bims-camemi Biomed News
on Mitochondrial metabolism in cancer
Issue of 2022‒07‒31
48 papers selected by
Christian Frezza
University Hospital Cologne

  1. Cell Rep. 2022 Jul 26. pii: S2211-1247(22)00907-X. [Epub ahead of print]40(4): 111105
      A functional electron transport chain (ETC) is crucial for supporting bioenergetics and biosynthesis. Accordingly, ETC inhibition decreases proliferation in cancer cells but does not seem to impair stem cell proliferation. However, it remains unclear how stem cells metabolically adapt. In this study, we show that pharmacological inhibition of complex III of the ETC in skeletal stem and progenitor cells induces glycolysis side pathways and reroutes the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle to regenerate NAD+ and preserve cell proliferation. These metabolic changes also culminate in increased succinate and 2-hydroxyglutarate levels that inhibit Ten-eleven translocation (TET) DNA demethylase activity, thereby preserving self-renewal and multilineage potential. Mechanistically, mitochondrial malate dehydrogenase and reverse succinate dehydrogenase activity proved to be essential for the metabolic rewiring in response to ETC inhibition. Together, these data show that the metabolic plasticity of skeletal stem and progenitor cells allows them to bypass ETC blockade and preserve their self-renewal.
    Keywords:  CP: Metabolism; CP: Stem cell research; NAD regeneration; TCA rerouting; TET activity; cell-based regenerative medicine; electron transport chain; metabolic plasticity; proliferation; reverse succinate dehydrogenase; self-renewal; skeletal stem cells
  2. Nature. 2022 Jul 27.
      In response to hormones and growth factors, the class I phosphoinositide-3-kinase (PI3K) signalling network functions as a major regulator of metabolism and growth, governing cellular nutrient uptake, energy generation, reducing cofactor production and macromolecule biosynthesis1. Many of the driver mutations in cancer with the highest recurrence, including in receptor tyrosine kinases, Ras, PTEN and PI3K, pathologically activate PI3K signalling2,3. However, our understanding of the core metabolic program controlled by PI3K is almost certainly incomplete. Here, using mass-spectrometry-based metabolomics and isotope tracing, we show that PI3K signalling stimulates the de novo synthesis of one of the most pivotal metabolic cofactors: coenzyme A (CoA). CoA is the major carrier of activated acyl groups in cells4,5 and is synthesized from cysteine, ATP and the essential nutrient vitamin B5 (also known as pantothenate)6,7. We identify pantothenate kinase 2 (PANK2) and PANK4 as substrates of the PI3K effector kinase AKT8. Although PANK2 is known to catalyse the rate-determining first step of CoA synthesis, we find that the minimally characterized but highly conserved PANK49 is a rate-limiting suppressor of CoA synthesis through its metabolite phosphatase activity. Phosphorylation of PANK4 by AKT relieves this suppression. Ultimately, the PI3K-PANK4 axis regulates the abundance of acetyl-CoA and other acyl-CoAs, CoA-dependent processes such as lipid metabolism and proliferation. We propose that these regulatory mechanisms coordinate cellular CoA supplies with the demands of hormone/growth-factor-driven or oncogene-driven metabolism and growth.
  3. Nat Rev Immunol. 2022 Jul 25.
      Numerous mitochondrial constituents and metabolic products can function as damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) and promote inflammation when released into the cytosol or extracellular milieu. Several safeguards are normally in place to prevent mitochondria from eliciting detrimental inflammatory reactions, including the autophagic disposal of permeabilized mitochondria. However, when the homeostatic capacity of such systems is exceeded or when such systems are defective, inflammatory reactions elicited by mitochondria can become pathogenic and contribute to the aetiology of human disorders linked to autoreactivity. In addition, inefficient inflammatory pathways induced by mitochondrial DAMPs can be pathogenic as they enable the establishment or progression of infectious and neoplastic disorders. Here we discuss the molecular mechanisms through which mitochondria control inflammatory responses, the cellular pathways that are in place to control mitochondria-driven inflammation and the pathological consequences of dysregulated inflammatory reactions elicited by mitochondrial DAMPs.
  4. JCI Insight. 2022 Jul 26. pii: e158737. [Epub ahead of print]
      Increased red cell distribution width (RDW), which measures erythrocyte volume (MCV) variability (anisocytosis), has been linked to early mortality in many diseases and in older adults through unknown mechanisms. Hypoxic stress has been proposed as a potential mechanism. However, experimental models to investigate the link between increased RDW and reduced survival are lacking. Here, we show that lifelong hypobaric hypoxia (~10% O2) increases erythrocyte numbers, hemoglobin and RDW, while reducing longevity in male mice. Compound heterozygous knockout (chKO) mutations in succinate dehydrogenase (Sdh; mitochondrial complex II) genes Sdhb, Sdhc and Sdhd reduce Sdh subunit protein levels, RDW, and increase healthy lifespan compared to wild-type (WT) mice in chronic hypoxia. RDW-SD, a direct measure of MCV variability, and the standard deviation of MCV (1SD-RDW) show the most statistically significant reductions in Sdh hKO mice. Tissue metabolomic profiling of 147 common metabolites shows the largest increase in succinate with elevated succinate to fumarate and succinate to oxoglutarate (2-ketoglutarate) ratios in Sdh hKO mice. These results demonstrate that mitochondrial complex II level is an underlying determinant of both RDW and healthy lifespan in hypoxia, and suggest that therapeutic targeting of Sdh might reduce high RDW-associated clinical mortality in hypoxic diseases.
