bims-camemi Biomed News
on Mitochondrial metabolism in cancer
Issue of 2021‒04‒11
forty-seven papers selected by
Christian Frezza
University of Cambridge, MRC Cancer Unit

  1. Nat Metab. 2021 Apr 08.
      Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) encodes protein subunits and translational machinery required for oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS). Using repurposed whole-exome sequencing data, in the present study we demonstrate that pathogenic mtDNA mutations arise in tumours at a rate comparable to those in the most common cancer driver genes. We identify OXPHOS complexes as critical determinants shaping somatic mtDNA mutation patterns across tumour lineages. Loss-of-function mutations accumulate at an elevated rate specifically in complex I and often arise at specific homopolymeric hotspots. In contrast, complex V is depleted of all non-synonymous mutations, suggesting that impairment of ATP synthesis and mitochondrial membrane potential dissipation are under negative selection. Common truncating mutations and rarer missense alleles are both associated with a pan-lineage transcriptional programme, even in cancer types where mtDNA mutations are comparatively rare. Pathogenic mutations of mtDNA are associated with substantial increases in overall survival of colorectal cancer patients, demonstrating a clear functional relationship between genotype and phenotype. The mitochondrial genome is therefore frequently and functionally disrupted across many cancers, with major implications for patient stratification, prognosis and therapeutic development.
  2. Nat Metab. 2021 Apr 08.
      Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADP+) is vital to produce NADPH, a principal supplier of reducing power for biosynthesis of macromolecules and protection against oxidative stress. NADPH exists in separate pools, in both the cytosol and mitochondria; however, the cellular functions of mitochondrial NADPH are incompletely described. Here, we find that decreasing mitochondrial NADP(H) levels through depletion of NAD kinase 2 (NADK2), an enzyme responsible for production of mitochondrial NADP+, renders cells uniquely proline auxotrophic. Cells with NADK2 deletion fail to synthesize proline, due to mitochondrial NADPH deficiency. We uncover the requirement of mitochondrial NADPH and NADK2 activity for the generation of the pyrroline-5-carboxylate metabolite intermediate as the bottleneck step in the proline biosynthesis pathway. Notably, after NADK2 deletion, proline is required to support nucleotide and protein synthesis, making proline essential for the growth and proliferation of NADK2-deficient cells. Thus, we highlight proline auxotrophy in mammalian cells and discover that mitochondrial NADPH is essential to enable proline biosynthesis.
  3. Mol Cell. 2021 Apr 04. pii: S1097-2765(21)00214-8. [Epub ahead of print]
      Cancer cells adapt their metabolism to support elevated energetic and anabolic demands of proliferation. Folate-dependent one-carbon metabolism is a critical metabolic process underpinning cellular proliferation supplying carbons for the synthesis of nucleotides incorporated into DNA and RNA. Recent research has focused on the nutrients that supply one-carbons to the folate cycle, particularly serine. Tryptophan is a theoretical source of one-carbon units through metabolism by IDO1, an enzyme intensively investigated in the context of tumor immune evasion. Using in vitro and in vivo pancreatic cancer models, we show that IDO1 expression is highly context dependent, influenced by attachment-independent growth and the canonical activator IFNγ. In IDO1-expressing cancer cells, tryptophan is a bona fide one-carbon donor for purine nucleotide synthesis in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, we show that cancer cells release tryptophan-derived formate, which can be used by pancreatic stellate cells to support purine nucleotide synthesis.
    Keywords:  IDO1; IFNγ; PDAC; cancer immunology; cancer metabolism; epacadostat; formate; immunometabolism; immunotherapy; one-carbon metabolism; pancreas; serine; stellate cells; tryptophan; tumor microenvironment
  4. Nature. 2021 Apr 07.
      Cancer cells characteristically consume glucose through Warburg metabolism1, a process that forms the basis of tumour imaging by positron emission tomography (PET). Tumour-infiltrating immune cells also rely on glucose, and impaired immune cell metabolism in the tumour microenvironment (TME) contributes to immune evasion by tumour cells2-4. However, whether the metabolism of immune cells is dysregulated in the TME by cell-intrinsic programs or by competition with cancer cells for limited nutrients remains unclear. Here we used PET tracers to measure the access to and uptake of glucose and glutamine by specific cell subsets in the TME. Notably, myeloid cells had the greatest capacity to take up intratumoral glucose, followed by T cells and cancer cells, across a range of cancer models. By contrast, cancer cells showed the highest uptake of glutamine. This distinct nutrient partitioning was programmed in a cell-intrinsic manner through mTORC1 signalling and the expression of genes related to the metabolism of glucose and glutamine. Inhibiting glutamine uptake enhanced glucose uptake across tumour-resident cell types, showing that glutamine metabolism suppresses glucose uptake without glucose being a limiting factor in the TME. Thus, cell-intrinsic programs drive the preferential acquisition of glucose and glutamine by immune and cancer cells, respectively. Cell-selective partitioning of these nutrients could be exploited to develop therapies and imaging strategies to enhance or monitor the metabolic programs and activities of specific cell populations in the TME.
  5. Sci Adv. 2021 Apr;pii: eabg4544. [Epub ahead of print]7(15):
      The serine/threonine kinase ULK1 mediates autophagy initiation in response to various cellular stresses, and genetic deletion of ULK1 leads to accumulation of damaged mitochondria. Here we identify Parkin, the core ubiquitin ligase in mitophagy, and PARK2 gene product mutated in familial Parkinson's disease, as a ULK1 substrate. Recent studies uncovered a nine residue ("ACT") domain important for Parkin activation, and we demonstrate that AMPK-dependent ULK1 rapidly phosphorylates conserved serine108 in the ACT domain in response to mitochondrial stress. Phosphorylation of Parkin Ser108 occurs maximally within five minutes of mitochondrial damage, unlike activation of PINK1 and TBK1, which is observed thirty to sixty minutes later. Mutation of the ULK1 phosphorylation sites in Parkin, genetic AMPK or ULK1 depletion, or pharmacologic ULK1 inhibition, all lead to delays in Parkin activation and defects in assays of Parkin function and downstream mitophagy events. These findings reveal an unexpected first step in the mitophagy cascade.
  6. EMBO Rep. 2021 Apr 06. e51532
      Ferroptosis has recently attracted much interest because of its relevance to human diseases such as cancer and ischemia-reperfusion injury. We have reported that prolonged severe cold stress induces lipid peroxidation-dependent ferroptosis, but the upstream mechanism remains unknown. Here, using genome-wide CRISPR screening, we found that a mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake regulator, mitochondrial calcium uptake 1 (MICU1), is required for generating lipid peroxide and subsequent ferroptosis under cold stress. Furthermore, the gatekeeping activity of MICU1 through mitochondrial calcium uniporter (MCU) is suggested to be indispensable for cold stress-induced ferroptosis. MICU1 is required for mitochondrial Ca2+ increase, hyperpolarization of the mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP), and subsequent lipid peroxidation under cold stress. Collectively, these findings suggest that the MICU1-dependent mitochondrial Ca2+ homeostasis-MMP hyperpolarization axis is involved in cold stress-induced lipid peroxidation and ferroptosis.
