bims-camemi Biomed News
on Mitochondrial metabolism in cancer
Issue of 2022‒01‒23
fifty-two papers selected by
Christian Frezza
University of Cambridge, MRC Cancer Unit

  1. Biochim Biophys Acta Bioenerg. 2022 Jan 18. pii: S0005-2728(22)00001-9. [Epub ahead of print] 148532
      The mitochondrial respiratory chain (RC) enables many metabolic processes by regenerating both mitochondrial and cytosolic NAD+ and ATP. The oxidation by the RC of the NADH metabolically produced in the cytosol involves redox shuttles as the malate-aspartate shuttle (MAS) and is of paramount importance for cell fate. However, the specific metabolic regulations allowing mitochondrial respiration to prioritize NADH oxidation in response to high NADH/NAD+ redox stress have not been elucidated. The recent discovery that complex I (NADH dehydrogenase), and not complex II (Succinate dehydrogenase), can assemble with other respiratory chain (RC) complexes to form functional entities called respirasomes, led to the assumption that this supramolecular organization would favour NADH oxidation. Unexpectedly, characterization of heart and liver mitochondria demonstrates that the RC systematically favours electrons provided by the 'respirasome free' complex II. Our results demonstrate that the preferential succinate driven respiration is tightly controlled by OAA levels, and that OAA feedback inhibition of complex II rewires RC fuelling increasing NADH oxidation capacity. This new regulatory mechanism synergistically increases RC's NADH oxidative capacity and rewires MDH2 driven anaplerosis of the TCA, preventing malate production from succinate to favour oxidation of cytosolic malate. This regulatory mechanism synergistically adjusts RC and TCA fuelling in response to extramitochondrial malate produced by the MAS.
    Keywords:  Bioenergetics; MDH2; Malate aspartate shuttle; Mitochondria; NADH redox homeostasis; Oxaloacetate; Respirasomes; Respiratory chain supercomplexes
  2. Nat Metab. 2022 Jan 20.
      Homeostasis maintains serum metabolites within physiological ranges. For glucose, this requires insulin, which suppresses glucose production while accelerating its consumption. For other circulating metabolites, a comparable master regulator has yet to be discovered. Here we show that, in mice, many circulating metabolites are cleared via the tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA) cycle in linear proportionality to their circulating concentration. Abundant circulating metabolites (essential amino acids, serine, alanine, citrate, 3-hydroxybutyrate) were administered intravenously in perturbative amounts and their fluxes were measured using isotope labelling. The increased circulating concentrations induced by the perturbative infusions hardly altered production fluxes while linearly enhancing consumption fluxes and TCA contributions. The same mass action relationship between concentration and consumption flux largely held across feeding, fasting and high- and low-protein diets, with amino acid homeostasis during fasting further supported by enhanced endogenous protein catabolism. Thus, despite the copious regulatory machinery in mammals, circulating metabolite homeostasis is achieved substantially through mass action-driven oxidation.
  3. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2021 ;9 774108
      Autosomal Dominant Optic Atrophy (ADOA), a disease that causes blindness and other neurological disorders, is linked to OPA1 mutations. OPA1, dependent on its GTPase and GED domains, governs inner mitochondrial membrane (IMM) fusion and cristae organization, which are central to oxidative metabolism. Mitochondrial dynamics and IMM organization have also been implicated in Ca2+ homeostasis and signaling but the specific involvements of OPA1 in Ca2+ dynamics remain to be established. Here we studied the possible outcomes of OPA1 and its ADOA-linked mutations in Ca2+ homeostasis using rescue and overexpression strategies in Opa1-deficient and wild-type murine embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs), respectively and in human ADOA-derived fibroblasts. MEFs lacking Opa1 required less Ca2+ mobilization from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to induce a mitochondrial matrix [Ca2+] rise ([Ca2+]mito). This was associated with closer ER-mitochondria contacts and no significant changes in the mitochondrial calcium uniporter complex. Patient cells carrying OPA1 GTPase or GED domain mutations also exhibited altered Ca2+ homeostasis, and the mutations associated with lower OPA1 levels displayed closer ER-mitochondria gaps. Furthermore, in Opa1 -/- MEF background, we found that acute expression of OPA1 GTPase mutants but no GED mutants, partially restored cytosolic [Ca2+] ([Ca2+]cyto) needed for a prompt [Ca2+]mito rise. Finally, OPA1 mutants' overexpression in WT MEFs disrupted Ca2+ homeostasis, partially recapitulating the observations in ADOA patient cells. Thus, OPA1 modulates functional ER-mitochondria coupling likely through the OPA1 GED domain in Opa1 -/- MEFs. However, the co-existence of WT and mutant forms of OPA1 in patients promotes an imbalance of Ca2+ homeostasis without a domain-specific effect, likely contributing to the overall ADOA progress.
    Keywords:  ADOA; OPA1; calcium; endoplasmic reticulum; mitochondria
  4. Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2022 Jan 18. pii: S1357-2725(22)00003-6. [Epub ahead of print] 106158
      Mitochondria are considered the metabolic hubs within a cell. These organelles are highly dynamic and continuously undergo cycles of fission and fusion events. The balance in the dynamic state of mitochondria is critical for maintaining key physiological events within cells. Here we discuss the emerging role of mitochondrial dynamics in regulating stem cell function and highlight the crosstalk between mitochondrial shape and intracellular signaling cascades within the context of stem cells.
  5. Neuron. 2022 Jan 13. pii: S0896-6273(21)01046-1. [Epub ahead of print]
      Neurons depend on autophagy to maintain cellular homeostasis, and defects in autophagy are pathological hallmarks of neurodegenerative disease. To probe the role of basal autophagy in the maintenance of neuronal health, we isolated autophagic vesicles from mouse brain tissue and used proteomics to identify the major cargos engulfed within autophagosomes, validating our findings in rodent primary and human iPSC-derived neurons. Mitochondrial proteins were identified as a major cargo in the absence of mitophagy adaptors such as OPTN. We found that nucleoid-associated proteins are enriched compared with other mitochondrial components. In the axon, autophagic engulfment of nucleoid-enriched mitochondrial fragments requires the mitochondrial fission machinery Drp1. We proposed that localized Drp1-dependent fission of nucleoid-enriched fragments in proximity to the sites of autophagosome biogenesis enhances their capture. The resulting efficient autophagic turnover of nucleoids may prevent accumulation of mitochondrial DNA in the neuron, thus mitigating activation of proinflammatory pathways that contribute to neurodegeneration.
    Keywords:  Drp1; TFAM; autophagy; mitochondria; mitochondrial division; mitochondrial nucleoids; mitophagy; neurodegeneration; neuronal homeostasis
  6. J Biol Chem. 2022 Jan 17. pii: S0021-9258(22)00044-8. [Epub ahead of print] 101604
      Store-operated Ca2+ entry (SOCE) is a major mechanism controlling Ca2+ signaling and Ca2+-dependent functions and has been implicated in immunity, cancer, and organ development. SOCE-dependent cytosolic Ca2+ signals are affected by mitochondrial Ca2+ transport through several competing mechanisms. However, how these mechanisms interact in shaping Ca2+ dynamics and regulating Ca2+-dependent functions remains unclear. In a recent issue, Yoast and colleagues shed light on these questions by defining multiple roles of the mitochondrial Ca2+ uniporter (MCU) in regulating SOCE, Ca2+ dynamics, transcription, and lymphocyte activation.
