+ Uniporter (MCU) and its key regulators Mitochondrial Ca2+ Uptake proteins (MICU1, 2 and 3), MCU regulatory subunit b (MCUb), Essential MCU Regulator (EMRE) and Mitochondrial Ca2+ Uniporter Regulator 1 (MCUR1). Further, we would deliberate on major mitochondrial Ca2+ efflux proteins i.e. Mitochondrial Na+/Ca2+/Li+ exchanger (NCLX) and Leucine zipper EF hand-containing transmembrane1 (Letm1). Moreover, we would highlight the physiological functions of these proteins and discuss their relevance in human pathophysiology. Finally, we would highlight key outstanding questions in the field.
    Keywords:  EMRE; Letm1; MCU complex; MCUR1; MICU 1/2/3; Mitochondrial calcium dynamics; NCLX
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mito.2020.12.001
  19. Front Physiol. 2020 ;11 543962
      Tumor cells without mitochondrial (mt) DNA (ρ0 cells) are auxotrophic for uridine, and their growth is supported by pyruvate. While ATP synthesis in ρ0 cells relies on glycolysis, they fail to form tumors unless they acquire mitochondria from stromal cells. Mitochondrial acquisition restores respiration that is essential for de novo pyrimidine biosynthesis and for mitochondrial ATP production. The physiological processes that underpin intercellular mitochondrial transfer to tumor cells lacking mtDNA and the metabolic remodeling and restored tumorigenic properties of cells that acquire mitochondria are not well understood. Here, we investigated the changes in mitochondrial and nuclear gene expression that accompany mtDNA deletion and acquisition in metastatic murine 4T1 breast cancer cells. Loss of mitochondrial gene expression in 4T1ρ0 cells was restored in cells recovered from subcutaneous tumors that grew from 4T1ρ0 cells following acquisition of mtDNA from host cells. In contrast, the expression of most nuclear genes that encode respiratory complex subunits and mitochondrial ribosomal subunits was not greatly affected by loss of mtDNA, indicating ineffective mitochondria-to-nucleus communication systems for these nuclear genes. Further, analysis of nuclear genes whose expression was compromised in 4T1ρ0 cells showed that immune- and stress-related genes were the most highly differentially expressed, representing over 70% of those with greater than 16-fold higher expression in 4T1 compared with 4T1ρ0 cells. The monocyte recruiting chemokine, Ccl2, and Psmb8, a subunit of the immunoproteasome that generates MHCI-binding peptides, were the most highly differentially expressed. Early monocyte/macrophage recruitment into the tumor mass was compromised in 4T1ρ0 cells but recovered before mtDNA could be detected. Taken together, our results show that mitochondrial acquisition by tumor cells without mtDNA results in bioenergetic remodeling and re-expression of genes involved in immune function and stress adaptation.
    Keywords:  4T1 model; breast cancer; gene expression; mitochondrial DNA; tumor macrophages
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2020.543962
  20. Cell. 2020 Dec 09. pii: S0092-8674(20)31567-1. [Epub ahead of print]
      Regulation of biological processes typically incorporates mechanisms that initiate and terminate the process and, where understood, these mechanisms often involve feedback control. Regulation of transcription is a fundamental cellular process where the mechanisms involved in initiation have been studied extensively, but those involved in arresting the process are poorly understood. Modeling of the potential roles of RNA in transcriptional control suggested a non-equilibrium feedback control mechanism where low levels of RNA promote condensates formed by electrostatic interactions whereas relatively high levels promote dissolution of these condensates. Evidence from in vitro and in vivo experiments support a model where RNAs produced during early steps in transcription initiation stimulate condensate formation, whereas the burst of RNAs produced during elongation stimulate condensate dissolution. We propose that transcriptional regulation incorporates a feedback mechanism whereby transcribed RNAs initially stimulate but then ultimately arrest the process.
    Keywords:  RNA; complex coacervates; enhancer; feedback; mediator; non-equilibrium; noncoding RNA; phase separation; transcription; transcriptional condensates
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2020.11.030
  21. Cell Stress. 2020 Nov 25. 4(12): 273-277
      Cancer represents the leading public health problem throughout the world. Globally, about one out of six deaths is related to cancer, which is largely due to the metastatic lesions. However, there are no effective strategies for targeting cancer metastasis. Identification of the key druggable targets maintaining metastasis is crucial for cancer treatment. In our recent study (Cai et al. (2020), Mol Cell, doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2020.09.018), we found that activity of AMPK was enriched in metastatic tumors compared to primary tumors. Depletion of AMPK rendered cancer cells more sensitive to metabolic and oxidative stress, leading to the impairment of breast cancer lung metastasis. Activation of AMPK rewired cancer metabolism towards TCA cycle, which protects disseminated cancer cells from both metabolic and oxidative stress-induced cell death, and facilitates cancer metastasis. Further, AMPK critically maintained the activity of pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDH), the rate limiting enzyme involved in TCA cycle, thus favoring the pyruvate metabolism towards TCA cycle rather than converting it to lactate. Mechanistically, AMPK was shown to co-localize with PDHA, the catalytic subunit of PDH, in the mitochondrial matrix and directly triggered the phosphorylation of PDHA on Ser295 and Ser314. Hyper-phosphorylation of Ser295 and Ser314 of PDHA promotes lung metastasis through elevating activity of PDH. Of note, PDHA Ser314 phosphorylation abrogated the interaction between PDHA and PDHKs leading to the dephosphorylation on previously reported S293 site, whose phosphorylation serves as a negative signal for PDH activation, while S295 phosphorylation serves as an intrinsic catalytic site required for pyruvate metabolism. Our study presented the first evidence for the pro-metastatic property of the AMPK-PDH axis and advance our current understanding of how PDH is activated under physiological and pathological conditions.
