bims-camemi Biomed News
on Mitochondrial metabolism in cancer
Issue of 2021‒02‒07
forty-eight papers selected by
Christian Frezza
University of Cambridge, MRC Cancer Unit

  1. J Biol Chem. 2020 Jan 03. pii: S0021-9258(17)49553-6. [Epub ahead of print]295(1): 111-124
      Aerobic glycolysis or the Warburg effect (WE) is characterized by increased glucose uptake and incomplete oxidation to lactate. Although the WE is ubiquitous, its biological role remains controversial, and whether glucose metabolism is functionally different during fully oxidative glycolysis or during the WE is unknown. To investigate this question, here we evolved resistance to koningic acid (KA), a natural product that specifically inhibits glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH), a rate-controlling glycolytic enzyme, during the WE. We found that KA-resistant cells lose the WE but continue to conduct glycolysis and surprisingly remain dependent on glucose as a carbon source and also on central carbon metabolism. Consequently, this altered state of glycolysis led to differential metabolic activity and requirements, including emergent activities in and dependences on fatty acid metabolism. These findings reveal that aerobic glycolysis is a process functionally distinct from conventional glucose metabolism and leads to distinct metabolic requirements and biological functions.
    Keywords:  Warburg effect; cancer; glucose metabolism; glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase GAPDH; glycolysis; mass spectrometry (MS); metabolic regulation; metabolic reprogramming; metabolomics; oxidative metabolism
  2. Nat Genet. 2021 Feb;53(2): 215-229
      Naive epiblast and embryonic stem cells (ESCs) give rise to all cells of adults. Such developmental plasticity is associated with genome hypomethylation. Here, we show that LIF-Stat3 signaling induces genomic hypomethylation via metabolic reconfiguration. Stat3-/- ESCs show decreased α-ketoglutarate production from glutamine, leading to increased Dnmt3a and Dnmt3b expression and DNA methylation. Notably, genome methylation is dynamically controlled through modulation of α-ketoglutarate availability or Stat3 activation in mitochondria. Alpha-ketoglutarate links metabolism to the epigenome by reducing the expression of Otx2 and its targets Dnmt3a and Dnmt3b. Genetic inactivation of Otx2 or Dnmt3a and Dnmt3b results in genomic hypomethylation even in the absence of active LIF-Stat3. Stat3-/- ESCs show increased methylation at imprinting control regions and altered expression of cognate transcripts. Single-cell analyses of Stat3-/- embryos confirmed the dysregulated expression of Otx2, Dnmt3a and Dnmt3b as well as imprinted genes. Several cancers display Stat3 overactivation and abnormal DNA methylation; therefore, the molecular module that we describe might be exploited under pathological conditions.
  3. Nature. 2021 Feb;590(7844): 57-66
      Mitochondria form dynamic networks in the cell that are balanced by the flux of iterative fusion and fission events of the organelles. It is now appreciated that mitochondrial fission also represents an end-point event in a signalling axis that allows cells to sense and respond to external cues. The fission process is orchestrated by membrane-associated adaptors, influenced by organellar and cytoskeletal interactions and ultimately executed by the dynamin-like GTPase DRP1. Here we invoke the framework of the 'mitochondrial divisome', which is conceptually and operationally similar to the bacterial cell-division machinery. We review the functional and regulatory aspects of the mitochondrial divisome and, within this framework, parse the core from the accessory machinery. In so doing, we transition from a phenomenological to a mechanistic understanding of the fission process.
  4. Cell Rep. 2021 Feb 02. pii: S2211-1247(21)00036-X. [Epub ahead of print]34(5): 108723
      The metabolic changes controlling the stepwise differentiation of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) to mature erythrocytes are poorly understood. Here, we show that HSPC development to an erythroid-committed proerythroblast results in augmented glutaminolysis, generating alpha-ketoglutarate (αKG) and driving mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS). However, sequential late-stage erythropoiesis is dependent on decreasing αKG-driven OXPHOS, and we find that isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 (IDH1) plays a central role in this process. IDH1 downregulation augments mitochondrial oxidation of αKG and inhibits reticulocyte generation. Furthermore, IDH1 knockdown results in the generation of multinucleated erythroblasts, a morphological abnormality characteristic of myelodysplastic syndrome and congenital dyserythropoietic anemia. We identify vitamin C homeostasis as a critical regulator of ineffective erythropoiesis; oxidized ascorbate increases mitochondrial superoxide and significantly exacerbates the abnormal erythroblast phenotype of IDH1-downregulated progenitors, whereas vitamin C, scavenging reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reprogramming mitochondrial metabolism, rescues erythropoiesis. Thus, an IDH1-vitamin C crosstalk controls terminal steps of human erythroid differentiation.
    Keywords:  alpha-ketoglutarate; enucleation; erythropoiesis; hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell; human; isocitrate dehydrogenase; mitochondria; oxidative phosphorylation; redox stress; vitamin C
  5. Autophagy. 2021 Feb 02.
      Mitochondrial autophagy (mitophagy) selectively degrades mitochondria and plays an important role in mitochondrial homeostasis. In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the phosphorylation of the mitophagy receptor Atg32 by casein kinase 2 is essential for mitophagy, whereas this phosphorylation is counteracted by the protein phosphatase Ppg1. Although Ppg1 functions cooperatively with the Far complex (Far3, Far7, Far8, Vps64/Far9, Far10 and Far11), their relationship and the underlying phosphoregulatory mechanism of Atg32 remain unclear. Our recent study revealed: (i) the Far complex plays its localization-dependent roles, regulation of mitophagy and target of rapamycin complex 2 (TORC2) signaling, via the mitochondria- and endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-localized Far complexes, respectively; (ii) Ppg1 and Far11 form a subcomplex, and Ppg1 activity is required to assemble the sub- and core-Far complexes; (iii) association and dissociation between the Far complex and Atg32 are crucial determinants for mitophagy regulation. Here, we summarize our findings and discuss unsolved issues.
    Keywords:  Atg32; Far complex; Ppg1; mitochondria; mitophagy; yeast
  6. J Biol Chem. 2020 Jul 03. pii: S0021-9258(17)50322-1. [Epub ahead of print]295(27): 8988-8998
      DEAD-box helicase 5 (DDX5) is a founding member of the DEAD-box RNA helicase family, a group of enzymes that regulate ribonucleoprotein formation and function in every aspect of RNA metabolism, ranging from synthesis to decay. Our laboratory previously found that DDX5 is involved in energy homeostasis, a process that is altered in many cancers. Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is an understudied cancer type for which effective treatments are currently unavailable. Using an array of methods, including short hairpin RNA-mediated gene silencing, RNA and ChIP sequencing analyses, and metabolite profiling, we show here that DDX5 is overexpressed in SCLC cell lines and that its down-regulation results in various metabolic and cellular alterations. Depletion of DDX5 resulted in reduced growth and mitochondrial dysfunction in the chemoresistant SCLC cell line H69AR. The latter was evidenced by down-regulation of genes involved in oxidative phosphorylation and by impaired oxygen consumption. Interestingly, DDX5 depletion specifically reduced intracellular succinate, a TCA cycle intermediate that serves as a direct electron donor to mitochondrial complex II. We propose that the oncogenic role of DDX5, at least in part, manifests as up-regulation of respiration supporting the energy demands of cancer cells.
    Keywords:  DEAD-box helicase 5 (DDX5); Krebs cycle; RNA helicase; TCA cycle; bioenergetics; cell proliferation; energy homeostasis; gene expression; mitochondrial metabolism; respiration; small cell lung cancer
  7. J Diabetes Metab Disord. 2020 Dec;19(2): 1731-1775
      Purpose: Re-examine the current metabolic models.Methods: Review of literature and gene networks.
