bims-camemi Biomed News
on Mitochondrial metabolism in cancer
Issue of 2022‒03‒13
forty-six papers selected by
Christian Frezza
University of Cambridge, MRC Cancer Unit

  1. Cell Rep. 2022 Mar 08. pii: S2211-1247(22)00208-X. [Epub ahead of print]38(10): 110475
      Mitochondrial cardiomyopathies are fatal diseases, with no effective treatment. Alterations of heart mitochondrial function activate the mitochondrial integrated stress response (ISRmt), a transcriptional program affecting cell metabolism, mitochondrial biogenesis, and proteostasis. In humans, mutations in CHCHD10, a mitochondrial protein with unknown function, were recently associated with dominant multi-system mitochondrial diseases, whose pathogenic mechanisms remain to be elucidated. Here, in CHCHD10 knockin mutant mice, we identify an extensive cardiac metabolic rewiring triggered by proteotoxic ISRmt. The stress response arises early on, before the onset of bioenergetic impairments, triggering a switch from oxidative to glycolytic metabolism, enhancement of transsulfuration and one carbon (1C) metabolism, and widespread metabolic imbalance. In parallel, increased NADPH oxidases elicit antioxidant responses, leading to heme depletion. As the disease progresses, the adaptive metabolic stress response fails, resulting in fatal cardiomyopathy. Our findings suggest that early interventions to counteract metabolic imbalance could ameliorate mitochondrial cardiomyopathy associated with proteotoxic ISRmt.
    Keywords:  1C metabolism; CHCHD10; coiled-coil-helix-coiled-coil-helix domain containing 10; heart, cardiomyopathy; heme; integrated stress response; metabolic rewiring; mitochondria
  2. Nature. 2022 Mar 09.
      The tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle is a central hub of cellular metabolism, oxidizing nutrients to generate reducing equivalents for energy production and critical metabolites for biosynthetic reactions. Despite the importance of the products of the TCA cycle for cell viability and proliferation, mammalian cells display diversity in TCA-cycle activity1,2. How this diversity is achieved, and whether it is critical for establishing cell fate, remains poorly understood. Here we identify a non-canonical TCA cycle that is required for changes in cell state. Genetic co-essentiality mapping revealed a cluster of genes that is sufficient to compose a biochemical alternative to the canonical TCA cycle, wherein mitochondrially derived citrate exported to the cytoplasm is metabolized by ATP citrate lyase, ultimately regenerating mitochondrial oxaloacetate to complete this non-canonical TCA cycle. Manipulating the expression of ATP citrate lyase or the canonical TCA-cycle enzyme aconitase 2 in mouse myoblasts and embryonic stem cells revealed that changes in the configuration of the TCA cycle accompany cell fate transitions. During exit from pluripotency, embryonic stem cells switch from canonical to non-canonical TCA-cycle metabolism. Accordingly, blocking the non-canonical TCA cycle prevents cells from exiting pluripotency. These results establish a context-dependent alternative to the traditional TCA cycle and reveal that appropriate TCA-cycle engagement is required for changes in cell state.
  3. Cancer Sci. 2022 Mar 10.
      Cancer cells depend on metabolic reprogramming for survival, undergoing profound shifts in nutrient-sensing, nutrient uptake and flux through anabolic pathways, in order to drive nucleotide, lipid, and protein synthesis and provide key intermediates needed for those pathways. Although metabolic enzymes themselves can be mutated, including to generate oncometabolites, this is a relatively rare event in cancer. Usually, gene amplification, overexpression, and/or downstream signal transduction upregulate rate-limiting metabolic enzymes and limit feedback loops, to drive persistent tumor growth. Recent molecular genetic advances revealed discrete links between oncogenotypes and the resultant metabolic phenotypes. However, more comprehensive approaches are needed to unravel the dynamic spatio-temporal regulatory map of enzymes and metabolites that enable cancer cells to adapt to their microenvironment to maximize tumor growth. Proteomic and metabolomic analyses are powerful tools for analyzing a repertoire of metabolic enzymes as well as intermediary metabolites, and in conjunction with other omic approaches could provide critical information in this regard. Here, we provide an overview of cancer metabolism, especially from an "omics" perspective and with a particular focus on the genomically well-characterized malignant tumor, glioblastoma. We further discuss how metabolomics could be leveraged to improve the management of patients, by linking cancer cell genotype, epigenotype and phenotype through metabolic reprogramming.
    Keywords:  OMICS; epigenetics; glioblastoma; mTOR complex; metabolome
  4. Curr Opin Physiol. 2022 Feb;pii: 100489. [Epub ahead of print]25
      Adverse cardiac remodeling is often precipitated by chronic stress or injury inflicted upon the heart during the progression of cardiovascular diseases. Mitochondria play an important role in the cardiomyocyte response to stress by serving as a signaling hub for changes in cellular energetics, redox balance, contractile function, and cell death. Cardiac remodeling involves alterations to mitochondrial form and function that are either compensatory to maintain contractility or maladaptive, which promotes heart failure progression. In this mini-review, we focus on three mitochondrial processes that contribution to cardiac remodeling: Ca2+ signaling, mitochondrial dynamics, and mitochondrial metabolism.
    Keywords:  calcium; heart failure; metabolism; mitochondria; remodeling
  5. RNA. 2022 Mar 07. pii: rna.079097.122. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitochondria possess their own genome that encodes components of oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) complexes, and mitochondrial ribosomes within the organelle translate the mRNAs expressed from the mitochondrial genome. Given the differential OXPHOS activity observed in diverse cell types, cell growth conditions, and other circumstances, cellular heterogeneity in mitochondrial translation can be expected. Although individual protein products translated in mitochondria have been monitored, the lack of techniques that address the variation in overall mitochondrial protein synthesis in cell populations poses analytic challenges. Here, we adapted mitochondrial-specific fluorescent noncanonical amino acid tagging (FUNCAT) for use with fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) and developed mito-FUNCAT-FACS. The click chemistry-compatible methionine analog L-homopropargylglycine (HPG) enabled the metabolic labeling of newly synthesized proteins. In the presence of cytosolic translation inhibitors, HPG was selectively incorporated into mitochondrial nascent proteins and conjugated to fluorophores via the click reaction (mito-FUNCAT). The application of in situ mito-FUNCAT to flow cytometry allowed us to separate changes in net mitochondrial translation activity from those of the organelle mass and detect variations in mitochondrial translation in cancer cells. Our approach provides a useful methodology for examining mitochondrial protein synthesis in individual cells.
