bims-camemi Biomed News
on Mitochondrial metabolism in cancer
Issue of 2022‒03‒20
fifty-two papers selected by
Christian Frezza
University of Cambridge, MRC Cancer Unit

  1. Trends Biochem Sci. 2022 Mar 12. pii: S0968-0004(22)00065-2. [Epub ahead of print]
      Tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle is a major hub for catabolic and anabolic reactions, yet cellular metabolic adaptations following its inhibition are largely unknown. Using multi-tiered omics approaches, Ryan et al. have shown convergent activation of the integrated stress response (ISR) through ATF4-mediated rewiring of cellular amino acid and redox metabolic pathways.
    Keywords:  ATF4; TCA cycle; fumarate hydratase; glutathione synthesis; integrated stress response; succinate dehydrogenase
  2. Eur Urol Focus. 2022 Mar 11. pii: S2405-4569(21)00312-6. [Epub ahead of print]
      BACKGROUND: Succinate dehydrogenase-deficient and fumarate hydratase-deficient renal cell carcinomas (SDHRCC and FHRCC) are rare kidney cancers driven by loss of TCA cycle enzymes.OBJECTIVE: To define and compare the genomic and metabolomic hallmarks of SDHRCC and FHRCC.
    DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: We analyzed SDHRCC and FHRCC tumors with either immunohistochemical evidence of loss of protein expression or genomically confirmed biallelic inactivation of SDHA/B/C/D/AF2 or FH.
    OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS AND STATISTICAL ANALYSIS: Somatic alterations were identified using clinical pipelines, with allele-specific copy number alterations (CNAs) identified using FACETS. Mass spectrometry-based metabolomic profiling was performed on available SDHRCC and FHRCC tumors.
    RESULTS AND LIMITATIONS: Tumors were analyzed for 42 patients (25 FHRCC, 17 SDHRCC). In the germline analysis, 16/17 SDHRCCs harbored a germline alteration in SDHB, whereas only 17/22 FHRCCs had pathogenic germline FH variants. SDHRCCs had a lower mutation burden (p = 0.02) and CNA burden (p = 0.0002) than FHRCCs. All SDHRCCs presented with deletion of chromosome 1p (overlapping SDHB), whereas FHRCCs demonstrated high but not ubiquitous loss of 1q (FH locus). Both SDHRCCs and FHRCCs exhibited significant idiopathic accumulation of the metabolite guanine. FHRCC tumors had elevated levels of urea cycle metabolites (argininosuccinate, citrulline, and fumarate), whereas SDHRCC tumors had elevation of numerous acylcarnitines. These characteristic metabolic changes allowed identification of a previously unrecognized SDH-deficient RCC.
    CONCLUSIONS: Despite sharing similar genetic etiology, SDHRCC and FHRCC represent distinct molecular entities with unique genetic and metabolic abnormalities.
    PATIENT SUMMARY: Kidney cancers driven by loss of the gene encoding either the succinate dehydrogenase or fumarate hydratase enzyme are rare. We sought to define and compare the genetic and metabolic features of these cancer entities.
    Keywords:  Cancer genomics; FH; FHRCC; Metabolism; Renal cell carcinoma; SDH; SDHRCC
  3. FEBS Open Bio. 2022 Mar 18.
      Mutations in genes encoding cytochrome c oxidase (COX; mitochondrial complex IV) subunits and assembly factors (e.g., SCO1, SCO2, COA6) are linked to severe metabolic syndromes. Notwithstanding that SCO2 is under transcriptional control of tumour suppressor p53, the role of mitochondrial complex IV dysfunction in cancer metabolism remains obscure. Herein, we demonstrate that the loss of SCO2 in HCT116 colorectal cancer cells leads to significant metabolic and signaling perturbations. Specifically, abrogation of SCO2 increased NAD+ regenerating reactions and decreased glucose oxidation through citric acid cycle while enhancing pyruvate carboxylation. This was accompanied by a reduction in amino acid levels and the accumulation of lipid droplets. In addition, SCO2 loss resulted in hyperactivation of the IGF1R/AKT axis with paradoxical downregulation of mTOR signaling which was accompanied by increased AMPK activity. Accordingly, abrogation of SCO2 expression appears to increase the sensitivity of cells to IGF1R and AKT, but not mTOR inhibitors. Finally, the loss of SCO2 was associated with reduced proliferation and enhanced migration of HCT116 cells. Collectively, herein we describe potential adaptive signaling and metabolic perturbations triggered by mitochondrial complex IV dysfunction.
    Keywords:  AKT; AMPK; SCO2; cytochrome C oxidase; mTOR; metabolism; mitochondrial dysfunction
  4. IUBMB Life. 2022 Mar 18.
      Multiple mitochondrial matrix enzymes playing key roles in metabolism require cofactors for their action. Due to the high impermeability of the mitochondrial inner membrane, these cofactors need to be synthesized within the mitochondria or be imported, themselves or one of their precursors, into the organelles. Transporters belonging to the protein family of mitochondrial carriers have been identified to transport the coenzymes: thiamine pyrophosphate, coenzyme A, FAD and NAD+ , which are all structurally similar to nucleotides and derived from different B-vitamins. These mitochondrial cofactors bind more or less tightly to their enzymes and, after having been involved in a specific reaction step, are regenerated, spontaneously or by other enzymes, to return to their active form, ready for the next catalysis round. Disease-causing mutations in the mitochondrial cofactor carrier genes compromise not only the transport reaction but also the activity of all mitochondrial enzymes using that particular cofactor and the metabolic pathways in which the cofactor-dependent enzymes are involved. The mitochondrial transport, metabolism and diseases of the cofactors thiamine pyrophosphate, coenzyme A, FAD and NAD+ are the focus of this review.
    Keywords:  coenzyme; coenzyme A; flavin adenine dinucleotide; mitochondria; mitochondrial carrier family SLC25; nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide; thiamine pyrophosphate
  5. Mol Ther Methods Clin Dev. 2022 Mar 10. 24 380-393
      Ex vivo expansion conditions used to generate T cells for immunotherapy are thought to adopt metabolic phenotypes that impede therapeutic efficacy in vivo. The comparison of five different culture media used for clinical T cell expansion revealed unique optima based on different output variables, including proliferation, differentiation, function, activation, and mitochondrial phenotypes. The extent of proliferation and function depended on the culture media rather than stimulation conditions. Moreover, the expanded T cell end products adapted their metabolism when switched to a different media formulation, as shown by glucose and glutamine uptake and patterns of glucose isotope labeling. However, adoption of these metabolic phenotypes was uncoupled to T cell function. Expanded T cell products cultured in ascites from ovarian cancer patients displayed suppressed mitochondrial activity and function irrespective of the ex vivo expansion media. Thus, ex vivo T cell expansion media have profound impacts on metabolism and function.
