bims-camemi Biomed News
on Mitochondrial metabolism in cancer
Issue of 2020‒12‒27
twenty papers selected by
Christian Frezza
University of Cambridge, MRC Cancer Unit


  1. Mol Cell. 2020 Dec 15. pii: S1097-2765(20)30827-3. [Epub ahead of print]
    Rinaldi G, Pranzini E, Van Elsen J, Broekaert D, Funk CM, Planque M, Doglioni G, Altea-Manzano P, Rossi M, Geldhof V, Teoh ST, Ross C, Hunter KW, Lunt SY, Grünewald TGP, Fendt SM.
      In tumors, nutrient availability and metabolism are known to be important modulators of growth signaling. However, it remains elusive whether cancer cells that are growing out in the metastatic niche rely on the same nutrients and metabolic pathways to activate growth signaling as cancer cells within the primary tumor. We discovered that breast-cancer-derived lung metastases, but not the corresponding primary breast tumors, use the serine biosynthesis pathway to support mTORC1 growth signaling. Mechanistically, pyruvate uptake through Mct2 supported mTORC1 signaling by fueling serine biosynthesis-derived α-ketoglutarate production in breast-cancer-derived lung metastases. Consequently, expression of the serine biosynthesis enzyme PHGDH was required for sensitivity to the mTORC1 inhibitor rapamycin in breast-cancer-derived lung tumors, but not in primary breast tumors. In summary, we provide in vivo evidence that the metabolic and nutrient requirements to activate growth signaling differ between the lung metastatic niche and the primary breast cancer site.
    Keywords:  MCT2; PHGDH; breast cancer; lung environment; mTORC1; metastasis formation; pyruvate; serine biosynthesis; α-ketoglutarate
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.molcel.2020.11.027
  2. Front Physiol. 2020 ;11 608474
    Seabright AP, Lai YC.
      The selective removal of damaged mitochondria, also known as mitophagy, is an important mechanism that regulates mitochondrial quality control. Evidence suggests that mitophagy is adversely affected in aged skeletal muscle, and this is thought to contribute toward the age-related decline of muscle health. While our knowledge of the molecular mechanisms that regulate mitophagy are derived mostly from work in non-muscle cells, whether these mechanisms are conferred in muscle under physiological conditions has not been thoroughly investigated. Recent findings from our laboratory and those of others have made several novel contributions to this field. Herein, we consolidate current literature, including our recent work, while evaluating how ubiquitin-dependent mitophagy is regulated both in muscle and non-muscle cells through the steps of mitochondrial fission, ubiquitylation, and autophagosomal engulfment. During ubiquitin-dependent mitophagy in non-muscle cells, mitochondrial depolarization activates PINK1-Parkin signaling to elicit mitochondrial ubiquitylation. TANK-binding kinase 1 (TBK1) then activates autophagy receptors, which in turn, tether ubiquitylated mitochondria to autophagosomes prior to lysosomal degradation. In skeletal muscle, evidence supporting the involvement of PINK1-Parkin signaling in mitophagy is lacking. Instead, 5'-AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is emerging as a critical regulator. Mechanistically, AMPK activation promotes mitochondrial fission before enhancing autophagosomal engulfment of damaged mitochondria possibly via TBK1. While TBK1 may be a point of convergence between PINK1-Parkin and AMPK signaling in muscle, the critical question that remains is: whether mitochondrial ubiquitylation is required for mitophagy. In future, improving understanding of molecular processes that regulate mitophagy in muscle will help to develop novel strategies to promote healthy aging.
    Keywords:  AMPK; PINK1; Parkin; TBK1; ULK1; mitochondrial fission; mitophagy; skeletal muscle
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2020.608474
  3. J Physiol. 2020 Dec 21.
    Vaupel P, Multhoff G.