    Keywords:  FACS; FUNCAT; HPG; Mitochondria; Translation
  6. Cancers (Basel). 2022 Mar 03. pii: 1311. [Epub ahead of print]14(5):
      Reprograming of cellular metabolism is a hallmark of cancer. Altering metabolism allows cancer cells to overcome unfavorable microenvironment conditions and to proliferate and invade. Medulloblastoma is the most common malignant brain tumor of children. Genomic amplification of MYC defines a subset of poor-prognosis medulloblastoma. We performed comprehensive metabolic studies of human MYC-amplified medulloblastoma by comparing the metabolic profiles of tumor cells in three different conditions-in vitro, in flank xenografts and in orthotopic xenografts in the cerebellum. Principal component analysis showed that the metabolic profiles of brain and flank high-MYC medulloblastoma tumors clustered closely together and separated away from normal brain and in vitro MYC-amplified cells. Compared to normal brain, MYC-amplified medulloblastoma orthotopic xenograft tumors showed upregulation of the TCA cycle as well as the synthesis of nucleotides, hexosamines, amino acids and glutathione. There was significantly higher glucose uptake and usage in orthotopic xenograft tumors compared to flank xenograft tumors and cells in culture. In orthotopic tumors, glucose was the main carbon source for the de novo synthesis of glutamate, glutamine and glutathione through the TCA cycle. In vivo, the glutaminase II pathway was the main pathway utilizing glutamine. Glutathione was the most abundant upregulated metabolite in orthotopic tumors compared to normal brain. Glutamine-derived glutathione was synthesized through the glutamine transaminase K (GTK) enzyme in vivo. In conclusion, high MYC medulloblastoma cells have different metabolic profiles in vitro compared to in vivo, and key vulnerabilities may be missed by not performing in vivo metabolic analyses.
    Keywords:  Warburg effect; cancer metabolism; isotope labeling; mass spectrometry; pediatric brain tumor
  7. Autophagy. 2022 Mar 08. 1-18
      Mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) generates ATP, but OXPHOS also supports biosynthesis during proliferation. In contrast, the role of OXPHOS during quiescence, beyond ATP production, is not well understood. Using mouse models of inducible OXPHOS deficiency in all cell types or specifically in the vascular endothelium that negligibly relies on OXPHOS-derived ATP, we show that selectively during quiescence OXPHOS provides oxidative stress resistance by supporting macroautophagy/autophagy. Mechanistically, OXPHOS constitutively generates low levels of endogenous ROS that induce autophagy via attenuation of ATG4B activity, which provides protection from ROS insult. Physiologically, the OXPHOS-autophagy system (i) protects healthy tissue from toxicity of ROS-based anticancer therapy, and (ii) provides ROS resistance in the endothelium, ameliorating systemic LPS-induced inflammation as well as inflammatory bowel disease. Hence, cells acquired mitochondria during evolution to profit from oxidative metabolism, but also built in an autophagy-based ROS-induced protective mechanism to guard against oxidative stress associated with OXPHOS function during quiescence.Abbreviations: AMPK: AMP-activated protein kinase; AOX: alternative oxidase; Baf A: bafilomycin A1; CI, respiratory complexes I; DCF-DA: 2',7'-dichlordihydrofluorescein diacetate; DHE: dihydroethidium; DSS: dextran sodium sulfate; ΔΨmi: mitochondrial inner membrane potential; EdU: 5-ethynyl-2'-deoxyuridine; ETC: electron transport chain; FA: formaldehyde; HUVEC; human umbilical cord endothelial cells; IBD: inflammatory bowel disease; LC3B: microtubule associated protein 1 light chain 3 beta; LPS: lipopolysaccharide; MEFs: mouse embryonic fibroblasts; MTORC1: mechanistic target of rapamycin kinase complex 1; mtDNA: mitochondrial DNA; NAC: N-acetyl cysteine; OXPHOS: oxidative phosphorylation; PCs: proliferating cells; PE: phosphatidylethanolamine; PEITC: phenethyl isothiocyanate; QCs: quiescent cells; ROS: reactive oxygen species; PLA2: phospholipase A2, WB: western blot.
    Keywords:  ATG4B; biosynthesis; cell death; electron transport chain; endothelial cells; mitochondria; oxidative phosphorylation; oxidative stress; reactive oxygen species
  8. Front Aging. 2022 ;pii: 805126. [Epub ahead of print]2
      Mitochondria are the main source of energy used to maintain cellular homeostasis. This aspect of mitochondrial biology underlies their putative role in age-associated tissue dysfunction. Proper functioning of the electron transport chain (ETC), which is partially encoded by the extra-nuclear mitochondrial genome (mtDNA), is key to maintaining this energy production. The acquisition of de novo somatic mutations that interrupt the function of the ETC have long been associated with aging and common diseases of the elderly. Yet, despite over 30 years of study, the exact role(s) mtDNA mutations play in driving aging and its associated pathologies remains under considerable debate. Furthermore, even fundamental aspects of age-related mtDNA mutagenesis, such as when mutations arise during aging, where and how often they occur across tissues, and the specific mechanisms that give rise to them, remain poorly understood. In this review, we address the current understanding of the somatic mtDNA mutations, with an emphasis of when, where, and how these mutations arise during aging. Additionally, we highlight current limitations in our knowledge and critically evaluate the controversies stemming from these limitations. Lastly, we highlight new and emerging technologies that offer potential ways forward in increasing our understanding of somatic mtDNA mutagenesis in the aging process.
    Keywords:  aging; mitochondria; mtDNA; mutagenesis; sequencing; somatic mutations
  9. Redox Biol. 2022 Jan 29. pii: S2213-2317(22)00025-8. [Epub ahead of print]51 102253
      Lactate is a major metabolite largely produced by astrocytes that nourishes neurons. ASIC1a, a Na+ and Ca2+-permeable channel with an extracellular proton sensing domain, is thought to be activated by lactate through chelation of divalent cations, including Ca2+, Mg2+ and Zn2+, that block the channel pore. Here, by monitoring lactate-evoked H+ and Ca2+ transport in cultured mouse cortical and hippocampal neurons, we find that stereo-selective neuronal uptake of L-lactate results in rapid intracellular acidification that triggers H+ extrusion to activate plasma membrane ASIC1a channels, leading to propagating Ca2+ waves into the cytosol and mitochondria. We show that lactate activates ASIC1a at its physiological concentrations, far below that needed to chelate divalent cations. The L-isomer of lactate exerts a much greater effect on ASIC1a-mediated activity than the d-isomer and this stereo-selectivity arises from lactate transporters, which prefer the physiologically common L-lactate. The lactate uptake in turn results in intracellular acidification, which is then followed by a robust acid extrusion. The latter response sufficiently lowers the pH in the vicinity of the extracellular domain of ASIC1a to trigger its activation, resulting in cytosolic and mitochondrial Ca2+ signals that accelerate mitochondrial respiration. Furthermore, blocking ASIC1a led to a robust mitochondrial ROS production induced by L-lactate. Together our results indicate that ASIC1a is a metabolic sensor, which by sensing extracellular pH drop triggered by neuronal lactate uptake with subsequent proton extrusion, transmits a Ca2+ response that is propagated to mitochondria to enhance lactate catabolism and suppress ROS production.
    Keywords:  ASIC1a; Acidification; Cytosolic Ca(2+) signaling; Cytosolic Na(+) signaling; Lactate; Mitochondrial Ca(2+) signaling; Mitochondrial Na(+) signaling; NCLX
  10. Acta Pharm Sin B. 2022 Feb;12(2): 759-773
      Tumor cells have unique metabolic programming that is biologically distinct from that of corresponding normal cells. Resetting tumor metabolic programming is a promising strategy to ameliorate drug resistance and improve the tumor microenvironment. Here, we show that carboxyamidotriazole (CAI), an anticancer drug, can function as a metabolic modulator that decreases glucose and lipid metabolism and increases the dependency of colon cancer cells on glutamine metabolism. CAI suppressed glucose and lipid metabolism utilization, causing inhibition of mitochondrial respiratory chain complex I, thus producing reactive oxygen species (ROS). In parallel, activation of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) increased glutamine uptake via the transporter SLC1A5, which could activate the ROS-scavenging enzyme glutathione peroxidase. As a result, combined use of inhibitors of GLS/GDH1, CAI could effectively restrict colorectal cancer (CRC) energy metabolism. These data illuminate a new antitumor mechanism of CAI, suggesting a new strategy for CRC metabolic reprogramming treatment.
