bims-camemi Biomed News
on Mitochondrial metabolism in cancer
Issue of 2021‒07‒18
forty-five papers selected by
Christian Frezza
University of Cambridge, MRC Cancer Unit

  1. Nat Rev Cancer. 2021 Jul 16.
      Tumour initiation and progression requires the metabolic reprogramming of cancer cells. Cancer cells autonomously alter their flux through various metabolic pathways in order to meet the increased bioenergetic and biosynthetic demand as well as mitigate oxidative stress required for cancer cell proliferation and survival. Cancer driver mutations coupled with environmental nutrient availability control flux through these metabolic pathways. Metabolites, when aberrantly accumulated, can also promote tumorigenesis. The development and application of new technologies over the last few decades has not only revealed the heterogeneity and plasticity of tumours but also allowed us to uncover new metabolic pathways involved in supporting tumour growth. The tumour microenvironment (TME), which can be depleted of certain nutrients, forces cancer cells to adapt by inducing nutrient scavenging mechanisms to sustain cancer cell proliferation. There is growing appreciation that the metabolism of cell types other than cancer cells within the TME, including endothelial cells, fibroblasts and immune cells, can modulate tumour progression. Because metastases are a major cause of death of patients with cancer, efforts are underway to understand how metabolism is harnessed by metastatic cells. Additionally, there is a new interest in exploiting cancer genetic analysis for patient stratification and/or dietary interventions in combination with therapies that target metabolism. In this Perspective, we highlight these main themes that are currently under investigation in the context of in vivo tumour metabolism, specifically emphasizing questions that remain unanswered.
  2. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 Jul 13. pii: e2019822118. [Epub ahead of print]118(28):
      Cancer cells acquire metabolic reprogramming to satisfy their high biogenetic demands, but little is known about how metabolic remodeling enables cancer cells to survive stress associated with genomic instability. Here, we show that the mitochondrial methylenetetrahydrofolate dehydrogenase (MTHFD2) is transcriptionally suppressed by p53, and its up-regulation by p53 inactivation leads to increased folate metabolism, de novo purine synthesis, and tumor growth in vivo and in vitro. Moreover, MTHFD2 unexpectedly promotes nonhomologous end joining in response to DNA damage by forming a complex with PARP3 to enhance its ribosylation, and the introduction of a PARP3-binding but enzymatically inactive MTHFD2 mutant (e.g., D155A) sufficiently prevents DNA damage. Notably, MTHFD2 depletion strongly restrains p53-deficient cell proliferation and sensitizes cells to chemotherapeutic agents, indicating a potential role for MTHFD2 depletion in the treatment of p53-deficient tumors.
    Keywords:  MTHFD2; NHEJ; cell proliferation; folate metabolism; p53
  3. Int Rev Cell Mol Biol. 2021 ;pii: S1937-6448(21)00037-X. [Epub ahead of print]362 209-259
      Skeletal muscle mitochondria are placed in close proximity of the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR), the main intracellular Ca2+ store. During muscle activity, excitation of sarcolemma and of T-tubule triggers the release of Ca2+ from the SR initiating myofiber contraction. The rise in cytosolic Ca2+ determines the opening of the mitochondrial calcium uniporter (MCU), the highly selective channel of the inner mitochondrial membrane (IMM), causing a robust increase in mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake. The Ca2+-dependent activation of TCA cycle enzymes increases the synthesis of ATP required for SERCA activity. Thus, Ca2+ is transported back into the SR and cytosolic [Ca2+] returns to resting levels eventually leading to muscle relaxation. In recent years, thanks to the molecular identification of MCU complex components, the role of mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake in the pathophysiology of skeletal muscle has been uncovered. In this chapter, we will introduce the reader to a general overview of mitochondrial Ca2+ accumulation. We will tackle the key molecular players and the cellular and pathophysiological consequences of mitochondrial Ca2+ dyshomeostasis. In the second part of the chapter, we will discuss novel findings on the physiological role of mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake in skeletal muscle. Finally, we will examine the involvement of mitochondrial Ca2+ signaling in muscle diseases.
    Keywords:  Central core disease; Mitochondrial Ca(2+) uptake; Mitochondrial calcium uniporter; Muscular dystrophy; Skeletal muscle
  4. JCI Insight. 2021 Jul 15. pii: 140288. [Epub ahead of print]
      The alpha ketoglutarate-dependent dioxygenase, prolyl-4-hydroxylase 3 (PHD3), is a Hypoxia-Inducible Factor (HIF) target that uses molecular oxygen to hydroxylate peptidyl prolyl residues. While PHD3 has been reported to influence cancer cell metabolism and liver insulin sensitivity, relatively little is known about effects of this highly conserved enzyme in insulin-secreting β-cells in vivo. Here, we show that deletion of PHD3 specifically in β-cells (βPHD3KO) is associated with impaired glucose homeostasis in mice fed high fat diet. In the early stages of dietary fat excess, βPHD3KO islets energetically rewire, leading to defects in the management of pyruvate fate and a shift from glycolysis to increased fatty acid oxidation (FAO). However, under more prolonged metabolic stress, this switch to preferential FAO in βPHD3KO islets is associated with impaired glucose-stimulated ATP/ADP rises, Ca2+ fluxes and insulin secretion. Thus, PHD3 might be a pivotal component of the β-cell glucose metabolism machinery in mice by suppressing the use of fatty acids as a primary fuel source during the early phases of metabolic stress.
    Keywords:  Beta cells; Bioenergetics; Endocrinology; Insulin; Metabolism
  5. Neurooncol Adv. 2021 Jan-Dec;3(1):3(1): vdab057
      Background: Mutations in isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 or 2 (IDH1/2) define glioma subtypes and are considered primary events in gliomagenesis, impacting tumor epigenetics and metabolism. IDH enzyme activity is crucial for the generation of reducing potential in normal cells, yet the impact of the mutation on the cellular antioxidant system in glioma is not understood. The aim of this study was to determine how glutathione (GSH), the main antioxidant in the brain, is maintained in IDH1-mutant gliomas, despite an altered NADPH/NADP balance.Methods: Proteomics, metabolomics, metabolic tracer studies, genetic silencing, and drug targeting approaches in vitro and in vivo were applied. Analyses were done in clinical specimen of different glioma subtypes, in glioma patient-derived cell lines carrying the endogenous IDH1 mutation and corresponding orthotopic xenografts in mice.
    Results: We find that cystathionine-γ-lyase (CSE), the enzyme responsible for cysteine production upstream of GSH biosynthesis, is specifically upregulated in IDH1-mutant astrocytomas. CSE inhibition sensitized these cells to cysteine depletion, an effect not observed in IDH1 wild-type gliomas. This correlated with an increase in reactive oxygen species and reduced GSH synthesis. Propargylglycine (PAG), a brain-penetrant drug specifically targeting CSE, led to delayed tumor growth in mice.
    Conclusions: We show that IDH1-mutant astrocytic gliomas critically rely on NADPH-independent de novo GSH synthesis via CSE to maintain the antioxidant defense, which highlights a novel metabolic vulnerability that may be therapeutically exploited.