    Keywords:  AMPK; PDHA; TCA cycle; cancer metastasis; metabolic stress; oxidative stress
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.15698/cst2020.12.238
  22. Hepatology. 2020 Dec 17.
      Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is among the most common cancer types worldwide; yet, patients with HCC have limited treatment options. There is an urgent need to identify new drug targets that specifically inhibit the growth of HCC cells. Here, we used a newly-engineered CRISPR library targeting ~2,000 druggable genes to perform a high throughput screen, and identified adenylosuccinate lyase (ADSL) - a key enzyme involved in the de novo purine synthesis pathway - as a potential drug target for HCC. ADSL has been implicated as a potential oncogenic driver in some cancers, but its role in liver cancer progression remains unknown. CRISPR-mediated knockout of ADSL impaired colony formation of liver cancer cells by affecting adenosine monophosphate (AMP) production. In the absence of ADSL, the growth of liver tumors is retarded in vivo. Mechanistically, we found that ADSL knockout caused S-phase cell cycle arrest, not by inducing DNA damage, but by impairing mitochondrial function. Using HCC patient data, we also revealed that high ADSL expression occurs during tumorigenesis and is linked to poor survival rate. In conclusion, our findings uncover the role of ADSL-mediated de novo purine synthesis in fueling mitochondrial ATP production to promote liver cancer cell growth. Targeting ADSL may be a therapeutic approach for HCC patients.
    Keywords:  ATP; CRISPR; Cell Cycle; Hepatocellular Carcinoma; Mitochondria
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1002/hep.31685
  23. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020 Dec 14. pii: 202014029. [Epub ahead of print]
      Vascular endothelial cells (ECs) sense and respond to hemodynamic shear stress, which is critical for circulatory homeostasis and the pathophysiology of vascular diseases. The mechanisms of shear stress mechanotransduction, however, remain elusive. We previously demonstrated a direct role of mitochondria in the purinergic signaling of shear stress: shear stress increases mitochondrial adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production, triggering ATP release and Ca2+ signaling via EC purinoceptors. Here, we showed that shear stress rapidly decreases cholesterol in the plasma membrane, thereby activating mitochondrial ATP production. Imaging using domain 4 mutant-derived cholesterol biosensors showed that the application of shear stress to cultured ECs markedly decreased cholesterol levels in both the outer and inner plasma membrane bilayers. Flow cytometry showed that the cholesterol levels in the outer bilayer decreased rapidly after the onset of shear stress, reached a minimum (around 60% of the control level) at 10 min, and plateaued thereafter. After the shear stress ceased, the decreased cholesterol levels returned to those seen in the control. A biochemical analysis showed that shear stress caused both the efflux and the internalization of plasma membrane cholesterol. ATP biosensor imaging demonstrated that shear stress significantly increased mitochondrial ATP production. Similarly, the treatment of cells with methyl-β-cyclodextrin (MβCD), a membrane cholesterol-depleting agent, increased mitochondrial ATP production. The addition of cholesterol to cells inhibited the increasing effects of both shear stress and MβCD on mitochondrial ATP production in a dose-dependent manner. These findings indicate that plasma membrane cholesterol dynamics are closely coupled to mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation in ECs.
