bims-camemi Biomed News
on Mitochondrial metabolism in cancer
Issue of 2021‒05‒09
forty-four papers selected by
Christian Frezza
University of Cambridge, MRC Cancer Unit

  1. Nat Protoc. 2021 May 05.
      Several essential components of the electron transport chain, the major producer of ATP in mammalian cells, are encoded in the mitochondrial genome. These 13 proteins are translated within mitochondria by 'mitoribosomes'. Defective mitochondrial translation underlies multiple inborn errors of metabolism and has been implicated in pathologies such as aging, metabolic syndrome and cancer. Here, we provide a detailed ribosome profiling protocol optimized to interrogate mitochondrial translation in mammalian cells (MitoRiboSeq), wherein mitoribosome footprints are generated with micrococcal nuclease and mitoribosomes are separated from cytosolic ribosomes and other RNAs by ultracentrifugation in a single straightforward step. We highlight critical steps during library preparation and provide a step-by-step guide to data analysis accompanied by open-source bioinformatic code. Our method outputs mitoribosome footprints at single-codon resolution. Codons with high footprint densities are sites of mitoribosome stalling. We recently applied this approach to demonstrate that defects in mitochondrial serine catabolism or in mitochondrial tRNA methylation cause stalling of mitoribosomes at specific codons. Our method can be applied to study basic mitochondrial biology or to characterize abnormalities in mitochondrial translation in patients with mitochondrial disorders.
  2. Elife. 2021 May 04. pii: e66865. [Epub ahead of print]10
      Importing necessary metabolites into the mitochondrial matrix is a crucial step of fuel choice during stress adaptation. Branched chain-amino acids (BCAA) are essential amino acids needed for anabolic processes, but they are also imported into the mitochondria for catabolic reactions. What controls the distinct subcellular BCAA utilization during stress adaptation is insufficiently understood. The present study reports the role of SLC25A44, a recently identified mitochondrial BCAA carrier (MBC), in the regulation of mitochondrial BCAA catabolism and adaptive response to fever in rodents. We found that mitochondrial BCAA oxidation in brown adipose tissue (BAT) is significantly enhanced during fever in response to the pyrogenic mediator prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and psychological stress in mice and rats. Genetic deletion of MBC in a BAT-specific manner blunts mitochondrial BCAA oxidation and non-shivering thermogenesis following intracerebroventricular PGE2 administration. At a cellular level, MBC is required for mitochondrial BCAA deamination as well as the synthesis of mitochondrial amino acids and TCA intermediates. Together, these results illuminate the role of MBC as a determinant of metabolic flexibility to mitochondrial BCAA catabolism and optimal febrile responses. This study also offers an opportunity to control fever by rewiring the subcellular BCAA fate.
    Keywords:  cell biology; mouse
  3. J Physiol. 2021 May 01.
      Metabolic diseases (MetD) embrace a series of pathologies characterize by abnormal body glucose usage. The known diseases included in this group are metabolic syndrome, prediabetes and diabetes mellitus type 1 and 2, all of them are chronic pathologies that present metabolic disturbances and are classified as multi-organ diseases. Cardiomyopathy has been extensively described in diabetic patients without overt macrovascular complications. The heart is severely damaged during the progression of the disease, in fact, diabetic cardiomyopathies are the main cause of death in MetD. Insulin resistance, hyperglycemia, and increased free fatty acid metabolism promote cardiac damage through mitochondria. These organelles supply most of the energy that the heart needs to beat and control essential cellular functions, including Ca2+ signaling modulation, reactive oxygen species production, and apoptotic cell death regulation. Several aspects of the common mitochondrial functions have been described to be altered in diabetic cardiomyopathies include impairments of energy metabolism, compromises of mitochondrial dynamics, deficiencies in the Ca2+ handling, increases in ROS production, and a higher probability of mitochondrial permeability transition pore opening. Therefore, the mitochondrial role in MetD mediated heart dysfunction has been studied extensively to identify potential therapeutic targets for improving cardiac performance. Herein we review the cardiac pathology in metabolic syndrome, prediabetes, and diabetes mellitus, focusing on the role of mitochondrial dysfunctions. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
  4. Cell Rep. 2021 May 04. pii: S2211-1247(21)00420-4. [Epub ahead of print]35(5): 109087
      Parvalbumin (PV) is a cytosolic Ca2+-binding protein highly expressed in fast skeletal muscle, contributing to an increased relaxation rate. Moreover, PV is an "atrogene" downregulated in most muscle atrophy conditions. Here, we exploit mice lacking PV to explore the link between the two PV functions. Surprisingly, PV ablation partially counteracts muscle loss after denervation. Furthermore, acute PV downregulation is accompanied by hypertrophy and upregulation by atrophy. PV ablation has a minor impact on sarcoplasmic reticulum but is associated with increased mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake, mitochondrial size and number, and contacts with Ca2+ release sites. Mitochondrial calcium uniporter (MCU) silencing abolishes the hypertrophic effect of PV ablation, suggesting that mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake is required for hypertrophy. In turn, an increase of mitochondrial Ca2+ is required to enhance expression of the pro-hypertrophy gene PGC-1α4, whose silencing blocks hypertrophy due to PV ablation. These results reveal how PV links cytosolic Ca2+ control to mitochondrial adaptations, leading to muscle mass regulation.
    Keywords:  calcium buffer; mitochondria; skeletal muscle
  5. Cell Death Dis. 2021 May 05. 12(5): 447
      Ischaemic stroke is becoming the most common cerebral disease in aging populations, but the underlying molecular mechanism of the disease has not yet been fully elucidated. Increasing evidence has indicated that an excess of iron contributes to brain damage in cerebral ischaemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury. Although mitochondrial ferritin (FtMt) plays a critical role in iron homeostasis, the molecular function of FtMt in I/R remains unknown. We herein report that FtMt levels are upregulated in the ischaemic brains of mice. Mice lacking FtMt experience more severe brain damage and neurological deficits, accompanied by typical molecular features of ferroptosis, including increased lipid peroxidation and disturbed glutathione (GSH) after cerebral I/R. Conversely, FtMt overexpression reverses these changes. Further investigation shows that Ftmt ablation promotes I/R-induced inflammation and hepcidin-mediated decreases in ferroportin1, thus markedly increasing total and chelatable iron. The elevated iron consequently facilitates ferroptosis in the brain of I/R. In brief, our results provide evidence that FtMt plays a critical role in protecting against cerebral I/R-induced ferroptosis and subsequent brain damage, thus providing a new potential target for the treatment/prevention of ischaemic stroke.