  7. J Clin Invest. 2022 Jan 18. pii: e148548. [Epub ahead of print]132(2):
      Macrophages exposed to inflammatory stimuli including LPS undergo metabolic reprogramming to facilitate macrophage effector function. This metabolic reprogramming supports phagocytic function, cytokine release, and ROS production that are critical to protective inflammatory responses. The Krebs cycle is a central metabolic pathway within all mammalian cell types. In activated macrophages, distinct breaks in the Krebs cycle regulate macrophage effector function through the accumulation of several metabolites that were recently shown to have signaling roles in immunity. One metabolite that accumulates in macrophages because of the disturbance in the Krebs cycle is itaconate, which is derived from cis-aconitate by the enzyme cis-aconitate decarboxylase (ACOD1), encoded by immunoresponsive gene 1 (Irg1). This Review focuses on itaconate's emergence as a key immunometabolite with diverse roles in immunity and inflammation. These roles include inhibition of succinate dehydrogenase (which controls levels of succinate, a metabolite with multiple roles in inflammation), inhibition of glycolysis at multiple levels (which will limit inflammation), activation of the antiinflammatory transcription factors Nrf2 and ATF3, and inhibition of the NLRP3 inflammasome. Itaconate and its derivatives have antiinflammatory effects in preclinical models of sepsis, viral infections, psoriasis, gout, ischemia/reperfusion injury, and pulmonary fibrosis, pointing to possible itaconate-based therapeutics for a range of inflammatory diseases. This intriguing metabolite continues to yield fascinating insights into the role of metabolic reprogramming in host defense and inflammation.
  8. J Biol Chem. 2022 Jan 18. pii: S0021-9258(22)00042-4. [Epub ahead of print] 101602
      Mitochondrial complex I (NADH:ubiquinone oxidoreductase), a crucial enzyme in energy metabolism, captures the redox potential energy from NADH oxidation and ubiquinone reduction to create the proton motive force used to drive ATP synthesis in oxidative phosphorylation. Recent high-resolution cryo-EM analyses have provided detailed structural knowledge of the catalytic machinery of complex I, but not of the molecular principles of its energy transduction mechanism. Although ubiquinone is considered to bind in a long channel at the interface of the membrane-embedded and hydrophilic domains, and channel residues are likely involved in coupling substrate reduction to proton translocation, no structures with the channel fully occupied have yet been described. Here, we report the cryo-EM structure of mouse complex I with an extremely tight-binding natural-product acetogenin inhibitor, which resembles the native substrate, bound along the full length of the expected ubiquinone-binding channel. Our structure reveals the mode of acetogenin binding and the molecular basis for structure-activity relationships within the acetogenin family. It also shows that acetogenins are such potent inhibitors because they are highly hydrophobic molecules that contain two specific hydrophilic moieties ideally spaced to lock into two hydrophilic regions of the otherwise hydrophobic channel. The central hydrophilic section of the channel does not favor binding of the isoprenoid chain when the native substrate is fully bound, but stabilises the ubiquinone/ubiquinol headgroup as it transits to/from the active site. Therefore, the amphipathic nature of the channel supports both tight binding of the amphipathic inhibitor and rapid exchange of the ubiquinone/ubiquinol substrate and product.
    Keywords:  acetogenin; binding site; complex I; cryo-electron microscopy; inhibitor-bound structure
  9. Methods Mol Biol. 2022 ;2413 55-62
      Mitochondrial metabolism plays key roles in pathologies such as cancer. The five complexes of the oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) system are crucial for producing ATP and maintaining cellular functions and are particularly exploited in cancer cells. Understanding the oligomeric state of these OXPHOS complexes will help elucidate their function (or dysfunction) in cancer cells and can be used as a mechanistic tool for anticancer agents that target mitochondria. Here we describe a protocol to observe the oligomeric state of the five OXPHOS complexes by isolating mitochondrial-enriched fractions followed by assessing their oligomeric state by nondenaturing blue native page electrophoresis.
    Keywords:  Mitochondria; Native page; OXPHOS complexes; Oxidative phosphorylation
  10. Commun Biol. 2022 Jan 20. 5(1): 76
      In contrast to long-term metabolic reprogramming, metabolic rewiring represents an instant and reversible cellular adaptation to physiological or pathological stress. Ca2+ signals of distinct spatio-temporal patterns control a plethora of signaling processes and can determine basal cellular metabolic setting, however, Ca2+ signals that define metabolic rewiring have not been conclusively identified and characterized. Here, we reveal the existence of a basal Ca2+ flux originating from extracellular space and delivered to mitochondria by Ca2+ leakage from inositol triphosphate receptors in mitochondria-associated membranes. This Ca2+ flux primes mitochondrial metabolism by maintaining glycolysis and keeping mitochondria energized for ATP production. We identified citrin, a well-defined Ca2+-binding component of malate-aspartate shuttle in the mitochondrial intermembrane space, as predominant target of this basal Ca2+ regulation. Our data emphasize that any manipulation of this ubiquitous Ca2+ system has the potency to initiate metabolic rewiring as an instant and reversible cellular adaptation to physiological or pathological stress.
  11. BMC Biol. 2022 Jan 20. 20(1): 22
      BACKGROUND: Epigenetic regulation relies on the activity of enzymes that use sentinel metabolites as cofactors to modify DNA or histone proteins. Thus, fluctuations in cellular metabolite levels have been reported to affect chromatin modifications. However, whether epigenetic modifiers also affect the levels of these metabolites and thereby impinge on downstream metabolic pathways remains largely unknown. Here, we tested this notion by investigating the function of N-alpha-acetyltransferase 40 (NAA40), the enzyme responsible for N-terminal acetylation of histones H2A and H4, which has been previously implicated with metabolic-associated conditions such as age-dependent hepatic steatosis and calorie-restriction-mediated longevity.RESULTS: Using metabolomic and lipidomic approaches, we found that depletion of NAA40 in murine hepatocytes leads to significant increase in intracellular acetyl-CoA levels, which associates with enhanced lipid synthesis demonstrated by upregulation in de novo lipogenesis genes as well as increased levels of diglycerides and triglycerides. Consistently, the increase in these lipid species coincide with the accumulation of cytoplasmic lipid droplets and impaired insulin signalling indicated by decreased glucose uptake. However, the effect of NAA40 on lipid droplet formation is independent of insulin. In addition, the induction in lipid synthesis is replicated in vivo in the Drosophila melanogaster larval fat body. Finally, supporting our results, we find a strong association of NAA40 expression with insulin sensitivity in obese patients.
    CONCLUSIONS: Overall, our findings demonstrate that NAA40 affects the levels of cellular acetyl-CoA, thereby impacting lipid synthesis and insulin signalling. This study reveals a novel path through which histone-modifying enzymes influence cellular metabolism with potential implications in metabolic disorders.
    Keywords:  Drosophila melanogaster; Epigenetics; Fat body; Histone acetyltransferases; Lipid metabolism; Metabolic disorders; NAA40; acetyl-CoA
  12. Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Cell Biol Lipids. 2022 Jan 17. pii: S1388-1981(21)00222-5. [Epub ahead of print] 159094
      Cardiolipin (CL) deficiency causes mitochondrial dysfunction and aberrant metabolism that are associated in humans with the severe disease Barth syndrome (BTHS). Several metabolic abnormalities are observed in BTHS patients and model systems, including decreased oxidative phosphorylation, reduced tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle flux, and accumulated lactate and D-β-hydroxybutyrate, which strongly suggests that nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) redox metabolism may be altered in CL-deficient cells. In this study, we identified abnormal NAD+ metabolism in multiple BTHS model systems and demonstrate that supplementation of NAD+ precursors such as nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) improves mitochondrial function. Improved mitochondrial function in the Drosophila model was associated with restored exercise endurance, which suggests a potential therapeutic benefit of NAD+ precursor supplementation in the management of BTHS patients.