    Keywords:  ATP; cholesterol; endothelial cells; mitochondria; shear stress
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2014029117
  24. Sci Adv. 2020 Dec;pii: eabc5629. [Epub ahead of print]6(51):
      Circadian gene expression driven by transcription activators CLOCK and BMAL1 is intimately associated with dynamic chromatin remodeling. However, how cellular metabolism directs circadian chromatin remodeling is virtually unexplored. We report that the S-adenosylhomocysteine (SAH) hydrolyzing enzyme adenosylhomocysteinase (AHCY) cyclically associates to CLOCK-BMAL1 at chromatin sites and promotes circadian transcriptional activity. SAH is a potent feedback inhibitor of S-adenosylmethionine (SAM)-dependent methyltransferases, and timely hydrolysis of SAH by AHCY is critical to sustain methylation reactions. We show that AHCY is essential for cyclic H3K4 trimethylation, genome-wide recruitment of BMAL1 to chromatin, and subsequent circadian transcription. Depletion or targeted pharmacological inhibition of AHCY in mammalian cells markedly decreases the amplitude of circadian gene expression. In mice, pharmacological inhibition of AHCY in the hypothalamus alters circadian locomotor activity and rhythmic transcription within the suprachiasmatic nucleus. These results reveal a previously unappreciated connection between cellular metabolism, chromatin dynamics, and circadian regulation.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.abc5629
  25. Elife. 2020 12 15. pii: e60827. [Epub ahead of print]9
      Aging-associated diseases, including cardiac dysfunction, are increasingly common in the population. However, the mechanisms of physiologic aging in general, and cardiac aging in particular, remain poorly understood. Age-related heart impairment is lacking a clinically effective treatment. Using the model of naturally aging mice and rats, we show direct evidence of increased proton leak in the aged heart mitochondria. Moreover, our data suggested ANT1 as the most likely site of mediating increased mitochondrial proton permeability in old cardiomyocytes. Most importantly, the tetra-peptide SS-31 prevents age-related excess proton entry, decreases the mitochondrial flash activity and mitochondrial permeability transition pore opening, rejuvenates mitochondrial function by direct association with ANT1 and the mitochondrial ATP synthasome, and leads to substantial reversal of diastolic dysfunction. Our results uncover the excessive proton leak as a novel mechanism of age-related cardiac dysfunction and elucidate how SS-31 can reverse this clinically important complication of cardiac aging.
    Keywords:  SS-31; aging; cardiomyocyte; cell biology; mitochondria; mouse; proton leak; rat
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.60827
  26. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2020 ;11 579981
      Glycogen storage disease subtypes I and III (GSD I and GSD III) are monogenic inherited disorders of metabolism that disrupt glycogen metabolism. Unavailability of glucose in GSD I and induction of gluconeogenesis in GSD III modify energy sources and possibly, mitochondrial function. Abnormal mitochondrial structure and function were described in mice with GSD Ia, yet significantly less research is available in human cells and ketotic forms of the disease. We hypothesized that impaired glycogen storage results in distinct metabolic phenotypes in the extra- and intracellular compartments that may contribute to pathogenesis. Herein, we examined mitochondrial organization in live cells by spinning-disk confocal microscopy and profiled extra- and intracellular metabolites by targeted LC-MS/MS in cultured fibroblasts from healthy controls and from patients with GSD Ia, GSD Ib, and GSD III. Results from live imaging revealed that mitochondrial content and network morphology of GSD cells are comparable to that of healthy controls. Likewise, healthy controls and GSD cells exhibited comparable basal oxygen consumption rates. Targeted metabolomics followed by principal component analysis (PCA) and hierarchical clustering (HC) uncovered metabolically distinct poises of healthy controls and GSD subtypes. Assessment of individual metabolites recapitulated dysfunctional energy production (glycolysis, Krebs cycle, succinate), reduced creatinine export in GSD Ia and GSD III, and reduced antioxidant defense of the cysteine and glutathione systems. Our study serves as proof-of-concept that extra- and intracellular metabolite profiles distinguish glycogen storage disease subtypes from healthy controls. We posit that metabolite profiles provide hints to disease mechanisms as well as to nutritional and pharmacological elements that may optimize current treatment strategies.
    Keywords:  energy deficiency; glycogen storage disease; inborn error of metabolism; metabolism; metabolomics; mitochondria; redox homeostasis
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3389/fendo.2020.579981
  27. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2020 ;8 594416
      Since the identification and definition of the hallmarks of aging, these aspects of molecular and cellular decline have been most often described as isolated or distinct mechanisms. However, there is significant evidence demonstrating interplay between most of these hallmarks and that they have the capacity to influence and regulate one another. These interactions are demonstrable across the tree of life, yet not all aspects are conserved. Here, we describe an integrative view on the hallmarks of aging by using the hallmark "mitochondrial dysfunction" as a focus point, and illustrate its capacity to both influence and be influenced by the other hallmarks of aging. We discuss the effects of mitochondrial pathways involved in aging, such as oxidative phosphorylation, mitochondrial dynamics, mitochondrial protein synthesis, mitophagy, reactive oxygen species and mitochondrial DNA damage in relation to each of the primary, antagonistic and integrative hallmarks. We discuss the similarities and differences in these interactions throughout the tree of life, and speculate how speciation may play a role in the variation in these mechanisms. We propose that the hallmarks are critically intertwined, and that mapping the full extent of these interactions would be of significant benefit to the aging research community.