    Results: Insulin activates Pi uptake, glutamine metabolism to stabilise lipid membranes. Tissue turnover maintains the metabolic health. Current model of intermediary metabolism (IM) suggests glucose is the source of energy, and anaplerotic entry of fatty acids and amino acids into mitochondria increases the oxidative capacity of the TCA cycle to produce the energy (ATP). The reduced cofactors, NADH and FADH2, have different roles in regulating the oxidation of nutrients, membrane potentials and biosynthesis. Trans-hydrogenation of NADH to NADPH activates the biosynthesis. FADH2 sustains the membrane potential during the cell transformations. Glycolytic enzymes assume the non-canonical moonlighting functions, enter the nucleus to remodel the genetic programmes to affect the tissue turnover for efficient use of nutrients. Glycosylation of the CD98 (4F2HC) stabilises the nutrient transporters and regulates the entry of cysteine, glutamine and BCAA into the cells. A reciprocal relationship between the leucine and glutamine entry into cells regulates the cholesterol and fatty acid synthesis and homeostasis in cells. Insulin promotes the Pi transport from the blood to tissues, activates the mitochondrial respiratory activity, and glutamine metabolism, which activates the synthesis of cholesterol and the de novo fatty acids for reorganising and stabilising the lipid membranes for nutrient transport and signal transduction in response to fluctuations in the microenvironmental cues. Fatty acids provide the lipid metabolites, activate the second messengers and protein kinases. Insulin resistance suppresses the lipid raft formation and the mitotic slippage activates the fibrosis and slow death pathways.
    Keywords:  CD98; Fatty acids; Glutamine; Leucine; Mitochondrial pyruvate carrier proteins (MPC1&2); Tissue turnover; mTORC1
  8. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 Feb 23. pii: e2021012118. [Epub ahead of print]118(8):
      The ATP synthase complexes in mitochondria make the ATP required to sustain life by a rotary mechanism. Their membrane domains are embedded in the inner membranes of the organelle, and they dimerize via interactions between their membrane domains. The dimers form extensive chains along the tips of the cristae with the two rows of monomeric catalytic domains extending into the mitochondrial matrix at an angle to each other. Disruption of the interface between dimers by mutation affects the morphology of the cristae severely. By analysis of particles of purified dimeric bovine ATP synthase by cryo-electron microscopy, we have shown that the angle between the central rotatory axes of the monomeric complexes varies between ca. 76 and 95°. These particles represent active dimeric ATP synthase. Some angular variations arise directly from the catalytic mechanism of the enzyme, and others are independent of catalysis. The monomer-monomer interaction is mediated mainly by j subunits attached to the surface of wedge-shaped protein-lipid structures in the membrane domain of the complex, and the angular variation arises from rotational and translational changes in this interaction, and combinations of both. The structures also suggest how the dimeric ATP synthases might be interacting with each other to form the characteristic rows along the tips of the cristae via other interwedge contacts, molding themselves to the range of oligomeric arrangements observed by tomography of mitochondrial membranes, and at the same time allowing the ATP synthase to operate under the range of physiological conditions that influence the structure of the cristae.
    Keywords:  ATP synthase; bovine mitochondria; dimer; mobility; monomer-monomer interface
  9. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 Feb 09. pii: e2021475118. [Epub ahead of print]118(6):
      Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is one of the deadliest forms of cancer and is highly refractory to current therapies. We had previously shown that PDAC can utilize its high levels of basal autophagy to support its metabolism and maintain tumor growth. Consistent with the importance of autophagy in PDAC, autophagy inhibition significantly enhances response of PDAC patients to chemotherapy in two randomized clinical trials. However, the specific metabolite(s) that autophagy provides to support PDAC growth is not yet known. In this study, we demonstrate that under nutrient-replete conditions, loss of autophagy in PDAC leads to a relatively restricted impairment of amino acid pools, with cysteine levels showing a significant drop. Additionally, we made the striking discovery that autophagy is critical for the proper membrane localization of the cystine transporter SLC7A11. Mechanistically, autophagy impairment results in the loss of SLC7A11 on the plasma membrane and increases its localization at the lysosome in an mTORC2-dependent manner. Our results demonstrate a critical link between autophagy and cysteine metabolism and provide mechanistic insights into how targeting autophagy can cause metabolic dysregulation in PDAC.
    Keywords:  SLC7A11; autophagy; lysosome; pancreatic cancer; pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma
  10. Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2021 Jan 30. pii: S1357-2725(21)00019-4. [Epub ahead of print] 105935
      Solid tumours modify their metabolic strategy to ensure sufficient biomass and energy to maintain a high rate of proliferation. However, solid tumours are characterised by a high proportion of quiescent cells and little is known about their metabolic profile. A tumour spheroid model with DLD1 cells was used to investigate the influence of a quiescent state on the cellular utilisation of glucose and glutamine. Quiescent DLD1 spheroids displayed increased depletion of both nutrients from the bathing medium compared to their proliferative counterparts and displayed highly active overall metabolism. A combination of biochemical and metabolomics approaches demonstrated that glucose utilisation resulted in an increased production of the 3-carbon intermediates lactate and alanine in quiescent spheroids. In addition, glutamine metabolism was directed to anabolic pathways; including the "reverse TCA cycle" to produce citrate for fatty-acid synthesis. These metabolic adaptations in DLD1 spheroids may propose a metabolic altruism of quiescent regions in solid tumours to provide biosynthetic intermediates required to sustain tumour growth, angiogenesis and metastasis.
    Keywords:  Tumour metabolism; glucose metabolism; glutamine metabolism; glutaminolysis; glycolysis; metabolomics; quiescence; tumour spheroid
  11. Cell Metab. 2021 Feb 02. pii: S1550-4131(21)00005-X. [Epub ahead of print]
      The haploinsufficiency of C9orf72 is implicated in the most common forms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD), but the full spectrum of C9orf72 functions remains to be established. Here, we report that C9orf72 is a mitochondrial inner-membrane-associated protein regulating cellular energy homeostasis via its critical role in the control of oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS). The translocation of C9orf72 from the cytosol to the inter-membrane space is mediated by the redox-sensitive AIFM1/CHCHD4 pathway. In mitochondria, C9orf72 specifically stabilizes translocase of inner mitochondrial membrane domain containing 1 (TIMMDC1), a crucial factor for the assembly of OXPHOS complex I. C9orf72 directly recruits the prohibitin complex to inhibit the m-AAA protease-dependent degradation of TIMMDC1. The mitochondrial complex I function is impaired in C9orf72-linked ALS/FTD patient-derived neurons. These results reveal a previously unknown function of C9orf72 in mitochondria and suggest that defective energy metabolism may underlie the pathogenesis of relevant diseases.
    Keywords:  ALS; C9orf72; FTD; OXPHOS; TIMMDC1; complex I; mitochondrial import; mitochondrion; neurodegeneration; oxidative phosphorylation
  12. Cell Rep. 2021 Feb 02. pii: S2211-1247(21)00002-4. [Epub ahead of print]34(5): 108689
      The epidermis regenerates continually to maintain a protective barrier at the body's surface composed of differentiating keratinocytes. Maturation of this stratified tissue requires that keratinocytes undergo wholesale organelle degradation upon reaching the outermost tissue layers to form compacted, anucleate cells. Through live imaging of organotypic cultures of human epidermis, we find that regulated breakdown of mitochondria is critical for epidermal development. Keratinocytes in the upper layers initiate mitochondrial fragmentation, depolarization, and acidification upon upregulating the mitochondrion-tethered autophagy receptor NIX. Depleting NIX compromises epidermal maturation and impairs mitochondrial elimination, whereas ectopic NIX expression accelerates keratinocyte differentiation and induces premature mitochondrial fragmentation via the guanosine triphosphatase (GTPase) DRP1. We further demonstrate that inhibiting DRP1 blocks NIX-mediated mitochondrial breakdown and disrupts epidermal development. Our findings establish mitochondrial degradation as a key step in terminal keratinocyte differentiation and define a pathway operating via the mitophagy receptor NIX in concert with DRP1 to drive epidermal morphogenesis.