      Contrary to Warburg's original thesis, accelerated aerobic glycolysis is not a primary, permanent and universal consequence of dysfunctional/impaired mitochondria compensating for poor ATP-yield per mole of glucose. Instead, in most tumours the Warburg effect is an essential part of a "selfish" metabolic reprogramming, which results from the interplay between (normoxic/hypoxic) HIF-1-overexpression, oncogene activation (cMyc, Ras), loss of function of tumour suppressors (mutant-p53, mutant-PTEN, microRNAs and sirtuins with suppressor functions), activated (PI3K/Akt/mTORC1, Ras/Raf/Mek/Erk/cMyc, Jak/Stat3) or deactivated (LKB1/AMPK) signalling pathways, components of the tumour microenvironment, and HIF-1-cooperations with epigenetic mechanisms. Molecular and functional processes of the Warburg effect include: (a) considerably accelerated glycolytic fluxes, (b) adequate ATP generation per unit time to maintain energy homeostasis and electrochemical gradients, (c) backup and diversion of glycolytic intermediates facilitating the biosynthesis of nucleotides, non-essential amino acids, lipids and hexosamines, (d) inhibition of pyruvate entry into mitochondria, (e) excessive formation and accumulation of lactate which stimulates tumour growth and suppression of anti-tumour immunity; in addition, lactate can serve as an energy source for normoxic cancer cells and drives malignant progression and resistances to conventional therapies, (f) cytosolic lactate is mainly exported through upregulated lactate-proton symporters (MCT4), working together with other H+ -transporters, and carbonic anhydrases (CAII, CAIX) which hydrate CO2 from oxidative metabolism to form H+ and bicarbonate, (g) in concert with poor vascular drainage these proton export mechanisms are responsible for extracellular acidification, driving malignant progression and resistances to conventional therapies, (h) maintenance of the cellular redox homeostasis and low ROS formation, and (i) HIF-1 overexpression, mutant-p53 and mutant-PTEN which inhibit mitochondrial biogenesis and functions, negatively impacting cellular respiration rate. The glycolytic switch is an early event in oncogenesis and primarily supports cell survival. All in all, the Warburg effect, i.e., aerobic glycolysis in the presence of oxygen and -in principle- functioning mitochondria, constitutes a major driver of the cancer progression machinery, resistance to conventional therapies, and poor patient outcome. However, as evidenced during the last two decades, in a minority of tumours primary mitochondrial defects can play a key role promoting the Warburg effect and tumour progression due to mutations in some Krebs cycle enzymes and mitochondrial ROS overproduction. Abstract figure legend Driving processes causing the Warburg effect during carcinogenesis (upper part), and mechanisms/consequences of metabolic reprogramming in Warburg phenotypes (lower part) leading to survival advantages, malignant progression and, ultimately, poor patient outcome. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Keywords:  Warburg effect; aerobic glycolysis; glycolytic phenotype; lactate accumulation; metabolic reprogramming; tumour acidosis; tumour glucose metabolism; tumour mitochondria
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1113/JP278810
  4. Mol Cell. 2020 Dec 10. pii: S1097-2765(20)30836-4. [Epub ahead of print]
    Kim SH, Choi JH, Wang P, Go CD, Hesketh GG, Gingras AC, Jafarnejad SM, Sonenberg N.
      Mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) controls cell growth and proliferation by sensing fluctuations in environmental cues such as nutrients, growth factors, and energy levels. The Rag GTPases (Rags) serve as a critical module that signals amino acid (AA) availability to modulate mTORC1 localization and activity. Recent studies have demonstrated how AAs regulate mTORC1 activity through Rags. Here, we uncover an unconventional pathway that activates mTORC1 in response to variations in threonine (Thr) levels via mitochondrial threonyl-tRNA synthetase TARS2. TARS2 interacts with inactive Rags, particularly GTP-RagC, leading to increased GTP loading of RagA. mTORC1 activity in cells lacking TARS2 is resistant to Thr repletion, showing that TARS2 is necessary for Thr-dependent mTORC1 activation. The requirement of TARS2, but not cytoplasmic threonyl-tRNA synthetase TARS, for this effect demonstrates an additional layer of complexity in the regulation of mTORC1 activity.
    Keywords:  Rag GTPases; TARS2; amino acid; aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase; mTORC1; threonine
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.molcel.2020.11.036
  5. Mitochondrion. 2020 Dec 16. pii: S1567-7249(20)30226-9. [Epub ahead of print]
    Ali M, Boosi Narayana Rao K, Majumder P, Sarkar R, Mapa K.