    Keywords:  Hematology; Hypoxia; Mitochondria; Pulmonology
  5. Biomedicines. 2022 Jul 25. pii: 1788. [Epub ahead of print]10(8):
      Research focused on succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) and its substrate, succinate, culminated in the 1950s accompanying the rapid development of research dedicated to bioenergetics and intermediary metabolism. This allowed researchers to uncover the implication of SDH in both the mitochondrial respiratory chain and the Krebs cycle. Nowadays, this theme is experiencing a real revival following the discovery of the role of SDH and succinate in a subset of tumors and cancers in humans. The aim of this review is to enlighten the many questions yet unanswered, ranging from fundamental to clinically oriented aspects, up to the danger of the current use of SDH as a target for a subclass of pesticides.
    Keywords:  Krebs cycle; SDH; SDHI; cancer; encephalopathy; mitochondria; mitotoxic; oxytoxic; pesticides; respiratory chain; succinate
  6. Nutrients. 2022 Jul 09. pii: 2825. [Epub ahead of print]14(14):
      Vitamin B12 (VB12) is a micronutrient that is essential for DNA synthesis and cellular energy production. We recently demonstrated that VB12 oral supplementation coordinates ileal epithelial cells (iECs) and gut microbiota functions to resist pathogen colonization in mice, but it remains unclear whether VB12 directly modulates the cellular homeostasis of iECs derived from humans. Here, we integrated transcriptomic, metabolomic, and epigenomic analyses to identify VB12-dependent molecular and metabolic pathways in human iEC microtissue cultures. RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) revealed that VB12 notably activated genes involved in fatty acid metabolism and epithelial cell proliferation while suppressing inflammatory responses in human iECs. Untargeted metabolite profiling demonstrated that VB12 facilitated the biosynthesis of amino acids and methyl groups, particularly S-adenosylmethionine (SAM), and supported the function of the mitochondrial carnitine shuttle and TCA cycle. Further, genome-wide DNA methylation analysis illuminated a critical role of VB12 in sustaining cellular methylation programs, leading to differential CpG methylation of genes associated with intestinal barrier function and cell proliferation. Together, these findings suggest an essential involvement of VB12 in directing the fatty acid and mitochondrial metabolisms and reconfiguring the epigenome of human iECs to potentially support cellular oxygen utilization and cell proliferation.
    Keywords:  DNA methylation; cell proliferation; ileal epithelial cells; mitochondrial metabolism; vitamin B12
  7. Curr Biol. 2022 Jul 19. pii: S0960-9822(22)01104-6. [Epub ahead of print]
      EGFR-RAS-ERK signaling promotes growth and proliferation in many cell types, and genetic hyperactivation of RAS-ERK signaling drives many cancers. Yet, despite intensive study of upstream components in EGFR signal transduction, the identities and functions of downstream effectors in the pathway are poorly understood. In Drosophila intestinal stem cells (ISCs), the transcriptional repressor Capicua (Cic) and its targets, the ETS-type transcriptional activators Pointed (pnt) and Ets21C, are essential downstream effectors of mitogenic EGFR signaling. Here, we show that these factors promote EGFR-dependent metabolic changes that increase ISC mass, mitochondrial growth, and mitochondrial activity. Gene target analysis using RNA and DamID sequencing revealed that Pnt and Ets21C directly upregulate not only DNA replication and cell cycle genes but also genes for oxidative phosphorylation, the TCA cycle, and fatty acid beta-oxidation. Metabolite analysis substantiated these metabolic functions. The mitochondrial transcription factor B2 (mtTFB2), a direct target of Pnt, was required and partially sufficient for EGFR-driven ISC growth, mitochondrial biogenesis, and proliferation. MEK-dependent EGF signaling stimulated mitochondrial biogenesis in human RPE-1 cells, indicating the conservation of these metabolic effects. This work illustrates how EGFR signaling alters metabolism to coordinately activate cell growth and cell division.
    Keywords:  Ets21C; ISC; Pointed; intestinal stem cell; mitochondrial biogenesis; mtTFB2; proliferation
  8. Nat Metab. 2022 Jul;4(7): 944-959
      The intake of dietary protein regulates growth, metabolism, fecundity and lifespan across various species, which makes amino acid (AA)-sensing vital for adaptation to the nutritional environment. The general control nonderepressible 2 (GCN2)-activating transcription factor 4 (ATF4) pathway and the mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) pathway are involved in AA-sensing. However, it is not fully understood which AAs regulate these two pathways in living animals and how they coordinate responses to protein restriction. Here we show in Drosophila that the non-essential AA tyrosine (Tyr) is a nutritional cue in the fat body necessary and sufficient for promoting adaptive responses to a low-protein diet, which entails reduction of protein synthesis and mTORC1 activity and increased food intake. This adaptation is regulated by dietary Tyr through GCN2-independent induction of ATF4 target genes in the fat body. This study identifies the Tyr-ATF4 axis as a regulator of the physiological response to a low-protein diet and sheds light on the essential function of a non-essential nutrient.