    Keywords:  autophagy; cornification; differentiation; epidermis; epithelial morphogenesis; fission; keratinocyte; live microscopy; mitochondria; mitophagy
  13. Cell Physiol Biochem. 2021 Feb 06. 55(1): 91-116
      BACKGROUND/AIMS: Signaling and metabolic perturbations contribute to dysregulated skeletal muscle protein homeostasis and secondary sarcopenia in response to a number of cellular stressors including ethanol exposure. Using an innovative multiomics-based curating of unbiased data, we identified molecular and metabolic therapeutic targets and experimentally validated restoration of protein homeostasis in an ethanol-fed mouse model of liver disease.METHODS: Studies were performed in ethanol-treated differentiated C2C12 myotubes and physiological relevance established in an ethanol-fed mouse model of alcohol-related liver disease (mALD) or pair-fed control C57BL/6 mice. Transcriptome and proteome from ethanol treated-myotubes and gastrocnemius muscle from mALD and pair-fed mice were analyzed to identify target pathways and molecules. Readouts including signaling responses and autophagy markers by immunoblots, mitochondrial oxidative function and free radical generation, and metabolic studies by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and sarcopenic phenotype by imaging.
    RESULTS: Multiomics analyses showed that ethanol impaired skeletal muscle mTORC1 signaling, mitochondrial oxidative pathways, including intermediary metabolite regulatory genes, interleukin-6, and amino acid degradation pathways are β-hydroxymethyl-butyrate targets. Ethanol decreased mTORC1 signaling, increased autophagy flux, impaired mitochondrial oxidative function with decreased tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediary metabolites, ATP synthesis, protein synthesis and myotube diameter that were reversed by HMB. Consistently, skeletal muscle from mALD had decreased mTORC1 signaling, reduced fractional and total muscle protein synthesis rates, increased autophagy markers, lower intermediary metabolite concentrations, and lower muscle mass and fiber diameter that were reversed by β-hydroxymethyl-butyrate treatment.
    CONCLUSION: An innovative multiomics approach followed by experimental validation showed that β-hydroxymethyl-butyrate restores muscle protein homeostasis in liver disease.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Mitochondria; Pathway-analyses; Protein synthesis; Proteomics; Transcriptomics
  14. EMBO J. 2021 Feb 02. e105268
      Mitochondrial translation dysfunction is associated with neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases. Cells eliminate defective mitochondria by the lysosomal machinery via autophagy. The relationship between mitochondrial translation and lysosomal function is unknown. In this study, mitochondrial translation-deficient hearts from p32-knockout mice were found to exhibit enlarged lysosomes containing lipofuscin, suggesting impaired lysosome and autolysosome function. These mice also displayed autophagic abnormalities, such as p62 accumulation and LC3 localization around broken mitochondria. The expression of genes encoding for nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+ ) biosynthetic enzymes-Nmnat3 and Nampt-and NAD+ levels were decreased, suggesting that NAD+ is essential for maintaining lysosomal acidification. Conversely, nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) administration or Nmnat3 overexpression rescued lysosomal acidification. Nmnat3 gene expression is suppressed by HIF1α, a transcription factor that is stabilized by mitochondrial translation dysfunction, suggesting that HIF1α-Nmnat3-mediated NAD+ production is important for lysosomal function. The glycolytic enzymes GAPDH and PGK1 were found associated with lysosomal vesicles, and NAD+ was required for ATP production around lysosomal vesicles. Thus, we conclude that NAD+ content affected by mitochondrial dysfunction is essential for lysosomal maintenance.
    Keywords:  GAPDH; NAD+; Nmnat3; lysosome; mitochondria
  15. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 Feb 09. pii: e2008778118. [Epub ahead of print]118(6):
      Human mitochondria contain their own genome, mitochondrial DNA, that is expressed in the mitochondrial matrix. This genome encodes 13 vital polypeptides that are components of the multisubunit complexes that couple oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS). The inner mitochondrial membrane that houses these complexes comprises the inner boundary membrane that runs parallel to the outer membrane, infoldings that form the cristae membranes, and the cristae junctions that separate the two. It is in these cristae membranes that the OXPHOS complexes have been shown to reside in various species. The majority of the OXPHOS subunits are nuclear-encoded and must therefore be imported from the cytosol through the outer membrane at contact sites with the inner boundary membrane. As the mitochondrially encoded components are also integral members of these complexes, where does protein synthesis occur? As transcription, mRNA processing, maturation, and at least part of the mitoribosome assembly process occur at the nucleoid and the spatially juxtaposed mitochondrial RNA granules, is protein synthesis also performed at the RNA granules close to these entities, or does it occur distal to these sites? We have adapted a click chemistry-based method coupled with stimulated emission depletion nanoscopy to address these questions. We report that, in human cells in culture, within the limits of our methodology, the majority of mitochondrial protein synthesis is detected at the cristae membranes and is spatially separated from the sites of RNA processing and maturation.
    Keywords:  click chemistry; human mitochondria; mitoribosomes; protein synthesis
  16. Cell Rep. 2021 Feb 02. pii: S2211-1247(21)00020-6. [Epub ahead of print]34(5): 108707
      RTK/RAS/RAF pathway alterations (RPAs) are a hallmark of lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD). In this study, we use whole-genome sequencing (WGS) of 85 cases found to be RPA(-) by previous studies from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) to characterize the minority of LUADs lacking apparent alterations in this pathway. We show that WGS analysis uncovers RPA(+) in 28 (33%) of the 85 samples. Among the remaining 57 cases, we observe focal deletions targeting the promoter or transcription start site of STK11 (n = 7) or KEAP1 (n = 3), and promoter mutations associated with the increased expression of ILF2 (n = 6). We also identify complex structural variations associated with high-level copy number amplifications. Moreover, an enrichment of focal deletions is found in TP53 mutant cases. Our results indicate that RPA(-) cases demonstrate tumor suppressor deletions and genome instability, but lack unique or recurrent genetic lesions compensating for the lack of RPAs. Larger WGS studies of RPA(-) cases are required to understand this important LUAD subset.
    Keywords:  TCGA; driver; genome analysis; lung adenocarcinoma; noncoding; oncogene; precision oncology; structural variation; tumor suppressor; whole genome sequencing
  17. Mol Cancer. 2021 Feb 05. 20(1): 28
      The overlapping metabolic reprogramming of cancer and immune cells is a putative determinant of the antitumor immune response in cancer. Increased evidence suggests that cancer metabolism not only plays a crucial role in cancer signaling for sustaining tumorigenesis and survival, but also has wider implications in the regulation of antitumor immune response through both the release of metabolites and affecting the expression of immune molecules, such as lactate, PGE2, arginine, etc. Actually, this energetic interplay between tumor and immune cells leads to metabolic competition in the tumor ecosystem, limiting nutrient availability and leading to microenvironmental acidosis, which hinders immune cell function. More interestingly, metabolic reprogramming is also indispensable in the process of maintaining self and body homeostasis by various types of immune cells. At present, more and more studies pointed out that immune cell would undergo metabolic reprogramming during the process of proliferation, differentiation, and execution of effector functions, which is essential to the immune response. Herein, we discuss how metabolic reprogramming of cancer cells and immune cells regulate antitumor immune response and the possible approaches to targeting metabolic pathways in the context of anticancer immunotherapy. We also describe hypothetical combination treatments between immunotherapy and metabolic intervening that could be used to better unleash the potential of anticancer therapies.
