bims-camemi Biomed News
on Mitochondrial metabolism in cancer
Issue of 2021‒08‒22
forty papers selected by
Christian Frezza
University of Cambridge, MRC Cancer Unit


  1. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2021 Aug 19.
      There is an increasing appreciation for the role of metabolism in cell signaling and cell decision making. Precise metabolic control is essential in development, as evident by the disorders caused by mutations in metabolic enzymes. The metabolic profile of cells is often cell-type specific, changing as cells differentiate or during tumorigenesis. Recent evidence has shown that changes in metabolism are not merely a consequence of changes in cell state but that metabolites can serve to promote and/or inhibit these changes. Metabolites can link metabolic pathways with cell signaling pathways via several mechanisms, for example, by serving as substrates for protein post-translational modifications, by affecting enzyme activity via allosteric mechanisms, or by altering epigenetic markers. Unraveling the complex interactions governing metabolism, gene expression, and protein activity that ultimately govern a cell's fate will require new tools and interactions across disciplines. On March 24 and 25, 2021, experts in cell metabolism, developmental biology, and human disease met virtually for the Keystone eSymposium, "Metabolic Decisions in Development and Disease." The discussions explored how metabolites impact cellular and developmental decisions in a diverse range of model systems used to investigate normal development, developmental disorders, dietary effects, and cancer-mediated changes in metabolism.
    Keywords:  cell signaling; development; inborn errors of metabolism; metabolism; metabolome; stem cell differentiation
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1111/nyas.14678
  2. Int Rev Cell Mol Biol. 2021 ;pii: S1937-6448(21)00038-1. [Epub ahead of print]363 49-121
      Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide. All major tumor suppressors and oncogenes are now recognized to have fundamental connections with metabolic pathways. A hallmark feature of cancer cells is a reprogramming of their metabolism even when nutrients are available. Increasing evidence indicates that most cancer cells rely on mitochondrial metabolism to sustain their energetic and biosynthetic demands. Mitochondria are functionally and physically coupled to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), the major calcium (Ca2+) storage organelle in mammalian cells, through special domains known as mitochondria-ER contact sites (MERCS). In this domain, the release of Ca2+ from the ER is mainly regulated by inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (IP3) receptors (IP3Rs), a family of Ca2+ release channels activated by the ligand IP3. IP3R mediated Ca2+ release is transferred to mitochondria through the mitochondrial Ca2+ uniporter (MCU). Once in the mitochondrial matrix, Ca2+ activates several proteins that stimulate mitochondrial performance. The role of IP3R and MCU in cancer, as well as the other proteins that enable the Ca2+ communication between these two organelles is just beginning to be understood. Here, we describe the function of the main players of the ER mitochondrial Ca2+ communication and discuss how this particular signal may contribute to the rise and development of cancer traits.
    Keywords:  Cancer hallmarks; IP3R; MCUC; Metabolism; Mitochondria-associated membranes (MAMs)
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/bs.ircmb.2021.03.006
  3. Cancer Manag Res. 2021 ;13 6291-6307
      Metabolic alteration, one of the hallmarks of cancer cells, is important for cancer initiation and development. To support their rapid growth, cancer cells alter their metabolism so as to obtain the necessary energy and building blocks for biosynthetic pathways, as well as to adjust their redox balance. Once thought to be merely byproducts of metabolic pathways, intermediate metabolites are now known to mediate epigenetic modifications and protein post-transcriptional modifications (PTM), as well as connect cellular metabolism with signal transduction. Consequently, they can affect a myriad of processes, including proliferation, apoptosis, and immunity. In this review, we summarize multiple representative metabolites involved in glycolysis, the pentose phosphate pathway (PPP), the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, lipid synthesis, ketogenesis, methionine metabolism, glutamine metabolism, and tryptophan metabolism, focusing on their roles in chromatin and protein modifications and as signal-transducing messengers.
    Keywords:  epigenetic modification; extra-metabolic functions; oncometabolites; post-transcriptional modifications; signaling transduction
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.2147/CMAR.S321433
  4. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2021 Aug 20. pii: djab158. [Epub ahead of print]
      BACKGROUND: Pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma (PPGL) are neuroendocrine tumors with frequent mutations in genes linked to the tricarboxylic acid cycle. However, no pathogenic variant has been found to date in succinyl-CoA ligase (SUCL), an enzyme that provides substrate for succinate dehydrogenase (SDH; mitochondrial complex II; CII), a known tumor suppressor in PPGL.METHODS: A cohort of 352 subjects with apparently sporadic PPGL underwent genetic testing using a panel of 54 genes developed at the National Institutes of Health, including the SUCLG2 subunit of SUCL. Gene deletion, succinate levels, and protein levels were assessed in tumors where possible. To confirm the possible mechanism, we used a progenitor cell line, hPheo1, derived from a human pheochromocytoma, and ablated and re-expressed SUCLG2.
    RESULTS: We describe eight germline variants in the GTP-binding domain of SUCLG2 in 15 patients (15 of 352, 4.3%) with apparently sporadic PPGL. Analysis of SUCLG2-mutated tumors and SUCLG2-deficient hPheo1 cells revealed absence of SUCLG2 protein, decrease in the level of the SDHB subunit of CII and faulty assembly of the complex, resulting in aberrant respiration and elevated succinate accumulation.