    Keywords:  13C tracer analysis; T cell expansion; cell-based immunotherapy; culture media; metabolism; phenotype
  6. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2022 ;10 848214
      Mitochondria are double membrane organelles within eukaryotic cells, which act as cellular power houses, depending on the continuous availability of oxygen. Nevertheless, under hypoxia, metabolic disorders disturb the steady-state of mitochondrial network, which leads to dysfunction of mitochondria, producing a large amount of reactive oxygen species that cause further damage to cells. Compelling evidence suggests that the dysfunction of mitochondria under hypoxia is linked to a wide spectrum of human diseases, including obstructive sleep apnea, diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disorders. The functional dichotomy of mitochondria instructs the necessity of a quality-control mechanism to ensure a requisite number of functional mitochondria that are present to fit cell needs. Mitochondrial dynamics plays a central role in monitoring the condition of mitochondrial quality. The fission-fusion cycle is regulated to attain a dynamic equilibrium under normal conditions, however, it is disrupted under hypoxia, resulting in mitochondrial fission and selective removal of impaired mitochondria by mitophagy. Current researches suggest that the molecular machinery underlying these well-orchestrated processes are coordinated at mitochondria-endoplasmic reticulum contact sites. Here, we establish a holistic understanding of how mitochondrial dynamics and mitophagy are regulated at mitochondria-endoplasmic reticulum contact sites under hypoxia.
    Keywords:  hypoxia; mitochondria; mitochondria-endoplasmic reticulum contact sites; mitochondrial dynamics; mitophagy
  7. Nat Commun. 2022 Mar 14. 13(1): 1300
      Although autophagy is critical for pancreatic β-cell function, the role and mechanism of mitophagy in β-cells are unclear. We studied the role of lysosomal Ca2+ in TFEB activation by mitochondrial or metabolic stress and that of TFEB-mediated mitophagy in β-cell function. Mitochondrial or metabolic stress induced mitophagy through lysosomal Ca2+ release, increased cytosolic Ca2+ and TFEB activation. Lysosomal Ca2+ replenishment by ER- > lysosome Ca2+ refilling was essential for mitophagy. β-cell-specific Tfeb knockout (TfebΔβ-cell) abrogated high-fat diet (HFD)-induced mitophagy, accompanied by increased ROS and reduced mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase activity or O2 consumption. TfebΔβ-cell mice showed aggravation of HFD-induced glucose intolerance and impaired insulin release. Metabolic or mitochondrial stress induced TFEB-dependent expression of mitophagy receptors including Ndp52 and Optn, contributing to the increased mitophagy. These results suggest crucial roles of lysosomal Ca2+ release coupled with ER- > lysosome Ca2+ refilling and TFEB activation in mitophagy and maintenance of pancreatic β-cell function during metabolic stress.
  8. Redox Biol. 2022 Mar 02. pii: S2213-2317(22)00049-0. [Epub ahead of print]51 102277
      Glutaredoxin 2 (Grx2) is a glutathione-dependent oxidoreductase that facilitates glutathionylation/de-glutathionylation of target proteins. The main variants of Grx2 are the mitochondrial Grx2a and the cytosolic Grx2c. The aim of this study was to investigate the specific role of mitochondrial Grx2 in vivo using a mitochondrial Grx2 depleted (mGD) mouse model. mGD mice displayed an altered mitochondrial morphology and functioning. Furthermore, the lack of Grx2 in the mitochondrial compartment is responsible for increased blood lipid levels under a normal diet, a metabolic dysfunction-associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD) phenotype and a decreased glycogen storage capacity. In addition, depleting Grx2a leads to an alteration in abundance and in glutathionylation pattern of different mitochondrial enzymes, highlighting the selective role of Grx2 in the regulation of metabolic pathways. Overall, our findings identify the involvement of mitochondrial Grx2a in the regulation of cell metabolism and highlight a previously unknown association between Grx2 and MAFLD.
    Keywords:  Glutaredoxin 2; Lipid metabolism; MAFLD; Mitochondria; Mouse model; ROS production
  9. Cell Stress Chaperones. 2022 Mar 16.
      Mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) remain closely tethered by contact sites to maintain unhindered biosynthetic, metabolic, and signalling functions. Apart from its constituent proteins, contact sites localize ER-unfolded protein response (UPR) sensors like Ire1 and PERK, indicating the importance of ER-mitochondria communication during stress. In the mitochondrial sub-compartment-specific proteotoxic model of yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, we show that an intact ER-UPR pathway is important in stress tolerance of mitochondrial intermembrane space (IMS) proteotoxic stress, while disrupting the pathway is beneficial during matrix stress. Deletion of IRE1 and HAC1 leads to accumulation of misfolding-prone proteins in mitochondrial IMS indicating the importance of intact ER-UPR pathway in enduring mitochondrial IMS proteotoxic stresses. Although localized proteotoxic stress within mitochondrial IMS does not induce ER-UPR, its artificial activation helps cells to better withstand the IMS proteotoxicity. Furthermore, overexpression of individual components of ER-mitochondria contact sites is found to be beneficial for general mitochondrial proteotoxic stress, in an Ire1-Hac1-independent manner.
    Keywords:  ER stress; ER-mitochondria contact sites; Mito-UPR; Protein homeostasis; Proteotoxic stress; Unfolded protein response
  10. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2022 ;10 786268
      Mitochondria are complex organelles containing 13 proteins encoded by mitochondrial DNA and over 1,000 proteins encoded on nuclear DNA. Many mitochondrial proteins are associated with the inner or outer mitochondrial membranes, either peripherally or as integral membrane proteins, while others reside in either of the two soluble mitochondrial compartments, the mitochondrial matrix and the intermembrane space. The biogenesis of the five complexes of the oxidative phosphorylation system are exemplars of this complexity. These large multi-subunit complexes are comprised of more than 80 proteins with both membrane integral and peripheral associations and require soluble, membrane integral and peripherally associated assembly factor proteins for their biogenesis. Mutations causing human mitochondrial disease can lead to defective complex assembly due to the loss or altered function of the affected protein and subsequent destabilization of its interactors. Here we couple sodium carbonate extraction with quantitative mass spectrometry (SCE-MS) to track changes in the membrane association of the mitochondrial proteome across multiple human knockout cell lines. In addition to identifying the membrane association status of over 840 human mitochondrial proteins, we show how SCE-MS can be used to understand the impacts of defective complex assembly on protein solubility, giving insights into how specific subunits and sub-complexes become destabilized.
    Keywords:  OXPHOS (oxidative phosphorylation); carbonate extraction; membrane protein; mitochondria; proteomic analyses; respiratory chain assembly
  11. EMBO Rep. 2022 Mar 17. e52606
      Mitochondrial dysfunction can either extend or decrease Caenorhabditis elegans lifespan, depending on whether transcriptionally regulated responses can elicit durable stress adaptation to otherwise detrimental lesions. Here, we test the hypothesis that enhanced metabolic flexibility is sufficient to circumvent bioenergetic abnormalities associated with the phenotypic threshold effect, thereby transforming short-lived mitochondrial mutants into long-lived ones. We find that CEST-2.2, a carboxylesterase mainly localizes in the intestine, may stimulate the survival of mitochondrial deficient animals. We report that genetic manipulation of cest-2.2 expression has a minor lifespan impact on wild-type nematodes, whereas its overexpression markedly extends the lifespan of complex I-deficient gas-1(fc21) mutants. We profile the transcriptome and lipidome of cest-2.2 overexpressing animals and show that CEST-2.2 stimulates lipid metabolism and fatty acid beta-oxidation, thereby enhancing mitochondrial respiratory capacity through complex II and LET-721/ETFDH, despite the inherited genetic lesion of complex I. Together, our findings unveil a metabolic pathway that, through the tissue-specific mobilization of lipid deposits, may influence the longevity of mitochondrial mutant C. elegans.