    Keywords:  IDH mutation; antioxidant defense; cysteine; glioma; glutathione; transsulfuration pathway
  6. Nat Commun. 2021 07 12. 12(1): 4245
      Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC) is caused by TSC1 or TSC2 mutations, resulting in hyperactivation of the mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1). Transcription factor EB (TFEB), a master regulator of lysosome biogenesis, is negatively regulated by mTORC1 through a RAG GTPase-dependent phosphorylation. Here we show that lysosomal biogenesis is increased in TSC-associated renal tumors, pulmonary lymphangioleiomyomatosis, kidneys from Tsc2+/- mice, and TSC1/2-deficient cells via a TFEB-dependent mechanism. Interestingly, in TSC1/2-deficient cells, TFEB is hypo-phosphorylated at mTORC1-dependent sites, indicating that mTORC1 is unable to phosphorylate TFEB in the absence of the TSC1/2 complex. Importantly, overexpression of folliculin (FLCN), a GTPase activating protein for RAGC, increases TFEB phosphorylation at the mTORC1 sites in TSC2-deficient cells. Overexpression of constitutively active RAGC is sufficient to relocalize TFEB to the cytoplasm. These findings establish the TSC proteins as critical regulators of lysosomal biogenesis via TFEB and RAGC and identify TFEB as a driver of the proliferation of TSC2-deficient cells.
  7. Nat Rev Cancer. 2021 Jul 09.
      Oncogenic mutations in KRAS drive common metabolic programmes that facilitate tumour survival, growth and immune evasion in colorectal carcinoma, non-small-cell lung cancer and pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. However, the impacts of mutant KRAS signalling on malignant cell programmes and tumour properties are also dictated by tumour suppressor losses and physiological features specific to the cell and tissue of origin. Here we review convergent and disparate metabolic networks regulated by oncogenic mutant KRAS in colon, lung and pancreas tumours, with an emphasis on co-occurring mutations and the role of the tumour microenvironment. Furthermore, we explore how these networks can be exploited for therapeutic gain.
  8. Cell Metab. 2021 Jul 08. pii: S1550-4131(21)00283-7. [Epub ahead of print]
      Electron transport chain (ETC) dysfunction or hypoxia causes toxic NADH accumulation. How cells regenerate NAD+ under such conditions remains elusive. Here, integrating bioinformatic analysis and experimental validation, we identify glycerol-3-phosphate (Gro3P) biosynthesis as an endogenous NAD+-regeneration pathway. Under genetic or pharmacological ETC inhibition, disrupting Gro3P synthesis inhibits yeast proliferation, shortens lifespan of C. elegans, impairs growth of cancer cells in culture and in xenografts, and causes metabolic derangements in mouse liver. Moreover, the Gro3P shuttle selectively regenerates cytosolic NAD+ under mitochondrial complex I inhibition; enhancing Gro3P synthesis promotes shuttle activity to restore proliferation of complex I-impaired cells. Mouse brain has much lower levels of Gro3P synthesis enzymes as compared with other organs. Strikingly, enhancing Gro3P synthesis suppresses neuroinflammation and extends lifespan in the Ndufs4-/- mice. Collectively, our results reveal Gro3P biosynthesis as an evolutionarily conserved coordinator of NADH/NAD+ redox homeostasis and present a therapeutic target for mitochondrial complex I diseases.
    Keywords:  ETC dysfunction and hypoxia; NAD(+) regeneration; glycerol-3-phosphate biosynthesis; mitochondrial complex I disease
  9. Cell Rep. 2021 Jul 13. pii: S2211-1247(21)00721-X. [Epub ahead of print]36(2): 109345
      Upon nutrient stimulation, pre-adipocytes undergo differentiation to transform into mature adipocytes capable of storing nutrients as fat. We profiled cellular metabolite consumption to identify early metabolic drivers of adipocyte differentiation. We find that adipocyte differentiation raises the uptake and consumption of numerous amino acids. In particular, branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) catabolism precedes and promotes peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ), a key regulator of adipogenesis. In early adipogenesis, the mitochondrial sirtuin SIRT4 elevates BCAA catabolism through the activation of methylcrotonyl-coenzyme A (CoA) carboxylase (MCCC). MCCC supports leucine oxidation by catalyzing the carboxylation of 3-methylcrotonyl-CoA to 3-methylglutaconyl-CoA. Sirtuin 4 (SIRT4) expression is decreased in adipose tissue of numerous diabetic mouse models, and its expression is most correlated with BCAA enzymes, suggesting a potential role for SIRT4 in adipose pathology through the alteration of BCAA metabolism. In summary, this work provides a temporal analysis of adipocyte differentiation and uncovers early metabolic events that stimulate transcriptional reprogramming.
    Keywords:  BCAA catabolism; MCCC; PPARg; SIRT4; adipogenesis; amino acids; differentiation; sirtuin
  10. Cell Oncol (Dordr). 2021 Jul 09.
      BACKGROUND: The ability of cancer cells to develop treatment resistance is one of the primary factors that prevent successful treatment. Although initially thought to be dysfunctional in cancer, mitochondria are significant players that mediate treatment resistance. Literature indicates that cancer cells reutilize their mitochondria to facilitate cancer progression and treatment resistance. However, the mechanisms by which the mitochondria promote treatment resistance have not yet been fully elucidated.CONCLUSIONS AND PERSPECTIVES: Here, we describe various means by which mitochondria can promote treatment resistance. For example, mutations in tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle enzymes, i.e., fumarate hydratase and isocitrate dehydrogenase, result in the accumulation of the oncometabolites fumarate and 2-hydroxyglutarate, respectively. These oncometabolites may promote treatment resistance by upregulating the nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) pathway, inhibiting the anti-tumor immune response, or promoting angiogenesis. Furthermore, stromal cells can donate intact mitochondria to cancer cells after therapy to restore mitochondrial functionality and facilitate treatment resistance. Targeting mitochondria is, therefore, a feasible strategy that may dampen treatment resistance. Analysis of tumoral DNA may also be used to guide treatment choices. It will indicate whether enzymatic mutations are present in the TCA cycle and, if so, whether the mutations or their downstream signaling pathways can be targeted. This may improve treatment outcomes by inhibiting treatment resistance or promoting the effectiveness of anti-angiogenic agents or immunotherapy.
    Keywords:  2-Hydroxyglutarate; Fumarate; Mitochondria; Mitochondrial transfer; Treatment resistance
  11. Trends Biochem Sci. 2021 Jul 06. pii: S0968-0004(21)00121-3. [Epub ahead of print]
      Within cellular structures, compartmentalization is the concept of spatial segregation of macromolecules, metabolites, and biochemical pathways. Therefore, this concept bridges organellar structure and function. Mitochondria are morphologically complex, partitioned into several subcompartments by a topologically elaborate two-membrane system. They are also dynamically polymorphic, undergoing morphogenesis events with an extent and frequency that is only now being appreciated. Thus, mitochondrial compartmentalization is something that must be considered both spatially and temporally. Here, we review new developments in how mitochondrial structure is established and regulated, the factors that underpin the distribution of lipids and proteins, and how they spatially demarcate locations of myriad mitochondrial processes. Consistent with its pre-eminence, disturbed mitochondrial compartmentalization contributes to the dysfunction associated with heritable and aging-related diseases.