      BACKGROUND: Biogenesis and function of mitochondria is profoundly dependent on cytosolic translation of mitochondrial pre-proteins and its subsequent translocation and folding inside the organelle. Continuous exposure of non-native precursor proteins, exposure to damaging by-products of oxidative phosphorylation, load of mis-targeted or misfolded proteins from neighbouring compartments and unremitting demand of communication between mitochondrial and nuclear genomes, continuously pose proteotoxic threats to the organelle. Our knowledge of cellular mechanisms to cope up with such impending threat of proteotoxicity to mitochondria, is currently evolving. In recent years, several unique response and survival pathways have been discovered shedding light on cellular strategies to cope with stressed and dysfunctional mitochondria. As mitochondria compulsorily communicate with nucleus, cytosol and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) for its own biogenesis and function and in turn maintain critical cellular processes for survival, any impairment in communication by stressed or dysfunctional mitochondria may end up with fatal consequences.DISCUSSION: and Implication: In this review, we have discussed about possible sources of mitochondrial proteotoxicity and the recent developments regarding cellular strategies to counter such stress to overcome dysfunctions of the organelle. Mitochondrial communication with neighbouring subcellular compartments like ER and cytosol during proteotoxic stress have been explored. In the context of mitochondrial proteotoxicity, alterations of crucial inter-organelle connections like ER-mitochondria contact sites and its implication on mitochondrial signaling activity like Ca2+ signaling have been dissected. Furthermore, an overview of pathological conditions, mainly neurodegenerative disorders that are known to be associated with mitochondrial proteotoxicity and Ca2+ dysregulation has been presented.
    Keywords:  Apoptosis; Ca(2+) signaling; Mitochondria; Mitochondria associated ER-membranes (MAMs); Proteotoxic Stress; Unfolded Protein Response (UPR)
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mito.2020.12.003
  6. Cell Metab. 2020 Dec 09. pii: S1550-4131(20)30604-5. [Epub ahead of print]
    Tirosh A, Tuncman G, Calay ES, Rathaus M, Ron I, Tirosh A, Yalcin A, Lee YG, Livne R, Ron S, Minsky N, Arruda AP, Hotamisligil GS.
      Endoplasmic reticulum stress (ERS) has a pathophysiological role in obesity-associated insulin resistance. Yet, the coordinated tissue response to ERS remains unclear. Increased connexin 43 (Cx43)-mediated intercellular communication has been implicated in tissue-adaptive and -maladaptive response to various chronic stresses. Here, we demonstrate that in hepatocytes, ERS results in increased Cx43 expression and cell-cell coupling. Co-culture of ER-stressed "donor" cells resulted in intercellular transmission of ERS and dysfunction to ERS-naive "recipient" cells ("bystander response"), which could be prevented by genetic or pharmacologic suppression of Cx43. Hepatocytes from obese mice were able to transmit ERS to hepatocytes from lean mice, and mice lacking liver Cx43 were protected from diet-induced ERS, insulin resistance, and hepatosteatosis. Taken together, our results indicate that in obesity, the increased Cx43-mediated cell-cell coupling allows intercellular propagation of ERS. This novel maladaptive response to over-nutrition exacerbates the tissue ERS burden, promoting hepatosteatosis and impairing whole-body glucose metabolism.
    Keywords:  connexin 43; diabetes; endoplasmic reticulum stress; gap junctions; insulin resistance; intercellular communication; unfolded protein response
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2020.11.009
  7. Nat Cancer. 2020 Mar;1(3): 359-369
    Hulton CH, Costa EA, Shah NS, Quintanal-Villalonga A, Heller G, de Stanchina E, Rudin CM, Poirier JT.