    Keywords:   Caenorhabditis elegans ; carboxylesterase CEST-2.2; epigenetics; lipid metabolism; mitochondria
  12. Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol. 2022 Mar 09. pii: S1095-6433(22)00043-5. [Epub ahead of print]268 111185
      Energetically demanding conditions such as hypoxia and exercise favour anaerobic metabolism (glycolysis), which leads to acidification of the cellular milieu from ATP hydrolysis and accumulation of the anaerobic end-product, lactate. Cellular acidification may damage mitochondrial proteins and/or alter the H+ gradient across the mitochondrial inner membrane, which may in turn impact mitochondrial respiration and thus aerobic ATP production. Naked mole-rats are among the most hypoxia-tolerant mammals, and putatively experience intermittent environmental and systemic hypoxia while resting and exercising in their underground burrows. Previous studies in naked mole-rat brain, heart, and skeletal muscle mitochondria have demonstrated adaptations that favour improved efficiency in hypoxic conditions; however, the impact of cellular acidification on mitochondrial function has not been explored. We hypothesized that, relative to hypoxia-intolerant mice, naked mole-rat cardiac mitochondrial respiration is less sensitive to cellular pH changes. To test this, we used high-resolution respirometry to measure mitochondrial respiration by permeabilized cardiac muscle fibres from naked mole-rats and mice exposed in vitro to a pH range from 6.6 to 7.6. Surprisingly, we found that acute pH changes do not impact cardiac mitochondrial respiration or compromise mitochondrial integrity in either species. Our results suggest that acute alterations of cellular pH have minimal impact on cardiac mitochondrial respiration.
    Keywords:  Acidity; Electron transport system; Mitochondrial integrity; alkaline; heart; oxidative phosphorylation
  13. J Biol Chem. 2022 Mar 15. pii: S0021-9258(22)00275-7. [Epub ahead of print] 101835
      In cells undergoing cell-intrinsic apoptosis, mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization (MOMP) typically marks an irreversible step in the cell death process. However, in some cases a subpopulation of treated cells can exhibit a sublethal response, termed "minority MOMP". In this phenomenon, the affected cells survive, despite a low level of caspase activation and subsequent limited activation of the endonuclease CAD (DFFB). Consequently, these cells can experience DNA damage, increasing the probability of oncogenesis. However, little is known about the minority MOMP response. To discover genes that affect the MOMP response in individual cells, we conducted an imaging-based phenotypic siRNA screen. We identified multiple candidate genes whose downregulation increased the heterogeneity of MOMP within single cells, among which were genes related to mitochondrial dynamics and mitophagy that participate in the mitochondrial quality control (MQC) system. Furthermore, to test the hypothesis that functional MQC is important for reducing the frequency of minority MOMP, we developed an assay to measure the clonogenic survival of caspase-engaged cells. We found that cells deficient in various MQC genes were indeed prone to aberrant post-MOMP survival. Our data highlight the important role of proteins involved in mitochondrial dynamics and mitophagy in preventing apoptotic dysregulation and oncogenesis.
    Keywords:  apoptosis; mitochondrial dynamics; mitochondrial heterogeneity; mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization; mitochondrial quality control; mitophagy; oncogenesis; siRNA screen
  14. Curr Biol. 2022 Mar 08. pii: S0960-9822(22)00328-1. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitochondrial damage (MtD) represents a dramatic change in cellular homeostasis, necessitating metabolic changes and stimulating mitophagy. One rapid response to MtD is a rapid peri-mitochondrial actin polymerization termed ADA (acute damage-induced actin). The activation mechanism for ADA is unknown. Here, we use mitochondrial depolarization or the complex I inhibitor metformin to induce ADA. We show that two parallel signaling pathways are required for ADA. In one pathway, increased cytosolic calcium in turn activates PKC-β, Rac, WAVE regulatory complex, and Arp2/3 complex. In the other pathway, a drop in cellular ATP in turn activates AMPK (through LKB1), Cdc42, and FMNL formins. We also identify putative guanine nucleotide exchange factors for Rac and Cdc42, Trio and Fgd1, respectively, whose phosphorylation states increase upon mitochondrial depolarization and whose suppression inhibits ADA. The depolarization-induced calcium increase is dependent on the mitochondrial sodium-calcium exchanger NCLX, suggesting initial mitochondrial calcium efflux. We also show that ADA inhibition results in enhanced mitochondrial shape changes upon mitochondrial depolarization, suggesting that ADA inhibits these shape changes. These depolarization-induced shape changes are not fragmentation but a circularization of the inner mitochondrial membrane, which is dependent on the inner mitochondrial membrane protease Oma1. ADA inhibition increases the proteolytic processing of an Oma1 substrate, the dynamin GTPase Opa1. These results show that ADA requires the combined action of the Arp2/3 complex and formin proteins to polymerize a network of actin filaments around mitochondria and that the ADA network inhibits the rapid mitochondrial shape changes that occur upon mitochondrial depolarization.
    Keywords:  AMPK; Arp2/3 complex; CCCP; FMNL formins; OMA1; OPA1; PKCβ; actin; calcium; mitochondrial depolarization
  15. Annu Rev Biochem. 2022 Feb 14.
      In the decade since the discovery of the innate immune cyclic GMP-AMP synthase (cGAS)- 2'3'-cyclic GMP-AMP (cGAMP)- stimulator of interferon genes (STING) pathway, its proper activation and dysregulation have been rapidly implicated in many aspects of human disease. Understanding the biochemical, cellular, and regulatory mechanisms of this pathway is critical to developing therapeutic strategies that either harness it to boost defense or inhibit it to prevent unwanted inflammation. In this review, we first discuss how the second messenger cGAMP is synthesized by cGAS in response to double-stranded DNA and cGAMP's subsequent activation of cell-type-dependent STING signaling cascades with differential physiological consequences. We then review how cGAMP as an immunotransmitter mediates tightly controlled cell-cell communication by being exported from producing cells and imported into responding cells via cell-type-specific transporters. Finally, we review mechanisms by which the cGAS-cGAMP-STING pathway responds to different sources of mislocalized double-stranded DNA in pathogen defense, cancer, and autoimmune diseases. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Biochemistry, Volume 91 is June 2022. Please see for revised estimates.