    Keywords:  CRISPR screening; Ca2+; MICU1; cold stress-induced ferroptosis; mitochondria
  7. Biochem Pharmacol. 2021 Mar 31. pii: S0006-2952(21)00133-7. [Epub ahead of print] 114537
      Mitochondria are a major source of ATP provision as well as cellular suicidal weapon store. Accumulating evidences demonstrate that mitochondrial bioenergetics, biosynthesis and signaling are important mediators of tumorigenesis. Metabolic plasticity enables cancer cell reprogramming to cope with cellular and environmental alterations, a process requires mitochondria biology. Mitochondrial metabolism emerges to be a promising arena for cancer therapeutic targets. The permeability transition pore (PTP) participates in physiological Ca2+ and ROS homeostasis as well as cell death depending on the open state. The hypothesis that PTP forms from F-ATP synthase provide clues to the potential collaborative role of mitochondrial respiration and PTP in regulating cancer cell fate and metabolic reprogramming.
    Keywords:  Ca(2+); F-ATP synthase; PTP; ROS; cancer; metabolic reprogramming; mitochondria; permeability transition
  8. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 Mar 16. pii: e2021073118. [Epub ahead of print]118(11):
      White adipose tissue (WAT) is a key regulator of systemic energy metabolism, and impaired WAT plasticity characterized by enlargement of preexisting adipocytes associates with WAT dysfunction, obesity, and metabolic complications. However, the mechanisms that retain proper adipose tissue plasticity required for metabolic fitness are unclear. Here, we comprehensively showed that adipocyte-specific DNA methylation, manifested in enhancers and CTCF sites, directs distal enhancer-mediated transcriptomic features required to conserve metabolic functions of white adipocytes. Particularly, genetic ablation of adipocyte Dnmt1, the major methylation writer, led to increased adiposity characterized by increased adipocyte hypertrophy along with reduced expansion of adipocyte precursors (APs). These effects of Dnmt1 deficiency provoked systemic hyperlipidemia and impaired energy metabolism both in lean and obese mice. Mechanistically, Dnmt1 deficiency abrogated mitochondrial bioenergetics by inhibiting mitochondrial fission and promoted aberrant lipid metabolism in adipocytes, rendering adipocyte hypertrophy and WAT dysfunction. Dnmt1-dependent DNA methylation prevented aberrant CTCF binding and, in turn, sustained the proper chromosome architecture to permit interactions between enhancer and dynamin-1-like protein gene Dnm1l (Drp1) in adipocytes. Also, adipose DNMT1 expression inversely correlated with adiposity and markers of metabolic health but positively correlated with AP-specific markers in obese human subjects. Thus, these findings support strategies utilizing Dnmt1 action on mitochondrial bioenergetics in adipocytes to combat obesity and related metabolic pathology.
    Keywords:  DNA methylation; adiposity; chromosome structure; metabolic disease; mitochondria
  9. FEBS Lett. 2021 Apr 10.
      Mitochondria play a key role in cellular signalling, metabolism and energetics. Proper architecture and remodelling of the inner mitochondrial membrane are essential for efficient respiration, apoptosis and quality control in the cell. Several protein complexes including mitochondrial contact site and cristae organising system (MICOS), F1 FO -ATP synthase, and Optic Atrophy 1 (OPA1), facilitate formation, maintenance and stability of cristae membranes. MICOS, the F1 FO -ATP synthase, OPA1 and inner membrane phospholipids such as cardiolipin and phosphatidylethanolamine interact with each other to organise the inner membrane ultra-structure and remodel cristae in response to the cell's demands. Functional alterations in these proteins or in the biosynthesis pathway of cardiolipin and phosphatidylethanolamine result in an aberrant inner membrane architecture and impair mitochondrial function. Mitochondrial dysfunction and abnormalities hallmark several human conditions and diseases including neurodegeneration, cardiomyopathies and diabetes mellitus. Yet, they have long been regarded as secondary pathological effects. This review discusses emerging evidence of a direct relationship between protein- and lipid-dependent regulation of the inner mitochondrial membrane morphology and diseases such as fatal encephalopathy, Leigh syndrome, Parkinson's disease, and cancer.
    Keywords:  ATP synthase; MICOS; Mitochondria; Opa1; membrane dynamics; membrane morphology; mitochondrial morphology; mitochondrial ultra-structure
  10. Cell Metab. 2021 Mar 27. pii: S1550-4131(21)00116-9. [Epub ahead of print]
      As one of the most popular nutrient supplements, creatine has been highly used to increase muscle mass and improve exercise performance. Here, we report an adverse effect of creatine using orthotopic mouse models, showing that creatine promotes colorectal and breast cancer metastasis and shortens mouse survival. We show that glycine amidinotransferase (GATM), the rate-limiting enzyme for creatine synthesis, is upregulated in liver metastases. Dietary uptake, or GATM-mediated de novo synthesis of creatine, enhances cancer metastasis and shortens mouse survival by upregulation of Snail and Slug expression via monopolar spindle 1 (MPS1)-activated Smad2 and Smad3 phosphorylation. GATM knockdown or MPS1 inhibition suppresses cancer metastasis and benefits mouse survival by downregulating Snail and Slug. Our findings call for using caution when considering dietary creatine to improve muscle mass or treat diseases and suggest that targeting GATM or MPS1 prevents cancer metastasis, especially metastasis of transforming growth factor beta receptor mutant colorectal cancers.
    Keywords:  GATM; MPS1; SLC6A8; Smad2; Smad3; breast cancer; colorectal cancer; creatine; metastasis
  11. PLoS Biol. 2021 Apr 07. 19(4): e3001166
      Neural stem cell (NSC) transplantation induces recovery in animal models of central nervous system (CNS) diseases. Although the replacement of lost endogenous cells was originally proposed as the primary healing mechanism of NSC grafts, it is now clear that transplanted NSCs operate via multiple mechanisms, including the horizontal exchange of therapeutic cargoes to host cells via extracellular vesicles (EVs). EVs are membrane particles trafficking nucleic acids, proteins, metabolites and metabolic enzymes, lipids, and entire organelles. However, the function and the contribution of these cargoes to the broad therapeutic effects of NSCs are yet to be fully understood. Mitochondrial dysfunction is an established feature of several inflammatory and degenerative CNS disorders, most of which are potentially treatable with exogenous stem cell therapeutics. Herein, we investigated the hypothesis that NSCs release and traffic functional mitochondria via EVs to restore mitochondrial function in target cells. Untargeted proteomics revealed a significant enrichment of mitochondrial proteins spontaneously released by NSCs in EVs. Morphological and functional analyses confirmed the presence of ultrastructurally intact mitochondria within EVs with conserved membrane potential and respiration. We found that the transfer of these mitochondria from EVs to mtDNA-deficient L929 Rho0 cells rescued mitochondrial function and increased Rho0 cell survival. Furthermore, the incorporation of mitochondria from EVs into inflammatory mononuclear phagocytes restored normal mitochondrial dynamics and cellular metabolism and reduced the expression of pro-inflammatory markers in target cells. When transplanted in an animal model of multiple sclerosis, exogenous NSCs actively transferred mitochondria to mononuclear phagocytes and induced a significant amelioration of clinical deficits. Our data provide the first evidence that NSCs deliver functional mitochondria to target cells via EVs, paving the way for the development of novel (a)cellular approaches aimed at restoring mitochondrial dysfunction not only in multiple sclerosis, but also in degenerative neurological diseases.
