bims-camemi Biomed News
on Mitochondrial metabolism in cancer
Issue of 2021‒03‒07
seventy papers selected by
Christian Frezza
University of Cambridge, MRC Cancer Unit

  1. Metabolites. 2021 Feb 18. pii: 117. [Epub ahead of print]11(2):
      Itaconate is a small molecule metabolite that is endogenously produced by cis-aconitate decarboxylase-1 (ACOD1) in mammalian cells and influences numerous cellular processes. The metabolic consequences of itaconate in cells are diverse and contribute to its regulatory function. Here, we have applied isotope tracing and mass spectrometry approaches to explore how itaconate impacts various metabolic pathways in cultured cells. Itaconate is a competitive and reversible inhibitor of Complex II/succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) that alters tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle metabolism leading to succinate accumulation. Upon activation with coenzyme A (CoA), itaconyl-CoA inhibits adenosylcobalamin-mediated methylmalonyl-CoA (MUT) activity and, thus, indirectly impacts branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) metabolism and fatty acid diversity. Itaconate, therefore, alters the balance of CoA species in mitochondria through its impacts on TCA, amino acid, vitamin B12, and CoA metabolism. Our results highlight the diverse metabolic pathways regulated by itaconate and provide a roadmap to link these metabolites to potential downstream biological functions.
    Keywords:  TCA cycle metabolism; acetyl-CoA; branched-chain amino acids (BCAA); isotopic tracing; itaconate; itaconyl-CoA; methylmalonate; odd-chain fatty acids (OCFAs); propionyl-CoA; succinate; succinate dehydrogenase; vitamin B12
  2. Cell Metab. 2021 Feb 23. pii: S1550-4131(21)00061-9. [Epub ahead of print]
      Forward genetic screens across hundreds of cancer cell lines have started to define the genetic dependencies of proliferating human cells and how these vary by genotype and lineage. Most screens, however, have been carried out in culture media that poorly reflect metabolite availability in human blood. Here, we performed CRISPR-based screens in traditional versus human plasma-like medium (HPLM). Sets of conditionally essential genes in human cancer cell lines span several cellular processes and vary with both natural cell-intrinsic diversity and the combination of basal and serum components that comprise typical media. Notably, we traced the causes for each of three conditional CRISPR phenotypes to the availability of metabolites uniquely defined in HPLM versus conventional media. Our findings reveal the profound impact of medium composition on gene essentiality in human cells, and also suggest general strategies for using genetic screens in HPLM to uncover new cancer vulnerabilities and gene-nutrient interactions.
    Keywords:  CRISPR; HPLM; conditional gene essentiality; gene-nutrient interaction; genetic screen; physiologic medium
  3. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 Mar 09. pii: e2003014118. [Epub ahead of print]118(10):
      Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) is a lethal, therapy-resistant cancer that thrives in a highly desmoplastic, nutrient-deprived microenvironment. Several studies investigated the effects of depriving PDA of either glucose or glutamine alone. However, the consequences on PDA growth and metabolism of limiting both preferred nutrients have remained largely unknown. Here, we report the selection for clonal human PDA cells that survive and adapt to limiting levels of both glucose and glutamine. We find that adapted clones exhibit increased growth in vitro and enhanced tumor-forming capacity in vivo. Mechanistically, adapted clones share common transcriptional and metabolic programs, including amino acid use for de novo glutamine and nucleotide synthesis. They also display enhanced mTORC1 activity that prevents the proteasomal degradation of glutamine synthetase (GS), the rate-limiting enzyme for glutamine synthesis. This phenotype is notably reversible, with PDA cells acquiring alterations in open chromatin upon adaptation. Silencing of GS suppresses the enhanced growth of adapted cells and mitigates tumor growth. These findings identify nongenetic adaptations to nutrient deprivation in PDA and highlight GS as a dependency that could be targeted therapeutically in pancreatic cancer patients.
    Keywords:  epigenetics; glutamine synthetase; mTORC1; nutrient deprivation; pancreatic cancer
  4. Elife. 2021 Mar 01. pii: e63326. [Epub ahead of print]10
      The mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) stimulates a coordinated anabolic program in response to growth-promoting signals. Paradoxically, recent studies indicate that mTORC1 can activate the transcription factor ATF4 through mechanisms distinct from its canonical induction by the integrated stress response (ISR). However, its broader roles as a downstream target of mTORC1 are unknown. Therefore, we directly compared ATF4-dependent transcriptional changes induced upon insulin-stimulated mTORC1 signaling to those activated by the ISR. In multiple mouse embryo fibroblast (MEF) and human cancer cell lines, the mTORC1-ATF4 pathway stimulated expression of only a subset of the ATF4 target genes induced by the ISR, including genes involved in amino acid uptake, synthesis, and tRNA charging. We demonstrate that ATF4 is a metabolic effector of mTORC1 involved in both its established role in promoting protein synthesis and in a previously unappreciated function for mTORC1 in stimulating cellular cystine uptake and glutathione synthesis.
    Keywords:  cancer biology; cell biology; human; mouse; rat
  5. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 Mar 09. pii: e2020187118. [Epub ahead of print]118(10):
      Identification of common patterns of cancer metabolic reprogramming could assist the development of new therapeutic strategies. Recent attention in this field has focused on identifying and targeting signal transduction pathways that interface directly with major metabolic control processes. In the current study we demonstrate the importance of signaling by the diphosphoinositol pentakisphosphate kinases (PPIP5Ks) to the metabolism and proliferation of the HCT116 colonic tumor cell line. We observed reciprocal cross talk between PPIP5K catalytic activity and glucose metabolism, and we show that CRISPR-mediated PPIP5K deletion suppresses HCT116 cell proliferation in glucose-limited culture conditions that mimic the tumor cell microenvironment. We conducted detailed, global metabolomic analyses of wild-type and PPIP5K knockout (KO) cells by measuring both steady-state metabolite levels and by performing isotope tracing experiments. We attribute the growth-impaired phenotype to a specific reduction in the supply of precursor material for de novo nucleotide biosynthesis from the one carbon serine/glycine pathway and the pentose phosphate pathway. We identify two enzymatic control points that are inhibited in the PPIP5K KO cells: serine hydroxymethyltransferase and phosphoribosyl pyrophosphate synthetase, a known downstream target of AMP-regulated protein kinase, which we show is noncanonically activated independently of adenine nucleotide status. Finally, we show the proliferative defect in PPIP5K KO cells can be significantly rescued either by addition of inosine monophosphate or a nucleoside mixture or by stable expression of PPIP5K activity. Overall, our data describe multiple, far-reaching metabolic consequences for metabolic supervision by PPIP5Ks in a tumor cell line.
    Keywords:  PPIP5K; inositol pyrophosphates; nucleotide synthesis; pentose phosphate pathway; serine–glycine–one-carbon metabolism
  6. Cell Tissue Res. 2021 Mar 03.
      Mitochondria play a key role in cellular energy production and contribute to cell metabolism, homeostasis, intracellular signalling and organelle's quality control, among other roles. Viable, respiratory-competent mitochondria exist also outside the cells. Such extracellular/exogenous mitochondria occur in the bloodstream, being released by platelets, activated monocytes and endothelial progenitor cells. In the nervous system, the cerebrospinal fluid contains mitochondria discharged by astrocytes. Various pathologies, including the cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases, are associated with mitochondrial dysfunction. A strategy to reverse dysfunction and restore cell normality is the transplantation of mitochondria (freshly isolated from a healthy tissue) into the zone at risk, such as the ischemic heart and/or damaged nervous tissue. The functional exogenous mitochondria will replace the harmed ones, ensuing cardioprotective and neuroprotective effects. The diversity of transplantation settings (in vitro, in animal models and patients) offered variable answers (including lack of consensus) on efficacy of this strategy. Therefore, a critical overview of the current and future trends in mitochondrial transplantation seems to be required. Here, we outline the recent developments on (i) extracellular mitochondria types and roles, (ii) transplantation protocols, (iii) mechanisms of mitochondrial incorporation, (iv) the benefit of extracellular mitochondria transplantation in human health and diseases and (v) open questions that deserve urgent answers.
    Keywords:  Ischemia reperfusion injury; Macropinocytosis; Mitochondrial dysfunction; Neurodegeneration; Parkinson’s disease
  7. Metabolites. 2021 Feb 26. pii: 139. [Epub ahead of print]11(3):
      Currently, no clinical methods reliably predict the development of castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) that occurs almost universally in men undergoing androgen deprivation therapy. Hyperpolarized (HP) 13C magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) could potentially detect the incipient emergence of CRPC based on early metabolic changes. To characterize metabolic shifts occurring upon the transition from androgen-dependent to castration-resistant prostate cancer (PCa), the metabolism of [U-13C]glucose and [U-13C]glutamine was analyzed by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Comparison of steady-state metabolite concentrations and fractional enrichment in androgen-dependent LNCaP cells and transgenic adenocarcinoma of the murine prostate (TRAMP) murine tumors versus castration-resistant PC-3 cells and treatment-driven CRPC TRAMP tumors demonstrated that CRPC was associated with upregulation of glycolysis, tricarboxylic acid metabolism of pyruvate; and glutamine, glutaminolysis, and glutathione synthesis. These findings were supported by 13C isotopomer modeling showing increased flux through pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) and anaplerosis; enzymatic assays showing increased lactate dehydrogenase, PDH and glutaminase activity; and oxygen consumption measurements demonstrating increased dependence on anaplerotic fuel sources for mitochondrial respiration in CRPC. Consistent with ex vivo metabolomic studies, HP [1-13C]pyruvate distinguished androgen-dependent PCa from CRPC in cell and tumor models based on significantly increased HP [1-13C]lactate.