  6. Dev Cell. 2021 May 03. pii: S1534-5807(21)00322-1. [Epub ahead of print]
      Tumors undergo metabolic transformations to sustain uncontrolled proliferation, avoid cell death, and seed in secondary organs. An increased focus on cancer lipid metabolism has unveiled a number of mechanisms that promote tumor growth and survival, many of which are independent of classical cellular bioenergetics. These mechanisms include modulation of ferroptotic-mediated cell death, support during tumor metastasis, and interactions with the cells of the tumor microenvironment. As such, targeting lipid metabolism for anti-cancer therapies is attractive, with recent work on small-molecule inhibitors identifying compounds to target lipid metabolism. Here, we discuss these topics and identify open questions.
    Keywords:  cancer; immunometabolism; lipids; metabolism; metastasis; tumor microenvironment
  7. EMBO Rep. 2021 May 05. e52122
      Metabolic regulation is critical for the maintenance of pluripotency and the survival of embryonic stem cells (ESCs). The transcription factor Tfcp2l1 has emerged as a key factor for the naïve pluripotency of ESCs. Here, we report an unexpected role of Tfcp2l1 in metabolic regulation in ESCs-promoting the survival of ESCs through regulating fatty acid oxidation (FAO) under metabolic stress. Tfcp2l1 directly activates many metabolic genes in ESCs. Deletion of Tfcp2l1 leads to an FAO defect associated with upregulation of glucose uptake, the TCA cycle, and glutamine catabolism. Mechanistically, Tfcp2l1 activates FAO by inducing Cpt1a, a rate-limiting enzyme transporting free fatty acids into the mitochondria. ESCs with defective FAO are sensitive to cell death induced by glycolysis inhibition and glutamine deprivation. Moreover, the Tfcp2l1-Cpt1a-FAO axis promotes the survival of quiescent ESCs and diapause-like blastocysts induced by mTOR inhibition. Thus, our results reveal how ESCs orchestrate pluripotent and metabolic programs to ensure their survival in response to metabolic stress.
    Keywords:  Tfcp2l1; diapause; embryonic stem cell; fatty acid oxidation; metabolism
  8. Cell Metab. 2021 May 04. pii: S1550-4131(21)00179-0. [Epub ahead of print]33(5): 853-855
      Mitochondria cover several functions within the cell, including an influence on the transcription of nuclear genes. Recent work by Tigano et al. (2021) in Nature has identified a pathway of mitochondrial retrograde communication in which the nucleus senses aberrations in the mtDNA to drive the innate immune response.
  9. Elife. 2021 May 04. pii: e66519. [Epub ahead of print]10
      Adrenergic stimulation of brown adipocytes alters mitochondrial dynamics, including the mitochondrial fusion protein optic atrophy 1 (OPA1). However, direct mechanisms linking OPA1 to brown adipose tissue (BAT) physiology are incompletely understood. We utilized a mouse model of selective OPA1 deletion in BAT (OPA1 BAT KO) to investigate the role of OPA1 in thermogenesis. OPA1 is required for cold-induced activation of thermogenic genes in BAT. Unexpectedly, OPA1 deficiency induced fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) as a BATokine in an activating transcription factor 4 (ATF4)-dependent manner. BAT-derived FGF21 mediates an adaptive response, by inducing browning of white adipose tissue, increasing resting metabolic rates, and improving thermoregulation. However, mechanisms independent of FGF21, but dependent on ATF4 induction, promote resistance to diet-induced obesity in OPA1 BAT KO mice. These findings uncover a homeostatic mechanism of BAT-mediated metabolic protection governed in part by an ATF4-FGF21 axis, that is activated independently of BAT thermogenic function.
    Keywords:  biochemistry; chemical biology; mouse
  10. Cell Discov. 2020 May 05. 6(1): 24
      The lysosomal degradation pathway of macroautophagy (herein referred to as autophagy) plays a crucial role in cellular physiology by regulating the removal of unwanted cargoes such as protein aggregates and damaged organelles. Over the last five decades, significant progress has been made in understanding the molecular mechanisms that regulate autophagy and its roles in human physiology and diseases. These advances, together with discoveries in human genetics linking autophagy-related gene mutations to specific diseases, provide a better understanding of the mechanisms by which autophagy-dependent pathways can be potentially targeted for treating human diseases. Here, we review mutations that have been identified in genes involved in autophagy and their associations with neurodegenerative diseases.
  11. Redox Biol. 2021 Apr 24. pii: S2213-2317(21)00136-1. [Epub ahead of print]43 101988
      Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) is a REDOX cofactor and metabolite essential for neuronal survival. Glaucoma is a common neurodegenerative disease in which neuronal levels of NAD decline. We assess the effects of nicotinamide (a precursor to NAD) on retinal ganglion cells (the affected neuron in glaucoma) in normal physiological conditions and across a range of glaucoma relevant insults including mitochondrial stress and axon degenerative insults. We demonstrate retinal ganglion cell somal, axonal, and dendritic neuroprotection by nicotinamide in rodent models which represent isolated ocular hypertensive, axon degenerative, and mitochondrial degenerative insults. We performed metabolomics enriched for small molecular weight metabolites for the retina, optic nerve, and superior colliculus which demonstrates that ocular hypertension induces widespread metabolic disruption, including consistent changes to α-ketoglutaric acid, creatine/creatinine, homocysteine, and glycerophosphocholine. This metabolic disruption is prevented by nicotinamide. Nicotinamide provides further neuroprotective effects by increasing oxidative phosphorylation, buffering and preventing metabolic stress, and increasing mitochondrial size and motility whilst simultaneously dampening action potential firing frequency. These data support continued determination of the utility of long-term nicotinamide treatment as a neuroprotective therapy for human glaucoma.
