bims-camemi Biomed News
on Mitochondrial metabolism in cancer
Issue of 2021‒10‒03
fifty-nine papers selected by
Christian Frezza
University of Cambridge, MRC Cancer Unit


  1. J Cell Biol. 2021 Nov 01. pii: e202103122. [Epub ahead of print]220(11):
      Mitochondrial function is integrated with cellular status through the regulation of opposing mitochondrial fusion and division events. Here we uncover a link between mitochondrial dynamics and lipid metabolism by examining the cellular role of mitochondrial carrier homologue 2 (MTCH2). MTCH2 is a modified outer mitochondrial membrane carrier protein implicated in intrinsic cell death and in the in vivo regulation of fatty acid metabolism. Our data indicate that MTCH2 is a selective effector of starvation-induced mitochondrial hyperfusion, a cytoprotective response to nutrient deprivation. We find that MTCH2 stimulates mitochondrial fusion in a manner dependent on the bioactive lipogenesis intermediate lysophosphatidic acid. We propose that MTCH2 monitors flux through the lipogenesis pathway and transmits this information to the mitochondrial fusion machinery to promote mitochondrial elongation, enhanced energy production, and cellular survival under homeostatic and starvation conditions. These findings will help resolve the roles of MTCH2 and mitochondria in tissue-specific lipid metabolism in animals.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1083/jcb.202103122
  2. Cells. 2021 Sep 07. pii: 2345. [Epub ahead of print]10(9):
      Isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) mutations are common genetic abnormalities in glioma, which result in the accumulation of an "oncometabolite", D-2-hydroxyglutarate (D-2-HG). Abnormally elevated D-2-HG levels result in a distinctive pattern in cancer biology, through competitively inhibiting α-ketoglutarate (α-KG)/Fe(II)-dependent dioxgenases (α-KGDDs). Recent studies have revealed that D-2-HG affects DNA/histone methylation, hypoxia signaling, DNA repair, and redox homeostasis, which impacts the oncogenesis of IDH-mutated cancers. In this review, we will discuss the current understanding of D-2-HG in cancer biology, as well as the emerging opportunities in therapeutics in IDH-mutated glioma.
    Keywords:  D-2-HG; DDR; IDH1/2mut; epigenetic; glioma; oncometabolites; redox
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10092345
  3. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Sep 19. pii: 4699. [Epub ahead of print]13(18):
      Breast cancer progression is characterized by changes in cellular metabolism that contribute to enhanced tumour growth and adaptation to microenvironmental stresses. Metabolic changes within breast tumours are still poorly understood and are not as yet exploited for therapeutic intervention, in part due to a high level of metabolic heterogeneity within tumours. The metabolic profiles of breast cancer cells are flexible, providing dynamic switches in metabolic states to accommodate nutrient and energy demands and further aggravating the challenges of targeting metabolic dependencies in cancer. In this review, we discuss the intrinsic and extrinsic factors that contribute to metabolic heterogeneity of breast tumours. Next, we examine how metabolic flexibility, which contributes to the metabolic heterogeneity of breast tumours, can alter epigenetic landscapes and increase a variety of pro-tumorigenic functions. Finally, we highlight the difficulties in pharmacologically targeting the metabolic adaptations of breast tumours and provide an overview of possible strategies to sensitize heterogeneous breast tumours to the targeting of metabolic vulnerabilities.
    Keywords:  adaptive capacity; breast cancer; epigenetic reprogramming; metabolic flexibility; metabolic heterogeneity; metabolic plasticity; tumour microenvironment
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13184699
  4. Metabolites. 2021 Sep 15. pii: 627. [Epub ahead of print]11(9):
      Mitochondria are dynamic organelles that constantly alter their shape through the recruitment of specialized proteins, like mitofusin-2 (Mfn2) and dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1). Mfn2 induces the fusion of nearby mitochondria, while Drp1 mediates mitochondrial fission. We previously found that the genetic or pharmacological activation of mitochondrial fusion was tumor suppressive against pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) in several model systems. The mechanisms of how these different inducers of mitochondrial fusion reduce pancreatic cancer growth are still unknown. Here, we characterized and compared the metabolic reprogramming of these three independent methods of inducing mitochondrial fusion in KPC cells: overexpression of Mfn2, genetic editing of Drp1, or treatment with leflunomide. We identified significantly altered metabolites via robust, orthogonal statistical analyses and found that mitochondrial fusion consistently produces alterations in the metabolism of amino acids. Our unbiased methodology revealed that metabolic perturbations were similar across all these methods of inducing mitochondrial fusion, proposing a common pathway for metabolic targeting with other drugs.
    Keywords:  fission; fusion; leflunomide; metabolomic reprogramming; metabolomics; mitochondrial morphology; mitofusin-2; pancreatic cancer
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3390/metabo11090627
  5. Autophagy. 2021 Sep 29. 1-24
      Owing to the dominant functions of mitochondria in multiple cellular metabolisms and distinct types of regulated cell death, maintaining a functional mitochondrial network is fundamental for the cellular homeostasis and body fitness in response to physiological adaptations and stressed conditions. The process of mitophagy, in which the dysfunctional or superfluous mitochondria are selectively engulfed by autophagosome and subsequently degraded in lysosome, has been well formulated as one of the major mechanisms for mitochondrial quality control. To date, the PINK1-PRKN-dependent and receptors (including proteins and lipids)-dependent pathways have been characterized to determine the mitophagy in mammalian cells. The mitophagy is highly responsive to the dynamics of endogenous metabolites, including iron-, calcium-, glycolysis-TCA-, NAD+-, amino acids-, fatty acids-, and cAMP-associated metabolites. Herein, we summarize the recent advances toward the molecular details of mitophagy regulation in mammalian cells. We also highlight the key regulations of mammalian mitophagy by endogenous metabolites, shed new light on the bidirectional interplay between mitophagy and cellular metabolisms, with attempting to provide a perspective insight into the nutritional intervention of metabolic disorders with mitophagy deficit.Abbreviations: acetyl-CoA: acetyl-coenzyme A; ACO1: aconitase 1; ADCYs: adenylate cyclases; AMPK: AMP-activated protein kinase; ATM: ATM serine/threonine kinase; BCL2L1: BCL2 like 1; BCL2L13: BCL2 like 13; BNIP3: BCL2 interacting protein 3; BNIP3L: BCL2 interacting protein 3 like; Ca2+: calcium ion; CALCOCO2: calcium binding and coiled-coil domain 2; CANX: calnexin; CO: carbon monoxide; CYCS: cytochrome c, somatic; DFP: deferiprone; DNM1L: dynamin 1 like; ER: endoplasmic reticulum; FKBP8: FKBP prolyl isomerase 8; FOXO3: forkhead box O3; FTMT: ferritin mitochondrial; FUNDC1: FUN14 domain containing 1; GABA: γ-aminobutyric acid; GSH: glutathione; HIF1A: hypoxia inducible factor 1 subunit alpha; IMMT: inner membrane mitochondrial protein; IRP1: iron regulatory protein 1; ISC: iron-sulfur cluster; ITPR2: inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate type 2 receptor; KMO: kynurenine 3-monooxygenase; LIR: LC3 interacting region; MAM: mitochondria-associated membrane; MAP1LC3: microtubule associated protein 1 light chain 3; MFNs: mitofusins; mitophagy: mitochondrial autophagy; mPTP: mitochondrial permeability transition pore; MTOR: mechanistic target of rapamycin kinase; NAD+: nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide; NAM: nicotinamide; NMN: nicotinamide mononucleotide; NO: nitric oxide; NPA: Niemann-Pick type A; NR: nicotinamide riboside; NR4A1: nuclear receptor subfamily 4 group A member 1; NRF1: nuclear respiratory factor 1; OPA1: OPA1 mitochondrial dynamin like GTPase; OPTN: optineurin; PARL: presenilin associated rhomboid like; PARPs: poly(ADP-ribose) polymerases; PC: phosphatidylcholine; PHB2: prohibitin 2; PINK1: PTEN induced kinase 1; PPARG: peroxisome proliferator activated receptor gamma; PPARGC1A: PPARG coactivator 1 alpha; PRKA: protein kinase AMP-activated; PRKDC: protein kinase, DNA-activated, catalytic subunit; PRKN: parkin RBR E3 ubiquitin protein ligase; RHOT: ras homolog family member T; ROS: reactive oxygen species; SIRTs: sirtuins; STK11: serine/threonine kinase 11; TCA: tricarboxylic acid; TP53: tumor protein p53; ULK1: unc-51 like autophagy activating kinase 1; VDAC1: voltage dependent anion channel 1.
    Keywords:  Cell metabolism; metabolite; mitochondria; mitophagy; mitophagy receptor
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1080/15548627.2021.1975914
  6. EMBO Rep. 2021 Sep 30. e52727
      The classical view of oxidative phosphorylation is that a proton motive force (PMF) generated by the respiratory chain complexes fuels ATP synthesis via ATP synthase. Yet, under glycolytic conditions, ATP synthase in its reverse mode also can contribute to the PMF. Here, we dissected these two functions of ATP synthase and the role of its inhibitory factor 1 (IF1) under different metabolic conditions. pH profiles of mitochondrial sub-compartments were recorded with high spatial resolution in live mammalian cells by positioning a pH sensor directly at ATP synthase's F1 and FO subunits, complex IV and in the matrix. Our results clearly show that ATP synthase activity substantially controls the PMF and that IF1 is essential under OXPHOS conditions to prevent reverse ATP synthase activity due to an almost negligible ΔpH. In addition, we show how this changes lateral, transmembrane, and radial pH gradients in glycolytic and respiratory cells.