    Keywords:  aging; hallmarks of aging; interplay; mitochondria; tree of life
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3389/fcell.2020.594416
  28. Cell Death Differ. 2020 Dec 17.
      Mitochondria-ER contact sites (MERCS) are known to underpin many important cellular homoeostatic functions, including mitochondrial quality control, lipid metabolism, calcium homoeostasis, the unfolded protein response and ER stress. These functions are known to be dysregulated in neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson's disease (PD), Alzheimer's disease (AD) and amyloid lateral sclerosis (ALS), and the number of disease-related proteins and genes being associated with MERCS is increasing. However, many details regarding MERCS and their role in neurodegenerative diseases remain unknown. In this review, we aim to summarise the current knowledge regarding the structure and function of MERCS, and to update the field on current research in PD, AD and ALS. Furthermore, we will evaluate high-throughput screening techniques, including RNAi vs CRISPR/Cas9, pooled vs arrayed formats and how these could be combined with current techniques to visualise MERCS. We will consider the advantages and disadvantages of each technique and how it can be utilised to uncover novel protein pathways involved in MERCS dysfunction in neurodegenerative diseases.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41418-020-00705-8
  29. Cell Rep. 2020 Dec 15. pii: S2211-1247(20)31473-X. [Epub ahead of print]33(11): 108484
      The nuclear pore complex forms a highly crowded selective barrier with intrinsically disordered regions at the nuclear membrane to coordinate nucleocytoplasmic molecular communications. Although oxidative stress is known to alter the barrier function, the molecular mechanism underlying this adaptive control of the nuclear pore complex remains unknown. Here we uncover a systematic control of the crowding barrier within the nuclear pore in response to various redox environments. Direct measurements of the crowding states using a crowding-sensitive FRET (Förster resonance energy transfer) probe reveal specific roles of the nuclear pore subunits that adjust the degree of crowding in response to different redox conditions, by adaptively forming or disrupting redox-sensitive disulfide bonds. Relationships between crowding control and the barrier function of the nuclear pore are investigated by single-molecular fluorescence measurements of nuclear transport. Based on these findings, we propose a proximal control model of molecular crowding in vivo that is dynamically regulated at the molecular level.
    Keywords:  molecular crowding; nuclear pore complex; nuclear transport; nucleoporin; oxidative stress; redox response
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2020.108484
  30. Mol Genet Metab. 2020 Nov;pii: S1096-7192(20)30203-1. [Epub ahead of print]131(3): 289-298
      The mammalian urea cycle (UC) is responsible for siphoning catabolic waste nitrogen into urea for excretion. Disruptions of the functions of any of the enzymes or transporters lead to elevated ammonia and neurological injury. Carbamoyl phosphate synthetase 1 (CPS1) is the first and rate-limiting UC enzyme responsible for the direct incorporation of ammonia into UC intermediates. Symptoms in CPS1 deficiency are typically the most severe of all UC disorders, and current clinical management is insufficient to prevent the associated morbidities and high mortality. With recent advances in basic and translational studies of CPS1, appreciation for this enzyme's essential role in the UC has been broadened to include systemic metabolic regulation during homeostasis and disease. Here, we review recent advances in CPS1 biology and contextualize them around the role of CPS1 in health and disease.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ymgme.2020.10.003
  31. J Adv Res. 2021 Jan;27 79-84
      Background: Mitochondrial disorders are genetic diseases for which therapy remains woefully inadequate. Therapy of these disorders is particularly challenging partially due to the heterogeneity and tissue-specificity of pathomechanisms involved in these disorders. Abnormalities in hydrogen sulfide (H2S) metabolism are emerging as novel mechanism in mitochondrial dysfunction. However, further studies are necessary to understand the effects, protective or detrimental, of these abnormalities, and their relevance, in mitochondrial diseases.Aim of Review: To review the recent evidences of derangement of the metabolism of H2S, at biosynthesis or oxidation levels, in mitochondrial dysfunction, focusing specifically on the alterations of H2S oxidation caused by primary Coenzyme Q (CoQ) deficiency.
    Key Scientific Concepts of Review: Mitochondria play a key role in the regulation of H2S and GSH metabolism pathways. However, further studies are needed to understand the consequences of abnormalities of H2S and GSH synthesis on the oxidation pathway, and vice versa; and on the levels of H2S and GSH, their tissue-specific detrimental effects, and their role the role in mitochondrial diseases. Beside the known H2S pathways, additional, tissue-specific, enzymatic systems, involved in H2S production and elimination, might exist.