    Keywords:  Immune checkpoint…; Immunity; Metabolic reprogramming; Oxysterols; TIL; TME
  18. Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2021 Jan 30. pii: S1357-2725(21)00018-2. [Epub ahead of print] 105934
      Mitochondrial function is centrally involved in many cellular processes, such as energy production, metabolism of nucleotides, amino acids, and lipids, calcium buffering, and regulation of cell death. Multiple mechanisms are engaged under conditions of mitochondrial dysfunction to restore cellular and, subsequently, systemic functions. The mitochondrial unfolded protein response is a homeostatic mechanism that has attracted a lot of interest recently and has been described in several organisms, including humans. The mitochondrial unfolded protein response serves as a first-line-of-defence mechanism against stress to restore mitochondrial proteostasis and functions. Here, we discuss the canonical mechanisms via which the mitochondrial unfolded protein response is activated under stress and examine recent evidence that links the response with other processes that promote survival and the recovery of the mitochondrial network (i.e. the integrated stress response and mitophagy).
    Keywords:  UPR; disease; heart; mitochondria; stress
  19. Cell Rep. 2021 Jan 26. pii: S2211-1247(21)00003-6. [Epub ahead of print]34(4): 108690
      Hallmarks of mature β cells are restricted proliferation and a highly energetic secretory state. Paradoxically, cyclin-dependent kinase 2 (CDK2) is synthesized throughout adulthood, its cytosolic localization raising the likelihood of cell cycle-independent functions. In the absence of any changes in β cell mass, maturity, or proliferation, genetic deletion of Cdk2 in adult β cells enhanced insulin secretion from isolated islets and improved glucose tolerance in vivo. At the single β cell level, CDK2 restricts insulin secretion by increasing KATP conductance, raising the set point for membrane depolarization in response to activation of the phosphoenolpyruvate (PEP) cycle with mitochondrial fuels. In parallel with reduced β cell recruitment, CDK2 restricts oxidative glucose metabolism while promoting glucose-dependent amplification of insulin secretion. This study provides evidence of essential, non-canonical functions of CDK2 in the secretory pathways of quiescent β cells.
    Keywords:  CDK2; K(ATP) channel; PEP cycle; amplifying pathways; biosensor imaging; calcium; electrophysiology; insulin secretion; metabolic oscillations; β cell metabolism
  20. Biophys J. 2021 Jan 27. pii: S0006-3495(21)00058-8. [Epub ahead of print]
      The mammalian pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDC) is a mitochondrial multienzyme complex that connects glycolysis to the tricarboxylic acid cycle, by catalyzing pyruvate oxidation to produce acetyl-CoA, NADH, and CO2. This reaction is required to aerobically utilize glucose, a preferred metabolic fuel, and is composed of three core enzymes: pyruvate dehydrogenase (E1), dihydrolipoyl transacetylase (E2), and dihydrolipoyl dehydrogenase (E3). The pyruvate dehydrogenase specific kinase (PDK) and phosphatase (PDP) are considered the main control mechanism of mammalian PDC activity. However, PDK and PDP activity are allosterically regulated by several effectors fully overlapping PDC substrates and products. This collection of positive and negative feedback mechanisms confounds simple predictions of relative PDC flux, especially when all effectors are dynamically modulated during metabolic states that exist in physiologically realistic conditions, such as exercise. Here we provide, to our knowledge, the first globally fitted pH-dependent kinetic model of the PDC accounting for the PDC core reaction, as it is regulated by PDK, PDP, metal binding equilibria, and numerous allosteric effectors. The model was used to compute PDH regulatory complex flux as a function of previously determined metabolic conditions used to simulate exercise and demonstrates increased flux with exercise. Our model reveals that PDC flux in physiological conditions is primarily inhibited by product inhibition (∼60%), mostly NADH inhibition (∼30 to 50%), rather than phosphorylation cycle inhibition (∼40%), but the degree to which depends on the metabolic state and PDC tissue source.
    Keywords:  Enzyme function; Post-translational modifications; cofactors
  21. J Biol Chem. 2020 May 22. pii: S0021-9258(17)50273-2. [Epub ahead of print]295(21): 7418-7430
      Autophagy and lysosomal activities play a key role in the cell by initiating and carrying out the degradation of misfolded proteins. Transcription factor EB (TFEB) functions as a master controller of lysosomal biogenesis and function during lysosomal stress, controlling most but, importantly, not all lysosomal genes. Here, we sought to better understand the regulation of lysosomal genes whose expression does not appear to be controlled by TFEB. Sixteen of these genes were screened for transactivation in response to diverse cellular insults. mRNA levels for lysosomal-associated membrane protein 3 (LAMP3), a gene that is highly up-regulated in many forms of cancer, including breast and cervical cancers, were significantly increased during the integrated stress response, which occurs in eukaryotic cells in response to accumulation of unfolded and misfolded proteins. Of note, results from siRNA-mediated knockdown of activating transcription factor 4 (ATF4) and overexpression of exogenous ATF4 cDNA indicated that ATF4 up-regulates LAMP3 mRNA levels. Finally, ChIP assays verified an ATF4-binding site in the LAMP3 gene promoter, and a dual-luciferase assay confirmed that this ATF4-binding site is indeed required for transcriptional up-regulation of LAMP3. These results reveal that ATF4 directly regulates LAMP3, representing the first identification of a gene for a lysosomal component whose expression is directly controlled by ATF4. This finding may provide a key link between stresses such as accumulation of unfolded proteins and modulation of autophagy, which removes them.
    Keywords:  activating transcription factor 4 (ATF4); autophagy; cell stress; eukaryotic initiation factor 2 (eIF2); lysosomal-associated membrane protein 3 (LAMP3); lysosome; mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1); protein misfolding; transcription factor EB (TFEB); unfolded protein response (UPR)
  22. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2020 ;8 611938
      Maintenance of neuronal homeostasis is a challenging task, due to unique cellular organization and bioenergetic demands of post-mitotic neurons. It is increasingly appreciated that impairment of mitochondrial homeostasis represents an early sign of neuronal dysfunction that is common in both age-related neurodegenerative as well as in neurodevelopmental disorders. Mitochondrial selective autophagy, known as mitophagy, regulates mitochondrial number ensuring cellular adaptation in response to several intracellular and environmental stimuli. Mounting evidence underlines that deregulation of mitophagy levels has an instructive role in the process of neurodegeneration. Although mitophagy induction mediates the elimination of damaged mitochondria and confers neuroprotection, uncontrolled runaway mitophagy could reduce mitochondrial content overstressing the remaining organelles and eventually triggering neuronal cell death. Unveiling the molecular mechanisms of neuronal mitophagy and its intricate role in neuronal survival and cell death, will assist in the development of novel mitophagy modulators to promote cellular and organismal homeostasis in health and disease.
