bims-camemi Biomed News
on Mitochondrial metabolism in cancer
Issue of 2021‒02‒28
thirty-five papers selected by
Christian Frezza
University of Cambridge, MRC Cancer Unit

  1. Cell Metab. 2021 Feb 17. pii: S1550-4131(21)00057-7. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitochondrial respiration is critical for cell proliferation. In addition to producing ATP, respiration generates biosynthetic precursors, such as aspartate, an essential substrate for nucleotide synthesis. Here, we show that in addition to depleting intracellular aspartate, electron transport chain (ETC) inhibition depletes aspartate-derived asparagine, increases ATF4 levels, and impairs mTOR complex I (mTORC1) activity. Exogenous asparagine restores proliferation, ATF4 and mTORC1 activities, and mTORC1-dependent nucleotide synthesis in the context of ETC inhibition, suggesting that asparagine communicates active respiration to ATF4 and mTORC1. Finally, we show that combination of the ETC inhibitor metformin, which limits tumor asparagine synthesis, and either asparaginase or dietary asparagine restriction, which limit tumor asparagine consumption, effectively impairs tumor growth in multiple mouse models of cancer. Because environmental asparagine is sufficient to restore tumor growth in the context of respiration impairment, our findings suggest that asparagine synthesis is a fundamental purpose of tumor mitochondrial respiration, which can be harnessed for therapeutic benefit to cancer patients.
    Keywords:  asparaginase; asparagine; cancer metabolism; cancer treatment; dietary restriction; metformin; respiration
  2. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2021 Feb 23.
      Preservation of mitochondrial quality is paramount for cellular homeostasis. The integrity of mitochondria is guarded by the balanced interplay between anabolic and catabolic mechanisms. The removal of bio-energetically flawed mitochondria is mediated by the process of mitophagy; the impairment of which leads to the accumulation of defective mitochondria which signal the activation of compensatory mechanisms to the nucleus. This process is known as the mitochondrial retrograde response (MRR) and is enacted by Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), Calcium (Ca2+), ATP, as well as imbalanced lipid and proteostasis. Central to this mitochondria-to-nucleus signalling are the transcription factors (e.g. the nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells, NF-κB) which drive the expression of genes to adapt the cell to the compromised homeostasis. An increased degree of cellular proliferation is among the consequences of the MRR and as such, engagement of mitochondrial-nuclear communication is frequently observed in cancer. Mitophagy and the MRR are therefore interlinked processes framed to, respectively, prevent or compensate for mitochondrial defects.In this review, we discuss the available knowledge on the interdependency of these processes and their contribution to cell signalling in cancer.
    Keywords:  Cell signalling and Cancer; Mitochondrial retrograde response; Mitophagy
  3. Nat Metab. 2021 Feb;3(2): 182-195
      Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) remains among the most aggressive human cancers. Tumour progression and aggressiveness in SCC are largely driven by tumour-propagating cells (TPCs). Aerobic glycolysis, also known as the Warburg effect, is a characteristic of many cancers; however, whether this adaptation is functionally important in SCC, and at which stage, remains poorly understood. Here, we show that the NAD+-dependent histone deacetylase sirtuin 6 is a robust tumour suppressor in SCC, acting as a modulator of glycolysis in these tumours. Remarkably, rather than a late adaptation, we find enhanced glycolysis specifically in TPCs. More importantly, using single-cell RNA sequencing of TPCs, we identify a subset of TPCs with higher glycolysis and enhanced pentose phosphate pathway and glutathione metabolism, characteristics that are strongly associated with a better antioxidant response. Together, our studies uncover enhanced glycolysis as a main driver in SCC, and, more importantly, identify a subset of TPCs as the cell of origin for the Warburg effect, defining metabolism as a key feature of intra-tumour heterogeneity.
  4. Front Oncol. 2020 ;10 631592
      Rapid proliferation of cancer cells is enabled by favoring aerobic glycolysis over mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS). P32 (C1QBP/gC1qR) is essential for mitochondrial protein translation and thus indispensable for OXPHOS activity. It is ubiquitously expressed and directed to the mitochondrial matrix in almost all cell types with an excessive up-regulation of p32 expression reported for tumor tissues. We recently demonstrated high levels of non-mitochondrial p32 to be associated with high-grade colorectal carcinoma. Mutations in human p32 are likely to disrupt proper mitochondrial function giving rise to various diseases including cancer. Hence, we aimed to investigate the impact of the most common single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs56014026 in the coding sequence of p32 on tumor cell metabolism. In silico homology modeling of the resulting p.Thr130Met mutated p32 revealed that the single amino acid substitution potentially induces a strong conformational change in the protein, mainly affecting the mitochondrial targeting sequence (MTS). In vitro experiments confirmed an impaired mitochondrial import of mutated p32-T130M, resulting in reduced OXPHOS activity and a shift towards a low metabolic phenotype. Overexpression of p32-T130M maintained terminal differentiation of a goblet cell-like colorectal cancer cell line compared to p32-wt without affecting cell proliferation. Sanger sequencing of tumor samples from 128 CRC patients identified the heterozygous SNP rs56014026 in two well-differentiated, low proliferating adenocarcinomas, supporting our in vitro data. Together, the SNP rs56014026 reduces metabolic activity and proliferation while promoting differentiation in tumor cells.