    Keywords:  2-NBDG, glucalogue 2-(N-(7-nitrobenz-2-oxa-1,3-diazol-4-yl)amino)-2-deoxyglucose; ATP, adenosine triphosphate; AhR; AhR, aryl hydrocarbon receptor; CAI; CAI, carboxyamidotriazole; CHIP, chromatin immunoprecipitation; CRC, colorectal cancer; Colorectal cancer metabolism; DMF, 3′,4′-dimethoxyflavone; DNA, deoxyribonucleic acid; ECAR, extracellular acidification rate; FACS, flow cytometry; GDH1, glutamate dehydrogenase 1; GLS, glutaminase; GPx, glutathione peroxidase; GSH, glutathione; GSSG, oxidized glutathione; Glutamine metabolism; Glutaminolysis; Kyn, kynurenine; MT, mito-TEMPO; Metabolic reprogramming; Mito-Q, mitoquinone mesylate; Mitochondrial oxidative stress; OCR, oxygen consumption rate; Redox homeostasis; TCA, tricarboxylic acid; α-KG, α-ketoglutarate
  11. Anal Biochem. 2022 Mar 05. pii: S0003-2697(22)00102-6. [Epub ahead of print] 114646
      Mitochondrial complex I is the only enzyme responsible for oxidation of matrix NADH and regeneration of NAD+ for catabolism. Nuclear and mtDNA mutations, assembly impairments, and enzyme damage are implicated in inherited diseases, ischemia-reperfusion injury, neurodegeneration, and tumorogenesis. Here we introduce a novel method to measure the absolute content of complex I. The method is based on flavin fluorescence scanning of a polyacrylamide gel after separation of complexes by Clear Native electrophoresis. Using mouse primary astrocytes as an example, we calculated an average value of 2.2 × 105 complex I molecules/cell. Our method can be used for accurate quantification of complex I content.
    Keywords:  Astrocytes; Flavin mononucleotide; Fluorescence; Mitochondrial complex I; Respiratory chain
  12. Cell Rep. 2022 Mar 08. pii: S2211-1247(22)00226-1. [Epub ahead of print]38(10): 110493
      Unlike most cell types, many cancer cells survive at low extracellular pH (pHe), a chemical signature of tumors. Genes that facilitate survival under acid stress are therefore potential targets for cancer therapies. We performed a genome-wide CRISPR-Cas9 cell viability screen at physiological and acidic conditions to systematically identify gene knockouts associated with pH-related fitness defects in colorectal cancer cells. Knockouts of genes involved in oxidative phosphorylation (NDUFS1) and iron-sulfur cluster biogenesis (IBA57, NFU1) grew well at physiological pHe, but underwent profound cell death under acidic conditions. We identified several small-molecule inhibitors of mitochondrial metabolism that can kill cancer cells at low pHe only. Xenografts established from NDUFS1-/- cells grew considerably slower than their wild-type controls, but growth could be stimulated with systemic bicarbonate therapy that lessens the tumoral acid stress. These findings raise the possibility of therapeutically targeting mitochondrial metabolism in combination with acid stress as a cancer treatment option.
    Keywords:  CRISPR-Cas9 screen; acidosis; oxidative phosphorylation; tumor acidity
  13. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2022 ;10 781558
      Mitochondria are biosynthetic, bioenergetic, and signaling organelles with a critical role in cellular physiology. Dysfunctional mitochondria are associated with aging and underlie the cause of a wide range of diseases, from neurodegeneration to cancer. Through signaling, mitochondria regulate diverse biological outcomes. The maintenance of the mitochondrial membrane potential, for instance, is essential for proliferation, the release of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species, and oxygen sensing. The loss of mitochondrial membrane potential triggers pathways to clear damaged mitochondria and often results in cell death. In this study, we conducted a genome-wide positive selection CRISPR screen using a combination of mitochondrial inhibitors to uncover genes involved in sustaining a mitochondrial membrane potential, and therefore avoid cell death when the electron transport chain is impaired. Our screen identified genes involved in mitochondrial protein translation and ATP synthesis as essential for the induction of cell death when cells lose their mitochondrial membrane potential. This report intends to provide potential targets for the treatment of diseases associated with mitochondrial dysfunction.
    Keywords:  ATP synthase; CRISPR screen; cell death; mitochondria; mitochondrial membrane potential; mitochondrial protein translation
  14. Cells. 2022 Feb 23. pii: 771. [Epub ahead of print]11(5):
      Mitochondria are subcellular organelles that are a hub for key biological processes, such as bioenergetic, biosynthetic, and signaling functions. Mitochondria are implicated in all oncogenic processes, from malignant transformation to metastasis and resistance to chemotherapeutics. The harsh tumor environment constantly exposes cancer cells to cytotoxic stressors, such as nutrient starvation, low oxygen, and oxidative stress. Excessive or prolonged exposure to these stressors can cause irreversible mitochondrial damage, leading to cell death. To survive hostile microenvironments that perturb mitochondrial function, cancer cells activate a stress response to maintain mitochondrial protein and genome integrity. This adaptive mechanism, which is closely linked to mitochondrial function, enables rapid adjustment and survival in harsh environmental conditions encountered during tumor dissemination, thereby promoting cancer progression. In this review, we describe how the mitochondria stress response contributes to the acquisition of typical malignant traits and highlight the potential of targeting the mitochondrial stress response as an anti-cancer therapeutic strategy.
    Keywords:  mitochondrial dynamics; mitochondrial protein quality control; mitochondrial stress response; mitophagy; mtDNA
  15. Cells. 2022 Mar 02. pii: 862. [Epub ahead of print]11(5):
      Aging is the greatest challenge to humankind worldwide. Aging is associated with a progressive loss of physiological integrity due to a decline in cellular metabolism and functions. Such metabolic changes lead to age-related diseases, thereby compromising human health for the remaining life. Thus, there is an urgent need to identify geroprotectors that regulate metabolic functions to target the aging biological processes. Nutrients are the major regulator of metabolic activities to coordinate cell growth and development. Iron is an important nutrient involved in several biological functions, including metabolism. In this study using yeast as an aging model organism, we show that iron supplementation delays aging and increases the cellular lifespan. To determine how iron supplementation increases lifespan, we performed a gene expression analysis of mitochondria, the main cellular hub of iron utilization. Quantitative analysis of gene expression data reveals that iron supplementation upregulates the expression of the mitochondrial tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle and electron transport chain (ETC) genes. Furthermore, in agreement with the expression profiles of mitochondrial genes, ATP level is elevated by iron supplementation, which is required for increasing the cellular lifespan. To confirm, we tested the role of iron supplementation in the AMPK knockout mutant. AMPK is a highly conserved controller of mitochondrial metabolism and energy homeostasis. Remarkably, iron supplementation rescued the short lifespan of the AMPK knockout mutant and confirmed its anti-aging role through the enhancement of mitochondrial functions. Thus, our results suggest a potential therapeutic use of iron supplementation to delay aging and prolong healthspan.