    Keywords:  Barth syndrome; Cardiolipin deficiency; Mitochondrial function; NAD(+) precursors; NAD(+) redox; Nicotinamide mononucleotide
  13. Sci Adv. 2022 Jan 21. 8(3): eabg6383
      Access to electron acceptors supports oxidized biomass synthesis and can be limiting for cancer cell proliferation, but how cancer cells overcome this limitation in tumors is incompletely understood. Nontransformed cells in tumors can help cancer cells overcome metabolic limitations, particularly in pancreatic cancer, where pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) promote cancer cell proliferation and tumor growth. However, whether PSCs affect the redox state of cancer cells is not known. By taking advantage of the endogenous fluorescence properties of reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide and oxidized flavin adenine dinucleotide cofactors we use optical imaging to assess the redox state of pancreatic cancer cells and PSCs and find that direct interactions between PSCs and cancer cells promote a more oxidized state in cancer cells. This suggests that metabolic interaction between cancer cells and PSCs is a mechanism to overcome the redox limitations of cell proliferation in pancreatic cancer.
  14. Metabolites. 2022 Jan 10. pii: 56. [Epub ahead of print]12(1):
      Hypoxia poses a major physiological challenge for mammals and has significant impacts on cellular and systemic metabolism. As with many other small rodents, naked mole-rats (NMRs; Heterocephalus glaber), who are among the most hypoxia-tolerant mammals, respond to hypoxia by supressing energy demand (i.e., through a reduction in metabolic rate mediated by a variety of cell- and tissue-level strategies), and altering metabolic fuel use to rely primarily on carbohydrates. However, little is known regarding specific metabolite changes that underlie these responses. We hypothesized that NMR tissues utilize multiple strategies in responding to acute hypoxia, including the modulation of signalling pathways to reduce anabolism and reprogram carbohydrate metabolism. To address this question, we evaluated changes of 64 metabolites in NMR brain and liver following in vivo hypoxia exposure (7% O2, 4 h). We also examined changes in matched tissues from similarly treated hypoxia-intolerant mice. We report that, following exposure to in vivo hypoxia: (1) phenylalanine, tyrosine and tryptophan anabolism are supressed both in NMR brain and liver; (2) carbohydrate metabolism is reprogramed in NMR brain and liver, but in a divergent manner; (3) redox state is significantly altered in NMR brain; and (4) the AMP/ATP ratio is elevated in liver. Overall, our results suggest that hypoxia induces significant metabolic remodelling in NMR brain and liver via alterations of multiple metabolic pathways.
    Keywords:  AMP; aspartic acid; coenzyme; dopamine; glutamate; glutamine; glutathione; glycogen; pentose phosphate pathway
  15. Redox Biol. 2022 Jan 17. pii: S2213-2317(22)00012-X. [Epub ahead of print]50 102240
      A complex interplay between the extracellular space, cytoplasm and individual organelles modulates Ca2+ signaling to impact all aspects of cell fate and function. In recent years, the molecular machinery linking endoplasmic reticulum stores to plasma membrane Ca2+ entry has been defined. However, the mechanism and pathophysiological relevance of store-independent modes of Ca2+ entry remain poorly understood. Here, we describe how the secretory pathway Ca2+-ATPase SPCA2 promotes cell cycle progression and survival by activating store-independent Ca2+ entry through plasma membrane Orai1 channels in mammary epithelial cells. Silencing SPCA2 expression or briefly removing extracellular Ca2+ increased mitochondrial ROS production, DNA damage and activation of the ATM/ATR-p53 axis leading to G0/G1 phase cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. Consistent with these findings, SPCA2 knockdown confers redox stress and chemosensitivity to DNA damaging agents. Unexpectedly, SPCA2-mediated Ca2+ entry into mitochondria is required for optimal cellular respiration and the generation of mitochondrial membrane potential. In hormone receptor positive (ER+/PR+) breast cancer subtypes, SPCA2 levels are high and correlate with poor survival prognosis. We suggest that elevated SPCA2 expression could drive pro-survival and chemotherapy resistance in cancer cells, and drugs that target store-independent Ca2+ entry pathways may have therapeutic potential in treating cancer.
    Keywords:  Ca(2+) signaling; DNA damage Response; Doxorubicin; ER+ breast cancer; Mitochondria; Oxygen consumption rate; ROS; p53
  16. Biosci Rep. 2022 Jan 20. pii: BSR20212654. [Epub ahead of print]
      The aerobic energetic metabolism of eukaryotic cells relies on the glycolytic generation of pyruvate, which is subsequently channelled to the oxidative phosphorylation taking place in mitochondria. However, under conditions limiting oxidative phosphorylation pyruvate is coupled to alternative energetic pathways, e.g. its reduction to lactate catalysed by lactate dehydrogenases (LDHs). This biochemical process is known to induce a significant decrease of cytosolic pH, and is accordingly denoted lactic acidosis. Nevertheless, the mutual dependence of LDHs action and lactic acidosis is far from being fully understood. Using human LDH-A, here we show that when exposed to acidic pH this enzyme is subjected to homotropic allosteric transitions triggered by pyruvate. Conversely, human LDH-A features Michaelis-Menten kinetics at pH values equal to 7.0 or higher. Further, citrate, isocitrate, and malate were observed to activate human LDH-A, both at pH 5.0 and 6.5, with citrate and isocitrate being responsible for major effects. Dynamic light scattering experiments revealed that the occurrence of allosteric kinetics in human LDH-A is mirrored by a consistent dissociation of the enzyme tetramer, suggesting that pyruvate promotes tetramer association under acidic conditions. Finally, using the human liver cancer cell line HepG2 we isolated cells featuring cytosolic pH equal to 7.3 or 6.5, and we observed a concomitant decrease of cytosolic pH and lactate secretion. Overall, our observations indicate the occurrence of a negative feedback between lactic acidosis and human LDH-A activity, and a complex regulation of this feedback by pyruvate and by some intermediates of the Krebs cycle.
    Keywords:  allosteric regulation; enzyme kinetics; lactate dehydrogenase; lactic acid; liver
  17. Metabolites. 2022 Jan 13. pii: 72. [Epub ahead of print]12(1):
      The term 'aerobic glycolysis' has been in use ever since Warburg conducted his research on cancer cells' proliferation and discovered that cells use glycolysis to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP) rather than the more efficient oxidative phosphorylation (oxphos) pathway, despite an abundance of oxygen. When measurements of glucose and oxygen utilization by activated neural tissue indicated that glucose was consumed without an accompanied oxygen consumption, the investigators who performed those measurements also termed their discovery 'aerobic glycolysis'. Red blood cells do not contain mitochondria and, therefore, produce their energy needs via glycolysis alone. Other processes within the central nervous system (CNS) and additional organs and tissues (heart, muscle, and so on), such as ion pumps, are also known to utilize glycolysis only for the production of ATP necessary to support their function. Unfortunately, the phenomenon of 'aerobic glycolysis' is an enigma wherever it is encountered, thus several hypotheses have been produced in attempts to explain it; that is, whether it occurs in cancer cells, in activated neural tissue, or during postprandial or exercise metabolism. Here, it is argued that, where the phenomenon in neural tissue is concerned, the prefix 'aerobic' in the term 'aerobic glycolysis' should be removed. Data collected over the past three decades indicate that L-lactate, the end product of the glycolytic pathway, plays an essential role in brain energy metabolism, justifying the elimination of the prefix 'aerobic'. Similar justification is probably appropriate for other tissues as well.