    Keywords:  C1QBP; OXPHOS; colorectal cancer; metabolism; mitochondria; p32; single nucleotide polymorphism
  5. Nat Commun. 2021 02 22. 12(1): 1209
      Fructose intake has increased substantially throughout the developed world and is associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Currently, our understanding of the metabolic and mechanistic implications for immune cells, such as monocytes and macrophages, exposed to elevated levels of dietary fructose is limited. Here, we show that fructose reprograms cellular metabolic pathways to favour glutaminolysis and oxidative metabolism, which are required to support increased inflammatory cytokine production in both LPS-treated human monocytes and mouse macrophages. A fructose-dependent increase in mTORC1 activity drives translation of pro-inflammatory cytokines in response to LPS. LPS-stimulated monocytes treated with fructose rely heavily on oxidative metabolism and have reduced flexibility in response to both glycolytic and mitochondrial inhibition, suggesting glycolysis and oxidative metabolism are inextricably coupled in these cells. The physiological implications of fructose exposure are demonstrated in a model of LPS-induced systemic inflammation, with mice exposed to fructose having increased levels of circulating IL-1β after LPS challenge. Taken together, our work underpins a pro-inflammatory role for dietary fructose in LPS-stimulated mononuclear phagocytes which occurs at the expense of metabolic flexibility.
  6. Plant Physiol. 2021 Feb 24. pii: kiab101. [Epub ahead of print]
      Plant mitochondria are indispensable for plant metabolism and are tightly integrated into cellular homeostasis. This review provides an update on the latest research concerning the organisation and operation of plant mitochondrial redox systems, and how they affect cellular metabolism and signalling, plant development and stress responses. New insights into the organisation and operation of mitochondrial energy systems such as the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle and mitochondrial electron chain (mtETC) are discussed. The mtETC produces reactive oxygen and nitrogen species, which can act as signals or lead to cellular damage, and are thus efficiently removed by mitochondrial antioxidant systems, including Mn-superoxide dismutase, ascorbate-glutathione cycle and thioredoxin-dependent peroxidases. Plant mitochondria are tightly connected with photosynthesis, photorespiration and cytosolic metabolism, thereby providing redox-balancing. Mitochondrial proteins are targets of extensive post-translational modifications, but their functional significance and how they are added or removed remains unclear. To operate in sync with the whole cell, mitochondria can communicate their functional status via mitochondrial retrograde signalling to change nuclear gene expression, and several recent breakthroughs here are discussed. At a whole organism level, plant mitochondria thus play crucial roles from the first minutes after seed imbibition, supporting meristem activity, growth and fertility, until senescence of darkened and aged tissue. Finally, plant mitochondria are tightly integrated with cellular and organismal responses to environmental challenges such as drought, salinity, heat and submergence, but also threats posed by pathogens. Both the major recent advances and outstanding questions are reviewed, which may help future research efforts on plant mitochondria.
    Keywords:  Mitochondria; electron transport chain; hypoxia; post-translational modifications; reactive oxygen species; redox systems; retrograde response; signalling; stress response
  7. Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2021 Feb 18. pii: S1357-2725(21)00035-2. [Epub ahead of print] 105951
      Mitochondria are highly dynamic organelles, which undergo frequent structural and metabolic changes to fulfil cellular demands. To facilitate these processes several proteins are required to regulate mitochondrial shape and interorganellar communication. These proteins include the classical mitochondrial fusion (MFN1, MFN2, and OPA1) and fission proteins (DRP1, MFF, FIS1 etc.) as well as several other proteins that are directly or indirectly involved in these processes (e.g. YME1L, OMA1, INF2, GDAP1, MIC13, etc.). During the last two decades, inherited genetic defects in mitochondrial fusion and fission proteins have emerged as an important class of neurodegenerative human disease with variable onset ranging from infancy to adulthood. So far, no causal treatment strategies are available for these disorders. In this review, we provide an overview about the current knowledge on mitochondrial dynamics under physiological conditions. Moreover, we describe human diseases, which are associated with genetic defects in these pathways.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer’s disease; OXPHOS; Parkinson’s disease; cristae; mitochondrial dynamics; mitochondriopathy
  8. Nat Metab. 2021 Feb;3(2): 196-210
      Ketone bodies are generated in the liver and allow for the maintenance of systemic caloric and energy homeostasis during fasting and caloric restriction. It has previously been demonstrated that neonatal ketogenesis is activated independently of starvation. However, the role of ketogenesis during the perinatal period remains unclear. Here, we show that neonatal ketogenesis plays a protective role in mitochondrial function. We generated a mouse model of insufficient ketogenesis by disrupting the rate-limiting hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA synthase 2 enzyme gene (Hmgcs2). Hmgcs2 knockout (KO) neonates develop microvesicular steatosis within a few days of birth. Electron microscopic analysis and metabolite profiling indicate a restricted energy production capacity and accumulation of acetyl-CoA in Hmgcs2 KO mice. Furthermore, acetylome analysis of Hmgcs2 KO cells revealed enhanced acetylation of mitochondrial proteins. These findings suggest that neonatal ketogenesis protects the energy-producing capacity of mitochondria by preventing the hyperacetylation of mitochondrial proteins.