    Keywords:  IF1; Mitochondrial F1FO ATP synthase; local pH measurements; proton motive force; ΔpH
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.15252/embr.202152727
  7. Biology (Basel). 2021 Sep 17. pii: 927. [Epub ahead of print]10(9):
      Mitochondria have distinct architectural features and biochemical functions consistent with cell-specific bioenergetic needs. However, as imaging and isolation techniques advance, heterogeneity amongst mitochondria has been observed to occur within the same cell. Moreover, mitochondrial heterogeneity is associated with functional differences in metabolic signaling, fuel utilization, and triglyceride synthesis. These phenotypic associations suggest that mitochondrial subpopulations and heterogeneity influence the risk of metabolic diseases. This review examines the current literature regarding mitochondrial heterogeneity in the pancreatic beta-cell and renal proximal tubules as they exist in the pathological and physiological states; specifically, pathological states of glucolipotoxicity, progression of type 2 diabetes, and kidney diseases. Emphasis will be placed on the benefits of balancing mitochondrial heterogeneity and how the disruption of balancing heterogeneity leads to impaired tissue function and disease onset.
    Keywords:  calcium; heterogeneity; kidney diseases; lipotoxicity; membrane potential; mitochondria; morphology; subpopulations; type 2 diabetes
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10090927
  8. Free Radic Biol Med. 2021 Sep 28. pii: S0891-5849(21)00744-9. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitochondria are the cytoplasmic organelles mostly known as the "electric engine" of the cells; however, they also play pivotal roles in different biological processes, such as cell growth/apoptosis, Ca2+ and redox homeostasis, and cell stemness. In cancer cells, mitochondria undergo peculiar functional and structural dynamics involved in the survival/death fate of the cell. Cancer cells use glycolysis to support macromolecular biosynthesis and energy production ("Warburg effect"); however, mitochondrial OXPHOS has been shown to be still active during carcinogenesis and even exacerbated in drug-resistant and stem cancer cells. This metabolic rewiring is associated with mutations in genes encoding mitochondrial metabolic enzymes ("oncometabolites"), alterations of ROS production and redox biology, and a fine-tuned balance between anti-/proapoptotic proteins. In cancer cells, mitochondria also experience dynamic alterations from the structural point of view undergoing coordinated cycles of biogenesis, fusion/fission and mitophagy, and physically communicating with the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), through the Ca2+ flux, at the MAM (mitochondria-associated membranes) levels. This review addresses the peculiar mitochondrial metabolic and structural dynamics occurring in cancer cells and their role in coordinating the balance between cell survival and death. The role of mitochondrial dynamics as effective biomarkers of tumor progression and promising targets for anticancer strategies is also discussed.
    Keywords:  Cancer; MAMs; Metabolic rewiring; Mitochondria; OXPHOS; ROS; Structural dynamics
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2021.09.024
  9. STAR Protoc. 2021 Dec 17. 2(4): 100843
      Investigating dynamic changes of mitochondrial ATP and cytosolic glucose levels of single living cells over time by genetically encoded biosensors provides an informative readout of their metabolic activities. Here, we describe how to monitor the metabolic K+-sensitivity of HEK293 cells exploiting ATP-, glucose-, and K+ probes. Fluorescence live-cell imaging of these Förster resonance energy transfer-based biosensors over time in response to gramicidin, an ionophoric peptide, indicated an absolute dependency of cellular ATP homeostasis on high intracellular K+ levels. For complete information on the generation and use of this protocol please refer to Bischof et al. (2021).
    Keywords:  Cancer; Cell Biology; Cell culture; Chemistry; Metabolism; Microscopy; Molecular Biology; Molecular/Chemical Probes
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.xpro.2021.100843
  10. Mol Ther Nucleic Acids. 2021 Dec 03. 26 432-443
      Autosomal dominant optic atrophy (DOA) is the most common inherited optic neuropathy in the United Kingdom. DOA has an insidious onset in early childhood, typically presenting with bilateral, central visual loss caused by the preferential loss of retinal ganglion cells. 60%-70% of genetically confirmed DOA cases are associated with variants in OPA1, a ubiquitously expressed GTPase that regulates mitochondrial homeostasis through coordination of inner membrane fusion, maintenance of cristae structure, and regulation of bioenergetic output. Whether genetic correction of OPA1 pathogenic variants can alleviate disease-associated phenotypes remains unknown. Here, we demonstrate generation of patient-derived OPA1 c.1334G>A: p.R445H mutant induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), followed by correction of OPA1 through CRISPR-Cas9-guided homology-directed repair (HDR) and evaluate the effect of OPA1 correction on mitochondrial homeostasis. CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing demonstrated an efficient method of OPA1 correction, with successful gene correction in 57% of isolated iPSCs. Correction of OPA1 restored mitochondrial homeostasis, re-establishing the mitochondrial network and basal respiration and ATP production levels. In addition, correction of OPA1 re-established the levels of wild-type (WT) mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and reduced susceptibility to apoptotic stimuli. These data demonstrate that nuclear gene correction can restore mitochondrial homeostasis and improve mtDNA integrity in DOA patient-derived cells carrying an OPA1 variant.
    Keywords:  CRISPR; OPA1; apoptosis; bioenergetics; gene correction; gene editing; iPSC; mitochondria; optic atrophy; retinal ganglion cell
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.omtn.2021.08.015
  11. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 Oct 05. pii: e2110387118. [Epub ahead of print]118(40):
      Loss of metabolic homeostasis is a hallmark of aging and is characterized by dramatic metabolic reprogramming. To analyze how the fate of labeled methionine is altered during aging, we applied 13C5-Methionine labeling to Drosophila and demonstrated significant changes in the activity of different branches of the methionine metabolism as flies age. We further tested whether targeted degradation of methionine metabolism components would "reset" methionine metabolism flux and extend the fly lifespan. Specifically, we created transgenic flies with inducible expression of Methioninase, a bacterial enzyme capable of degrading methionine and revealed methionine requirements for normal maintenance of lifespan. We also demonstrated that microbiota-derived methionine is an alternative and important source in addition to food-derived methionine. In this genetic model of methionine restriction (MetR), we also demonstrate that either whole-body or tissue-specific Methioninase expression can dramatically extend Drosophila health- and lifespan and exerts physiological effects associated with MetR. Interestingly, while previous dietary MetR extended lifespan in flies only in low amino acid conditions, MetR from Methioninase expression extends lifespan independently of amino acid levels in the food. Finally, because impairment of the methionine metabolism has been previously associated with the development of Alzheimer's disease, we compared methionine metabolism reprogramming between aging flies and a Drosophila model relevant to Alzheimer's disease, and found that overexpression of human Tau caused methionine metabolism flux reprogramming similar to the changes found in aged flies. Altogether, our study highlights Methioninase as a potential agent for health- and lifespan extension.
    Keywords:  13C-Methionine labeling; Alzheimer’s disease; Methioninase; aging; methionine restriction
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2110387118
  12. Metabolites. 2021 Aug 25. pii: 572. [Epub ahead of print]11(9):
      A theory that can best explain the facts of a phenomenon is more likely to advance knowledge than a theory that is less able to explain the facts. Cancer is generally considered a genetic disease based on the somatic mutation theory (SMT) where mutations in proto-oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes cause dysregulated cell growth. Evidence is reviewed showing that the mitochondrial metabolic theory (MMT) can better account for the hallmarks of cancer than can the SMT. Proliferating cancer cells cannot survive or grow without carbons and nitrogen for the synthesis of metabolites and ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate). Glucose carbons are essential for metabolite synthesis through the glycolysis and pentose phosphate pathways while glutamine nitrogen and carbons are essential for the synthesis of nitrogen-containing metabolites and ATP through the glutaminolysis pathway. Glutamine-dependent mitochondrial substrate level phosphorylation becomes essential for ATP synthesis in cancer cells that over-express the glycolytic pyruvate kinase M2 isoform (PKM2), that have deficient OxPhos, and that can grow in either hypoxia (0.1% oxygen) or in cyanide. The simultaneous targeting of glucose and glutamine, while elevating levels of non-fermentable ketone bodies, offers a simple and parsimonious therapeutic strategy for managing most cancers.
    Keywords:  IDH1; chimpanzees; evolution; fermentation; glutaminolysis; glycolysis; ketogenic metabolic therapy; metastasis; mitochondrial substrate level phosphorylation; mutations; oncogenes; respiration
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3390/metabo11090572
  13. Front Physiol. 2021 ;12 734976
      Mitochondria are essential organelles that generate most of the chemical energy to power the cell through ATP production, thus regulating cell homeostasis. Although mitochondria have their own independent genome, most of the mitochondrial proteins are encoded by nuclear genes. An extensive bidirectional communication network between mitochondria and the nucleus has been discovered, thus making them semi-autonomous organelles. The nucleus-to-mitochondria signaling pathway, called Anterograde Signaling Pathway can be deduced, since the majority of mitochondrial proteins are encoded in the nucleus, less is known about the opposite pathway, the so-called mitochondria-to-nucleus retrograde signaling pathway. Several studies have demonstrated that non-coding RNAs are essential "messengers" of this communication between the nucleus and the mitochondria and that they might have a central role in the coordination of important mitochondrial biological processes. In particular, the finding of numerous miRNAs in mitochondria, also known as mitomiRs, enabled insights into their role in mitochondrial gene transcription. MitomiRs could act as important mediators of this complex crosstalk between the nucleus and the mitochondria. Mitochondrial homeostasis is critical for the physiological processes of the cell. Disruption at any stage in their metabolism, dynamics and bioenergetics could lead to the production of considerable amounts of reactive oxygen species and increased mitochondrial permeability, which are among the hallmarks of cellular senescence. Extensive changes in mitomiR expression and distribution have been demonstrated in senescent cells, those could possibly lead to an alteration in mitochondrial homeostasis. Here, we discuss the emerging putative roles of mitomiRs in the bidirectional communication pathways between mitochondria and the nucleus, with a focus on the senescence-associated mitomiRs.