    Keywords:  Glaucoma; Metabolism; Metabolomics; Mitochondria; Nicotinamide; Retina; Retinal ganglion cell
  12. Genetics. 2019 Jul 01. 212(3): 631-654
      Genome integrity is fundamental to viability and health and can be impacted by metabolic alterations that affect chromatin composition. Saatchi and Kirchmaier present evidence that loss of fumarase, an ortholog of the tumor suppressor... Fumarase is a well-characterized TCA cycle enzyme that catalyzes the reversible conversion of fumarate to malate. In mammals, fumarase acts as a tumor suppressor, and loss-of-function mutations in the FH gene in hereditary leiomyomatosis and renal cell cancer result in the accumulation of intracellular fumarate-an inhibitor of α-ketoglutarate-dependent dioxygenases. Fumarase promotes DNA repair by nonhomologous end joining in mammalian cells through interaction with the histone variant H2A.Z, and inhibition of KDM2B, a H3 K36-specific histone demethylase. Here, we report that Saccharomyces cerevisiae fumarase, Fum1p, acts as a response factor during DNA replication stress, and fumarate enhances survival of yeast lacking Htz1p (H2A.Z in mammals). We observed that exposure to DNA replication stress led to upregulation as well as nuclear enrichment of Fum1p, and raising levels of fumarate in cells via deletion of FUM1 or addition of exogenous fumarate suppressed the sensitivity to DNA replication stress of htz1Δ mutants. This suppression was independent of modulating nucleotide pool levels. Rather, our results are consistent with fumarate conferring resistance to DNA replication stress in htz1Δ mutants by inhibiting the H3 K4-specific histone demethylase Jhd2p, and increasing H3 K4 methylation. Although the timing of checkpoint activation and deactivation remained largely unaffected by fumarate, sensors and mediators of the DNA replication checkpoint were required for fumarate-dependent resistance to replication stress in the htz1Δ mutants. Together, our findings imply metabolic enzymes and metabolites aid in processing replicative intermediates by affecting chromatin modification states, thereby promoting genome integrity.
    Keywords:   HTZ1 ; JHD2 ; DNA replication stress; fumarate; histone methylation
  13. Nat Nanotechnol. 2021 May 06.
      Nanoparticulate albumin bound paclitaxel (nab-paclitaxel, nab-PTX) is among the most widely prescribed nanomedicines in clinical use, yet it remains unclear how nanoformulation affects nab-PTX behaviour in the tumour microenvironment. Here, we quantified the biodistribution of the albumin carrier and its chemotherapeutic payload in optically cleared tumours of genetically engineered mouse models, and compared the behaviour of nab-PTX with other clinically relevant nanoparticles. We found that nab-PTX uptake is profoundly and distinctly affected by cancer-cell autonomous RAS signalling, and RAS/RAF/MEK/ERK inhibition blocked its selective delivery and efficacy. In contrast, a targeted screen revealed that IGF1R kinase inhibitors enhance uptake and efficacy of nab-PTX by mimicking glucose deprivation and promoting macropinocytosis via AMPK, a nutrient sensor in cells. This study thus shows how nanoparticulate albumin bound drug efficacy can be therapeutically improved by reprogramming nutrient signalling and enhancing macropinocytosis in cancer cells.
  14. Cell Metab. 2021 May 04. pii: S1550-4131(21)00174-1. [Epub ahead of print]33(5): 847-848
      Health benefits of aerobic exercise are indisputable and are closely related to the maintenance of mitochondrial energy homeostasis and insulin sensitivity. Flockhart et al. (2021) demonstrate, however, that a high volume of high-intensity aerobic exercise adversely affects mitochondrial function and may cause impaired glucose tolerance.
  15. Nature. 2021 May 05.
      Mitochondrial fission is a highly regulated process that, when disrupted, can alter metabolism, proliferation and apoptosis1-3. Dysregulation has been linked to neurodegeneration3,4, cardiovascular disease3 and cancer5. Key components of the fission machinery include the endoplasmic reticulum6 and actin7, which initiate constriction before dynamin-related protein 1 (DRP1)8 binds to the outer mitochondrial membrane via adaptor proteins9-11, to drive scission12. In the mitochondrial life cycle, fission enables both biogenesis of new mitochondria and clearance of dysfunctional mitochondria through mitophagy1,13. Current models of fission regulation cannot explain how those dual fates are decided. However, uncovering fate determinants is challenging, as fission is unpredictable, and mitochondrial morphology is heterogeneous, with ultrastructural features that are below the diffraction limit. Here, we used live-cell structured illumination microscopy to capture mitochondrial dynamics. By analysing hundreds of fissions in African green monkey Cos-7 cells and mouse cardiomyocytes, we discovered two functionally and mechanistically distinct types of fission. Division at the periphery enables damaged material to be shed into smaller mitochondria destined for mitophagy, whereas division at the midzone leads to the proliferation of mitochondria. Both types are mediated by DRP1, but endoplasmic reticulum- and actin-mediated pre-constriction and the adaptor MFF govern only midzone fission. Peripheral fission is preceded by lysosomal contact and is regulated by the mitochondrial outer membrane protein FIS1. These distinct molecular mechanisms explain how cells independently regulate fission, leading to distinct mitochondrial fates.
  16. Nucleic Acids Res. 2021 May 06. pii: gkab282. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mutations in POLG, encoding POLγA, the catalytic subunit of the mitochondrial DNA polymerase, cause a spectrum of disorders characterized by mtDNA instability. However, the molecular pathogenesis of POLG-related diseases is poorly understood and efficient treatments are missing. Here, we generate the PolgA449T/A449T mouse model, which reproduces the A467T change, the most common human recessive mutation of POLG. We show that the mouse A449T mutation impairs DNA binding and mtDNA synthesis activities of POLγ, leading to a stalling phenotype. Most importantly, the A449T mutation also strongly impairs interactions with POLγB, the accessory subunit of the POLγ holoenzyme. This allows the free POLγA to become a substrate for LONP1 protease degradation, leading to dramatically reduced levels of POLγA in A449T mouse tissues. Therefore, in addition to its role as a processivity factor, POLγB acts to stabilize POLγA and to prevent LONP1-dependent degradation. Notably, we validated this mechanism for other disease-associated mutations affecting the interaction between the two POLγ subunits. We suggest that targeting POLγA turnover can be exploited as a target for the development of future therapies.
  17. Small GTPases. 2021 May 05. 1-14
      RAS is the most frequently mutated oncogene in human cancer with nearly ~20% of cancer patients possessing mutations in one of three RAS genes (K, N or HRAS). However, KRAS is mutated in nearly 90% of pancreatic ductal carcinomas (PDAC). Although pharmacological inhibition of RAS has been challenging, KRAS(G12C)-specific inhibitors have recently entered the clinic. While KRAS(G12C) is frequently expressed in lung cancers, it is rare in PDAC. Thus, more broadly efficacious RAS inhibitors are needed for treating KRAS mutant-driven cancers such as PDAC. A RAS-specific tool biologic, NS1 Monobody, inhibits HRAS- and KRAS-mediated signalling and oncogenic transformation both in vitro and in vivo by targeting the α4-α5 allosteric site of RAS and blocking RAS self-association. Here, we evaluated the efficacy of targeting the α4-α5 interface of KRAS as an approach to inhibit PDAC development using an immunocompetent orthotopic mouse model. Chemically regulated NS1 expression inhibited ERK and AKT activation in KRAS(G12D) mutant KPC PDAC cells and reduced the formation and progression of pancreatic tumours. NS1-expressing tumours were characterized by increased infiltration of CD4 + T helper cells. These results suggest that targeting the #x3B1;4-#x3B1;5 allosteric site of KRAS may represent a viable therapeutic approach for inhibiting KRAS-mutant pancreatic tumours.