  9. J Cell Biol. 2021 May 03. pii: e202004010. [Epub ahead of print]220(5):
      The mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) integrates mitogenic and stress signals to control growth and metabolism. Activation of mTORC1 by amino acids and growth factors involves recruitment of the complex to the lysosomal membrane and is further supported by lysosome distribution to the cell periphery. Here, we show that translocation of lysosomes toward the cell periphery brings mTORC1 into proximity with focal adhesions (FAs). We demonstrate that FAs constitute discrete plasma membrane hubs mediating growth factor signaling and amino acid input into the cell. FAs, as well as the translocation of lysosome-bound mTORC1 to their vicinity, contribute to both peripheral and intracellular mTORC1 activity. Conversely, lysosomal distribution to the cell periphery is dispensable for the activation of mTORC1 constitutively targeted to FAs. This study advances our understanding of spatial mTORC1 regulation by demonstrating that the localization of mTORC1 to FAs is both necessary and sufficient for its activation by growth-promoting stimuli.
  10. Biochem J. 2021 Feb 26. 478(4): 765-776
      Oxidation of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) is tightly regulated in mammals. We review here the distribution and regulation of whole-body BCAA oxidation. Phosphorylation and dephosphorylation of the rate-limiting enzyme, branched-chain α-ketoacid dehydrogenase complex directly regulates BCAA oxidation, and various other indirect mechanisms of regulation also exist. Most tissues throughout the body are capable of BCAA oxidation, and the flux of oxidative BCAA disposal in each tissue is influenced by three key factors: 1. tissue-specific preference for BCAA oxidation relative to other fuels, 2. the overall oxidative activity of mitochondria within a tissue, and 3. total tissue mass. Perturbations in BCAA oxidation have been implicated in many disease contexts, underscoring the importance of BCAA homeostasis in overall health.
    Keywords:  branched chain amino acids; isoleucine; leucine; organismal metabolism; valine
  11. Nature. 2021 Feb 24.
      Mitochondrial DNA double-strand breaks (mtDSBs) are toxic lesions that compromise the integrity of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and alter mitochondrial function1. Communication between mitochondria and the nucleus is essential to maintain cellular homeostasis; however, the nuclear response to mtDSBs remains unknown2. Here, using mitochondrial-targeted transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs)1,3,4, we show that mtDSBs activate a type-I interferon response that involves the phosphorylation of STAT1 and activation of interferon-stimulated genes. After the formation of breaks in the mtDNA, herniation5 mediated by BAX and BAK releases mitochondrial RNA into the cytoplasm and triggers a RIG-I-MAVS-dependent immune response. We further investigated the effect of mtDSBs on interferon signalling after treatment with ionizing radiation and found a reduction in the activation of interferon-stimulated genes when cells that lack mtDNA are exposed to gamma irradiation. We also show that mtDNA breaks synergize with nuclear DNA damage to mount a robust cellular immune response. Taken together, we conclude that cytoplasmic accumulation of mitochondrial RNA is an intrinsic immune surveillance mechanism for cells to cope with mtDSBs, including breaks produced by genotoxic agents.
  12. EMBO J. 2021 Feb 23. e107165
      Mitochondria contain an autonomous and spatially segregated genome. The organizational unit of their genome is the nucleoid, which consists of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and associated architectural proteins. Here, we show that phase separation is the primary physical mechanism for assembly and size control of the mitochondrial nucleoid (mt-nucleoid). The major mtDNA-binding protein TFAM spontaneously phase separates in vitro via weak, multivalent interactions into droplets with slow internal dynamics. TFAM and mtDNA form heterogenous, viscoelastic structures in vitro, which recapitulate the dynamics and behavior of mt-nucleoids in vivo. Mt-nucleoids coalesce into larger droplets in response to various forms of cellular stress, as evidenced by the enlarged and transcriptionally active nucleoids in mitochondria from patients with the premature aging disorder Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome (HGPS). Our results point to phase separation as an evolutionarily conserved mechanism of genome organization.