    Keywords:  Coenzyme Q; Glutathione; Mitochondria; Oxidative stress; ROS
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jare.2020.04.002
  32. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2020 ;8 592035
      Erythropoiesis is the most robust cellular differentiation and proliferation system, with a production of ∼2 × 1011 cells per day. In this fine-tuned process, the hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) generate erythroid progenitors, which proliferate and mature into erythrocytes. During erythropoiesis, mitochondria are reprogrammed to drive the differentiation process before finally being eliminated by mitophagy. In erythropoiesis, mitochondrial dynamics (MtDy) are expected to be a key regulatory point that has not been described previously. We described that a specific MtDy pattern occurs in human erythropoiesis from EPO-induced human CD34+ cells, characterized predominantly by mitochondrial fusion at early stages followed by fission at late stages. The fusion protein MFN1 and the fission protein FIS1 are shown to play a key role in the progression of erythropoiesis. Fragmentation of the mitochondrial web by the overexpression of FIS1 (gain of fission) resulted in both the inhibition of hemoglobin biosynthesis and the arrest of erythroid differentiation, keeping cells in immature differentiation stages. These cells showed specific mitochondrial features as compared with control cells, such as an increase in round and large mitochondrial morphology, low mitochondrial membrane potential, a drop in the expression of the respiratory complexes II and IV and increased ROS. Interestingly, treatment with the mitochondrial permeability transition pore (mPTP) inhibitor, cyclosporin A, rescued mitochondrial morphology, hemoglobin biosynthesis and erythropoiesis. Studies presented in this work reveal MtDy as a hot spot in the control of erythroid differentiation, which might signal downstream for metabolic reprogramming through regulation of the mPTP.
    Keywords:  cell differentiation; erythropoiesis; fission and fusion; mitochondria; permeability transition pore; stem cell
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3389/fcell.2020.592035
  33. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020 Dec 14. pii: 201922392. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitochondrial and metabolic dysfunction are often implicated in neurological disease, but effective mechanism-based therapies remain elusive. We performed a genome-scale forward genetic screen in a Drosophila model of tauopathy, a class of neurodegenerative disorders characterized by the accumulation of the protein tau, and identified manipulation of the B-vitamin biotin as a potential therapeutic approach in tauopathy. We show that tau transgenic flies have an innate biotin deficiency due to tau-mediated relaxation of chromatin and consequent aberrant expression of multiple biotin-related genes, disrupting both carboxylase and mitochondrial function. Biotin depletion alone causes mitochondrial pathology and neurodegeneration in both flies and human neurons, implicating mitochondrial dysfunction as a mechanism in biotin deficiency. Finally, carboxylase biotin levels are reduced in mammalian tauopathies, including brains of human Alzheimer's disease patients. These results provide insight into pathogenic mechanisms of human biotin deficiency, the resulting effects on neuronal health, and a potential therapeutic pathway in the treatment of tau-mediated neurotoxicity.
    Keywords:  Drosophila; biotin; mitochondria; screen; tau
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1922392117
  34. Cancer Cell. 2020 Nov 28. pii: S1535-6108(20)30598-5. [Epub ahead of print]
      Increased neoantigens in hypermutated cancers with DNA mismatch repair deficiency (dMMR) are proposed as the major contributor to the high objective response rate in anti-PD-1 therapy. However, the mechanism of drug resistance is not fully understood. Using tumor models defective in the MMR gene Mlh1 (dMLH1), we show that dMLH1 tumor cells accumulate cytosolic DNA and produce IFN-β in a cGAS-STING-dependent manner, which renders dMLH1 tumors slowly progressive and highly sensitive to checkpoint blockade. In neoantigen-fixed models, dMLH1 tumors potently induce T cell priming and lose resistance to checkpoint therapy independent of tumor mutational burden. Accordingly, loss of STING or cGAS in tumor cells decreases tumor infiltration of T cells and endows resistance to checkpoint blockade. Clinically, downregulation of cGAS/STING in human dMMR cancers correlates with poor prognosis. We conclude that DNA sensing within tumor cells is essential for dMMR-triggered anti-tumor immunity. This study provides new mechanisms and biomarkers for anti-dMMR-cancer immunotherapy.
    Keywords:  DNA sensing; MLH1; MSI; STING; T cell infiltration; cGAS; cancer; checkpoint blockade; cytosolic DNA; mismatch repair
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ccell.2020.11.006
  35. Cell Metab. 2020 Dec 08. pii: S1550-4131(20)30653-7. [Epub ahead of print]
      Caspase-4 is an intracellular sensor for cytosolic bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and underlies infection-elicited pyroptosis. It is unclear whether and how caspase-4 detects host-derived factors to trigger pyroptosis. Here we show that mitochondrial permeability transition (MPT) activates caspase-4 by promoting the assembly of a protein complex, which we term the Apaf-1 pyroptosome, for the execution of facilitated pyroptosis. MPT, when induced by bile acids, calcium overload, or an adenine nucleotide translocator 1 (ANT1) activator, triggers assembly of the pyroptosome comprised of Apaf-1 and caspase-4 with a stoichiometry ratio of 7:2. Unlike the direct cleavage of gasdermin D (GSDMD) by caspase-4 upon LPS ligation, caspase-4 activated in the Apaf-1 pyroptosome proceeds to cleave caspase-3 and thereby GSDME to induce pyroptosis. Caspase-4-initiated and GSDME-executed pyroptosis underlies cholestatic liver failure. These findings identify Apaf-1 pyroptosome as a pivotal machinery for cells sensing MPT signals and may shed light on understanding how cells execute intrinsic pyroptosis under sterile conditions.