    Keywords:  microRNA; mitochondria; mitomiRs; mitonuclear communication; senescence
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2021.734976
  14. Cell Commun Signal. 2021 Sep 25. 19(1): 98
      BACKGROUND: The calcium (Ca2+)/calmodulin (CAM)-activated kinase kinase 2 (CAMKK2)-signaling regulates several physiological processes, for example, glucose metabolism and energy homeostasis, underlying the pathogenesis of metabolic diseases. CAMKK2 exerts its biological function through several downstream kinases, therefore, it is expected that depending on the cell-type-specific kinome profile, the metabolic effects of CAMKK2 and its underlying mechanism may differ. Identification of the cell-type-specific differences in CAMKK2-mediated glucose metabolism will lead to unravelling the organ/tissue-specific role of CAMKK2 in energy metabolism. Therefore, the objective of this study was to understand the cell-type-specific regulation of glucose metabolism, specifically, respiration under CAMKK2 deleted conditions in transformed human embryonic kidney-derived HEK293 and hepatoma-derived HepG2 cells.METHODS: Cellular respiration was measured in terms of oxygen consumption rate (OCR). OCR and succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) enzyme activity were measured following the addition of substrates. In addition, transcription and proteomic and analyses of the electron transport system (ETS)-associated proteins, including mitochondrial SDH protein complex (complex-II: CII) subunits, specifically SDH subunit B (SDHB), were performed using standard molecular biology techniques. The metabolic effect of the altered SDHB protein content in the mitochondria was further evaluated by cell-type-specific knockdown or overexpression of SDHB.
    RESULTS: CAMKK2 deletion suppressed cellular respiration in both cell types, shifting metabolic phenotype to aerobic glycolysis causing the Warburg effect. However, isolated mitochondria exhibited a cell-type-specific enhancement or dampening of the respiratory kinetics under CAMKK2 deletion conditions. This was mediated in part by the cell-type-specific effect of CAMKK2 loss-of-function on transcription, translation, post-translational modification (PTM), and megacomplex assembly of nuclear-encoded mitochondrial SDH enzyme complex subunits, specifically SDHB. The cell-type-specific increase or decrease in SDHs protein levels, specifically SDHB, under CAMKK2 deletion condition resulted in an increased or decreased enzymatic activity and CII-mediated respiration. This metabolic phenotype was reversed by cell-type-specific knockdown or overexpression of SDHB in respective CAMKK2 deleted cell types. CAMKK2 loss-of-function also affected the overall assembly of mitochondrial supercomplex involving ETS-associated proteins in a cell-type-specific manner, which correlated with differences in mitochondrial bioenergetics.
    CONCLUSION: This study provided novel insight into CAMKK2-mediated cell-type-specific differential regulation of mitochondrial function, facilitated by the differential expression, PTMs, and assembly of SDHs into megacomplex structures. Video Abstract.
    Keywords:  CAMKK2; Oxidative phosphorylation; Respiration; Respiratory supercomplex; Succinate dehydrogenase
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1186/s12964-021-00778-z
  15. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2021 ;9 726261
      Cells prepare for fluctuations in nutrient availability by storing energy in the form of neutral lipids in organelles called Lipid Droplets (LDs). Upon starvation, fatty acids (FAs) released from LDs are trafficked to different cellular compartments to be utilized for membrane biogenesis or as a source of energy. Despite the biochemical pathways being known in detail, the spatio-temporal regulation of FA synthesis, storage, release, and breakdown is not completely understood. Recent studies suggest that FA trafficking and metabolism are facilitated by inter-organelle contact sites that form between LDs and other cellular compartments such as the Endoplasmic Reticulum (ER), mitochondria, peroxisomes, and lysosomes. LD-LD contact sites are also sites where FAs are transferred in a directional manner to support LD growth and expansion. As the storage site of neutral lipids, LDs play a central role in FA homeostasis. In this mini review, we highlight the role of LD contact sites with other organelles in FA trafficking, channeling, and metabolism and discuss the implications for these pathways on cellular lipid and energy homeostasis.
    Keywords:  contact sites; fatty acids; lipid droplets; metabolism; organelles
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3389/fcell.2021.726261
  16. Cells. 2021 Aug 25. pii: 2198. [Epub ahead of print]10(9):
      Cellular iron homeostasis and mitochondrial iron homeostasis are interdependent. Mitochondria must import iron to form iron-sulfur clusters and heme, and to incorporate these cofactors along with iron ions into mitochondrial proteins that support essential functions, including cellular respiration. In turn, mitochondria supply the cell with heme and enable the biogenesis of cytosolic and nuclear proteins containing iron-sulfur clusters. Impairment in cellular or mitochondrial iron homeostasis is deleterious and can result in numerous human diseases. Due to its reactivity, iron is stored and trafficked through the body, intracellularly, and within mitochondria via carefully orchestrated processes. Here, we focus on describing the processes of and components involved in mitochondrial iron trafficking and storage, as well as mitochondrial iron-sulfur cluster biogenesis and heme biosynthesis. Recent findings and the most pressing topics for future research are highlighted.
    Keywords:  heme biosynthesis; iron homeostasis; iron trafficking; mitochondrial iron–sulfur clusters
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10092198
  17. ACS Sens. 2021 Sep 29.
      Mitochondria, as the center of energy production, play an important role in cell homeostasis by regulating the cellular metabolism and mediating the cellular response to stress. Epigenetic changes such as DNA and histone methylation have been increasingly recognized to play a significant role in homeostasis and stress response. The cross-talking between the metabolome and the epigenome has attracted significant attention in recent years but with a major focus on how metabolism contributes to epigenomic changes. Few studies have focused on how epigenetic modifications may alter the mitochondrial composition and activity. In this work, we designed a novel probe targeting methylated CpGs of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). We demonstrated the capability of our probe to reveal the spatial distribution of methylated mtDNA and capture the mtDNA methylation changes at a single-cell level. We were also able to track single-cell mtDNA and nDNA methylation simultaneously and discovered the unsynchronized dynamics of the nucleus and mitochondria. Our tool offers a unique opportunity to understand the epigenetic regulation of mtDNA and its dynamic response to the microenvironment and cellular changes.
    Keywords:  DNA CpG methylation; epigenetics; live-cell probe; mitochondria; super-resolution microscopy
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1021/acssensors.1c00731
  18. Trends Cancer. 2021 Sep 24. pii: S2405-8033(21)00176-X. [Epub ahead of print]
      Increasing evidence indicates that a mitochondria-specific stress response referred to as the 'mitochondrial unfolded protein response' (UPRmt) is activated to maintain mitochondrial integrity and support tumor growth. In this forum article, we discuss the recent advances and current challenges in therapeutically targeting UPRmt in cancer.
    Keywords:  cancer; mitochondrial chaperonins; mitochondrial proteases; mitochondrial proteostasis; mitochondrial unfolded protein response
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trecan.2021.08.008
  19. Cell. 2021 Sep 21. pii: S0092-8674(21)01049-7. [Epub ahead of print]
      Although oxidative phosphorylation is best known for producing ATP, it also yields reactive oxygen species (ROS) as invariant byproducts. Depletion of ROS below their physiological levels, a phenomenon known as reductive stress, impedes cellular signaling and has been linked to cancer, diabetes, and cardiomyopathy. Cells alleviate reductive stress by ubiquitylating and degrading the mitochondrial gatekeeper FNIP1, yet it is unknown how the responsible E3 ligase CUL2FEM1B can bind its target based on redox state and how this is adjusted to changing cellular environments. Here, we show that CUL2FEM1B relies on zinc as a molecular glue to selectively recruit reduced FNIP1 during reductive stress. FNIP1 ubiquitylation is gated by pseudosubstrate inhibitors of the BEX family, which prevent premature FNIP1 degradation to protect cells from unwarranted ROS accumulation. FEM1B gain-of-function mutation and BEX deletion elicit similar developmental syndromes, showing that the zinc-dependent reductive stress response must be tightly regulated to maintain cellular and organismal homeostasis.
    Keywords:  BEX2; BEX3; CUL2; FEM1B; mitochondria; oxidative phosphorylation; reactive oxygen species; reductive stress; ubiquitin
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2021.09.002
  20. Biomolecules. 2021 Aug 24. pii: 1259. [Epub ahead of print]11(9):
      Mitochondria are complex organelles that orchestrate several functions in the cell. The primary function recognized is energy production; however, other functions involve the communication with the rest of the cell through reactive oxygen species (ROS), calcium influx, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels, cytochrome c release, and also through tricarboxylic acid (TCA) metabolites. Kidney function highly depends on mitochondria; hence mitochondrial dysfunction is associated with kidney diseases. In addition to oxidative phosphorylation impairment, other mitochondrial abnormalities have been described in kidney diseases, such as induction of mitophagy, intrinsic pathway of apoptosis, and releasing molecules to communicate to the rest of the cell. The TCA cycle is a metabolic pathway whose primary function is to generate electrons to feed the electron transport system (ETS) to drives energy production. However, TCA cycle metabolites can also release from mitochondria or produced in the cytosol to exert different functions and modify cell behavior. Here we review the involvement of some of the functions of TCA metabolites in kidney diseases.