  12. Biol Reprod. 2021 Apr 06. pii: ioab064. [Epub ahead of print]
      Fetal ovarian germ cells show characteristic energy metabolism status, such as enhanced mitochondrial metabolism as well as glycolysis, but their roles in early folliculogenesis are unclear. We show here that inhibition of pyruvate uptake to mitochondria by UK5099 in organ cultures of fetal mouse ovaries resulted in repressed early folliculogenesis without affecting energy production, survival of oocytes, or meiosis. In addition, the abnormal folliculogenesis by UK5099 was partially rescued by α-ketoglutarate and succinate, intermediate metabolites in the TCA cycle, suggesting the importance of those metabolites. The expression of TGFβ-related genes Gdf9 and Bmp15 in ovarian germ cells, which are crucial for folliculogenesis, was downregulated by UK5099, and the addition of recombinant GDF9 partially rescued the abnormal folliculogenesis induced by UK5099. We also found that early folliculogenesis was similarly repressed, as in the culture, in the ovaries of a germ cell-specific knockout of Mpc2, which encodes a mitochondria pyruvate carrier that is targeted by UK5099. These results suggest that insufficient Gdf9 expression induced by abnormal pyruvate metabolism in oocytes results in early follicular dysgenesis, which is a possible cause of defective folliculogenesis in humans.
    Keywords:  GDF9; MPC; OXPHOS; UK5099; folliculogenesis; glycolysis; oocyte; pyruvate metabolism
  13. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2021 ;9 630248
      Mitochondrial function is multifaceted in response to cellular energy homeostasis and metabolism, with the generation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) through the oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) being one of their main functions. Selective elimination of mitochondria by mitophagy, in conjunction with mitochondrial biogenesis, regulates mitochondrial function that is required to meet metabolic demand or stress response. Growth hormone (GH) binds to the GH receptor (GHR) and induces the JAK2/STAT5 pathway to activate the synthesis of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1). The GH-GHR-IGF1 axis has been recognized to play significant roles in somatic growth, including cell proliferation, differentiation, division, and survival. In this review, we describe recent discoveries providing evidence for the contribution of the GH-GHR-IGF1 axis on mitochondrial biogenesis, mitophagy (or autophagy), and mitochondrial function under multiple physiological conditions. This may further improve our understanding of the effects of the GH-GHR-IGF1 axis on mitochondrial function, which may be controlled by the delicate balance between mitochondrial biogenesis and mitophagy. Specifically, we also highlight the challenges that remain in this field.
    Keywords:  growth hormone; growth hormone receptor; insulin-like growth factor 1; mitochondrial biogenesis; mitochondrial function; mitophagy
  14. Cell Rep. 2021 Apr 06. pii: S2211-1247(21)00250-3. [Epub ahead of print]35(1): 108936
      Most mitochondrial proteins are synthesized as precursors in the cytosol and post-translationally transported into mitochondria. The mitochondrial surface protein Tom70 acts at the interface of the cytosol and mitochondria. In vitro import experiments identified Tom70 as targeting receptor, particularly for hydrophobic carriers. Using in vivo methods and high-content screens, we revisit the question of Tom70 function and considerably expand the set of Tom70-dependent mitochondrial proteins. We demonstrate that the crucial activity of Tom70 is its ability to recruit cytosolic chaperones to the outer membrane. Indeed, tethering an unrelated chaperone-binding domain onto the mitochondrial surface complements most of the defects caused by Tom70 deletion. Tom70-mediated chaperone recruitment reduces the proteotoxicity of mitochondrial precursor proteins, particularly of hydrophobic inner membrane proteins. Thus, our work suggests that the predominant function of Tom70 is to tether cytosolic chaperones to the outer mitochondrial membrane, rather than to serve as a mitochondrion-specifying targeting receptor.
    Keywords:  Tom70; chaperones; mitochondria; outer membrane; protein translocation; proteostasis; prototoxicity
  15. Cell Metab. 2021 Apr 06. pii: S1550-4131(21)00117-0. [Epub ahead of print]33(4): 702-704
      The metabolism of nutrients other than glucose influences insulin secretion by pancreatic β cells, but the mechanisms involved are incompletely understood. In this issue of Cell Metabolism, Zhang et al. (2020) report that reductive glutamine metabolism generates cytosolic NADPH to promote insulin secretion by β cells.
  16. mBio. 2021 04 06. pii: e03438-20. [Epub ahead of print]12(2):
      The redox cofactor NADPH is required as a reducing equivalent in about 100 anabolic reactions throughout metabolism. To ensure fitness under all conditions, the demand is fulfilled by a few dehydrogenases in central carbon metabolism that reduce NADP+ with electrons derived from the catabolism of nutrients. In the case of Bacillus subtilis growing on glucose, quantitative flux analyses indicate that NADPH production largely exceeds biosynthetic needs, suggesting a hitherto unknown mechanism for NADPH balancing. We investigated the role of the four malic enzymes present in B. subtilis that could bring about a metabolic cycle for transhydrogenation of NADPH into NADH. Using quantitative 13C metabolic flux analysis, we found that isoform YtsJ alone contributes to NADPH balancing in vivo and demonstrated relevant NADPH-oxidizing activity by YtsJ in vitro To our surprise, we discovered that depending on NADPH, YtsJ switches activity from a pyruvate-producing malic enzyme to a lactate-generating malolactic enzyme. This switch in activity allows YtsJ to adaptively compensate for cellular NADPH over- and underproduction upon demand. Finally, NADPH-dependent bifunctional activity was also detected in the YtsJ homolog in Escherichia coli MaeB. Overall, our study extends the known redox cofactor balancing mechanisms by providing first-time evidence that the type of catalyzed reaction by an enzyme depends on metabolite abundance.IMPORTANCE A new mechanism for NADPH balancing was discovered in Bacillus subtilis It pivots on the bifunctional enzyme YtsJ, which is known to catalyze NADP-dependent malate decarboxylation. We found that in the presence of excessive NADPH, the same enzyme switches to malolactic activity and creates a transhydrogenation cycle that ultimately converts NADPH to NADH. This provides a regulated mechanism to immediately adjust NADPH/NADP+ in response to instantaneous needs.
    Keywords:  13C metabolic flux analysis; NADPH balance; bifunctional enzyme; malic enzyme; malolactic enzyme; metabolism; redox metabolism
  17. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2021 ;9 636295
      Cardiovascular diseases are one of the leading causes of death and global health problems worldwide. Multiple factors are known to affect the cardiovascular system from lifestyles, genes, underlying comorbidities, and age. Requiring high workload, metabolism of the heart is largely dependent on continuous power supply via mitochondria through effective oxidative respiration. Mitochondria not only serve as cellular power plants, but are also involved in many critical cellular processes, including the generation of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) and regulating cellular survival. To cope with environmental stress, mitochondrial function has been suggested to be essential during bioenergetics adaptation resulting in cardiac pathological remodeling. Thus, mitochondrial dysfunction has been advocated in various aspects of cardiovascular pathology including the response to ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury, hypertension (HTN), and cardiovascular complications related to type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM). Therefore, mitochondrial homeostasis through mitochondrial dynamics and quality control is pivotal in the maintenance of cardiac health. Impairment of the segregation of damaged components and degradation of unhealthy mitochondria through autophagic mechanisms may play a crucial role in the pathogenesis of various cardiac disorders. This article provides in-depth understanding of the current literature regarding mitochondrial remodeling and dynamics in cardiovascular diseases.