    Keywords:  TFAM; biomolecular condensate; genome organization; mitochondrial genome; phase separation
  13. Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2021 Feb 17. pii: S1357-2725(21)00033-9. [Epub ahead of print] 105949
      Phaeochromocytomas and paragangliomas are rare neuroendocrine tumours. So far, over 20 causative genes have been identified, of which the most frequent and strongest indicator for malignancies are mutations in succinate dehydrogenase subunit B. No curative therapy is available for patients with metastases resulting in poor prognosis. Therapy development has been hindered by lack of suitable model systems. The succinate dehydrogenase complex is located in the inner membrane of the mitochondria and plays a crucial role in the oxidative phosphorylation chain and the tricarboxylic acid-cycle. Succinate dehydrogenase deficiency results in accumulation of the oncometabolite succinate inducing hypoxia inducible factor stabilization, deoxyribonucleic acid and histone methylation inhibition, and impaired production of adenosine triphosphate. It remains unknown which combination of pathways and/or triggers are decisive for metastases development. In this review, the role of mitochondria in malignant succinate dehydrogenase subunit B-associated phaeochromocytomas and paragangliomas and implications for mitochondria as therapeutic target are discussed.
    Keywords:  Paraganglioma; Phaeochromocytoma; mitochondria; succinate dehydrogenase; therapeutic target
  14. Nature. 2021 Feb 24.
      The behaviour of Dictyostelium discoideum depends on nutrients1. When sufficient food is present these amoebae exist in a unicellular state, but upon starvation they aggregate into a multicellular organism2,3. This biology makes D. discoideum an ideal model for investigating how fundamental metabolism commands cell differentiation and function. Here we show that reactive oxygen species-generated as a consequence of nutrient limitation-lead to the sequestration of cysteine in the antioxidant glutathione. This sequestration limits the use of the sulfur atom of cysteine in processes that contribute to mitochondrial metabolism and cellular proliferation, such as protein translation and the activity of enzymes that contain an iron-sulfur cluster. The regulated sequestration of sulfur maintains D. discoideum in a nonproliferating state that paves the way for multicellular development. This mechanism of signalling through reactive oxygen species highlights oxygen and sulfur as simple signalling molecules that dictate cell fate in an early eukaryote, with implications for responses to nutrient fluctuations in multicellular eukaryotes.
  15. Chem Commun (Camb). 2021 Feb 26.
      Tetraphenylborate (TPB) anions traverse membranes but are excluded from mitochondria by the membrane potential (Δψ). TPB-conjugates also distributed across membranes in response to Δψ, but surprisingly, they rapidly entered cells. They accumulated within lysosomes following endocystosis. This pH-independent targeting of lysosomes makes possible new classes of probe and bioactive molecules.
  16. Nat Commun. 2021 02 23. 12(1): 1252
      Upon starvation, cells rewire their metabolism, switching from glucose-based metabolism to mitochondrial oxidation of fatty acids, which require the transfer of FAs from lipid droplets (LDs) to mitochondria at mitochondria-LD membrane contact sites (MCSs). However, factors responsible for FA transfer at these MCSs remain uncharacterized. Here, we demonstrate that vacuolar protein sorting-associated protein 13D (VPS13D), loss-of-function mutations of which cause spastic ataxia, coordinates FA trafficking in conjunction with the endosomal sorting complex required for transport (ESCRT) protein tumor susceptibility 101 (TSG101). The VPS13 adaptor-binding domain of VPS13D and TSG101 directly remodels LD membranes in a cooperative manner. The lipid transfer domain of human VPS13D binds glycerophospholipids and FAs in vitro. Depletion of VPS13D, TSG101, or ESCRT-III proteins inhibits FA trafficking from LDs to mitochondria. Our findings suggest that VPS13D mediates the ESCRT-dependent remodeling of LD membranes to facilitate FA transfer at mitochondria-LD contacts.
  17. Plant Physiol. 2021 Feb 22. pii: kiab074. [Epub ahead of print]
      ATP is generated in mitochondria by oxidative phosphorylation. Complex I (NADH:ubiquinone oxidoreductase or NADH dehydrogenase) is the first multisubunit protein complex of this pathway, oxidising NADH and transferring electrons to the ubiquinone pool. Typically Complex I mutants display a slow growth rate compared to wild-type plants. Here, using a forward genetic screen approach for restored growth of a Complex I mutant, we have identified the mitochondrial ATP dependent metalloprotease, Filamentous Temperature Sensitive H 3 (FTSH3), as a factor that is required for the disassembly of Complex I. An ethyl methanesulfonate-induced mutation in FTSH3, named rmb1 (restoration of mitochondrial biogenesis 1), restored Complex I abundance and plant growth. Complementation could be achieved with FTSH3 lacking proteolytic activity, suggesting the unfoldase function of FTSH3 has a role in Complex I disassembly. The introduction of the rmb1 to an additional, independent, and extensively characterised Complex I mutant, ndufs4, resulted in similar increases to Complex I abundance and a partial restoration of growth. These results show that disassembly or degradation of Complex I plays a role in determining its steady-state abundance and thus turnover may vary under different conditions.