    Keywords:  Monobody; Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma; T-cell; tumourigenesis
  18. Nat Commun. 2021 05 05. 12(1): 2550
      Melanoma is the deadliest skin cancer. Despite improvements in the understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying melanoma biology and in defining new curative strategies, the therapeutic needs for this disease have not yet been fulfilled. Herein, we provide evidence that the Activating Molecule in Beclin-1-Regulated Autophagy (Ambra1) contributes to melanoma development. Indeed, we show that Ambra1 deficiency confers accelerated tumor growth and decreased overall survival in Braf/Pten-mutated mouse models of melanoma. Also, we demonstrate that Ambra1 deletion promotes melanoma aggressiveness and metastasis by increasing cell motility/invasion and activating an EMT-like process. Moreover, we show that Ambra1 deficiency in melanoma impacts extracellular matrix remodeling and induces hyperactivation of the focal adhesion kinase 1 (FAK1) signaling, whose inhibition is able to reduce cell invasion and melanoma growth. Overall, our findings identify a function for AMBRA1 as tumor suppressor in melanoma, proposing FAK1 inhibition as a therapeutic strategy for AMBRA1 low-expressing melanoma.
  19. Nature. 2021 May 05.
      Cell extrusion is a mechanism of cell elimination that is used by organisms as diverse as sponges, nematodes, insects and mammals1-3. During extrusion, a cell detaches from a layer of surrounding cells while maintaining the continuity of that layer4. Vertebrate epithelial tissues primarily eliminate cells by extrusion, and the dysregulation of cell extrusion has been linked to epithelial diseases, including cancer1,5. The mechanisms that drive cell extrusion remain incompletely understood. Here, to analyse cell extrusion by Caenorhabditis elegans embryos3, we conducted a genome-wide RNA interference screen, identified multiple cell-cycle genes with S-phase-specific function, and performed live-imaging experiments to establish how those genes control extrusion. Extruding cells experience replication stress during S phase and activate a replication-stress response via homologues of ATR and CHK1. Preventing S-phase entry, inhibiting the replication-stress response, or allowing completion of the cell cycle blocked cell extrusion. Hydroxyurea-induced replication stress6,7 triggered ATR-CHK1- and p53-dependent cell extrusion from a mammalian epithelial monolayer. We conclude that cell extrusion induced by replication stress is conserved among animals and propose that this extrusion process is a primordial mechanism of cell elimination with a tumour-suppressive function in mammals.
  20. Free Radic Biol Med. 2021 Apr 28. pii: S0891-5849(21)00227-6. [Epub ahead of print]
      An epigenetic landscape encompasses a series of dynamic interconnected mechanisms working together to fashion a diverse set of phenotypes from a singular genotype. The epigenetic plasticity observed in disease and development is facilitated by enzymes that create and remove covalent modifications to DNA and histones. Several important discoveries within the past decade have revealed that epigenetic control mechanisms are subject to redox regulation and mitochondrial-to-nuclear retrograde signaling. This has led to our current understanding that the writers and erasers of the epigenome are influenced by several levels of redox and metabolic control including the bioavailability of oxygen, nutrients, and metabolite co-factors necessary for optimal enzyme activity. Thus, these enzymes perceive a cell's redox state, metabolic status, and environmental signals to influence chromatin structure and accessibility to the transcriptional apparatus. Not only are the activities of epigenetic enzymes affected by cellular redox conditions, but also, in feedback loop fashion, genes encoding antioxidant enzymes as well as prooxidant enzymes can be altered in their expression patterns by epigenetic silencing mechanisms. The altered expression of the anti- and prooxidant genes can then contribute to the onset or progression of disease. Epigenetic regulation of gene expression by the confluence of redox biology and gene-environment interactions is an active area of research and our understanding of these links continues to evolve. Given the emergent importance of crosstalk between redox biology and epigenetic regulatory mechanisms, it is timely that this issue should explore the current state of knowledge on this topic and how changes in metabolism and redox flux can result in tectonic shifts of the epigenetic landscape.
    Keywords:  DNA methylation; Epigenetics; Iron; Mitochondria; Reactive oxygen species; Redox signalling; development; histone; metabolism; redox biology
  21. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Apr 30. pii: 4770. [Epub ahead of print]22(9):
      Mitochondria are key regulators of cell survival and are involved in a plethora of mechanisms, such as metabolism, Ca2+ signaling, reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, mitophagy and mitochondrial transfer, fusion, and fission (known as mitochondrial dynamics). The tuning of these processes in pathophysiological conditions is fundamental to the balance between cell death and survival. Indeed, ROS overproduction and mitochondrial Ca2+ overload are linked to the induction of apoptosis, while the impairment of mitochondrial dynamics and metabolism can have a double-faceted role in the decision between cell survival and death. Tumorigenesis involves an intricate series of cellular impairments not yet completely clarified, and a further level of complexity is added by the onset of apoptosis resistance mechanisms in cancer cells. In the majority of cases, cancer relapse or lack of responsiveness is related to the emergence of chemoresistance, which may be due to the cooperation of several cellular protection mechanisms, often mitochondria-related. With this review, we aim to critically report the current evidence on the relationship between mitochondria and cancer chemoresistance with a particular focus on the involvement of mitochondrial dynamics, mitochondrial Ca2+ signaling, oxidative stress, and metabolism to possibly identify new approaches or targets for overcoming cancer resistance.