    CONCLUSIONS: Our study suggests SUCLG2 as a novel candidate gene in the genetic landscape of PPGL. Large-scale sequencing may uncover additional cases harboring SUCLG2 variants and provide more detailed information about their prevalence and penetrance.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djab158
  5. Cell Death Dis. 2021 Aug 17. 12(9): 796
      Mitochondria are highly dynamic organelles with strict quality control processes that maintain cellular homeostasis. Within axons, coordinated cycles of fission-fusion mediated by dynamin related GTPase protein (DRP1) and mitofusins (MFN), together with regulated motility of healthy mitochondria anterogradely and damaged/oxidized mitochondria retrogradely, control mitochondrial shape, distribution and size. Disruption of this tight regulation has been linked to aberrant oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction causing mitochondrial disease and neurodegeneration. Although pharmacological induction of Parkinson's disease (PD) in humans/animals with toxins or in mice overexpressing α-synuclein (α-syn) exhibited mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress, mice lacking α-syn showed resistance to mitochondrial toxins; yet, how α-syn influences mitochondrial dynamics and turnover is unclear. Here, we isolate the mechanistic role of α-syn in mitochondrial homeostasis in vivo in a humanized Drosophila model of Parkinson's disease (PD). We show that excess α-syn causes fragmented mitochondria, which persists with either truncation of the C-terminus (α-syn1-120) or deletion of the NAC region (α-synΔNAC). Using in vivo oxidation reporters Mito-roGFP2-ORP1/GRX1 and MitoTimer, we found that α-syn-mediated fragments were oxidized/damaged, but α-syn1-120-induced fragments were healthy, suggesting that the C-terminus is required for oxidation. α-syn-mediated oxidized fragments showed biased retrograde motility, but α-syn1-120-mediated healthy fragments did not, demonstrating that the C-terminus likely mediates the retrograde motility of oxidized mitochondria. Depletion/inhibition or excess DRP1-rescued α-syn-mediated fragmentation, oxidation, and the biased retrograde motility, indicating that DRP1-mediated fragmentation is likely upstream of oxidation and motility changes. Further, excess PINK/Parkin, two PD-associated proteins that function to coordinate mitochondrial turnover via induction of selective mitophagy, rescued α-syn-mediated membrane depolarization, oxidation and cell death in a C-terminus-dependent manner, suggesting a functional interaction between α-syn and PINK/Parkin. Taken together, our findings identify distinct roles for α-syn in mitochondrial homeostasis, highlighting a previously unknown pathogenic pathway for the initiation of PD.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41419-021-04046-3
  6. Curr Res Physiol. 2021 ;4 163-176
      Folding of the mitochondrial inner membrane (IM) into cristae greatly increases the ATP-generating surface area, S IM, per unit volume but also creates diffusional bottlenecks that could limit reaction rates inside mitochondria. This study explores possible effects of inner membrane folding on mitochondrial ATP output, using a mathematical model for energy metabolism developed by the Jafri group and two- and three-dimensional spatial models for mitochondria, implemented on the Virtual Cell platform. Simulations demonstrate that cristae are micro-compartments functionally distinct from the cytosol. At physiological steady states, standing gradients of ADP form inside cristae that depend on the size and shape of the compartments, and reduce local flux (rate per unit area) of the adenine nucleotide translocase. This causes matrix ADP levels to drop, which in turn reduces the flux of ATP synthase. The adverse effects of membrane folding on reaction fluxes increase with crista length and are greater for lamellar than tubular crista. However, total ATP output per mitochondrion is the product of flux of ATP synthase and S IM which can be two-fold greater for mitochondria with lamellar than tubular cristae, resulting in greater ATP output for the former. The simulations also demonstrate the crucial role played by intracristal kinases (adenylate kinase, creatine kinase) in maintaining the energy advantage of IM folding.
    Keywords:  ATP synthesis; Computational modeling; Cristae; Energy metabolism; Kinases; Mitochondria
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.crphys.2021.03.005
  7. Cell Calcium. 2021 Aug 05. pii: S0143-4160(21)00107-X. [Epub ahead of print]98 102453
      Mitochondria-endoplasmic reticulum (ER) contact sites (MERCS) are morpho-functional units, formed at the loci of close apposition of the ER-forming endomembrane and outer mitochondrial membrane (OMM). These sites contribute to fundamental cellular processes including lipid biosynthesis, autophagy, apoptosis, ER-stress and calcium (Ca2+) signalling. At MERCS, Ca2+ ions are transferred from the ER directly to mitochondria through a core protein complex composed of inositol-1,4,5 trisphosphate receptor (InsP3R), voltage-gated anion channel 1 (VDAC1), mitochondrial calcium uniporter (MCU) and adaptor protein glucose-regulated protein 75 (Grp75); this complex is regulated by several associated proteins. Deregulation of ER-mitochondria Ca2+ transfer contributes to pathogenesis of neurodegenerative and other diseases. The efficacy of Ca2+ transfer between ER and mitochondria depends on the protein composition of MERCS, which controls ER-mitochondria interaction regulating, for example, the transversal distance between ER membrane and OMM and the extension of the longitudinal interface between ER and mitochondria. These parameters are altered in neurodegeneration. Here we overview the ER and mitochondrial Ca2+ homeostasis, the composition of ER-mitochondrial Ca2+ transfer machinery and alterations of the ER-mitochondria Ca2+ transfer in three major neurodegenerative diseases: motor neurone diseases, Parkinson disease and Alzheimer's disease.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer's disease; Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Endoplasmic reticulum; Mitochondria; Mitochondria-ER contact sites; Motor neurone disease; Parkinson's disease
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ceca.2021.102453
  8. Nature. 2021 Aug 18.
      Fructose consumption is linked to the rising incidence of obesity and cancer, which are two of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality globally1,2. Dietary fructose metabolism begins at the epithelium of the small intestine, where fructose is transported by glucose transporter type 5 (GLUT5; encoded by SLC2A5) and phosphorylated by ketohexokinase to form fructose 1-phosphate, which accumulates to high levels in the cell3,4. Although this pathway has been implicated in obesity and tumour promotion, the exact mechanism that drives these pathologies in the intestine remains unclear. Here we show that dietary fructose improves the survival of intestinal cells and increases intestinal villus length in several mouse models. The increase in villus length expands the surface area of the gut and increases nutrient absorption and adiposity in mice that are fed a high-fat diet. In hypoxic intestinal cells, fructose 1-phosphate inhibits the M2 isoform of pyruvate kinase to promote cell survival5-7. Genetic ablation of ketohexokinase or stimulation of pyruvate kinase prevents villus elongation and abolishes the nutrient absorption and tumour growth that are induced by feeding mice with high-fructose corn syrup. The ability of fructose to promote cell survival through an allosteric metabolite thus provides additional insights into the excess adiposity generated by a Western diet, and a compelling explanation for the promotion of tumour growth by high-fructose corn syrup.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-03827-2
  9. Curr Opin Microbiol. 2021 Aug 16. pii: S1369-5274(21)00101-6. [Epub ahead of print]63 189-194
      Invading microbes occupy the host cytosol and take up nutrients on which host organelles are also dependent. Thus, host organelles are poised to interact with intracellular microbes. Despite the essential role of host mitochondria in cellular metabolic homeostasis and in mediating cellular responses to microbial infection, we know little of how these organelles interact with intracellular pathogens, and how such interactions affect disease pathogenesis. Here, we give an overview of the different classes of physical and metabolic interactions reported to occur between mitochondria and eukaryotic pathogens. Investigating the underlying molecular mechanisms and functions of such interactions will reveal novel aspects of infection biology.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mib.2021.07.014
  10. iScience. 2021 Aug 20. 24(8): 102895
      The mitochondrial uniporter is a Ca2+-selective ion-conducting channel in the inner mitochondrial membrane that is involved in various cellular processes. The components of this uniporter, including the pore-forming membrane subunit MCU and the modulatory subunits MCUb, EMRE, MICU1, and MICU2, have been identified in recent years. Previously, extensive studies revealed various aspects of uniporter activities and proposed multiple regulatory models of mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake. Recently, the individual auxiliary components of the uniporter and its holocomplex have been structurally characterized, providing the first insight into the component structures and their spatial relationship within the context of the uniporter. Here, we review recent uniporter structural studies in an attempt to establish an architectural framework, elucidating the mechanism that governs mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake and regulation, and to address some apparent controversies. This information could facilitate further characterization of mitochondrial Ca2+ permeation and a better understanding of uniporter-related disease conditions.