    Keywords:  cardiovascular disease; diabetic cardiomyopathy; hypertension; ischemic heart; mitochondria; mitochondrial haplogroup; mitophagy; nucleus
  18. Front Genet. 2021 ;12 636294
      It has been postulated that mitochondrial dysfunction has a significant role in the underlying pathophysiology of bipolar disorder (BD). Mitochondrial functioning plays an important role in regulating synaptic transmission, brain function, and cognition. Neuronal activity is energy dependent and neurons are particularly sensitive to changes in bioenergetic fluctuations, suggesting that mitochondria regulate fundamental aspects of brain function. Vigorous evidence supports the role of mitochondrial dysfunction in the etiology of BD, including dysregulated oxidative phosphorylation, general decrease of energy, altered brain bioenergetics, co-morbidity with mitochondrial disorders, and association with genetic variants in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) or nuclear-encoded mitochondrial genes. Despite these advances, the underlying etiology of mitochondrial dysfunction in BD is unclear. A plausible evolutionary explanation is that mitochondrial-nuclear (mitonuclear) incompatibility leads to a desynchronization of machinery required for efficient electron transport and cellular energy production. Approximately 1,200 genes, encoded from both nuclear and mitochondrial genomes, are essential for mitochondrial function. Studies suggest that mitochondrial and nuclear genomes co-evolve, and the coordinated expression of these interacting gene products are essential for optimal organism function. Incompatibilities between mtDNA and nuclear-encoded mitochondrial genes results in inefficiency in electron flow down the respiratory chain, differential oxidative phosphorylation efficiency, increased release of free radicals, altered intracellular Ca2+ signaling, and reduction of catalytic sites and ATP production. This review explores the role of mitonuclear incompatibility in BD susceptibility and resilience against environmental stressors.
    Keywords:  bipolar disorder; epistasis; genetics; mitonuclear coadaptation; mitonuclear coevolution; mitonuclear incompatibility; mitonuclear interaction
  19. Cell Metab. 2021 Apr 06. pii: S1550-4131(21)00126-1. [Epub ahead of print]33(4): 748-757
      On this 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin, we recognize the critical role that adipocytes, which are exquisitely responsive to insulin, have played in determining the mechanisms for insulin action at the cellular level. Our understanding of adipose tissue biology has evolved greatly, and it is now clear that adipocytes are far more complicated than simple storage depots for fat. A growing body of evidence documents how adipocytes, in response to insulin, contribute to the control of whole-body nutrient homeostasis. These advances highlight adipocyte plasticity, heterogeneity, and endocrine function, unique features that connect adipocyte metabolism to the regulation of other tissues important for metabolic homeostasis (e.g., liver, muscle, pancreas).
  20. mBio. 2021 04 06. pii: e00540-21. [Epub ahead of print]12(2):
      Pyruvate is the final metabolite of glycolysis and can be converted into acetyl coenzyme A (acetyl-CoA) in mitochondria, where it is used as the substrate for the tricarboxylic acid cycle. Pyruvate availability in mitochondria depends on its active transport through the heterocomplex formed by the mitochondrial pyruvate carriers 1 and 2 (MPC1/MPC2). We report here studies on MPC1/MPC2 of Trypanosoma cruzi, the etiologic agent of Chagas disease. Endogenous tagging of T. cruzi MPC1 (TcMPC1) and TcMPC2 with 3×c-Myc showed that both encoded proteins colocalize with MitoTracker to the mitochondria of epimastigotes. Individual knockout (KO) of TcMPC1 and TcMPC2 genes using CRISPR/Cas9 was confirmed by PCR and Southern blot analyses. Digitonin-permeabilized TcMPC1-KO and TcMPC2-KO epimastigotes showed reduced O2 consumption rates when pyruvate, but not succinate, was used as the mitochondrial substrate, while α-ketoglutarate increased their O2 consumption rates due to an increase in α-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase activity. Defective mitochondrial pyruvate import resulted in decreased Ca2+ uptake. The inhibitors UK5099 and malonate impaired pyruvate-driven oxygen consumption in permeabilized control cells. Inhibition of succinate dehydrogenase by malonate indicated that pyruvate needs to be converted into succinate to increase respiration. TcMPC1-KO and TcMPC2-KO epimastigotes showed little growth differences in standard or low-glucose culture medium. However, the ability of trypomastigotes to infect tissue culture cells and replicate as intracellular amastigotes was decreased in TcMPC-KOs. Overall, T. cruzi MPC1 and MPC2 are essential for cellular respiration in the presence of pyruvate, invasion of host cells, and replication of amastigotes.IMPORTANCE Trypanosoma cruzi is the causative agent of Chagas disease. Pyruvate is the end product of glycolysis, and its transport into the mitochondrion is mediated by the mitochondrial pyruvate carrier (MPC) subunits. Using the CRISPR/Cas9 technique, we generated individual T. cruzi MPC1 (TcMPC1) and TcMPC2 knockouts and demonstrated that they are essential for pyruvate-driven respiration. Interestingly, although glycolysis was reported as not an important source of energy for the infective stages, MPC was essential for normal host cell invasion and intracellular replication.
    Keywords:  Trypanosoma cruzi; mitochondria; oxygen consumption; pyruvate carrier
  21. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2021 Apr 05. pii: a037770. [Epub ahead of print]
      The formation of long-lived memory T cells is a critical feature of the adaptive immune response. T cells undergo metabolic reprogramming to establish a functional memory population. While initial studies characterized key metabolic pathways necessary for memory T-cell development, recent findings highlight that metabolic regulation of memory T-cell subsets is diverse. Here we describe the different requirements for metabolic programs and metabolism-related signaling pathways in memory T-cell development. We further discuss the contribution of cellular metabolism to memory T-cell functional reprogramming and stemness within acute and chronic inflammatory environments. Last, we highlight knowledge gaps and propose approaches to determine the roles of metabolites and metabolic enzymes in memory T-cell fate. Understanding how cellular metabolism regulates a functionally diverse memory population will undoubtedly provide new therapeutic insights to modulate protective T-cell immunity in human disease.
  22. Open Biol. 2021 Apr;11(4): 200369
      Mitochondria are essential for regulation of cellular respiration, energy production, small molecule metabolism, anti-oxidation and cell ageing, among other things. While the mitochondrial genome contains a small number of protein-coding genes, the great majority of mitochondrial proteins are encoded by chromosomal genes. In the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe, 770 proteins encoded by chromosomal genes are located in mitochondria. Of these, 195 proteins, many of which are implicated in translation and transport, are absolutely essential for viability. We isolated and characterized eight temperature-sensitive (ts) strains with mutations in essential mitochondrial proteins. Interestingly, they are also sensitive to limited nutrition (glucose and/or nitrogen), producing low-glucose-sensitive and 'super-housekeeping' phenotypes. They fail to produce colonies under low-glucose conditions at the permissive temperature or lose cell viability under nitrogen starvation at the restrictive temperature. The majority of these ts mitochondrial mutations may cause defects of gene expression in the mitochondrial genome. mrp4 and mrp17 are defective in mitochondrial ribosomal proteins. ppr3 is defective in rRNA expression, and trz2 and vrs2 are defective in tRNA maturation. This study promises potentially large dividends because mitochondrial quiescent functions are vital for human brain and muscle, and also for longevity.
    Keywords:  RNA processing; fatty acid synthesis; mitochondria; nutritional stress; ribosome; ts mutants
  23. Front Physiol. 2021 ;12 637852
      Nearly 2 decades since its discovery as one of the genes responsible for the Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome (WHS), the primary function of the leucine-zipper EF-hand containing transmembrane 1 (LETM1) protein in the inner mitochondrial membrane (IMM) or the mechanism by which it regulates mitochondrial Ca2+ handling is unresolved. Meanwhile, LETM1 has been associated with the regulation of fundamental cellular processes, such as development, cellular respiration and metabolism, and apoptosis. This mini-review summarizes the diversity of cellular functions impacted by LETM1 and highlights the multiple roles of LETM1 in health and disease.