    Keywords:  cancer; drug resistance; metabolic plasticity; mitochondrial Ca2+ homeostasis; mitochondrial dynamics
  22. Nat Commun. 2021 05 05. 12(1): 2537
      Metastasis accounts for 90% of cancer-related deaths and, currently, there are no effective clinical therapies to block the metastatic cascade. A need to develop novel therapies specifically targeting fundamental metastasis processes remains urgent. Here, we demonstrate that Salmonella YB1, an engineered oxygen-sensitive strain, potently inhibits metastasis of a broad range of cancers. This process requires both IFN-γ and NK cells, as the absence of IFN-γ greatly reduces, whilst depletion of NK cells in vivo completely abolishes, the anti-metastatic ability of Salmonella. Mechanistically, we find that IFN-γ is mainly produced by NK cells during early Salmonella infection, and in turn, IFN-γ promotes the accumulation, activation, and cytotoxicity of NK cells, which kill the metastatic cancer cells thus achieving an anti-metastatic effect. Our findings highlight the significance of a self-regulatory feedback loop of NK cells in inhibiting metastasis, pointing a possible approach to develop anti-metastatic therapies by harnessing the power of NK cells.
  23. PLoS Biol. 2021 May 04. 19(5): e3001230
      Obesity-related renal lipotoxicity and chronic kidney disease (CKD) are prevalent pathologies with complex aetiologies. One hallmark of renal lipotoxicity is the ectopic accumulation of lipid droplets in kidney podocytes and in proximal tubule cells. Renal lipid droplets are observed in human CKD patients and in high-fat diet (HFD) rodent models, but their precise role remains unclear. Here, we establish a HFD model in Drosophila that recapitulates renal lipid droplets and several other aspects of mammalian CKD. Cell type-specific genetic manipulations show that lipid can overflow from adipose tissue and is taken up by renal cells called nephrocytes. A HFD drives nephrocyte lipid uptake via the multiligand receptor Cubilin (Cubn), leading to the ectopic accumulation of lipid droplets. These nephrocyte lipid droplets correlate with endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and mitochondrial deficits, as well as with impaired macromolecular endocytosis, a key conserved function of renal cells. Nephrocyte knockdown of diglyceride acyltransferase 1 (DGAT1), overexpression of adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL), and epistasis tests together reveal that fatty acid flux through the lipid droplet triglyceride compartment protects the ER, mitochondria, and endocytosis of renal cells. Strikingly, boosting nephrocyte expression of the lipid droplet resident enzyme ATGL is sufficient to rescue HFD-induced defects in renal endocytosis. Moreover, endocytic rescue requires a conserved mitochondrial regulator, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma coactivator 1α (PGC1α). This study demonstrates that lipid droplet lipolysis counteracts the harmful effects of a HFD via a mitochondrial pathway that protects renal endocytosis. It also provides a genetic strategy for determining whether lipid droplets in different biological contexts function primarily to release beneficial or to sequester toxic lipids.
  24. Cell Death Dis. 2021 May 01. 12(5): 434
      The mitochondrial paralog of the Hsp90 chaperone family TRAP1 is often induced in tumors, but the mechanisms controlling its expression, as well as its physiological functions remain poorly understood. Here, we find that TRAP1 is highly expressed in the early stages of Zebrafish development, and its ablation delays embryogenesis while increasing mitochondrial respiration of fish larvae. TRAP1 expression is enhanced by hypoxic conditions both in developing embryos and in cancer models of Zebrafish and mammals. The TRAP1 promoter contains evolutionary conserved hypoxic responsive elements, and HIF1α stabilization increases TRAP1 levels. TRAP1 inhibition by selective compounds or by genetic knock-out maintains a high level of respiration in Zebrafish embryos after exposure to hypoxia. Our data identify TRAP1 as a primary regulator of mitochondrial bioenergetics in highly proliferating cells following reduction in oxygen tension and HIF1α stabilization.
  25. Cell Rep. 2021 May 04. pii: S2211-1247(21)00407-1. [Epub ahead of print]35(5): 109076
      We lack a mechanistic understanding of aging-mediated changes in mitochondrial bioenergetics and lipid metabolism that affect T cell function. The bioactive sphingolipid ceramide, induced by aging stress, mediates mitophagy and cell death; however, the aging-related roles of ceramide metabolism in regulating T cell function remain unknown. Here, we show that activated T cells isolated from aging mice have elevated C14/C16 ceramide accumulation in mitochondria, generated by ceramide synthase 6, leading to mitophagy/mitochondrial dysfunction. Mechanistically, aging-dependent mitochondrial ceramide inhibits protein kinase A, leading to mitophagy in activated T cells. This aging/ceramide-dependent mitophagy attenuates the antitumor functions of T cells in vitro and in vivo. Also, inhibition of ceramide metabolism or PKA activation by genetic and pharmacologic means prevents mitophagy and restores the central memory phenotype in aging T cells. Thus, these studies help explain the mechanisms behind aging-related dysregulation of T cells' antitumor activity, which can be restored by inhibiting ceramide-dependent mitophagy.
    Keywords:  CerS6; PKA; SS SphK2; T cell; aging; immunotherapy; lipid signaling; melanoma; mitophagy; sphingolipids and ceramide
  26. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Apr 30. pii: 4793. [Epub ahead of print]22(9):
      Mitochondria are the major source of intercellular bioenergy in the form of ATP. They are necessary for cell survival and play many essential roles such as maintaining calcium homeostasis, body temperature, regulation of metabolism and apoptosis. Mitochondrial dysfunction has been observed in variety of diseases such as cardiovascular disease, aging, type 2 diabetes, cancer and degenerative brain disease. In other words, the interpretation and regulation of mitochondrial signals has the potential to be applied as a treatment for various diseases caused by mitochondrial disorders. In recent years, mitochondrial transplantation has increasingly been a topic of interest as an innovative strategy for the treatment of mitochondrial diseases by augmentation and replacement of mitochondria. In this review, we focus on diseases that are associated with mitochondrial dysfunction and highlight studies related to the rescue of tissue-specific mitochondrial disorders. We firmly believe that mitochondrial transplantation is an optimistic therapeutic approach in finding a potentially valuable treatment for a variety of mitochondrial diseases.
    Keywords:  mitochondria; mitochondrial disease; mitochondrial dysfunction; mitochondrial function; mitochondrial transplantation
  27. Mol Metab. 2021 Apr 28. pii: S2212-8778(21)00084-3. [Epub ahead of print] 101239
      OBJECTIVE: Transport of Ca2+ into pancreatic β-cell mitochondria facilitates nutrient-mediated insulin secretion. The underlying mechanism, however, is unclear. Recent establishment of the molecular identity of the mitochondrial Ca2+ uniporter (MCU) and associated proteins allows modification of mitochondrial Ca2+ transport in intact cells. We examined the consequences of deficiency of the accessory protein, MICU2, in rat and human insulin-secreting cells and mouse islets.METHODS: siRNA-silencing of Micu2 in INS1-832/13 and EndoC-βH1 cell lines was performed; Micu2-/- mice were also studied. Insulin secretion and mechanistic analyses, utilizing live confocal imaging to assess mitochondrial function and intracellular Ca2+ dynamics, were performed.