  9. Nat Commun. 2022 Jul 25. 13(1): 4303
      Mitochondria are highly dynamic organelles whose fragmentation by fission is critical to their functional integrity and cellular homeostasis. Here, we develop a method via optogenetic control of mitochondria-lysosome contacts (MLCs) to induce mitochondrial fission with spatiotemporal accuracy. MLCs can be achieved by blue-light-induced association of mitochondria and lysosomes through various photoactivatable dimerizers. Real-time optogenetic induction of mitochondrial fission is tracked in living cells to measure the fission rate. The optogenetic method partially restores the mitochondrial functions of SLC25A46-/- cells, which display defects in mitochondrial fission and hyperfused mitochondria. The optogenetic MLCs system thus provides a platform for studying mitochondrial fission and treating mitochondrial diseases.
  10. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Aug 02. 119(31): e2119009119
      Unknown processes promote the accumulation of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations during aging. Accumulation of defective mitochondrial genomes is thought to promote the progression of heteroplasmic mitochondrial diseases and degenerative changes with natural aging. We used a heteroplasmic Drosophila model to test 1) whether purifying selection acts to limit the abundance of deleterious mutations during development and aging, 2) whether quality control pathways contribute to purifying selection, 3) whether activation of quality control can mitigate accumulation of deleterious mutations, and 4) whether improved quality control improves health span. We show that purifying selection operates during development and growth but is ineffective during aging. Genetic manipulations suggest that a quality control process known to enforce purifying selection during oogenesis also suppresses accumulation of a deleterious mutation during growth and development. Flies with nuclear genotypes that enhance purifying selection sustained higher genome quality, retained more vigorous climbing activity, and lost fewer dopaminergic neurons. A pharmacological agent thought to enhance quality control produced similar benefits. Importantly, similar pharmacological treatment of aged mice reversed age-associated accumulation of a deleterious mtDNA mutation. Our findings reveal dynamic maintenance of mitochondrial genome fitness and reduction in the effectiveness of purifying selection during life. Importantly, we describe interventions that mitigate and even reverse age-associated genome degeneration in flies and in mice. Furthermore, mitigation of genome degeneration improved well-being in a Drosophila model of heteroplasmic mitochondrial disease.
    Keywords:  aging; heteroplasmy; mitochondria; mtDNA; mutations
  11. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2022 Jul 25. 79(8): 445
      Once considered a waste product of anaerobic cellular metabolism, lactate has been identified as a critical regulator of tumorigenesis, maintenance, and progression. The putative primary function of lactate dehydrogenase B (LDHB) is to catalyze the conversion of lactate to pyruvate; however, its role in regulating metabolism during tumorigenesis is largely unknown. To determine whether LDHB plays a pivotal role in tumorigenesis, we performed 2D and 3D in vitro experiments, utilized a conventional xenograft tumor model, and developed a novel genetically engineered mouse model (GEMM) of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), in which we combined an LDHB deletion allele with an inducible model of lung adenocarcinoma driven by the concomitant loss of p53 (also known as Trp53) and expression of oncogenic KRAS (G12D) (KP). Here, we show that epithelial-like, tumor-initiating NSCLC cells feature oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) phenotype that is regulated by LDHB-mediated lactate metabolism. We show that silencing of LDHB induces persistent mitochondrial DNA damage, decreases mitochondrial respiratory complex activity and OXPHOS, resulting in reduced levels of mitochondria-dependent metabolites, e.g., TCA intermediates, amino acids, and nucleotides. Inhibition of LDHB dramatically reduced the survival of tumor-initiating cells and sphere formation in vitro, which can be partially restored by nucleotide supplementation. In addition, LDHB silencing reduced tumor initiation and growth of xenograft tumors. Furthermore, we report for the first time that homozygous deletion of LDHB significantly reduced lung tumorigenesis upon the concomitant loss of Tp53 and expression of oncogenic KRAS without considerably affecting the animal's health status, thereby identifying LDHB as a potential target for NSCLC therapy. In conclusion, our study shows for the first time that LDHB is essential for the maintenance of mitochondrial metabolism, especially nucleotide metabolism, demonstrating that LDHB is crucial for the survival and proliferation of NSCLC tumor-initiating cells and tumorigenesis.