    Keywords:  bioenergetics; cristae; macromolecular trafficking; mitochondria; morphogenesis; ultrastructure
  12. J Cell Biol. 2021 Sep 06. pii: e202005193. [Epub ahead of print]220(9):
      Long-lived proteins (LLPs) have recently emerged as vital components of intracellular structures whose function is coupled to long-term stability. Mitochondria are multifaceted organelles, and their function hinges on efficient proteome renewal and replacement. Here, using metabolic stable isotope labeling of mice combined with mass spectrometry (MS)-based proteomic analysis, we demonstrate remarkable longevity for a subset of the mitochondrial proteome. We discovered that mitochondrial LLPs (mt-LLPs) can persist for months in tissues harboring long-lived cells, such as brain and heart. Our analysis revealed enrichment of mt-LLPs within the inner mitochondrial membrane, specifically in the cristae subcompartment, and demonstrates that the mitochondrial proteome is not turned over in bulk. Pioneering cross-linking experiments revealed that mt-LLPs are spatially restricted and copreserved within protein OXPHOS complexes, with limited subunit exchange throughout their lifetimes. This study provides an explanation for the exceptional mitochondrial protein lifetimes and supports the concept that LLPs provide key structural stability to multiple large and dynamic intracellular structures.
  13. EMBO J. 2021 Jul 16. e107480
      The mTORC1 pathway plays key roles in regulating various biological processes, including sensing amino acid deprivation and driving expression of ribosomal protein (RP)-coding genes. In this study, we observed that depletion of glutamate dehydrogenase 1 (GDH1), an enzyme that converts glutamate to α-ketoglutarate (αKG), confers resistance to amino acid deprivation on kidney renal clear cell carcinoma (KIRC) cells. Mechanistically, under conditions of adequate nutrition, GDH1 maintains RP gene expression in a manner dependent on its enzymatic activity. Following amino acid deprivation or mTORC1 inhibition, GDH1 translocates from mitochondria to the cytoplasm, where it becomes ubiquitinated and degraded via the E3 ligase RNF213. GDH1 degradation reduces intracellular αKG levels by more than half and decreases the activity of αKG-dependent lysine demethylases (KDMs). Reduced KDM activity in turn leads to increased histone H3 lysine 9 and 27 methylation, further suppressing RP gene expression and preserving nutrition to support cell survival. In summary, our study exemplifies an economical and efficient strategy of solid tumor cells for coping with amino acid deficiency, which might in the future be targeted to block renal carcinoma progression.
    Keywords:  GDH1; amino acid deprivation; kidney cancer; ribosomes; αKG
  14. J Biochem. 2021 Jul 09. pii: mvab077. [Epub ahead of print]
      Since the discovery of nucleotides over 100 years ago, extensive studies have revealed the importance of nucleotides for homeostasis, health, and disease. However, there remains no established method to investigate quantitively and accurately intact nucleotide incorporation into RNA and DNA. Herein, we report a new method, Stable-Isotope Measure Of Influxed Ribonucleic Acid Index (SI-MOIRAI), for the identification and quantification of the metabolic fate of ribonucleotides and their precursors. SI-MOIRAI, named after Greek goddesses of fate, combines a stable isotope-labeling flux assay with mass spectrometry to enable quantification of the newly synthesized ribonucleotides into r/m/tRNA under a metabolic stationary state. Using glioblastoma U87MG cells and a patient-derived xenograft (PDX) glioblastoma mouse model, SI-MOIRAI analyses showed that newly synthesized GTP was particularly and disproportionally highly utilized for rRNA and tRNA synthesis but not for mRNA synthesis in glioblastoma (GBM) in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, newly synthesized pyrimidine nucleotides exhibited a significantly lower utilization rate for RNA synthesis than newly synthesized purine nucleotides. The results reveal the existence of discrete pathways and compartmentalization of purine and pyrimidine metabolism designated for RNA synthesis, demonstrating the capacity of SI-MOIRAI to reveal previously unknown aspects of nucleotide biology.
    Keywords:  cancer metabolism; flux analysis; glioblastoma (GBM); mass spectrometry; metabolomics; nucleotide metabolism
  15. Front Immunol. 2021 ;12 705920
      Compelling evidence exists that patients with chronic neurological conditions, which includes progressive multiple sclerosis, display pathological changes in neural metabolism and mitochondrial function. However, it is unknown if a similar degree of metabolic dysfunction occurs also in non-neural cells in the central nervous system. Specifically, it remains to be clarified (i) the full extent of metabolic changes in tissue-resident microglia and infiltrating macrophages after prolonged neuroinflammation (e.g., at the level of chronic active lesions), and (ii) whether these alterations underlie a unique pathogenic phenotype that is amenable for therapeutic targeting. Herein, we discuss how cell metabolism and mitochondrial function govern the function of chronic active microglia and macrophages brain infiltrates and identify new metabolic targets for therapeutic approaches aimed at reducing smoldering neuroinflammation.
    Keywords:  immunometabolism; macrophages; metabolism; microglia; mitochondria; progressive multiple sclerosis; smoldering inflammation
  16. Elife. 2021 Jul 12. pii: e67753. [Epub ahead of print]10
      The E2F transcription factors play a critical role in controlling cell fate. In Drosophila, the inactivation of E2F in either muscle or fat body results in lethality, suggesting an essential function for E2F in these tissues. However, the cellular and organismal consequences of inactivating E2F in these tissues are not fully understood. Here, we show that the E2F loss exerts both tissue-intrinsic and systemic effects. The proteomic profiling of E2F-deficient muscle and fat body revealed that E2F regulates carbohydrate metabolism, a conclusion further supported by metabolomic profiling. Intriguingly, animals with E2F-deficient fat body had a lower level of circulating trehalose and reduced storage of fat. Strikingly, a sugar supplement was sufficient to restore both trehalose and fat levels, and subsequently, rescued animal lethality. Collectively, our data highlight the unexpected complexity of E2F mutant phenotype, which is a result of combining both tissue-specific and systemic changes that contribute to animal development.
    Keywords:  D. melanogaster; cancer biology; developmental biology
  17. Handb Exp Pharmacol. 2021 Jul 13.
      The neurovascular unit (NVU) consists of multiple cell types including brain endothelial cells, pericytes, astrocytes, and neurons that function collectively to maintain homeostasis within the CNS microenvironment. As the principal barrier-forming component of the NVU, the endothelial cells perform an array of complex functions that require substantial energy resources. The principal metabolic pathways for producing ATP are glycolysis and mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation. While previous studies have demonstrated that glycolysis is a primary pathway for most endothelial cells, details about the energy producing pathways of brain endothelial cells are not fully characterized. The contributions of glycolysis and mitochondrial respiration to energy metabolism are quantifiable using metabolic flux analysis that measures cellular oxygen consumption and acidification (proton production) in a closed microtiter plate format. ATP production rates are then calculated. The bioenergetics of the human brain microvascular endothelial cell line, hCMEC/D3, indicate that these cells exhibit relatively elevated rates of glycolytic flux and glycolytic ATP production, thus confirming their glycolytic nature even in the presence of abundant oxygen. Furthermore, energy producing pathways involving mitochondrial respiration are relatively low, although contributing significantly to total ATP production. Interestingly, the bioenergetics of the hCMEC/D3 cells are relatively similar to those of human primary brain microvascular endothelial cells (hBVECs). These findings allow a quantitative understanding of the bioenergetics of brain endothelial cells in a cultured and proliferative state and also provide a platform for comparative studies of disease states and conditions involving exposures to drugs or metabolic disruptors.