    Keywords:  aging; cell death; energy metabolism; homeostasis; mitochondria; mitophagy; neurodegeneration; neuroprotection
  23. Elife. 2021 Feb 05. pii: e63341. [Epub ahead of print]10
      Phosphates are ubiquitous molecules that enable critical intracellular biochemical reactions. Therefore, cells have elaborate responses to phosphate limitation. Our understanding of long-term transcriptional responses to phosphate limitation is extensive. Contrastingly, a systems-level perspective presenting unifying biochemical concepts to interpret how phosphate balance is critically coupled to (and controls) metabolic information flow is missing. To conceptualize such processes, utilizing yeast metabolic networks we categorize phosphates utilized in metabolism into cycles, sources and sinks. Through this, we identify metabolic reactions leading to putative phosphate sources or sinks. With this conceptualization, we illustrate how mass action driven flux towards sources and sinks enable cells to manage phosphate availability during transient/immediate phosphate limitations. We thereby identify how intracellular phosphate availability will predictably alter specific nodes in carbon metabolism, and determine signature cellular metabolic states. Finally, we identify a need to understand intracellular phosphate pools, in order to address mechanisms of phosphate regulation and restoration.
    Keywords:  ; carbon metabolism; computational biology; gene expression; mass action; metabolic flux; metabolic networks; phosphate; systems biology
  24. J Biol Chem. 2020 Jan 03. pii: S0021-9258(17)49552-4. [Epub ahead of print]295(1): 99-110
      Insulin action in adipose tissue is crucial for whole-body glucose homeostasis, with insulin resistance being a major risk factor for metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes. Recent studies have proposed mitochondrial oxidants as a unifying driver of adipose insulin resistance, serving as a signal of nutrient excess. However, neither the substrates for nor sites of oxidant production are known. Because insulin stimulates glucose utilization, we hypothesized that glucose oxidation would fuel respiration, in turn generating mitochondrial oxidants. This would impair insulin action, limiting further glucose uptake in a negative feedback loop of "glucose-dependent" insulin resistance. Using primary rat adipocytes and cultured 3T3-L1 adipocytes, we observed that insulin increased respiration, but notably this occurred independently of glucose supply. In contrast, glucose was required for insulin to increase mitochondrial oxidants. Despite rising to similar levels as when treated with other agents that cause insulin resistance, glucose-dependent mitochondrial oxidants failed to cause insulin resistance. Subsequent studies revealed a temporal relationship whereby mitochondrial oxidants needed to increase before the insulin stimulus to induce insulin resistance. Together, these data reveal that (a) adipocyte respiration is principally fueled from nonglucose sources; (b) there is a disconnect between respiration and oxidative stress, whereby mitochondrial oxidant levels do not rise with increased respiration unless glucose is present; and (c) mitochondrial oxidative stress must precede the insulin stimulus to cause insulin resistance, explaining why short-term, insulin-dependent glucose utilization does not promote insulin resistance. These data provide additional clues to mechanistically link nutrient excess to adipose insulin resistance.
    Keywords:  adipocyte; glucose; insulin; insulin resistance; mitochondria; oxidative stress; respiration
  25. Exp Dermatol. 2021 Feb 06.
      Human scalp hair follicles (HF) preferentially engage in glycolysis followed by lactate production in the presence of oxygen (i.e. the Warburg effect). Through the spatiotemporally controlled expression of key metabolic proteins, we hypothesise that the Warburg effect and other HF metabolic programmes are compartmentalised by region in order to regulate regional cell fate and phenotypes, such as epithelial stem cell quiescence in the bulge or keratinocyte proliferation in the hair matrix. We further propose that metabolic conditions in the HF are organised in accordance with the lactate shuttle, hypothesised to occur in other tissue systems and tumours, but never before described in the HF. Specifically, we argue that lactate, produced and exported by glycolytic GLUT1+ lower outer root sheath (ORS) keratinocytes. We further propose that lactate is then utilised symbiotically by neighbouring highly proliferative matrix keratinocytes to fuel oxidative metabolism via MCT1-mediated uptake. Furthermore, as lactate has been described to be immunomodulatory, its production and accumulation could enhance immune tolerance in the HF bulb. Here we delineate how to experimentally probe this hypothesis, define major open questions and present preliminary immunohistological evidence in support of metabolic compartmentalisation and lactate shuttling. Overall, we argue that basic and translational hair research needs to rediscover the importance of lactate in human HF biology, well beyond its recognised role in murine HF epithelial stem cells, and should explore how HF metabolism can be therapeutically targeted to modulate hair growth and the immunological HF microenvironment as a novel strategy for managing hair loss disorders.
    Keywords:  AMPK; GLUT1; LDHA; Lactate; MCT1
  26. J Cell Sci. 2021 Feb 03. pii: jcs.256255. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitophagy, the selective recycling of mitochondria through autophagy, is a crucial metabolic process induced by cellular stress, and defects are linked to aging, sarcopenia, and neurodegenerative diseases. To therapeutically target mitophagy, the fundamental in vivo dynamics and molecular mechanisms must be fully understood. Here, we generated mitophagy biosensor zebrafish lines expressing mitochondrially targeted, pH-sensitive, fluorescent probes mito-Keima and mito-EGFP-mCherry and used quantitative intravital imaging to illuminate mitophagy during physiological stresses-embryonic development, fasting and hypoxia. In fasted muscle, volumetric mitolysosome size analyses documented organelle stress-response dynamics, and time-lapse imaging revealed mitochondrial filaments undergo piecemeal fragmentation and recycling rather than the wholesale turnover observed in cultured cells. Hypoxia-inducible factor (Hif) pathway activation through physiological hypoxia or chemical or genetic modulation also provoked mitophagy. Intriguingly, mutation of a single mitophagy receptor bnip3 prevented this effect, whereas disruption of other putative hypoxia-associated mitophagy genes bnip3la (nix), fundc1, pink1 or prkn (Parkin) had no effect. This in vivo imaging study establishes fundamental dynamics of fasting-induced mitophagy and identifies bnip3 as the master regulator of Hif-induced mitophagy in vertebrate muscle.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Fasting; Hypoxia; Lysosome; Mitochondria
  27. J Biol Chem. 2020 Jan 03. pii: S0021-9258(17)49565-2. [Epub ahead of print]295(1): 263-274
      Mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) promotes cell growth and proliferation in response to nutrients and growth factors. Amino acids induce lysosomal translocation of mTORC1 via the Rag GTPases. Growth factors activate Ras homolog enriched in brain (Rheb), which in turn activates mTORC1 at the lysosome. Amino acids and growth factors also induce the phospholipase D (PLD)-phosphatidic acid (PA) pathway, required for mTORC1 signaling through mechanisms that are not fully understood. Here, using human and murine cell lines, along with immunofluorescence, confocal microscopy, endocytosis, PLD activity, and cell viability assays, we show that exogenously supplied PA vesicles deliver mTORC1 to the lysosome in the absence of amino acids, Rag GTPases, growth factors, and Rheb. Of note, pharmacological or genetic inhibition of endogenous PLD prevented mTORC1 lysosomal translocation. We observed that precancerous cells with constitutive Rheb activation through loss of tuberous sclerosis complex subunit 2 (TSC2) exploit the PLD-PA pathway and thereby sustain mTORC1 activation at the lysosome in the absence of amino acids. Our findings indicate that sequential inputs from amino acids and growth factors trigger PA production required for mTORC1 translocation and activation at the lysosome.