    Keywords:  Apaf-1; Caspase-4; bile acid; gasdermin E; mitochondrial permeability transition; pyroptosis
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2020.11.018
  36. Nature. 2020 Dec 16.
      Autophagy, a process of degradation that occurs via the lysosomal pathway, has an essential role in multiple aspects of immunity, including immune system development, regulation of innate and adaptive immune and inflammatory responses, selective degradation of intracellular microorganisms, and host protection against infectious diseases1,2. Autophagy is known to be induced by stimuli such as nutrient deprivation and suppression of mTOR, but little is known about how autophagosomal biogenesis is initiated in mammalian cells in response to viral infection. Here, using genome-wide short interfering RNA screens, we find that the endosomal protein sorting nexin 5 (SNX5)3,4 is essential for virus-induced, but not for basal, stress- or endosome-induced, autophagy. We show that SNX5 deletion increases cellular susceptibility to viral infection in vitro, and that Snx5 knockout in mice enhances lethality after infection with several human viruses. Mechanistically, SNX5 interacts with beclin 1 and ATG14-containing class III phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3KC3) complex 1 (PI3KC3-C1), increases the lipid kinase activity of purified PI3KC3-C1, and is required for endosomal generation of phosphatidylinositol-3-phosphate (PtdIns(3)P) and recruitment of the PtdIns(3)P-binding protein WIPI2 to virion-containing endosomes. These findings identify a context- and organelle-specific mechanism-SNX5-dependent PI3KC3-C1 activation at endosomes-for initiation of autophagy during viral infection.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-03056-z
  37. Elife. 2020 Dec 15. pii: e63665. [Epub ahead of print]9
      It has been known adipocytes increase p53 expression and activity in obesity, however, only canonical p53 functions (i.e., senescence and apoptosis) are attributed to inflammation-associated metabolic phenotypes. Whether or not p53 is directly involved in mature adipocyte metabolic regulation remains unclear. Here we show p53 protein expression can be up-regulated in adipocytes by nutrient starvation without activating cell senescence, apoptosis, or a death-related p53 canonical pathway. Inducing the loss of p53 in mature adipocytes significantly reprograms energy metabolism and this effect is primarily mediated through a AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) pathway and a novel downstream transcriptional target, lysosomal acid lipase (LAL). The pathophysiological relevance is further demonstrated in a conditional and adipocyte-specific p53 knockout mouse model. Overall, these data support a non-canonical p53 function in the regulation of adipocyte energy homeostasis and indicate that the dysregulation of this pathway may be involved in developing metabolic dysfunction in obesity.
    Keywords:  cell biology; medicine; mouse
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.63665
  38. J Pathol. 2020 Dec 18.
      Lipid accumulation is associated with various forms of acute renal injury; however, the causative factors and pathways underpinning this lipid accumulation have not been thoroughly investigated. In this study, we performed lipidomic profiling of renal tissue following ischaemia-reperfusion injury (IRI). We identified a significant accumulation of cholesterol and specific phospholipids and sphingolipids in kidneys 24 h after IRI. In light of these findings, we hypothesised that pathways involved in lipid metabolism may also be altered. Through the analysis of published microarray data, generated from sham and ischaemic kidneys, we identified nephron-specific metabolic pathways affected by IRI and validated these findings in ischaemic renal tissue. In silico analysis revealed the downregulation of several energy and lipid metabolism pathways, including mitochondrial fatty acid beta-oxidation (FAO), peroxisomal lipid metabolism, fatty acid (FA) metabolism and glycolysis. The pentose phosphate pathway (PPP), which is fuelled by glycolysis, was the only metabolic pathway that was upregulated 24 h following IRI. In this study, we describe the effect of renal IRI on metabolic pathways and how this contributes to lipid accumulation. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Keywords:  Ischaemia Reperfusion Injury; energy metabolism; fatty acid beta oxidation; kidney; lipid accumulation; lipid metabolism; pentose phosphate pathway
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1002/path.5605
  39. Nat Metab. 2020 12;2(12): 1472-1481
      Leigh syndrome is a fatal neurometabolic disorder caused by defects in mitochondrial function. Mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibition with rapamycin attenuates disease progression in a mouse model of Leigh syndrome (Ndufs4 knock-out (KO) mouse); however, the mechanism of rescue is unknown. Here we identify protein kinase C (PKC) downregulation as a key event mediating the beneficial effects of rapamycin treatment of Ndufs4 KO mice. Assessing the impact of rapamycin on the brain proteome and phosphoproteome of Ndufs4 KO mice, we find that rapamycin restores mitochondrial protein levels, inhibits signalling through both mTOR complexes and reduces the abundance and activity of multiple PKC isoforms. Administration of PKC inhibitors increases survival, delays neurological deficits, prevents hair loss and decreases inflammation in Ndufs4 KO mice. Thus, PKC may be a viable therapeutic target for treating severe mitochondrial disease.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s42255-020-00319-x