  16. Cell Death Dis. 2022 Mar 16. 13(3): 241
      Mitochondria are the major organelles in sensing cellular stress and inducing the response for cell survival. Mitochondrial Lon has been identified as an important stress protein involved in regulating proliferation, metastasis, and apoptosis in cancer cells. However, the mechanism of retrograde signaling by Lon on mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) damage remains to be elucidated. Here we report the role of Lon in the response to cisplatin-induced mtDNA damage and oxidative stress, which confers cancer cells on cisplatin resistance via modulating calcium levels in mitochondria and cytosol. First, we found that cisplatin treatment on oral cancer cells caused oxidative damage of mtDNA and induced Lon expression. Lon overexpression in cancer cells decreased while Lon knockdown sensitized the cytotoxicity towards cisplatin treatment. We further identified that cisplatin-induced Lon activates the PYK2-SRC-STAT3 pathway to stimulate Bcl-2 and IL-6 expression, leading to the cytotoxicity resistance to cisplatin. Intriguingly, we found that activation of this pathway is through an increase of intracellular calcium (Ca2+) via NCLX, a mitochondrial Na+/Ca2+ exchanger. We then verified that NCLX expression is dependent on Lon levels; Lon interacts with and activates NCLX activity. NCLX inhibition increased the level of mitochondrial calcium and sensitized the cytotoxicity to cisplatin in vitro and in vivo. In summary, mitochondrial Lon-induced cisplatin resistance is mediated by calcium release into cytosol through NCLX, which activates calcium-dependent PYK2-SRC-STAT3-IL-6 pathway. Thus, our work uncovers the novel retrograde signaling by mitochondrial Lon on resistance to cisplatin-induced mtDNA stress, indicating the potential use of Lon and NCLX inhibitors for better clinical outcomes in chemoresistant cancer patients.
  17. Cell Chem Biol. 2022 Mar 04. pii: S2451-9456(22)00087-3. [Epub ahead of print]
      The small GTPase Ras homolog enriched in brain (Rheb) plays a critical role in activating the mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1), a signaling hub that regulates various cellular functions. We recently observed nuclear mTORC1 activity, raising an intriguing question as to how Rheb, which is known to be farnesylated and localized to intracellular membranes, regulates nuclear mTORC1. In this study, we found that active Rheb is present in the nucleus and required for nuclear mTORC1 activity. We showed that inhibition of farnesyltransferase reduced cytosolic, but not nuclear, mTORC1 activity. Furthermore, a farnesylation-deficient Rheb mutant, with preferential nuclear localization and specific lysosome tethering, enables nuclear and cytosolic mTORC1 activities, respectively. These data suggest that non-farnesylated Rheb is capable of interacting with and activating mTORC1, providing mechanistic insights into the molecular functioning of Rheb as well as regulation of the recently observed, active pool of nuclear mTORC1.
    Keywords:  Compartmentation; PTM; TSC; biosensor; lipid modification; mTOR; small GTPase
  18. J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2022 Mar 12. 41(1): 95
      BACKGROUND: Mitochondrial fusion and fission proteins have been nominated as druggable targets in cancer. Whether their inhibition is efficacious in triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) that almost invariably develops chemoresistance is unknown.METHODS: We used a combination of bioinformatics analyses of cancer genomic databases, genetic and pharmacological Optic Atrophy 1 (OPA1) inhibition, mitochondrial function and morphology measurements, micro-RNA (miRNA) profiling and formal epistatic analyses to address the role of OPA1 in TNBC proliferation, migration, and invasion in vitro and in vivo.
    RESULTS: We identified a signature of OPA1 upregulation in breast cancer that correlates with worse prognosis. Accordingly, OPA1 inhibition could reduce breast cancer cells proliferation, migration, and invasion in vitro and in vivo. Mechanistically, while OPA1 silencing did not reduce mitochondrial respiration, it increased levels of miRNAs of the 148/152 family known to inhibit tumor growth and invasiveness. Indeed, these miRNAs were epistatic to OPA1 in the regulation of TNBC cells growth and invasiveness.
    CONCLUSIONS: Our data show that targeted inhibition of the mitochondrial fusion protein OPA1 curtails TNBC growth and nominate OPA1 as a druggable target in TNBC.
  19. Trends Cell Biol. 2022 Mar 14. pii: S0962-8924(22)00036-8. [Epub ahead of print]
      Gene transcription and cell metabolism are two fundamental biological processes that mutually regulate each other. Upregulated or altered expression of glucose metabolic genes in glycolysis and gluconeogenesis is a major driving force of enhanced aerobic glycolysis in tumor cells. Importantly, glycolytic and gluconeogenic enzymes in tumor cells acquire moonlighting functions and directly regulate gene expression by modulating chromatin or transcriptional complexes. The mutual regulation between cellular metabolism and gene expression in a feedback mechanism constitutes a unique feature of tumor cells and provides specific molecular and functional targets for cancer treatment.
    Keywords:  cancer; gene expression; gluconeogenesis; glycolysis; metabolism
  20. Trends Biochem Sci. 2022 Mar 15. pii: S0968-0004(22)00050-0. [Epub ahead of print]
      Insulin stimulates glucose uptake into adipocytes via mTORC2/AKT signaling and GLUT4 translocation and directs glucose carbons into glycolysis, glycerol for TAG synthesis, and de novo lipogenesis. Adipocyte insulin resistance is an early indicator of type 2 diabetes in obesity, a worldwide health crisis. Thus, understanding the interplay between insulin signaling and central carbon metabolism pathways that maintains adipocyte function, blood glucose levels, and metabolic homeostasis is critical. While classically viewed through the lens of individual enzyme-substrate interactions, advances in mass spectrometry are beginning to illuminate adipocyte signaling and metabolic networks on an unprecedented scale, yet this is just the tip of the iceberg. Here, we review how 'omics approaches help to elucidate adipocyte insulin action in cellular time and space.
    Keywords:  glucose; insulin; metabolism; metabolomics; phosphoproteomics; white and brown adipose tissue
  21. Cell Rep. 2022 Mar 15. pii: S2211-1247(22)00247-9. [Epub ahead of print]38(11): 110511
      An epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) phenotype with cancer stem cell-like properties is a critical feature of aggressive/metastatic tumors, but the mechanism(s) that promote it and its relation to metabolic stress remain unknown. Here we show that Collapsin Response Mediator Protein 2A (CRMP2A) is unexpectedly and reversibly induced in cancer cells in response to multiple metabolic stresses, including low glucose and hypoxia, and inhibits EMT/stemness. Loss of CRMP2A, when metabolic stress decreases (e.g., around blood vessels in vivo) or by gene deletion, induces extensive microtubule remodeling, increased glutamine utilization toward pyrimidine synthesis, and an EMT/stemness phenotype with increased migration, chemoresistance, tumor initiation capacity/growth, and metastatic potential. In a cohort of 27 prostate cancer patients with biopsies from primary tumors and distant metastases, CRMP2A expression decreases in the metastatic versus primary tumors. CRMP2A is an endogenous molecular brake on cancer EMT/stemness and its loss increases the aggressiveness and metastatic potential of tumors.