    Keywords:  AMPK; Saccharomyces cerevisiae; cellular lifespan extension; chronological aging; iron; mitochondria
  16. Eur J Immunol. 2022 Mar 06.
      Cytotoxic CD8+ T cells are a key element of the adaptative immune system to protect the organism against infections and malignant cells. During their activation and response T cells undergo different metabolic pathways to support their energetic needs according to their localization and function. However, it has also been recently appreciated that this metabolic reprogramming also directly supports T cells lineage differentiation. Accordingly, metabolic deficiencies and prolonged stress exposure can impact T cell differentiation and skew them into exhausted state. Here, we review how metabolism defines CD8+ T cells differentiation and function. Moreover, we cover the principal metabolic dysregulation that promotes the exhausted phenotype under tumor or chronic virus condition. Finally, we summarize recent strategies to reprogram impaired metabolic pathways to promote CD8+ T cells effector function and survival. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Keywords:  T cell differentiation; T cell exhaustion; T cells; infection; metabolism
  17. Redox Biol. 2022 Feb 24. pii: S2213-2317(22)00040-4. [Epub ahead of print]51 102268
      mTOR activation is a hallmark of T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) and is associated with resistance to glucocorticoid (GC)-based chemotherapy. We previously showed that altering redox homeostasis primes T-ALL cells to GC-induced apoptosis. Here we investigated the connection between the mTOR pathway and redox homeostasis using pharmacological inhibitors and gene silencing. In vitro studies performed on T-ALL cell lines and CG-resistant patient-derived T-ALL xenograft (PDX) cells showed that the mTOR inhibitor everolimus increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels, augmented lipid peroxidation, and activated the ROS-controlled transcription factor NRF2. These effects were accompanied by a decrease in the levels of NADPH and of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD), the rate-limiting enzyme of the pentose phosphate pathway (PPP), which is a major source of cytosolic NADPH needed for maintaining the cellular ROS-scavenging capacity. The mTOR inhibitor everolimus induced mitochondrial inner membrane depolarization and dose-dependent apoptosis of T-ALL cells, but did not kill normal T-cells. Importantly, the combination of everolimus and the GC dexamethasone had a synergistic effect on killing T-ALL cells. The effects of mTOR inhibition were blunted by ROS scavengers and phenocopied by siRNA-mediated G6PD silencing. In vivo studies of NOD/SCID mice inoculated with refractory T-ALL PDX demonstrated that everolimus overcame dexamethasone resistance in conditions of high tumor burden that mimicked the clinical setting of acute leukemia. These findings provide insight into the crosstalk between mTOR and ROS homeostasis in T-ALL cells and furnish mechanistic evidence to support the combination of glucocorticoids with mTOR inhibitors as a therapeutic avenue for treating refractory T-ALL.
    Keywords:  G6PD; ROS; T-ALL; mTOR
  18. Front Immunol. 2022 ;13 837669
      Targeting T cell metabolism is an established method of immunomodulation. Following activation, T cells engage distinct metabolic programs leading to the uptake and processing of nutrients that determine cell proliferation and differentiation. Redirection of T cell fate by modulation of these metabolic programs has been shown to boost or suppress immune responses in vitro and in vivo. Using publicly available T cell transcriptomic and proteomic datasets we identified vitamin B6-dependent transaminases as key metabolic enzymes driving T cell activation and differentiation. Inhibition of vitamin B6 metabolism using the pyridoxal 5'-phosphate (PLP) inhibitor, aminoxyacetic acid (AOA), suppresses CD8+ T cell proliferation and effector differentiation in a dose-dependent manner. We show that pyridoxal phosphate phosphatase (PDXP), a negative regulator of intracellular vitamin B6 levels, is under the control of the hypoxia-inducible transcription factor (HIF1), a central driver of T cell metabolism. Furthermore, by adoptive transfer of CD8 T cells into a C57BL/6 mouse melanoma model, we demonstrate the requirement for vitamin B6-dependent enzyme activity in mediating effective anti-tumor responses. Our findings show that vitamin B6 metabolism is required for CD8+ T cell proliferation and effector differentiation in vitro and in vivo. Targeting vitamin B6 metabolism may therefore serve as an immunodulatory strategy to improve anti-tumor immunotherapy.
    Keywords:  CD8+ lymphocytes; hypoxia; immunotherapy; metabolism; vitamin B6
  19. Trends Neurosci. 2022 Mar 03. pii: S0166-2236(22)00017-0. [Epub ahead of print]
      Neurons rely heavily on properly regulated mitochondrial and lysosomal homeostasis, with multiple neurodegenerative diseases linked to dysfunction in these two organelles. Interestingly, mitochondria-lysosome membrane contact sites have been identified as a key pathway mediating their crosstalk in neurons. Recent studies have further elucidated the regulation of mitochondria-lysosome contact dynamics via distinct tethering/untethering protein machinery. Moreover, this pathway has been shown to have additional functions in regulating organelle network dynamics and metabolite transfer between lysosomes and mitochondria. In this review, we highlight recent advances in the field of mitochondria-lysosome contact sites and their misregulation across multiple neurodegenerative disorders, which further underscore a potential role for this pathway in neuronal homeostasis and disease.
    Keywords:  Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease; Parkinson’s disease; inter-organelle contact sites; lysosomal storage disorders; lysosomes; mitochondria
  20. Dev Cell. 2022 Feb 25. pii: S1534-5807(22)00076-4. [Epub ahead of print]
      The response to oxygen availability is a fundamental process concerning metabolism and survival/death in all mitochondria-containing eukaryotes. However, the known oxygen-sensing mechanism in mammalian cells depends on pVHL, which is only found among metazoans but not in other species. Here, we present an alternative oxygen-sensing pathway regulated by ATE1, an enzyme ubiquitously conserved in eukaryotes that influences protein degradation by posttranslational arginylation. We report that ATE1 centrally controls the hypoxic response and glycolysis in mammalian cells by preferentially arginylating HIF1α that is hydroxylated by PHD in the presence of oxygen. Furthermore, the degradation of arginylated HIF1α is independent of pVHL E3 ubiquitin ligase but dependent on the UBR family proteins. Bioinformatic analysis of human tumor data reveals that the ATE1/UBR and pVHL pathways jointly regulate oxygen sensing in a transcription-independent manner with different tissue specificities. Phylogenetic analysis suggests that eukaryotic ATE1 likely evolved during mitochondrial domestication, much earlier than pVHL.