    Keywords:  TCA cycle metabolites; kidney diseases; mitochondria
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3390/biom11091259
  21. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Sep 09. pii: 9765. [Epub ahead of print]22(18):
      Cellular energy is primarily provided by the oxidative degradation of nutrients coupled with mitochondrial respiration, in which oxygen participates in the mitochondrial electron transport chain to enable electron flow through the chain complex (I-IV), leading to ATP production. Therefore, oxygen supply is an indispensable chapter in intracellular bioenergetics. In mammals, oxygen is delivered by the bloodstream. Accordingly, the decrease in cellular oxygen level (hypoxia) is accompanied by nutrient starvation, thereby integrating hypoxic signaling and nutrient signaling at the cellular level. Importantly, hypoxia profoundly affects cellular metabolism and many relevant physiological reactions induce cellular adaptations of hypoxia-inducible gene expression, metabolism, reactive oxygen species, and autophagy. Here, we introduce the current knowledge of hypoxia signaling with two-well known cellular energy and nutrient sensing pathways, AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1). Additionally, the molecular crosstalk between hypoxic signaling and AMPK/mTOR pathways in various hypoxic cellular adaptions is discussed.
    Keywords:  AMPK; hypoxia; hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF); hypoxic cellular adaptations; mTORC1
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22189765
  22. Nat Commun. 2021 Sep 29. 12(1): 5715
      Nuclear-encoded mitochondrial proteins destined for the matrix have to be transported across two membranes. The TOM and TIM23 complexes facilitate the transport of precursor proteins with N-terminal targeting signals into the matrix. During transport, precursors are recognized by the TIM23 complex in the inner membrane for handover from the TOM complex. However, we have little knowledge on the organization of the TOM-TIM23 transition zone and on how precursor transfer between the translocases occurs. Here, we have designed a precursor protein that is stalled during matrix transport in a TOM-TIM23-spanning manner and enables purification of the translocation intermediate. Combining chemical cross-linking with mass spectrometric analyses and structural modeling allows us to map the molecular environment of the intermembrane space interface of TOM and TIM23 as well as the import motor interactions with amino acid resolution. Our analyses provide a framework for understanding presequence handover and translocation during matrix protein transport.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-26016-1
  23. Life (Basel). 2021 Sep 10. pii: 949. [Epub ahead of print]11(9):
      Mitochondrial bioenergetic function is a central component of cellular metabolism in health and disease. Mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation is critical for maintaining energetic homeostasis, and impairment of mitochondrial function underlies the development and progression of metabolic diseases and aging. However, measurement of mitochondrial bioenergetic function can be challenging in human samples due to limitations in the size of the collected sample. Furthermore, the collection of samples from human cohorts is often spread over multiple days and locations, which makes immediate sample processing and bioenergetics analysis challenging. Therefore, sample selection and choice of tests should be carefully considered. Basic research, clinical trials, and mitochondrial disease diagnosis rely primarily on skeletal muscle samples. However, obtaining skeletal muscle biopsies requires an appropriate clinical setting and specialized personnel, making skeletal muscle a less suitable tissue for certain research studies. Circulating white blood cells and platelets offer a promising primary tissue alternative to biopsies for the study of mitochondrial bioenergetics. Recent advances in frozen respirometry protocols combined with the utilization of minimally invasive and non-invasive samples may provide promise for future mitochondrial research studies in humans. Here we review the human samples commonly used for the measurement of mitochondrial bioenergetics with a focus on the advantages and limitations of each sample.
    Keywords:  bioenergetics; fibroblasts; frozen tissue; leukocytes; mitochondria; oxygen consumption; platelets; respirometry; skeletal muscle
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3390/life11090949
  24. Metabolites. 2021 Sep 17. pii: 636. [Epub ahead of print]11(9):
      The mitochondrial prohibitin (PHB) complex, composed of PHB-1 and PHB-2, is an evolutionarily conserved context-dependent modulator of longevity. This extremely intriguing phenotype has been linked to alterations in mitochondrial function and lipid metabolism. The true biochemical function of the mitochondrial PHB complex remains elusive, but it has been shown to affect membrane lipid composition. Recent work, using large-scale biochemical approaches, has highlighted a broad effect of PHB on the C. elegans metabolic network. Collectively, the biochemical data support the notion that PHB modulates, at least partially, worm longevity through the moderation of fat utilisation and energy production via the mitochondrial respiratory chain. Herein, we review, in a systematic manner, recent biochemical insights into the impact of PHB on the C. elegans metabolome.
    Keywords:  ageing; metabolism; mitochondrial prohibitin complex
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3390/metabo11090636
  25. FASEB J. 2021 Oct;35(10): e21891
      In humans, insulin resistance has been linked to an impaired metabolic transition from fasting to feeding (metabolic flexibility; MetFlex). Previous studies suggest that mitochondrial dynamics response is a putative determinant of MetFlex; however, this has not been studied in humans. Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate the mitochondrial dynamics response in the metabolic transition from fasting to feeding in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). Six male subjects fasted for 16 h (fasting), immediately after which they consumed a 75-g oral glucose load (glucose). In both fasting and glucose conditions, blood samples were taken to obtain PBMCs. Mitochondrial dynamics were assessed by electron microscopy images. We exposed in vitro acetoacetate-treated PBMCs to the specific IP3R inhibitor Xestospongin B (XeB) to reduce IP3R-mediated mitochondrial Ca2+ accumulation. This allowed us to evaluate the role of ER-mitochondria Ca2+ exchange in the mitochondrial dynamic response to substrate availability. To determine whether PBMCs could be used in obesity context (low MetFlex), we measured mitochondrial dynamics in mouse spleen-derived lymphocytes from WT and ob/ob mice. We demonstrated that the transition from fasting to feeding reduces mitochondria-ER interactions, induces mitochondrial fission and reduces mitochondrial cristae density in human PBMCs. In addition, we demonstrated that IP3R activity is key in the mitochondrial dynamics response when PBMCs are treated with a fasting-substrate in vitro. In murine mononuclear-cells, we confirmed that mitochondria-ER interactions are regulated in the fasted-fed transition and we further highlight mitochondria-ER miscommunication in PBMCs of diabetic mice. In conclusion, our results demonstrate that the fasting/feeding transition reduces mitochondria-ER interactions, induces mitochondrial fission and reduces mitochondrial cristae density in human PBMCs, and that IP3R activity may potentially play a central role.
    Keywords:  fasting; mitochondria-ER interaction; mitochondrial cristae; mitochondrial fusion; mitochondrial morphology; obesity
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1096/fj.202100929R
  26. Cells. 2021 Sep 09. pii: 2371. [Epub ahead of print]10(9):
      In solid tumours, cancer cells exist within hypoxic microenvironments, and their metabolic adaptation to this hypoxia is driven by HIF-1 transcription factor, which is overexpressed in a broad range of human cancers. HIF inhibitors are under pre-clinical investigation and clinical trials, but there is evidence that hypoxic cancer cells can adapt metabolically to HIF-1 inhibition, which would provide a potential route for drug resistance. Here, we review accumulating evidence of such adaptions in carbohydrate and creatine metabolism and other HIF-1-independent mechanisms that might allow cancers to survive hypoxia despite anti-HIF-1 therapy. These include pathways in glucose, glutamine, and lipid metabolism; epigenetic mechanisms; post-translational protein modifications; spatial reorganization of enzymes; signalling pathways such as Myc, PI3K-Akt, 2-hyxdroxyglutarate and AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK); and activation of the HIF-2 pathway. All of these should be investigated in future work on hypoxia bypass mechanisms in anti-HIF-1 cancer therapy. In principle, agents targeted toward HIF-1β rather than HIF-1α might be advantageous, as both HIF-1 and HIF-2 require HIF-1β for activation. However, HIF-1β is also the aryl hydrocarbon nuclear transporter (ARNT), which has functions in many tissues, so off-target effects should be expected. In general, cancer therapy by HIF inhibition will need careful attention to potential resistance mechanisms.
    Keywords:  2-hydroxyglutarate; AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK); Myc; cancer metabolism; creatine metabolism; glutamine metabolism; glycolysis; hypoxia; hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1); lipid metabolism; phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10092371
  27. J Clin Invest. 2021 Sep 30. pii: e152911. [Epub ahead of print]
      Emerging evidence has shown that open reading frames inside lncRNA could encode micropeptides. However, their roles in cellular energy metabolism and tumor progression remain largely unknown. Here, we identified a 94-amino acid-length micropeptide encoded by lncRNA LINC00467 in colorectal cancer. We also characterized its conservation across higher mammals, localization to mitochondria, and the concerted local functions. This peptide enhanced the ATP synthase construction by interacting with the subunit α and γ (ATP5A and ATP5C), increased ATP synthase activity and mitochondrial oxygen consumption rate, and thereby promoted colorectal cancer cell proliferation. Hence, this micropeptide was termed as "ATP synthase associated peptide" (ASAP). Furthermore, loss of ASAP suppressed patient-derived xenograft growth with attenuated ATP synthase activity and mitochondrial ATP production. Clinically, high expression of ASAP and LINC00467 predicted poor prognosis of colorectal cancer patients. Taken together, our findings revealed a colorectal cancer-associated micropeptide as a vital player in mitochondrial metabolism and provided a therapeutic target for colorectal cancer.
    Keywords:  Colorectal cancer; Gastroenterology; Noncoding RNAs; Oncology
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1172/JCI152911
  28. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Sep 14. pii: 4609. [Epub ahead of print]13(18):
      The tumor's physiology emerges from the dynamic interplay of numerous cell types, such as cancer cells, immune cells and stromal cells, within the tumor microenvironment. Immune and cancer cells compete for nutrients within the tumor microenvironment, leading to a metabolic battle between these cell populations. Tumor cells can reprogram their metabolism to meet the high demand of building blocks and ATP for proliferation, and to gain an advantage over the action of immune cells. The study of the metabolic reprogramming mechanisms underlying cancer requires the quantification of metabolic fluxes which can be estimated at the genome-scale with constraint-based or kinetic modeling. Constraint-based models use a set of linear constraints to simulate steady-state metabolic fluxes, whereas kinetic models can simulate both the transient behavior and steady-state values of cellular fluxes and concentrations. The integration of cell- or tissue-specific data enables the construction of context-specific models that reflect cell-type- or tissue-specific metabolic properties. While the available modeling frameworks enable limited modeling of the metabolic crosstalk between tumor and immune cells in the tumor stroma, future developments will likely involve new hybrid kinetic/stoichiometric formulations.