    Keywords:  BOLD fMRI (blood oxygen level-dependent functional magnetic resonance imaging); CMR (cerebral metabolic rate); L-lactate; aerobic glycolysis; astroglial-neuronal L-lactate shuttle; glucose; mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation; oxygen
  18. Antioxidants (Basel). 2022 Jan 15. pii: 165. [Epub ahead of print]11(1):
      Calcium (Ca2+) is a versatile secondary messenger involved in the regulation of a plethora of different signaling pathways for cell maintenance. Specifically, intracellular Ca2+ homeostasis is mainly regulated by the endoplasmic reticulum and the mitochondria, whose Ca2+ exchange is mediated by appositions, termed endoplasmic reticulum-mitochondria-associated membranes (MAMs), formed by proteins resident in both compartments. These tethers are essential to manage the mitochondrial Ca2+ influx that regulates the mitochondrial function of bioenergetics, mitochondrial dynamics, cell death, and oxidative stress. However, alterations of these pathways lead to the development of multiple human diseases, including neurological disorders, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Friedreich's ataxia, and Charcot-Marie-Tooth. A common hallmark in these disorders is mitochondrial dysfunction, associated with abnormal mitochondrial Ca2+ handling that contributes to neurodegeneration. In this work, we highlight the importance of Ca2+ signaling in mitochondria and how the mechanism of communication in MAMs is pivotal for mitochondrial maintenance and cell homeostasis. Lately, we outstand potential targets located in MAMs by addressing different therapeutic strategies focused on restoring mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake as an emergent approach for neurological diseases.
    Keywords:  Charcot–Marie–Tooth; Friedreich’s ataxia; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; calcium; endoplasmic reticulum; mitochondria; mitochondrial calcium uniporter; neurological; sigma-1 receptor
  19. Front Bioeng Biotechnol. 2021 ;9 786806
      Mitochondria are key regulators of many important cellular processes and their dysfunction has been implicated in a large number of human disorders. Importantly, mitochondrial function is tightly linked to their ultrastructure, which possesses an intricate membrane architecture defining specific submitochondrial compartments. In particular, the mitochondrial inner membrane is highly folded into membrane invaginations that are essential for oxidative phosphorylation. Furthermore, mitochondrial membranes are highly dynamic and undergo constant membrane remodeling during mitochondrial fusion and fission. It has remained enigmatic how these membrane curvatures are generated and maintained, and specific factors involved in these processes are largely unknown. This review focuses on the current understanding of the molecular mechanism of mitochondrial membrane architectural organization and factors critical for mitochondrial morphogenesis, as well as their functional link to human diseases.
    Keywords:  Mitochondrial disease; cardiolipin; crista junctions; cristae; membrane curvature; mitochondrial dynamics; mitochondrial fission; mitochondrial fusion
  20. FEBS J. 2022 Jan 20.
      Senescence is a multi-functional cell fate, characterized by an irreversible cell-cycle arrest and a pro-inflammatory phenotype, commonly known as the Senescence-Associated secretory Phenotype (SASP). Emerging evidence indicates that accumulation of senescent cells in multiple tissues, drives tissue dysfunction and several age-related conditions. This has spurred the academic community and industry to identify new therapeutic interventions targeting this process. Mitochondrial dysfunction is an often-unappreciated hallmark of cellular senescence which plays important roles not only in the senescence growth arrest but also in the development of the SASP and resistance to cell-death. Here, we review the evidence that supports a role for mitochondria in the development of senescence and describe the underlying mechanisms. Finally, we propose that a detailed road map of mitochondrial biology in senescence will be crucial to guide the future development of senotherapies.
    Keywords:  Mitochondria; SASP; aging; senescence
  21. Cell Rep. 2022 Jan 18. pii: S2211-1247(21)01793-9. [Epub ahead of print]38(3): 110278
      A major challenge of targeting metabolism for cancer therapy is pathway redundancy, in which multiple sources of critical nutrients can limit the effectiveness of some metabolism-targeted therapies. Here, we analyze lineage-dependent gene expression in human breast tumors to identify differences in metabolic gene expression that may limit pathway redundancy and create therapeutic vulnerabilities. We find that the serine synthesis pathway gene PSAT1 is the most depleted metabolic gene in luminal breast tumors relative to basal tumors. Low PSAT1 prevents de novo serine biosynthesis and sensitizes luminal breast cancer cells to serine and glycine starvation in vitro and in vivo. This PSAT1 expression disparity preexists in the putative cells of origin of basal and luminal tumors and is due to luminal-specific hypermethylation of the PSAT1 gene. Our data demonstrate that luminal breast tumors are auxotrophic for serine and may be uniquely sensitive to therapies targeting serine availability.
    Keywords:  PHGDH; PSAT1; auxotrophy; breast cancer; diet; luminal tumors; serine; tumor metabolism
  22. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2022 Jan 19.
      Mitochondria are essential to cell homeostasis, and alterations in mitochondrial distribution, segregation or turnover have been linked to complex pathologies such as neurodegenerative diseases or cancer. Understanding how these functions are coordinated in specific cell types is a major challenge to discover how mitochondria globally shape cell functionality. In this review, we will first describe how mitochondrial transport and dynamics are regulated throughout the cell cycle in yeast and in mammals. Second, we will explore the functional consequences of mitochondrial transport and partitioning on cell proliferation, fate acquisition, stemness, and on the way cells adapt their metabolism. Last, we will focus on how mitochondrial clearance programs represent a further layer of complexity for cell differentiation, or in the maintenance of stemness. Defining how mitochondrial transport, dynamics and clearance are mutually orchestrated in specific cell types may help our understanding of how cells can transition from a physiological to a pathological state.
    Keywords:  dynamics; fate acquisition; mitochondria; mitophagy; transport
  23. Cell Mol Immunol. 2022 Jan 17.
      T cell metabolism is dynamic and highly regulated. While the intrinsic metabolic programs of T cell subsets are integral to their distinct differentiation and functional patterns, the ability of cells to acquire nutrients and cope with hostile microenvironments can limit these pathways. T cells must function in a wide variety of tissue settings, and how T cells interpret these signals to maintain an appropriate metabolic program for their demands or if metabolic mechanisms of immune suppression restrain immunity is an area of growing importance. Both in inflamed and cancer tissues, a wide range of changes in physical conditions and nutrient availability are now acknowledged to shape immunity. These include fever and increased temperatures, depletion of critical micro and macro-nutrients, and accumulation of inhibitory waste products. Here we review several of these factors and how the tissue microenvironment both shapes and constrains immunity.
    Keywords:  T cell; cancer; immunometabolism; inflammation; microenvironment
  24. Biophys Rev. 2021 Dec;13(6): 967-981
      Oocyte health is tightly tied to mitochondria given their role in energy production, metabolite supply, calcium (Ca2+) buffering, and cell death regulation, among others. In turn, mitochondrial function strongly relies on these organelle dynamics once cyclic events of fusion and fission (division) are required for mitochondrial turnover, positioning, content homogenization, metabolic flexibility, interaction with subcellular compartments, etc. Importantly, during oogenesis, mitochondria change their architecture from an "orthodox" elongated shape characterized by the presence of numerous transversely oriented cristae to a round-to-oval morphology containing arched and concentrically arranged cristae. This, along with evidence showing that mitochondrial function is kept quiescent during most part of oocyte development, suggests an important role of mitochondrial dynamics in oogenesis. To investigate this, recent works have downregulated/upregulated in oocytes the expression of key effectors of mitochondrial dynamics, including mitofusins 1 (MFN1) and 2 (MFN2) and the dynamin-related protein 1 (DRP1). As a result, both MFN1 and DRP1 were found to be essential to oogenesis and fertility, while MFN2 deletion led to offspring with increased weight gain and glucose intolerance. Curiously, neither MFN1/MFN2 deficiency nor DRP1 overexpression enhanced mitochondrial fragmentation, indicating that mitochondrial size is strictly regulated in oocytes. Therefore, the present work seeks to discuss the role of mitochondria in supporting oogenesis as well as recent findings connecting defective mitochondrial dynamics in oocytes with infertility and transmission of metabolic disorders.