      Patient-derived xenografts are high fidelity in vivo tumor models that accurately reflect many key aspects of human cancer. In contrast to either cancer cell lines or genetically engineered mouse models, the utility of PDXs has been limited by the inability to perform targeted genome editing of these tumors. To address this limitation, we have developed methods for CRISPR-Cas9 editing of PDXs using a tightly regulated, inducible Cas9 vector that does not require in vitro culture for selection of transduced cells. We demonstrate the utility of this platform in PDXs (1) to analyze genetic dependencies by targeted gene disruption and (2) to analyze mechanisms of acquired drug resistance by site-specific gene editing using templated homology-directed repair. This flexible system has broad application to other explant models and substantially augments the utility of PDXs as genetically programmable models of human cancer.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s43018-020-0040-8
  8. Redox Biol. 2020 Nov 29. pii: S2213-2317(20)31023-5. [Epub ahead of print]38 101818
    Alshaabi H, Shannon N, Gravelle R, Milczarek S, Messier T, Cunniff B.
      Mitochondria are strategically trafficked throughout the cell by the action of microtubule motors, the actin cytoskeleton and adapter proteins. The intracellular positioning of mitochondria supports subcellular levels of ATP, Ca2+ and reactive oxygen species (ROS, i.e. hydrogen peroxide, H2O2). Previous work from our group showed that deletion of the mitochondrial adapter protein Miro1 leads to perinuclear clustering of mitochondria, leaving the cell periphery devoid of mitochondria which compromises peripheral energy status. Herein, we report that deletion of Miro1 significantly restricts subcellular H2O2 levels to the perinuclear space which directly affects intracellular responses to elevated mitochondrial ROS. Using the genetically encoded H2O2-responsive fluorescent biosensor HyPer7, we show that the highest levels of subcellular H2O2 map to sites of increased mitochondrial density. Deletion of Miro1 or disruption of microtubule dynamics with Taxol significantly reduces peripheral H2O2 levels. Following inhibition of mitochondrial complex 1 with rotenone we observe elevated spikes of H2O2 in the cell periphery and complementary oxidation of mitochondrial peroxiredoxin 3 (PRX3) and cytosolic peroxiredoxin 2 (PRX2). Conversely, in cells lacking Miro1, rotenone did not increase peripheral H2O2 or PRX2 oxidation but rather lead to increased nuclear H2O2 and an elevated DNA-damage response. Lastly, local levels of HyPer7 oxidation correlate with the size and abundance of focal adhesions (FAs) in MEFs and cells lacking Miro1 have significantly smaller focal adhesions and reduced phosphorylation levels of vinculin and p130Cas compared to Miro1+/+ MEFs. Together, we present evidence that the intracellular distribution of mitochondria influences subcellular H2O2 levels and local cellular responses dependent on mitochondrial ROS.
    Keywords:  Cell migration; Hydrogen peroxide; Miro1; Mitochondrial trafficking; Reactive oxygen species
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.redox.2020.101818
  9. Trends Cancer. 2020 Dec 16. pii: S2405-8033(20)30329-0. [Epub ahead of print]
    Yang X, Chio IIC.
      Pancreatic innervation is an important factor in pancreatic cancer etiology and progression. Recent work by Banh et al. has revealed that serine released from the axons of sensory and sympathetic neurons supports pancreatic cancer metabolism during nutrient-deprived conditions. These findings rationalize a therapeutic strategy to combine dietary manipulation and pharmacological denervation to target pancreatic cancer.
    Keywords:  metabolism; neural input; pancreatic cancer; translation
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trecan.2020.12.004
  10. Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Cell Res. 2020 Dec 16. pii: S0167-4889(20)30286-X. [Epub ahead of print] 118928
    Nagakannan P, Islam MI, Conrad M, Eftekharpour E.
      Ferroptosis is a necrotic form of cell death caused by inactivation of the glutathione system and uncontrolled iron-mediated lipid peroxidation. Increasing evidence implicates ferroptosis in a wide range of diseases from neurotrauma to cancer, highlighting the importance of identifying an executioner system that can be exploited for clinical applications. In this study, using pharmacological and genetic models of ferroptosis, we observed that lysosomal membrane permeabilization and cytoplasmic leakage of cathepsin B unleashes structural and functional changes in mitochondria and promotes a not previously reported cleavage of histone H3. Inhibition of cathepsin-B robustly rescued cellular membrane integrity and chromatin degradation. We show that these protective effects are independent of glutathione peroxidase-4 and are mediated by preventing lysosomal membrane damage. This was further confirmed when cathepsin B knockout primary fibroblasts remained unaffected in response to various ferroptosis inducers. Our work identifies new and yet-unrecognized aspects of ferroptosis and identifies cathepsin B as a mediator of ferroptotic cell death.