    Keywords:  TRAMP; androgen-dependent; castration-resistant; glycolysis; hyperpolarized [1-13C]pyruvate; lactate; magnetic resonance; metabolism; prostate cancer
  8. IUBMB Life. 2021 Mar 05.
      The IUBMB Focused Meeting/FEBS Workshop titled 'Crosstalk between Nucleus and Mitochondria in Human Disease'(CrossMitoNus) will take place on September 7-10, 2021 in Seville (Spain), with the support of both the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (IUBMB) and the Federation of European Biochemical Societies (FEBS). Mitochondria are key organelles that act as a hub for vital metabolic processes, for example, energy transduction by oxidative phosphorylation, intermediary metabolism, redox signaling, calcium and iron homeostasis, heme and steroid biosynthesis, metal homeostasis, programmed cell death, and innate immunity. Consequently, a wide assortment of diseases-including neurodegenerative disorders, diabetes, cancer, rare syndromes, and many others-relate to mitochondrial dysfunction. The high relevance of mitochondria in metabolism centers on the core of cell signaling pathways, including those involved in cell-fate decisions. Critical metabolites synthesized in mitochondria are, for instance, key modulators of the sirtuin, AMPK, mTOR, and Hypoxia-inducible Factor 1A pathways. Mitochondria are indeed the major source of reactive oxygen species, which in turn mediate several regulatory routes. Interestingly, multiple nuclear-encoded factors control essential processes in mitochondrial dynamics, namely fusion (for instance, OPA1), fission (DNM1L), transport (RHOT1), and mitophagy (PINK1). The release of mitochondrial factors like cytochrome c to the cytoplasm is indeed key for the rapid onset of the intrinsic apoptotic pathway. The CrossMitoNus meeting aims to join efforts from diverse disciplines to unveil the mitochondrial and nuclear factors that are emerging as essential elements in mitochondria-nucleus communication. Needless to say, the mechanisms regulating mitochondrial protein trafficking into and out of the nucleus and the role of these proteins in the nucleus remain to be elucidated.
    Keywords:  FEBS workshop; IUBMB focused meeting; cell network; crosstalk; mitochondria; nucleus
  9. Bio Protoc. 2020 Feb 05. 10(3): e3504
      Calcium (Ca2+) imaging aims at investigating the dynamic changes in live cells of its concentration ([Ca2+]) in different pathophysiological conditions. Ca2+ is an ubiquitous and versatile intracellular signal that modulates a large variety of cellular functions thanks to a cell type-specific toolkit and a complex subcellular compartmentalization. Many Ca2+ sensors are presently available (chemical and genetically encoded) that can be specifically targeted to different cellular compartments. Using these probes, it is now possible to monitor Ca2+ dynamics of living cells not only in the cytosol but also within specific organelles. The choice of a specific sensor depends on the experimental design and the spatial and temporal resolution required. Here we describe the use of novel Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET)-based fluorescent Ca2+ probes to dynamically and quantitatively monitor the changes in cytosolic and mitochondrial [Ca2+] in a variety of cell types and experimental conditions. FRET-based sensors have the enormous advantage of being ratiometric, a feature that makes them particularly suitable for quantitative and in vivo applications.
    Keywords:   Cytosolic Ca2+ imaging ; IP3 Receptor ; mitochondrial Ca2+ imaging ; Cameleon; Endoplasmic Reticulum; FRET; Genetically-Encoded Calcium Indicators; Mitochondria; Ryanodine Receptor.; SOCE
  10. Circulation. 2021 Mar 05.
      Background: Neonatal mouse cardiomyocytes undergo a metabolic switch from glycolysis to oxidative phosphorylation, which results in a significant increase in reactive oxygen species (ROS) production that induces DNA damage. These cellular changes contribute to cardiomyocyte cell cycle exit and loss of the capacity for cardiac regeneration. The mechanisms that regulate this metabolic switch and the increase in ROS production have been relatively unexplored. Current evidence suggests that elevated ROS production in ischemic tissues occurs due to accumulation of the mitochondrial metabolite succinate during ischemia via succinate dehydrogenase (SDH), and this succinate is rapidly oxidized at reperfusion. Interestingly, mutations in SDH in familial cancer syndromes have been demonstrated to promote a metabolic shift into glycolytic metabolism, suggesting a potential role for SDH in regulating cellular metabolism. Whether succinate and SDH regulate cardiomyocyte cell cycle activity and the cardiac metabolic state remains unclear. Methods: Here, we investigated the role of succinate and succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) inhibition in regulation of postnatal cardiomyocyte cell cycle activity and heart regeneration. Results: Our results demonstrate that injection of succinate in neonatal mice results in inhibition of cardiomyocyte proliferation and regeneration. Our evidence also shows that inhibition of SDH by malonate treatment after birth extends the window of cardiomyocyte proliferation and regeneration in juvenile mice. Remarkably, extending malonate treatment to the adult mouse heart following myocardial infarction injury results in a robust regenerative response within 4 weeks following injury via promoting adult cardiomyocyte proliferation and revascularization. Our metabolite analysis following SDH inhibition by malonate induces dynamic changes in adult cardiac metabolism. Conclusions: Inhibition of SDH by malonate promotes adult cardiomyocyte proliferation, revascularization, and heart regeneration via metabolic reprogramming. These findings support a potentially important new therapeutic approach for human heart failure.
    Keywords:  heart regeneration; succinate dehydrogenase
  11. Curr Opin Chem Biol. 2021 Mar 02. pii: S1367-5931(21)00014-4. [Epub ahead of print]63 11-18
      Chromatin and associated epigenetic marks provide important platforms for gene regulation in response to metabolic changes associated with environmental exposures, including physiological stress, nutritional deprivation, and starvation. Numerous studies have shown that fluctuations of key metabolites can influence chromatin modifications, but their effects on chromatin structure (e.g. chromatin compaction, nucleosome arrangement, and chromatin loops) and how they appropriately deposit specific chemical modification on chromatin are largely unknown. Here, focusing on methionine metabolism, we discuss recent developments of metabolic effects on chromatin modifications and structure, as well as consequences on gene regulation.
    Keywords:  Chromatin; Epigenetics; Metabolism; Methionine; Transcription
  12. EMBO J. 2021 Mar 05. e106283
      Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) encodes several key components of respiratory chain complexes that produce cellular energy through oxidative phosphorylation. mtDNA is vulnerable to damage under various physiological stresses, especially oxidative stress. mtDNA damage leads to mitochondrial dysfunction, and dysfunctional mitochondria can be removed by mitophagy, an essential process in cellular homeostasis. However, how damaged mtDNA is selectively cleared from the cell, and how damaged mtDNA triggers mitophagy, remain mostly unknown. Here, we identified a novel mitophagy receptor, ATAD3B, which is specifically expressed in primates. ATAD3B contains a LIR motif that binds to LC3 and promotes oxidative stress-induced mitophagy in a PINK1-independent manner, thus promoting the clearance of damaged mtDNA induced by oxidative stress. Under normal conditions, ATAD3B hetero-oligomerizes with ATAD3A, thus promoting the targeting of the C-terminal region of ATAD3B to the mitochondrial intermembrane space. Oxidative stress-induced mtDNA damage or mtDNA depletion reduces ATAD3B-ATAD3A hetero-oligomerization and leads to exposure of the ATAD3B C-terminus at the mitochondrial outer membrane and subsequent recruitment of LC3 for initiating mitophagy. Furthermore, ATAD3B is little expressed in m.3243A > G mutated cells and MELAS patient fibroblasts showing endogenous oxidative stress, and ATAD3B re-expression promotes the clearance of m.3243A > G mutated mtDNA. Our findings uncover a new pathway to selectively remove damaged mtDNA and reveal that increasing ATAD3B activity is a potential therapeutic approach for mitochondrial diseases.
    Keywords:  ATAD3B; mitochondrial DNA; mitophagy; oxidative stress
  13. Cell Stem Cell. 2021 Mar 04. pii: S1934-5909(21)00061-8. [Epub ahead of print]28(3): 394-408
      Recent evidence supports the notion that mitochondrial metabolism is necessary for the determination of stem cell fate. Historically, mitochondrial metabolism is linked to the production of ATP and tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle metabolites to support stem cell survival and growth, respectively. However, it is now clear that beyond these canonical roles, mitochondria as signaling organelles dictate stem cell fate and function. In this review, we focus on key conceptual ideas on how mitochondria control mammalian stem cell fate and function through reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, TCA cycle metabolite production, NAD+/NADH ratio regulation, pyruvate metabolism, and mitochondrial dynamics.
    Keywords:  L-2-HG; ROS; TCA cycle; acetyl-CoA; epigenetics; mitochondrial dynamics; pyruvate
  14. Cell Death Differ. 2021 Mar 01.
      Optic atrophy 1 (OPA1), a mitochondria-shaping protein controlling cristae biogenesis and respiration, is required for memory T cell function, but whether it affects intrathymic T cell development is unknown. Here we show that OPA1 is necessary for thymocyte maturation at the double negative (DN)3 stage when rearrangement of the T cell receptor β (Tcrβ) locus occurs. By profiling mitochondrial function at different stages of thymocyte maturation, we find that DN3 cells rely on oxidative phosphorylation. Consistently, Opa1 deletion during early T cell development impairs respiration of DN3 cells and reduces their number. Opa1-deficient DN3 cells indeed display stronger TCR signaling and are more prone to cell death. The surviving Opa1-/- thymocytes that reach the periphery as mature T cells display an effector memory phenotype even in the absence of antigenic stimulation but are unable to generate metabolically fit long-term memory T cells. Thus, mitochondrial defects early during T cell development affect mature T cell function.