    Keywords:  constraint-based modeling; genome-scale metabolic models; immune system; kinetic metabolic models; metabolic crosstalk; metabolic reprogramming in cancer; stoichiometric models
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13184609
  29. J Leukoc Biol. 2021 Sep 29.
      Monocyte migration to the sites of inflammation and maturation into macrophages are key steps for their immune effector function. Here, we show that mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 2 (mTORC2)-dependent Akt activation is instrumental for metabolic reprogramming at the early stages of macrophage-mediated immunity. Despite an increased production of proinflammatory mediators, monocytes lacking expression of the mTORC2 component Rictor fail to efficiently migrate to inflammatory sites and fully mature into macrophages, resulting in reduced inflammatory responses in vivo. The mTORC2-dependent phosphorylation of Akt is instrumental for the enhancement of glycolysis and mitochondrial respiration, required to sustain monocyte maturation and motility. These observations are discussed in the context of therapeutic strategies aimed at selective inhibition of mTORC2 activity.
    Keywords:  cell metabolism; mTORC2; macrophage; metabolism; monocyte
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1002/JLB.1A0920-588R
  30. Genes (Basel). 2021 Sep 21. pii: 1460. [Epub ahead of print]12(9):
      The modulation of dynamic histone acetylation states is key for organizing chromatin structure and modulating gene expression and is regulated by histone acetyltransferase (HAT) and histone deacetylase (HDAC) enzymes. The mammalian SIRT6 protein, a member of the Class III HDAC Sirtuin family of NAD+-dependent enzymes, plays pivotal roles in aging, metabolism, and cancer biology. Through its site-specific histone deacetylation activity, SIRT6 promotes chromatin silencing and transcriptional regulation of aging-associated, metabolic, and tumor suppressive gene expression programs. ATP citrate lyase (ACLY) is a nucleo-cytoplasmic enzyme that produces acetyl coenzyme A (acetyl-CoA), which is the required acetyl donor for lysine acetylation by HATs. In addition to playing a central role in generating cytosolic acetyl-CoA for de novo lipogenesis, a growing body of work indicates that ACLY also functions in the nucleus where it contributes to the nutrient-sensitive regulation of nuclear acetyl-CoA availability for histone acetylation in cancer cells. In this study, we have identified a novel function of SIRT6 in controlling nuclear levels of ACLY and ACLY-dependent tumor suppressive gene regulation. The inactivation of SIRT6 in cancer cells leads to the accumulation of nuclear ACLY protein and increases nuclear acetyl-CoA pools, which in turn drive locus-specific histone acetylation and the expression of cancer cell adhesion and migration genes that promote tumor invasiveness. Our findings uncover a novel mechanism of SIRT6 in suppressing invasive cancer cell phenotypes and identify acetyl-CoA responsive cell migration and adhesion genes as downstream targets of SIRT6.
    Keywords:  ACLY; SIRT6; Sirtuin; acetyl-CoA; cancer; chromatin; gene expression; histone acetylation
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3390/genes12091460
  31. Elife. 2021 Oct 01. pii: e72873. [Epub ahead of print]10
      Hypoxic adaptation mediated by HIF transcription factors requires mitochondria, which have been implicated in regulating HIF1α stability in hypoxia by distinct models that involve consuming oxygen or alternatively converting oxygen into the second messenger peroxide. Here, we use a ratiometric, peroxide reporter, HyPer to evaluate the role of peroxide in regulating HIF1α stability. We show that antioxidant enzymes are neither homeostatically induced nor are peroxide levels increased in hypoxia. Additionally, forced expression of diverse antioxidant enzymes, all of which diminish peroxide, had disparate effects on HIF1α protein stability. Moreover, decrease in lipid peroxides by glutathione peroxidase-4 or superoxide by mitochondrial SOD, failed to influence HIF1α protein stability. These data show that mitochondrial, cytosolic or lipid ROS were not necessary for HIF1α stability, and favor a model where mitochondria contribute to hypoxic adaptation as oxygen consumers.
    Keywords:  cell biology; neuroscience
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.72873
  32. Nat Commun. 2021 Sep 30. 12(1): 5736
      Despite the emerging importance of reactive electrophilic drugs, deconvolution of their principal targets remains difficult. The lack of genetic tractability/interventions and reliance on secondary validation using other non-specific compounds frequently complicate the earmarking of individual binders as functionally- or phenotypically-sufficient pathway regulators. Using a redox-targeting approach to interrogate how on-target binding of pleiotropic electrophiles translates to a phenotypic output in vivo, we here systematically track the molecular components attributable to innate immune cell toxicity of the electrophilic-drug dimethyl fumarate (Tecfidera®). In a process largely independent of canonical Keap1/Nrf2-signaling, Keap1-specific modification triggers mitochondrial-targeted neutrophil/macrophage apoptosis. On-target Keap1-ligand-engagement is accompanied by dissociation of Wdr1 from Keap1 and subsequent coordination with cofilin, intercepting Bax. This phagocytic-specific cell-killing program is recapitulated by whole-animal administration of dimethyl fumarate, where individual depletions of the players identified above robustly suppress apoptosis.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-25466-x
  33. Metabolites. 2021 Sep 07. pii: 606. [Epub ahead of print]11(9):
      Genome-scale metabolic models (GEMs) are powerful tools for understanding metabolism from a systems-level perspective. However, GEMs in their most basic form fail to account for cellular regulation. A diverse set of mechanisms regulate cellular metabolism, enabling organisms to respond to a wide range of conditions. This limitation of GEMs has prompted the development of new methods to integrate regulatory mechanisms, thereby enhancing the predictive capabilities and broadening the scope of GEMs. Here, we cover integrative models encompassing six types of regulatory mechanisms: transcriptional regulatory networks (TRNs), post-translational modifications (PTMs), epigenetics, protein-protein interactions and protein stability (PPIs/PS), allostery, and signaling networks. We discuss 22 integrative GEM modeling methods and how these have been used to simulate metabolic regulation during normal and pathological conditions. While these advances have been remarkable, there remains a need for comprehensive and widespread integration of regulatory constraints into GEMs. We conclude by discussing challenges in constructing GEMs with regulation and highlight areas that need to be addressed for the successful modeling of metabolic regulation. Next-generation integrative GEMs that incorporate multiple regulatory mechanisms and their crosstalk will be invaluable for discovering cell-type and disease-specific metabolic control mechanisms.
    Keywords:  constraint-based modeling; genome-scale network models; metabolic networks; metabolic regulation; systems biology
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3390/metabo11090606
  34. Metabolites. 2021 Sep 07. pii: 608. [Epub ahead of print]11(9):
      Clear cell renal cell carcinoma is the most common and deadly type of cancer affecting the kidney, and is characterized histologically by large intracellular lipid deposits. These deposits are thought to result from lipid metabolic reprogramming occurring in tumor cells, but the exact mechanisms and implications of these metabolic alterations are incompletely understood. Obesity is an independent risk factor for clear cell renal cell carcinoma, and is also associated with lipid accumulation in noncancerous epithelial cells of the proximal tubule, where clear cell renal cell carcinoma originates. This article explores the potential link between obesity-associated renal lipid metabolic disturbances and lipid metabolic reprogramming in clear cell renal cell carcinoma, and discusses potential implications for future research.
    Keywords:  lipotoxicity; metabolic reprogramming; preneoplastic changes; tumorigenesis
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3390/metabo11090608
  35. Cells. 2021 Sep 08. pii: 2348. [Epub ahead of print]10(9):
      Acetylation is a post-translational modification that regulates the activity of enzymes fundamentally involved in cellular and mitochondrial bioenergetic metabolism. NAD+ dependent deacetylase sirtuin 3 (SIRT3) is localized to mitochondria where it plays a key role in regulating acetylation of TCA cycle enzymes and the mitochondrial respiratory complexes. Although the SIRT3 target proteins in mitochondria have been identified, the effect of SIRT3 activity on mitochondrial glucose metabolism in the brain remains elusive. The impact of abolished SIRT3 activity on glucose metabolism was determined in SIRT3 knockout (KO) and wild type (WT) mice injected with [1,6-13C]glucose using ex vivo 13C-NMR spectroscopy. The 1H-NMR spectra and amino acid analysis showed no differences in the concentration of lactate, glutamate, alanine, succinate, or aspartate between SIRT3 KO and WT mice. However, glutamine, total creatine (Cr), and GABA were lower in SIRT3 KO brain. Incorporation of label from [1,6-13C]glucose metabolism into lactate or alanine was not affected in SIRT3 KO brain. However, the incorporation of the label into all isotopomers of glutamate, glutamine, GABA and aspartate was lower in SIRT3 KO brain, reflecting decreased activity of mitochondrial and TCA cycle metabolism in both neurons and astrocytes. This is most likely due to hyperacetylation of mitochondrial enzymes due to suppressed SIRT3 activity in the brain of SIRT3 KO mice. Thus, the absence of Sirt3 results in impaired mitochondrial oxidative energy metabolism and neurotransmitter synthesis in the brain. Since the SIRT3 activity is NAD+ dependent, these results might parallel changes in glucose metabolism under pathologic reduction in mitochondrial NAD+ pools.