    Keywords:  GPX4; Histone H3; autophagy; glutathione; lipid peroxidation; lysosomes
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbamcr.2020.118928
  11. Matrix Biol. 2020 Dec 13. pii: S0945-053X(20)30118-9. [Epub ahead of print]
    Zein L, Fulda S, Kögel D, van Wijk SJL.
      The conserved catabolic process of autophagy is an important control mechanism that degrades cellular organelles, debris and pathogens in autolysosomes. Although autophagy primarily protects against cellular insults, nutrient starvation or oxidative stress, hyper-activation of autophagy is also believed to cause autophagy-dependent cell death (ADCD). ADCD is a caspase-independent form of programmed cell death (PCD), characterized by an over-activation of autophagy, leading to prominent self-digestion of cellular material in autolysosomes beyond the point of cell survival. ADCD plays important roles in the development of lower organisms, but also in the response of cancer cells upon exposure of specific drugs or natural compounds. Importantly, the induction of ADCD as an alternative cell death pathway is of special interest in apoptosis-resistant cancer types and serves as an attractive and potential therapeutic option. Although the mechanisms of ADCD are diverse and not yet fully understood, both non-selective (bulk) autophagy and organelle-specific types of autophagy are believed to be involved in this type of cell death. Accordingly, several ADCD-inducing drugs are known to trigger severe mitochondrial damage and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, whereas the contribution of other cell organelles, like ribosomes or peroxisomes, to the control of ADCD is not well understood. In this review, we highlight the general mechanisms of ADCD and discuss the current evidence for mitochondria- and ER-specific killing mechanisms of ADCD-inducing drugs.
    Keywords:  Autophagy-dependent cell death; ER, ER stress; Mitochondria; Mitophagy
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.matbio.2020.12.003
  12. EMBO Rep. 2020 Dec 20. e51239
    Fong MY, Yan W, Ghassemian M, Wu X, Zhou X, Cao M, Jiang L, Wang J, Liu X, Zhang J, Wang SE.
      Metabolic reprogramming of non-cancer cells residing in a tumor microenvironment, as a result of the adaptations to cancer-derived metabolic and non-metabolic factors, is an emerging aspect of cancer-host interaction. We show that in normal and cancer-associated fibroblasts, breast cancer-secreted extracellular vesicles suppress mTOR signaling upon amino acid stimulation to globally reduce mRNA translation. This is through delivery of cancer-derived miR-105 and miR-204, which target RAGC, a component of Rag GTPases that regulate mTORC1 signaling. Following amino acid starvation and subsequent re-feeding, 13 C-arginine labeling of de novo synthesized proteins shows selective translation of proteins that cluster to specific cellular functional pathways. The repertoire of these newly synthesized proteins is altered in fibroblasts treated with cancer-derived extracellular vesicles, in addition to the overall suppressed protein synthesis. In human breast tumors, RAGC protein levels are inversely correlated with miR-105 in the stroma. Our results suggest that through educating fibroblasts to reduce and re-prioritize mRNA translation, cancer cells rewire the metabolic fluxes of amino acid pool and dynamically regulate stroma-produced proteins during periodic nutrient fluctuations.
    Keywords:  breast cancer; extracellular vesicles; mRNA translation; mTORC1; microRNA
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.15252/embr.202051239
  13. Front Pharmacol. 2020 ;11 588449
    Kumari R, Palaniyandi S, Hildebrandt GC.
      Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is the solitary therapeutic therapy for many types of hematological cancers. The benefits of this procedure are challenged by graft vs. host disease (GVHD), causing significant morbidity and mortality. Recent advances in the metabolomics field have revolutionized our understanding of complex human diseases, clinical diagnostics and allow to trace the de novo biosynthesis of metabolites. There is growing evidence for metabolomics playing a role in different aspects of GVHD, and therefore metabolomic reprogramming presents a novel tool for this disease. Pre-transplant cytokine profiles and metabolic status of allogeneic transplant recipients is shown to be linked with a threat of acute GVHD. Immune reactions underlying the pathophysiology of GVHD involve higher proliferation and migration of immune cells to the target site, requiring shifts in energy supply and demand. Metabolic changes and reduced availability of oxygen result in tissue and cellular hypoxia which is extensive enough to trigger transcriptional and translational changes. T cells, major players in acute GVHD pathophysiology, show increased glucose uptake and glycolytic activity. Effector T (Teff) cells activated during nutrient limiting conditions in vitro or multiplying during GVHD in vivo, depend more on oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) and fatty acid oxidation (FAO). Dyslipidemia, such as the increase of medium and long chain fatty and polyunsaturated acids in plasma of GVHD patients, has been observed. Sphingolipids associate with inflammatory conditions and cancer. Chronic GVHD (cGVHD) patients show reduced branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) and increased sulfur-containing metabolites post HSCT. Microbiota-derived metabolites such as aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) ligands, bile acids, plasmalogens and short chain fatty acids vary significantly and affect allogeneic immune responses during acute GVHD. Considering the multitude of possibilities, how altered metabolomics are involved in GVHD biology, multi-timepoints related and multivariable biomarker panels for prognosticating and understanding GVHD are needed. In this review, we will discuss the recent work addressing metabolomics reprogramming to control GVHD in detail.
    Keywords:  allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation; glycolysis; graft versus host disease; krebs cycle; t cells
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2020.588449
  14. Cell Discov. 2020 Dec 22. 6(1): 94
    Sun P, Liu Y, Ma T, Ding J.
      Human NAD-dependent isocitrate dehydrogenase or HsIDH3 catalyzes the decarboxylation of isocitrate into α-ketoglutarate in the TCA cycle. HsIDH3 exists and functions as a heterooctamer composed of the αβ and αγ heterodimers, and is regulated allosterically and/or competitively by numerous metabolites including CIT, ADP, ATP, and NADH. In this work, we report the crystal structure of HsIDH3 containing a β mutant in apo form. In the HsIDH3 structure, the αβ and αγ heterodimers form the α2βγ heterotetramer via their clasp domains, and two α2βγ heterotetramers form the (α2βγ)2 heterooctamer through insertion of the N-terminus of the γ subunit of one heterotetramer into the back cleft of the β subunit of the other heterotetramer. The functional roles of the key residues at the allosteric site, the pseudo allosteric site, the heterodimer and heterodimer-heterodimer interfaces, and the N-terminal of the γ subunit are validated by mutagenesis and kinetic studies. Our structural and biochemical data together demonstrate that the allosteric site plays an important role but the pseudo allosteric site plays no role in the allosteric activation of the enzyme; the activation signal from the allosteric site is transmitted to the active sites of both αβ and αγ heterodimers via the clasp domains; and the N-terminal of the γ subunit plays a critical role in the formation of the heterooctamer to ensure the optimal activity of the enzyme. These findings reveal the molecular mechanism of the assembly and allosteric regulation of HsIDH3.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41421-020-00220-7
  15. Anal Biochem. 2020 Dec 18. pii: S0003-2697(20)30616-3. [Epub ahead of print] 114084
    Cooper AJL, Dorai T, Pinto JT, Denton TT.
      The asparaginase II pathway consists of an asparagine transaminase [L-asparagine + α-keto acid ⇆ α-ketosuccinamate + L-amino acid] coupled to ω-amidase [α-ketosuccinamate + H2O → oxaloacetate + NH4+]. The net reaction is: L-asparagine + α-keto acid + H2O → oxaloacetate + L-amino acid + NH4+. Thus, in the presence of a suitable α-keto acid substrate, the asparaginase II pathway generates anaplerotic oxaloacetate at the expense of readily dispensable asparagine. Several studies have shown that the asparaginase II pathway is important in photorespiration in plants. However, since its discovery in rat tissues in the 1950s, this pathway has been almost completely ignored as a conduit for asparagine metabolism in mammals. Several mammalian transaminases can catalyze transamination of asparagine, one of which - alanine-glyoxylate aminotransferase type 1 (AGT1) - is important in glyoxylate metabolism. Glyoxylate is a precursor of oxalate which, in the form of its calcium salt, is a major contributor to the formation of kidney stones. Thus, transamination of glyoxylate with asparagine may be physiologically important for the removal of potentially toxic glyoxylate. Asparaginase has been the mainstay treatment for certain childhood leukemias. We suggest that an inhibitor of ω-amidase may potentiate the therapeutic benefits of asparaginase treatment.