  15. iScience. 2021 Feb 19. 24(2): 102119
      Remodeling of mitochondrial ultrastructure is a process that is critical for organelle physiology and apoptosis. Although the key players in this process-mitochondrial contact site and cristae junction organizing system (MICOS) and Optic Atrophy 1 (OPA1)-have been characterized, the mechanisms behind its regulation remain incompletely defined. Here, we found that in addition to its role in mitochondrial division, metallopeptidase OMA1 is required for the maintenance of intermembrane connectivity through dynamic association with MICOS. This association is independent of OPA1, mediated via the MICOS subunit MIC60, and is important for stability of MICOS and the intermembrane contacts. The OMA1-MICOS relay is required for optimal bioenergetic output and apoptosis. Loss of OMA1 affects these activities; remarkably it can be alleviated by MICOS-emulating intermembrane bridge. Thus, OMA1-dependent ultrastructure support is required for mitochondrial architecture and bioenergetics under basal and stress conditions, suggesting a previously unrecognized role for OMA1 in mitochondrial physiology.
    Keywords:  Cell Biology; Molecular Biology; Organizational Aspects of Cell Biology
  16. Metabolites. 2021 Feb 16. pii: 112. [Epub ahead of print]11(2):
      Mitochondria are central organelles that coordinate a vast array of metabolic and biologic functions important for cellular health. Amino acids are intricately linked to the bioenergetic, biosynthetic, and homeostatic function of the mitochondrion and require specific transporters to facilitate their import, export, and exchange across the inner mitochondrial membrane. Here we review key cellular metabolic outputs of eukaryotic mitochondrial amino acid metabolism and discuss both known and unknown transporters involved. Furthermore, we discuss how utilization of compartmentalized amino acid metabolism functions in disease and physiological contexts. We examine how improved methods to study mitochondrial metabolism, define organelle metabolite composition, and visualize cellular gradients allow for a more comprehensive understanding of how transporters facilitate compartmentalized metabolism.
    Keywords:  amino acids; compartmentalization; cytosol; metabolomics; mitochondria; solute carriers; transporters
  17. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 Mar 09. pii: e2021945118. [Epub ahead of print]118(10):
      Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1 (mTORC1) is a central regulator of cell growth and metabolism that senses and integrates nutritional and environmental cues with cellular responses. Recent studies have revealed critical roles of mTORC1 in RNA biogenesis and processing. Here, we find that the m6A methyltransferase complex (MTC) is a downstream effector of mTORC1 during autophagy in Drosophila and human cells. Furthermore, we show that the Chaperonin Containing Tailless complex polypeptide 1 (CCT) complex, which facilitates protein folding, acts as a link between mTORC1 and MTC. The mTORC1 activates the chaperonin CCT complex to stabilize MTC, thereby increasing m6A levels on the messenger RNAs encoding autophagy-related genes, leading to their degradation and suppression of autophagy. Altogether, our study reveals an evolutionarily conserved mechanism linking mTORC1 signaling with m6A RNA methylation and demonstrates their roles in suppressing autophagy.
    Keywords:  autophagy; chaperonin containing Tailless complex polypeptide 1 (CCT); m6A RNA methylation; m6A methyltransferase complex (MTC); mTORC1
  18. Dev Biol. 2021 Feb 27. pii: S0012-1606(21)00051-8. [Epub ahead of print]
      Cell Competition is a selective process by which viable cells are eliminated from developing or adult tissues by interactions with their neighbors. In many cases, the eliminated cells (losers) display reduced fitness, yet they would be able to sustain tissue growth or maintenance in a homotypic environment, and are only eliminated when confronted with surrounding wild type cells (winners). In addition, cells with oncogenic mutations that do not show reduced fitness can also be eliminated from tissues when surrounded by wild type cells. Depending on the context, transformed cells can also become supercompetitors and eliminate surrounding wild type cells, thereby promoting tumor formation. Several factors have been shown to play essential roles in Cell Competition, including genes relevant in developmental growth, tumor formation and epithelial apico-basal polarity. Recent discoveries, however, suggest that energy metabolism plays a central role in very different models of cell competition. Here we review the involvement of mitochondrial dynamics and metabolism, autophagy and nutritional status in cell competition and discuss the possible implications of this emerging field.
    Keywords:  Apoptosis; Autophagy; Energy metabolism; Glycolysis; Lactate; Mitochondria; Tumor formation; Tumor suppression; Warburg effect
  19. Nat Commun. 2021 Mar 05. 12(1): 1460
      Mitochondria are important regulators of macrophage polarisation. Here, we show that arginase-2 (Arg2) is a microRNA-155 (miR-155) and interleukin-10 (IL-10) regulated protein localized at the mitochondria in inflammatory macrophages, and is critical for IL-10-induced modulation of mitochondrial dynamics and oxidative respiration. Mechanistically, the catalytic activity and presence of Arg2 at the mitochondria is crucial for oxidative phosphorylation. We further show that Arg2 mediates this process by increasing the activity of complex II (succinate dehydrogenase). Moreover, Arg2 is essential for IL-10-mediated downregulation of the inflammatory mediators succinate, hypoxia inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α) and IL-1β in vitro. Accordingly, HIF-1α and IL-1β are highly expressed in an LPS-induced in vivo model of acute inflammation using Arg2-/- mice. These findings shed light on a new arm of IL-10-mediated metabolic regulation, working to resolve the inflammatory status of the cell.
  20. Nature. 2021 Mar 03.
      Symmetric cell division requires the even partitioning of genetic information and cytoplasmic contents between daughter cells. Whereas the mechanisms coordinating the segregation of the genome are well known, the processes that ensure organelle segregation between daughter cells remain less well understood1. Here we identify multiple actin assemblies with distinct but complementary roles in mitochondrial organization and inheritance in mitosis. First, we find a dense meshwork of subcortical actin cables assembled throughout the mitotic cytoplasm. This network scaffolds the endoplasmic reticulum and organizes three-dimensional mitochondrial positioning to ensure the equal segregation of mitochondrial mass at cytokinesis. Second, we identify a dynamic wave of actin filaments reversibly assembling on the surface of mitochondria during mitosis. Mitochondria sampled by this wave are enveloped within actin clouds that can spontaneously break symmetry to form elongated comet tails. Mitochondrial comet tails promote randomly directed bursts of movement that shuffle mitochondrial position within the mother cell to randomize inheritance of healthy and damaged mitochondria between daughter cells. Thus, parallel mechanisms mediated by the actin cytoskeleton ensure both equal and random inheritance of mitochondria in symmetrically dividing cells.
  21. Nat Commun. 2021 Mar 05. 12(1): 1455
      T-cell exhaustion denotes a hypofunctional state of T lymphocytes commonly found in cancer, but how tumor cells drive T-cell exhaustion remains elusive. Here, we find T-cell exhaustion linked to overall survival in 675 hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients with diverse ethnicities and etiologies. Integrative omics analyses uncover oncogenic reprograming of HCC methionine recycling with elevated 5-methylthioadenosine (MTA) and S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) to be tightly linked to T-cell exhaustion. SAM and MTA induce T-cell dysfunction in vitro. Moreover, CRISPR-Cas9-mediated deletion of MAT2A, a key SAM producing enzyme, results in an inhibition of T-cell dysfunction and HCC growth in mice. Thus, reprogramming of tumor methionine metabolism may be a viable therapeutic strategy to improve HCC immunity.
  22. EMBO Rep. 2021 Mar 03. e51606
      Reduction of mitochondrial membrane potential (Δψm ) is a hallmark of mitochondrial dysfunction. It activates adaptive responses in organisms from yeast to human to rewire metabolism, remove depolarized mitochondria, and degrade unimported precursor proteins. It remains unclear how cells maintain Δψm , which is critical for maintaining iron-sulfur cluster (ISC) synthesis, an indispensable function of mitochondria. Here, we show that yeast oxidative phosphorylation mutants deficient in complex III, IV, V, and mtDNA, respectively, exhibit activated stress responses and progressive reduction of Δψm . Extensive omics analyses of these mutants show that these mutants progressively activate adaptive responses, including transcriptional downregulation of ATP synthase inhibitor Inh1 and OXPHOS subunits, Puf3-mediated upregulation of import receptor Mia40 and global mitochondrial biogenesis, Snf1/AMPK-mediated upregulation of glycolysis and repression of ribosome biogenesis, and transcriptional upregulation of cytoplasmic chaperones. These adaptations disinhibit mitochondrial ATP hydrolysis, remodel mitochondrial proteome, and optimize ATP supply to mitochondria to convergently maintain Δψm , ISC biosynthesis, and cell proliferation.
    Keywords:  mitochondrial membrane potential; mitochondrial stress responses; oxidative phosphorylation
  23. Amino Acids. 2021 Feb 28.
      Dysregulated cellular energetics has recently been recognized as a hallmark of cancer and garnered attention as a potential targeting strategy for cancer therapeutics. Cancer cells reprogram metabolic activities to meet bio-energetic, biosynthetic and redox requirements needed to sustain indefinite proliferation. In many cases, metabolic reprogramming is the result of complex interactions between genetic alterations in well-known oncogenes and tumor suppressors and epigenetic changes. While the metabolism of the two most abundant nutrients, glucose and glutamine, is reprogrammed in a wide range of cancers, accumulating evidence demonstrates that additional metabolic pathways are also critical for cell survival and growth. Proline metabolism is one such metabolic pathway that promotes tumorigenesis in multiple cancer types, including liver cancer, which is the fourth main cause of cancer mortality in the world. Despite the recent spate of approved treatments, including targeted therapy and combined immunotherapies, there has been no significant gain in clinical benefits in the majority of liver cancer patients. Thus, exploring novel therapeutic strategies and identifying new molecular targets remains a top priority for liver cancer. Two of the enzymes in the proline biosynthetic pathway, pyrroline-5-carboxylate reductase (PYCR1) and Aldehyde Dehydrogenase 18 Family Member A1 (ALDH18A1), are upregulated in liver cancer of both human and animal models, while proline catabolic enzymes, such as proline dehydrogenase (PRODH) are downregulated. Here we review the latest evidence linking proline metabolism to liver and other cancers and potential mechanisms of action for the proline pathway in cancer development.