    Keywords:  Cancer stem cells; Cellular plasticity; Lung cancer; Mitochondrial DNA; Mitochondrial metabolism; Nucleotide metabolism; Tumorigenicity
  12. Cell Rep. 2022 Jul 26. pii: S2211-1247(22)00949-4. [Epub ahead of print]40(4): 111140
      The mTOR-dependent nutrient-sensing and response machinery is the central hub for animals to regulate their cellular and developmental programs. However, equivalently pivotal nutrient and metabolite signals upstream of mTOR and developmental-regulatory signals downstream of mTOR are not clear, especially at the organism level. We previously showed glucosylceramide (GlcCer) acts as a critical nutrient and metabolite signal for overall amino acid levels to promote development by activating the intestinal mTORC1 signaling pathway. Here, through a large-scale genetic screen, we find that the intestinal peroxisome is critical for antagonizing the GlcCer-mTORC1-mediated nutrient signal. Mechanistically, GlcCer deficiency, inactive mTORC1, or prolonged starvation relocates intestinal peroxisomes closer to the apical region in a kinesin- and microtubule-dependent manner. Those apical accumulated peroxisomes further release peroxisomal-β-oxidation-derived glycolipid hormones that target chemosensory neurons and downstream nuclear hormone receptor DAF-12 to arrest the animal development. Our data illustrate a sophisticated gut-brain axis that predominantly orchestrates nutrient-sensing-dependent development in animals.
    Keywords:  C.elegans; CP: Cell biology; ascaroside; diapause; glucosylceramide; gut-brain axis; hormone; mTOR pathway; metabolism; nutrient sensing; peroxisome repositioning
  13. Nat Biotechnol. 2022 Jul 25.
      Mutations in Ras family proteins are implicated in 33% of human cancers, but direct pharmacological inhibition of Ras mutants remains challenging. As an alternative to direct inhibition, we screened for sensitivities in Ras-mutant cells and discovered 249C as a Ras-mutant selective cytotoxic agent with nanomolar potency against a spectrum of Ras-mutant cancers. 249C binds to vacuolar (V)-ATPase with nanomolar affinity and inhibits its activity, preventing lysosomal acidification and inhibiting autophagy and macropinocytosis pathways that several Ras-driven cancers rely on for survival. Unexpectedly, potency of 249C varies with the identity of the Ras driver mutation, with the highest potency for KRASG13D and G12V both in vitro and in vivo, highlighting a mutant-specific dependence on macropinocytosis and lysosomal pH. Indeed, 249C potently inhibits tumor growth without adverse side effects in mouse xenografts of KRAS-driven lung and colon cancers. A comparison of isogenic SW48 xenografts with different KRAS mutations confirmed that KRASG13D/+ (followed by G12V/+) mutations are especially sensitive to 249C treatment. These data establish proof-of-concept for targeting V-ATPase in cancers driven by specific KRAS mutations such as KRASG13D and G12V.
  14. Nat Commun. 2022 Jul 26. 13(1): 4327
      Mutant KRAS (KM), the most common oncogene in lung cancer (LC), regulates fatty acid (FA) metabolism. However, the role of FA in LC tumorigenesis is still not sufficiently characterized. Here, we show that KMLC has a specific lipid profile, with high triacylglycerides and phosphatidylcholines (PC). We demonstrate that FASN, the rate-limiting enzyme in FA synthesis, while being dispensable in EGFR-mutant or wild-type KRAS LC, is required for the viability of KMLC cells. Integrating lipidomic, transcriptomic and functional analyses, we demonstrate that FASN provides saturated and monounsaturated FA to the Lands cycle, the process remodeling oxidized phospholipids, such as PC. Accordingly, blocking either FASN or the Lands cycle in KMLC, promotes ferroptosis, a reactive oxygen species (ROS)- and iron-dependent cell death, characterized by the intracellular accumulation of oxidation-prone PC. Our work indicates that KM dictates a dependency on newly synthesized FA to escape ferroptosis, establishing a targetable vulnerability in KMLC.
  15. Nutrients. 2022 Jul 22. pii: 3022. [Epub ahead of print]14(15):
      BACKGROUND: Pancreatic beta cells regulate bioenergetics efficiency and secret insulin in response to glucose and nutrient availability. The mechanistic Target of Rapamycin (mTOR) network orchestrates pancreatic progenitor cell growth and metabolism by nucleating two complexes, mTORC1 and mTORC2.OBJECTIVE: To determine the impact of mTORC1/mTORC2 inhibition on amino acid metabolism in mouse pancreatic beta cells (Beta-TC-6 cells, ATCC-CRL-11506) using high-resolution metabolomics (HRM) and live-mitochondrial functions.
    METHODS: Pancreatic beta TC-6 cells were incubated for 24 h with either: RapaLink-1 (RL); Torin-2 (T); rapamycin (R); metformin (M); a combination of RapaLink-1 and metformin (RLM); Torin-2 and metformin (TM); compared to the control. We applied high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) LC-MS/MS untargeted metabolomics to compare the twenty natural amino acid profiles to the control. In addition, we quantified the bioenergetics dynamics and cellular metabolism by live-cell imaging and the MitoStress Test XF24 (Agilent, Seahorse). The real-time, live-cell approach simultaneously measures the oxygen consumption rate (OCR) and extracellular acidification rate (ECAR) to determine cellular respiration and metabolism. Statistical significance was assessed using ANOVA on Ranks and post-hoc Welch t-Tests.