    Keywords:  ATE1; Arginylation; HIF1α; Warburg effect; arginyltransferase; degradation; glycolysis; hypoxic signaling; oxygen sensing; posttranslational protein modification
  21. J Biol Chem. 2022 Mar 02. pii: S0021-9258(22)00228-9. [Epub ahead of print] 101788
      A subset of eukaryotic tRNAs is methylated in the anticodon loop, forming 3-methylcytosine (m3C) modifications. In mammals, the number of tRNAs containing m3C modifications has been expanded to include mitochondrial (mt) tRNA-Ser-UGA and mt-tRNA-Thr-UGU. However, whereas the enzymes catalyzing m3C formation in nuclear-encoded tRNAs have been identified, the proteins responsible for m3C modification in mt-tRNAs are unknown. Here, we show that m3C formation in human mt-tRNAs is dependent upon the Methyltransferase-Like 8 (METTL8) enzyme. We find that METTL8 is a mitochondria-associated protein that interacts with mitochondrial seryl-tRNA synthetase, as well as with mt-tRNAs containing m3C. We demonstrate that human cells deficient in METTL8 exhibit loss of m3C modification in mt-tRNAs, but not nuclear-encoded tRNAs. Consistent with the mitochondrial import of METTL8, the formation of m3C in METTL8-deficient cells could be rescued by re-expression of wildtype METTL8, but not by a METTL8 variant lacking the N-terminal mitochondrial localization signal. Notably, we found METTL8-deficiency in human cells causes alterations in the native migration pattern of mt-tRNA-Ser-UGA, suggesting a role for m3C in tRNA folding. Altogether, these findings demonstrate that METTL8 is required for m3C formation in mitochondrial tRNAs and uncover a potential function for m3C modification in mitochondrial tRNA structure.
    Keywords:  3-methylcytosine; METTL8; m(3)C; mitochondria; tRNA; tRNA modification
  22. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Feb 24. pii: 2517. [Epub ahead of print]23(5):
      Alternative splicing, the process by which exons within a pre-mRNA transcript are differentially joined or skipped, is crucial in skeletal muscle since it is required both during myogenesis and in post-natal life to reprogram the transcripts of contractile proteins, metabolic enzymes, and transcription factors in functionally distinct muscle fiber types. The importance of such events is underlined by the numerosity of pathological conditions caused by alternative splicing aberrations. Importantly, many skeletal muscle Ca2+ homeostasis genes are also regulated by alternative splicing mechanisms, among which is the Mitochondrial Ca2+ Uniporter (MCU) genuine activator MICU1 which regulates MCU opening upon cell stimulation. We have previously shown that murine skeletal muscle MICU1 is subjected to alternative splicing, thereby generating a splice variant-which was named MICU1.1-that confers unique properties to the mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake and ensuring sufficient ATP production for muscle contraction. Here we extended the analysis of MICU1 alternative splicing to human tissues, finding two additional splicing variants that were characterized by their ability to regulate mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake. Furthermore, we found that MICU1 alternative splicing is induced during myogenesis by the splicing factor RBFOX2. These results highlight the complexity of the alternative splicing mechanisms in skeletal muscle and the regulation of mitochondrial Ca2+ among tissues.
    Keywords:  alternative splicing; mitochondrial calcium homeostasis; myogenic differentiation; skeletal muscle
  23. Autophagy. 2022 Mar 11. 1-3
      The selective clearance of mitochondria by mitophagy is an important quality control mechanism for maintaining mitochondrial and cellular health. Iron chelation, for example by the compound deferiprone (DFP), leads to a specific form of PINK1-PRKN/Parkin-independent mitophagy; however, the molecular mechanisms underlying this are poorly understood. In our recent paper, we examined the role of the deSUMOylating enzyme SENP3 in DFP-induced mitophagy. We observed that SENP3 levels are enhanced by DFP treatment, and that SENP3 is essential for DFP-induced mitophagy. Furthermore, we identified the mitochondrial protein FIS1, which is also required for DFP-induced mitophagy, as a novel SUMO substrate. Our data demonstrate that SENP3-dependent deSUMOylation of FIS1 enhances FIS1 mitochondrial targeting, to promote mitophagy in response to DFP treatment. These findings offer new insight into the mechanisms underlying mitophagy upon iron chelation, and have relevance to the therapeutic potential of DFP in a number of disorders, including Parkinson disease. Abbreviations DFP: deferiprone; OMM: outer mitochondrial membrane. PD: Parkinson disease; SUMO: small ubiquitin like modifier.
    Keywords:  FIS1; SENP3; SUMO; iron chelation; mitophagy
  24. Biol Direct. 2022 Mar 08. 17(1): 6
      Adaptation of the lipid metabolism participates  in cancer pathogenesis, facilitating energy storage and influencing cell fate and control of molecular signalling. The tumour suppressor protein p53 is a molecular hub of cell metabolism, supporting antioxidant capabilities and counteracting oncogene-induced metabolic switch. Despite extensive work has described the p53-dependent metabolic pathways, a global profiling of p53 lipidome is still missing. By high-throughput untargeted lipidomic analysis of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) cells, we profile the p53-dependent lipidome, revealing intracellular and secreted lysophospholipids as one of the most affected class. Lysophospholipids are hydrolysed forms of phospholipids that results from phospholipase activity, which can function as signalling molecules, exerting non-cell-autonomous effects and instructing cancer microenvironment and immunity. Here, we reveal that p53 depletion reduces abundance of intracellular lysophosphatidyl-choline, -ethanolamine and -serine and their secretion in the extracellular environment. By integrating this with genomic and transcriptomic studies from in vitro models and human PDAC patients, we identified potential clinically relevant candidate p53-dependent phospholipases. In particular PLD3, PLCB4 and PLCD4 expression is regulated by p53 and chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by deep sequencing (ChIP-seq) indicates a direct transcriptional control on their chromatin accessible genomic loci. Consistently, PLD3, PLCB4 and PLCD4 expression correlates with p53 mutational status in PDAC patients, and these genes display prognostic significance. Overall, our data provide insights into lipidome rewiring driven by p53 loss and identify alterations of lysophospholipids as a potential molecular mechanism for p53-mediated non-cell-autonomous molecular signalling that instructs cancer microenvironment and immunity during PDAC pathogenesis.
    Keywords:  Lipid metabolism; Pancreatic cancer; Phospholipase; p53
  25. FEBS Lett. 2022 Mar 11.
      Damaged lysosomes can be repaired by calcium release-dependent recruitment of the ESCRT machinery. However, the involvement of annexins, another group of calcium-responding membrane repair proteins, has not been fully addressed. Here, we show that although all ubiquitously expressed annexins (ANXA1, A2, A4, A5, A6, A7, and A11) localize to damaged lysosomes, only ANXA1 and ANXA2 are important for repair. Their recruitment is calcium-dependent, ESCRT-independent, and selective towards lysosomes with large injuries. Lysosomal leakage was more severe when ANXA1 or ANXA2 was depleted compared to that of ESCRT components. These findings suggest that ANXA1 and ANXA2 constitute an additional repair mechanism that serves to minimize leakage from damaged lysosomes.
    Keywords:  ESCRT; lysosome; membrane permeabilization; membrane repair
  26. Cell Rep. 2022 Mar 08. pii: S2211-1247(22)00224-8. [Epub ahead of print]38(10): 110491
      The 12-h clock coordinates lipid homeostasis, energy metabolism, and stress rhythms via the transcriptional regulator XBP1. However, the biochemical and physiological bases for integrated control of the 12-h clock and diverse metabolic pathways remain unclear. Here, we show that steroid receptor coactivator SRC-3 coactivates XBP1 transcription and regulates hepatic 12-h cistrome and gene rhythmicity. Mice lacking SRC-3 show abnormal 12-h rhythms in hepatic transcription, metabolic functions, systemic energetics, and rate-limiting lipid metabolic processes, including triglyceride, phospholipid, and cardiolipin pathways. Notably, 12-h clock coactivation is not only preserved, with its cistromic activation priming ahead of the zeitgeber cue of light, but concomitant with rhythmic remodeling in the absence of food. These findings reveal that SRC-3 integrates the mammalian 12-h clock, energy metabolism, and membrane and lipid homeostasis and demonstrates a role for the 12-h clock machinery as an active transcriptional mechanism in anticipating physiological and metabolic energy needs and stresses.