    Keywords:  DRP1; Endoplasmic reticulum; MFN1; MFN2; Mitochondria; Oocyte
  25. FEBS Open Bio. 2022 Jan 21.
      Mitochondrial calcium homeostasis plays critical roles in cell survival and aerobic metabolism in eukaryotes. The calcium uniporter is a highly selective calcium ion channel consisting of several subunits. Mitochondrial calcium uniporter (MCU) and essential MCU regulator (EMRE) are core subunits of the calcium uniporter required for calcium uptake activity in the mitochondria. Recent 3D structure analysis of the MCU-EMRE complex reconstituted in nanodiscs revealed that the human MCU exists as a tetramer forming a channel pore, with EMRE bound to each MCU at a 1:1 ratio. However, the stoichiometry of MCU and EMRE in the mitochondria has not yet been investigated. We here quantitatively examined the protein levels of MCU and EMRE in the mitochondria from mouse tissues by using characterized antibodies and standard proteins. Unexpectedly, the number of EMRE molecules was lower than that of MCU; moreover, the ratios between MCU and EMRE were significantly different among tissues. Statistical calculations based on our findings suggest that a MCU tetramer binding to 4 EMREs may exist, but at low levels in the mitochondrial inner membrane. In brain mitochondria, the majority of MCU tetramers bind to 2 EMREs; in mitochondria in liver, kidney, and heart, MCU tetramers bind to 1 EMRE; and in kidney and heart, almost half of MCU tetramers bound to no EMRE. We propose here a novel stoichiometric model of the MCU-EMRE complex in mitochondria.
    Keywords:  Calcium uniporter; EMRE; Ion channel; MCU; Mitochondria; stoichiometry
  26. Cell Rep. 2022 Jan 18. pii: S2211-1247(21)01766-6. [Epub ahead of print]38(3): 110254
      Cancer heterogeneity and evolution are not fully understood. Here, we show that mitochondrial DNA of the normal liver shapes tumor progression, histology, and immune environment prior to the acquisition of oncogenic mutation. Using conplastic mice, we show that mtDNA dictates the expression of the mitochondrial unfolded protein response (UPRmt) in the normal liver. Activation of oncogenic mutations in UPRmt-positive liver increases tumor incidence and histological heterogeneity. Further, in a subset of UPRmt-positive mice, invasive liver cancers develop. RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) analysis of the normal liver reveals that, in this subset, the PAPP-A/DDR2/SNAIL axis of invasion pre-exists along with elevated collagen. Since PAPP-A promotes immune evasion, we analyzed the immune signature and found that their livers are immunosuppressed. Further, the PAPP-A signature identifies the immune exhausted subset of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in humans. Our data suggest that mtDNA of normal liver shapes the entire liver cancer portrait upon acquisition of oncogenic mutations.
    Keywords:  DDR2; PAPP-A; UPRmt; collagen; conplastic mice; estrogen receptor; immune exhausted; liver cancer; mitochondrial UPR; sexual dimorphism
  27. FEBS J. 2022 Jan 21.
      Macroautophagy is a membrane-trafficking process that delivers cytoplasmic material to lysosomes for degradation. The process preserves cellular integrity by removing damaged cellular constituents and can promote cell survival by providing substrates for energy production during hiatuses of nutrient availability. The process is also highly responsive to other forms of cellular stress. For example, DNA damage can induce autophagy and this involves up-regulation of the Damage-Regulated Autophagy Modulator-1 (DRAM-1) by the tumor suppressor p53. DRAM-1 belongs to an evolutionarily-conserved protein family, which has five members in humans and we describe here the initial characterization of two members of this family, which we term DRAM-4 and DRAM-5 for DRAM-Related/Associated Member 4/5. We show that the genes encoding these proteins are not regulated by p53, but instead are induced by nutrient deprivation. Similar to other DRAM family proteins, however, DRAM-4 principally localizes to endosomes and DRAM-5 to the plasma membrane and both modulate autophagy flux when over-expressed. Deletion of DRAM-4 using CRISPR/Cas-9 also increased autophagy flux, but we found that DRAM-4 and DRAM-5 undergo compensatory regulation, such that deletion of DRAM-4 does not affect autophagy flux in the absence of DRAM-5. Similarly, deletion of DRAM-4 also promotes cell survival following growth of cells in the absence of amino acids, serum or glucose, but this effect is also impacted by the absence of DRAM-5. In summary, DRAM-4 and DRAM-5 are nutrient-responsive members of the DRAM family that exhibit interconnected roles in the regulation of autophagy and cell survival under nutrient-deprived conditions.
  28. Cancers (Basel). 2022 Jan 11. pii: 335. [Epub ahead of print]14(2):
      Differentiating aggressive clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) from indolent lesions is challenging using conventional imaging. This work prospectively compared the metabolic imaging phenotype of renal tumors using carbon-13 MRI following injection of hyperpolarized [1-13C]pyruvate (HP-13C-MRI) and validated these findings with histopathology. Nine patients with treatment-naïve renal tumors (6 ccRCCs, 1 liposarcoma, 1 pheochromocytoma, 1 oncocytoma) underwent pre-operative HP-13C-MRI and conventional proton (1H) MRI. Multi-regional tissue samples were collected using patient-specific 3D-printed tumor molds for spatial registration between imaging and molecular analysis. The apparent exchange rate constant (kPL) between 13C-pyruvate and 13C-lactate was calculated. Immunohistochemistry for the pyruvate transporter (MCT1) from 44 multi-regional samples, as well as associations between MCT1 expression and outcome in the TCGA-KIRC dataset, were investigated. Increasing kPL in ccRCC was correlated with increasing overall tumor grade (ρ = 0.92, p = 0.009) and MCT1 expression (r = 0.89, p = 0.016), with similar results acquired from the multi-regional analysis. Conventional 1H-MRI parameters did not discriminate tumor grades. The correlation between MCT1 and ccRCC grade was confirmed within a TCGA dataset (p < 0.001), where MCT1 expression was a predictor of overall and disease-free survival. In conclusion, metabolic imaging using HP-13C-MRI differentiates tumor aggressiveness in ccRCC and correlates with the expression of MCT1, a predictor of survival. HP-13C-MRI may non-invasively characterize metabolic phenotypes within renal cancer.
    Keywords:  cancer metabolism; hyperpolarized 13C magnetic resonance imaging; monocarboxylate transporter; renal cell carcinoma
  29. Cell. 2022 Jan 14. pii: S0092-8674(21)01563-4. [Epub ahead of print]
      Tau (MAPT) drives neuronal dysfunction in Alzheimer disease (AD) and other tauopathies. To dissect the underlying mechanisms, we combined an engineered ascorbic acid peroxidase (APEX) approach with quantitative affinity purification mass spectrometry (AP-MS) followed by proximity ligation assay (PLA) to characterize Tau interactomes modified by neuronal activity and mutations that cause frontotemporal dementia (FTD) in human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived neurons. We established interactions of Tau with presynaptic vesicle proteins during activity-dependent Tau secretion and mapped the Tau-binding sites to the cytosolic domains of integral synaptic vesicle proteins. We showed that FTD mutations impair bioenergetics and markedly diminished Tau's interaction with mitochondria proteins, which were downregulated in AD brains of multiple cohorts and correlated with disease severity. These multimodal and dynamic Tau interactomes with exquisite spatial resolution shed light on Tau's role in neuronal function and disease and highlight potential therapeutic targets to block Tau-mediated pathogenesis.