  18. Aging Cell. 2021 Feb 24. e13321
      One of the hallmarks of aging is an accumulation of cells with defects in oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) due to mutations of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Rapidly dividing tissues maintained by stem cells, such as the colonic epithelium, are particularly susceptible to accumulation of OXPHOS defects over time; however, the effects on the stem cells are unknown. We have crossed a mouse model in which intestinal stem cells are labelled with EGFP (Lgr5-EGFP-IRES-creERT2) with a model of accelerated mtDNA mutagenesis (PolgAmut/mut ) to investigate the effect of OXPHOS dysfunction on colonic stem cell proliferation. We show that a reduction in complex I protein levels is associated with an increased rate of stem cell cycle re-entry. These changes in stem cell homeostasis could have significant implications for age-associated intestinal pathogenesis.
    Keywords:  aging; colon; complex I; mitochondria; stem cells
  19. Front Oncol. 2020 ;10 607149
      One of the most notoriously altered genes in human cancer is the tumor-suppressor TP53, which is mutated with high frequency in more cancers than any other tumor suppressor gene. Beyond the loss of wild-type p53 functions, mutations in the TP53 gene often lead to the expression of full-length proteins with new malignant properties. Among the defined oncogenic functions of mutant p53 is its effect on cell metabolism and autophagy. Due to the importance of autophagy as a stress adaptive response, it is frequently dysfunctional in human cancers. However, the role of p53 is enigmatic in autophagy regulation. While the complex action of the wild-type p53 on autophagy has extensively been described in literature, in this review, we focus on the conceivable role of distinct mutant p53 proteins in regulating different autophagic pathways and further discuss the available evidence suggesting a possible autophagy stimulatory role of mutant p53. Moreover, we describe the involvement of different autophagic pathways in targeting and degrading mutant p53 proteins, exploring the potential strategies of targeting mutant p53 in cancer by autophagy.
    Keywords:  TP53; autophagy; cancer; chaperone-mediated autophagy; mutant p53
  20. Nature. 2021 Feb 24.
      Regulatory T cells (Treg cells) are essential for immune tolerance1, but also drive immunosuppression in the tumour microenvironment2. Therapeutic targeting of Treg cells in cancer will therefore require the identification of context-specific mechanisms that affect their function. Here we show that inhibiting lipid synthesis and metabolic signalling that are dependent on sterol-regulatory-element-binding proteins (SREBPs) in Treg cells unleashes effective antitumour immune responses without autoimmune toxicity. We find that the activity of SREBPs is upregulated in intratumoral Treg cells. Moreover, deletion of SREBP-cleavage-activating protein (SCAP)-a factor required for SREBP activity-in these cells inhibits tumour growth and boosts immunotherapy that is triggered by targeting the immune-checkpoint protein PD-1. These effects of SCAP deletion are associated with uncontrolled production of interferon-γ and impaired function of intratumoral Treg cells. Mechanistically, signalling through SCAP and SREBPs coordinates cellular programs for lipid synthesis and inhibitory receptor signalling in these cells. First, de novo fatty-acid synthesis mediated by fatty-acid synthase (FASN) contributes to functional maturation of Treg cells, and loss of FASN from Treg cells inhibits tumour growth. Second, Treg cells in tumours show enhanced expression of the PD-1 gene, through a process that depends on SREBP activity and signals via mevalonate metabolism to protein geranylgeranylation. Blocking PD-1 or SREBP signalling results in dysregulated activation of phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase in intratumoral Treg cells. Our findings show that metabolic reprogramming enforces the functional specialization of Treg cells in tumours, pointing to new ways of targeting these cells for cancer therapy.
  21. Nature. 2021 Feb 24.
    Keywords:  Cell biology; Immunology
  22. Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2021 Feb 17. pii: S0958-1669(21)00025-2. [Epub ahead of print]68 231-239
      Macrophages are the prominent innate immune cells to combat infection and then restore tissue homeostasis after clearance of pathogens. Intracellular metabolic reprogramming is required for macrophage activation and function, as such adaptations confer macrophages with sufficient energy and metabolites to support biosynthesis and diverse functions. During the last 10 years, knowledge in this field has been greatly extended by outstanding advances demonstrating that several metabolic intermediates possess the ability to directly control macrophage activation and effector functions by various mechanisms. Of note, citrate and succinate contribute to the inflammatory activation of macrophages while tricarboxylic acid cycle-derived metabolite itaconate has a variety of immunomodulatory effects. Such progress not only encourages a further exploration into the emerging new area immunometabolism, but also provides potential therapeutic targets to control unwanted inflammation due to infection.