    Keywords:  Cancer; Enzyme; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Metabolism; Proline
  24. Cancer Discov. 2021 Mar 02. pii: candisc.0119.2020. [Epub ahead of print]
      Although pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) cells are exposed to a nutrient-depleted tumor microenvironment, they can acquire nutrients via macropinocytosis, an endocytic form of protein scavenging that functions to support cancer metabolism. Here, we provide evidence that macropinocytosis is operational in the pancreatic tumor stroma. We find that glutamine deficiency triggers macropinocytic uptake in pancreatic cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs). Mechanistically, we decipher that stromal macropinocytosis is potentiated via the enhancement of cytosolic Ca2+ and dependent on ARHGEF2 and CaMKK2-AMPK signaling. We elucidate that macropinocytosis has dual function in CAFs - it serves as a source of intracellular amino acids that sustain CAF cell fitness and function, and it provides secreted amino acids that promote tumor cell survival. Importantly, we demonstrate that stromal macropinocytosis supports PDAC tumor growth. These results highlight the functional role of macropinocytosis in the tumor stroma and provide a mechanistic understanding of how nutrient deficiency can control stromal protein scavenging.
  25. Cells. 2021 Feb 25. pii: 497. [Epub ahead of print]10(3):
      The first-line chemotherapies for patients with unresectable pancreatic cancer (PC) are 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and gemcitabine therapy. However, due to chemoresistance the prognosis of patients with PC has not been significantly improved. Mitochondria are essential organelles in eukaryotes that evolved from aerobic bacteria. In recent years, many studies have shown that mitochondria play important roles in tumorigenesis and may act as chemotherapeutic targets in PC. In addition, according to recent studies, mitochondria may play important roles in the chemoresistance of PC by affecting apoptosis, metabolism, mtDNA metabolism, and mitochondrial dynamics. Interfering with some of these factors in mitochondria may improve the sensitivity of PC cells to chemotherapeutic agents, such as gemcitabine, making mitochondria promising targets for overcoming chemoresistance in PC.
    Keywords:  apoptosis; chemoresistance; metabolism; mitochondria; pancreatic cancer
  26. EBioMedicine. 2021 Feb 26. pii: S2352-3964(21)00037-2. [Epub ahead of print]65 103244
      Mitochondria play a vital role in cellular metabolism and are central mediator of intracellular signalling, cell differentiation, morphogenesis and demise. An increasingly higher number of pathologies is linked with mitochondrial dysfunction, which can arise from either genetic defects affecting core mitochondrial components or malfunctioning pathways impairing mitochondrial homeostasis. As such, mitochondria are considered an important target in several pathologies spanning from neoplastic to neurodegenerative diseases as well as metabolic syndromes. In this review we provide an overview of the state-of-the-art in mitochondrial pharmacology, focusing on the novel compounds that have been generated in the bid to correct mitochondrial aberrations. Our work aims to serve the scientific community working on translational medical science by highlighting the most promising pharmacological approaches to target mitochondrial dysfunction in disease.
    Keywords:  Mitochondria-targeted and untargeted agents; Mitochondrial diseases; Mitochondrial dysfunction in pathology
  27. Cells. 2021 Feb 22. pii: 473. [Epub ahead of print]10(2):
      In contrast to the traditional view of mitochondria being solely a source of cellular energy, e.g., the "powerhouse" of the cell, mitochondria are now known to be key regulators of numerous cellular processes. Accordingly, disturbance of mitochondrial homeostasis is a basic mechanism in several pathologies. Emerging data demonstrate that 3'-5'-cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) signalling plays a key role in mitochondrial biology and homeostasis. Mitochondria are equipped with an endogenous cAMP synthesis system involving soluble adenylyl cyclase (sAC), which localizes in the mitochondrial matrix and regulates mitochondrial function. Furthermore, sAC localized at the outer mitochondrial membrane contributes significantly to mitochondrial biology. Disturbance of the sAC-dependent cAMP pools within mitochondria leads to mitochondrial dysfunction and pathology. In this review, we discuss the available data concerning the role of sAC in regulating mitochondrial biology in relation to diseases.
    Keywords:  EPAC; OXPHOS; PKA; apoptosis; cAMP; mitochondrial biogenesis; mitochondrial dynamics; mitophagy; soluble adenylyl cyclase
  28. Biochem Biophys Rep. 2021 Jul;26 100931
      Changes in mitochondrial DNA (mt-DNA) copy number in blood/tissue have been linked to increased risk of several cancers; however, studies on their association in breast cancer is still lacking. In this pilot study, we investigated mt-DNA copy number variation in peripheral blood and tissue samples from metastatic breast cancer patients and compared their differences. For the study, peripheral blood samples from non-cancer individuals (control) and breast cancer patients, along with resected tissues from adjacent and tumor sites from same breast cancer patients were collected. Total genomic DNA was isolated and changes in mt-DNA copy number were measured by relative quantification using SYBR green based quantitative real time PCR method. Our results indicated a significant reduction in mt-DNA copy number in blood samples of breast cancer patients compared to control. However, a significantly higher mt-DNA copy number was observed in tumor tissue when compared with paired non tumor tissue. There was no significant difference in mt-DNA copy number between blood and adjacent tumor tissue samples of the breast cancer patients. Overall, our study reports for the first time a comparison of mt-DNA copy number in blood and paired tissue together and suggested that mt-DNA copy number is differentially regulated in blood and tumor tissues in breast cancer.
    Keywords:  Breast cancer; Metastasis; Mitochondria; Mitochondrial DNA copy Number
  29. Free Radic Biol Med. 2021 Mar 02. pii: S0891-5849(21)00137-4. [Epub ahead of print]
      Coenzyme Q (CoQ) is a redox active lipid that plays a central in cellular homeostasis. It was discovered more than 60 years ago because of its role as electron transporter in the mitochondrial respiratory chain. Since then it has become evident that CoQ has many other functions, not directly related to bioenergetics. It is a cofactor of several mitochondrial dehydrogenases involved in the metabolism of lipids, amino acids, and nucleotides, and in sulfide detoxification. It is a powerful antioxidant and it is involved in the control of programmed cell death by modulating both apoptosis and ferroptosis. CoQ deficiency is a clinically and genetically heterogeneous group of disorders characterized by impairment of CoQ biosynthesis. CoQ deficient patients display defects in cellular bioenergetics, but also in the other pathways in which CoQ is involved. In this review we will focus on the functions of CoQ not directly related to the respiratory chain, and on how their impairment is relevant for the pathophysiology of CoQ deficiency. A better understanding of the complex set of events triggered by CoQ deficiency will allow to design novel approaches for the treatment of this condition.
    Keywords:  Apoptosis; Coenzyme Q; Coenzyme Q deficiency; Ferroptosis; Mitochondrial dehydrogenases; ROS; Sulfide detoxification
  30. J Biol Chem. 2021 Mar 01. pii: S0021-9258(21)00259-3. [Epub ahead of print] 100485
      Copper is essential for the activity and stability of cytochrome c oxidase (CcO), the terminal enzyme of the mitochondrial respiratory chain. Loss-of-function mutations in genes required for copper transport to CcO result in fatal human disorders. Despite the fundamental importance of copper in mitochondrial and organismal physiology, systematic identification of genes that regulate mitochondrial copper homeostasis is lacking. To discover these genes, we performed a genome-wide screen using a library of DNA-barcoded yeast deletion mutants grown in copper-supplemented media. Our screen recovered a number of genes known to be involved in cellular copper homeostasis as well as genes previously not linked to mitochondrial copper biology. These newly identified genes include the subunits of the adaptor protein 3 complex (AP-3) and components of the cellular pH-sensing pathway Rim20 and Rim21, both of which are known to affect vacuolar function. We find that AP-3 and Rim mutants exhibit decreased vacuolar acidity, which in turn perturbs mitochondrial copper homeostasis and CcO function. CcO activity of these mutants could be rescued by either restoring vacuolar pH or by supplementing growth media with additional copper. Consistent with these genetic data, pharmacological inhibition of the vacuolar proton pump leads to decreased mitochondrial copper content and a concomitant decrease in CcO abundance and activity. Taken together, our study uncovered novel genetic regulators of mitochondrial copper homeostasis and provided a mechanism by which vacuolar pH impacts mitochondrial respiration through copper homeostasis.
    Keywords:  AP-3; Copper; Rim20; Rim21; cytochrome c oxidase; mitochondria; pH; vacuole
  31. Physiol Rep. 2021 Mar;9(5): e14769
      Mitochondria play a principal role in metabolism, and mitochondrial respiration is an important process for producing adenosine triphosphate. Recently, we showed the possibility that the muscle-specific protein myoglobin (Mb) interacts with mitochondrial complex IV to augment the respiration capacity in skeletal muscles. However, the precise mechanism for the Mb-mediated upregulation remains under debate. The aim of this study was to ascertain whether Mb is truly integrated into the mitochondria of skeletal muscle and to investigate the submitochondrial localization. Isolated mitochondria from rat gastrocnemius muscle were subjected to different proteinase K (PK) concentrations to digest proteins interacting with the outer membrane. Western blotting analysis revealed that the PK digested translocase of outer mitochondrial membrane 20 (Tom20), and the immunoreactivity of Tom20 decreased with the amount of PK used. However, the immunoreactivity of Mb with PK treatment was better preserved, indicating that Mb is integrated into the mitochondria of skeletal muscle. The mitochondrial protease protection assay experiments suggested that Mb localizes within the mitochondria in the inner membrane from the intermembrane space side. These results strongly suggest that Mb inside muscle mitochondria could be implicated in the regulation of mitochondrial respiration via complex IV.