    Keywords:  cytoskeleton; metabolism; metastasis; microtubule; mitochondria; stress
  22. Mol Ther Oncolytics. 2022 Mar 17. 24 695-706
      Cancer cell energy metabolism plays an important role in dictating the efficacy of oncolysis by oncolytic viruses. To understand the role of multiple myeloma metabolism in reovirus oncolysis, we performed semi-targeted mass spectrometry-based metabolomics on 12 multiple myeloma cell lines and revealed a negative correlation between NAD+ levels and susceptibility to oncolysis. Likewise, a negative correlation was observed between the activity of the rate-limiting NAD+ synthesis enzyme NAMPT and oncolysis. Indeed, depletion of NAD+ levels by pharmacological inhibition of NAMPT using FK866 sensitized several myeloma cell lines to reovirus-induced killing. The myelomas that were most sensitive to this combination therapy expressed a functional p53 and had a metabolic and transcriptomic profile favoring mitochondrial metabolism over glycolysis, with the highest synergistic effect in KMS12 cells. Mechanistically, U-13C-labeled glucose flux, extracellular flux analysis, multiplex proteomics, and cell death assays revealed that the reovirus + FK866 combination caused mitochondrial dysfunction and energy depletion, leading to enhanced autophagic cell death in KMS12 cells. Finally, the combination of reovirus and NAD+ depletion achieved greater antitumor effects in KMS12 tumors in vivo and patient-derived CD138+ multiple myeloma cells. These findings identify NAD+ depletion as a potential combinatorial strategy to enhance the efficacy of oncolytic virus-based therapies in multiple myeloma.
    Keywords:  FK866; NAD+; NAMPT; aerobic glycolysis; autophagy; cancer metabolism; mitochondrial metabolism; oncolytic virus; p53; reovirus
  23. Annu Rev Biochem. 2022 Feb 14.
      Mitochondria are central to energy production, metabolism and signaling, and apoptosis. To make new mitochondria from preexisting mitochondria, the cell needs to import mitochondrial proteins from the cytosol into the mitochondria with the aid of translocators in the mitochondrial membranes. The translocase of the outer membrane (TOM) complex, an outer membrane translocator, functions as an entry gate for most mitochondrial proteins. Although high-resolution structures of the receptor subunits of the TOM complex were deposited in the early 2000s, those of entire TOM complexes became available only in 2019. The structural details of these TOM complexes, consisting of the dimer of the β-barrel import channel Tom40 and four α-helical membrane proteins, revealed the presence of several distinct paths and exits for the translocation of over 1,000 different mitochondrial precursor proteins. High-resolution structures of TOM complexes now open up a new era of studies on the structures, functions, and dynamics of the mitochondrial import system. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Biochemistry, Volume 91 is June 2022. Please see for revised estimates.
  24. J Mol Cell Biol. 2022 Mar 14. pii: mjac016. [Epub ahead of print]
      O-linked N-acetyl-glucosamine glycosylation (O-GlcNAcylation) of intracellular proteins is a dynamic process broadly implicated in age-related disease, yet it remains uncharacterized whether and how O-GlcNAcylation contributes to the natural aging process. O-GlcNAc transferase (OGT) and the opposing enzyme O-GlcNAcase (OGA) control this nutrient-sensing protein modification in cells. Here, we show that global O-GlcNAc levels are increased in multiple tissues of aged mice. In aged liver, carbamoyl phosphate synthetase 1 (CPS1) is among the most heavily O-GlcNAcylated proteins. CPS1 O-GlcNAcylation is reversed by calorie restriction and is sensitive to genetic and pharmacological manipulations of the O-GlcNAc pathway. High glucose stimulates CPS1 O-GlcNAcylation and inhibits CPS1 activity. Liver-specific deletion of OGT potentiates CPS1 activity and renders CPS1 irresponsive to further stimulation by a prolonged fasting. Our results identify CPS1 O-GlcNAcylation as a key nutrient-sensing regulatory step in the urea cycle during aging and dietary restriction, implying a role for mitochondrial O-GlcNAcylation in nutritional regulation of longevity.
    Keywords:   O-GlcNAcylation; ageing; calorie restriction; carbamoyl-phosphate synthetase 1; dietary restriction; post-translational modification; urea cycle
  25. Mol Metab. 2022 Mar 09. pii: S2212-8778(22)00038-2. [Epub ahead of print] 101469
      OBJECTIVE: The mitochondrial pyruvate carrier (MPC) has emerged as a promising drug target for metabolic disorders, including non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and diabetes, metabolically dependent cancers and neurodegenerative diseases. A range of structurally diverse small molecule inhibitors have been proposed but the nature of their interaction with MPC is not understood. Moreover, the composition of the functional human MPC is still debated. The goal of this study was to characterize the human MPC protein in vitro, to understand the chemical features that determine binding of structurally diverse inhibitors and to develop novel higher affinity ones.METHODS: We have recombinantly expressed and purified human MPC hetero-complexes and have studied the composition, transport and inhibitor binding properties by establishing in vitro transport assays, high throughput thermostability shift assays and pharmacophore modeling.
    RESULTS: We have determined that the functional unit of human MPC is a hetero-dimer. We have compared all different classes of MPC inhibitors to find that three closely arranged hydrogen bond acceptors followed by an aromatic ring are shared characteristics of all inhibitors and represent the minimal requirement for high potency. We also demonstrate that high affinity binding is not attributed to covalent bond formation with MPC cysteines, as previously proposed. Following the basic pharmacophore properties, we identify 14 new inhibitors of MPC, one outperforming compound UK5099 by tenfold. Two of them are the commonly prescribed drugs entacapone and nitrofurantoin, suggesting an off-target mechanism associated with their adverse effects.
    CONCLUSION: This work defines the composition of human MPC and the essential MPC inhibitor characteristics. In combination with the functional assays we describe, this new understanding will accelerate the development of clinically relevant MPC modulators.
  26. Nat Cell Biol. 2022 Mar;24(3): 307-315
      Tumourigenesis and cancer progression require enhanced global protein translation1-3. Such enhanced translation is caused by oncogenic and tumour-suppressive events that drive the synthesis and activity of translational machinery4,5. Here we report the surprising observation that leucyl-tRNA synthetase (LARS) becomes repressed during mammary cell transformation and in human breast cancer. Monoallelic genetic deletion of LARS in mouse mammary glands enhanced breast cancer tumour formation and proliferation. LARS repression reduced the abundance of select leucine tRNA isoacceptors, leading to impaired leucine codon-dependent translation of growth suppressive genes, including epithelial membrane protein 3 (EMP3) and gamma-glutamyltransferase 5 (GGT5). Our findings uncover a tumour-suppressive tRNA synthetase and reveal that dynamic repression of a specific tRNA synthetase-along with its downstream cognate tRNAs-elicits a downstream codon-biased translational gene network response that enhances breast tumour formation and growth.