    Keywords:  13C-NMR spectroscopy; NAD+; SIRT3; [1,6-13C]glucose; acetylation; knock out mouse; metabolism; mitochondria
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10092348
  36. Hepatology. 2021 Sep 28.
      Poor response to ionizing radiation (IR) due to resistance remains a clinical challenge. Altered metabolism represents a defining characteristic of nearly all types of cancers. However, how radio-resistance is linked to metabolic reprogramming remains elusive. The present study establishes a metabolic phenotype that mediates radiation resistance in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), whereby increased glucose flux leads to glucose addiction in radio-resistant HCC cells and a corresponding increase in glycerophospholipids biosynthesis to enhance the levels of cardiolipin. Accumulation of cardiolipin dampens the effectiveness of IR by inhibiting cytochrome c release to initiate apoptosis. We also demonstrate that mTORC1 signaling-mediated translational control of hypoxia inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) and sterol regulatory element-binding protein-1 (SREBP1) remodels such metabolic cascade. Targeting mTORC1 or glucose to cardiolipin synthesis, in combination with IR, strongly diminishes tumor burden. Finally, activation of glucose metabolism predicts poor response to radiotherapy in cancer patients. Taken together, we uncover here a previously unrecognized link between radiation resistance and metabolic integration and suggest that metabolically dismantling the radio-resistant features of tumors may provide potential combination approaches for radiotherapy in HCC.
    Keywords:  Cancer metabolism; Liver cancer; Radio-resistance; cytochrome c; lipogenesis
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1002/hep.32177
  37. Microorganisms. 2021 Sep 06. pii: 1894. [Epub ahead of print]9(9):
      Mitochondrial RTG-dependent retrograde signaling, whose regulators have been characterized in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, plays a recognized role under various environmental stresses. Of special significance, the activity of the transcriptional complex Rtg1/3 has been shown to be modulated by Hog1, the master regulator of the high osmolarity glycerol pathway, in response to osmotic stress. The present work focuses on the role of RTG signaling in salt-induced osmotic stress and its interaction with HOG1. Wild-type and mutant cells, lacking HOG1 and/or RTG genes, are compared with respect to cell growth features, retrograde signaling activation and mitochondrial function in the presence and in the absence of high osmostress. We show that RTG2, the main upstream regulator of the RTG pathway, contributes to osmoadaptation in an HOG1-dependent manner and that, with RTG3, it is notably involved in a late phase of growth. Our data demonstrate that impairment of RTG signaling causes a decrease in mitochondrial respiratory capacity exclusively under osmostress. Overall, these results suggest that HOG1 and the RTG pathway may interact sequentially in the stress signaling cascade and that the RTG pathway may play a role in inter-organellar metabolic communication for osmoadaptation.
    Keywords:  HOG1; RTG signaling; metabolism; mitochondria; osmoadaptation; respiratory capacity; stress response
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9091894
  38. J Inherit Metab Dis. 2021 Sep 26.
      Peroxisomes metabolize a specific subset of fatty acids, which include dicarboxylic fatty acids (DCAs) generated by ω-oxidation. Data obtained in vitro suggest that the peroxisomal transporter ABCD3 (also known as PMP70) mediates the transport of DCAs into the peroxisome, but in vivo evidence to support this role is lacking. In this work, we studied an Abcd3 KO mouse model generated by CRISPR-Cas9 technology using targeted and untargeted metabolomics, histology, immunoblotting, and stable isotope tracing technology. We show that ABCD3 functions in hepatic DCA metabolism and uncover a novel role for this peroxisomal transporter in lipid homeostasis. The Abcd3 KO mouse presents with increased hepatic long-chain DCAs, increased urine medium-chain DCAs, lipodystrophy, enhanced hepatic cholesterol synthesis and decreased hepatic de novo lipogenesis. Moreover, our study suggests that DCAs are metabolized by mitochondrial fatty acid β-oxidation when ABCD3 is not functional, reflecting the importance of the metabolic compartmentalization and communication between peroxisomes and mitochondria. In summary, this study provides data on the role of the peroxisomal transporter ABCD3 in hepatic lipid homeostasis and DCA metabolism, and the consequences of peroxisomal dysfunction for the liver.
    Keywords:  dicarboxylic acids; lipid homeostasis; liver; mitochondria; peroxisome
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1002/jimd.12440
  39. Nature. 2021 Sep 29.
      
    Keywords:  Ageing; Metabolism; Nutrition; Physiology
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-021-01578-8
  40. J Biol Chem. 2021 Sep 27. pii: S0021-9258(21)01058-9. [Epub ahead of print] 101255
      Branched-chain amino acids (primarily isoleucine) are important regulators of virulence and are converted to precursor molecules used to initiate fatty acid synthesis in Staphylococcus aureus. Defining how bacteria control their membrane phospholipid composition is key to understanding their adaptation to different environments. Here, we used mass tracing experiments to show that extracellular isoleucine is preferentially metabolized by the branched-chain ketoacid dehydrogenase complex, in contrast to valine, which is not efficiently converted to isobutyryl-CoA. This selectivity creates a ratio of anteiso:iso C5-CoAs that matches the anteiso:iso ratio in membrane phospholipids, indicating indiscriminate utilization of these precursors by the initiation condensing enzyme FabH. Lipidomics analysis showed that removal of isoleucine and leucine from the medium led to the replacement of phospholipid molecular species containing anteiso/iso 17- and 19-carbon fatty acids with 18- and 20-carbon straight-chain fatty acids. This compositional change is driven by an increase in the acetyl-CoA:C5-CoA ratio, enhancing the utilization of acetyl-CoA by FabH. The acyl carrier protein (ACP) pool normally consists of odd carbon acyl-ACP intermediates, but when branched-chain amino acids are absent from the environment there was a large increase in even carbon acyl-ACP pathway intermediates. The high substrate selectivity of PlsC ensures that, in the presence or absence of extracellular Ile/Leu, the 2-position is occupied by a branched-chain 15-carbon fatty acid. These metabolomic measurements show how the metabolism of isoleucine and leucine, rather than the selectivity of FabH, control the structure of membrane phospholipids.
    Keywords:  Staphylococcus aureus; branched-chain amino acids; fatty acid; fatty acid synthesis; phospholipids
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbc.2021.101255
  41. Cancer Res. 2021 Oct 01. 81(19): 4896-4898
      The Warburg effect, the propensity of some cells to metabolize glucose to lactate in the presence of oxygen (also known as aerobic glycolysis), has long been observed in cancer and other contexts of cell proliferation, but only in the past two decades have significant gains been made in understanding how and why this metabolic transformation occurs. In 2004, Cancer Research published a study by Elstrom and colleagues that provided one of the first connections between a specific oncogene and aerobic glycolysis. Studying hematopoietic and glioblastoma cell lines, they demonstrated that constitutive activation of AKT promotes an increased glycolytic rate without altering proliferation or oxygen consumption in culture. They proposed that it is this effect that allows constitutive AKT activation to transform cells and found that it sensitizes cells to glucose deprivation. In the years since, mechanistic understanding of oncogenic control of metabolism, and glycolysis specifically, has deepened substantially. Current work seeks to understand the benefits and liabilities associated with glycolytic metabolism and to identify inhibitors that might be of clinical benefit to target glycolytic cancer cells.See related article by Elstrom and colleagues, Cancer Res 2004;64:3892-9.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-21-2647
  42. Diagnostics (Basel). 2021 Sep 06. pii: 1628. [Epub ahead of print]11(9):
      BACKGROUND: Acute intermittent porphyria (AIP) is caused by the haploinsufficiency of porphobilinogen deaminase (PBGD) enzymatic activity. Acute attacks occur in response to fasting, and alterations in glucose metabolism, insulin resistance, and mitochondrial turnover may be involved in AIP pathophysiology. Therefore, we investigated the metabolic pathways in PBGD-silenced hepatocytes and assessed the efficacy of an insulin mimic, α-lipoic acid (α-LA), as a potential therapeutic strategy.METHODS: HepG2 cells were transfected with siRNA-targeting PBGD (siPBGD). Cells were cultured with low glucose concentration to mimic fasting and exposed to α-LA alone or with glucose.
    RESULTS: At baseline, siPBGD cells showed a lower expression of genes involved in glycolysis and mitochondrial dynamics along with reduced total ATP levels. Fasting further unbalanced glycolysis by inducing ATP shortage in siPBGD cells and activated DRP1, which mediates mitochondrial separation. Consistently, siPBGD cells in the fasted state showed the lowest protein levels of Complex IV, which belongs to the oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) machinery. α-LA upregulated glycolysis and prompted ATP synthesis and triglyceride secretion, thus possibly providing energy fuels to siPBGD cells by improving glucose utilization. Finally, siPBGD exposed to α-LA plus glucose raised mitochondrial dynamics, OXPHOS activity, and energy production.
    CONCLUSIONS: α-LA-based therapy may ameliorate glucose metabolism and mitochondrial dysfunctions in siPBGD hepatocytes.