    Keywords:  myoglobin; proteinase K; skeletal muscle; submitochondrial localization
  32. EMBO Mol Med. 2021 Mar 05. e12461
      By accentuating drug efficacy and impeding resistance mechanisms, combinatorial, multi-agent therapies have emerged as key approaches in the treatment of complex diseases, most notably cancer. Using high-throughput drug screens, we uncovered distinct metabolic vulnerabilities and thereby identified drug combinations synergistically causing a starvation-like lethal catabolic response in tumor cells from different cancer entities. Domperidone, a dopamine receptor antagonist, as well as several tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), including imipramine, induced cancer cell death in combination with the mitochondrial uncoupler niclosamide ethanolamine (NEN) through activation of the integrated stress response pathway and the catabolic CLEAR network. Using transcriptome and metabolome analyses, we characterized a combinatorial response, mainly driven by the transcription factors CHOP and TFE3, which resulted in cell death through enhanced pyrimidine catabolism as well as reduced pyrimidine synthesis. Remarkably, the drug combinations sensitized human organoid cultures to the standard-of-care chemotherapy paclitaxel. Thus, our combinatorial approach could be clinically implemented into established treatment regimen, which would be further facilitated by the advantages of drug repurposing.
    Keywords:  cancer metabolism; integrated stress response; metabolic vulnerabilities; pyrimidine metabolism; tricyclic antidepressants
  33. PLoS Pathog. 2021 Mar 01. 17(3): e1009204
      Trypanosoma brucei, a protist responsible for human African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), is transmitted by the tsetse fly where the procyclic forms of the parasite develop in the proline-rich (1-2 mM) and glucose-depleted digestive tract. Proline is essential for the midgut colonization of the parasite in the insect vector, however other carbon sources could be available and used to feed its central metabolism. Here we show that procyclic trypanosomes can consume and metabolize metabolic intermediates, including those excreted from glucose catabolism (succinate, alanine and pyruvate), with the exception of acetate, which is the ultimate end-product excreted by the parasite. Among the tested metabolites, tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle intermediates (succinate, malate and α-ketoglutarate) stimulated growth of the parasite in the presence of 2 mM proline. The pathways used for their metabolism were mapped by proton-NMR metabolic profiling and phenotypic analyses of thirteen RNAi and/or null mutants affecting central carbon metabolism. We showed that (i) malate is converted to succinate by both the reducing and oxidative branches of the TCA cycle, which demonstrates that procyclic trypanosomes can use the full TCA cycle, (ii) the enormous rate of α-ketoglutarate consumption (15-times higher than glucose) is possible thanks to the balanced production and consumption of NADH at the substrate level and (iii) α-ketoglutarate is toxic for trypanosomes if not appropriately metabolized as observed for an α-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase null mutant. In addition, epimastigotes produced from procyclics upon overexpression of RBP6 showed a growth defect in the presence of 2 mM proline, which is rescued by α-ketoglutarate, suggesting that physiological amounts of proline are not sufficient per se for the development of trypanosomes in the fly. In conclusion, these data show that trypanosomes can metabolize multiple metabolites, in addition to proline, which allows them to confront challenging environments in the fly.
  34. Dev Cell. 2021 Feb 24. pii: S1534-5807(21)00120-9. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitochondria are essential organelles that execute and coordinate various metabolic processes in the cell. Mitochondrial dysfunction severely affects cell fitness and contributes to disease. Proper organellar function depends on the biogenesis and maintenance of mitochondria and its >1,000 proteins. As a result, the cell has evolved mechanisms to coordinate protein and organellar quality control, such as the turnover of proteins via mitochondria-associated degradation, the ubiquitin-proteasome system, and mitoproteases, as well as the elimination of mitochondria through mitophagy. Specific quality control mechanisms are engaged depending upon the nature and severity of mitochondrial dysfunction, which can also feed back to elicit transcriptional or proteomic remodeling by the cell. Here, we will discuss the current understanding of how these different quality control mechanisms are integrated and overlap to maintain protein and organellar quality and how they may be relevant for cellular and organismal health.
    Keywords:  ISR; MDVs; UPRmt; UPS; mitochondria; mitochondrial dynamics; mitophagy; mitoproteases
  35. Nat Commun. 2021 Mar 05. 12(1): 1482
      Immune evasion is a hallmark of KRAS-driven cancers, but the underlying causes remain unresolved. Here, we use a mouse model of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma to inactivate KRAS by CRISPR-mediated genome editing. We demonstrate that at an advanced tumor stage, dependence on KRAS for tumor growth is reduced and is manifested in the suppression of antitumor immunity. KRAS-deficient cells retain the ability to form tumors in immunodeficient mice. However, they fail to evade the host immune system in syngeneic wild-type mice, triggering strong antitumor response. We uncover changes both in tumor cells and host immune cells attributable to oncogenic KRAS expression. We identify BRAF and MYC as key mediators of KRAS-driven tumor immune suppression and show that loss of BRAF effectively blocks tumor growth in mice. Applying our results to human PDAC we show that lowering KRAS activity is likewise associated with a more vigorous immune environment.
  36. Dis Model Mech. 2021 Mar 02. pii: dmm.047746. [Epub ahead of print]
      Comprehensive metabolomic and lipidomic mass spectrometry methods are in increasing demand, for instance in research related to nutrition and aging. The nematode C. elegans is a key model organism in these fields, due to the large repository of available C. elegans mutants and their convenient natural lifespan. Here, we describe a robust and sensitive analytical method for the semi-quantitative analysis of >100 polar (metabolomics) and >1000 apolar (lipidomics) metabolites in C. elegans, using a single sample preparation. Our method is capable of reliably detecting a wide variety of biologically relevant metabolic aberrations in, for instance, glycolysis and the TCA cycle, pyrimidine metabolism and complex lipid biosynthesis. In conclusion, we provide a powerful analytical tool that maximizes metabolic data yield from a single sample.
    Keywords:  C. elegans; Lipidomics; Metabolism; Metabolomics
  37. J Biol Chem. 2021 Feb 25. pii: S0021-9258(21)00248-9. [Epub ahead of print] 100474
      Respiratory complex I (NADH:ubiquinone oxidoreductase), the first enzyme of the electron-transport chain, captures the free energy released by NADH oxidation and ubiquinone reduction to translocate protons across an energy-transducing membrane and drive ATP synthesis during oxidative phosphorylation. The cofactor that transfers the electrons directly to ubiquinone is an iron-sulfur cluster (N2) located in the NDUFS2/NUCM subunit. A nearby arginine residue (R121), which forms part of the second coordination sphere of the N2 cluster, is known to be post-translationally dimethylated but its functional and structural significance are not known. Here, we show that mutations of this arginine residue (R121M/K) abolish the quinone-reductase activity, concomitant with disappearance of the N2 signature from the electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectrum. Analysis of the cryo-EM structure of NDUFS2-R121M complex I at 3.7 Å resolution identified the absence of the cubane N2 cluster as the cause of the dysfunction, within an otherwise intact enzyme. The mutation further induced localised disorder in nearby elements of the quinone-binding site, consistent with the close connections between the cluster and substrate-binding regions. Our results demonstrate that R121 is required for the formation and/or stability of the N2 cluster, and highlight the importance of structural analyses for mechanistic interpretation of biochemical and spectroscopic data on complex I variants.
    Keywords:  Complex I; NADH:ubiquinone oxidoreductase; Yarrowia lipolytica; cryo‐electron microscopy; dimethyl-arginine; electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR); iron‐sulfur cluster
  38. Cell Metab. 2021 Mar 02. pii: S1550-4131(21)00065-6. [Epub ahead of print]33(3): 458-461
  39. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 Mar 09. pii: e2017089118. [Epub ahead of print]118(10):
      Infiltration of tumor-promoting immune cells is a strong driver of tumor progression. Especially the accumulation of macrophages in the tumor microenvironment is known to facilitate tumor growth and to correlate with poor prognosis in many tumor types. TAp73, a member of the p53/p63/p73 family, acts as a tumor suppressor and has been shown to suppress tumor angiogenesis. However, what role TAp73 has in regulating immune cell infiltration is unknown. Here, we report that low levels of TAp73 correlate with an increased NF-κB-regulated inflammatory signature in breast cancer. Furthermore, we show that loss of TAp73 results in NF-κB hyperactivation and secretion of Ccl2, a known NF-κB target and chemoattractant for monocytes and macrophages. Importantly, TAp73-deficient tumors display an increased accumulation of protumoral macrophages that express the mannose receptor (CD206) and scavenger receptor A (CD204) compared to controls. The relevance of TAp73 expression in human breast carcinoma was further accentuated by revealing that TAp73 expression correlates negatively with the accumulation of protumoral CD163+ macrophages in breast cancer patient samples. Taken together, our findings suggest that TAp73 regulates macrophage accumulation and phenotype in breast cancer through inhibition of the NF-κB pathway.
    Keywords:  NF-κB; breast cancer; p73; tumor-associated macrophages
  40. Cell Metab. 2021 Mar 02. pii: S1550-4131(21)00067-X. [Epub ahead of print]33(3): 462-463
      Obesity is a risk factor for many cancers. Maguire et al. (2021) found increased creatine synthesis by the adipocytes adjacent to breast cancers in obese mice. The creatine is transported into the cancer cells, producing larger tumors, possibly due to greater energy availability.