    Keywords:  Bioenergetics; Endothelial cell; Glycolysis; Neurovascular unit; Respiration
  18. FEBS J. 2021 Jul 16.
      Bacterial pathogens employ a variety of tactics to persist in their host and promote infection. Pathogens often target host organelles in order to benefit their survival, either through manipulation or subversion of their function. Mitochondria are regularly targeted by bacterial pathogens owing to their diverse cellular roles, including energy production and regulation of programmed cell death. However, disruption of normal mitochondrial function during infection can be detrimental to cell viability because of their essential nature. In response, cells use multiple quality control programs to mitigate mitochondrial dysfunction and promote recovery. In this review, we will provide an overview of mitochondrial recovery programs including mitochondrial dynamics, the mitochondrial unfolded protein response (UPRmt ), and mitophagy. We will then discuss the various approaches used by bacterial pathogens to target mitochondria which result in mitochondrial dysfunction. Lastly, we will discuss how cells leverage mitochondrial recovery programs beyond their role in organelle repair, to promote host defense against pathogen infection.
    Keywords:  UPRmt; defense; infection; mitochondria; mitochondrial dynamics; mitochondrial fission; mitochondrial fusion; mitophagy; pathogen
  19. Gastroenterology. 2021 Jul 07. pii: S0016-5085(21)03159-0. [Epub ahead of print]
      BACKGROUND & AIMS: SIRT5 plays pleiotropic roles via post-translational modifications, serving as a tumor suppressor, or an oncogene, in different tumors. However, the role SIRT5 plays in the initiation and progression of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) remains unknown.METHODS: Published datasets and tissue arrays with SIRT5 staining were used to investigate the clinical relevance of SIRT5 in PDAC. Furthermore, to define the role of SIRT5 in the carcinogenesis of PDAC, we generated autochthonous mouse models with conditional Sirt5 knockout. Moreover, to examine the mechanistic role of SIRT5 in PDAC carcinogenesis, SIRT5 was knocked down in PDAC cell lines and organoids, followed by metabolomics and proteomics studies. A novel SIRT5 activator was utilized for therapeutic studies in organoids and patient-derived xenografts.
    RESULTS: SIRT5 expression negatively regulated tumor cell proliferation and correlated with a favorable prognosis in PDAC patients. Genetic ablation of Sirt5 in PDAC mouse models promoted acinar-to-ductal metaplasia, precursor lesions, and pancreatic tumorigenesis, resulting in poor survival. Mechanistically, SIRT5 loss enhanced glutamine and glutathione metabolism via acetylation-mediated activation of GOT1. A selective SIRT5 activator, MC3138, phenocopied the effects of SIRT5 overexpression and exhibited anti-tumor effects on human PDAC cells. MC3138 also diminished nucleotide pools, sensitizing human PDAC cell lines, organoids, and patient-derived xenografts to gemcitabine.
    CONCLUSIONS: Collectively, we identify SIRT5 as a key tumor suppressor in PDAC, whose loss promotes tumorigenesis through increased non-canonical utilization of glutamine via GOT1, and that SIRT5 activation is a novel therapeutic strategy to target PDAC.
    Keywords:  GOT1; Glutamine Metabolism; Glutathione Metabolism; Pancreatic Cancer; SIRT5
  20. J Biol Chem. 2021 Jul 09. pii: S0021-9258(21)00750-X. [Epub ahead of print] 100950
      Mammalian cells synthesize H2S from sulfur containing amino acids and are also exposed to exogenous sources of this signaling molecule, notably from gut microbes. As an inhibitor of complex IV in the electron transport chain, H2S can have a profound impact on metabolism, suggesting the hypothesis that metabolic reprogramming is a primary mechanism by which H2S signals. In this study, we report that H2S increases lipogenesis in many cell types, using carbon derived from glutamine rather than from glucose. H2S-stimulated lipid synthesis is sensitive to the mitochondrial NAD(P)H pools and is enabled by reductive carboxylation of α-ketoglutarate. Lipidomics analysis revealed that H2S elicits time-dependent changes across several lipid classes, e.g., upregulating triglycerides while down regulating phosphatidylcholine. Direct analysis of triglyceride concentration revealed that H2S induces a net increase in the size of this lipid pool. These results provide a mechanistic framework for understanding the effects of H2S on increasing lipid droplets in adipocytes and population studies that have pointed to a positive correlation between cysteine (a substrate for H2S synthesis) and fat mass.
  21. Mol Metab. 2021 Jul 10. pii: S2212-8778(21)00139-3. [Epub ahead of print] 101294
      BACKGROUND: There is growing interest in the analysis of tumor metabolism to identify cancer-specific metabolic vulnerabilities and therapeutic targets. The identification of such candidate metabolic pathways mainly relies on the highly sensitive identification and quantitation of numerous metabolites and metabolic fluxes using metabolomics and isotope tracing analyses. However, nutritional requirements and metabolic routes used by cancer cells cultivated in vitro do not always reflect the metabolic demands of malignant cells within the tumor milieu. Therefore, to be able to understand how the metabolism of a tumor cell in its physiological environment differs from that of normal cells, these analyses must be performed in vivo.SCOPE OF REVIEW: This review covers the physiological impact of the exogenous administration of a stable isotope tracer into cancer animal models. We discuss specific aspects of in vivo isotope tracing protocols based on discrete bolus injections of a labeled metabolite: the tracer administration per se and the fasting period prior to tracer administration. In addition, we illustrate the complex physiological scenarios that arise when studying tumor metabolism by isotopic labeling in animal models fed with a diet restricted in a specific amino acid. Finally, we provide strategies to minimize those limitations.
    MAJOR CONCLUSIONS: There is a growing evidence that metabolic dependencies in cancers are influenced by tissue environments, cancer lineage, and genetic events. More and more studies are describing discrepancies in tumor metabolic dependencies when studied in in vitro settings or in in vivo models, including cancer patients. Therefore, in depth in vivo profiling of tumor metabolic routes within the appropriate patho-physiological environment will be key to identifying relevant alterations that contribute to cancer onset and progression.
    Keywords:  Fasting; Inter-organ exchange; Stable isotope tracing; Tracer administration; Tumor metabolism
  22. Nat Commun. 2021 07 09. 12(1): 4227
      Glycine decarboxylase (GLDC) is a key enzyme of glycine cleavage system that converts glycine into one-carbon units. GLDC is commonly up-regulated and plays important roles in many human cancers. Whether and how GLDC is regulated by post-translational modifications is unknown. Here we report that mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) signal inhibits GLDC acetylation at lysine (K) 514 by inducing transcription of the deacetylase sirtuin 3 (SIRT3). Upon inhibition of mTORC1, the acetyltransferase acetyl-CoA acetyltransferase 1 (ACAT1) catalyzes GLDC K514 acetylation. This acetylation of GLDC impairs its enzymatic activity. In addition, this acetylation of GLDC primes for its K33-linked polyubiquitination at K544 by the ubiquitin ligase NF-X1, leading to its degradation by the proteasomal pathway. Finally, we find that GLDC K514 acetylation inhibits glycine catabolism, pyrimidines synthesis and glioma tumorigenesis. Our finding reveals critical roles of post-translational modifications of GLDC in regulation of its enzymatic activity, glycine metabolism and tumorigenesis, and provides potential targets for therapeutics of cancers such as glioma.