    Keywords:  asparaginase; asparaginase II pathway; transaminases; w-amidase
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ab.2020.114084
  16. Pathol Res Pract. 2020 Dec 04. pii: S0344-0338(20)32169-5. [Epub ahead of print]217 153314
    Taefehshokr S, Taefehshokr N, Hemmat N, Hajazimian S, Isazadeh A, Dadebighlu P, Baradaran B.
      Cancer cells are able to undergo aerobic glycolysis and metabolize glucose to lactate instead of oxidative phosphorylation, which is known as Warburg effect. Accumulating evidence has revealed that microRNAs regulate cancer cell metabolism, which manifest a higher rate of glucose metabolism. Various signaling pathways along with glycolytic enzymes are responsible for the emergence of glycolytic dependence. MicroRNAs are a class of non-coding RNAs that are not translated into proteins but regulate target gene expression or in other words function pre-translationally and post-transcriptionally. MicroRNAs have been shown to be involved in various biological processes, including glucose metabolism via targeting major transcription factors, enzymes, oncogenes or tumor suppressors alongside the oncogenic signaling pathways. In this review, we describe the regulatory role of microRNAs of cancer cell glucose metabolism, including in the glucose uptake, glycolysis, tricarboxylic acid cycle and several signaling pathways and further suggest that microRNA-based therapeutics can be used to inhibit the process of glucose metabolism reprogramming in cancer cells and thus suppressing cancer progression.
    Keywords:  Cancer; Glucose; Metabolism; MicroRNA
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.prp.2020.153314
  17. Cell Calcium. 2020 Dec 08. pii: S0143-4160(20)30171-8. [Epub ahead of print]93 102329
    Chubanov V, Gudermann T.
      Mg2+ is an essential cation controlling many biochemical reactions. Recently, Daw et al. [1] have shown that l-lactate acts as a second messenger triggering a dynamic exchange of Mg2+ between the endoplasmic reticulum and mitochondria to shape energy metabolism. This discovery changes our view on the cellular role of Mg2+.
    Keywords:  Bioenergetics; Lactate; Mg(2+); Mitochondria; Mrs2
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ceca.2020.102329
  18. EMBO J. 2020 Dec 21. e106696
    Huh D, Passarelli MC, Gao J, Dusmatova SN, Goin C, Fish L, Pinzaru AM, Molina H, Ren Z, McMillan EA, Asgharian H, Goodarzi H, Tavazoie SF.
      Eukaryotic transfer RNAs can become selectively fragmented upon various stresses, generating tRNA-derived small RNA fragments. Such fragmentation has been reported to impact a small fraction of the tRNA pool and thus presumed to not directly impact translation. We report that oxidative stress can rapidly generate tyrosine-tRNAGUA fragments in human cells-causing significant depletion of the precursor tRNA. Tyrosine-tRNAGUA depletion impaired translation of growth and metabolic genes enriched in cognate tyrosine codons. Depletion of tyrosine tRNAGUA or its translationally regulated targets USP3 and SCD repressed proliferation-revealing a dedicated tRNA-regulated growth-suppressive pathway for oxidative stress response. Tyrosine fragments are generated in a DIS3L2 exoribonuclease-dependent manner and inhibit hnRNPA1-mediated transcript destabilization. Moreover, tyrosine fragmentation is conserved in C. elegans. Thus, tRNA fragmentation can coordinately generate trans-acting small RNAs and functionally deplete a tRNA. Our findings reveal the existence of an underlying adaptive codon-based regulatory response inherent to the genetic code.
    Keywords:  hnRNPA1; oxidative stress; tRNA; tRNA fragments; translation
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.15252/embj.2020106696