    Keywords:  Ion; Membranes; Molecular biology
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.isci.2021.102895
  11. Redox Biol. 2021 Jun 10. pii: S2213-2317(21)00197-X. [Epub ahead of print]46 102038
      Due to the high redox activity of the mitochondrion, this organelle can suffer oxidative stress. To manage energy demands while minimizing redox stress, mitochondrial homeostasis is maintained by the dynamic processes of mitochondrial biogenesis, mitochondrial network dynamics (fusion/fission), and mitochondrial clearance by mitophagy. Friedreich's ataxia (FA) is a mitochondrial disease resulting in a fatal hypertrophic cardiomyopathy due to the deficiency of the mitochondrial protein, frataxin. Our previous studies identified defective mitochondrial iron metabolism and oxidative stress potentiating cardiac pathology in FA. However, how these factors alter mitochondrial homeostasis remains uncharacterized in FA cardiomyopathy. This investigation examined the muscle creatine kinase conditional frataxin knockout mouse, which closely mimics FA cardiomyopathy, to dissect the mechanisms of dysfunctional mitochondrial homeostasis. Dysfunction of key mitochondrial homeostatic mechanisms were elucidated in the knockout hearts relative to wild-type littermates, namely: (1) mitochondrial proliferation with condensed cristae; (2) impaired NAD+ metabolism due to perturbations in Sirt1 activity and NAD+ salvage; (3) increased mitochondrial biogenesis, fusion and fission; and (4) mitochondrial accumulation of Pink1/Parkin with increased autophagic/mitophagic flux. Immunohistochemistry of FA patients' heart confirmed significantly enhanced expression of markers of mitochondrial biogenesis, fusion/fission and autophagy. These novel findings demonstrate cardiac frataxin-deficiency results in significant changes to metabolic mechanisms critical for mitochondrial homeostasis. This mechanistic dissection provides critical insight, offering the potential for maintaining mitochondrial homeostasis in FA and potentially other cardio-degenerative diseases by implementing innovative treatments targeting mitochondrial homeostasis and NAD+ metabolism.
    Keywords:  Cardiomyopathy; Iron; Iron loading; Mitochondria; Mitochondrial homeostasis
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.redox.2021.102038
  12. Trends Cancer. 2021 Aug 17. pii: S2405-8033(21)00162-X. [Epub ahead of print]
      Focus on metabolic reprogramming has re-emerged in recent years due to the far-reaching consequences of metabolism on nearly all cellular behaviors. In a recent study in Cell Metabolism, Tharp et al. show that adhesion-dependent mechanical signaling induces mitochondrial and metabolic reprogramming to help cells adapt to future oxidative stress.
    Keywords:  ROS; matrix stiffness; mechanosignaling; mitohormesis
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trecan.2021.08.003
  13. Cell. 2021 Aug 19. pii: S0092-8674(21)00939-9. [Epub ahead of print]184(17): 4374-4376
      In this issue of Cell, Evavold et al. (2021) report that mTOR Complex 1 (mTORC1), a metabolic signaling complex, controls reactive oxygen species (ROS) production in mitochondria, which in turn promotes inflammatory cell death mediated by gasdermin D (GSDMD). This provides a new mechanistic connection between metabolic signaling and inflammatory cell death.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2021.07.036
  14. Cell Rep. 2021 Aug 17. pii: S2211-1247(21)00959-1. [Epub ahead of print]36(7): 109528
      Autophagy sustains cellular homeostasis and metabolism in numerous diseases. By regulating cancer metabolism, both tumor and microenvironmental autophagy promote tumor growth. However, autophagy can support cancer progression through other biological functions such as immune response regulation or cytokine/growth factor secretion. Moreover, autophagy is induced in numerous tumor types as a resistance mechanism following therapy, highlighting autophagy inhibition as a promising target for anti-cancer therapy. Thus, better understanding the mechanisms involved in tumor growth and resistance regulation through autophagy, which are not fully understood, will provide insights into patient treatment.
    Keywords:  Poillet-Perez et al. review how both tumor and microenvironmental autophagy promote tumor growth by regulating cancer metabolism and the immune response. Moreover; autophagy is induced as a cell death or resistance mechanism following therapy. Better understanding the role of autophagy and the mechanisms involved will provide insights into patient treatment
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2021.109528
  15. Nat Methods. 2021 Aug 19.
      Mitochondria display complex morphology and movements, which complicates their segmentation and tracking in time-lapse images. Here, we introduce Mitometer, an algorithm for fast, unbiased, and automated segmentation and tracking of mitochondria in live-cell two-dimensional and three-dimensional time-lapse images. Mitometer requires only the pixel size and the time between frames to identify mitochondrial motion and morphology, including fusion and fission events. The segmentation algorithm isolates individual mitochondria via a shape- and size-preserving background removal process. The tracking algorithm links mitochondria via differences in morphological features and displacement, followed by a gap-closing scheme. Using Mitometer, we show that mitochondria of triple-negative breast cancer cells are faster, more directional, and more elongated than those in their receptor-positive counterparts. Furthermore, we show that mitochondrial motility and morphology in breast cancer, but not in normal breast epithelia, correlate with metabolic activity. Mitometer is an unbiased and user-friendly tool that will help resolve fundamental questions regarding mitochondrial form and function.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41592-021-01234-z