    RESULTS: RapaLink-1, Torin-2, and rapamycin decreased L-aspartate levels compared to the control (p = 0.006). Metformin alone did not affect L-aspartate levels. However, L-asparagine levels decreased with all treatment groups compared to the control (p = 0.03). On the contrary, L-glutamate and glycine levels were reduced only by mTORC1/mTORC2 inhibitors RapaLink-1 and Torin-2, but not by rapamycin or metformin. The metabolic activity network model predicted that L-aspartate and AMP interact within the same activity network. Live-cell bioenergetics revealed that ATP production was significantly reduced in RapaLink-1 (122.23 + 33.19), Torin-2 (72.37 + 17.33) treated cells, compared to rapamycin (250.45 + 9.41) and the vehicle control (274.23 + 38.17), p < 0.01. However, non-mitochondrial oxygen consumption was not statistically different between RapaLink-1 (67.17 + 3.52), Torin-2 (55.93 + 8.76), or rapamycin (80.01 + 4.36, p = 0.006).
    CONCLUSIONS: Dual mTORC1/mTORC2 inhibition by RapaLink-1 and Torin-2 differentially altered the amino acid profile and decreased mitochondrial respiration compared to rapamycin treatment which only blocks the FRB domain on mTOR. Third-generation mTOR inhibitors may alter the mitochondrial dynamics and reveal a bioenergetics profile that could be targeted to reduce mitochondrial stress.
    Keywords:  extra cellular acidification rate (ECAR); high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS); mTORC1; mTORC2; mitochondrial stress; oxygen consumption rmassbates (OCR); the internal exposome
  16. FEBS Lett. 2022 Jul 27.
      Modern cell membranes contain a bewildering complexity of lipids, among them sphingolipids (SLs). Advances in mass spectrometry have led to the realization that the number and combinatorial complexity of lipids, including SLs, is much greater than previously appreciated. SLs are generated de novo by four enzymes, namely serine palmitoyltransferase, 3-ketodihydrosphingosine reductase, ceramide synthase and dihydroceramide Δ4-desaturase 1. Some of these enzymes depend on the availability of specific substrates and cofactors, which are themselves supplied by other complex metabolic pathways. The evolution of these four enzymes is poorly understood and likely depends on the co-evolution of the metabolic pathways that supply the other essential reaction components. Here, we introduce the concept of the 'anteome', from the Latin ante ('before') to describe the network of metabolic ('omic') pathways that must have converged in order for these pathways to co-evolve and permit SL synthesis. We also suggest that current origin of life and evolutionary models lack appropriate experimental support to explain the appearance of this complex metabolic pathway and its anteome.
    Keywords:  Darwinian evolution; Metabolism; last universal common ancestor; membrane; metabolic evolution; origin of life; sphingolipids
  17. Biomolecules. 2022 Jun 27. pii: 895. [Epub ahead of print]12(7):
      Mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer with a poor prognosis, is linked to asbestos exposure. However, carbon nanotubes found in materials we are exposed to daily can cause mesothelioma cancer. Cancer cells reprogram their metabolism to support increased biosynthetic and energy demands required for their growth and motility. Here, we examined the effects of silencing the expression of the voltage-dependent anion channel 1 (VDAC1), controlling the metabolic and energetic crosstalk between mitochondria and the rest of the cell. We demonstrate that VDAC1 is overexpressed in mesothelioma patients; its levels increase with disease stage and are associated with low survival rates. Silencing VDAC1 expression using a specific siRNA identifying both mouse and human VDAC1 (si-m/hVDAC1-B) inhibits cell proliferation of mesothelioma cancer cells. Treatment of xenografts of human-derived H226 cells or mouse-derived AB1 cells with si-m/hVDAC1-B inhibited tumor growth and caused metabolism reprogramming, as reflected in the decreased expression of metabolism-related proteins, including glycolytic and tricarboxylic acid (-)cycle enzymes and the ATP-synthesizing enzyme. In addition, tumors depleted of VDAC1 showed altered microenvironments and inflammation, both associated with cancer progression. Finally, tumor VDAC1 silencing also eliminated cancer stem cells and induced cell differentiation to normal-like cells. The results show that silencing VDAC1 expression leads to reprogrammed metabolism and to multiple effects from tumor growth inhibition to modulation of the tumor microenvironment and inflammation, inducing differentiation of malignant cells. Thus, silencing VDAC1 is a potential therapeutic approach to treating mesothelioma.