    Keywords:  Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome; bioenergetics; cancer biology; carboxy-terminal-modulator-protein; cell metabolism; leucine-zipper EF-hand containing transmembrane 1; mitochondrial calcium handling; mitochondrial calcium hydrogen exchanger; mitochondrial potassium hydrogen exchanger
  24. Nat Commun. 2021 04 08. 12(1): 2103
      Mitochondrial diseases impair oxidative phosphorylation and ATP production, while effective treatment is still lacking. Defective complex III is associated with a highly variable clinical spectrum. We show that pyocyanin, a bacterial redox cycler, can replace the redox functions of complex III, acting as an electron shunt. Sub-μM pyocyanin was harmless, restored respiration and increased ATP production in fibroblasts from five patients harboring pathogenic mutations in TTC19, BCS1L or LYRM7, involved in assembly/stabilization of complex III. Pyocyanin normalized the mitochondrial membrane potential, and mildly increased ROS production and biogenesis. These in vitro effects were confirmed in both DrosophilaTTC19KO and in Danio rerioTTC19KD, as administration of low concentrations of pyocyanin significantly ameliorated movement proficiency. Importantly, daily administration of pyocyanin for two months was not toxic in control mice. Our results point to utilization of redox cyclers for therapy of complex III disorders.
  25. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 Mar 16. pii: e2012228118. [Epub ahead of print]118(11):
      Unlike other epithelial cancer types, circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are less frequently detected in the peripheral blood of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients using epithelial marker-based detection approaches despite the aggressive nature of NSCLC. Here, we demonstrate hexokinase-2 (HK2) as a metabolic function-associated marker for the detection of CTCs. In 59 NSCLC patients bearing cytokeratin-positive (CKpos) primary tumors, HK2 enables resolving cytokeratin-negative (HK2high/CKneg) CTCs as a prevalent population in about half of the peripheral blood samples with positive CTC counts. However, HK2high/CKneg tumor cells are a minority population in pleural effusions and cerebrospinal fluids. Single-cell analysis shows that HK2high/CKneg CTCs exhibit smaller sizes but consistent copy number variation profiles compared with CKpos counterparts. Single-cell transcriptome profiling reveals that CK expression levels of CTCs are independent of their epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) status, challenging the long-standing association between CK expression and EMT. HK2high/CKneg CTCs display metastasis and EGFR inhibitor resistance-related molecular signatures and are selectively enriched in patients with EGFR L858R driver oncogene mutation as opposed to EGFR 19Del , which is more frequently found in patients with prevalent CKpos CTCs in the blood. Consistently, treatment-naïve patients with a larger number or proportion of HK2high/CKneg CTCs in the blood exhibit poor therapy response and shorter progression-free survival. Collectively, our approach resolves a more complete spectrum of CTCs in NSCLC that can potentially be exploited to identify patient prognosis before therapy.
    Keywords:  circulating tumor cells; hexokinase-2; liquid biopsy; non–small cell lung cancer; single-cell sequencing
  26. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2021 ;9 630412
      Cardiorenal syndrome type 3 (CRS-3) is damage to the heart following acute kidney injury (AKI). Although many experiments have found that inflammation, oxidative stress, and cardiomyocyte death are involved in cardiomyocyte pathophysiological alterations during CRS-3, they lack a non-bias analysis to figure out the primary mediator of cardiac dysfunction. Herein proteomic analysis was operated in CRS-3 and growth factor receptor-bound protein 2 (Grb2) was identified as a regulator involving AKI-related myocardial damage. Increased Grb2 was associated with cardiac diastolic dysfunction and mitochondrial bioenergetics impairment; these pathological changes could be reversed through the administration of a Grb2-specific inhibitor during AKI. Molecular investigation illustrated that augmented Grb2 promoted cardiomyocyte mitochondrial metabolism disorder through inhibiting the Akt/mTOR signaling pathway. Besides that, Mouse Inflammation Array Q1 further identified IL-6 as the upstream stimulator of Grb2 upregulation after AKI. Exogenous administration of IL-6 induced cardiomyocyte damage and mitochondrial bioenergetics impairment, whereas these effects were nullified in cardiomyocytes pretreated with Grb2 inhibitor. Our results altogether identify CRS-3 to be caused by the upregulations of IL-6/Grb2 which contribute to cardiac dysfunction through inhibiting the Akt/mTOR signaling pathway and inducing cardiomyocyte mitochondrial bioenergetics impairment. This finding provides a potential target for the clinical treatment of patients with CRS-3.
    Keywords:  CRS-3; GRB2; cardiomyocytes; kidney; mitochondria
  27. Aging Dis. 2021 Apr;12(2): 646-661
      Metabolomics is the latest state-of-the-art omics technology that provides a comprehensive quantitative profile of metabolites. The metabolites are the cellular end products of metabolic reactions that explain the ultimate response to genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic, or environmental changes. Aging is a natural inevitable process characterized by a time-dependent decline of various physiological and metabolic functions and are dominated collectively by genetics, proteomics, metabolomics, environmental factors, diet, and lifestyle. The precise mechanism of the aging process is unclear, but the metabolomics has the potential to add significant insight by providing a detailed metabolite profile and altered metabolomic functions with age. Although the application of metabolomics to aging research is still relatively new, extensive attempts have been made to understand the biology of aging through a quantitative metabolite profile. This review summarises recent developments and up-to-date information on metabolomics studies in aging research with a major emphasis on aging biomarkers in less invasive biofluids. The importance of an integrative approach that combines multi-omics data to understand the complex aging process is discussed. Despite various innovations in metabolomics and metabolite associated with redox homeostasis, central energy pathways, lipid metabolism, and amino acid, a major challenge remains to provide conclusive aging biomarkers.
    Keywords:  aging; amino acids; lipids; mass spectrometry; metabolites; metabolomics
  28. Mol Syst Biol. 2021 04;17(4): e10023
      The malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, proliferates rapidly in human erythrocytes by actively scavenging multiple carbon sources and essential nutrients from its host cell. However, a global overview of the metabolic capacity of intraerythrocytic stages is missing. Using multiplex 13 C-labelling coupled with untargeted mass spectrometry and unsupervised isotopologue grouping, we have generated a draft metabolome of P. falciparum and its host erythrocyte consisting of 911 and 577 metabolites, respectively, corresponding to 41% of metabolites and over 70% of the metabolic reaction predicted from the parasite genome. An additional 89 metabolites and 92 reactions were identified that were not predicted from genomic reconstructions, with the largest group being associated with metabolite damage-repair systems. Validation of the draft metabolome revealed four previously uncharacterised enzymes which impact isoprenoid biosynthesis, lipid homeostasis and mitochondrial metabolism and are necessary for parasite development and proliferation. This study defines the metabolic fate of multiple carbon sources in P. falciparum, and highlights the activity of metabolite repair pathways in these rapidly growing parasite stages, opening new avenues for drug discovery.