    Keywords:  12-h clock; 12-h gene oscillations; SRC-3; XBP1; XBP1s; cardiolipin; cistromic reprogramming; energy metabolism; fasting regimen; lipid homeostasis; lipid metabolism; metabolic diseases; metabolic stresses; phospholipid; rhythmic remodeling; steroid receptor coactivator; stress rhythms; transcriptional coactivation; transcriptional coregulator; triglyceride
  27. Nat Commun. 2022 Mar 07. 13(1): 1199
      Deregulation of the BCL-2 family interaction network ensures cancer resistance to apoptosis and is a major challenge to current treatments. Cancer cells commonly evade apoptosis through upregulation of the BCL-2 anti-apoptotic proteins; however, more resistant cancers also downregulate or inactivate pro-apoptotic proteins to suppress apoptosis. Here, we find that apoptosis resistance in a diverse panel of solid and hematological malignancies is mediated by both overexpression of BCL-XL and an unprimed apoptotic state, limiting direct and indirect activation mechanisms of pro-apoptotic BAX. Both survival mechanisms can be overcome by the combination of an orally bioavailable BAX activator, BTSA1.2 with Navitoclax. The combination demonstrates synergistic efficacy in apoptosis-resistant cancer cells, xenografts, and patient-derived tumors while sparing healthy tissues. Additionally, functional assays and genomic markers are identified to predict sensitive tumors to the combination treatment. These findings advance the understanding of apoptosis resistance mechanisms and demonstrate a novel therapeutic strategy for cancer treatment.
  28. Front Oncol. 2022 ;12 783908
      The grade of malignancy differs among cancer cell types, yet it remains the burden of genetic studies to understand the reasons behind this observation. Metabolic studies of cancer, based on the Warburg effect or aerobic glycolysis, have also not provided any clarity. Instead, the significance of oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) has been found to play critical roles in aggressive cancer cells. In this perspective, metabolic symbiosis is addressed as one of the ultimate causes of the grade of cancer malignancy. Metabolic symbiosis gives rise to metabolic heterogeneities which enable cancer cells to acquire greater opportunities for proliferation and metastasis in tumor microenvironments. This study introduces a real-time new imaging technique to visualize metabolic symbiosis between cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) and cancer cells based on the metabolic oscillations in these cells. The causality of cellular oscillations in cancer cells and CAFs, connected through lactate transport, is a key point for the development of this novel technique.
    Keywords:  cancer; heterogeneity; malignancy; metabolic oscillations; symbiosis
  29. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Feb 27. pii: 2627. [Epub ahead of print]23(5):
      In the past decade, anti-tumour immune responses have been successfully exploited to improve the outcome of patients with different cancers. Significant progress has been made in taking advantage of different types of T cell functions for therapeutic purposes. Despite these achievements, only a subset of patients respond favorably to immunotherapy. Therefore, there is a need of novel approaches to improve the effector functions of immune cells and to recognize the major targets of anti-tumour immunity. A major hallmark of cancer is metabolic rewiring associated with switch of mitochondrial functions. These changes are a consequence of high energy demand and increased macromolecular synthesis in cancer cells. Such adaptations in tumour cells might generate novel targets of tumour therapy, including the generation of neoantigens. Here, we review the most recent advances in research on the immune response to mitochondrial proteins in different cellular conditions.
    Keywords:  T cell response; cancer neoantigens; mitochondria; mtDNA mutations; post translational modifications
  30. Aging Cell. 2022 Mar 09. e13583
      Sarcopenia is one of the main factors contributing to the disability of aged people. Among the possible molecular determinants of sarcopenia, increasing evidences suggest that chronic inflammation contributes to its development. However, a key unresolved question is the nature of the factors that drive inflammation during aging and that participate in the development of sarcopenia. In this regard, mitochondrial dysfunction and alterations in mitophagy induce inflammatory responses in a wide range of cells and tissues. However, whether accumulation of damaged mitochondria (MIT) in muscle could trigger inflammation in the context of aging is still unknown. Here, we demonstrate that BCL2 interacting protein 3 (BNIP3) plays a key role in the control of mitochondrial and lysosomal homeostasis, and mitigates muscle inflammation and atrophy during aging. We show that muscle BNIP3 expression increases during aging in mice and in some humans. BNIP3 deficiency alters mitochondrial function, decreases mitophagic flux and, surprisingly, induces lysosomal dysfunction, leading to an upregulation of Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9)-dependent inflammation and activation of the NLRP3 (nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain (NOD)-, leucine-rich repeat (LRR)-, and pyrin domain-containing protein 3) inflammasome in muscle cells and mouse muscle. Importantly, downregulation of muscle BNIP3 in aged mice exacerbates inflammation and muscle atrophy, and high BNIP3 expression in aged human subjects associates with a low inflammatory profile, suggesting a protective role for BNIP3 against age-induced muscle inflammation in mice and humans. Taken together, our data allow us to propose a new adaptive mechanism involving the mitophagy protein BNIP3, which links mitochondrial and lysosomal homeostasis with inflammation and is key to maintaining muscle health during aging.
    Keywords:  aging; inflammation; lysosome; mitochondria; mitophagy; muscle
  31. Cancers (Basel). 2022 Feb 27. pii: 1230. [Epub ahead of print]14(5):
      Cancer is one of the leading causes of mortality worldwide. Beyond standard therapeutic options, whose effectiveness is often reduced by drug resistance, repurposing of the antidiabetic drug metformin appears promising. Heme metabolism plays a pivotal role in the control of metabolic adaptations that sustain cancer cell proliferation. Recently, we demonstrated the existence of a functional axis between the heme synthetic enzyme ALAS1 and the heme exporter FLVCR1a exploited by cancer cells to down-modulate oxidative metabolism. In colorectal cancer cell lines, the inhibition of heme synthesis-export system was associated with reduced proliferation and survival. Here, we aim to assess whether the inhibition of the heme synthesis-export system affects the sensitivity of colorectal cancer cells to metformin. Our data demonstrate that the inhibition of this system, either by blocking heme efflux with a FLVCR1a specific shRNA or by inhibiting heme synthesis with 5-aminolevulinic acid, improves metformin anti-proliferative effect on colorectal cancer cell lines. In addition, we demonstrated that the same effect can be obtained in other kinds of cancer cell lines. Our study provides an in vitro proof of concept of the possibility to target heme metabolism in association with metformin to counteract cancer cell growth.