    Keywords:  amino acid; cancer biology; cancer therapy; growth factor; lysosome; mTOR complex (mTORC); phosphatidic acid; phospholipase D; phospholipid vesicle
  28. PLoS Pathog. 2021 Feb 02. 17(2): e1009303
      Metabolism is a crucial frontier of host-virus interaction as viruses rely on their host cells to provide nutrients and energy for propagation. Vaccinia virus (VACV) is the prototype poxvirus. It makes intensive demands for energy and macromolecules in order to build hundreds and thousands of viral particles in a single cell within hours of infection. Our comprehensive metabolic profiling reveals profound reprogramming of cellular metabolism by VACV infection, including increased levels of the intermediates of the tri-carboxylic acid (TCA) cycle independent of glutaminolysis. By investigating the level of citrate, the first metabolite of the TCA cycle, we demonstrate that the elevation of citrate depends on VACV-encoded viral growth factor (VGF), a viral homolog of cellular epidermal growth factor. Further, the upregulation of citrate is dependent on STAT3 signaling, which is activated non-canonically at the serine727 upon VACV infection. The STAT3 activation is dependent on VGF, and VGF-dependent EGFR and MAPK signaling. Together our study reveals a novel mechanism by which VACV manipulates cellular metabolism through a specific viral factor and by selectively activating a series of cellular signaling pathways.
  29. Biochim Biophys Acta Gen Subj. 2021 Feb 02. pii: S0304-4165(21)00017-9. [Epub ahead of print] 129858
      Mitochondria are dynamic organelles functioning in diverse reactions and processes such as energy metabolism, apoptosis, innate immunity, and aging, whose quality and quantity control is critical for cell homeostasis. Mitochondria-specific autophagy, termed mitophagy, is an evolutionarily conserved process that selectively degrades mitochondria via autophagy, thereby contributing to mitochondrial quality and quantity control. In the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the single-pass membrane protein Atg32 accumulates on the surface of mitochondria and recruit the autophagy machinery to initiate mitophagy. This catabolic process is elaborately regulated through transcriptional induction and post-translational modifications of Atg32. Notably, other factors acting in manifold pathways including protein N-terminal acetylation, phospholipid methylation, stress signaling, and endoplasmic reticulum-localized protein dephosphorylation and membrane protein insertion are also linked to mitophagy. Here we review recent discoveries of molecules regulating mitophagy in yeast.
    Keywords:  Atg32; Autophagy; Mitochondria; Mitophagy; Yeast
  30. Geroscience. 2021 Feb 01.
      As an ancient cellular co-factor ubiquitously present in all domains of life, nearly all iron-sulfur ([Fe-S]) clusters are assembled in the mitochondrion. Although multiple mitochondrion-derived signalings are known to be key players in longevity regulation, whether the mitochondrial [Fe-S] cluster assembly machinery modulates lifespan is previously unknown. Here, we find that ISCU-1, the C. elegans ortholog of the evolutionarily conserved iron-sulfur cluster (ISC) assembly machinery central protein ISCU, regulates longevity and stress response. Specifically, ISCU-1 accelerates aging in the intestine. Moreover, we identify the Nrf2 transcription factor SKN-1 and a nuclear hormone receptor NHR-49 as the downstream factors of ISCU-1. Lastly, a mitochondrial outer membrane protein phosphatase PGAM-5 appears to link ISCU-1 to SKN-1 and NHR-49 in lifespan regulation. Together, we have identified a novel function of mitochondrial ISC assembly machinery in longevity modulation and stress response.
    Keywords:  Aging; ISCU-1; Iron-sulfur clusters; Mitochondria; NHR-49; SKN-1
  31. FEBS Open Bio. 2021 Feb 06.
      Little is known about NEKs, a widely conserved family of kinases that have key roles in cell cycle progression. Nevertheless, it is now clear that multiple NEK family members act in networks, not only to regulate specific events of mitosis, but also regulate metabolic events independently of the cell cycle. NEK5 was shown to act in centrosome disjunction, Caspase-3 regulation, myogenesis, and mitochondrial respiration. Here, we demonstrate that NEK5 interacts with LonP1, an AAA+ mitochondrial protease implicated in protein quality control and mtDNA remodeling, within the mitochondria and it might be involved in the LonP1-TFAM signaling module. Moreover, we demonstrate that NEK5 kinase activity is required for maintaining mitochondrial mass and functionality and mtDNA integrity after oxidative damage. Taken together, these results show a new role of NEK5 in the regulation of mitochondrial homeostasis and mtDNA maintenance, possibly due to its interaction with key mitochondrial proteins, such as LonP1.
    Keywords:  LonP1; NEK kinases; NEK5; TFAM; mitochondria; mtDNA
  32. Nature. 2021 Feb 03.
      Tissue damage increases the risk of cancer through poorly understood mechanisms1. In mouse models of pancreatic cancer, pancreatitis associated with tissue injury collaborates with activating mutations in the Kras oncogene to markedly accelerate the formation of early neoplastic lesions and, ultimately, adenocarcinoma2,3. Here, by integrating genomics, single-cell chromatin assays and spatiotemporally controlled functional perturbations in autochthonous mouse models, we show that the combination of Kras mutation and tissue damage promotes a unique chromatin state in the pancreatic epithelium that distinguishes neoplastic transformation from normal regeneration and is selected for throughout malignant evolution. This cancer-associated epigenetic state emerges within 48 hours of pancreatic injury, and involves an 'acinar-to-neoplasia' chromatin switch that contributes to the early dysregulation of genes that define human pancreatic cancer. Among the factors that are most rapidly activated after tissue damage in the pre-malignant pancreatic epithelium is the alarmin cytokine interleukin 33, which recapitulates the effects of injury in cooperating with mutant Kras to unleash the epigenetic remodelling program of early neoplasia and neoplastic transformation. Collectively, our study demonstrates how gene-environment interactions can rapidly produce gene-regulatory programs that dictate early neoplastic commitment, and provides a molecular framework for understanding the interplay between genetic and environmental cues in the initiation of cancer.
  33. Cell Metab. 2021 Feb 02. pii: S1550-4131(21)00003-6. [Epub ahead of print]33(2): 334-349.e6
      Low-grade mitochondrial stress can promote health and longevity, a phenomenon termed mitohormesis. Here, we demonstrate the opposing metabolic effects of low-level and high-level mitochondrial ribosomal (mitoribosomal) stress in hypothalamic proopiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons. POMC neuron-specific severe mitoribosomal stress due to Crif1 homodeficiency causes obesity in mice. By contrast, mild mitoribosomal stress caused by Crif1 heterodeficiency in POMC neurons leads to high-turnover metabolism and resistance to obesity. These metabolic benefits are mediated by enhanced thermogenesis and mitochondrial unfolded protein responses (UPRmt) in distal adipose tissues. In POMC neurons, partial Crif1 deficiency increases the expression of β-endorphin (β-END) and mitochondrial DNA-encoded peptide MOTS-c. Central administration of MOTS-c or β-END recapitulates the adipose phenotype of Crif1 heterodeficient mice, suggesting these factors as potential mediators. Consistently, regular running exercise at moderate intensity stimulates hypothalamic MOTS-c/β-END expression and induces adipose tissue UPRmt and thermogenesis. Our findings indicate that POMC neuronal mitohormesis may underlie exercise-induced high-turnover metabolism.
    Keywords:  adipose; exercise; hypothalamus; metabolism; mitochondria; obesity; proopiomelanocortin; ribosome; stress; thermogenesis
  34. Nat Commun. 2021 Feb 05. 12(1): 808
      Sarcomatoid and rhabdoid (S/R) renal cell carcinoma (RCC) are highly aggressive tumors with limited molecular and clinical characterization. Emerging evidence suggests immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI) are particularly effective for these tumors, although the biological basis for this property is largely unknown. Here, we evaluate multiple clinical trial and real-world cohorts of S/R RCC to characterize their molecular features, clinical outcomes, and immunologic characteristics. We find that S/R RCC tumors harbor distinctive molecular features that may account for their aggressive behavior, including BAP1 mutations, CDKN2A deletions, and increased expression of MYC transcriptional programs. We show that these tumors are highly responsive to ICI and that they exhibit an immune-inflamed phenotype characterized by immune activation, increased cytotoxic immune infiltration, upregulation of antigen presentation machinery genes, and PD-L1 expression. Our findings build on prior work and shed light on the molecular drivers of aggressivity and responsiveness to ICI of S/R RCC.