  16. Nat Rev Cancer. 2021 Aug 20.
      Fatty acid metabolism is known to support tumorigenesis and disease progression as well as treatment resistance through enhanced lipid synthesis, storage and catabolism. More recently, the role of membrane fatty acid composition, for example, ratios of saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, in promoting cell survival while limiting lipotoxicity and ferroptosis has been increasingly appreciated. Alongside these insights, it has become clear that tumour cells exhibit plasticity with respect to fatty acid metabolism, responding to extratumoural and systemic metabolic signals, such as obesity and cancer therapeutics, to promote the development of aggressive, treatment-resistant disease. Here, we describe cellular fatty acid metabolic changes that are connected to therapy resistance and contextualize obesity-associated changes in host fatty acid metabolism that likely influence the local tumour microenvironment to further modify cancer cell behaviour while simultaneously creating potential new vulnerabilities.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41568-021-00388-4
  17. Front Cardiovasc Med. 2021 ;8 723996
      Perturbations in myocardial energy substrate metabolism are key contributors to the pathogenesis of heart diseases. However, the underlying causes of these metabolic alterations remain poorly understood. Recently, post-translational acetylation-mediated modification of metabolic enzymes has emerged as one of the important regulatory mechanisms for these metabolic changes. Nevertheless, despite the growing reports of a large number of acetylated cardiac mitochondrial proteins involved in energy metabolism, the functional consequences of these acetylation changes and how they correlate to metabolic alterations and myocardial dysfunction are not clearly defined. This review summarizes the evidence for a role of cardiac mitochondrial protein acetylation in altering the function of major metabolic enzymes and myocardial energy metabolism in various cardiovascular disease conditions.
    Keywords:  fatty acid oxidation; glucose oxidation; lysine acetylation; mitochondria; sirtuins; succinylation
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3389/fcvm.2021.723996
  18. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2021 ;9 684036
      Metabolic rewiring is a critical hallmark of tumorigenesis and is essential for the development of cancer. Although many key features of metabolic alteration that are crucial for tumor cell survival, proliferation and progression have been identified, these are obtained from studies with established tumors and cancer cell lines. However, information on the essential metabolic changes that occur during pre-neoplastic cell (PNC) development that enables its progression to full blown tumor is still lacking. Here, we present an untargeted metabolomics analysis of human oncogene HRASG12V induced PNC development, using a transgenic inducible zebrafish larval skin development model. By comparison with normal sibling controls, we identified six metabolic pathways that are significantly altered during PNC development in the skin. Amongst these altered pathways are pyrimidine, purine and amino acid metabolism that are common to the cancer metabolic changes that support rapid cell proliferation and growth. Our data also suggest alterations in post transcriptional modification of RNAs that might play a role in PNC development. Our study provides a proof of principle work flow for identifying metabolic alterations during PNC development driven by an oncogenic mutation. In the future, this approach could be combined with transcriptomic or proteomic approaches to establish the detailed interaction between signaling networks and cellular metabolic pathways that occur at the onset of tumor progression.
    Keywords:  HRAS; cancer metabolism; metabolome; preneoplastic; untargeted metabolomics; zebrafish
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3389/fcell.2021.684036
  19. Blood. 2021 Aug 19. pii: blood.2021011010. [Epub ahead of print]
      Neutrophils are predominantly glycolytic cells that derive little ATP from oxidative phosphorylation; however, they possess an extensive mitochondrial network and maintain a mitochondrial membrane potential. Although studies have shown neutrophils need their mitochondria to undergo apoptosis and regulate NETosis, the metabolic role of the respiratory chain in these highly glycolytic cells is still unclear. Recent studies have expanded on the role of reactive oxygen species (ROS) released from the mitochondria as intracellular signalling molecules. Our study shows that neutrophils can use their mitochondria to generate ROS and that mitochondrial ROS release is increased in hypoxic conditions. This is needed for the stabilisation of a high level of the critical hypoxic response factor and pro-survival protein HIF-1α in hypoxia. Further, we demonstrate that neutrophils use the glycerol 3-phosphate pathway as a way of directly regulating mitochondrial function through glycolysis, specifically to maintain polarised mitochondria and produce ROS. This illustrates an additional pathway by which neutrophils can regulate HIF-1α stability and will therefore be of important consideration when looking for treatments of chronic inflammatory conditions where HIF-1α activation and neutrophil persistence at the site of inflammation are linked to disease severity.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1182/blood.2021011010
  20. Bio Protoc. 2021 Jul 20. 11(14): e4087
      The crucial role of hexokinase 2 (HK2) in the metabolic rewiring of tumors is now well established, which makes it a suitable target for the design of novel therapies. However, hexokinase activity is central to glucose utilization in all tissues; thus, enzymatic inhibition of HK2 can induce severe adverse effects. In an effort to find a selective anti-neoplastic strategy, we exploited an alternative approach based on HK2 detachment from its location on the outer mitochondrial membrane. We designed a HK2-targeting peptide named HK2pep, corresponding to the N-terminal hydrophobic domain of HK2 and armed with a metalloprotease cleavage sequence and a polycation stretch shielded by a polyanion sequence. In the tumor microenvironment, metalloproteases unleash polycations to allow selective plasma membrane permeation in neoplastic cells. HK2pep delivery induces the detachment of HK2 from mitochondria-associated membranes (MAMs) and mitochondrial Ca2+ overload caused by the opening of inositol-3-phosphate receptors on the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and Ca2+ entry through the plasma membrane leading to Ca2+-mediated calpain activation and mitochondrial depolarization. As a result, HK2pep rapidly elicits death of diverse tumor cell types and dramatically reduces in vivo tumor mass. HK2pep does not affect hexokinase enzymatic activity, avoiding any noxious effect on non-transformed cells. Here, we make available a detailed protocol for the use of HK2pep and to investigate its biological effects, providing a comprehensive panel of assays to quantitate both HK2 enzymatic activity and changes in mitochondrial functions, Ca2+ flux, and cell viability elicited by HK2pep treatment of tumor cells. Graphical abstract: Flowchart for the analysis of the effects of HK2 detachment from MAMs.