  23. Cell Death Dis. 2021 Feb 26. 12(2): 215
      Mitochondria are essential cellular organelles that are involved in regulating cellular energy, metabolism, survival, and proliferation. To some extent, cancer is a genetic and metabolic disease that is closely associated with mitochondrial dysfunction. Hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs), which are major molecules that respond to hypoxia, play important roles in cancer development by participating in multiple processes, such as metabolism, proliferation, and angiogenesis. The Warburg phenomenon reflects a pseudo-hypoxic state that activates HIF-1α. In addition, a product of the Warburg effect, lactate, also induces HIF-1α. However, Warburg proposed that aerobic glycolysis occurs due to a defect in mitochondria. Moreover, both HIFs and mitochondrial dysfunction can lead to complex reprogramming of energy metabolism, including reduced mitochondrial oxidative metabolism, increased glucose uptake, and enhanced anaerobic glycolysis. Thus, there may be a connection between HIFs and mitochondrial dysfunction. In this review, we systematically discuss the crosstalk between HIFs and mitochondrial dysfunctions in cancer development. Above all, the stability and activity of HIFs are closely influenced by mitochondrial dysfunction related to tricarboxylic acid cycle, electron transport chain components, mitochondrial respiration, and mitochondrial-related proteins. Furthermore, activation of HIFs can lead to mitochondrial dysfunction by affecting multiple mitochondrial functions, including mitochondrial oxidative capacity, biogenesis, apoptosis, fission, and autophagy. In general, the regulation of tumorigenesis and development by HIFs and mitochondrial dysfunction are part of an extensive and cooperative network.
  24. Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Basis Dis. 2021 Feb 19. pii: S0925-4439(21)00037-5. [Epub ahead of print] 166104
      Depolarized/damaged mitochondria aggregate at the perinuclear region prior to mitophagy in cells treated with mitochondrial stressors. However, the cellular mechanism(s) by which damaged mitochondria are transported and remain aggregated at the perinuclear region is unknown. Here, we demonstrate that mitofusins (Mfn1/2) are post-translationally modified by SUMO2 (Small Ubiquitin-related Modifier 2) in Human embryonic kidney 293 (Hek293) cells treated with protonophore CCCP and proteasome inhibitor MG132, both known mitochondrial stressors. SUMOylation of Mfn1/2 is not for their proteasomal degradation but facilitate mitochondrial congression at the perinuclear region in CCCP- and MG132-treated cells. Additionally, congressed mitochondria (mito-aggresomes) colocalize with LC3, ubiquitin, and SUMO2 in CCCP-treated cells. Knowing that SUMO functions as a "molecular glue" to facilitate protein-protein interactions, we propose that SUMOylation of Mfn1/2 may congress, glues, and confines damaged mitochondria to the perinuclear region thereby, protectively quarantining them from the heathy mitochondrial network until their removal via mitophagy in cells.
    Keywords:  26S Proteasome; Autophagy; Mitochondria; Mitofusin; Mitophagy; Small Ubiquitin Modifier (SUMO); ubiquitin
  25. Interface Focus. 2021 Apr 06. 11(2): 20200034
      Soluble adenylyl cyclase (sAC; ADCY10) is a bicarbonate (HCO3 -)-regulated enzyme responsible for the generation of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP). sAC is distributed throughout the cell and within organelles and, as such, plays a role in numerous cellular signalling pathways. Carbonic anhydrases (CAs) nearly instantaneously equilibrate HCO3 -, protons and carbon dioxide (CO2); because of the ubiquitous presence of CAs within cells, HCO3 --regulated sAC can respond to changes in any of these factors. Thus, sAC can function as a physiological HCO3 -/CO2/pH sensor. Here, we outline examples where we have shown that sAC responds to changes in HCO3 -, CO2 or pH to regulate diverse physiological functions.
    Keywords:  bicarbonate; carbon dioxide; carbonic anhydrase; cyclic AMP; pH; soluble adenylyl cyclase
  26. Food Chem Toxicol. 2021 Feb 23. pii: S0278-6915(21)00118-6. [Epub ahead of print] 112085
      Succinate dehydrogenase complex II inhibitors (SDHIs) are widely used fungicides since the 1960s. Recently, based on published in vitro cell viability data, potential health effects via disruption of the mitochondrial respiratory chain and tricarboxylic acid cycle have been postulated in mammalian species. As primary metabolic impact of SDH inhibition, an increase in succinate, and compensatory ATP production via glycolysis resulting in excess lactate levels was hypothesized. To investigate these hypotheses, genome-scale metabolic models of Rattus norvegicus and Homo sapiens were used for an in silico analysis of mammalian metabolism. Moreover, plasma samples from 28-day studies with the SDHIs boscalid and fluxapyroxad were subjected to metabolome analyses, to assess in vivo metabolite changes induced by SDHIs. The outcome of in silico analyses indicated that mammalian metabolic networks are robust and able to compensate different types of metabolic perturbation, e.g., partial or complete SDH inhibition. Additionally, the in silico comparison of rat and human responses suggested no noticeable differences between both species, evidencing that the rat is an appropriate testing organism for toxicity of SDHIs. Since no succinate or lactate accumulation were found in rats, such an accumulation is also not expected in humans as a result of SDHI exposure.