    Keywords:  APEX; Tau; Tau secretion; affinity purification mass spectrometry; interactome; mitochondria; neurodegeneration; protein-protein interaction; synapse; tauopathies
  30. J Clin Invest. 2022 Jan 18. pii: e148549. [Epub ahead of print]132(2):
      As cancers progress, they produce a local environment that acts to redirect, paralyze, exhaust, or otherwise evade immune detection and destruction. The tumor microenvironment (TME) has long been characterized as a metabolic desert, depleted of essential nutrients such as glucose, oxygen, and amino acids, that starves infiltrating immune cells and renders them dysfunctional. While not incorrect, this perspective is only half the picture. The TME is not a metabolic vacuum, only consuming essential nutrients and never producing by-products. Rather, the by-products of depleted nutrients, "toxic" metabolites in the TME such as lactic acid, kynurenine, ROS, and adenosine, play an important role in shaping immune cell function and cannot be overlooked in cancer immunotherapy. Moreover, while the metabolic landscape is distinct, it is not unique, as these toxic metabolites are encountered in non-tumor tissues, where they evolutionarily shape immune cells and their response. In this Review, we discuss how depletion of essential nutrients and production of toxic metabolites shape the immune response within the TME and how toxic metabolites can be targeted to improve current cancer immunotherapies.
  31. Sci Adv. 2022 Jan 21. 8(3): eabh2635
      Cancer cells voraciously consume nutrients to support their growth, exposing metabolic vulnerabilities that can be therapeutically exploited. Here, we show in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells, xenografts, and patient-derived organoids that fasting improves sorafenib efficacy and acts synergistically to sensitize sorafenib-resistant HCC. Mechanistically, sorafenib acts noncanonically as an inhibitor of mitochondrial respiration, causing resistant cells to depend on glycolysis for survival. Fasting, through reduction in glucose and impeded AKT/mTOR signaling, prevents this Warburg shift. Regulating glucose transporter and proapoptotic protein expression, p53 is necessary and sufficient for the sorafenib-sensitizing effect of fasting. p53 is also crucial for fasting-mediated improvement of sorafenib efficacy in an orthotopic HCC mouse model. Together, our data suggest fasting and sorafenib as rational combination therapy for HCC with intact p53 signaling. As HCC therapy is currently severely limited by resistance, these results should instigate clinical studies aimed at improving therapy response in advanced-stage HCC.
  32. Nat Commun. 2022 Jan 20. 13(1): 424
      Mitochondrial dysfunction is implicated in skeletal muscle insulin resistance. Syntaxin 4 (STX4) levels are reduced in human diabetic skeletal muscle, and global transgenic enrichment of STX4 expression improves insulin sensitivity in mice. Here, we show that transgenic skeletal muscle-specific STX4 enrichment (skmSTX4tg) in mice reverses established insulin resistance and improves mitochondrial function in the context of diabetogenic stress. Specifically, skmSTX4tg reversed insulin resistance caused by high-fat diet (HFD) without altering body weight or food consumption. Electron microscopy of wild-type mouse muscle revealed STX4 localisation at or proximal to the mitochondrial membrane. STX4 enrichment prevented HFD-induced mitochondrial fragmentation and dysfunction through a mechanism involving STX4-Drp1 interaction and elevated AMPK-mediated phosphorylation at Drp1 S637, which favors fusion. Our findings challenge the dogma that STX4 acts solely at the plasma membrane, revealing that STX4 localises at/proximal to and regulates the function of mitochondria in muscle. These results establish skeletal muscle STX4 enrichment as a candidate therapeutic strategy to reverse peripheral insulin resistance.
  33. Sci Adv. 2022 Jan 21. 8(3): eabj5688
      Histone acetylation is governed by nuclear acetyl-CoA pools generated, in part, from local acetate by metabolic enzyme acetyl-CoA synthetase 2 (ACSS2). We hypothesize that during gene activation, a local transfer of intact acetate occurs via sequential action of epigenetic and metabolic enzymes. Using stable isotope labeling, we detect transfer between histone acetylation sites both in vitro using purified mammalian enzymes and in vivo using quiescence exit in Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a change-of-state model. We show that Acs2, the yeast ortholog of ACSS2, is recruited to chromatin during quiescence exit and observe dynamic histone acetylation changes proximal to Acs2 peaks. We find that Acs2 is preferentially associated with the most up-regulated genes, suggesting that acetyl group transfer plays an important role in gene activation. Overall, our data reveal direct transfer of acetate between histone lysine residues to facilitate rapid transcriptional induction, an exchange that may be critical during changes in nutrient availability.
  34. Front Mol Biosci. 2021 ;8 798353
      Complex I (CI) is the largest protein complex in the mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation electron transport chain of the inner mitochondrial membrane and plays a key role in the transport of electrons from reduced substrates to molecular oxygen. CI is composed of 14 core subunits that are conserved across species and an increasing number of accessory subunits from bacteria to mammals. The fact that adding accessory subunits incurs costs of protein production and import suggests that these subunits play important physiological roles. Accordingly, knockout studies have demonstrated that accessory subunits are essential for CI assembly and function. Furthermore, clinical studies have shown that amino acid substitutions in accessory subunits lead to several debilitating and fatal CI deficiencies. Nevertheless, the specific roles of CI's accessory subunits have remained mysterious. In this review, we explore the possible roles of each of mammalian CI's 31 accessory subunits by integrating recent high-resolution CI structures with knockout, assembly, and clinical studies. Thus, we develop a framework of experimentally testable hypotheses for the function of the accessory subunits. We believe that this framework will provide inroads towards the complete understanding of mitochondrial CI physiology and help to develop strategies for the treatment of CI deficiencies.
    Keywords:  accessory subunits; electron transport chain; mitochondrial complex I; mitochondrial diseases; oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS)
  35. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2022 ;2022 7105181
      Myocardial ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury can stimulate mitochondrial reactive oxygen species production. Optic atrophy 1- (OPA1-) induced mitochondrial fusion is an endogenous antioxidative mechanism that preserves the mitochondrial function. In our study, we investigated whether melatonin augments OPA1-dependent mitochondrial fusion and thus maintains redox balance during myocardial I/R injury. In hypoxia/reoxygenation- (H/R-) treated H9C2 cardiomyocytes, melatonin treatment upregulated OPA1 mRNA and protein expression, thereby enhancing mitochondrial fusion. Melatonin also suppressed apoptosis in H/R-treated cardiomyocytes, as evidenced by increased cell viability, diminished caspase-3 activity, and reduced Troponin T secretion; however, silencing OPA1 abolished these effects. H/R treatment augmented mitochondrial ROS production and repressed antioxidative molecule levels, while melatonin reversed these changes in an OPA1-dependent manner. Melatonin also inhibited mitochondrial permeability transition pore opening and maintained the mitochondrial membrane potential, but OPA1 silencing prevented these outcomes. These results illustrate that melatonin administration alleviates cardiomyocyte I/R injury by activating OPA1-induced mitochondrial fusion and inhibiting mitochondrial oxidative stress.
  36. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2022 Jan 18.
      Lysine acetylation is a widespread and versatile protein post-translational modification. Lysine acetyltransferases and lysine deacetylases catalyse the addition or removal, respectively, of acetyl groups at both histone and non-histone targets. In this Review, we discuss several features of acetylation and deacetylation, including their diversity of targets, rapid turnover, exquisite sensitivity to the concentrations of the cofactors acetyl-CoA, acyl-CoA and NAD+, and tight interplay with metabolism. Histone acetylation and non-histone protein acetylation influence a myriad of cellular and physiological processes, including transcription, phase separation, autophagy, mitosis, differentiation and neural function. The activity of lysine acetyltransferases and lysine deacetylases can, in turn, be regulated by metabolic states, diet and specific small molecules. Histone acetylation has also recently been shown to mediate cellular memory. These features enable acetylation to integrate the cellular state with transcriptional output and cell-fate decisions.
  37. Oncogene. 2022 Jan 20.
      Advanced and aggressive prostate cancer (PCa) depends on glutamine for survival and proliferation. We have previously shown that inhibition of glutaminase 1, which catalyzes the rate-limiting step of glutamine catabolism, achieves significant therapeutic effect; however, therapy resistance is inevitable. Here we report that while the glutamine carbon is critical to PCa survival, a parallel pathway of glutamine nitrogen catabolism that actively contributes to pyrimidine assembly is equally important for PCa cells. Importantly, we demonstrate a reciprocal feedback mechanism between glutamine carbon and nitrogen pathways which leads to therapy resistance when one of the two pathways is inhibited. Combination treatment to inhibit both pathways simultaneously yields better clinical outcome for advanced PCa patients.