    Keywords:  ALAS1; FLVCR1; FLVCR1a; cancer; heme; metabolism; metformin; mitochondria; therapy
  32. Nat Cell Biol. 2022 Mar 07.
      As one of the most induced genes in activated macrophages, immune-responsive gene 1 (IRG1) encodes a mitochondrial metabolic enzyme catalysing the production of itaconic acid (ITA). Although ITA has an anti-inflammatory property, the underlying mechanisms are not fully understood. Here we show that ITA is a potent inhibitor of the TET-family DNA dioxygenases. ITA binds to the same site on TET2 as the co-substrate α-ketoglutarate, inhibiting TET2 catalytic activity. Lipopolysaccharide treatment, which induces Irg1 expression and ITA accumulation, inhibits Tet activity in macrophages. Transcriptome analysis reveals that TET2 is a major target of ITA in suppressing lipopolysaccharide-induced genes, including those regulated by the NF-κB and STAT signalling pathways. In vivo, ITA decreases the levels of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine, reduces lipopolysaccharide-induced acute pulmonary oedema as well as lung and liver injury, and protects mice against lethal endotoxaemia, depending on the catalytic activity of Tet2. Our study thus identifies ITA as an immune modulatory metabolite that selectively inhibits TET enzymes to dampen the inflammatory responses.
  33. J Exp Biol. 2022 Mar 01. pii: jeb243214. [Epub ahead of print]225(5):
      Phenotypic plasticity of physiological functions enables rapid responses to changing environments and may thereby increase the resilience of organisms to environmental change. Here, we argue that the principal hallmarks of life itself, self-replication and maintenance, are contingent on the plasticity of metabolic processes ('metabolic plasticity'). It is likely that the Last Universal Common Ancestor (LUCA), 4 billion years ago, already possessed energy-sensing molecules that could adjust energy (ATP) production to meet demand. The earliest manifestation of metabolic plasticity, switching cells from growth and storage (anabolism) to breakdown and ATP production (catabolism), coincides with the advent of Darwinian evolution. Darwinian evolution depends on reliable translation of information from information-carrying molecules, and on cell genealogy where information is accurately passed between cell generations. Both of these processes create fluctuating energy demands that necessitate metabolic plasticity to facilitate replication of genetic material and (proto)cell division. We propose that LUCA possessed rudimentary forms of these capabilities. Since LUCA, metabolic networks have increased in complexity. Generalist founder enzymes formed the basis of many derived networks, and complexity arose partly by recruiting novel pathways from the untapped pool of reactions that are present in cells but do not have current physiological functions (the so-called 'underground metabolism'). Complexity may thereby be specific to environmental contexts and phylogenetic lineages. We suggest that a Boolean network analysis could be useful to model the transition of metabolic networks over evolutionary time. Network analyses can be effective in modelling phenotypic plasticity in metabolic functions for different phylogenetic groups because they incorporate actual biochemical regulators that can be updated as new empirical insights are gained.
    Keywords:  Acclimation; Cell division; Environmental change; Metabolism; Network
  34. Front Immunol. 2022 ;13 768606
      To become resistant, cancer cells need to activate and maintain molecular defense mechanisms that depend on an energy trade-off between resistance and essential functions. Metabolic reprogramming has been shown to fuel cell growth and contribute to cancer drug resistance. Recently, changes in lipid metabolism have emerged as an important driver of resistance to anticancer agents. In this review, we highlight the role of choline metabolism with a focus on the phosphatidylcholine cycle in the regulation of resistance to therapy. We analyze the contribution of phosphatidylcholine and its metabolites to intracellular processes of cancer cells, both as the major cell membrane constituents and source of energy. We further extended our discussion about the role of phosphatidylcholine-derived lipid mediators in cellular communication between cancer and immune cells within the tumor microenvironment, as well as their pivotal role in the immune regulation of therapeutic failure. Changes in phosphatidylcholine metabolism are part of an adaptive program activated in response to stress conditions that contribute to cancer therapy resistance and open therapeutic opportunities for treating drug-resistant cancers.
    Keywords:  cancer drug resistance; immune microenvironment; immunoregulation; lipid mediators; lipid metabolism; phosphatidylcholine
  35. Nature. 2022 Mar 09.
      Cells display complex intracellular organization by compartmentalization of metabolic processes into organelles, yet the resolution of these structures in the native tissue context and their functional consequences are not well understood. Here we resolved the three-dimensional structural organization of organelles in large (more than 2.8 × 105 µm3) volumes of intact liver tissue (15 partial or full hepatocytes per condition) at high resolution (8 nm isotropic pixel size) using enhanced focused ion beam scanning electron microscopy1,2 imaging followed by deep-learning-based automated image segmentation and 3D reconstruction. We also performed a comparative analysis of subcellular structures in liver tissue of lean and obese mice and found substantial alterations, particularly in hepatic endoplasmic reticulum (ER), which undergoes massive structural reorganization characterized by marked disorganization of stacks of ER sheets3 and predominance of ER tubules. Finally, we demonstrated the functional importance of these structural changes by monitoring the effects of experimental recovery of the subcellular organization on cellular and systemic metabolism. We conclude that the hepatic subcellular organization of the ER architecture are highly dynamic, integrated with the metabolic state and critical for adaptive homeostasis and tissue health.
  36. Elife. 2022 Mar 08. pii: e73150. [Epub ahead of print]11
      Mechanical stress is known to fuel several hallmarks of cancer, ranging from genome instability to uncontrolled proliferation or invasion. Cancer cells are constantly challenged by mechanical stresses not only in the primary tumour but also during metastasis. However, this latter has seldom been studied with regards to mechanobiology, in particular resistance to anoikis, a cell death programme triggered by loss of cell adhesion. Here, we show in vitro that migrating breast cancer cells develop resistance to anoikis following their passage through microporous membranes mimicking confined migration (CM), a mechanical constriction that cancer cells encounter during metastasis. This CM-induced resistance was mediated by Inhibitory of Apoptosis Proteins, and sensitivity to anoikis could be restored after their inhibition using second mitochondria-derived activator of caspase (SMAC) mimetics. Anoikis-resistant mechanically stressed cancer cells displayed enhanced cell motility and evasion from natural killer cell-mediated immune surveillance, as well as a marked advantage to form lung metastatic lesions in mice. Our findings reveal that CM increases the metastatic potential of breast cancer cells.
    Keywords:  IAP; anoikis; cancer biology; caspases; cell biology; confinement; human; mechanobiology; metastasis; mouse
  37. Nature. 2022 Mar 09.
      Activated T cells secrete interferon-γ, which triggers intracellular tryptophan shortage by upregulating the indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase 1 (IDO1) enzyme1-4. Here we show that despite tryptophan depletion, in-frame protein synthesis continues across tryptophan codons. We identified tryptophan-to-phenylalanine codon reassignment (W>F) as the major event facilitating this process, and pinpointed tryptophanyl-tRNA synthetase (WARS1) as its source. We call these W>F peptides 'substitutants' to distinguish them from genetically encoded mutants. Using large-scale proteomics analyses, we demonstrate W>F substitutants to be highly abundant in multiple cancer types. W>F substitutants were enriched in tumours relative to matching adjacent normal tissues, and were associated with increased IDO1 expression, oncogenic signalling and the tumour-immune microenvironment. Functionally, W>F substitutants can impair protein activity, but also expand the landscape of antigens presented at the cell surface to activate T cell responses. Thus, substitutants are generated by an alternative decoding mechanism with potential effects on gene function and tumour immunoreactivity.