  41. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Feb 14. pii: 1870. [Epub ahead of print]22(4):
      Pancreatic cancer remains intractable owing to the lack of effective therapy for unresectable cases. Activating mutations of K-ras are frequently found in pancreatic cancers, but these have not yet been targeted by cancer therapies. The Keap1-Nrf2 system plays a crucial role in mediating the oxidative stress response, which also contributes to cancer progression. Nrf2 activation reprograms the metabolic profile to promote the proliferation of cancer cells. A recent report suggested that K-ras- and Nrf2-active lung cancer cells are sensitive to glutamine depletion. This finding led to the recognition of glutaminase inhibitors as novel anticancer agents. In the current study, we used murine pancreatic cancer tissues driven by mutant K-ras and p53 to establish cell lines expressing constitutively activated Nrf2. Genetic or pharmacological Nrf2 activation in cells via Keap1 deletion or Nrf2 activation sensitized cells to glutaminase inhibition. This phenomenon was confirmed to be dependent on K-ras activation in human pancreatic cancer cell lines harboring mutant K-ras, i.e., Panc-1 and MiaPaCa-2 in response to DEM pretreatment. This phenomenon was not observed in BxPC3 cells harboring wildtype K-ras. These results indicate the possibility of employing Nrf2 activation and glutaminase inhibition as novel therapeutic interventions for K-ras mutant pancreatic cancers.
    Keywords:  BPTES; CB-839; Keap1; Nrf2; glutaminase
  42. Trends Cell Biol. 2021 Mar 02. pii: S0962-8924(21)00030-1. [Epub ahead of print]
      Peroxisomes are involved in multiple metabolic processes, including fatty acid oxidation, ether lipid synthesis, and reactive oxygen species (ROS) metabolism. Recent studies suggest that peroxisomes are critical mediators of cellular responses to various forms of stress, including oxidative stress, hypoxia, starvation, cold exposure, and noise. As dynamic organelles, peroxisomes can modulate their proliferation, morphology, and movement within cells, and engage in crosstalk with other organelles in response to external cues. Although peroxisome-derived hydrogen peroxide has a key role in cellular signaling related to stress, emerging studies suggest that other products of peroxisomal metabolism, such as acetyl-CoA and ether lipids, are also important for metabolic adaptation to stress. Here, we review molecular mechanisms through which peroxisomes regulate metabolic and environmental stress.
    Keywords:  ether lipid; lipid metabolism; peroxisome; plasmalogen; reactive oxygen species; stress
  43. Clin Nutr. 2021 Feb 17. pii: S0261-5614(21)00086-8. [Epub ahead of print]
      In evolution, genes survived that could code for metabolic pathways, promoting long term survival during famines or fasting when suffering from trauma, disease or during physiological growth. This requires utilization of substrates, already present in some form in the body. Carbohydrate stores are limited and to survive long, their utilization is restricted to survival pathways, by inhibiting glucose oxidation and glycogen synthesis. This leads to insulin resistance and spares muscle protein, because being the main supplier of carbon for new glucose production. In these survival pathways, part of the glucose is degraded in glycolysis in peripheral (muscle) tissues to pyruvate and lactate (Warburg effect), which are partly reutilized for glucose formation in liver and kidney, completing the Cori-cycle. Another part of the glucose taken up by muscle contributes, together with muscle derived amino acids, to the production of substrates consisting of a complete amino acid mix but extra non-essential amino acids like glutamine, alanine, glycine and proline. These support cell proliferation, matrix deposition and redox regulation in tissues, specifically active in host response and during growth. In these tissues, also glucose is taken up delivering glycolytic intermediates, that branch off and act as building blocks and produce reducing equivalents. Lactate is also produced and released in the circulation, adding to the lactate released by muscle in the Cori-cycle and completing secondary glucose cycles. Increased fluxes through these cycles lead to modest hyperglycemia and hyperlactatemia in states of healthy growth and disease and are often misinterpreted as induced by hypoxia.
    Keywords:  Cori-cycle; Growth; Inflammation; Insulin resistance; Trauma/Disease; Warburg effect
  44. Nature. 2021 Mar 03.
    Keywords:  Cell biology; Evolution; Microbiology
  45. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2021 Mar 03.
      Cancer is a clonal disease, i.e. all tumor cells within a malignant lesion trace their lineage back to a precursor somatic cell that acquired oncogenic mutations during development and aging. And yet, those tumor cells tend to have genetic and non-genetic variations among themselves - which is denoted as intra-tumor heterogeneity. While some of these variations are inconsequential, others tend to contribute to cell state transition and phenotypic heterogeneity, providing a substrate for somatic evolution. Tumor cell phenotypes can dynamically change under the influence of genetic mutations, epigenetic modifications, and microenvironmental contexts. While epigenetic and microenvironmental changes are adaptive, genetic mutations are usually considered permanent. Emerging reports suggest that certain classes of genetic alterations show extensive reversibility in tumors in clinically relevant timescales, contributing as major drivers of dynamic intra-tumor heterogeneity and phenotypic plasticity. Dynamic heterogeneity and phenotypic plasticity can confer resistance to treatment, promote metastasis and enhance evolvability in cancer. Here we first highlight recent efforts to characterize intra-tumor heterogeneity at genetic, epigenetic, and microenvironmental levels. We then discuss phenotypic plasticity and cell state transition by tumor cells, under the influence of genetic and non-genetic determinants and their clinical significance in classification of tumors and therapeutic decision-making.
    Keywords:  Cancer evolution; Cell state transition; Drug resistance; Intra-tumor heterogeneity; Phenotypic plasticity
  46. Metabolites. 2021 Feb 26. pii: 141. [Epub ahead of print]11(3):
      Cholesterol is a non-essential metabolite that exerts both structural and signaling functions. However, cholesterol biosynthesis is elevated, and actively supports, pancreatic carcinogenesis. Our previous work showed that statins block the reprogramming of mutant KRAS-expressing acinar cells, that spontaneously undergo a metaplastic event termed acinar-to-ductal metaplasia (ADM) to initiate carcinogenesis. Here we tested the impact of cholesterol supplementation on isolated primary wild-type acinar cells and observed enhanced ductal transdifferentiation, associated with generation of the second messenger cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) and the induction of downstream protein kinase A (PKA). Inhibition of PKA suppresses cholesterol-induced ADM ex vivo. Live imaging using fluorescent biosensors dissected the temporal and spatial dynamics of PKA activation upon cholesterol addition and showed uneven activation both in the cytosol and on the outer mitochondrial membrane of primary pancreatic acinar cells. The ability of cholesterol to activate cAMP signaling is lost in tumor cells. Qualitative examination of multiple normal and transformed cell lines supports the notion that the cAMP/PKA axis plays different roles during multi-step pancreatic carcinogenesis. Collectively, our findings describe the impact of cholesterol availability on the cyclic AMP/PKA axis and plasticity of pancreatic acinar cells.
    Keywords:  acinar-to-ductal metaplasia (ADM); cholesterol; cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP); protein kinase A (PKA)
  47. Nat Commun. 2021 03 03. 12(1): 1419
      Epigenetic mechanisms contribute to the initiation and development of cancer, and epigenetic variation promotes dynamic gene expression patterns that facilitate tumor evolution and adaptation. While the NCI-60 panel represents a diverse set of human cancer cell lines that has been used to screen chemical compounds, a comprehensive epigenomic atlas of these cells has been lacking. Here, we report an integrative analysis of 60 human cancer epigenomes, representing a catalog of activating and repressive histone modifications. We identify genome-wide maps of canonical sharp and broad H3K4me3 domains at promoter regions of tumor suppressors, H3K27ac-marked conventional enhancers and super enhancers, and widespread inter-cancer and intra-cancer specific variability in H3K9me3 and H4K20me3-marked heterochromatin domains. Furthermore, we identify features of chromatin states, including chromatin state switching along chromosomes, correlation of histone modification density with genetic mutations, DNA methylation, enrichment of DNA binding motifs in regulatory regions, and gene activity and inactivity. These findings underscore the importance of integrating epigenomic maps with gene expression and genetic variation data to understand the molecular basis of human cancer. Our findings provide a resource for mining epigenomic maps of human cancer cells and for identifying epigenetic therapeutic targets.
  48. Amino Acids. 2021 Mar 02.
      Glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) is a moonlighting protein exhibiting distinct activities apart from its classical role in glycolysis. Regulation of its moonlighting functions and its subcellular localization may be dependent on its posttranslational modification (PTM). The latter include its phosphorylation, which is required for its role in intermembrane trafficking, synaptic transmission and cancer survival; nitrosylation, which is required for its function in apoptosis, heme metabolism and the immune response; acetylation which is necessary for its modulation of apoptotic gene regulation; and N-acetylglucosamine modification which may induce changes in GAPDH oligomeric structure. These findings suggest a structure function relationship between GAPDH posttranslational modification and its diverse moonlighting activities.
    Keywords:  Apoptosis; Glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase; Heme; Moonlighting protein; Posttranslational modification
  49. Open Biol. 2021 Mar;11(3): 210004
      Infections cause 13% of all cancers globally, and DNA tumour viruses account for almost 60% of these cancers. All viruses are obligate intracellular parasites and hijack host cell functions to replicate and complete their life cycles to produce progeny virions. While many aspects of viral manipulation of host cells have been studied, how DNA tumour viruses manipulate host cell metabolism and whether metabolic alterations in the virus life cycle contribute to carcinogenesis are not well understood. In this review, we compare the differences in central carbon and fatty acid metabolism in host cells following infection, oncogenic transformation, and virus-driven cancer of DNA tumour viruses including: Epstein-Barr virus, hepatitis B virus, human papillomavirus, Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus and Merkel cell polyomavirus.
    Keywords:  central carbon; lipid; metabolism; oncogenic DNA viruses; virus–host interactions
  50. Nature. 2021 Mar 03.
      Mitochondria are specialized eukaryotic organelles that have a dedicated function in oxygen respiration and energy production. They evolved about 2 billion years ago from a free-living bacterial ancestor (probably an alphaproteobacterium), in a process known as endosymbiosis1,2. Many unicellular eukaryotes have since adapted to life in anoxic habitats and their mitochondria have undergone further reductive evolution3. As a result, obligate anaerobic eukaryotes with mitochondrial remnants derive their energy mostly from fermentation4. Here we describe 'Candidatus Azoamicus ciliaticola', which is an obligate endosymbiont of an anaerobic ciliate and has a dedicated role in respiration and providing energy for its eukaryotic host. 'Candidatus A. ciliaticola' contains a highly reduced 0.29-Mb genome that encodes core genes for central information processing, the electron transport chain, a truncated tricarboxylic acid cycle, ATP generation and iron-sulfur cluster biosynthesis. The genome encodes a respiratory denitrification pathway instead of aerobic terminal oxidases, which enables its host to breathe nitrate instead of oxygen. 'Candidatus A. ciliaticola' and its ciliate host represent an example of a symbiosis that is based on the transfer of energy in the form of ATP, rather than nutrition. This discovery raises the possibility that eukaryotes with mitochondrial remnants may secondarily acquire energy-providing endosymbionts to complement or replace functions of their mitochondria.