    Keywords:  VDAC1; mesothelioma; metabolism; mitochondria
  18. Fertil Steril. 2022 Aug;pii: S0015-0282(22)00406-X. [Epub ahead of print]118(2): 405-406
  19. Biomolecules. 2022 Jul 21. pii: 1009. [Epub ahead of print]12(7):
      The importance of mitochondria in mammalian cells is widely known. Several biochemical reactions and pathways take place within mitochondria: among them, there are those involving the biogenesis of the iron-sulfur (Fe-S) clusters. The latter are evolutionarily conserved, ubiquitous inorganic cofactors, performing a variety of functions, such as electron transport, enzymatic catalysis, DNA maintenance, and gene expression regulation. The synthesis and distribution of Fe-S clusters are strictly controlled cellular processes that involve several mitochondrial proteins that specifically interact each other to form a complex machinery (Iron Sulfur Cluster assembly machinery, ISC machinery hereafter). This machinery ensures the correct assembly of both [2Fe-2S] and [4Fe-4S] clusters and their insertion in the mitochondrial target proteins. The present review provides a structural and molecular overview of the rare diseases associated with the genes encoding for the accessory proteins of the ISC machinery (i.e., GLRX5, ISCA1, ISCA2, IBA57, FDX2, BOLA3, IND1 and NFU1) involved in the assembly and insertion of [4Fe-4S] clusters in mitochondrial proteins. The disease-related missense mutations were mapped on the 3D structures of these accessory proteins or of their protein complexes, and the possible impact that these mutations have on their specific activity/function in the frame of the mitochondrial [4Fe-4S] protein biogenesis is described.
    Keywords:  iron–sulfur cluster; mitochondrial proteins; multiple mitochondrial dysfunction syndromes; rare diseases
  20. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Jul 18. pii: 7897. [Epub ahead of print]23(14):
      Mitochondria are dynamic organelles managing crucial processes of cellular metabolism and bioenergetics. Enabling rapid cellular adaptation to altered endogenous and exogenous environments, mitochondria play an important role in many pathophysiological states, including cancer. Being under the control of mitochondrial and nuclear DNA (mtDNA and nDNA), mitochondria adjust their activity and biogenesis to cell demands. In cancer, numerous mutations in mtDNA have been detected, which do not inactivate mitochondrial functions but rather alter energy metabolism to support cancer cell growth. Increasing evidence suggests that mtDNA mutations, mtDNA epigenetics and miRNA regulations dynamically modify signalling pathways in an altered microenvironment, resulting in cancer initiation and progression and aberrant therapy response. In this review, we discuss mitochondria as organelles importantly involved in tumorigenesis and anti-cancer therapy response. Tumour treatment unresponsiveness still represents a serious drawback in current drug therapies. Therefore, studying aspects related to genetic and epigenetic control of mitochondria can open a new field for understanding cancer therapy response. The urgency of finding new therapeutic regimens with better treatment outcomes underlines the targeting of mitochondria as a suitable candidate with new therapeutic potential. Understanding the role of mitochondria and their regulation in cancer development, progression and treatment is essential for the development of new safe and effective mitochondria-based therapeutic regimens.
    Keywords:  DNA repair; cancer; epigenetics; genetics; mitochondria; mitomiRs; targeted therapy
  21. Autophagy. 2022 Jul 27. 1-26
      The challenge of rapid macromolecular synthesis enforces the energy-hungry cancer cell mitochondria to switch their metabolic phenotypes, accomplished by activation of oncogenic tyrosine kinases. Precisely how kinase activity is directly exploited by cancer cell mitochondria to meet high-energy demand, remains to be deciphered. Here we show that a non-receptor tyrosine kinase, TNK2/ACK1 (tyrosine kinase non receptor 2), phosphorylated ATP5F1A (ATP synthase F1 subunit alpha) at Tyr243 and Tyr246 (Tyr200 and 203 in the mature protein, respectively) that not only increased the stability of complex V, but also increased mitochondrial energy output in cancer cells. Further, phospho-ATP5F1A (p-Y-ATP5F1A) prevented its binding to its physiological inhibitor, ATP5IF1 (ATP synthase inhibitory factor subunit 1), causing sustained mitochondrial activity to promote cancer cell growth. TNK2 inhibitor, (R)-9b reversed this process and induced mitophagy-based autophagy to mitigate prostate tumor growth while sparing normal prostate cells. Further, depletion of p-Y-ATP5F1A was needed for (R)-9b-mediated mitophagic response and tumor growth. Moreover, Tnk2 transgenic mice displayed increased p-Y-ATP5F1A and loss of mitophagy and exhibited formation of prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PINs). Consistent with these data, a marked increase in p-Y-ATP5F1A was seen as prostate cancer progressed to the malignant stage. Overall, this study uncovered the molecular intricacy of tyrosine kinase-mediated mitochondrial energy regulation as a distinct cancer cell mitochondrial vulnerability and provided evidence that TNK2 inhibitors can act as "mitocans" to induce cancer-specific mitophagy.AbbreviationsATP5F1A: ATP synthase F1 subunit alpha; ATP5IF1: ATP synthase inhibitory factor subunit 1; CRPC: castration-resistant prostate cancer; DNM1L: dynamin 1 like; MAP1LC3B/LC3B: microtubule associated protein 1 light chain 3 beta; Mdivi-1: mitochondrial division inhibitor 1; Mut-ATP5F1A: Y243,246A mutant of ATP5F1A; OXPHOS: oxidative phosphorylation; PC: prostate cancer; PINK1: PTEN induced kinase 1; p-Y-ATP5F1A: phosphorylated tyrosine 243 and 246 on ATP5F1A; TNK2/ACK1: tyrosine kinase non receptor 2; Ub: ubiquitin; WT: wild type.