  38. J Cancer Prev. 2021 Dec 30. 26(4): 237-243
      Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), isoleucine, leucine and valine, are essential amino acids with vital roles in protein synthesis and energy production. We reviewed the fundamentals of BCAA metabolism in advanced cancer patients. BCAAs and various catabolic products act as signalling molecules, which activate mechanisms ranging from protein synthesis to insulin secretion. Recently, BCAA metabolism has been suggested to contribute to cancer progression. Of particular interest is the modulation of the mTOR activity by BCAAs. There are likely multiple pathways involved in BCAA metabolism implicated in carcinogenesis. Understanding the mechanism(s) underlying altered BCAAs metabolism will significantly advance the current understanding of nutrient involvement in carcinogenesis and direct future studies to unravel the significance of BCCA metabolites in tumor development and progression.
    Keywords:  Amino acids; Isoleucine; Leucine; Neoplasm; Valine; branched-chain
  39. Oncogene. 2022 Jan 20.
      Effective therapeutic options are still lacking for uveal melanoma (UM) patients who develop metastasis. Metastatic traits of UM are linked to BRCA1-associated protein 1 (BAP1) mutations. Cell metabolism is re-programmed in UM with BAP1 mutant UM, but the underlying mechanisms and opportunities for therapeutic intervention remain unclear. BAP1 mutant UM tumors have an elevated glycolytic gene expression signature, with increased expression of pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) complex and PDH kinase (PDHK1). Furthermore, BAP1 mutant UM cells showed higher levels of phosphorylated PDHK1 and PDH that was associated with an upregulated glycolytic profile compared to BAP1 wild-type UM cells. Suppressing PDHK1-PDH phosphorylation decreased glycolytic capacity and cell growth, and induced cell cycle arrest of BAP1 mutant UM cells. Our results suggest that PDHK1-PDH phosphorylation is a causative factor of glycolytic phenotypes found in BAP1 mutant UM and propose a therapeutic opportunity for BAP1 mutant UM patients.
  40. JCI Insight. 2022 Jan 20. pii: e154447. [Epub ahead of print]
      Lung alveolar type 2 (AT2) cells are progenitors for alveolar type 1 (AT1) cells. Although many factors regulate AT2 cell plasticity, the role of mitochondrial calcium (mCa2+) uptake in controlling AT2 cells remains unclear. We previously identified that the microRNA family, miR-302, supports lung epithelial progenitor cell proliferation and less differentiated phenotypes during development. Here we report that a sustained elevation of miR-302 in adult AT2 cells decreases AT2-to-AT1 cell differentiation during the Streptococcus pneumoniae induced lung injury repair. We identified that miR-302 targets and represses the expression of mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake 1 (MICU1), which regulates mCa2+ uptake through the mCa2+ uniporter channel by acting as a gatekeeper at low cytosolic Ca2+ levels. Our results reveal a marked increase in MICU1 protein expression and decreased mCa2+ uptake during AT2-to-AT1 cell differentiation in the adult lung. Deletion of Micu1 in AT2 cells reduces AT2-to-AT1 cell differentiation during steady-state tissue maintenance and alveolar epithelial regeneration following bacterial pneumonia. These studies indicate that mCa2+ uptake is extensively modulated during AT2-to-AT1 cell differentiation and that MICU1-dependent mCa2+ uniporter channel gating is a prominent mechanism modulating AT2-to-AT1 cell differentiation.
    Keywords:  Bacterial infections; Calcium; Cell Biology; Mitochondria; Stem cells
  41. Nat Commun. 2022 Jan 19. 13(1): 386
      Disordered hepatic glucagon response contributes to hyperglycemia in diabetes. The regulators involved in glucagon response are less understood. This work aims to investigate the roles of mitochondrial β-oxidation enzyme HADHA and its downstream ketone bodies in hepatic glucagon response. Here we show that glucagon challenge impairs expression of HADHA. Liver-specific HADHA overexpression reversed hepatic gluconeogenesis in mice, while HADHA knockdown augmented glucagon response. Stable isotope tracing shows that HADHA promotes ketone body production via β-oxidation. The ketone body β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) but not acetoacetate suppresses gluconeogenesis by selectively inhibiting HDAC7 activity via interaction with Glu543 site to facilitate FOXO1 nuclear exclusion. In HFD-fed mice, HADHA overexpression improved metabolic disorders, and these effects are abrogated by knockdown of BHB-producing enzyme. In conclusion, BHB is responsible for the inhibitory effect of HADHA on hepatic glucagon response, suggesting that HADHA activation or BHB elevation by pharmacological intervention hold promise in treating diabetes.
  42. Nat Cardiovasc Res. 2022 Jan;1(1): 45-58
      The heart is a highly metabolic organ that uses multiple energy sources to meet its demand for ATP production. Diurnal feeding-fasting cycles result in substrate availability fluctuations which, together with increased energetic demand during the active period, impose a need for rhythmic cardiac metabolism. The nuclear receptors REV-ERBα and β are essential repressive components of the molecular circadian clock and major regulators of metabolism. To investigate their role in the heart, here we generated mice with cardiomyocyte (CM)-specific deletion of both Rev-erbs, which died prematurely due to dilated cardiomyopathy. Loss of Rev-erbs markedly downregulated fatty acid oxidation genes prior to overt pathology, which was mediated by induction of the transcriptional repressor E4BP4, a direct target of cardiac REV-ERBs. E4BP4 directly controls circadian expression of Nampt and its biosynthetic product NAD+ via distal cis-regulatory elements. Thus, REV-ERB-mediated E4BP4 repression is required for Nampt expression and NAD+ production by the salvage pathway. Together, these results highlight the indispensable role of circadian REV-ERBs in cardiac gene expression, metabolic homeostasis and function.
  43. Cell Rep. 2022 Jan 18. pii: S2211-1247(21)01779-4. [Epub ahead of print]38(3): 110267
      The lipid droplet (LD) is a central hub for fatty acid metabolism in cells. Here we define the dynamics and explore the role of LDs in skeletal muscle satellite cells (SCs), a stem cell population responsible for muscle regeneration. In newly divided SCs, LDs are unequally distributed in sister cells exhibiting asymmetric cell fates, as the LDLow cell self-renews while the LDHigh cell commits to differentiation. When transplanted into regenerating muscles, LDLow cells outperform LDHigh cells in self-renewal and regeneration in vivo. Pharmacological inhibition of LD biogenesis or genetic inhibition of LD catabolism through knockout of Pnpla2 (encoding ATGL, the rate-limiting enzyme for lipolysis) disrupts cell fate homeostasis and impairs the regenerative capacity of SCs. Dysfunction of Pnpla2-null SCs is associated with energy insufficiency and oxidative stress that can be partially rescued by antioxidant (N-acetylcysteine) treatment. These results establish a direct link between LD dynamics and stem cell fate determination.