  27. Mol Cell. 2022 Mar 17. pii: S1097-2765(22)00168-X. [Epub ahead of print]82(6): 1086-1088
      Li et al. (2022) discover that Toxoplasma infection triggers remodeling of the mitochondrial outer membrane through generation of a mitochondrial subdomain termed "structure positive for outer mitochondrial membrane" (SPOT).
  28. Int J Biol Sci. 2022 ;18(4): 1651-1662
      Myocardial ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury is recognized as the leading cause of death worldwide. However, the molecular mechanisms involved in this process are still not fully understood. We previously reported that the combined action of Notch1 and Keap1-NRF2 signaling pathway can significantly increase the activity of cardiomyocytes, inhibit the apoptosis of cardiomyocytes, reduce the formation of reactive oxygen species, and improve the antioxidant activity in neonate rat myocardial cells. However, the regulatory mechanism of Notch1 signaling pathway on the NRF2 signaling pathway and its actual role on I/R injury are still unclear. Herein, we found that Keap-NRF2 signaling is activated by Notch1 in RBP-Jκ dependent manner, thus protects the heart against I/R injury via inhibiting the mitochondrial ROS generation and improves the mitochondrial bioenergetics in vitro and in vivo. These results suggest that Keap-NRF2 signaling might become a promising therapeutic strategy for treating myocardial I/R injury.
    Keywords:  NRF2; Notch1; ischemic reperfusion injury; mitochondrial ROS; mitochondrial bioenergetics
  29. Nat Commun. 2022 Mar 18. 13(1): 1417
      Most tumours are thought to arise through oncogenic cell generation followed by additional mutations. How a new oncogenic cell primes tumorigenesis by acquiring additional mutations remains unclear. We show that an additional TP53 mutation stimulates primary tumorigenesis by switching oncogene-induced senescence from a tumour suppressor to a driver. Zebrafish imaging reveals that a newly emerged oncogenic cell with the RasG12V mutation becomes senescent and is eliminated from the epithelia, which is prevented by adding a TP53 gain-of-function mutation (TP53R175H) into RasG12V cells. Surviving RasG12V-TP53R175H double-mutant cells senesce and secrete senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP)-related inflammatory molecules that convert neighbouring normal cells into SASP factor-secreting senescent cells, generating a heterogeneous tumour-like cell mass. We identify oncogenic cell behaviours that may control the initial human tumorigenesis step. Ras and TP53 mutations and cellular senescence are frequently detected in human tumours; similar switching may occur during the initial step of human tumorigenesis.
  30. Sci Adv. 2022 Mar 18. 8(11): eabj6526
      Heat shock factor 1 (HSF1) is well known for its role in the heat shock response (HSR), where it drives a transcriptional program comprising heat shock protein (HSP) genes, and in tumorigenesis, where it drives a program comprising HSPs and many noncanonical target genes that support malignancy. Here, we find that HSF2, an HSF1 paralog with no substantial role in the HSR, physically and functionally interacts with HSF1 across diverse types of cancer. HSF1 and HSF2 have notably similar chromatin occupancy and regulate a common set of genes that include both HSPs and noncanonical transcriptional targets with roles critical in supporting malignancy. Loss of either HSF1 or HSF2 results in a dysregulated response to nutrient stresses in vitro and reduced tumor progression in cancer cell line xenografts. Together, these findings establish HSF2 as a critical cofactor of HSF1 in driving a cancer cell transcriptional program to support the anabolic malignant state.
  31. Science. 2022 Mar 18. 375(6586): 1254-1261
      Copper is an essential cofactor for all organisms, and yet it becomes toxic if concentrations exceed a threshold maintained by evolutionarily conserved homeostatic mechanisms. How excess copper induces cell death, however, is unknown. Here, we show in human cells that copper-dependent, regulated cell death is distinct from known death mechanisms and is dependent on mitochondrial respiration. We show that copper-dependent death occurs by means of direct binding of copper to lipoylated components of the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle. This results in lipoylated protein aggregation and subsequent iron-sulfur cluster protein loss, which leads to proteotoxic stress and ultimately cell death. These findings may explain the need for ancient copper homeostatic mechanisms.
  32. EMBO J. 2022 Mar 14. e109365
      Tissue homeostasis requires lineage fidelity of stem cells. Dysregulation of cell fate specification and differentiation leads to various diseases, yet the cellular and molecular mechanisms governing these processes remain elusive. We demonstrate that YAP/TAZ activation reprograms airway secretory cells, which subsequently lose their cellular identity and acquire squamous alveolar type 1 (AT1) fate in the lung. This cell fate conversion is mediated via distinctive transitional cell states of damage-associated transient progenitors (DATPs), recently shown to emerge during injury repair in mouse and human lungs. We further describe a YAP/TAZ signaling cascade to be integral for the fate conversion of secretory cells into AT1 fate, by modulating mTORC1/ATF4-mediated amino acid metabolism in vivo. Importantly, we observed aberrant activation of the YAP/TAZ-mTORC1-ATF4 axis in the altered airway epithelium of bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome, including substantial emergence of DATPs and AT1 cells with severe pulmonary fibrosis. Genetic and pharmacologic inhibition of mTORC1 activity suppresses lineage alteration and subepithelial fibrosis driven by YAP/TAZ activation, proposing a potential therapeutic target for human fibrotic lung diseases.
    Keywords:  Damage-Associated Transient Progenitors; Hippo-YAP signaling; essential amino acid metabolism; mTORC1-ATF4 axis; pulmonary fibrosis and bronchiolitis obliterans
  33. Nat Cell Biol. 2022 Mar;24(3): 316-326
      Proliferation is a fundamental trait of cancer cells, but its properties and spatial organization in tumours are poorly characterized. Here we use highly multiplexed tissue imaging to perform single-cell quantification of cell cycle regulators and then develop robust, multivariate, proliferation metrics. Across diverse cancers, proliferative architecture is organized at two spatial scales: large domains, and smaller niches enriched for specific immune lineages. Some tumour cells express cell cycle regulators in the (canonical) patterns expected of freely growing cells, a phenomenon we refer to as 'cell cycle coherence'. By contrast, the cell cycles of other tumour cell populations are skewed towards specific phases or exhibit non-canonical (incoherent) marker combinations. Coherence varies across space, with changes in oncogene activity and therapeutic intervention, and is associated with aggressive tumour behaviour. Thus, multivariate measures from high-plex tissue images capture clinically significant features of cancer proliferation, a fundamental step in enabling more precise use of anti-cancer therapies.
  34. Int J Biol Sci. 2022 ;18(4): 1695-1705
      Ferroptosis, a new form of programmed necrosis characterized by iron-dependent lethal accumulation of lipid hydroperoxides, is associated with many human diseases. Targeting amino acid (AA) availability can selectively suppress tumor growth and has been a promising therapeutic strategy for cancer therapy. Compelling studies have indicated that AA metabolism is also involved in ferroptosis, closely regulating its initiation and execution. This manuscript systematically summarizes the latest advances of AA metabolism in regulating ferroptosis and discusses the potential combination of therapeutic strategies that simultaneously target AA metabolism and ferroptosis in cancer to eliminate tumors or limit their invasiveness.