    Keywords:  Plasmodium; SHMT; haloacid dehalogenase; mass spectrometry; metabolite repair
  29. Front Physiol. 2021 ;12 645857
      Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is characterized by organ remodeling and fibrosis due to failed wound repair after on-going or severe injury. Key to this process is the continued activation and presence of matrix-producing renal fibroblasts. In cancer, metabolic alterations help cells to acquire and maintain a malignant phenotype. More recent evidence suggests that something similar occurs in the fibroblast during activation. To support these functions, pro-fibrotic signals released in response to injury induce metabolic reprograming to meet the high bioenergetic and biosynthetic demands of the (myo)fibroblastic phenotype. Fibrogenic signals such as TGF-β1 trigger a rewiring of cellular metabolism with a shift toward glycolysis, uncoupling from mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation, and enhanced glutamine metabolism. These adaptations may also have more widespread implications with redirection of acetyl-CoA directly linking changes in cellular metabolism and regulatory protein acetylation. Evidence also suggests that injury primes cells to these metabolic responses. In this review we discuss the key metabolic events that have led to a reappraisal of the regulation of fibroblast differentiation and function in CKD.
    Keywords:  TGF-β1; fibroblast; fibrosis; glutaminolysis; glycolysis; metabolic; metabolism; priming
  30. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2021 Apr 08.
      The mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) is an important regulator of cellular metabolism that is commonly hyperactivated in cancer. Recent cancer genome screens have identified multiple mutations in Ras-homolog enriched in brain (Rheb), the primary activator of mTORC1 that might act as driver oncogenes by causing hyperactivation of mTORC1. Here, we show that a number of recurrently occurring Rheb mutants drive hyperactive mTORC1 signalling through differing levels of insensitivity to the primary inactivator of Rheb, tuberous sclerosis complex. We show that two activated mutants, Rheb-T23M and E40K, strongly drive increased cell growth, proliferation and anchorage-independent growth resulting in enhanced tumour growth in vivo. Proteomic analysis of cells expressing the mutations revealed, surprisingly, that these two mutants promote distinct oncogenic pathways with Rheb-T23M driving an increased rate of anaerobic glycolysis, while Rheb-E40K regulates the translation factor eEF2 and autophagy, likely through differential interactions with 5' AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) which modulate its activity. Our findings suggest that unique, personalized, combination therapies may be utilised to treat cancers according to which Rheb mutant they harbour.
    Keywords:  AMPK; PKM; Rheb; TSC; eEF2; mTOR
  31. EMBO Mol Med. 2021 Apr 06. e13524
      Pancreatic beta cells undergo compensatory proliferation in the early phase of type 2 diabetes. While pathways such as FoxM1 are involved in regulating compensatory beta cell proliferation, given the lack of therapeutics effectively targeting beta cell proliferation, other targetable pathways need to be identified. Herein, we show that Pbk, a serine/threonine protein kinase, is essential for high fat diet (HFD)-induced beta cell proliferation in vivo using a Pbk kinase deficiency knock-in mouse model. Mechanistically, JunD recruits menin and HDAC3 complex to the Pbk promoter to reduce histone H3 acetylation, leading to epigenetic repression of Pbk expression. Moreover, menin inhibitor (MI) disrupts the menin-JunD interaction and augments Pbk transcription. Importantly, MI administration increases beta cell proliferation, ameliorating hyperglycemia, and impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) in HFD-induced diabetic mice. Notably, Pbk is required for the MI-induced beta cell proliferation and improvement of IGT. Together, these results demonstrate the repressive role of the menin/JunD/Pbk axis in regulating HFD-induced compensatory beta cell proliferation and pharmacologically regulating this axis may serve as a novel strategy for type 2 diabetes therapy.
    Keywords:  Pbk; beta cell; compensatory proliferation; diabetes; menin
  32. J Clin Invest. 2021 Apr 06. pii: 134073. [Epub ahead of print]
      Limiting dysfunctional neutrophilic inflammation whilst preserving effective immunity requires a better understanding of the processes that dictate neutrophil function in the tissues. Quantitative mass-spectrometry identified how inflammatory murine neutrophils regulated expression of cell surface receptors, signal transduction networks and metabolic machinery to shape neutrophil phenotypes in response to hypoxia. Through the tracing of labelled amino acids into metabolic enzymes, pro-inflammatory mediators and granule proteins we demonstrated that ongoing protein synthesis shapes the neutrophil proteome. To maintain energy supplies in the tissues, neutrophils consumed extracellular proteins to fuel central carbon metabolism. The physiological stresses of hypoxia and hypoglycaemia, characteristic of inflamed tissues, promoted this extra-cellular protein scavenging with activation of the lysosomal compartment further driving exploitation of the protein rich inflammatory milieu. This study provides a comprehensive map of neutrophil proteomes, analysis of which has led to the identification of active catabolic and anabolic pathways which enable neutrophils to sustain synthetic and effector functions in the tissues.
    Keywords:  Hypoxia; Inflammation; Metabolism; Neutrophils; Proteomics
  33. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2021 ;12 627745
      Cancer cells characteristically have a high proliferation rate. Because tumor growth depends on energy-consuming anabolic processes, including biosynthesis of protein, lipid, and nucleotides, many tumor-associated conditions, including intermittent oxygen deficiency due to insufficient vascularization, oxidative stress, and nutrient deprivation, results from fast growth. To cope with these environmental stressors, cancer cells, including cancer stem cells, must adapt their metabolism to maintain cellular homeostasis. It is well- known that cancer stem cells (CSC) reprogram their metabolism to adapt to live in hypoxic niches. They usually change from oxidative phosphorylation to increased aerobic glycolysis even in the presence of oxygen. However, as opposed to most differentiated cancer cells relying on glycolysis, CSCs can be highly glycolytic or oxidative phosphorylation-dependent, displaying high metabolic plasticity. Although the influence of the metabolic and nutrient-sensing pathways on the maintenance of stemness has been recognized, the molecular mechanisms that link these pathways to stemness are not well known. Here in this review, we describe the most relevant signaling pathways involved in nutrient sensing and cancer cell survival. Among them, Adenosine monophosphate (AMP)-activated protein kinase (AMPK) pathway, mTOR pathway, and Hexosamine Biosynthetic Pathway (HBP) are critical sensors of cellular energy and nutrient status in cancer cells and interact in complex and dynamic ways.
    Keywords:  adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) signaling; cancer stem cells; hexosamine biosynthesis pathway (HBP) pathway; mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling; nutrient sensing
  34. Elife. 2021 Apr 07. pii: e62591. [Epub ahead of print]10
      Eukaryotes compartmentalize metabolic pathways into sub-cellular domains, but the role of inter-organelle contacts in organizing metabolic reactions remains poorly understood. Here, we show that in response to acute glucose restriction (AGR) yeast undergo metabolic remodeling of their mevalonate pathway that is spatially coordinated at nucleus-vacuole junctions (NVJs). The NVJ serves as a metabolic platform by selectively retaining HMG-CoA Reductases (HMGCRs), driving mevalonate pathway flux in an Upc2-dependent manner. Both spatial retention of HMGCRs and increased mevalonate pathway flux during AGR is dependent on NVJ tether Nvj1. Furthermore, we demonstrate that HMGCRs associate into high molecular weight assemblies during AGR in an Nvj1-dependent manner. Loss of Nvj1-mediated HMGCR partitioning can be bypassed by artificially multimerizing HMGCRs, indicating NVJ compartmentalization enhances mevalonate pathway flux by promoting the association of HMGCRs in high molecular weight assemblies. Loss of HMGCR compartmentalization perturbs yeast growth following glucose starvation, indicating it promotes adaptive metabolic remodeling. Collectively we propose a non-canonical mechanism regulating mevalonate metabolism via the spatial compartmentalization of rate-limiting HMGCR enzymes at an inter-organelle contact site.