  40. Sci Rep. 2020 Dec 17. 10(1): 22111
      The relevant role of pentose phosphate pathway (PPP) in cancer metabolic reprogramming has been usually outlined by studying glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD). However, recent evidence suggests an unexpected role for a less characterized PPP, triggered by hexose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (H6PD) within the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Studying H6PD biological role in breast and lung cancer, here we show that gene silencing of this reticular enzyme decreases cell content of PPP intermediates and D-ribose, to a similar extent as G6PD silencing. Decrease in overall NADPH content and increase in cell oxidative status are also comparable. Finally, either gene silencing impairs at a similar degree cell proliferating activity. This unexpected response occurs despite the absence of any cross-interference between the expression of both G6PD and H6PD. Thus, overall cancer PPP reflects the contribution of two different pathways located in the cytosol and ER, respectively. Disregarding the reticular pathway might hamper our comprehension of PPP role in cancer cell biology.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-79185-2
  41. World J Stem Cells. 2020 Nov 26. 12(11): 1295-1306
      Breast cancer, like many other cancers, is believed to be driven by a population of cells that display stem cell properties. Recent studies suggest that cancer stem cells (CSCs) are essential for tumor progression, and tumor relapse is thought to be caused by the presence of these cells. CSC-targeted therapies have also been proposed to overcome therapeutic resistance in breast cancer after the traditional therapies. Additionally, the metabolic properties of cancer cells differ markedly from those of normal cells. The efficacy of metabolic targeted therapy has been shown to enhance anti-cancer treatment or overcome therapeutic resistance of breast cancer cells. Metabolic targeting of breast CSCs (BCSCs) may be a very effective strategy for anti-cancer treatment of breast cancer cells. Thus, in this review, we focus on discussing the studies involving metabolism and targeted therapy in BCSCs.
    Keywords:  Breast cancer; Cancer stem cells; Metabolism; Oxidative phosphorylation; Target therapy; Tumor relapse
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.4252/wjsc.v12.i11.1295
  42. Curr Protoc Cell Biol. 2020 Dec;89(1): e116
      Measuring oxygen consumption allows for the role of mitochondrial function in biological phenomena and mitochondrial diseases to be determined. Although respirometry has become a common approach in disease research, current methods are limited by the necessity to process and measure tissue samples within 1 hr of acquisition. Detailed by Acin-Perez and colleagues, a new respirometry approach designed for previously frozen tissue samples eliminates these hurdles for mitochondrial study. This technique allows for the measurement of maximal respiratory capacity in samples frozen for long-term storage before testing. This protocol article describes the optimal tissue isolation methods and the combination of substrates to define electron transport chain function at high resolution in previously frozen tissue samples. © 2020 The Authors. Basic Protocol 1: Sample collection, storage, and homogenization for previously frozen tissue respirometry Basic Protocol 2: Running a Seahorse respirometry assay using previously frozen tissue samples Basic Protocol 3: Normalization to mitochondrial content for previously frozen tissue respirometry.
    Keywords:  OCR; frozen; mitochondria; respirometry
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1002/cpcb.116
  43. Cancer Cell. 2020 Dec 03. pii: S1535-6108(20)30596-1. [Epub ahead of print]
      Tumors with defective mismatch repair (dMMR) are responsive to immunotherapy because of dMMR-induced neoantigens and activation of the cGAS-STING pathway. While neoantigens result from the hypermutable nature of dMMR, it is unknown how dMMR activates the cGAS-STING pathway. We show here that loss of the MutLα subunit MLH1, whose defect is responsible for ~50% of dMMR cancers, results in loss of MutLα-specific regulation of exonuclease 1 (Exo1) during DNA repair. This leads to unrestrained DNA excision by Exo1, which causes increased single-strand DNA formation, RPA exhaustion, DNA breaks, and aberrant DNA repair intermediates. Ultimately, this generates chromosomal abnormalities and the release of nuclear DNA into the cytoplasm, activating the cGAS-STING pathway. In this study, we discovered a hitherto unknown MMR mechanism that modulates genome stability and has implications for cancer therapy.