  23. Annu Rev Nutr. 2021 Jul 16.
      The reactions of the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle allow the controlled combustion of fat and carbohydrate. In principle, TCA cycle intermediates are regenerated on every turn and can facilitate the oxidation of an infinite number of nutrient molecules. However, TCA cycle intermediates can be lost to cataplerotic pathways that provide precursors for biosynthesis, and they must be replaced by anaplerotic pathways that regenerate these intermediates. Together, anaplerosis and cataplerosis help regulate rates of biosynthesis by dictating precursor supply, and they play underappreciated roles in catabolism and cellular energy status. They facilitate recycling pathways and nitrogen trafficking necessary for catabolism, and they influence redox state and oxidative capacity by altering TCA cycle intermediate concentrations. These functions vary widely by tissue and play emerging roles in disease. This article reviews the roles of anaplerosis and cataplerosis in various tissues and discusses how they alter carbon transitions, and highlights their contribution to mechanisms of disease. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Nutrition, Volume 41 is September 2021. Please see for revised estimates.
  24. Cell Metab. 2021 Jul 08. pii: S1550-4131(21)00282-5. [Epub ahead of print]
      FXR agonists are used to treat non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), in part because they reduce hepatic lipids. Here, we show that FXR activation with the FXR agonist GSK2324 controls hepatic lipids via reduced absorption and selective decreases in fatty acid synthesis. Using comprehensive lipidomic analyses, we show that FXR activation in mice or humans specifically reduces hepatic levels of mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids (MUFA and PUFA). Decreases in MUFA are due to FXR-dependent repression of Scd1, Dgat2, and Lpin1 expression, which is independent of SHP and SREBP1c. FXR-dependent decreases in PUFAs are mediated by decreases in lipid absorption. Replenishing bile acids in the diet prevented decreased lipid absorption in GSK2324-treated mice, suggesting that FXR reduces absorption via decreased bile acids. We used tissue-specific FXR KO mice to show that hepatic FXR controls lipogenic genes, whereas intestinal FXR controls lipid absorption. Together, our studies establish two distinct pathways by which FXR regulates hepatic lipids.
    Keywords:  FXR; NAFLD; bile acids; intestinal lipid absorption
  25. Cancer Discov. 2021 Jul 08. pii: candisc.0211.2021. [Epub ahead of print]
      Clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) is characterized by large intracellular lipid droplets (LDs) containing free and esterified cholesterol; however, the functional significance of cholesterol accumulation in ccRCC cells is unknown. We demonstrate that, surprisingly, genes encoding cholesterol biosynthetic enzymes are repressed in ccRCC, suggesting a dependency on exogenous cholesterol. Mendelian randomization analyses performed on 31,000 individuals indicate a causal link between elevated circulating high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and ccRCC risk. Depriving ccRCC cells of either cholesterol or HDL compromises proliferation and survival in vitro and tumor growth in vivo; in contrast, elevated dietary cholesterol promotes tumor growth. Scavenger Receptor B1 (SCARB1) is uniquely required for cholesterol import, and inhibiting SCARB1 is sufficient to cause ccRCC cell cycle arrest, apoptosis, elevated intracellular reactive oxygen species levels and decreased PI3K/AKT signaling. Collectively, we reveal a cholesterol dependency in ccRCC and implicate SCARB1 as a novel therapeutic target for treating kidney cancer.
  26. Nat Metab. 2021 Jul 12.
      Cell competition is emerging as a quality-control mechanism that eliminates unfit cells in a wide range of settings from development to the adult. However, the nature of the cells normally eliminated by cell competition and what triggers their elimination remains poorly understood. In mice, 35% of epiblast cells are eliminated before gastrulation. Here we show that cells with mitochondrial defects are eliminated by cell competition during early mouse development. Using single-cell transcriptional profiling of eliminated mouse epiblast cells, we identify hallmarks of cell competition and mitochondrial defects. We demonstrate that mitochondrial defects are common to a range of different loser cell types and that manipulating mitochondrial function triggers cell competition. Moreover, we show that in the mouse embryo, cell competition eliminates cells with sequence changes in mt-Rnr1 and mt-Rnr2, and that even non-pathological changes in mitochondrial DNA sequences can induce cell competition. Our results suggest that cell competition is a purifying selection that optimizes mitochondrial performance before gastrulation.
  27. EMBO J. 2021 Jul 12. e108293
      cGAS, an innate immune sensor of cellular stress, recognizes double-stranded DNA mislocalized in the cytosol upon infection, mitochondrial stress, DNA damage, or malignancy. Early models suggested that cytosolic localization of cGAS prevents autoreactivity to nuclear and mitochondrial self-DNA, but this paradigm has shifted in light of recent findings of cGAS as a predominantly nuclear protein tightly bound to chromatin. This has raised the question how nuclear cGAS is kept inactive while being surrounded by chromatin, and what function nuclear localization of cGAS may serve in the first place? Cryo-EM structures have revealed that cGAS interacts with nucleosomes, the minimal units of chromatin, mainly via histones H2A/H2B, and that these protein-protein interactions block cGAS from DNA binding and thus prevent autoreactivity. Here, we discuss the biological implications of nuclear cGAS and its interaction with chromatin, including various mechanisms for nuclear cGAS inhibition, release of chromatin-bound cGAS, regulation of different cGAS pools in the cell, and chromatin structure/chromatin protein effects on cGAS activation leading to cGAS-induced autoimmunity.
    Keywords:  DNA sensing; chromatin; cyclic GMP-AMP synthase; innate immunity; nucleosome