    Keywords:  ATP5F1A; ATP5IF1; TNK2/ACK1; mitochondrial dysfunction; mitochondrial vulnerability; mitophagy; tyrosine phosphorylation
  22. Nat Commun. 2022 Jul 27. 13(1): 4339
      In eukaryotes, iron-sulfur clusters are essential cofactors for numerous physiological processes, but these clusters are primarily biosynthesized in mitochondria. Previous studies suggest mitochondrial ABCB7-type exporters are involved in maturation of cytosolic iron-sulfur proteins. However, the molecular mechanism for how the ABCB7-type exporters participate in this process remains elusive. Here, we report a series of cryo-electron microscopy structures of a eukaryotic homolog of human ABCB7, CtAtm1, determined at average resolutions ranging from 2.8 to 3.2 Å, complemented by functional characterization and molecular docking in silico. We propose that CtAtm1 accepts delivery from glutathione-complexed iron-sulfur clusters. A partially occluded state links cargo-binding to residues at the mitochondrial matrix interface that line a positively charged cavity, while the binding region becomes internalized and is partially divided in an early occluded state. Collectively, our findings substantially increase the understanding of the transport mechanism of eukaryotic ABCB7-type proteins.
  23. Nat Chem Biol. 2022 Jul 25.
      Oncogenic Kras-activated pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) cells highly rely on an unconventional glutamine catabolic pathway to sustain cell growth. However, little is known about how this pathway is regulated. Here we demonstrate that Kras mutation induces cellular O-linked β-N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc), a prevalent form of protein glycosylation. Malate dehydrogenase 1 (MDH1), a key enzyme in the glutamine catabolic pathway, is positively regulated by O-GlcNAcylation on serine 189 (S189). Molecular dynamics simulations suggest that S189 glycosylation on monomeric MDH1 enhances the stability of the substrate-binding pocket and strengthens the substrate interactions by serving as a molecular glue. Depletion of O-GlcNAcylation reduces MDH1 activity, impairs glutamine metabolism, sensitizes PDAC cells to oxidative stress, decreases cell proliferation and inhibits tumor growth in nude mice. Furthermore, O-GlcNAcylation levels of MDH1 are elevated in clinical PDAC samples. Our study reveals that O-GlcNAcylation contributes to pancreatic cancer growth by regulating the metabolic activity of MDH1.
  24. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Aug 02. 119(31): e2204407119
      Cellular metabolism is regulated over space and time to ensure that energy production is efficiently matched with consumption. Fluorescent biosensors are useful tools for studying metabolism as they enable real-time detection of metabolite abundance with single-cell resolution. For monitoring glycolysis, the intermediate fructose 1,6-bisphosphate (FBP) is a particularly informative signal as its concentration is strongly correlated with flux through the whole pathway. Using GFP insertion into the ligand-binding domain of the Bacillus subtilis transcriptional regulator CggR, we developed a fluorescent biosensor for FBP termed HYlight. We demonstrate that HYlight can reliably report the real-time dynamics of glycolysis in living cells and tissues, driven by various metabolic or pharmacological perturbations, alone or in combination with other physiologically relevant signals. Using this sensor, we uncovered previously unknown aspects of β-cell glycolytic heterogeneity and dynamics.
    Keywords:  fructose 1,6-bisphosphate; glycolysis; β-cells
  25. Sci Signal. 2022 Jul 26. 15(744): eade0564
      Inhibition of a zinc transporter improves the maturation and survival of β cells.
  26. Mol Metab. 2022 Jul 20. pii: S2212-8778(22)00123-5. [Epub ahead of print] 101554
      Dietary glucose is a robust elicitor of central reward responses and ingestion, but the key peripheral sensors triggering these orexigenic mechanisms are not entirely known. Here, we provide the first evidence that glucokinase, an enzyme involved in glucose metabolism and glucosensing, in the taste bud cells, is regulated by metabolic state, dietary factors, and contributes to glucose appetite. These results expand our understanding of sensory inputs underlying nutrition, metabolism, and food reward.
    Keywords:  Sugar sensing; food reward; gustation; ingestive motivation; metabolism; nutrient assimilation
  27. Autophagy. 2022 Jul 28.
      PINK1-PRKN/Parkin-mediated mitophagy represents an important mitochondrial quality control (MQC) pathway that clears damaged/dysfunctional mitochondria. Although the conjugation of mammalian Atg8-family proteins (mATG8s) to phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) is a defining step in autophagy, its role in mitophagy remains unclear. In our recent study, we found that the mATG8 conjugation system is not required for PINK1-PRKN-mediated mitochondria clearance. Instead, mATG8 conjugation system-independent mitochondria clearance relies on secretory autophagy, in a process we term as the autophagic secretion of mitochondria (ASM). As ASM results in the spurious activation of the CGAS-STING1 pathway, we propose that defects in mATG8 lipidation may promote inflammation through ASM.