    RESULTS: Silencing of Micu2 abrogated GSIS in INS1 832/13 and EndoC-βH1 cells. Micu2-/- mice also displayed attenuated GSIS. Mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake declined in MICU2-deficient INS1 832/13 and EndoC-βH1 cells in response to high glucose and high K+. Furthermore, MICU2 silencing in INS1 832/13 cells, presumably through its effects on mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake, perturbed mitochondrial function illustrated by absent mitochondrial membrane hyperpolarization and lowering of the ATP/ADP ratio in response to an elevation of glucose. Despite the loss of mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake, cytosolic Ca2+ was lower in siMICU2-treated INS1 832/13 cells in response to high K+. It was hypothesized that Ca2+ was accumulating in the submembrane compartment in MICU2-deficient cells, resulting in desensitization of voltage-dependent Ca2+ channels, thereby lowering total cytosolic Ca2+. Indeed, upon high K+ stimulation, MICU2-silenced cells showed higher and prolongated rises in submembrane Ca2+ levels.
    CONCLUSIONS: MICU2 plays a critical role in β-cell mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake. β-cell mitochondria sequester Ca2+ from the submembrane compartment preventing desensitization of voltage-dependent Ca2+ channels, thereby facilitating GSIS.
    Keywords:  bioenergetics; knock out mice; mitochondrial calcium uniporter; stimulus-secretion coupling; voltage-dependent calcium channels
  28. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2021 May 05.
      Deregulation of metabolic pathways has increasingly been appreciated as a major driver of cancer in recent years. The principal cancer-associated alterations in metabolism include abnormal uptake of glucose and amino acids and the preferential use of metabolic pathways for the production of biomass and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH). Aldo-keto reductases (AKRs) are NADPH dependent cytosolic enzymes that can catalyze the reduction of carbonyl groups to primary and secondary alcohols using electrons from NADPH. Aldose reductase, also known as AKR1B1, catalyzes the conversion of excess glucose to sorbitol and has been studied extensively for its role in a number of diabetic pathologies. In recent years, however, high expression of the AKR1B and AKR1C family of enzymes has been strongly associated with worse outcomes in different cancer types. This review provides an overview of the catalysis-dependent and independent data emerging on the molecular mechanisms of the functions of AKRBs in different tumor models with an emphasis of the role of these enzymes in chemoresistance, inflammation, oxidative stress and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition.
    Keywords:  Aldo keto reductases; Cancer; Chemoresistance; Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition; Inflammation; Oxidative stress
  29. mBio. 2021 05 04. pii: e00166-21. [Epub ahead of print]12(3):
      In eukaryotes, heme attachment through two thioether bonds to mitochondrial cytochromes c and c 1 is catalyzed by either multisubunit cytochrome c maturation system I or holocytochrome c synthetase (HCCS). The former was inherited from the alphaproteobacterial progenitor of mitochondria; the latter is a eukaryotic innovation for which prokaryotic ancestry is not evident. HCCS provides one of a few exemplars of de novo protein innovation in eukaryotes, but structure-function insight of HCCS is limited. Uniquely, euglenozoan protists, which include medically relevant kinetoplastids Trypanosoma and Leishmania parasites, attach heme to mitochondrial c-type cytochromes by a single thioether linkage. Yet the mechanism is unknown, as genes encoding proteins with detectable similarity to any proteins involved in cytochrome c maturation in other taxa are absent. Here, a bioinformatics search for proteins conserved in all hemoprotein-containing kinetoplastids identified kinetoplastid cytochrome c synthetase (KCCS), which we reveal as essential and mitochondrial and catalyzes heme attachment to trypanosome cytochrome c KCCS has no sequence identity to other proteins, apart from a slight resemblance within four short motifs suggesting relatedness to HCCS. Thus, KCCS provides a novel resource for studying eukaryotic cytochrome c maturation, possibly with wider relevance, since mutations in human HCCS leads to disease. Moreover, many examples of mitochondrial biochemistry are different in euglenozoans compared to many other eukaryotes; identification of KCCS thus provides another exemplar of extreme, unusual mitochondrial biochemistry in an evolutionarily divergent group of protists.IMPORTANCE Cytochromes c are essential proteins for respiratory and photosynthetic electron transfer. They are posttranslationally modified by covalent attachment of a heme cofactor. Kinetoplastids include important tropical disease-causing parasites; many aspects of their biology differ from other organisms, including their mammalian or plant hosts. Uniquely, kinetoplastids produce cytochromes c with a type of heme attachment not seen elsewhere in nature and were the only cytochrome c-bearing taxa without evidence of protein machinery to attach heme to the apocytochrome. Using bioinformatics, biochemistry, and molecular genetics, we report how kinetoplastids make their cytochromes c Unexpectedly, they use a highly diverged version of an enzyme used for heme-protein attachment in many eukaryotes. Mutations in the human enzyme lead to genetic disease. Identification of kinetoplastid cytochrome c synthetase, thus, solves an evolutionary unknown, provides a possible target for antiparasite drug development, and an unanticipated resource for studying the mechanistic basis of a human genetic disease.
    Keywords:  Leishmania; Trypanosoma brucei; cytochrome c; mitochondrial metabolism; posttranslational modification; posttranslational modification (PTM); protist; protists
  30. J Clin Invest. 2021 May 03. pii: 146136. [Epub ahead of print]131(9):
      Restriction of HIV-1 replication in elite controllers (ECs) is frequently attributed to T cell-mediated immune responses, while the specific contribution of innate immune cells is less clear. Here, we demonstrate an upregulation of the host long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) MIR4435-2HG in primary myeloid dendritic cells (mDCs) from ECs. Elevated expression of this lncRNA in mDCs was associated with a distinct immunometabolic profile, characterized by increased oxidative phosphorylation and glycolysis activities in response to TLR3 stimulation. Using functional assays, we show that MIR4435-2HG directly influenced the metabolic state of mDCs, likely through epigenetic mechanisms involving H3K27ac enrichment at an intronic enhancer in the RPTOR gene locus, the main component of the mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1). Together, these results suggest a role of MIR4435-2HG for enhancing immunometabolic activities of mDCs in ECs through targeted epigenetic modifications of a member of the mTOR signaling pathway.