  28. FEBS J. 2021 Jul 16.
      Autophagy is a catabolic process that captures cellular waste and degrades them in the lysosome. The main function of autophagy is quality control of cytosolic proteins and organelles, and intracellular recycling of nutrients in order to maintain cellular homeostasis. Autophagy is upregulated in many cancers to promote cell survival, proliferation and metastasis. Both cell-autonomous autophagy (also known as tumor autophagy) and non-cell autonomous autophagy (also known as host autophagy) supports tumorigenesis through different mechanisms, including inhibition of p53 activation, sustaining redox homeostasis, maintenance of essential amino acids levels in order to support energy production and biosynthesis, and inhibition of anti-tumor immune responses. Therefore, autophagy may serve as a tumor-specific vulnerability and targeting autophagy could be a novel strategy in cancer treatment.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Cancer; Cancer Metabolism; Immune Response; Metastasis; p53
  29. J Biol Chem. 2021 Jul 07. pii: S0021-9258(21)00742-0. [Epub ahead of print] 100942
      TBK1 responds to microbes to initiate cellular responses critical for host innate immune defense. We found previously that TBK1 phosphorylates mTOR (mechanistic target of rapamycin) on S2159 to increase mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) signaling in response to the growth factor EGF and the viral dsRNA mimetic poly(I:C). mTORC1 and the less well studied mTORC2 respond to diverse cues to control cellular metabolism, proliferation, and survival. While TBK1 has been linked to Akt phosphorylation, a direct relationship between TBK1 and mTORC2, an Akt kinase, has not been described. By studying MEFs lacking TBK1, as well as MEFs, macrophages, and mice bearing an Mtor S2159A knock-in allele (MtorA/A) using in vitro kinase assays and cell-based approaches, we demonstrate here that TBK1 activates mTOR complex 2 (mTORC2) directly to increase Akt phosphorylation. We find that TBK1 and mTOR S2159 phosphorylation promote mTOR-dependent phosphorylation of Akt in response to several growth factors and poly(I:C). Mechanistically, TBK1 co-immunoprecipitates with mTORC2 and phosphorylates mTOR S2159 within mTORC2 in cells. Kinase assays demonstrate that TBK1 and mTOR S2159 phosphorylation increase mTORC2 intrinsic catalytic activity. Growth factors failed to activate TBK1 or increase mTOR S2159 phosphorylation in MEFs. Thus, basal TBK1 activity cooperates with growth factors in parallel to increase mTORC2 (and mTORC1) signaling. Collectively, these results reveal crosstalk between TBK1 and mTOR, key regulatory nodes within two major signaling networks. As TBK1 and mTOR contribute to tumorigenesis and metabolic disorders, these kinases may work together in a direct manner in a variety of physiological and pathological settings.
    Keywords:  Akt; TBK1; mTOR; mTORC2; phosphorylation
  30. New Phytol. 2021 Jul 13.
      Communication of mitochondria with other cell compartments is essential for the coordination of cellular functions. Mitochondria send retrograde signals through metabolites, redox changes, direct organelle contacts and protein trafficking. Accumulating evidence indicates that, in animal systems, changes in mitochondrial function also trigger responses in other, either neighbouring or distantly located cells. Although not clearly established, there are indications that this type of communication may also be operative in plants. Grafting experiments suggested that the translocation of entire mitochondria or submitochondrial vesicles between neighbouring cells is possible in plants, as already documented in animals. Changes in mitochondrial function also regulate cell-to-cell communication via plasmodesmata and may be transmitted over long distances through plant hormones acting as mitokines to relay mitochondrial signals to distant tissues. Long-distance movement of transcripts encoding mitochondrial proteins involved in crucial aspects of metabolism and retrograde signalling was also described. Finally, changes in mitochondrial reactive species (ROS) production may affect the "ROS wave" that triggers systemic acquired acclimation throughout the plant. In this review, we summarize available evidence suggesting that mitochondria establish sophisticated communications not only within the cell but also with neighbouring cells and distant tissues to coordinate plant growth and stress responses in a cell non-autonomous manner.
    Keywords:  Mitochondria; ROS wave; cell-to-cell communication; mitokines; plasmodesmata; signalling
  31. Nat Cell Biol. 2021 Jul;23(7): 684-691
      Members of the mammalian AlkB family are known to mediate nucleic acid demethylation1,2. ALKBH7, a mammalian AlkB homologue, localizes in mitochondria and affects metabolism3, but its function and mechanism of action are unknown. Here we report an approach to site-specifically detect N1-methyladenosine (m1A), N3-methylcytidine (m3C), N1-methylguanosine (m1G) and N2,N2-dimethylguanosine (m22G) modifications simultaneously within all cellular RNAs, and discovered that human ALKBH7 demethylates m22G and m1A within mitochondrial Ile and Leu1 pre-tRNA regions, respectively, in nascent polycistronic mitochondrial RNA4-6. We further show that ALKBH7 regulates the processing and structural dynamics of polycistronic mitochondrial RNAs. Depletion of ALKBH7 leads to increased polycistronic mitochondrial RNA processing, reduced steady-state mitochondria-encoded tRNA levels and protein translation, and notably decreased mitochondrial activity. Thus, we identify ALKBH7 as an RNA demethylase that controls nascent mitochondrial RNA processing and mitochondrial activity.
  32. Amino Acids. 2021 Jul 17.
      Pyrroline-5-carboxylate reductase (PYCR), the last enzyme in proline synthesis that converts P5C into proline, was found promoting cancer growth and inhibiting apoptosis through multiple approaches, including regulating cell cycle and redox homeostasis, and promoting growth signaling pathways. Proline is abnormally up-regulated in multiple cancers and becomes one of the critical players in the reprogramming of cancer metabolism. As the last key enzymes in proline generation, PYCRs have been the subject of many investigations, and have been demonstrated to play an indispensable role in promoting tumorigenesis and cancer progression. In this article, we will thoroughly review the recent investigations on PYCRs in cancer development.
    Keywords:  Cancer; PYCR; Proline; Proline biogenesis; Pyrroline-5-carboxylate reductase
  33. Int Rev Cell Mol Biol. 2021 ;pii: S1937-6448(21)00024-1. [Epub ahead of print]362 141-170
      Lysosomal calcium is emerging as a modulator of autophagy and lysosomal compartment, an obligatory partner to complete the autophagic pathway. A variety of specific signals such as nutrient deprivation or oxidative stress can trigger lysosomal calcium-mediated nuclear translocation of the transcription factor EB (TFEB), a master regulator of global lysosomal function. Also, lysosomal calcium can promote the formation of autophagosome vesicles (AVs) by a mechanism that requires the production of the phosphoinositide PI3P by the VPS34 autophagic complex and the activation of the energy-sensing kinase AMPK. Additionally, lysosomal calcium plays a role in membrane fusion and fission events involved in cellular processes such as endocytic maturation, autophagosome-lysosome fusion, lysosomal exocytosis, and lysosomal reformation upon autophagy completion. Lysosomal calcium-dependent functions are defective in cellular and animal models of the non-selective cation channel TRPML1, whose mutations in humans cause the neurodegenerative lysosomal storage disease mucolipidosis type IV (MLIV). Lysosomal calcium is not only acting as a positive regulator of autophagy, but it is also responsible for turning-off this process through the reactivation of the mTOR kinase during prolonged starvation. More recently, it has been described the role of lysosomal calcium on an elegant sequence of intracellular signaling events such as membrane repair, lysophagy, and lysosomal biogenesis upon the induction of different grades of lysosomal membrane damage. Here, we will discuss these novel findings that re-define the importance of the lysosome and lysosomal calcium signaling at regulating cellular metabolism.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Calcineurin; LSDs; Lysosomal calcium; Lysosome; MLIV; TFEB; TPCs; TRPML1; mTORC1
  34. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2021 ;1332 51-66
      Autophagy is a dynamic process in which the eukaryotic cells break down intracellular components by lysosomal degradation. Under the normal condition, the basal level of autophagy removes damaged organelles, misfolded proteins, or protein aggregates to keep cells in a homeostatic condition. Deprivation of nutrients (e.g., removal of amino acids) stimulates autophagy activity, promoting lysosomal degradation and the recycling of cellular components for cell survival. Importantly, insulin and amino acids are two main inhibitors of autophagy. They both activate the mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) signaling pathway to inhibit the autophagy upstream of the uncoordinated-51 like kinase 1/2 (ULK1/2) complex that triggers autophagosome formation. In particular, insulin activates mTORC1 via the PI3K class I-AKT pathway; while amino acids activate mTORC1 either through the PI3K class III (hVps34) pathway or through a variety of amino acid sensors located in the cytosol or lysosomal membrane. These amino acid sensors control the translocation of mTORC1 from the cytosol to the lysosomal surface where mTORC1 is activated by Rheb GTPase, therefore regulating autophagy and the lysosomal protein degradation.