    Keywords:   Ca2+; Anti-neoplastic strategy; Cancer; Cell-penetrating peptide; Hexokinase 2; Mitochondria; Mitochondria-associated membranes
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.21769/BioProtoc.4087
  21. Cell Death Dis. 2021 Aug 14. 12(8): 792
      Impaired energy metabolism in proximal tubular epithelial cells (PTECs) is strongly associated with various kidney diseases. Here, we characterized proximal tubular phenotype alternations during kidney injury and repair in a mouse model of folic acid nephropathy, in parallel, identified carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1α (CPT1α) as an energy stress response accompanied by renal tubular dedifferentiation. Genetic ablation of Cpt1α aggravated the tubular injury and interstitial fibrosis and hampered kidney repair indicate that CPT1α is vital for the preservation and recovery of tubular phenotype. Our data showed that the lipid accumulation and mitochondrial mass reduction induced by folic acid were persistent and became progressively more severe in PTECs without CPT1α. Interference of CPT1α reduced capacities of mitochondrial respiration and ATP production in PTECs, and further sensitized cells to folic acid-induced phenotypic changes. On the contrary, overexpression of CPT1α protected mitochondrial respiration and prevented against folic acid-induced tubular cell damage. These findings link CPT1α to intrinsic mechanisms regulating the mitochondrial respiration and phenotype of kidney tubules that may contribute to renal pathology during injury and repair.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41419-021-04085-w
  22. Commun Biol. 2021 Aug 17. 4(1): 977
      Inactivation of RB is one of the hallmarks of cancer, however gaps remain in our understanding of how RB-loss changes human cells. Here we show that pRB-depletion results in cellular reprogramming, we quantitatively measured how RB-depletion altered the transcriptional, proteomic and metabolic output of non-tumorigenic RPE1 human cells. These profiles identified widespread changes in metabolic and cell stress response factors previously linked to E2F function. In addition, we find a number of additional pathways that are sensitive to RB-depletion that are not E2F-regulated that may represent compensatory mechanisms to support the growth of RB-depleted cells. To determine whether these molecular changes are also present in RB1-/- tumors, we compared these results to Retinoblastoma and Small Cell Lung Cancer data, and identified widespread conservation of alterations found in RPE1 cells. To define which of these changes contribute to the growth of cells with de-regulated E2F activity, we assayed how inhibiting or depleting these proteins affected the growth of RB1-/- cells and of Drosophila E2f1-RNAi models in vivo. From this analysis, we identify key metabolic pathways that are essential for the growth of pRB-deleted human cells.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s42003-021-02495-2
  23. Dis Model Mech. 2021 Aug 01. pii: dmm048942. [Epub ahead of print]14(8):
      There is an urgent need for accurate, scalable and cost-efficient models of the tumor microenvironment. Here, we detail how to fabricate and use the metabolic microenvironment chamber (MEMIC) - a 3D-printed ex vivo model of intratumoral heterogeneity. A major driver of the cellular and molecular diversity in tumors is accessibility to the blood stream. Whereas perivascular tumor cells have direct access to oxygen and nutrients, cells further from the vasculature must survive under progressively more ischemic environments. The MEMIC simulates this differential access to nutrients, allow co-culturing any number of cell types, and it is optimized for live imaging and other microscopy-based analyses. Owing to a modular design and full experimental control, the MEMIC provides insights into the tumor microenvironment that would be difficult to obtain via other methods. As proof of principle, we show that cells sense gradual changes in metabolite concentration leading to predictable molecular and cellular spatial patterns. We propose the MEMIC as a complement to standard in vitro and in vivo experiments, diversifying the tools available to accurately model, perturb and monitor the tumor microenvironment.
    Keywords:  Tissue mimetics; Tumor metabolism; Tumor microenvironment
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1242/dmm.048942
  24. Nat Commun. 2021 08 17. 12(1): 4988
      Glycans are fundamental cellular building blocks, involved in many organismal functions. Advances in glycomics are elucidating the essential roles of glycans. Still, it remains challenging to properly analyze large glycomics datasets, since the abundance of each glycan is dependent on many other glycans that share many intermediate biosynthetic steps. Furthermore, the overlap of measured glycans can be low across samples. We address these challenges with GlyCompare, a glycomic data analysis approach that accounts for shared biosynthetic steps for all measured glycans to correct for sparsity and non-independence in glycomics, which enables direct comparison of different glycoprofiles and increases statistical power. Using GlyCompare, we study diverse N-glycan profiles from glycoengineered erythropoietin. We obtain biologically meaningful clustering of mutant cell glycoprofiles and identify knockout-specific effects of fucosyltransferase mutants on tetra-antennary structures. We further analyze human milk oligosaccharide profiles and find mother's fucosyltransferase-dependent secretor-status indirectly impact the sialylation. Finally, we apply our method on mucin-type O-glycans, gangliosides, and site-specific compositional glycosylation data to reveal tissues and disease-specific glycan presentations. Our substructure-oriented approach will enable researchers to take full advantage of the growing power and size of glycomics data.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-25183-5
  25. Redox Biol. 2021 Jul 30. pii: S2213-2317(21)00246-9. [Epub ahead of print]46 102087
      Beige adipocyte mitochondria contribute to thermogenesis by uncoupling and by ATP-consuming futile cycles. Since uncoupling may inhibit ATP synthesis, it is expected that expenditure through ATP synthesis is segregated to a disparate population of mitochondria. Recent studies in mouse brown adipocytes identified peridroplet mitochondria (PDM) as having greater ATP synthesis and pyruvate oxidation capacities, while cytoplasmic mitochondria have increased fatty acid oxidation and uncoupling capacities. However, the occurrence of PDM in humans and the processes that result in their expansion have not been elucidated. Here, we describe a novel high-throughput assay to quantify PDM that is successfully applied to white adipose tissue from mice and humans. Using this approach, we found that PDM content varies between white and brown fat in both species. We used adipose tissue from pheochromocytoma (Pheo) patients as a model of white adipose tissue browning, which is characterized by an increase in the capacity for energy expenditure. In contrast with control subjects, PDM content was robustly increased in the periadrenal fat of Pheo patients. Remarkably, bioenergetic changes associated with browning were primarily localized to PDM compared to cytoplasmic mitochondria (CM). PDM isolated from periadrenal fat of Pheo patients had increased ATP-linked respiration, Complex IV content and activity, and maximal respiratory capacity. We found similar changes in a mouse model of re-browning where PDM content in whitened brown adipose tissue was increased upon re-browning induced by decreased housing temperature. Taken together, this study demonstrates the existence of PDM as a separate functional entity in humans and that browning in both mice and humans is associated with a robust expansion of peri-droplet mitochondria characterized by increased ATP synthesis linked respiration.