    Keywords:  AIDS/HIV; Dendritic cells; Immunology; Innate immunity; Noncoding RNAs
  31. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Apr 29. pii: 4701. [Epub ahead of print]22(9):
      PGC-1α, a key orchestrator of mitochondrial metabolism, plays a crucial role in governing the energetically demanding needs of retinal pigment epithelial cells (RPE). We previously showed that silencing PGC-1α induced RPE to undergo an epithelial-mesenchymal-transition (EMT). Here, we show that induction of EMT in RPE using transforming growth factor-beta 2 (TGFβ2) suppressed PGC-1α expression. Correspondingly, TGFβ2 induced defects in mitochondrial network integrity with increased sphericity and fragmentation. TGFβ2 reduced expression of genes regulating mitochondrial dynamics, reduced citrate synthase activity and intracellular ATP content. High-resolution respirometry showed that TGFβ2 reduced mitochondrial OXPHOS levels consistent with reduced expression of NDUFB5. The reduced mitochondrial respiration was associated with a compensatory increase in glycolytic reserve, glucose uptake and gene expression of glycolytic enzymes (PFKFB3, PKM2, LDHA). Treatment with ZLN005, a selective small molecule activator of PGC-1α, blocked TGFβ2-induced upregulation of mesenchymal genes (αSMA, Snai1, CTGF, COL1A1) and TGFβ2-induced migration using the scratch wound assay. Our data show that EMT is accompanied by mitochondrial dysfunction and a metabolic shift towards reduced OXPHOS and increased glycolysis that may be driven by PGC-1α suppression. ZLN005 effectively blocks EMT in RPE and thus serves as a novel therapeutic avenue for treatment of subretinal fibrosis.
    Keywords:  OXPHOS; PGC-1α; bioenergetics; epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT); glycolysis; metabolism; mitochondria; mitochondrial dynamics; retinal pigment epithelium (RPE); transforming growth factor-beta (TGFβ)
  32. Cell Metab. 2021 May 04. pii: S1550-4131(21)00176-5. [Epub ahead of print]33(5): 851-852
      Glycolysis supports effector T cell function but is detrimental to the immunosuppressive activity of regulatory T cells. In a recent issue of Nature, two papers address a role for glucose and lactate availability within the tumor microenvironment for the balance of pro- and anti-tumoral effects of T cells and the efficacy of neoadjuvant cancer immunotherapy.
  33. Nature. 2021 May 05.
      Epigenetic dysregulation is a defining feature of tumorigenesis that is implicated in immune escape1,2. Here, to identify factors that modulate the immune sensitivity of cancer cells, we performed in vivo CRISPR-Cas9 screens targeting 936 chromatin regulators in mouse tumour models treated with immune checkpoint blockade. We identified the H3K9 methyltransferase SETDB1 and other members of the HUSH and KAP1 complexes as mediators of immune escape3-5. We also found that amplification of SETDB1 (1q21.3) in human tumours is associated with immune exclusion and resistance to immune checkpoint blockade. SETDB1 represses broad domains, primarily within the open genome compartment. These domains are enriched for transposable elements (TEs) and immune clusters associated with segmental duplication events, a central mechanism of genome evolution6. SETDB1 loss derepresses latent TE-derived regulatory elements, immunostimulatory genes, and TE-encoded retroviral antigens in these regions, and triggers TE-specific cytotoxic T cell responses in vivo. Our study establishes SETDB1 as an epigenetic checkpoint that suppresses tumour-intrinsic immunogenicity, and thus represents a candidate target for immunotherapy.
  34. Genetics. 2019 Aug 01. 212(4): 1429-1443
      Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations cause severe congenital diseases but may also be associated with healthy aging. mtDNA is stochastically replicated and degraded, and exists within organelles which undergo dynamic fusion and fission. The role of the resulting mitochondrial networks in the time evolution of the cellular proportion of mutated mtDNA molecules (heteroplasmy), and cell-to-cell variability in heteroplasmy (heteroplasmy variance), remains incompletely understood. Heteroplasmy variance is particularly important since it modulates the number of pathological cells in a tissue. Here, we provide the first wide-reaching theoretical framework which bridges mitochondrial network and genetic states. We show that, under a range of conditions, the (genetic) rate of increase in heteroplasmy variance and de novo mutation are proportionally modulated by the (physical) fraction of unfused mitochondria, independently of the absolute fission-fusion rate. In the context of selective fusion, we show that intermediate fusion:fission ratios are optimal for the clearance of mtDNA mutants. Our findings imply that modulating network state, mitophagy rate, and copy number to slow down heteroplasmy dynamics when mean heteroplasmy is low could have therapeutic advantages for mitochondrial disease and healthy aging.
    Keywords:  cellular noise; heteroplasmy variance; mitochondrial DNA; mitochondrial networks
  35. Cell Physiol Biochem. 2021 May 08. 55(3): 241-255
      BACKGROUND/AIMS: Rise in global incidence of obesity impacts metabolic health. Evidence from human and animal models show association of vitamin B12 (B12) deficiency with elevated BMI and lipids. Human adipocytes demonstrated dysregulation of lipogenesis by low B12 via hypomethylation and altered microRNAs. It is known de novo hepatic lipogenesis plays a key role towards dyslipidaemia, however, whether low B12 affects hepatic metabolism of lipids is not explored.METHODS: HepG2 was cultured in B12-deficient EMEM medium and seeded in different B12 media: 500nM(control), 1000pM(1nM), 100pM and 25pM(low) B12. Lipid droplets were examined by Oil Red O (ORO) staining using microscopy and then quantified by elution assay. Gene expression were assessed with real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and intracellular triglycerides were quantified using commercial kit (Abcam, UK) and radiochemical assay. Fatty acid composition was measured by gas chromatography and mitochondrial function by seahorse XF24 flux assay.
    RESULTS: HepG2 cells in low B12 had more lipid droplets that were intensely stained with ORO compared with control. The total intracellular triglyceride and incorporation of radio-labelled-fatty acid in triglyceride synthesis were increased. Expression of genes regulating fatty acid, triglyceride and cholesterol biosynthesis were upregulated. Absolute concentrations of total fatty acids, saturated fatty acids (SFAs), monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), trans-fatty acids and individual even-chain and odd-chain fatty acids were significantly increased. Also, low B12 impaired fatty acid oxidation and mitochondrial functional integrity in HepG2 compared with control.