    Keywords:  Metabolomics; SDHI; in silico; lactate; metabolic modeling; mitochondria; respiratory chain; succinate
  27. Cell Rep. 2021 Feb 23. pii: S2211-1247(21)00089-9. [Epub ahead of print]34(8): 108776
      Estrogen receptor-α (ER) drives tumor development in ER-positive (ER+) breast cancer. The transcription factor GATA3 has been closely linked to ER function, but its precise role in this setting remains unclear. Quantitative proteomics was used to assess changes to the ER complex in response to GATA3 depletion. Unexpectedly, few proteins were lost from the ER complex in the absence of GATA3, with the only major change being depletion of the dioxygenase TET2. TET2 binding constituted a near-total subset of ER binding in multiple breast cancer models, with loss of TET2 associated with reduced activation of proliferative pathways. TET2 knockdown did not appear to change global methylated cytosine (5mC) levels; however, oxidation of 5mC to 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) was significantly reduced, and these events occurred at ER enhancers. These findings implicate TET2 in the maintenance of 5hmC at ER sites, providing a potential mechanism for TET2-mediated regulation of ER target genes.
    Keywords:  5hmC; GATA3; TET2; enhancers; estrogen receptor; gene regulation
  28. Sci Adv. 2021 Feb;pii: eabd7974. [Epub ahead of print]7(9):
      Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a developmental process hijacked by cancer cells to modulate proliferation, migration, and stress response. Whereas kinase signaling is believed to be an EMT driver, the molecular mechanisms underlying epithelial-mesenchymal interconversion are incompletely understood. Here, we show that the impact of chromatin regulators on EMT interconversion is broader than that of kinases. By combining pharmacological modulation of EMT, synthetic genetic tracing, and CRISPR interference screens, we uncovered a minority of kinases and several chromatin remodelers, writers, and readers governing homeostatic EMT in lung cancer cells. Loss of ARID1A, DOT1L, BRD2, and ZMYND8 had nondeterministic and sometimes opposite consequences on epithelial-mesenchymal interconversion. Together with RNAPII and AP-1, these antagonistic gatekeepers control chromatin of active enhancers, including pan-cancer-EMT signature genes enabling supraclassification of anatomically diverse tumors. Thus, our data uncover general principles underlying transcriptional control of cancer cell plasticity and offer a platform to systematically explore chromatin regulators in tumor-state-specific therapy.
  29. Biochem Soc Trans. 2021 Feb 22. pii: BST20190008. [Epub ahead of print]
      One-carbon metabolism (1C-metabolism), also called folate metabolism because the carbon group is attached to folate-derived tetrahydrofolate, is crucial in metabolism. It is at the heart of several essential syntheses, particularly those of purine and thymidylate. After a short reminder of the organization of 1C-metabolism, I list its salient features as reported in the literature. Then, using flux balance analysis, a core model of central metabolism and the flux constraints for an 'average cancer cell metabolism', I explore the fundamentals underlying 1C-metabolism and its relationships with the rest of metabolism. Some unreported properties of 1C-metabolism emerge, such as its potential roles in mitochondrial NADH exchange with cytosolic NADPH, participation in NADH recycling, and optimization of cell proliferation.
    Keywords:  average cancer cell; cancer cells’ metabolism; flux balance analysis; metabolic model; one-carbon metabolism
  30. Trends Biochem Sci. 2021 Feb 19. pii: S0968-0004(21)00029-3. [Epub ahead of print]
      Recently, three groups, Girardi et al., Kory et al., and Luongo et al., independently identified solute carrier (SLC) 25A51 as the long-sought, major mitochondrial NAD+ transporter in mammalian cells. These studies not only deorphan an uncharacterized transporter of the SLC25A family, but also shed light on other aspects of NAD+ biology.
    Keywords:  NAD; SLC25A family; mitochondrial transporter; redox; respiration
  31. Nature. 2021 Feb;590(7847): 649-654
      The cell cycle, over which cells grow and divide, is a fundamental process of life. Its dysregulation has devastating consequences, including cancer1-3. The cell cycle is driven by precise regulation of proteins in time and space, which creates variability between individual proliferating cells. To our knowledge, no systematic investigations of such cell-to-cell proteomic variability exist. Here we present a comprehensive, spatiotemporal map of human proteomic heterogeneity by integrating proteomics at subcellular resolution with single-cell transcriptomics and precise temporal measurements of individual cells in the cell cycle. We show that around one-fifth of the human proteome displays cell-to-cell variability, identify hundreds of proteins with previously unknown associations with mitosis and the cell cycle, and provide evidence that several of these proteins have oncogenic functions. Our results show that cell cycle progression explains less than half of all cell-to-cell variability, and that most cycling proteins are regulated post-translationally, rather than by transcriptomic cycling. These proteins are disproportionately phosphorylated by kinases that regulate cell fate, whereas non-cycling proteins that vary between cells are more likely to be modified by kinases that regulate metabolism. This spatially resolved proteomic map of the cell cycle is integrated into the Human Protein Atlas and will serve as a resource for accelerating molecular studies of the human cell cycle and cell proliferation.