    Keywords:  AIP; PBGD; glucose metabolism; mitobiogenesis; α-lipoic acid
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3390/diagnostics11091628
  43. Life Sci Alliance. 2021 Dec;pii: e202101013. [Epub ahead of print]4(12):
      Human CD4+ T cells are essential mediators of immune responses. By altering the mitochondrial and metabolic states, we defined metabolic requirements of human CD4+ T cells for in vitro activation, expansion, and effector function. T-cell activation and proliferation were reduced by inhibiting oxidative phosphorylation, whereas early cytokine production was maintained by either OXPHOS or glycolytic activity. Glucose deprivation in the presence of mild mitochondrial stress markedly reduced all three T-cell functions, contrasting the exposure to resveratrol, an antioxidant and sirtuin-1 activator, which specifically inhibited cytokine production and T-cell proliferation, but not T-cell activation. Conditions that inhibited T-cell activation were associated with the down-regulation of 2',5'-oligoadenylate synthetase genes via interferon response pathways. Our findings indicate that T-cell function is grossly impaired by stressors combined with nutrient deprivation, suggesting that correcting nutrient availability, metabolic stress, and/or the function of T cells in these conditions will improve the efficacy of T-cell-based therapies.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.26508/lsa.202101013
  44. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 Oct 05. pii: e2110629118. [Epub ahead of print]118(40):
      Ca2+ is the most ubiquitous second messenger in neurons whose spatial and temporal elevations are tightly controlled to initiate and orchestrate diverse intracellular signaling cascades. Numerous neuropathologies result from mutations or alterations in Ca2+ handling proteins; thus, elucidating molecular pathways that shape Ca2+ signaling is imperative. Here, we report that loss-of-function, knockout, or neurodegenerative disease-causing mutations in the lysosomal cholesterol transporter, Niemann-Pick Type C1 (NPC1), initiate a damaging signaling cascade that alters the expression and nanoscale distribution of IP3R type 1 (IP3R1) in endoplasmic reticulum membranes. These alterations detrimentally increase Gq-protein coupled receptor-stimulated Ca2+ release and spontaneous IP3R1 Ca2+ activity, leading to mitochondrial Ca2+ cytotoxicity. Mechanistically, we find that SREBP-dependent increases in Presenilin 1 (PS1) underlie functional and expressional changes in IP3R1. Accordingly, expression of PS1 mutants recapitulate, while PS1 knockout abrogates Ca2+ phenotypes. These data present a signaling axis that links the NPC1 lysosomal cholesterol transporter to the damaging redistribution and activity of IP3R1 that precipitates cell death in NPC1 disease and suggests that NPC1 is a nanostructural disease.
    Keywords:  GPCR; IP3R; NPC1; calcium; neurodegeneration
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2110629118
  45. Antioxidants (Basel). 2021 Sep 14. pii: 1458. [Epub ahead of print]10(9):
      Cancer cells preferentially accumulate iron (Fe) relative to non-malignant cells; however, the underlying rationale remains elusive. Iron-sulfur (Fe-S) clusters are critical cofactors that aid in a wide variety of cellular functions (e.g., DNA metabolism and electron transport). In this article, we theorize that a differential need for Fe-S biogenesis in tumor versus non-malignant cells underlies the Fe-dependent cell growth demand of cancer cells to promote cell division and survival by promoting genomic stability via Fe-S containing DNA metabolic enzymes. In this review, we outline the complex Fe-S biogenesis process and its potential upregulation in cancer. We also discuss three therapeutic strategies to target Fe-S biogenesis: (i) redox manipulation, (ii) Fe chelation, and (iii) Fe mimicry.
    Keywords:  cancer therapy; carcinogenesis; iron metabolism; iron–sulfur cluster biogenesis
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox10091458
  46. Oncogene. 2021 Sep 28.
      A key characteristic of cancer cells is their increased proliferative capacity, which requires elevated levels of protein synthesis. The process of protein synthesis involves the translation of codons within the mRNA coding sequence into a string of amino acids to form a polypeptide chain. As most amino acids are encoded by multiple codons, the nucleotide sequence of a coding region can vary dramatically without altering the polypeptide sequence of the encoded protein. Although mutations that do not alter the final amino acid sequence are often thought of as silent/synonymous, these can still have dramatic effects on protein output. Because each codon has a distinct translation elongation rate and can differentially impact mRNA stability, each codon has a different degree of 'optimality' for protein synthesis. Recent data demonstrates that the codon preference of a transcriptome matches the abundance of tRNAs within the cell and that this supply and demand between tRNAs and mRNAs varies between different cell types. The largest observed distinction is between mRNAs encoding proteins associated with proliferation or differentiation. Nevertheless, precisely how codon optimality and tRNA expression levels regulate cell fate decisions and their role in malignancy is not fully understood. This review describes the current mechanistic understanding on codon optimality, its role in malignancy and discusses the potential to target codon optimality therapeutically in the context of cancer.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41388-021-02022-x
  47. Antioxidants (Basel). 2021 Aug 25. pii: 1349. [Epub ahead of print]10(9):
      Nucleotide pools need to be constantly replenished in cancer cells to support cell proliferation. The synthesis of nucleotides requires glutamine and 5-phosphoribosyl-1-pyrophosphate produced from ribose-5-phosphate via the oxidative branch of the pentose phosphate pathway (ox-PPP). Both PPP and glutamine also play a key role in maintaining the redox status of cancer cells. Enhanced glutamine metabolism and increased glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) expression have been related to a malignant phenotype in tumors. However, the association between G6PD overexpression and glutamine consumption in cancer cell proliferation is still incompletely understood. In this study, we demonstrated that both inhibition of G6PD and glutamine deprivation decrease the proliferation of colon cancer cells and induce cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. Moreover, we unveiled that glutamine deprivation induce an increase of G6PD expression that is mediated through the activation of the nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 (NRF2). This crosstalk between G6PD and glutamine points out the potential of combined therapies targeting oxidative PPP enzymes and glutamine catabolism to combat colon cancer.
    Keywords:  cancer cell metabolism; colon cancer; glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase; oxidative stress; pentose phosphate pathway
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox10091349
  48. Basic Res Cardiol. 2021 Sep 28. 116(1): 54
      Whereas elimination of damaged mitochondria by mitophagy is proposed to be cardioprotective, the regulation of mitophagy at reperfusion and the underlying mechanism remain elusive. Since mitochondrial Zn2+ may control mitophagy by regulating mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP), we hypothesized that the zinc transporter ZIP7 that controls Zn2+ levels within mitochondria would contribute to reperfusion injury by regulating mitophagy. Mouse hearts were subjected to ischemia/reperfusion in vivo. Mitophagy was evaluated by detecting mitoLC3II, mito-Keima, and mitoQC. ROS were measured with DHE and mitoB. Infarct size was measured with TTC staining. The cardiac-specific ZIP7 conditional knockout mice (ZIP7 cKO) were generated by adopting the CRISPR/Cas9 system. Human heart samples were obtained from donors and recipients of heart transplant surgeries. KO or cKO of ZIP7 increased mitophagy under physiological conditions. Mitophagy was not activated at the early stage of reperfusion in mouse hearts. ZIP7 is upregulated at reperfusion and ZIP7 cKO enhanced mitophagy upon reperfusion. cKO of ZIP7 led to mitochondrial depolarization by increasing mitochondrial Zn2+ and, accumulation of PINK1 and Parkin in mitochondria, suggesting that the decrease in mitochondrial Zn2+ in response to ZIP7 upregulation resulting in mitochondrial hyperpolarization may impede PINK1 and Parkin accumulation in mitochondria. Notably, ZIP7 is markedly upregulated in cardiac mitochondria from patients with heart failure (HF), whereas mitochondrial PINK1 accumulation and mitophagy were suppressed. Furthermore, ZIP7 cKO reduced mitochondrial ROS generation and myocardial infarction via a PINK1-dependet manner, whereas overexpression of ZIP7 exacerbated myocardial infarction. Our findings identify upregulation of ZIP7 leading to suppression of mitophagy as a critical feature of myocardial reperfusion injury. A timely suppression of cardiac ZIP7 upregulation or inactivation of ZIP7 is essential for the treatment of reperfusion injury.
    Keywords:  Mitochondrial Zn2+; Mitophagy; ROS; Reperfusion injury; ZIP7
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00395-021-00894-4
  49. Genes (Basel). 2021 Aug 29. pii: 1348. [Epub ahead of print]12(9):
      Mitochondria are very important intracellular organelles because they have various functions. They produce ATP, are involved in cell signaling and cell death, and are a major source of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Mitochondria have their own DNA (mtDNA) and mutation of mtDNA or change the mtDNA copy numbers leads to disease, cancer chemo/radioresistance and aging including longevity. In this review, we discuss the mtDNA mutation, mitochondrial disease, longevity, and importance of mitochondrial dysfunction in cancer first. In the later part, we particularly focus on the role in cancer resistance and the mitochondrial condition such as mtDNA copy number, mitochondrial membrane potential, ROS levels, and ATP production. We suggest a therapeutic strategy employing mitochondrial transplantation (mtTP) for treatment-resistant cancer.
    Keywords:  cancer radioresistance; clinically relevant radioresistant (CRR) cells; mitochondria; mitochondrial DNA
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3390/genes12091348
  50. Sci Rep. 2021 Sep 30. 11(1): 19408
      DJ-1 is a ubiquitously expressed protein that protects cells from stress through its conversion into an active protease. Recent work found that the active form of DJ-1 was induced in the ischemic heart as an endogenous mechanism to attenuate glycative stress-the non-enzymatic glycosylation of proteins. However, specific proteins protected from glycative stress by DJ-1 are not known. Given that mitochondrial electron transport proteins have a propensity for being targets of glycative stress, we investigated if DJ-1 regulates the glycation of Complex I and Complex III after myocardial ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury. Initial studies found that DJ-1 localized to the mitochondria and increased its interaction with Complex I and Complex III 3 days after the onset of myocardial I/R injury. Next, we investigated the role DJ-1 plays in modulating glycative stress in the mitochondria. Analysis revealed that compared to wild-type control mice, mitochondria from DJ-1 deficient (DJ-1 KO) hearts showed increased levels of glycative stress following I/R. Additionally, Complex I and Complex III glycation were found to be at higher levels in DJ-1 KO hearts. This corresponded with reduced complex activities, as well as reduced mitochondrial oxygen consumption ant ATP synthesis in the presence of pyruvate and malate. To further determine if DJ-1 influenced the glycation of the complexes, an adenoviral approach was used to over-express the active form of DJ-1(AAV9-DJ1ΔC). Under I/R conditions, the glycation of Complex I and Complex III were attenuated in hearts treated with AAV9-DJ1ΔC. This was accompanied by improvements in complex activities, oxygen consumption, and ATP production. Together, this data suggests that cardiac DJ-1 maintains Complex I and Complex III efficiency and mitochondrial function during the recovery from I/R injury. In elucidating a specific mechanism for DJ-1's role in the post-ischemic heart, these data break new ground for potential therapeutic strategies using DJ-1 as a target.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-98722-1
  51. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 Oct 05. pii: e2105367118. [Epub ahead of print]118(40):
      Increased stiffness of solid tissues has long been recognized as a diagnostic feature of several pathologies, most notably malignant diseases. In fact, it is now well established that elevated tissue rigidity enhances disease progression and aggressiveness and is associated with a poor prognosis in patients as documented, for instance, for lung fibrosis or the highly desmoplastic cancer of the pancreas. The underlying mechanisms of the interplay between physical properties and cellular behavior are, however, not very well understood. Here, we have found that switching culture conditions from soft to stiff substrates is sufficient to evoke (macro) autophagy in various fibroblast types. Mechanistically, this is brought about by stiffness-sensing through an Integrin αV-focal adhesion kinase module resulting in sequestration and posttranslational stabilization of the metabolic master regulator AMPKα at focal adhesions, leading to the subsequent induction of autophagy. Importantly, stiffness-induced autophagy in stromal cells such as fibroblasts and stellate cells critically supports growth of adjacent cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. This process is Integrin αV dependent, opening possibilities for targeting tumor-stroma crosstalk. Our data thus reveal that the mere change in mechanical tissue properties is sufficient to metabolically reprogram stromal cell populations, generating a tumor-supportive metabolic niche.