    Keywords:  S. cerevisiae; cell biology
  35. Nat Commun. 2021 04 06. 12(1): 2048
      Loss of TP53 and RB1 in treatment-naïve small cell lung cancer (SCLC) suggests selective pressure to inactivate cell death pathways prior to therapy. Yet, which of these pathways remain available in treatment-naïve SCLC is unknown. Here, through systemic analysis of cell death pathway availability in treatment-naïve SCLC, we identify non-neuroendocrine (NE) SCLC to be vulnerable to ferroptosis through subtype-specific lipidome remodeling. While NE SCLC is ferroptosis resistant, it acquires selective addiction to the TRX anti-oxidant pathway. In experimental settings of non-NE/NE intratumoral heterogeneity, non-NE or NE populations are selectively depleted by ferroptosis or TRX pathway inhibition, respectively. Preventing subtype plasticity observed under single pathway targeting, combined treatment kills established non-NE and NE tumors in xenografts, genetically engineered mouse models of SCLC and patient-derived cells, and identifies a patient subset with drastically improved overall survival. These findings reveal cell death pathway mining as a means to identify rational combination therapies for SCLC.
  36. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2021 Apr 10.
      Despite increasing awareness of the biological impacts of long-chain fatty acyl-CoA esters (LCACoAs), our knowledge about the subcellular distribution and regulatory functions of these acyl-CoA molecules is limited by a lack of methods for detecting LCACoAs in living cells. Here, we report development of a genetically encoded fluorescent sensor that enables ratiometric quantification of LCACoAs in living cells and subcellular compartments. We demonstrate how this FadR-cpYFP fusion "LACSer sensor" undergoes LCACoA-induced conformational changes reflected in easily detectable fluorescence responses, and show proof-of-concept for real-time monitoring of LCACoAs in human cells. Subsequently, we applied LACSer to investigate how disruption of ACSL enzymes differentially reduces cytosolic and mitochondrial LCACoA levels, and show how genetic disruption of an acyl-CoA binding protein (ACBP) alters mitochondrial accumulation of LCACoAs. Thus, our LACSer sensor achieves spatiotemporally precise detection of dynamic changes in endogenous LCACoA levels in living cells and yields mechanistic insights about metabolism and cellular regulation .
    Keywords:  long-chain fatty acyl-CoA biosensor cell imaging protein engineering LC acyl-CoA metabolism
  37. Front Physiol. 2021 ;12 649547
      Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a worldwide health problem currently lacking therapeutics that directly promote renal repair or prevent the occurrence of chronic fibrosis. DNA damage is a feature of many forms of kidney injury, and targeting DNA damage and repair might be effective strategies for kidney protection in AKI. Boosting nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) levels is thought to have beneficial effects on DNA damage repair and fibrosis in other organs. However, no kidney-related studies of such effects have been performed to date. Here, we have shown that NMN (an NAD+ precursor) administration could significantly reduce tubular cell DNA damage and subsequent cellular senescence induced by hydrogen peroxide and hypoxia in human proximal tubular cells (HK-2 cells). The DNA damage inhibition, antiaging and anti-inflammatory effects of NMN were further confirmed in a unilateral ischemia-reperfusion injury (uIRI) mouse model. Most importantly, the antifibrosis activity of NMN was also shown in ischemic AKI mouse models, regardless of whether NMN was administered in advance or during the recovery phase. Collectively, these results suggest that NMN could significantly inhibit tubular cell DNA damage, senescence and inflammation. NMN administration might be an effective strategy for preventing or treating kidney fibrosis after AKI.
    Keywords:  AKI; DNA damage; NMN; renal fibrosis; senescence
  38. Cell Rep. 2021 Apr 06. pii: S2211-1247(21)00274-6. [Epub ahead of print]35(1): 108960
      The tumor microenvironment encompasses an intertwined ensemble of both transformed cancer cells and non-transformed host cells, which together establish a signaling network that regulates tumor progression. By conveying both homo- and heterotypic cell-to-cell communication cues, tumor-derived extracellular vesicles (tEVs) modulate several cancer-associated processes, such as immunosuppression, angiogenesis, invasion, and metastasis. Herein we discuss how recent methodological advances in the isolation and characterization of tEVs may help to broaden our understanding of their functions in tumor biology and, potentially, establish their utility as cancer biomarkers.
  39. Sci Adv. 2021 Apr;pii: eabe9274. [Epub ahead of print]7(15):
      Accumulating evidence shows that nervous system governs host immune responses; however, how γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)ergic system shapes the function of innate immune cells is poorly defined. Here, we demonstrate that GABA transporter (GAT2) modulates the macrophage function. GAT2 deficiency lowers the production of interleukin-1β (IL-1β) in proinflammatory macrophages. Mechanistically, GAT2 deficiency boosts the betaine/S-adenosylmethionine (SAM)/hypoxanthine metabolic pathway to inhibit transcription factor KID3 expression through the increased DNA methylation in its promoter region. KID3 regulates oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) via targeting the expression of OXPHOS-related genes and is also critical for NLRP3-ASC-caspase-1 complex formation. Likewise, GAT2 deficiency attenuates macrophage-mediated inflammatory responses in vivo, including lipopolysaccharide-induced sepsis, infection-induced pneumonia, and high-fat diet-induced obesity. Together, we propose that targeting GABAergic system (e.g., GABA transporter) could provide previously unidentified therapeutic opportunities for the macrophage-associated diseases.
  40. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 Mar 16. pii: e2021157118. [Epub ahead of print]118(11):
      Energy conversion in aerobic organisms involves an electron current from low-potential donors, such as NADH and succinate, to dioxygen through the membrane-bound respiratory chain. Electron transfer is coupled to transmembrane proton transport, which maintains the electrochemical proton gradient used to produce ATP and drive other cellular processes. Electrons are transferred from respiratory complexes III to IV (CIII and CIV) by water-soluble cytochrome (cyt.) c In Saccharomyces cerevisiae and some other organisms, these complexes assemble into larger CIII2CIV1/2 supercomplexes, the functional significance of which has remained enigmatic. In this work, we measured the kinetics of the S. cerevisiae supercomplex cyt. c-mediated QH2:O2 oxidoreductase activity under various conditions. The data indicate that the electronic link between CIII and CIV is confined to the surface of the supercomplex. Single-particle electron cryomicroscopy (cryo-EM) structures of the supercomplex with cyt. c show the positively charged cyt. c bound to either CIII or CIV or along a continuum of intermediate positions. Collectively, the structural and kinetic data indicate that cyt. c travels along a negatively charged patch on the supercomplex surface. Thus, rather than enhancing electron transfer rates by decreasing the distance that cyt. c must diffuse in three dimensions, formation of the CIII2CIV1/2 supercomplex facilitates electron transfer by two-dimensional (2D) diffusion of cyt. c This mechanism enables the CIII2CIV1/2 supercomplex to increase QH2:O2 oxidoreductase activity and suggests a possible regulatory role for supercomplex formation in the respiratory chain.