  32. Cell Rep. 2021 Feb 23. pii: S2211-1247(21)00092-9. [Epub ahead of print]34(8): 108779
      In the tumor microenvironment, senescent non-malignant cells, including cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs), exhibit a secretory profile under stress conditions; this senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP) leads to cancer progression and chemoresistance. However, the role of senescent CAFs in metastatic lesions and the molecular mechanism of inflammation-related SASP induction are not well understood. We show that pro-inflammatory cytokine-driven EZH2 downregulation maintains the SASP by demethylating H3K27me3 marks in CAFs and enhances peritoneal tumor formation of gastric cancer (GC) through JAK/STAT3 signaling in a mouse model. A JAK/STAT3 inhibitor blocks the increase in GC cell viability induced by senescent CAFs and peritoneal tumor formation. Single-cell mass cytometry revealed that fibroblasts exist in the ascites of GC patients with peritoneal dissemination, and the fibroblast population shows p16 expression and SASP factors at high levels. These findings provide insights into the inflammation-related SASP maintenance by histone modification and the role of senescent CAFs in GC peritoneal dissemination.
    Keywords:  EZH2; H3K27me3 marks; JAK inhibitor; cancer-associated fibroblasts; gastric cancer; peritoneal dissemination; senescence-associated secretory phenotype
  33. Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2021 Feb 24.
      In mammals, the white adipocyte is a cell type that is specialized for storage of energy (in the form of triacylglycerols) and for energy mobilization (as fatty acids). White adipocyte metabolism confers an essential role to adipose tissue in whole-body homeostasis. Dysfunction in white adipocyte metabolism is a cardinal event in the development of insulin resistance and associated disorders. This Review focuses on our current understanding of lipid and glucose metabolic pathways in the white adipocyte. We survey recent advances in humans on the importance of adipocyte hypertrophy and on the in vivo turnover of adipocytes and stored lipids. At the molecular level, the identification of novel regulators and of the interplay between metabolic pathways explains the fine-tuning between the anabolic and catabolic fates of fatty acids and glucose in different physiological states. We also examine the metabolic alterations involved in the genesis of obesity-associated metabolic disorders, lipodystrophic states, cancers and cancer-associated cachexia. New challenges include defining the heterogeneity of white adipocytes in different anatomical locations throughout the lifespan and investigating the importance of rhythmic processes. Targeting white fat metabolism offers opportunities for improved patient stratification and a wide, yet unexploited, range of therapeutic opportunities.
  34. Nat Chem Biol. 2021 Feb 25.
      How aerobic organisms exploit inevitably generated but potentially dangerous reactive oxygen species (ROS) to benefit normal life is a fundamental biological question. Locally accumulated ROS have been reported to prime stem cell differentiation. However, the underlying molecular mechanism is unclear. Here, we reveal that developmentally produced H2O2 in plant shoot apical meristem (SAM) triggers reversible protein phase separation of TERMINATING FLOWER (TMF), a transcription factor that times flowering transition in the tomato by repressing pre-maturation of SAM. Cysteine residues within TMF sense cellular redox to form disulfide bonds that concatenate multiple TMF molecules and elevate the amount of intrinsically disordered regions to drive phase separation. Oxidation triggered phase separation enables TMF to bind and sequester the promoter of a floral identity gene ANANTHA to repress its expression. The reversible transcriptional condensation via redox-regulated phase separation endows aerobic organisms with the flexibility of gene control in dealing with developmental cues.
  35. Nat Commun. 2021 02 24. 12(1): 1270
      Changes in glycosylation during tumour progression are a key hallmark of cancer. One of the glycan moieties generally overexpressed in cancer are sialic acids, which can induce immunomodulatory properties via binding to Siglec receptors. We here show that Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma (PDAC) tumour cells present an increased sialylation that can be recognized by Siglec-7 and Siglec-9 on myeloid cells. We identified the expression of the α2,3 sialyltransferases ST3GAL1 and ST3GAL4 as main contributor to the synthesis of ligands for Siglec-7 and Siglec-9 in tumour cells. Analysing the myeloid composition in PDAC, using single cell and bulk transcriptomics data, we identified monocyte-derived macrophages as contributors to the poor clinical outcome. Tumour-derived sialic acids dictate monocyte to macrophage differentiation via signalling through Siglec-7 and Siglec-9. Moreover, triggering of Siglec-9 in macrophages reduce inflammatory programmes, while increasing PD-L1 and IL-10 expression, illustrating that sialic acids modulate different myeloid cells. This work highlights a critical role for sialylated glycans in controlling immune suppression and provides new potential targets for cancer immunotherapy in PDAC.