    Keywords:  DNA breaks; MLH1; RPA exhaustion; Rad51; cGAS-STING; chromosome instability; cytosolic DNA; exonuclease 1; mismatch repair
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ccell.2020.11.004
  44. Front Genet. 2020 ;11 605263
      Cellular identity in multicellular organisms is maintained by characteristic transcriptional networks, nutrient consumption, energy production and metabolite utilization. Integrating these cell-specific programs are epigenetic modifiers, whose activity is often dependent on nutrients and their metabolites to function as substrates and co-factors. Emerging data has highlighted the role of the nutrient-sensing enzyme O-GlcNAc transferase (OGT) as an epigenetic modifier essential in coordinating cellular transcriptional programs and metabolic homeostasis. OGT utilizes the end-product of the hexosamine biosynthetic pathway to modify proteins with O-linked β-D-N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc). The levels of the modification are held in check by the O-GlcNAcase (OGA). Studies from model organisms and human disease underscore the conserved function these two enzymes of O-GlcNAc cycling play in transcriptional regulation, cellular plasticity and mitochondrial reprogramming. Here, we review these findings and present an integrated view of how O-GlcNAc cycling may contribute to cellular memory and transgenerational inheritance of responses to parental stress. We focus on a rare human genetic disorder where mutant forms of OGT are inherited or acquired de novo. Ongoing analysis of this disorder, OGT- X-linked intellectual disability (OGT-XLID), provides a window into how epigenetic factors linked to O-GlcNAc cycling may influence neurodevelopment.
    Keywords:  DNA methylation; O-linked β-D-N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc); X-linked intellectual disability (XLID); epigenetics; histone modification; nutrient-sensing
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3389/fgene.2020.605263
  45. Redox Biol. 2020 Dec 01. pii: S2213-2317(20)31029-6. [Epub ahead of print]38 101824
      Sestrin2 (Sesn2) is a stress-inducible protein that declines with aging in the heart. We reported that rescue Sesn2 levels in aged mouse hearts through gene therapy improves the resistance of aged hearts to ischemia and reperfusion (I/R) insults. We hypothesize that Sesn2 as a scaffold protein maintains mitochondrial integrity to protect heart from ischemic injury during I/R. Young C57BL/6 J (3-6 months), aged C57BL/6 J (24-26 months), and young Sesn2 KO (3-6 months, C57BL/6 J background) mice were subjected to in vivo regional ischemia and reperfusion. The left ventricle was collected for transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics analysis. The results demonstrated that Sesn2 deficiency leads to aging-like cardiac diastolic dysfunction and intolerance to ischemia reperfusion stress. Seahorse analysis demonstrated that Sesn2 deficiency in aged and young Sesn2 KO versus young hearts lead to impaired mitochondrial respiration rate with defects in Complex I and Complex II activity. The Sesn2 targeted proteomics analysis revealed that Sesn2 plays a critical role in maintaining mitochondrial functional integrity through modulating mitochondria biosynthesis and assembling of oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) complexes. The RNA-Seq data showed that alterations in the expression of mitochondrial compositional and functional genes and substrate metabolism related genes in young Sesn2 KO and aged versus young hearts. Further immunofluorescence and immunoprecipitation analysis demonstrated that Sesn2 is translocated into mitochondria and interacts with OXPHOS components to maintain mitochondrial integrity in response to I/R stress. Biochemical analysis revealed that Sesn2 is associated with citrate cycle components to modulate pyruvate dehydrogenase and isocitrate dehydrogenase activities during I/R stress. Thus, Sesn2 serves as a scaffold protein interacting with OXPHOS components to maintain mitochondrial integrity under I/R stress. Age-related downregulation of cardiac Sesn2 fragilizes mitochondrial functional integrity in response to ischemic stress.
    Keywords:  Aging; Ischemia reperfusion injury; Metabolism; Mitochondria; Sestrin2
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.redox.2020.101824
  46. Methods Mol Biol. 2021 ;2226 3-14
      Ewing sarcoma (EwS) is a rare bone or soft tissue tumor that occurs early in life and as such genetic variation is a major contributor to EwS risk. To date, genetic investigations have identified key somatic mutations and germline variants of importance for EwS risk. While substantial progress is being made in uncovering the genetic etiology of EwS, considerable gaps in knowledge remain. Herein, we provide a summary of methodological approaches for future genomic investigations of EwS. We anticipate this recommended analytical framework for germline and somatic investigations, along with genomic data from growing EwS case series, will aid in accelerating new genomic discoveries in EwS and expand knowledge of the genetic architecture of EwS.
    Keywords:  EWSR1-FLI1; Ewing sarcoma; Genetics; Germline variants; SNPs; Somatic mutations; Translocation
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-0716-1020-6_1
  47. Nat Chem Biol. 2021 Jan;17(1): 10-19
      Many bacterial and archaeal organisms use clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats-CRISPR associated (CRISPR-Cas) systems to defend themselves from mobile genetic elements. These CRISPR-Cas systems are classified into six types based on their composition and mechanism. CRISPR-Cas enzymes are widely used for genome editing and offer immense therapeutic opportunity to treat genetic diseases. To realize their full potential, it is important to control the timing, duration, efficiency and specificity of CRISPR-Cas enzyme activities. In this Review we discuss the mechanisms of natural CRISPR-Cas regulatory biomolecules and engineering strategies that enhance or inhibit CRISPR-Cas immunity by altering enzyme function. We also discuss the potential applications of these CRISPR regulators and highlight unanswered questions about their evolution and purpose in nature.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41589-020-00700-7