    CONCLUSION: Our data provide novel evidence that low B12 increases fatty acid synthesis and levels of individual fatty acids, and decreases fatty acid oxidation and mitochondrial respiration, thus resulting in dysregulation of lipid metabolism in HepG2. This highlights the potential significance of de novo lipogenesis and warrants possible epigenetic mechanisms of low B12.
    Keywords:  Vitamin B12; Lipogenesis; Fatty acid oxidation; Dyslipidaemia; Hepatocyte; Triglyceride
  36. Cell Metab. 2021 May 04. pii: S1550-4131(21)00177-7. [Epub ahead of print]33(5): 857-872
      Although generally presumed to be isocaloric, dietary fats can differ in their energetic contributions and metabolic effects. Here, we show how an explicit consideration of the gut microbiome and its interactions with human physiology can enrich our understanding of dietary fat metabolism. We outline how variable human metabolic responses to different dietary fats, such as altered ileal digestibility or bile acid production, have downstream effects on the gut microbiome that differentially promote energy gain and inflammation. By incorporating host-microbial interactions into energetic models of human nutrition, we can achieve greater insight into the underlying mechanisms of diet-driven metabolic disease.
  37. Aging (Albany NY). 2021 May 05. 13
      Abnormal cancer metabolism occurs throughout the development of tumors. Recent studies have shown that abnormal nucleotide metabolism not only accelerates the development of tumors but also inhibits the normal immune response in the tumor microenvironment. Although few relevant experiments and reports are available, study of the interaction between nucleotide metabolism and cancer development is rapidly developing. The intervention, alteration or regulation of molecular mechanisms related to abnormal nucleotide metabolism in tumor cells has become a new idea and strategy for the treatment of tumors and prevention of recurrence and metastasis. Determining how nucleotide metabolism regulates the occurrence and progression of tumors still needs long-term and extensive research and exploration.
    Keywords:  key metabolic enzyme; nucleotide metabolism; oncogene-induced senescence; signaling pathway; tumor immunity
  38. Front Nutr. 2021 ;8 588466
      Acetate is one of the main short chain fatty acids produced in the colon when fermentable carbohydrates are digested. It has been shown to affect normal metabolism, modulating mitochondrial function, and fatty acid oxidation. Currently, there is no clear consensus regarding the effects of acetate on tumorigenesis and cancer metabolism. Here, we investigate the metabolic effects of acetate on colon cancer. HT29 and HCT116 colon cancer cell lines were treated with acetate and its effect on mitochondrial proliferation, reactive oxygen species, density, permeability transition pore, cellular bioenergetics, gene expression of acetyl-CoA synthetase 1 (ACSS1) and 2 (ACSS2), and lipid levels were investigated. Acetate was found to reduce proliferation of both cell lines under normoxia as well as reducing glycolysis; it was also found to increase both oxygen consumption and ROS levels. Cell death observed was independent of ACSS1/2 expression. Under hypoxic conditions, reduced proliferation was maintained in the HT29 cell line but no longer observed in the HCT116 cell line. ACSS2 expression together with cellular lipid levels was increased in both cell lines under hypoxia which may partly protect cells from the anti-proliferative effects of reversed Warburg effect caused by acetate. The findings from this study suggest that effect of acetate on proliferation is a consequence of its impact on mitochondrial metabolism and during normoxia is independent of ACCS1/2 expression.
    Keywords:  ROS; Warburg effect; acetate; mitochondria; short chain fatty acid
  39. Cell. 2021 Apr 30. pii: S0092-8674(21)00446-3. [Epub ahead of print]
      Thousands of interactions assemble proteins into modules that impart spatial and functional organization to the cellular proteome. Through affinity-purification mass spectrometry, we have created two proteome-scale, cell-line-specific interaction networks. The first, BioPlex 3.0, results from affinity purification of 10,128 human proteins-half the proteome-in 293T cells and includes 118,162 interactions among 14,586 proteins. The second results from 5,522 immunoprecipitations in HCT116 cells. These networks model the interactome whose structure encodes protein function, localization, and complex membership. Comparison across cell lines validates thousands of interactions and reveals extensive customization. Whereas shared interactions reside in core complexes and involve essential proteins, cell-specific interactions link these complexes, "rewiring" subnetworks within each cell's interactome. Interactions covary among proteins of shared function as the proteome remodels to produce each cell's phenotype. Viewable interactively online through BioPlexExplorer, these networks define principles of proteome organization and enable unknown protein characterization.
    Keywords:  AP-MS; BioPlex; bioinformatics; cell specificity; computational biology; human interactome; network biology; protein interactions; proteomics; proteotypes
  40. Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2021 May 03. pii: S1043-2760(21)00075-8. [Epub ahead of print]
      PERK protein, that is canonically associated with the response to endoplasmic reticulum stress, may be acquiring a new role as a regulator of the growth of mitochondrial cristae. This role is pertinent not only to the recruitment of brown adipose tissue thermogenic capacity but probably also to directing cristae formation in highly metabolically active organs such as the heart.
    Keywords:  MICOS; brown adipose tissue; cristae; endoplasmic reticulum stress; mitochondria; norepinephrine
  41. Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2021 Apr 28. pii: S0955-0674(21)00038-7. [Epub ahead of print]71 148-157
      Membrane contact sites (MCSs) in addition to impacting the functions of membrane-limited organelles also have a role in the spatial and functional organization of cells, tissues and whole organisms. MCSs have been identified between all organelles and the identification of their molecular composition has progressed significantly in recent years. Equally important is how MCSs respond dynamically to physiological stimuli, how this is regulated, and the physiological roles of MCSs in tissues and at the organismal level, an area that still remains relatively unexplored. In the present review, we focus on the regulation of MCSs, considerations of their function at the organismal level, and how mutations of MCS components linked to genetic diseases might inform us about their physiological relevance.
  42. Elife. 2021 May 04. pii: e58741. [Epub ahead of print]10
      We analyze the metabolomes of humans, chimpanzees and macaques in muscle, kidney and three different regions of the brain. Whereas several compounds in amino acid metabolism occur at either higher or lower concentrations in humans than in the other primates, metabolites downstream of adenylosuccinate lyase, which catalyzes two reactions in purine synthesis, occur at lower concentrations in humans. This enzyme carries an amino acid substitution that is present in all humans today but absent in Neandertals. By introducing the modern human substitution into the genomes of mice, as well as the ancestral, Neandertal-like substitution into the genomes of human cells, we show that this amino acid substitution contributes to much or all of the reduction of de novo synthesis of purines in humans.
    Keywords:  evolutionary biology; human; mouse