    Keywords:  Amino acids; Arginine; Autophagosome; Autophagy; Calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase kinase; Leucine; Lysosome; Mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1; Rag GTPase; Rheb
  35. Nat Commun. 2021 07 13. 12(1): 4284
      The translocase of the outer mitochondrial membrane TOM constitutes the organellar entry gate for nearly all precursor proteins synthesized on cytosolic ribosomes. Thus, TOM presents the ideal target to adjust the mitochondrial proteome upon changing cellular demands. Here, we identify that the import receptor TOM70 is targeted by the kinase DYRK1A and that this modification plays a critical role in the activation of the carrier import pathway. Phosphorylation of TOM70Ser91 by DYRK1A stimulates interaction of TOM70 with the core TOM translocase. This enables transfer of receptor-bound precursors to the translocation pore and initiates their import. Consequently, loss of TOM70Ser91 phosphorylation results in a strong decrease in import capacity of metabolite carriers. Inhibition of DYRK1A impairs mitochondrial structure and function and elicits a protective transcriptional response to maintain a functional import machinery. The DYRK1A-TOM70 axis will enable insights into disease mechanisms caused by dysfunctional DYRK1A, including autism spectrum disorder, microcephaly and Down syndrome.
  36. Curr Biol. 2021 Jul 12. pii: S0960-9822(21)00763-6. [Epub ahead of print]31(13): R859-R861
      Mechanical forces regulate metabolism in healthy and cancerous tissue. A new study reveals that extracellular matrix stiffness modulates mitochondrial shape and function. The mechanical reprogramming of mitochondria confers resistance to oxidative stress and promotes survival.
  37. Nat Commun. 2021 07 09. 12(1): 4228
      Homozygous deletion of methylthioadenosine phosphorylase (MTAP) in cancers such as glioblastoma represents a potentially targetable vulnerability. Homozygous MTAP-deleted cell lines in culture show elevation of MTAP's substrate metabolite, methylthioadenosine (MTA). High levels of MTA inhibit protein arginine methyltransferase 5 (PRMT5), which sensitizes MTAP-deleted cells to PRMT5 and methionine adenosyltransferase 2A (MAT2A) inhibition. While this concept has been extensively corroborated in vitro, the clinical relevance relies on exhibiting significant MTA accumulation in human glioblastoma. In this work, using comprehensive metabolomic profiling, we show that MTA secreted by MTAP-deleted cells in vitro results in high levels of extracellular MTA. We further demonstrate that homozygous MTAP-deleted primary glioblastoma tumors do not significantly accumulate MTA in vivo due to metabolism of MTA by MTAP-expressing stroma. These findings highlight metabolic discrepancies between in vitro models and primary human tumors that must be considered when developing strategies for precision therapies targeting glioblastoma with homozygous MTAP deletion.
  38. Amino Acids. 2021 Jul 12.
      Mitochondrial dysfunction in proximal tubular epithelial cells is a key event in acute kidney injury (AKI), which is a risk factor for the development of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Apelin is a bioactive peptide that protects against AKI by alleviating inflammation, inhibiting apoptosis, and preventing lipid oxidation, but its role in protecting against mitochondrial damage remains unknown. Herein, we examined the protective effects of apelin on mitochondria in cisplatin-stimulated human renal proximal tubular epithelial cells and evaluated its therapeutic efficacy in cisplatin-induced AKI mice. In vitro, apelin inhibited the cisplatin-induced mitochondrial fission factor (MFF) upregulation and the fusion-promoting protein optic atrophy 1 (OPA1) downregulation. Apelin co-treatment reversed the decreased levels of the deacetylase, Sirt3, and the increased levels of protein acetylation in mitochondria of cisplatin-stimulated cells. Overall, apelin improved the mitochondrial morphology and membrane potential in vitro. In the AKI model, apelin administration significantly attenuated mitochondrial damage, as evidenced by longer mitochondrial profiles and increased ATP levels in the renal cortex. Suppression of MFF expression, and maintenance of Sirt3 and OPA1 expression in apelin-treated AKI mice was also observed. Finally, exogenous administration of apelin normalized the serum level of creatinine and urea nitrogen and the urine levels of NGAL and Kim-1. We also confirmed a regulatory pathway that drives mitochondrial homeostasis including PGC-1α, ERRα and Sirt3. In conclusion, we demonstrated that apelin ameliorates renal functions by protecting tubular mitochondria through Sirt3 upregulation, which is a novel protective mechanism of apelin in AKI. These results suggest that apelin has potential renoprotective effects and may be an effective agent for AKI treatment to significantly retard CKD progression.
    Keywords:  Acute kidney injury; Apelin; Mitochondria; Tubule cells
  39. Int Rev Cell Mol Biol. 2021 ;pii: S1937-6448(21)00020-4. [Epub ahead of print]362 171-207
      It has been demonstrated for more than 40 years that intracellular calcium (Ca2+) controls a variety of cellular functions, including mitochondrial metabolism and cell proliferation. Cytosolic Ca2+ fluctuation during key stages of the cell cycle can lead to mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake and subsequent activation of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation and a range of signaling. However, the relationship between mitochondrial Ca2+ and cell cycle progression has long been neglected because the molecule responsible for Ca2+ uptake has been unknown. Recently, the identification of the mitochondrial Ca2+ uniporter (MCU) has led to key advances. With improved Ca2+ imaging and detection, effects of MCU-mediated mitochondrial Ca2+ have been observed at different stages of the cell cycle. Elevated Ca2+ signaling boosts ATP and ROS production, remodels cytosolic Ca2+ pathways and reprograms cell fate-determining networks. These findings suggest that manipulating mitochondrial Ca2+ signaling may serve as a potential strategy in the control of many crucial biological events, such as tumor development and cell division in hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). In this review, we summarize the current understanding of the role of mitochondrial Ca2+ signaling during different stages of the cell cycle and highlight the potential physiological and pathological significance of mitochondrial Ca2+ signaling.
    Keywords:  Cell cycle; MCU; Metabolism; Mitochondrial Ca(2+)
  40. J Cell Sci. 2021 Jul 01. pii: jcs252197. [Epub ahead of print]134(13):
      The mitochondrial inner membrane is a protein-rich environment containing large multimeric complexes, including complexes of the mitochondrial electron transport chain, mitochondrial translocases and quality control machineries. Although the inner membrane is highly proteinaceous, with 40-60% of all mitochondrial proteins localised to this compartment, little is known about the spatial distribution and organisation of complexes in this environment. We set out to survey the arrangement of inner membrane complexes using stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy (STORM). We reveal that subunits of the TIM23 complex, TIM23 and TIM44 (also known as TIMM23 and TIMM44, respectively), and the complex IV subunit COXIV, form organised clusters and show properties distinct from the outer membrane protein TOM20 (also known as TOMM20). Density based cluster analysis indicated a bimodal distribution of TIM44 that is distinct from TIM23, suggesting distinct TIM23 subcomplexes. COXIV is arranged in larger clusters that are disrupted upon disruption of complex IV assembly. Thus, STORM super-resolution microscopy is a powerful tool for examining the nanoscale distribution of mitochondrial inner membrane complexes, providing a 'visual' approach for obtaining pivotal information on how mitochondrial complexes exist in a cellular context.