    Keywords:  amino acid metabolism; cancer; combinatorial therapy; ferroptosis
  35. Nat Biotechnol. 2022 Mar 14.
      Functional studies of the RNA N6-methyladenosine (m6A) modification have been limited by an inability to map individual m6A-modified sites in whole transcriptomes. To enable such studies, here, we introduce m6A-selective allyl chemical labeling and sequencing (m6A-SAC-seq), a method for quantitative, whole-transcriptome mapping of m6A at single-nucleotide resolution. The method requires only ~30 ng of poly(A) or rRNA-depleted RNA. We mapped m6A modification stoichiometries in RNA from cell lines and during in vitro monocytopoiesis from human hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs). We identified numerous cell-state-specific m6A sites whose methylation status was highly dynamic during cell differentiation. We observed changes of m6A stoichiometry as well as expression levels of transcripts encoding or regulated by key transcriptional factors (TFs) critical for HSPC differentiation. m6A-SAC-seq is a quantitative method to dissect the dynamics and functional roles of m6A sites in diverse biological processes using limited input RNA.
  36. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2022 ;10 852021
      Lipid droplets (LDs) have emerged not just as storage sites for lipids but as central regulators of metabolism and organelle quality control. These critical functions are achieved, in part, at membrane contact sites (MCS) between LDs and other organelles. MCS are sites of transfer of cellular constituents to or from LDs for energy mobilization in response to nutrient limitations, as well as LD biogenesis, expansion and autophagy. Here, we describe recent findings on the mechanisms underlying the formation and function of MCS between LDs and mitochondria, ER and lysosomes/vacuoles and the role of the cytoskeleton in promoting LD MCS through its function in LD movement and distribution in response to environmental cues.
    Keywords:  cytoskeleton; endoplasmic reticulum; lipid droplets; lipophagy; lysosome; membrane contact sites; mitochondria; vacuole
  37. Cell Rep. 2022 Mar 15. pii: S2211-1247(22)00220-0. [Epub ahead of print]38(11): 110487
      Intracellular temperature affects a wide range of cellular functions in living organisms. However, it remains unclear whether temperature in individual animal cells is controlled autonomously as a response to fluctuations in environmental temperature. Using two distinct intracellular thermometers, we find that the intracellular temperature of steady-state Drosophila S2 cells is maintained in a manner dependent on Δ9-fatty acid desaturase DESAT1, which introduces a double bond at the Δ9 position of the acyl moiety of acyl-CoA. The DESAT1-mediated increase of intracellular temperature is caused by the enhancement of F1Fo-ATPase-dependent mitochondrial respiration, which is coupled with thermogenesis. We also reveal that F1Fo-ATPase-dependent mitochondrial respiration is potentiated by cold exposure through the remodeling of mitochondrial cristae structures via DESAT1-dependent unsaturation of mitochondrial phospholipid acyl chains. Based on these findings, we propose a cell-autonomous mechanism for intracellular temperature control during environmental temperature changes.
    Keywords:  F(1)F(o)-ATPase; intracellular temperature; mitochondrial cristae; mitochondrial thermogenesis; phospholipid; Δ9-fatty acid desaturase
  38. Nat Metab. 2022 Mar 14.
      Reciprocal interactions between endothelial cells (ECs) and adipocytes are fundamental to maintain white adipose tissue (WAT) homeostasis, as illustrated by the activation of angiogenesis upon WAT expansion, a process that is impaired in obesity. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the crosstalk between ECs and adipocytes remain poorly understood. Here, we show that local production of polyamines in ECs stimulates adipocyte lipolysis and regulates WAT homeostasis in mice. We promote enhanced cell-autonomous angiogenesis by deleting Pten in the murine endothelium. Endothelial Pten loss leads to a WAT-selective phenotype, characterized by reduced body weight and adiposity in pathophysiological conditions. This phenotype stems from enhanced fatty acid β-oxidation in ECs concomitant with a paracrine lipolytic action on adipocytes, accounting for reduced adiposity. Combined analysis of murine models, isolated ECs and human specimens reveals that WAT lipolysis is mediated by mTORC1-dependent production of polyamines by ECs. Our results indicate that angiocrine metabolic signals are important for WAT homeostasis and organismal metabolism.
  39. Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2022 Mar 09. pii: S0958-1669(22)00028-3. [Epub ahead of print]75 102701
      Complete understanding of a biological system requires quantitation of metabolic fluxes that reflect its dynamic state. Various analytical chemistry tools, enzyme-based probes, and microscopy enable flux measurement. However, any method alone falls short of comprehensive flux quantitation. Here we show that integrating these techniques results in a systems-level quantitative map of absolute metabolic fluxes that constitute an indispensable dimension of characterizing phenotypes. Stable isotopes, mass spectrometry, and NMR spectroscopy reveal relative pathway fluxes. Biochemical probes reveal the physical rate of environmental changes. FRET-based and SRS-based microscopy reveal targeted metabolite and chemical bond formation. These techniques are complementary and can be computationally integrated to reveal actionable information on metabolism. Integrative metabolic flux analysis using various quantitative techniques advances biotechnology and medicine.
  40. Sci Adv. 2022 Mar 18. 8(11): eabj4716
      Dysregulation of mitochondrial Ca2+ homeostasis has been linked to neurodegenerative diseases. Mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake is mediated via the calcium uniporter complex that is primarily regulated by MICU1, a Ca2+-sensing gatekeeper. Recently, human patients with MICU1 loss-of-function mutations were diagnosed with neuromuscular and cognitive impairments. While studies in patient-derived cells revealed altered mitochondrial calcium signaling, the neuronal pathogenesis was difficult to study. To fill this void, we created a neuron-specific MICU1-KO mouse model. These animals show progressive, abnormal motor and cognitive phenotypes likely caused by the degeneration of motor neurons in the spinal cord and the cortex. We found increased susceptibility to mitochondrial Ca2+ overload-induced excitotoxic insults and cell death in MICU1-KO neurons and MICU1-deficient patient-derived cells, which can be blunted by inhibiting the mitochondrial permeability transition pore. Thus, our study identifies altered neuronal mitochondrial Ca2+ homeostasis as causative in the clinical symptoms of MICU1-deficient patients and highlights potential therapeutic targets.
  41. Oncogene. 2022 Mar 12.
      eIF3a (eukaryotic translation initiation factor 3a), a subunit of the eIF3 complex, has been suggested to play a regulatory role in protein synthesis and in cellular response to DNA-damaging treatments. S6K1 is an effector and a mediator of mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) in regulating protein synthesis and integrating diverse signals into control of cell growth and response to stress. Here, we show that eIF3a regulates S6K1 activity by inhibiting mTORC1 kinase via regulating Raptor synthesis. The regulation of Raptor synthesis is via eIF3a interaction with HuR (human antigen R) and binding of the eIF3a-HuR complex to the 5'-UTR of Raptor mRNA. Furthermore, mTORC1 may mediate eIF3a function in cellular response to cisplatin by regulating synthesis of NER proteins and NER activity. Taken together, we conclude that the mTOR signaling pathway may also be regulated by translational control and mediate eIF3a regulation of cancer cell response to cisplatin by regulating NER protein synthesis.