  51. Nat Cancer. 2021 Feb;2(2): 174-188
      Glioblastoma (GBM) is a devastating human malignancy. GBM stem-like cells (GSCs) drive tumor initiation and progression. Yet, the molecular determinants defining GSCs in their native state in patients remain poorly understood. Here we used single cell datasets and identified GSCs at the apex of the differentiation hierarchy of GBM. By reconstructing the GSCs' regulatory network, we identified the YAP/TAZ coactivators as master regulators of this cell state, irrespectively of GBM subtypes. YAP/TAZ are required to install GSC properties in primary cells downstream of multiple oncogenic lesions, and required for tumor initiation and maintenance in vivo in different mouse and human GBM models. YAP/TAZ act as main roadblock of GSC differentiation and their inhibition irreversibly lock differentiated GBM cells into a non-tumorigenic state, preventing plasticity and regeneration of GSC-like cells. Thus, GSC identity is linked to a key molecular hub integrating genetics and microenvironmental inputs within the multifaceted biology of GBM.
  52. Nat Methods. 2021 Mar 01.
      The architecture of chromatin regulates eukaryotic cell states by controlling transcription factor access to sites of gene regulation. Here we describe a dual transposase-peroxidase approach, integrative DNA and protein tagging (iDAPT), which detects both DNA (iDAPT-seq) and protein (iDAPT-MS) associated with accessible regions of chromatin. In addition to direct identification of bound transcription factors, iDAPT enables the inference of their gene regulatory networks, protein interactors and regulation of chromatin accessibility. We applied iDAPT to profile the epigenomic consequences of granulocytic differentiation of acute promyelocytic leukemia, yielding previously undescribed mechanistic insights. Our findings demonstrate the power of iDAPT as a platform for studying the dynamic epigenomic landscapes and their transcription factor components associated with biological phenomena and disease.
  53. Blood. 2021 Mar 04. pii: blood.2020009063. [Epub ahead of print]
      The pathophysiology of sickle cell disease (SCD) is driven by chronic inflammation. We show that elevated cell-free DNA (cfDNA) in SCD patients is not just a prognostic biomarker but contributes to the pathological inflammation. Within the elevated cfDNA, SCD patients had significantly higher proportion of mitochondrial (cf-mtDNA) to nuclear cfDNA (cf-nDNA) compared to healthy controls. Additionally, mtDNA in patient samples showed significant disproportionately increased hypomethylation compared to healthy controls, that was further increased in crises when compared to steady-state. Using flow cytometry, structured illumination microscopy and electron microscopy, we showed that circulating SCD red blood cells abnormally retained their mitochondria, and thus likely to be the source of the elevated cf-mtDNA in SCD patients. Patient plasma containing high levels of cf-mtDNA triggered formation of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) that was substantially reduced by inhibition of TANK-binding kinase 1 (TBK1) implicating activation of the cGAS-STING pathway. cf-mtDNA is an erythrocytic-DAMP, highlighting an underappreciated role of mitochondria in sickle pathology. identifiers: #NCT00081523, #NCT03049475, #NCT00047996.
  54. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2021 Mar 03.
      Transfer RNA (tRNA) is an adapter molecule that links a specific codon in mRNA with its corresponding amino acid during protein synthesis. tRNAs are enzymatically modified post-transcriptionally. A wide variety of tRNA modifications are found in the tRNA anticodon, which are crucial for precise codon recognition and reading frame maintenance, thereby ensuring accurate and efficient protein synthesis. In addition, tRNA-body regions are also frequently modified and thus stabilized in the cell. Over the past two decades, 16 novel tRNA modifications were discovered in various organisms, and the chemical space of tRNA modification continues to expand. Recent studies have revealed that tRNA modifications can be dynamically altered in response to levels of cellular metabolites and environmental stresses. Importantly, we now understand that deficiencies in tRNA modification can have pathological consequences, which are termed 'RNA modopathies'. Dysregulation of tRNA modification is involved in mitochondrial diseases, neurological disorders and cancer.
  55. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Feb 28. pii: 1007. [Epub ahead of print]13(5):
      (1) Background: metastatic relapse following a prolonged period of disease-free survival is a common cause of mortality for many cancer patients. Disseminated dormant cancer cells (DDCCs) lie below the radar before waking up years, or even decades, after the removal of the primary tumor. This implies that they are able to survive in a latent state in a foreign environment for an extended period of time supported by intrinsic and extrinsic factors still to be elucidated. (2) Methods: we employed a coculture of DDCCs with lung epithelial cells together with RNA sequencing analysis to understand the overlap in gene transcription between in vivo and cocultured DDCCs. (3) Results: we found a significant overlap between the processes activated in DDCCs from lungs and in the coculture, as well as in alveolar type I cells in vivo and in coculture. We identified the transcription factor EB (TFEB)-lysosomal axis as a relevant process activated in DDCCs upon dissemination to the lung and confirmed the results in our lung coculture. Interestingly, breast cancer patients with a higher expression of TFEB targets show increased likelihood of developing relapses. (4) Conclusions: we propose that lysosomal accumulation following TFEB activation is an important feature of breast cancer DDCCs that might be exploited for future therapeutic interventions.
    Keywords:  TFEB; dormancy; in vitro models; lysosomes; organotypic systems; tumor microenvironment
  56. Trends Cell Biol. 2021 Feb 26. pii: S0962-8924(21)00026-X. [Epub ahead of print]
      The balance between self-renewal and differentiation of intestinal stem cells is essential for intestinal epithelial homeostasis, which can be regulated by dietary cues. Recent evidences indicate that metabolic pathways sense changes in nutritional status to control stem cell fate, which may provide new clues for the prevention of intestinal diseases.
    Keywords:  differentiation, nutrition; intestinal stem cells; metabolic pathways; self-renewal
  57. Circulation. 2021 Mar 05.
      Background: Cyanotic congenital heart disease (CCHD) is a complex pathophysiological condition involving systemic chronic hypoxia (CH). Some CCHD patients are unoperated due to various reasons and remain chronically hypoxic throughout their lives, which heightens the risk of heart failure as they age. Hypoxia activates cellular metabolic adaptation to balance energy demands by accumulating hypoxia-inducible factor 1-α (HIF-1α). This study aims to determine the effect of CH on cardiac metabolism and function in CCHD patients and its association with age. The role of HIF-1α in this process was investigated and potential therapeutic targets were explored. Methods: CCHD patients (n = 25) were evaluated for cardiac metabolism and function using positron-emission tomography/computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging. Heart tissue samples were subjected to metabolomic and protein analyses. CH rodent models were generated to enable continuous observation of changes in cardiac metabolism and function. The role of HIF-1α in cardiac metabolic adaptation to CH was investigated using genetically modified animals and isotope-labeled metabolomic-pathway tracing studies. Results: Prepubertal CCHD patients had glucose-dominant cardiac metabolism and normal cardiac function. By comparison, among patients who had entered puberty, the levels of myocardial glucose uptake and glycolytic intermediates were significantly decreased, but fatty acids were significantly increased, along with decreased left-ventricular ejection fraction. These clinical phenotypes were replicated in CH rodent models. In CCHD patients and animals exposed to CH, myocardial HIF-1α was upregulated prior to puberty, but was significantly downregulated during puberty. In cardiomyocyte-specific Hif-1α-knockout mice, CH failed to initiate the switch of myocardial substrates from fatty acids to glucose, thereby inhibiting ATP production and impairing cardiac function. Increased insulin resistance (IR) during puberty suppressed myocardial HIF-1α and was responsible for cardiac metabolic maladaptation in animals exposed to CH. Pioglitazone significantly reduced myocardial IR, restored glucose metabolism, and improved cardiac function in pubertal CH animals. Conclusions: In CCHD patients, maladaptation of cardiac metabolism occurred during puberty, along with impaired cardiac function. HIF-1α was identified as the key regulator of cardiac metabolic adaptation in animals exposed to CH, and pubertal IR could suppress its expression. Pioglitazone administration during puberty might help improve cardiac function in CCHD patients.
    Keywords:  Cyanotic congenital heart disease; chronic hypoxia; metabolic adaptation; pioglitazone
  58. Genomics Proteomics Bioinformatics. 2021 Feb 26. pii: S1672-0229(21)00039-5. [Epub ahead of print]
      Clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) is a frequently occurring renal cancer. Von Hippel-Lindau disease tumor suppressor (VHL), a known tumor suppressor, is frequently mutated in about 50% of patients with ccRCC. However, it is unclear whether VHL influences the progression of ccRCC tumors expressing wild-type VHL. In the present study, we found that higher expression of VHL was correlated with the better disease-free survival (DFS) in ccRCC patients using The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) datasets. We revealed that VHL overexpression in ccRCC cells inhibited epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), sterol regulatory element-binding protein 1 (SREBP1) regulated triglyceride synthesis, and cell proliferation. Proteomic analysis provided us a global view that VHL regulated four biological processes including metabolism, immune regulation, apoptosis, and cell movement. Importantly, we found that VHL overexpression led to upregulation of proteins associated with antigen processing and interferon-responsive proteins, rendering ccRCC cells with high VHL expression more sensitive to interferon treatment. We defined an interferon-responsive signature (IRS) with ten proteins, whose expression levels were positively correlated with DFS in ccRCC patients. Taken together, our results propose that the subset of ccRCC patients with high VHL expression benefit from immunotherapy.