  38. J Theor Biol. 2022 Mar 07. pii: S0022-5193(22)00088-1. [Epub ahead of print] 111090
      We explored a computational model of astrocytic energy metabolism and demonstrated the theoretical plausibility that this type of pathway might be capable of coding information about stimuli in addition to its known functions in cellular energy and carbon budgets. Simulation results indicate that glycogenolytic glycolysis triggered by activation of adrenergic receptors can capture the intensity and duration features of a neuromodulator waveform and can respond in a dose-dependent manner, including non-linear state changes that are analogous to action potentials. We show how this metabolic pathway can translate information about external stimuli to production profiles of energy-carrying molecules such as lactate with a precision beyond simple signal transduction or non-linear amplification. The results suggest the operation of a metabolic state-machine from the spatially discontiguous yet interdependent metabolite elements. Such metabolic pathways might be well-positioned to code an additional level of salient information about a cell's environmental demands to impact its function. Our hypothesis has implications for the computational power and energy efficiency of the brain.
    Keywords:  biochemical networks; cellular information; dynamical systems; ligand pulse; metabolic states; synthetic biology
  39. Clin Sci (Lond). 2022 Mar 18. 136(5): 345-360
      Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a public health concern that affects over 200 million people worldwide and is associated with a tremendous economic burden. Therefore, deciphering the mechanisms underpinning CKD is crucial to decelerate its progression towards end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Renal tubular cells are populated with a high number of mitochondria, which produce cellular energy and modulate several important cellular processes, including generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), calcium homeostasis, proliferation, and apoptosis. Over the past few years, increasing evidence has implicated renal mitochondrial damage in the pathogenesis of common etiologies of CKD, such as diabetes, hypertension, metabolic syndrome (MetS), chronic renal ischemia, and polycystic kidney disease (PKD). However, most compelling evidence is based on preclinical studies because renal biopsies are not routinely performed in many patients with CKD. Previous studies have shown that urinary mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) copy numbers may serve as non-invasive biomarkers of renal mitochondrial dysfunction. Emerging data also suggest that CKD is associated with altered expression of mitochondria-related microRNAs (mitomiRs), which localize in mitochondria and regulate the expression of mtDNA and nucleus-encoded mitochondrial genes. This review summarizes relevant evidence regarding the involvement of renal mitochondrial injury and dysfunction in frequent forms of CKD. We further provide an overview of non-invasive biomarkers and potential mechanisms of renal mitochondrial damage, especially focusing on mtDNA and mitomiRs.
    Keywords:  Chronic kidney disease; Metabolic syndrome; Mitochondria; PKD; microRNA; mtDNA
  40. Curr Opin Microbiol. 2022 Mar 02. pii: S1369-5274(22)00018-2. [Epub ahead of print]67 102141
      In order to understand the evolution of multicellularity, we must understand how and why selection favors the first steps in this process: the evolution of simple multicellular groups. Multicellularity has evolved many times in independent lineages with fundamentally different ecologies, yet no work has yet systematically examined these diverse selective drivers. Here we review recent developments in systematics, comparative biology, paleontology, synthetic biology, theory, and experimental evolution, highlighting ten selective drivers of simple multicellularity. Our survey highlights the many ecological opportunities available for simple multicellularity, and stresses the need for additional work examining how these first steps impact the subsequent evolution of complex multicellularity.
  41. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2022 ;10 833127
      Inorganic polyphosphate (polyP) is an ancient, ubiquitous, and well-conserved polymer which is present in all the studied organisms. It is formed by individual subunits of orthophosphate which are linked by structurally similar bonds and isoenergetic to those found in ATP. While the metabolism and the physiological roles of polyP have already been described in some organisms, including bacteria and yeast, the exact role of this polymer in mammalian physiology still remains poorly understood. In these organisms, polyP shows a co-localization with mitochondria, and its role as a key regulator of the stress responses, including the maintenance of appropriate bioenergetics, has already been demonstrated by our group and others. Here, using Wild-type (Wt) and MitoPPX (cells enzymatically depleted of mitochondrial polyP) SH-SY5Y cells, we have conducted a comprehensive study of the status of cellular physiology, using proteomics and metabolomics approaches. Our results suggest a clear dysregulation of mitochondrial physiology, especially of bioenergetics, in MitoPPX cells when compared with Wt cells. Moreover, the effects induced by the enzymatic depletion of polyP are similar to those present in the mitochondrial dysfunction that is observed in neurodegenerative disorders and in neuronal aging. Based on our findings, the metabolism of mitochondrial polyP could be a valid and innovative pharmacological target in these conditions.
    Keywords:  OXPHOS; SH-SY5Y cells; bioenergetics; inorganic polyphosphate; metabolomics; mitochondria; mitochondrial metabolism; proteomics
  42. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2022 Mar 09.
      Pioneer factors are transcription factors with the unique ability to initiate opening of closed chromatin. The stability of cell identity relies on robust mechanisms that maintain the epigenome and chromatin accessibility to transcription factors. Pioneer factors counter these mechanisms to implement new cell fates through binding of DNA target sites in closed chromatin and introduction of active-chromatin histone modifications, primarily at enhancers. As master regulators of enhancer activation, pioneers are thus crucial for the implementation of correct cell fate decisions in development, and as such, they hold tremendous potential for therapy through cellular reprogramming. The power of pioneer factors to reshape the epigenome also presents an Achilles heel, as their misexpression has major pathological consequences, such as in cancer. In this Review, we discuss the emerging mechanisms of pioneer factor functions and their roles in cell fate specification, cellular reprogramming and cancer.
  43. Cancer Res. 2022 Feb 28. pii: canres.CAN-21-3983-E.2021. [Epub ahead of print]
      Metabolic reprogramming is a hallmark of malignant transformation, and loss of isozyme diversity (LID) contributes to this process. Isozymes are distinct proteins that catalyze the same enzymatic reaction but can have different kinetic characteristics, subcellular localization, and tissue specificity. Cancer-dominant isozymes that catalyze rate-limiting reactions in critical metabolic processes represent potential therapeutic targets. Here we examined the isozyme expression patterns of 1,319 enzymatic reactions in 14 cancer types and their matching normal tissues using TCGA mRNA expression data to identify isozymes that become cancer dominant. Of the reactions analyzed, 357 demonstrated LID in at least one cancer type. Assessment of the expression patterns in over 600 cell lines in the cancer cell line encyclopedia showed that these reactions reflect cellular changes instead of differences in tissue composition; 50% of the LID-affected isozymes showed cancer-dominant expression in the corresponding cell lines. The functional importance of the cancer-dominant isozymes was assessed in genome-wide CRISPR and RNAi loss-of-function screens: 17% were critical for cell proliferation, indicating their potential as therapeutic targets. Lists of prioritized novel metabolic targets were developed for 14 cancer types; the most broadly shared and functionally validated target was acetyl-CoA carboxylase-1 (ACC1). Small molecule inhibition of ACC reduced breast cancer viability in vitro and suppressed tumor growth in cell line- and patient-derived xenografts in vivo. Evaluation of the effects of drug treatment revealed significant metabolic and transcriptional perturbations. Overall, this systematic analysis of isozyme expression patterns elucidates an important aspect of cancer metabolic plasticity and reveals putative metabolic vulnerabilities.
  44. Cell. 2022 Mar 02. pii: S0092-8674(22)00200-8. [Epub ahead of print]
      Every cell in our body accumulates mutations throughout life, and sometimes an unfortunate combination of mutations drives the initiation of cancer. A new study infers extraordinarily detailed timelines of pre-cancerous evolution by sequencing single-cell genomes in patients with blood malignancies-finding that key mutations can arrive decades before diagnosis.