    Keywords:  Adipose tissue; Bioenergetics; Endocrinology; Peridroplet mitochondria; Pheochromocytoma
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.redox.2021.102087
  26. Nat Commun. 2021 08 17. 12(1): 4841
      RAS proteins are GTPases that lie upstream of a signaling network impacting cell fate determination. How cells integrate RAS activity to balance proliferation and cellular senescence is still incompletely characterized. Here, we identify ZNF768 as a phosphoprotein destabilized upon RAS activation. We report that ZNF768 depletion impairs proliferation and induces senescence by modulating the expression of key cell cycle effectors and established p53 targets. ZNF768 levels decrease in response to replicative-, stress- and oncogene-induced senescence. Interestingly, ZNF768 overexpression contributes to bypass RAS-induced senescence by repressing the p53 pathway. Furthermore, we show that ZNF768 interacts with and represses p53 phosphorylation and activity. Cancer genomics and immunohistochemical analyses reveal that ZNF768 is often amplified and/or overexpressed in tumors, suggesting that cells could use ZNF768 to bypass senescence, sustain proliferation and promote malignant transformation. Thus, we identify ZNF768 as a protein linking oncogenic signaling to the control of cell fate decision and proliferation.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-24932-w
  27. iScience. 2021 Aug 20. 24(8): 102902
      Entosis is a cell death mechanism that is executed through neighbor cell ingestion and killing that occurs in cancer tissues and during development. Here, we identify JNK and p38 stress-activated kinase signaling as an inducer of entosis in cells exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Cells with high levels of stress signaling are ingested and killed by those with low levels, a result of heterogeneity arising within cell populations over time. In stressed cells, entosis occurs as part of mixed-cell death response with parallel induction of apoptosis and necrosis, and we find that inhibition of one form of cell death leads to increased rates of another. Together, these findings identify stress-activated kinase signaling as a new inducer of entosis and demonstrate cross talk between different forms of cell death that can occur in parallel in response to UV radiation.
    Keywords:  Cell biology; Cellular physiology; Molecular biology
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.isci.2021.102902
  28. Metabolism. 2021 Aug 13. pii: S0026-0495(21)00164-5. [Epub ahead of print] 154864
      BACKGROUND: Skeletal muscle atrophy, whether caused by chronic disease, acute critical illness, disuse or aging, is characterized by tissue-specific decrease in oxidative capacity and broad alterations in metabolism that contribute to functional decline. However, the underlying mechanisms responsible for these metabolic changes are largely unknown. One of the most highly upregulated genes in atrophic muscle is AMP deaminase 3 (AMPD3: AMP → IMP+NH3), which controls the content of intracellular adenine nucleotides (AdN; ATP + ADP + AMP). Given the central role of AdN in signaling mitochondrial gene expression and directly regulating metabolism, we hypothesized that overexpressing AMPD3 in muscle cells would be sufficient to alter their metabolic phenotype similar to that of atrophic muscle.METHODS: AMPD3 and GFP (control) were overexpressed in mouse tibialis anterior (TA) muscles via plasmid electroporation and in C2C12 myotubes using adenovirus vectors. TA muscles were excised one week later, and AdN were quantified by UPLC. In myotubes, targeted measures of AdN, AMPK/PGC-1α/mitochondrial protein synthesis rates, unbiased metabolomics, and transcriptomics by RNA sequencing were measured after 24 h of AMPD3 overexpression. Media metabolites were measured as an indicator of net metabolic flux. At 48 h, the AMPK/PGC-1α/mitochondrial protein synthesis rates, and myotube respiratory function/capacity were measured.
    RESULTS: TA muscles overexpressing AMPD3 had significantly less ATP than contralateral controls (-25%). In myotubes, increasing AMPD3 expression for 24 h was sufficient to significantly decrease ATP concentrations (-16%), increase IMP, and increase efflux of IMP catabolites into the culture media, without decreasing the ATP/ADP or ATP/AMP ratios. When myotubes were treated with dinitrophenol (mitochondrial uncoupler), AMPD3 overexpression blunted decreases in ATP/ADP and ATP/AMP ratios but exacerbated AdN degradation. As such, pAMPK/AMPK, pACC/ACC, and phosphorylation of AMPK substrates, were unchanged by AMPD3 at this timepoint. AMPD3 significantly altered 191 out of 639 detected intracellular metabolites, but only 30 transcripts, none of which encoded metabolic enzymes. The most altered metabolites were those within purine nucleotide, BCAA, glycolysis, and ceramide metabolic pathways. After 48 h, AMPD3 overexpression significantly reduced pAMPK/AMPK (-24%), phosphorylation of AMPK substrates (-14%), and PGC-1α protein (-22%). Moreover, AMPD3 significantly reduced myotube mitochondrial protein synthesis rates (-55%), basal ATP synthase-dependent (-13%), and maximal uncoupled oxygen consumption (-15%).
    CONCLUSIONS: Increased expression of AMPD3 significantly decreased mitochondrial protein synthesis rates and broadly altered cellular metabolites in a manner similar to that of atrophic muscle. Importantly, the changes in metabolites occurred prior to reductions in AMPK signaling, gene expression, and mitochondrial protein synthesis, suggesting metabolism is not dependent on reductions in oxidative capacity, but may be consequence of increased AMP deamination. Therefore, AMP deamination in skeletal muscle may be a mechanism that alters the metabolic phenotype of skeletal muscle during atrophy and could be a target to improve muscle function during muscle wasting.
    Keywords:  AMP activated protein kinase; AMP deaminase; ATP; Metabolomics; Mitochondrial biogenesis; Muscle atrophy
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.metabol.2021.154864
  29. Cell Rep. 2021 Aug 17. pii: S2211-1247(21)00981-5. [Epub ahead of print]36(7): 109547
      Prolonged cellular hypoxia leads to energetic failure and death. However, sublethal hypoxia can trigger an adaptive response called hypoxic preconditioning. While prolyl-hydroxylase (PHD) enzymes and hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs) have been identified as key elements of oxygen-sensing machinery, the mechanisms by which hypoxic preconditioning protects against insults remain unclear. Here, we perform serum metabolomic profiling to assess alterations induced by two potent cytoprotective approaches, hypoxic preconditioning and pharmacologic PHD inhibition. We discover that both approaches increase serum kynurenine levels and enhance kynurenine biotransformation, leading to preservation of NAD+ in the post-ischemic kidney. Furthermore, we show that indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase 1 (Ido1) deficiency abolishes the systemic increase of kynurenine and the subsequent renoprotection generated by hypoxic preconditioning and PHD inhibition. Importantly, exogenous administration of kynurenine restores the hypoxic preconditioning in the context of Ido1 deficiency. Collectively, our findings demonstrate a critical role of the IDO1-kynurenine axis in mediating hypoxic preconditioning.