  42. Trends Cancer. 2022 Mar 14. pii: S2405-8033(22)00043-7. [Epub ahead of print]
      The 3D architecture of tissues bearing tumors impacts on the mechanical microenvironment of cancer, the accessibility of stromal cells, and the routes of invasion. A myriad of intrinsic and extrinsic forces exerted by the cancer cells, the host tissue, and the molecular and cellular microenvironment modulate the morphology of the tumor and its malignant potential through mechanical, biochemical, genetic, and epigenetic cues. Recent studies have investigated how tissue architecture influences cancer biology from tumor initiation and progression to distant metastatic seeding and response to therapy. With a focus on carcinoma, the most common type of cancer, this review discusses the latest discoveries on how tumor architecture is built and how tissue morphology affects the biology and progression of cancer cells.
    Keywords:  mechanics; tissue architecture; tumor progression; tumorigenesis
  43. Nat Rev Immunol. 2022 Mar 14.
      Blood vessel endothelial cells (ECs) have long been known to modulate inflammation by regulating immune cell trafficking, activation status and function. However, whether the heterogeneous EC populations in various tissues and organs differ in their immunomodulatory capacity has received insufficient attention, certainly with regard to considering them for alternative immunotherapy. Recent single-cell studies have identified specific EC subtypes that express gene signatures indicative of phagocytosis or scavenging, antigen presentation and immune cell recruitment. Here we discuss emerging evidence suggesting a tissue-specific and vessel type-specific immunomodulatory role for distinct subtypes of ECs, here collectively referred to as 'immunomodulatory ECs' (IMECs). We propose that IMECs have more important functions in immunity than previously recognized, and suggest that these might be considered as targets for new immunotherapeutic approaches.
  44. Mech Ageing Dev. 2022 Mar 11. pii: S0047-6374(22)00039-2. [Epub ahead of print] 111657
      Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) plays vital roles in cell metabolism, cell signaling, and gene expression regulation. NAD+ shows intricate subcellular distribution and dynamic changes in diverse biological processes; however, traditional biochemical assays usually require cell lysis, making it technically difficult to measure NAD+ metabolism in live cells or in vivo. Recently, a few genetically encoded and semisynthetic fluorescent sensors have been used to monitor NAD+ metabolism in a variety of biological settings. In this review, we summarize the recent progress in the development of fluorescent sensors for NAD+ and their applications in life science research. We further analyze their advantages, limitations, and perspectives for future development.
    Keywords:  NAD(+); fluorescence imaging; genetically encoded fluorescent sensors; real-time monitoring; semisynthetic fluorescent sensors
  45. Science. 2022 Mar 18. 375(6586): 1231-1232
      Excess copper causes mitochondrial protein aggregation and triggers a distinct form of cell death.
  46. Cell Chem Biol. 2022 Mar 17. pii: S2451-9456(22)00092-7. [Epub ahead of print]29(3): 353-355
      In this issue of Cell Chemical Biology, Olszewski et al. (2022) address the challenge of developing small molecules to inhibit glucose uptake in cancer. They characterize a novel pan-GLUT inhibitor that suppresses tumor growth and uncover how cancer cells can adapt to glucose restriction.
  47. Sci Adv. 2022 Mar 18. 8(11): eabn0485
      Muscle stem cells (MuSCs) are essential for tissue homeostasis and regeneration, but the potential contribution of MuSC morphology to in vivo function remains unknown. Here, we demonstrate that quiescent MuSCs are morphologically heterogeneous and exhibit different patterns of cellular protrusions. We classified quiescent MuSCs into three functionally distinct stem cell states: responsive, intermediate, and sensory. We demonstrate that the shift between different stem cell states promotes regeneration and is regulated by the sensing protein Piezo1. Pharmacological activation of Piezo1 is sufficient to prime MuSCs toward more responsive cells. Piezo1 deletion in MuSCs shifts the distribution toward less responsive cells, mimicking the disease phenotype we find in dystrophic muscles. We further demonstrate that Piezo1 reactivation ameliorates the MuSC morphological and regenerative defects of dystrophic muscles. These findings advance our fundamental understanding of how stem cells respond to injury and identify Piezo1 as a key regulator for adjusting stem cell states essential for regeneration.
  48. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Mar 22. 119(12): e2120019119
      SignificanceWe present a fully realized adaptive resource landscape with diploid three-gene robots presenting interacting roles of population dynamics, mutations, breeding, death, and birth. Although modeling and theory serves as a guide here, the inherent complexity of our robobiology world makes it an experiment in exploring rules of Darwinian natural selection at a level difficult to simulate. We find that the lower the genetic diversity, the lower the survival probability of the robot population. We propose that diploid gene robots can act as avatars of diploid mammalian cells to explore novel programs of administration of drugs.
    Keywords:  adaptable landscapes; evolution; robotic biology; stochastic dynamics
  49. Science. 2022 Mar 18. 375(6586): eaay9040
      Survival improves when cancer is detected early. However, ~50% of cancers are at an advanced stage when diagnosed. Early detection of cancer or precancerous change allows early intervention to try to slow or prevent cancer development and lethality. To achieve early detection of all cancers, numerous challenges must be overcome. It is vital to better understand who is at greatest risk of developing cancer. We also need to elucidate the biology and trajectory of precancer and early cancer to identify consequential disease that requires intervention. Insights must be translated into sensitive and specific early detection technologies and be appropriately evaluated to support practical clinical implementation. Interdisciplinary collaboration is key; advances in technology and biological understanding highlight that it is time to accelerate early detection research and transform cancer survival.
  50. Front Oncol. 2022 ;12 858462
      SLC7A11/xCT is an antiporter that mediates the uptake of extracellular cystine in exchange for glutamate. Cystine is reduced to cysteine, which is a rate-limiting precursor in glutathione synthesis; a process that protects cells from oxidative stress and is, therefore, critical to cell growth, proliferation, and metabolism. SLC7A11 is expressed in different tissues and plays diverse functional roles in the pathophysiology of various diseases, including cancer, by regulating the processes of redox homeostasis, metabolic flexibility/nutrient dependency, immune system function, and ferroptosis. SLC7A11 expression is associated with poor prognosis and drug resistance in cancer and, therefore, represents an important therapeutic target. In this review, we discuss the molecular functions of SLC7A11 in normal versus diseased tissues, with a special focus on how it regulates gastrointestinal cancers. Further, we summarize current therapeutic strategies targeting SLC7A11 as well as novel avenues for treatment.
    Keywords:  Cancer therapy; SLC7A11 (xCT); cysteine (Cys); ferroptosis; gastrointestinal tract; metabolism; oxidative stress