    Keywords:  COXIV; Mitochondria; Mitochondrial complexes; Nanoscopy; Protein import; STORM; TIM23
  41. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2021 ;1332 1-15
      Amino acids have pleiotropic roles in animal biology including protein and glucose synthesis, cellular metabolism, antioxidant reactions, immune enhancers, and inducers or suppressors of gene expression. Recent studies have revealed important roles of amino acids in the regulation of gene expression in animals. Discoveries of cellular amino acid sensors and their mechanistic pathways have broadened our understanding of how the body responds to the deprivation of nutrients and amino acids in particular. Alterations in concentrations of extracellular amino acids can modulate transcription, translation, posttranscriptional modifications, and epigenetic regulation of genes and proteins. Cells have intracellular amino acid sensors, for example, Sestrin2 for leucine and CASTOR2 for arginine, that respond to sufficiency or deficiency in amino acids, thereby inhibiting or activating downstream signals for gene expression, respectively. The sufficiency of an amino acid in cells ensures its binding to cognate sensors and suppression of inhibitors of MTOR, leading to increased global protein synthesis. On the other hand, deprivation of amino acids activates the amino acid response pathway (GCN2-eIF2a-ATF4), leading to increased selective translation of the activating transcription factor 4 (ATF4). Deficiency of an amino acid itself or via the action of ATF4 suppression of MTORC1 activity limits global protein synthesis. ATF4, in response to low concentrations of cellular amino acids, mediates the transcription of groups of genes such as those for amino acid transport and biosynthesis (ASNS, CAT-1, SNAT2), autophagy (ATG3, ATG10, ATG12), and serine-glycine synthesis (PHGDH, PSAT1, PSPH, MTHFD2). Long-term amino acid starvation has a pronounced effect on cells: suppressed expression and translation of genes required for normal cell growth and metabolism and enhanced expression of genes required for cell adaptation and survival. Levels of amino acids also affect the posttranslational modifications of proteins through mechanisms such as acetylation, ADP-ribosylation, disulfide bond formation, glutamylation, and hydroxylation.
    Keywords:  ATF4; Amino acids; Gene expression; MTOR; Protein synthesis
  42. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 Jul 20. pii: e2019498118. [Epub ahead of print]118(29):
      Cellular respiration is powered by membrane-bound redox enzymes that convert chemical energy into an electrochemical proton gradient and drive the energy metabolism. By combining large-scale classical and quantum mechanical simulations with cryo-electron microscopy data, we resolve here molecular details of conformational changes linked to proton pumping in the mammalian complex I. Our data suggest that complex I deactivation blocks water-mediated proton transfer between a membrane-bound quinone site and proton-pumping modules, decoupling the energy-transduction machinery. We identify a putative gating region at the interface between membrane domain subunits ND1 and ND3/ND4L/ND6 that modulates the proton transfer by conformational changes in transmembrane helices and bulky residues. The region is perturbed by mutations linked to human mitochondrial disorders and is suggested to also undergo conformational changes during catalysis of simpler complex I variants that lack the "active"-to-"deactive" transition. Our findings suggest that conformational changes in transmembrane helices modulate the proton transfer dynamics by wetting/dewetting transitions and provide important functional insight into the mammalian respiratory complex I.
    Keywords:  QM/MM; bioenergetics; cell respiration; cryoEM; molecular simulations
  43. EMBO Rep. 2021 Jul 14. e51981
      Glutaminolysis is known to correlate with ovarian cancer aggressiveness and invasion. However, how this affects the tumor microenvironment is elusive. Here, we show that ovarian cancer cells become addicted to extracellular glutamine when silenced for glutamine synthetase (GS), similar to naturally occurring GS-low, glutaminolysis-high ovarian cancer cells. Glutamine addiction elicits a crosstalk mechanism whereby cancer cells release N-acetylaspartate (NAA) which, through the inhibition of the NMDA receptor, and synergistically with IL-10, enforces GS expression in macrophages. In turn, GS-high macrophages acquire M2-like, tumorigenic features. Supporting this in␣vitro model, in silico data and the analysis of ascitic fluid isolated from ovarian cancer patients prove that an M2-like macrophage phenotype, IL-10 release, and NAA levels positively correlate with disease stage. Our study uncovers the unprecedented role of glutamine metabolism in modulating macrophage polarization in highly invasive ovarian cancer and highlights the anti-inflammatory, protumoral function of NAA.
    Keywords:  IL-10; N-acetylaspartate; TAMs; metabolism; ovarian cancer
  44. Semin Cancer Biol. 2021 Jul 06. pii: S1044-579X(21)00196-6. [Epub ahead of print]
      TRAP1, the mitochondrial component of the Hsp90 family of molecular chaperones, displays important bioenergetic and proteostatic functions. In tumor cells, TRAP1 contributes to shape metabolism, dynamically tuning it with the changing environmental conditions, and to shield from noxious insults. Hence, TRAP1 activity has profound effects on the capability of neoplastic cells to evolve towards more malignant phenotypes. Here, we discuss our knowledge on the biochemical functions of TRAP1 in the context of a growing tumor mass, and we analyze the possibility of targeting its chaperone functions for developing novel anti-neoplastic approaches.
    Keywords:  Anti-tumor compounds; Mitochondria; Molecular chaperone; TRAP1; Tumor metabolism
  45. Cancer Res. 2021 Jul 15. pii: canres.3977.2020. [Epub ahead of print]
      Hyperactive mevalonate (MVA) metabolic activity is often observed in cancer cells, and blockade of this pathway inhibits tumor cell lipid synthesis and cell growth and enhances tumor immunogenicity. How tumor cell MVA metabolic blockade promotes antitumor immune responses, however, remains unclear. Here we show that inhibition of the MVA metabolic pathway in tumor cells elicits type 1 classical dendritic cells (cDC1)-mediated tumor recognition and antigen cross-presentation for antitumor immunity. Mechanistically, MVA blockade disrupted prenylation of the small GTPase Rac1 and induced cancer cell actin filament exposure, which was recognized by CLEC9A, a C-lectin receptor specifically expressed on cDC1s, in turn activating antitumor T cells. MVA pathway blockade or Rac1 knockdown in tumor cells induced CD8+ T cell-mediated antitumor immunity in immunocompetent mice but not in Batf3-/- mice lacking CLEC9A+ dendritic cells. These findings demonstrate tumor MVA metabolic blockade stimulates a cDC1 response through CLEC9A-mediated immune recognition of tumor cell cytoskeleton, illustrating a new immune surveillance mechanism by which dendritic cells monitor tumor metabolic dysregulation and providing insight into how MVA pathway inhibition may potentiate anticancer immunity.