    Keywords:  bioenergetics; cytochrome bc1; cytochrome c oxidase; electron transfer; mitochondria
  41. Nat Metab. 2021 Apr 05.
      Tissue integrity is contingent on maintaining stem cells. Intestinal stem cells (ISCs) over-proliferate during ageing, leading to tissue dysplasia in Drosophila melanogaster. Here we describe a role for white, encoding the evolutionarily conserved ATP-binding cassette transporter subfamily G, with a particularly well-characterized role in eye colour pigmentation, in ageing-induced ISC proliferation in the midgut. ISCs increase expression of white during ageing. ISC-specific inhibition of white suppresses ageing-induced ISC dysregulation and prolongs lifespan. Of the proteins that form heterodimers with White, Brown mediates ISC dysregulation during ageing. Metabolomics analyses reveal previously unappreciated, profound metabolic impacts of white inhibition on organismal metabolism. Among the metabolites affected by White, tetrahydrofolate is transported by White, is accumulated in ISCs during ageing and is indispensable for ageing-induced ISC over-proliferation. Since Thomas Morgan's isolation of a white mutant as the first Drosophila mutant, white mutants have been used extensively as genetic systems and often as controls. Our findings provide insights into metabolic regulation of stem cells mediated by the classic gene white.
  42. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2021 ;9 633305
      DNA repair and metabolic pathways are vital to maintain cellular homeostasis in normal human cells. Both of these pathways, however, undergo extensive changes during tumorigenesis, including modifications that promote rapid growth, genetic heterogeneity, and survival. While these two areas of research have remained relatively distinct, there is growing evidence that the pathways are interdependent and intrinsically linked. Therapeutic interventions that target metabolism or DNA repair systems have entered clinical practice in recent years, highlighting the potential of targeting these pathways in cancer. Further exploration of the links between metabolic and DNA repair pathways may open new therapeutic avenues in the future. Here, we discuss the dependence of DNA repair processes upon cellular metabolism; including the production of nucleotides required for repair, the necessity of metabolic pathways for the chromatin remodeling required for DNA repair, and the ways in which metabolism itself can induce and prevent DNA damage. We will also discuss the roles of metabolic proteins in DNA repair and, conversely, how DNA repair proteins can impact upon cell metabolism. Finally, we will discuss how further research may open therapeutic avenues in the treatment of cancer.
    Keywords:  DNA repair; cell metabolism; glycolysis; homologous recombination; non-homologous end-joining; tumor metabolic reprogramming; warburg effect
  43. Anal Bioanal Chem. 2021 Apr 08.
      Mammalian folate-dependent one-carbon (1C) metabolism provides the building blocks essential during development via amino acid interconversion, methyl-donor production, regeneration of redox factors, and de novo purine and thymidylate synthesis. Folate supplementation prevents many neural tube defects (NTDs) that occur during the embryonic process of neurulation. The mechanism by which folate functions during neurulation is not well understood, and not all NTDs are preventable by folate supplementation. Mthfd1l is a mitochondrial 1C metabolism enzyme that produces formate, a 1C donor that fuels biosynthesis and the methyl cycle in the cytoplasm. Homozygous deletion of the Mthfd1l gene in mice (Mthfd1lz/z) causes embryonic lethality, developmental delay, and folate-resistant NTDs. These mice also have defects in cranial mesenchyme formation. In this work, mass spectrometry imaging was used to obtain ion maps of the cranial mesenchyme that identified the spatial distribution and relative abundance of metabolites in wild-type and Mthfd1lz/z embryos. The relative abundances of purine and thymidylate derivatives, as well as amino acids, were diminished in the cranial mesenchyme of Mthfd1lz/z embryos. Loss of Mthfd1l activity in this region also led to abnormal levels of methionine and dysregulated energy metabolism. These alterations in metabolism suggest possible approaches to preventing NTDs in humans.
    Keywords:  DESI; Folate; Imaging mass spectrometry; Metabolomics; Mitochondrial metabolism; Mthfd1l
  44. Semin Cancer Biol. 2021 Apr 01. pii: S1044-579X(21)00083-3. [Epub ahead of print]
      Ras proteins are small GTPases that participate in multiple signal cascades, regulating crucial cellular processes including cell survival, proliferation, and differentiation. Mutations or deregulated activities of Ras are frequently the driving force for oncogenic transformation and tumorigenesis. Posttranslational modifications play a crucial role in mediating the stability, activity, or subcellular localization/trafficking of numerous cellular regulators including Ras proteins. A series of recent studies reveal that Ras proteins are also regulated by sumoylation. All three Ras protein isoforms (HRas, KRas, and NRas) are modified by SUMO3. The conserved lysine42 appears to be the primary site for mediating sumoylation. Expression of KRasV12/R42 mutants compromised the activation of the Raf/MEK/ERK signaling axis, leading to a reduced rate of cell migration and invasion in vitro in multiple cell lines. Moreover, treatment of transformed pancreatic cells with a SUMO E2 inhibitor blocks cell migration in a concentration-dependent manner, which is associated with a reduced level of both KRas sumoylation and expression of mesenchymal cell markers. Furthermore, mouse xenograft experiments reveal that expression of a SUMO-resistant mutant appears to suppress tumor development in vivo. Combined, these studies indicate that sumoylation functions as an important mechanism in mediating the roles of Ras in cell proliferation, differentiation, and malignant transformation and that the SUMO-modification system of Ras oncoproteins can be explored as a new druggable target for various human malignancies.
    Keywords:  Oncogene; Posttranslational modifications; Ras; Sumoylation; Transformation
  45. JCI Insight. 2021 Apr 08. pii: 137876. [Epub ahead of print]6(7):
      Lung cancer with oncogenic KRAS makes up a significant proportion of lung cancers and is accompanied by a poor prognosis. Recent advances in understanding the molecular pathogenesis of lung cancer with oncogenic KRAS have enabled the development of drugs, yet mutated KRAS remains undruggable. We performed small-molecule library screening and identified verteporfin, a yes-associated protein 1 (YAP1) inhibitor; verteporfin treatment markedly reduced cell viability in KRAS-mutant lung cancer cells in vitro and suppressed KRAS-driven lung tumorigenesis in vivo. Comparative functional analysis of verteporfin treatment and YAP1 knockdown with siRNA revealed that the cytotoxic effect of verteporfin was at least partially independent of YAP1 inhibition. A whole-transcriptome approach revealed the distinct expression profiles in KRAS-mutant lung cancer cells between verteporfin treatment and YAP1 knockdown and identified the selective involvement of the ER stress pathway in the effects of verteporfin treatment in KRAS-mutant lung cancer, leading to apoptotic cell death. These data provide novel insight to uncover vulnerabilities in KRAS-driven lung tumorigenesis.
    Keywords:  Cell Biology; Drug screens; Lung cancer; Oncogenes; Oncology
  46. Cell Metab. 2021 Mar 31. pii: S1550-4131(21)00115-7. [Epub ahead of print]
      Cellular senescence is a stress or damage response that causes a permanent proliferative arrest and secretion of numerous factors with potent biological activities. This senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP) has been characterized largely for secreted proteins that participate in embryogenesis, wound healing, inflammation, and many age-related pathologies. By contrast, lipid components of the SASP are understudied. We show that senescent cells activate the biosynthesis of several oxylipins that promote segments of the SASP and reinforce the proliferative arrest. Notably, senescent cells synthesize and accumulate an unstudied intracellular prostaglandin, 1a,1b-dihomo-15-deoxy-delta-12,14-prostaglandin J2. Released 15-deoxy-delta-12,14-prostaglandin J2 is a biomarker of senolysis in culture and in vivo. This and other prostaglandin D2-related lipids promote the senescence arrest and SASP by activating RAS signaling. These data identify an important aspect of cellular senescence and a method to detect senolysis.
    Keywords:  15d-PGJ2; RAS; SASP; aging; biomarker; cellular senescence; dihomo-prostaglandin; eicosanoid; lipids; mass spectrometry; metabolomics; oxylipin; prostaglandin; senescence