    Keywords:  ATGL; asymmetric division; metabolism; muscle satellite cell; oxidative stress; regeneration; self-renewal
  44. Biology (Basel). 2021 Dec 24. pii: 21. [Epub ahead of print]11(1):
      The circadian clock is a fundamental biological timing mechanism that generates nearly 24 h rhythms of physiology and behaviors, including sleep/wake cycles, hormone secretion, and metabolism. Evolutionarily, the endogenous clock is thought to confer living organisms, including humans, with survival benefits by adapting internal rhythms to the day and night cycles of the local environment. Mirroring the evolutionary fitness bestowed by the circadian clock, daily mismatches between the internal body clock and environmental cycles, such as irregular work (e.g., night shift work) and life schedules (e.g., jet lag, mistimed eating), have been recognized to increase the risk of cardiac, metabolic, and neurological diseases. Moreover, increasing numbers of studies with cellular and animal models have detected the presence of functional circadian oscillators at multiple levels, ranging from individual neurons and fibroblasts to brain and peripheral organs. These oscillators are tightly coupled to timely modulate cellular and bodily responses to physiological and metabolic cues. In this review, we will discuss the roles of central and peripheral clocks in physiology and diseases, highlighting the dynamic regulatory interactions between circadian timing systems and multiple metabolic factors.
    Keywords:  SCN; brain clocks; circadian clock; circadian disruption; peripheral clocks; redox metabolism
  45. Cancer Res. 2022 Jan 15. 82(2): 195-196
      Low oxygen concentrations (hypoxia) are detrimental to most species on Earth; thus, cells have evolved with adaptations allowing them to withstand transient hypoxia. As with other survival pathways, cancer cells have co-opted these mechanisms to keep up with the metabolic demands of rapid growth and proliferation in harsh tumor microenvironments. The most well-studied oxygen response pathway involves hypoxia-inducible factors (HIF) and their regulation by the von Hippel-Lindau protein (pVHL) and the prolyl hydroxylases (PHD1-3). This study from Zhong and colleagues, published in Cancer Research in 1999, was the first to show increased HIF1α expression in several cancer types and in metastases, suggesting a role for HIFs in disease progression. Since publication, significant progress has been made in the understanding of tumor hypoxia responses and efforts to target this pathway as a therapeutic strategy for patients with cancer are underway.See related article by Zhong and colleagues, Cancer Res 1999;59:5830-5.
  46. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Jan 25. pii: e2114622119. [Epub ahead of print]119(4):
      Proteins, as essential biomolecules, account for a large fraction of cell mass, and thus the synthesis of the complete set of proteins (i.e., the proteome) represents a substantial part of the cellular resource budget. Therefore, cells might be under selective pressures to optimize the resource costs for protein synthesis, particularly the biosynthesis of the 20 proteinogenic amino acids. Previous studies showed that less energetically costly amino acids are more abundant in the proteomes of bacteria that survive under energy-limited conditions, but the energy cost of synthesizing amino acids was reported to be weakly associated with the amino acid usage in Saccharomyces cerevisiae Here we present a modeling framework to estimate the protein cost of synthesizing each amino acid (i.e., the protein mass required for supporting one unit of amino acid biosynthetic flux) and the glucose cost (i.e., the glucose consumed per amino acid synthesized). We show that the logarithms of the relative abundances of amino acids in S. cerevisiae's proteome correlate well with the protein costs of synthesizing amino acids (Pearson's r = -0.89), which is better than that with the glucose costs (Pearson's r = -0.5). Therefore, we demonstrate that S. cerevisiae tends to minimize protein resource, rather than glucose or energy, for synthesizing amino acids.
    Keywords:  Saccharomyces cerevisiae; amino acid biosynthetic cost; constraint-based modeling; metabolic engineering; proteome constraint
  47. Cell Rep. 2022 Jan 18. pii: S2211-1247(21)01792-7. [Epub ahead of print]38(3): 110277
      Exosomes/small extracellular vesicles (sEVs) can serve as multifactorial mediators of cell-to-cell communication through their miRNA and protein cargo. Quantitative proteomic analysis of five cell lines representing metabolically important tissues reveals that each cell type has a unique sEV proteome. While classical sEV markers such as CD9/CD63/CD81 vary markedly in abundance, we identify six sEV markers (ENO1, GPI, HSPA5, YWHAB, CSF1R, and CNTN1) that are similarly abundant in sEVs of all cell types. In addition, each cell type has specific sEV markers. Using fat-specific Dicer-knockout mice with decreased white adipose tissue and increased brown adipose tissue, we show that these cell-type-specific markers can predict the changing origin of the serum sEVs. These results provide a valuable resource for understanding the sEV proteome of the cells and tissues important in metabolic homeostasis, identify unique sEV markers, and demonstrate how these markers can help in predicting the tissue of origin of serum sEVs.
    Keywords:  exosomes; extracellular vesicles; metabolism; proteomics; tissue communication; tissue markers
  48. Cell. 2022 Jan 13. pii: S0092-8674(21)01561-0. [Epub ahead of print]
      The relevance of extracellular magnesium in cellular immunity remains largely unknown. Here, we show that the co-stimulatory cell-surface molecule LFA-1 requires magnesium to adopt its active conformation on CD8+ T cells, thereby augmenting calcium flux, signal transduction, metabolic reprogramming, immune synapse formation, and, as a consequence, specific cytotoxicity. Accordingly, magnesium-sufficiency sensed via LFA-1 translated to the superior performance of pathogen- and tumor-specific T cells, enhanced effectiveness of bi-specific T cell engaging antibodies, and improved CAR T cell function. Clinically, low serum magnesium levels were associated with more rapid disease progression and shorter overall survival in CAR T cell and immune checkpoint antibody-treated patients. LFA-1 thus directly incorporates information on the composition of the microenvironment as a determinant of outside-in signaling activity. These findings conceptually link co-stimulation and nutrient sensing and point to the magnesium-LFA-1 axis as a therapeutically amenable biologic system.
    Keywords:  CAR T cells; Mg2+; T cell engaging antibodies; co-stimulation/LFA-1; immune control; integration of microenvironment and T cell function; magnesium; memory CD8 T cells; microenvironment; tumor-specific T cells
  49. Clin Transl Med. 2022 01;12(1): e696
      The idea that tumour microenvironment (TME) is organised in a spatial manner will not surprise many cancer biologists; however, systematically capturing spatial architecture of TME is still not possible until recent decade. The past five years have witnessed a boom in the research of high-throughput spatial techniques and algorithms to delineate TME at an unprecedented level. Here, we review the technological progress of spatial omics and how advanced computation methods boost multi-modal spatial data analysis. Then, we discussed the potential clinical translations of spatial omics research in precision oncology, and proposed a transfer of spatial ecological principles to cancer biology in spatial data interpretation. So far, spatial omics is placing us in the golden age of spatial cancer research. Further development and application of spatial omics may lead to a comprehensive decoding of the TME ecosystem and bring the current spatiotemporal molecular medical research into an entirely new paradigm.
    Keywords:  cancer ecology; single-cell RNA-seq; spatial omics; tumour microenvironment
  50. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Jan 25. pii: e2115636118. [Epub ahead of print]119(4):
      Life on Earth has evolved from initial simplicity to the astounding complexity we experience today. Bacteria and archaea have largely excelled in metabolic diversification, but eukaryotes additionally display abundant morphological innovation. How have these innovations come about and what constraints are there on the origins of novelty and the continuing maintenance of biodiversity on Earth? The history of life and the code for the working parts of cells and systems are written in the genome. The Earth BioGenome Project has proposed that the genomes of all extant, named eukaryotes-about 2 million species-should be sequenced to high quality to produce a digital library of life on Earth, beginning with strategic phylogenetic, ecological, and high-impact priorities. Here we discuss why we should sequence all eukaryotic species, not just a representative few scattered across the many branches of the tree of life. We suggest that many questions of evolutionary and ecological significance will only be addressable when whole-genome data representing divergences at all of the branchings in the tree of life or all species in natural ecosystems are available. We envisage that a genomic tree of life will foster understanding of the ongoing processes of speciation, adaptation, and organismal dependencies within entire ecosystems. These explorations will resolve long-standing problems in phylogenetics, evolution, ecology, conservation, agriculture, bioindustry, and medicine.
    Keywords:  conservation; diversity; ecology; evolution; genome