    Keywords:  IDO1; NAD(+); PHDs; hypoxia; ischemia-reperfusion; kidney; kynurenic acid; kynurenine; preconditioning
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2021.109547
  30. EMBO Rep. 2021 Aug 17. e52445
      In eukaryotic cells, proteins are targeted to their final subcellular locations with precise timing. A key underlying mechanism is the active transport of cognate mRNAs, which in many systems can be linked intimately to membrane trafficking. A prominent example is the long-distance endosomal transport of mRNAs and their local translation. Here, we describe current highlights of fundamental mechanisms of the underlying transport process as well as of biological functions ranging from endosperm development in plants to fungal pathogenicity and neuronal processes. Translation of endosome-associated mRNAs often occurs at the cytoplasmic surface of endosomes, a process that is needed for membrane-assisted formation of heteromeric protein complexes and for accurate subcellular targeting of proteins. Importantly, endosome-coupled translation of mRNAs encoding mitochondrial proteins, for example, seems to be particularly important for efficient organelle import and for regulating subcellular mitochondrial activity. In essence, these findings reveal a new mechanism of loading newly synthesised proteins onto endocytic membranes enabling intimate crosstalk between organelles. The novel link between endosomes and mitochondria adds an inspiring new level of complexity to trafficking and organelle biology.
    Keywords:  RNA transport; endosomes; local translation; microtubules; mitochondria; organelle
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.15252/embr.202152445
  31. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 Aug 24. pii: e2101674118. [Epub ahead of print]118(34):
      The inability of adult mammalian cardiomyocytes to proliferate underpins the development of heart failure following myocardial injury. Although the newborn mammalian heart can spontaneously regenerate for a short period of time after birth, this ability is lost within the first week after birth in mice, partly due to increased mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) production which results in oxidative DNA damage and activation of DNA damage response. This increase in ROS levels coincides with a postnatal switch from anaerobic glycolysis to fatty acid (FA) oxidation by cardiac mitochondria. However, to date, a direct link between mitochondrial substrate utilization and oxidative DNA damage is lacking. Here, we generated ROS-sensitive fluorescent sensors targeted to different subnuclear compartments (chromatin, heterochromatin, telomeres, and nuclear lamin) in neonatal rat ventricular cardiomyocytes, which allowed us to determine the spatial localization of ROS in cardiomyocyte nuclei upon manipulation of mitochondrial respiration. Our results demonstrate that FA utilization by the mitochondria induces a significant increase in ROS detection at the chromatin level compared to other nuclear compartments. These results indicate that mitochondrial metabolic perturbations directly alter the nuclear redox status and that the chromatin appears to be particularly sensitive to the prooxidant effect of FA utilization by the mitochondria.
    Keywords:  metabolism; mitochondria; reactive oxygen species
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2101674118
  32. FEBS J. 2021 Aug 17.
      Accumulation of mutations such as deletions in mitochondrial DNA is associated with ageing, cancer and human genetic disorders. These deletions are often flanked by GC-skewed sequence motifs that can potentially fold into secondary non-B DNA conformations. G-quadruplexes are emerging as key initiators of mitochondrial genomic instability. In this issue, Dahal et al provide an in silico analysis of sequence motifs that can fold into altered DNA structures in mitochondrial genomic regions that contain frequent deletions. They show the formation of five G-quadruplexes near such frequent breakpoints using biochemical and biophysical approaches in vitro and more importantly inside mammalian cells. Comment on: https://doi.org/10.1111/febs.16113.
    Keywords:  G4; Non-B DNA; genomic instability; mitochondrial DNA deletions
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1111/febs.16149
  33. Nat Commun. 2021 Aug 20. 12(1): 5053
      Previous studies have suggested that PTEN loss is associated with p110β signaling dependency, leading to the clinical development of p110β-selective inhibitors. Here we use a panel pre-clinical models to reveal that PI3K isoform dependency is not governed by loss of PTEN and is impacted by feedback inhibition and concurrent PIK3CA/PIK3CB alterations. Furthermore, while pan-PI3K inhibition in PTEN-deficient tumors is efficacious, upregulation of Insulin Like Growth Factor 1 Receptor (IGF1R) promotes resistance. Importantly, we show that this resistance can be overcome through targeting AKT and we find that AKT inhibitors are superior to pan-PI3K inhibition in the context of PTEN loss. However, in the presence of wild-type PTEN and PIK3CA-activating mutations, p110α-dependent signaling is dominant and selectively inhibiting p110α is therapeutically superior to AKT inhibition. These discoveries reveal a more nuanced understanding of PI3K isoform dependency and unveil novel strategies to selectively target PI3K signaling nodes in a context-specific manner.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-25341-9
  34. Cancer Metab. 2021 Aug 16. 9(1): 31
      BACKGROUND: Metabolic reprogramming is a central feature in many cancer subtypes and a hallmark of cancer. Many therapeutic strategies attempt to exploit this feature, often having unintended side effects on normal metabolic programs and limited efficacy due to integrative nature of metabolic substrate sourcing. Although the initiating oncogenic lesion may vary, tumor cells in lymphoid malignancies often share similar environments and potentially similar metabolic profiles. We examined cells from mouse models of MYC-, RAS-, and BCR-ABL-driven lymphoid malignancies and find a convergence on de novo lipogenesis. We explore the potential role of MYC in mediating lipogenesis by 13C glucose tracing and untargeted metabolic profiling. Inhibition of lipogenesis leads to cell death both in vitro and in vivo and does not induce cell death of normal splenocytes.METHODS: We analyzed RNA-seq data sets for common metabolic convergence in lymphoma and leukemia. Using in vitro cell lines derived in from conditional MYC, RAS, and BCR-ABL transgenic murine models and oncogene-driven human cell lines, we determined gene regulation, metabolic profiles, and sensitivity to inhibition of lipogenesis in lymphoid malignancies. We utilize preclinical murine models and transgenic primary model of T-ALL to determine the effect of lipogenesis blockade across BCR-ABL-, RAS-, and c-MYC-driven lymphoid malignancies. Statistical significance was calculated using unpaired t-tests and one-way ANOVA.