    Keywords:  Immunogenicity; Interferon; Multi-omics; Renal cancer; VHL
  59. Cell Stem Cell. 2021 Mar 04. pii: S1934-5909(21)00066-7. [Epub ahead of print]28(3): 409-423
      The expanding field of stem cell metabolism has been supported by technical advances in metabolite profiling and novel functional analyses. While use of these methodologies has been fruitful, many challenges are posed by the intricacies of culturing stem cells in vitro, along with the distinctive scarcity of adult tissue stem cells and the complexities of their niches in vivo. This review provides an examination of the methodologies used to characterize stem cell metabolism, highlighting their utility while placing a sharper focus on their limitations and hurdles the field needs to overcome for the optimal study of stem cell metabolic networks.
  60. Nat Commun. 2021 03 02. 12(1): 1394
      N6-methyladenosine (m6A) is a reversible mRNA modification that has been shown to play important roles in various biological processes. However, the roles of m6A modification in macrophages are still unknown. Here, we discover that ablation of Mettl3 in myeloid cells promotes tumour growth and metastasis in vivo. In contrast to wild-type mice, Mettl3-deficient mice show increased M1/M2-like tumour-associated macrophage and regulatory T cell infiltration into tumours. m6A sequencing reveals that loss of METTL3 impairs the YTHDF1-mediated translation of SPRED2, which enhances the activation of NF-kB and STAT3 through the ERK pathway, leading to increased tumour growth and metastasis. Furthermore, the therapeutic efficacy of PD-1 checkpoint blockade is attenuated in Mettl3-deficient mice, identifying METTL3 as a potential therapeutic target for tumour immunotherapy.
  61. Nat Ecol Evol. 2021 Mar 04.
      Bacteria evolve resistance to antibiotics by a multitude of mechanisms. A central, yet unsolved question is how resistance evolution affects cell growth at different drug levels. Here, we develop a fitness model that predicts growth rates of common resistance mutants from their effects on cell metabolism. The model maps metabolic effects of resistance mutations in drug-free environments and under drug challenge; the resulting fitness trade-off defines a Pareto surface of resistance evolution. We predict evolutionary trajectories of growth rates and resistance levels, which characterize Pareto resistance mutations emerging at different drug dosages. We also predict the prevalent resistance mechanism depending on drug and nutrient levels: low-dosage drug defence is mounted by regulation, evolution of distinct metabolic sectors sets in at successive threshold dosages. Evolutionary resistance mechanisms include membrane permeability changes and drug target mutations. These predictions are confirmed by empirical growth inhibition curves and genomic data of Escherichia coli populations. Our results show that resistance evolution, by coupling major metabolic pathways, is strongly intertwined with systems biology and ecology of microbial populations.
  62. J Clin Invest. 2021 Mar 01. pii: 146821. [Epub ahead of print]131(5):
      Lysosomal storage disorders (LSD) are a group of inherited metabolic diseases characterized by lysosomal enzyme deficiency. The cardiac phenotype includes cardiomyopathy with eventual heart failure. Lysosome-mediated degradation processes, such as autophagy, maintain cellular homeostasis by discarding cellular debris and damaged organelles. Under stress, the transcription factor EB (TFEB) moves into the nucleus to activate transcription of lysosome biogenesis and autophagic proteins. In this issue of the JCI, Ikeda et al. report on their exploration of the signaling pathway involved with regulating lysosomal proteins specifically in the heart. The researchers generated a mouse model for LSD that was restricted to cardiac tissue. Unexpectedly, modulation of TFEB alone was insufficient to fully rescue the underlying clearance defect in lysosomal-associated disorders. The authors identified the Yes-associated protein (YAP)/TFEB signaling pathway as a key regulator of autophagosomes. These findings suggest that undigested autophagosomes accumulate and result in the cell death and cardiac dysfunction observed with LSD.
  63. Metabolites. 2021 Feb 13. pii: 109. [Epub ahead of print]11(2):
      Approximately 80% of low-grade glioma (LGGs) harbor mutant isocitrate dehydrogenase 1/2 (IDH1/2) driver mutations leading to accumulation of the oncometabolite 2-hydroxyglutarate (2-HG). Thus, inhibition of mutant IDH is considered a potential therapeutic target. Several mutant IDH inhibitors are currently in clinical trials, including AG-881 and BAY-1436032. However, to date, early detection of response remains a challenge. In this study we used high resolution 1H magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS) to identify early noninvasive MR (Magnetic Resonance)-detectable metabolic biomarkers of response to mutant IDH inhibition. In vivo 1H-MRS was performed on mice orthotopically-implanted with either genetically engineered (U87IDHmut) or patient-derived (BT257 and SF10417) mutant IDH1 cells. Treatment with either AG-881 or BAY-1436032 induced a significant reduction in 2-HG. Moreover, both inhibitors led to a significant early and sustained increase in glutamate and the sum of glutamate and glutamine (GLX) in all three models. A transient early increase in N-acetylaspartate (NAA) was also observed. Importantly, all models demonstrated enhanced animal survival following both treatments and the metabolic alterations were observed prior to any detectable differences in tumor volume between control and treated tumors. Our study therefore identifies potential translatable early metabolic biomarkers of drug delivery, mutant IDH inhibition and glioma response to treatment with emerging clinically relevant therapies.
    Keywords:  1H-MRS; glioma; mutant IDH inhibitor; noninvasive metabolic biomarkers
  64. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Feb 21. pii: 904. [Epub ahead of print]13(4):
      Cancer cells possess specific metabolic requirements for their survival, proliferation, and progression. Within a shared microenvironment, immune cells depend on competing metabolic pathways for their development and effector function. As a result, local acidification, hypoxia, and nutrient depletion in the tumor microenvironment can alter the antitumor immune response and even promote resistance to immunotherapies such as immune checkpoint blockade and adoptive cell transfer. Although T cells are the primary effectors of the antitumor response, growing evidence demonstrates that innate immune cells are critical to successful tumor clearance. This review aims to summarize current research related to the innate immune system, metabolism, and cancer. We first discuss the specific metabolic requirements of innate immune cells for immune activation and suppression and conclude by highlighting ongoing clinical applications of these findings.
    Keywords:  cancer; immunotherapy; innate immunity; metabolism
  65. Oncogene. 2021 Mar 05.
      Metabolic deregulation, a hallmark of cancer, fuels cancer cell growth and metastasis. Here, we show that phosphoserine phosphatase (PSPH), an enzyme of the serine metabolism pathway, is upregulated in patient-derived melanoma samples. PSPH knockdown using short hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) blocks melanoma tumor growth and metastasis in both cell culture and mice. To elucidate the mechanism underlying PSPH action, we evaluated PSPH shRNA-expressing melanoma cells using global metabolomics and targeted mRNA expression profiling. Metabolomics analysis showed an increase in 2-hydroxyglutarate (2-HG) levels in PSPH knockdown cells. 2-HG inhibits the TET family of DNA demethylases and the Jumonji family of histone demethylases (KDM and JMJD), which is known to impact gene expression. Consistent with these data, PSPH knockdown in melanoma cells showed reduced DNA 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) and increased histone H3K4me3 modifications. 2-HG treatment also inhibited melanoma growth. The nCounter PanCancer Pathways Panel-based mRNA expression profiling revealed attenuation of a number of cancer-promoting pathways upon PSPH knockdown. In particular, PSPH was necessary for nuclear receptor NR4A1 expression. Ectopic NR4A1 expression partly rescued the growth of melanoma cells expressing PSPH shRNA. Collectively, these results link PSPH to the facilitation of melanoma growth and metastasis through suppression of 2-HG and thus activation of pro-oncogenic gene expression.
  66. Oncogene. 2021 Mar 02.
      Since their discovery, microRNAs (miRNAs) have been widely studied in almost every aspect of biology and medicine, leading to the identification of important gene regulation circuits and cellular mechanisms. However, investigations are generally focused on the analysis of their downstream targets and biological functions in overexpression and knockdown approaches, while miRNAs endogenous levels and activity remain poorly understood. Here, we used the cellular plasticity-regulating process of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) as a model to show the efficacy of a fluorescent sensor to separate cells with distinct EMT signatures, based on miR-200b/c activity. The system was further combined with a CRISPR-Cas9 screening platform to unbiasedly identify miR-200b/c upstream regulating genes. The sensor allows to infer miRNAs fundamental biological properties, as profiling of sorted cells indicated miR-200b/c as a molecular switch between EMT differentiation and proliferation, and suggested a role for metabolic enzymes in miR-200/EMT regulation. Analysis of miRNAs endogenous levels and activity for in vitro and in vivo applications could lead to a better understanding of their biological role in physiology and disease.
  67. Autophagy. 2021 Mar 03. 1-20
      Ion exchange between intracellular and extracellular spaces is the basic mechanism for controlling cell metabolism and signal transduction. This process is mediated by ion channels and transporters on the plasma membrane, or intracellular membranes that surround various organelles, in response to environmental stimuli. Macroautophagy (hereafter referred to as autophagy) is one of the lysosomal-dependent degradation pathways that maintains homeostasis through the degradation and recycling of cellular components (e.g., dysfunctional proteins and damaged organelles). Although autophagy-related (ATG) proteins play a central role in regulating the formation of autophagy-related member structures (e.g., phagophores, autophagosomes, and autolysosomes), the autophagic process also involves changes in expression and function of ion channels and transporters. Here we discuss current knowledge of the mechanisms that regulate autophagy in mammalian cells, with special attention to the ion channels and transporters. We also highlight prospects for the development of drugs targeting ion channels and transporters in autophagy.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; channels; ion; lysosomes; mitochondria; transporters