  35. J Biol Chem. 2020 Apr 24. pii: S0021-9258(17)50290-2. [Epub ahead of print]295(17): 5588-5601
      Accumulating evidence suggests that brown adipose tissue (BAT) is a potential therapeutic target for managing obesity and related diseases. PGAM family member 5, mitochondrial serine/threonine protein phosphatase (PGAM5), is a protein phosphatase that resides in the mitochondria and regulates many biological processes, including cell death, mitophagy, and immune responses. Because BAT is a mitochondria-rich tissue, we have hypothesized that PGAM5 has a physiological function in BAT. We previously reported that PGAM5-knockout (KO) mice are resistant to severe metabolic stress. Importantly, lipid accumulation is suppressed in PGAM5-KO BAT, even under unstressed conditions, raising the possibility that PGAM5 deficiency stimulates lipid consumption. However, the mechanism underlying this observation is undetermined. Here, using an array of biochemical approaches, including quantitative RT-PCR, immunoblotting, and oxygen consumption assays, we show that PGAM5 negatively regulates energy expenditure in brown adipocytes. We found that PGAM5-KO brown adipocytes have an enhanced oxygen consumption rate and increased expression of uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1), a protein that increases energy consumption in the mitochondria. Mechanistically, we found that PGAM5 phosphatase activity and intramembrane cleavage are required for suppression of UCP1 activity. Furthermore, utilizing a genome-wide siRNA screen in HeLa cells to search for regulators of PGAM5 cleavage, we identified a set of candidate genes, including phosphatidylserine decarboxylase (PISD), which catalyzes the formation of phosphatidylethanolamine at the mitochondrial membrane. Taken together, these results indicate that PGAM5 suppresses mitochondrial energy expenditure by down-regulating UCP1 expression in brown adipocytes and that its phosphatase activity and intramembrane cleavage are required for UCP1 suppression.
    Keywords:  PGAM family member 5 mitochondrial serine/threonine protein phosphatase (PGAM5); adipocyte; brown adipocyte; brown adipose tissue; energy metabolism; intramembrane proteolysis; lipid metabolism; mitochondria; mitochondrial homeostasis; obesity; phosphatidylserine decarboxylase (PISD); protein phosphatase; uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1)
  36. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2020 ;8 608026
      Mitochondrial dysfunction is a hallmark of Parkinson's disease (PD). Astrocytes are the most abundant glial cell type in the brain and are thought to play a pivotal role in the progression of PD. Emerging evidence suggests that many astrocytic functions, including glutamate metabolism, Ca2+ signaling, fatty acid metabolism, antioxidant production, and inflammation are dependent on healthy mitochondria. Here, we review how mitochondrial dysfunction impacts astrocytes, highlighting translational gaps and opening new questions for therapeutic development.
    Keywords:  NLRP3; PINK1/Parkin pathway; Parkinson’s disease; astrocyte; cGAS/STING pathway; inflammation; mitochondria
  37. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2021 Feb 05.
      Mitochondrial quality control depends upon selective elimination of damaged mitochondria, replacement by mitochondrial biogenesis, redistribution of mitochondrial components across the network by fusion, and segregation of damaged mitochondria by fission prior to mitophagy. In this review, we focus on mitochondrial dynamics (fusion/fission), mitophagy, and other mechanisms supporting mitochondrial quality control including maintenance of mtDNA and the mitochondrial unfolded protein response, particularly in the context of the heart.
    Keywords:  Cardiac; Fission; Fusion; Mitochondria; Mitophagy
  38. Sci Adv. 2021 Jan;pii: eabe1174. [Epub ahead of print]7(4):
      Immune regulatory metabolites are key features of the tumor microenvironment (TME), yet with a few exceptions, their identities remain largely unknown. Here, we profiled tumor and T cells from tumor and ascites of patients with high-grade serous carcinoma (HGSC) to uncover the metabolomes of these distinct TME compartments. Cells within the ascites and tumor had pervasive metabolite differences, with a notable enrichment in 1-methylnicotinamide (MNA) in T cells infiltrating the tumor compared with ascites. Despite the elevated levels of MNA in T cells, the expression of nicotinamide N-methyltransferase, the enzyme that catalyzes the transfer of a methyl group from S-adenosylmethionine to nicotinamide, was restricted to fibroblasts and tumor cells. Functionally, MNA induces T cells to secrete the tumor-promoting cytokine tumor necrosis factor alpha. Thus, TME-derived MNA contributes to the immune modulation of T cells and represents a potential immunotherapy target to treat human cancer.
  39. Cell Stem Cell. 2021 Feb 04. pii: S1934-5909(21)00008-4. [Epub ahead of print]28(2): 175-176
      In this issue of Cell Stem Cell, De Belly et al. (2021) and Bergert et al. (2021) reveal that membrane tension regulates the pluripotent state via endocytosis-mediated ERK signaling. These findings advance our understanding of naive pluripotency and highlight how cell mechanics are intertwined with molecular signaling to drive cell fate decisions.
  40. J Biol Chem. 2020 May 22. pii: S0021-9258(17)50276-8. [Epub ahead of print]295(21): 7452-7469
      Mitochondrial dysfunction underlies many heritable diseases, acquired pathologies, and aging-related declines in health. Szeto-Schiller (SS) peptides comprise a class of amphipathic tetrapeptides that are efficacious toward a wide array of mitochondrial disorders and are believed to target mitochondrial membranes because they are enriched in the anionic phospholipid cardiolipin (CL). However, little is known regarding how SS peptides interact with or alter the physical properties of lipid bilayers. In this study, using biophysical and computational approaches, we have analyzed the interactions of the lead compound SS-31 (elamipretide) with model and mitochondrial membranes. Our results show that this polybasic peptide partitions into the membrane interfacial region with an affinity and a lipid binding density that are directly related to surface charge. We found that SS-31 binding does not destabilize lamellar bilayers even at the highest binding concentrations; however, it did cause saturable alterations in lipid packing. Most notably, SS-31 modulated the surface electrostatics of both model and mitochondrial membranes. We propose nonexclusive mechanisms by which the tuning of surface charge could underpin the mitoprotective properties of SS-31, including alteration of the distribution of ions and basic proteins at the interface, and/or modulation of bilayer physical properties. As a proof of concept, we show that SS-31 alters divalent cation (calcium) distribution within the interfacial region and reduces the energetic burden of calcium stress in mitochondria. The mechanistic details of SS-31 revealed in this study will help inform the development of future compound variants with enhanced efficacy and bioavailability.
    Keywords:  SS-31; Szeto-Schiller peptide; bioenergetics; cardiolipin; drug action; elamipretide; electrostatics; inner membrane; lipid structure; membrane biophysics; mitochondria; peptide therapeutic; peptides
  41. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Feb 03. pii: 1534. [Epub ahead of print]22(4):
      Cell metabolism is reprogrammed in cancer cells to meet their high bioenergetics and biosynthetic demands. This metabolic reprogramming is accompanied by alterations in redox metabolism, characterized by accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Elevated production of ROS, mostly by mitochondrial respiration, is counteracted by higher production of antioxidant defenses (mainly glutathione and antioxidant enzymes). Cancer cells are adapted to a high concentration of ROS, which contributes to tumorigenesis, metastasis formation, resistance to therapy and relapse. Frequent genetic alterations observed in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) affect KRAS and p53 proteins, which have a role in ROS production and control, respectively. These observations led to the proposal of the use of antioxidants to prevent PDAC development and relapse. In this review, we focus on the therapeutic strategies to further increase ROS level to induce PDAC cell death. Combining the promotion of ROS production and inhibition of antioxidant capacity is a promising avenue for pancreatic cancer therapy in the clinic.