    Keywords:  AMPK; ITGAV; autophagy; pancreatic stellate cells; tumor stroma
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2105367118
  52. J Invest Dermatol. 2021 Sep 23. pii: S0022-202X(21)01224-0. [Epub ahead of print]
      In a new article in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, Wang et al. (2021) report that mitochondrial quality control modulates responses to endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress in melanoma. They implicate a linear pathway of XBP1, MARCH5, and MFN2 that act together to regulate mitochondrial fission and mitophagy and ultimately mediate melanoma cell sensitivity to ER stress. This work informs therapeutic combinations and biomarker strategies for targeting melanoma organellar homeostasis as well as for life‒death decisions.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jid.2021.05.003
  53. Bioprocess Biosyst Eng. 2021 Sep 30.
      13C labeling data are used to calculate quantitative intracellular flux patterns reflecting in vivo conditions. Given that approaches for compartment-specific metabolomics exist, the benefits they offer compared to conventional non-compartmented 13C flux studies remain to be determined. Using compartment-specific labeling information of IgG1-producing Chinese hamster ovary cells, this study investigated differences of flux patterns exploiting and ignoring metabolic labeling data of cytosol and mitochondria. Although cellular analysis provided good estimates for the majority of intracellular fluxes, half of the mitochondrial transporters, and NADH and ATP balances, severe differences were found for some reactions. Accurate flux estimations of almost all iso-enzymes heavily depended on the sub-cellular labeling information. Furthermore, key discrepancies were found for the mitochondrial carriers vAGC1 (Aspartate/Glutamate antiporter), vDIC (Malate/H+ symporter), and vOGC (α-ketoglutarate/malate antiporter). Special emphasis is given to the flux of cytosolic malic enzyme (vME): it could not be estimated without the compartment-specific malate labeling information. Interesting enough, cytosolic malic enzyme is an important metabolic engineering target for improving cell-specific IgG1 productivity. Hence, compartment-specific 13C labeling analysis serves as prerequisite for related metabolic engineering studies.
    Keywords:  13C Metabolic flux analysis; Chinese hamster ovary cells; Compartment-specific; Eukaryotes; Metabolomics; Multi-compartments
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00449-021-02628-1
  54. Cell Death Dis. 2021 Oct 01. 12(10): 897
      The epithelial signaling pathways involved in damage and regeneration, and neoplastic transformation are known to be similar. We noted upregulation of argininosuccinate synthetase (ASS1) in hyperproliferative intestinal epithelium. Since ASS1 leads to de novo synthesis of arginine, an important amino acid for the growth of intestinal epithelial cells, its upregulation can contribute to epithelial proliferation necessary to be sustained during oncogenic transformation and regeneration. Here we investigated the function of ASS1 in the gut epithelium during tissue regeneration and tumorigenesis, using intestinal epithelial conditional Ass1 knockout mice and organoids, and tissue specimens from colorectal cancer patients. We demonstrate that ASS1 is strongly expressed in the regenerating and Apc-mutated intestinal epithelium. Furthermore, we observe an arrest in amino acid flux of the urea cycle, which leads to an accumulation of intracellular arginine. However, loss of epithelial Ass1 does not lead to a reduction in proliferation or increase in apoptosis in vivo, also in mice fed an arginine-free diet. Epithelial loss of Ass1 seems to be compensated by altered arginine metabolism in other cell types and the liver.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41419-021-04173-x
  55. Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2021 ;11 696554
      The circadian clock regulates numerous key physiological processes and maintains cellular, tissue, and systemic homeostasis. Disruption of circadian clock machinery influences key activities involved in immune response and brain function. Moreover, Immune activation has been closely linked to neurodegeneration. Here, we review the molecular clock machinery and the diurnal variation of immune activity. We summarize the circadian control of immunity in both central and peripheral immune cells, as well as the circadian regulation of brain cells that are implicated in neurodegeneration. We explore the important role of systemic inflammation on neurodegeneration. The circadian clock modulates cellular metabolism, which could be a mechanism underlying circadian control. We also discuss the circadian interventions implicated in inflammation and neurodegeneration. Targeting circadian clocks could be a potential strategy for the prevention and treatment of inflammation and neurodegenerative diseases.
    Keywords:  cellular metabolism; circadian clock; immune response; neurodegeneration; systemic inflammation
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3389/fcimb.2021.696554
  56. Nat Commun. 2021 Oct 01. 12(1): 5771
      Germline specification in mammals occurs through an inductive process whereby competent cells in the post-implantation epiblast differentiate into primordial germ cells (PGC). The intrinsic factors that endow epiblast cells with the competence to respond to germline inductive signals remain unknown. Single-cell RNA sequencing across multiple stages of an in vitro PGC-like cells (PGCLC) differentiation system shows that PGCLC genes initially expressed in the naïve pluripotent stage become homogeneously dismantled in germline competent epiblast like-cells (EpiLC). In contrast, the decommissioning of enhancers associated with these germline genes is incomplete. Namely, a subset of these enhancers partly retain H3K4me1, accumulate less heterochromatic marks and remain accessible and responsive to transcriptional activators. Subsequently, as in vitro germline competence is lost, these enhancers get further decommissioned and lose their responsiveness to transcriptional activators. Importantly, using H3K4me1-deficient cells, we show that the loss of this histone modification reduces the germline competence of EpiLC and decreases PGCLC differentiation efficiency. Our work suggests that, although H3K4me1 might not be essential for enhancer function, it can facilitate the (re)activation of enhancers and the establishment of gene expression programs during specific developmental transitions.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-26065-6
  57. Elife. 2021 09 29. pii: e72104. [Epub ahead of print]10
      How do cells perceive time? Do cells use temporal information to regulate the production/degradation of their enzymes, membranes, and organelles? Does controlling biological time influence cytoskeletal organization and cellular architecture in ways that confer evolutionary and physiological advantages? Potential answers to these fundamental questions of cell biology have historically revolved around the discussion of 'master' temporal programs, such as the principal cyclin-dependent kinase/cyclin cell division oscillator and the circadian clock. In this review, we provide an overview of the recent evidence supporting an emerging concept of 'autonomous clocks,' which under normal conditions can be entrained by the cell cycle and/or the circadian clock to run at their pace, but can also run independently to serve their functions if/when these major temporal programs are halted/abrupted. We begin the discussion by introducing recent developments in the study of such clocks and their roles at different scales and complexities. We then use current advances to elucidate the logic and molecular architecture of temporal networks that comprise autonomous clocks, providing important clues as to how these clocks may have evolved to run independently and, sometimes at the cost of redundancy, have strongly coupled to run under the full command of the cell cycle and/or the circadian clock. Next, we review a list of important recent findings that have shed new light onto potential hallmarks of autonomous clocks, suggestive of prospective theoretical and experimental approaches to further accelerate their discovery. Finally, we discuss their roles in health and disease, as well as possible therapeutic opportunities that targeting the autonomous clocks may offer.
    Keywords:  autonomous clocks; biological timing; cell biology; cell cycle; circadian clock; cytoskeleton; organelle dynamics; physics of living systems
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.72104
  58. Nat Nanotechnol. 2021 Sep 30.
      Nutritional metal ions play critical roles in many important immune processes. Hence, the effective modulation of metal ions may open up new forms of immunotherapy, termed as metalloimmunotherapy. Here, we demonstrate a prototype of cancer metalloimmunotherapy using cyclic dinucleotide (CDN) stimulator of interferon genes (STING) agonists and Mn2+. We screened various metal ions and discovered specific metal ions augmented STING agonist activity, wherein Mn2+ promoted a 12- to 77-fold potentiation effect across the prevalent human STING haplotypes. Notably, Mn2+ coordinated with CDN STING agonists to self-assemble into a nanoparticle (CDN-Mn2+ particle, CMP) that effectively delivered STING agonists to immune cells. The CMP, administered either by local intratumoural or systemic intravenous injection, initiated robust anti-tumour immunity, achieving remarkable therapeutic efficacy with minute doses of STING agonists in multiple murine tumour models. Overall, the CMP offers a new platform for local and systemic cancer treatments, and this work underscores the great potential of coordination nanomedicine for metalloimmunotherapy.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41565-021-00962-9