    RESULTS: This study illustrates that de novo lipid biogenesis is a shared feature of several lymphoma subtypes. Using cell lines derived from conditional MYC, RAS, and BCR-ABL transgenic murine models, we demonstrate shared responses to inhibition of lipogenesis by the acetyl-coA carboxylase inhibitor 5-(tetradecloxy)-2-furic acid (TOFA), and other lipogenesis inhibitors. We performed metabolic tracing studies to confirm the influence of c-MYC and TOFA on lipogenesis. We identify specific cell death responses to TOFA in vitro and in vivo and demonstrate delayed engraftment and progression in vivo in transplanted lymphoma cell lines. We also observe delayed progression of T-ALL in a primary transgenic mouse model upon TOFA administration. In a panel of human cell lines, we demonstrate sensitivity to TOFA treatment as a metabolic liability due to the general convergence on de novo lipogenesis in lymphoid malignancies driven by MYC, RAS, or BCR-ABL. Importantly, cell death was not significantly observed in non-malignant cells in vivo.
    CONCLUSIONS: These studies suggest that de novo lipogenesis may be a common survival strategy for many lymphoid malignancies and may be a clinically exploitable metabolic liability.
    TRIAL REGISTRATION: This study does not include any clinical interventions on human subjects.
    Keywords:  ACACA; BCR-ABL; Cancer metabolism; De novo lipogenesis; FASN; Fatty acid synthesis; Lipogenesis; Lymphoma; Oncogene addiction; RAS; T-ALL; c-MYC
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1186/s40170-021-00263-8
  35. Cancer Discov. 2021 Aug 20. pii: candisc.0316.2021. [Epub ahead of print]
      Liver metastasis, the leading cause of colorectal cancer mortality, exhibits a highly heterogeneous and suppressive immune microenvironment. Here, we sequenced 97 matched samples by using single-cell RNA-seq and Spatial Transcriptomics. Strikingly, metastatic microenvironment underwent remarkable spatial reprogramming of immunosuppressive cells such as MRC1+ CCL18+ M2-like macrophages. We further developed scMetabolism, a computational pipeline for quantifying single-cell metabolism, and observed that those macrophages harbored enhanced metabolic activity. Interestingly, neoadjuvant chemotherapy could block this status and restore the antitumor immune balance in responsive patients, while the non-responsive patients deteriorated into a more suppressive one. Our work described the immune evolution of metastasis and uncovered the black box of how tumors respond to neoadjuvant chemotherapy.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1158/2159-8290.CD-21-0316
  36. Nat Commun. 2021 08 16. 12(1): 4960
      Agonists of glucocorticoid receptor (GR) are frequently given to cancer patients with platinum-containing chemotherapy to reduce inflammation, but how GR influences tumor growth in response to platinum-based chemotherapy such as cisplatin through inflammation-independent signaling remains largely unclear. Combined genomics and transcription factor profiling reveal that MAST1, a critical platinum resistance factor that reprograms the MAPK pathway, is upregulated upon cisplatin exposure through activated transcription factor GR. Mechanistically, cisplatin binds to C622 in GR and recruits GR to the nucleus for its activation, which induces MAST1 expression and consequently reactivates MEK signaling. GR nuclear translocation and MAST1 upregulation coordinately occur in patient tumors collected after platinum treatment, and align with patient treatment resistance. Co-treatment with dexamethasone and cisplatin restores cisplatin-resistant tumor growth, whereas addition of the MAST1 inhibitor lestaurtinib abrogates tumor growth while preserving the inhibitory effect of dexamethasone on inflammation in vivo. These findings not only provide insights into the underlying mechanism of GR in cisplatin resistance but also offer an effective alternative therapeutic strategy to improve the clinical outcome of patients receiving platinum-based chemotherapy with GR agonists.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-24845-8
  37. Nat Metab. 2021 Aug;3(8): 1058-1070
      Identifying secreted mediators that drive the cognitive benefits of exercise holds great promise for the treatment of cognitive decline in ageing or Alzheimer's disease (AD). Here, we show that irisin, the cleaved and circulating form of the exercise-induced membrane protein FNDC5, is sufficient to confer the benefits of exercise on cognitive function. Genetic deletion of Fndc5/irisin (global Fndc5 knock-out (KO) mice; F5KO) impairs cognitive function in exercise, ageing and AD. Diminished pattern separation in F5KO mice can be rescued by delivering irisin directly into the dentate gyrus, suggesting that irisin is the active moiety. In F5KO mice, adult-born neurons in the dentate gyrus are morphologically, transcriptionally and functionally abnormal. Importantly, elevation of circulating irisin levels by peripheral delivery of irisin via adeno-associated viral overexpression in the liver results in enrichment of central irisin and is sufficient to improve both the cognitive deficit and neuropathology in AD mouse models. Irisin is a crucial regulator of the cognitive benefits of exercise and is a potential therapeutic agent for treating cognitive disorders including AD.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s42255-021-00438-z
  38. Science. 2021 Aug 19. pii: eabi8870. [Epub ahead of print]
      CRISPR-Cas9 can be scaled up for large-scale screens in cultured cells, but CRISPR screens in animals have been challenging because generating, validating, and keeping track of large numbers of mutant animals is prohibitive. Here, we report Multiplexed Intermixed CRISPR Droplets (MIC-Drop), a platform combining droplet microfluidics, single-needle en masse CRISPR ribonucleoprotein injections, and DNA barcoding to enable large-scale functional genetic screens in zebrafish. The platform can efficiently identify genes responsible for morphological or behavioral phenotypes. In one application, we show MIC-Drop can identify small molecule targets. Furthermore, in a MIC-Drop screen of 188 poorly characterized genes, we discover several genes important for cardiac development and function. With the potential to scale to thousands of genes, MIC-Drop enables genome-scale reverse-genetic screens in model organisms.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1126/science.abi8870
  39. Elife. 2021 Aug 16. pii: e68484. [Epub ahead of print]10
      Natural killer (NK) cells are essential for early protection against virus infection, and must metabolically adapt to the energy demands of activation. Here, we found upregulation of the metabolic adaptor hypoxia inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) is a feature of mouse NK cells during murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV) infection in vivo. HIF-1 α -deficient NK cells failed to control viral load, causing increased morbidity. No defects were found in effector functions of HIF-1α KO NK cells however, their numbers were significantly reduced. Loss of HIF-1 α did not affect NK cell proliferation during in vivo infection and in vitro cytokine stimulation. Instead, we found HIF-1α -deficient NK cells showed increased expression of the pro-apoptotic protein Bim and glucose metabolism was impaired during cytokine stimulation in vitro. Similarly, during MCMV infection HIF-1α -deficient NK cells upregulated Bim and had increased caspase activity. Thus, NK cells require HIF-1α-dependent metabolic functions to repress Bim expression and sustain cell numbers for an optimal virus response.
    Keywords:  immunology; inflammation; mouse
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.68484