    Keywords:  ROS; cancer metabolism; cancer therapeutic strategy; mitochondria; mitochondrial metabolism; oxidative stress; pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma; redox metabolism
  42. Science. 2021 Feb 04. pii: eabc5386. [Epub ahead of print]
      The cyclic GMP-AMP synthase (cGAS) detects microbial and self-DNA in the cytosol to activate immune and inflammatory programs. cGAS also associates with chromatin especially after nuclear envelope breakdown when cells enter mitosis. How cGAS is regulated during cell cycle transition is not clear. Here we found direct biochemical evidence that cGAS activity was selectively suppressed during mitosis, and uncovered two parallel mechanisms underlying this suppression. First, cGAS was hyperphosphorylated at the N terminus by mitotic kinases, including Aurora kinase B. The N terminus of cGAS was critical for sensing nuclear chromatin, but not mitochondrial DNA. Chromatin sensing was blocked by hyperphosphorylation. Secondly, oligomerization of chromatin-bound cGAS, which is required for its activation,was prevented. Together, these mechanisms ensure that cGAS is inactive when associated with chromatin during mitosis, which may help to prevent autoimmune reaction.
  43. Genes Dev. 2021 Feb 01. 35(3-4): 199-211
      Stem cells maintain tissues by balancing self-renewal with differentiation. A stem cell's local microenvironment, or niche, informs stem cell behavior and receives inputs at multiple levels. Increasingly, it is becoming clear that the overall metabolic status of an organism or metabolites themselves can function as integral members of the niche to alter stem cell fate. Macroscopic dietary interventions such as caloric restriction, the ketogenic diet, and a high-fat diet systemically alter an organism's metabolic state in different ways. Intriguingly, however, they all converge on a propensity to enhance self-renewal. Here, we highlight our current knowledge on how dietary changes feed into stem cell behavior across a wide variety of tissues and illuminate possible explanations for why diverse interventions can result in similar stem cell phenotypes. In so doing, we hope to inspire new avenues of inquiry into the importance of metabolism in stem cell homeostasis and disease.
    Keywords:  caloric restriction; cell fate; cellular metabolism; fasting; high-fat diet; ketogenic diet; organismal metabolism; self-renewal; stem cells
  44. Trends Cell Biol. 2021 Jan 28. pii: S0962-8924(21)00001-5. [Epub ahead of print]
      The TP53 tumor suppressor is the most frequently mutated gene in human cancer. p53 suppresses tumorigenesis by transcriptionally regulating a network of target genes that play roles in various cellular processes. Though originally characterized as a critical regulator for responses to acute DNA damage (activation of apoptosis and cell cycle arrest), recent studies have highlighted new pathways and transcriptional targets downstream of p53 regulating genomic integrity, metabolism, redox biology, stemness, and non-cell autonomous signaling in tumor suppression. Here, we summarize our current understanding of p53-mediated tumor suppression, situating recent findings from mouse models and unbiased screens in the context of previous studies and arguing for the importance of the pleiotropic effects of the p53 transcriptional network in inhibiting cancer.
    Keywords:  cancer; mouse models; network; p53; transcription factor; tumor suppression
  45. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2020 ;8 620788
      Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common malignant brain cancer. Increasing evidence suggests that mitochondrial dysfunction plays a key role in GBM progression as mitochondria is essential in regulating cell metabolism, oxidative stress, and cell death. Meanwhile, the immune microenvironment in GBM is predominated by tumor-associated macrophages and microglia (TAM), which is a heterogenous population of myeloid cells that, in general, create an immunosuppressive milieu to support tumor growth. However, subsets of TAMs can be pro-inflammatory and thereby antitumor. Therapeutic strategies targeting TAMs are increasingly explored as novel treatment strategies for GBM. The connection between mitochondrial dysfunction and TAMs phenotype in the tumor microenvironment is unclear. This review aims to provide perspectives and discuss possible molecular mechanisms mediating the interplay between glioma mitochondrial dysfunction and TAMs phenotype in shaping tumor immune microenvironment.
    Keywords:  brain cancer; inflammatory response; mitochondrial DNA; mitochondrial dysfunction; tumor associated macrophages and microglia
  46. Nat Cancer. 2020 Apr;1 423-436
      The natural history of small cell lung cancer (SCLC) includes rapid evolution from chemosensitivity to chemoresistance, although mechanisms underlying this evolution remain obscure due to scarcity of post-relapse tissue samples. We generated circulating tumor cell (CTC)-derived xenografts (CDXs) from SCLC patients to study intratumoral heterogeneity (ITH) via single-cell RNAseq of chemo-sensitive and -resistant CDXs and patient CTCs. We found globally increased ITH including heterogeneous expression of therapeutic targets and potential resistance pathways, such as EMT, between cellular subpopulations following treatment-resistance. Similarly, serial profiling of patient CTCs directly from blood confirmed increased ITH post-relapse. These data suggest that treatment-resistance in SCLC is characterized by coexisting subpopulations of cells with heterogeneous gene expression leading to multiple, concurrent resistance mechanisms. These findings emphasize the need for clinical efforts to focus on rational combination therapies for treatment-naïve SCLC tumors to maximize initial responses and counteract the emergence of ITH and diverse resistance mechanisms.
    Keywords:  CDX; CTC; SCLC; intratumoral heterogeneity; single-cell RNAseq
  47. Cells. 2021 Feb 02. pii: 303. [Epub ahead of print]10(2):
      New insights into the field of iron metabolism within the tumor microenvironment have been uncovered in recent years. Iron promotes the production of reactive oxygen species, which may either trigger ferroptosis cell death or contribute to malignant transformation. Once transformed, cancer cells divert tumor-infiltrating immune cells to satisfy their iron demand, thus affecting the tumor immunosurveillance. In this review, we highlight how the bioavailability of this metal shapes complex metabolic pathways within the tumor microenvironment and how this affects both tumor-associated macrophages and tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes functions. Furthermore, we discuss the potentials as well as the current clinical controversies surrounding the use of iron metabolism as a target for new anticancer treatments in two opposed conditions: i) the "hot" tumors, which are usually enriched in immune cells infiltration and are extremely rich in iron availability within the microenvironment, and ii) the "cold" tumors, which are often very poor in immune cells, mainly due to immune exclusion.
    Keywords:  adaptive immune response tumor microenvironment; cancer; ferroptosis; innate immune response; iron metabolism
  48. Trends Cell Biol. 2021 Feb 02. pii: S0962-8924(21)00008-8. [Epub ahead of print]
      After having been disregarded for a long time as inert fat drops, lipid droplets (LDs) are now recognized as ubiquitous cellular organelles with key functions in lipid biology and beyond. The identification of abundant LD contact sites, places at which LDs are physically attached to other organelles, has uncovered an unexpected level of communication between LDs and the rest of the cell. In recent years, many disease factors mutated in hereditary disorders have been recognized as LD contact site proteins. Furthermore, LD contact sites are dramatically rearranged in response to infections with intracellular pathogens, as well as under pathological metabolic conditions such as hepatic steatosis. Collectively, it is emerging that LD-organelle contacts are important players in development and progression of disease.
    Keywords:  BSCL2; CIDE; NAFLD; Rab18; VPS13; viral replication organelle