    Keywords:  Extracellular vesicles; PINK1-PRKN; inflammation; mATG8 conjugation system; mitochondrial quality control; mitophagy; secretory autophagy
  28. Bratisl Lek Listy. 2022 ;123(7): 487-490
      Pyruvate carboxylase (PC) is a mitochondrial enzyme catalyzing the ATP-dependent reaction of pyruvate prolongation with bicarbonate ion to oxaloacetate. The synthesis of oxaloacetate by PC, an intermediate of the Krebs cycle, is recently recognized as a significant anaplerotic reaction that supports the biosynthetic capability, growth, aggressiveness, and even viability of several cancer cell types. PC expression was confirmed in several types of cancer cells and tumors. To evaluate the possibility that prostate tumor-forming cells are also exploiting the anaplerotic role of PC, we applied immunoblotting analysis to estimate its presence. Our results revealed that PC is present among the lysate proteins derived from prostate cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia samples. The expression of PC in cells of prostate tumors and benign prostatic hyperplasia supposes that PC could facilitate the formation of oxaloacetate in situ and enhance the autonomy of their biosynthetic metabolism from the availability of extracellular substrates by increasing the cellular anaplerotic capability (Tab. 1, Fig. 1, Ref. 30). Keywords: pyruvate carboxylase, prostate cancer, cancer metabolism, anaplerosis.
  29. Elife. 2022 Jul 26. pii: e75398. [Epub ahead of print]11
      The mTOR pathway is an essential regulator of cell growth and metabolism. Midbrain dopamine neurons are particularly sensitive to mTOR signaling status as activation or inhibition of mTOR alters their morphology and physiology. mTOR exists in two distinct multiprotein complexes termed mTORC1 and mTORC2. How each of these complexes affect dopamine neuron properties, and whether they have similar or distinct functions is unknown. Here, we investigated this in mice with dopamine neuron-specific deletion of Rptor or Rictor, which encode obligatory components of mTORC1 or mTORC2, respectively. We find that inhibition of mTORC1 strongly and broadly impacts dopamine neuron structure and function causing somatodendritic and axonal hypotrophy, increased intrinsic excitability, decreased dopamine production, and impaired dopamine release. In contrast, inhibition of mTORC2 has more subtle effects, with selective alterations to the output of ventral tegmental area dopamine neurons. Disruption of both mTOR complexes leads to pronounced deficits in dopamine release demonstrating the importance of balanced mTORC1 and mTORC2 signaling for dopaminergic function.
    Keywords:  TSC; dopamine neurons; mTORC1; mTORC2; mouse; neuroscience; raptor; rictor
  30. NAR Cancer. 2022 Sep;4(3): zcac023
      The histone methyltransferase KMT2C is among the most frequently mutated epigenetic modifier genes in cancer and plays an essential role in MRE11-dependent DNA replication fork restart. However, the effects of KMT2C deficiency on genomic instability during tumorigenesis are unclear. Analyzing 9,663 tumors from 30 cancer cohorts, we report that KMT2C mutant tumors have a significant excess of APOBEC mutational signatures in several cancer types. We show that KMT2C deficiency promotes APOBEC expression and deaminase activity, and compromises DNA replication speed and delays fork restart, facilitating APOBEC mutagenesis targeting single stranded DNA near stalled forks. APOBEC-mediated mutations primarily accumulate during early replication and tend to cluster along the genome and also in 3D nuclear domains. Excessive APOBEC mutational signatures in KMT2C mutant tumors correlate with elevated genome maintenance defects and signatures of homologous recombination deficiency. We propose that KMT2C deficiency is a likely promoter of APOBEC mutagenesis, which fosters further genomic instability during tumor progression in multiple cancer types.
  31. Cells. 2022 Jul 16. pii: 2213. [Epub ahead of print]11(14):
      Vascular aging is based on the development of endothelial dysfunction, which is thought to be promoted by senescent cells accumulating in aged tissues and is possibly affected by their environment via inflammatory mediators and oxidative stress. Senescence appears to be closely interlinked with changes in cell metabolism. Here, we describe an upregulation of both glycolytic and oxidative glucose metabolism in replicative senescent endothelial cells compared to young endothelial cells by employing metabolic profiling and glucose flux measurements and by analyzing the expression of key metabolic enzymes. Senescent cells exhibit higher glycolytic activity and lactate production together with an enhanced expression of lactate dehydrogenase A as well as increases in tricarboxylic acid cycle activity and mitochondrial respiration. The latter is likely due to the reduced expression of pyruvate dehydrogenase kinases (PDHKs) in senescent cells, which may lead to increased activity of the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex. Cellular and mitochondrial ATP production were elevated despite signs of mitochondrial dysfunction, such as an increased production of reactive oxygen species and extended mitochondrial mass. A shift from glycolytic to oxidative glucose metabolism induced by pharmacological inhibition of PDHKs in young endothelial cells resulted in premature senescence, suggesting that alterations in cellular glucose metabolism may act as a driving force for senescence in endothelial cells.
    Keywords:  aging; dichloroacetate; endothelial cell; glucose metabolism; lactate; lactate dehydrogenase; pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase; replicative senescence
  32. Front Immunol. 2022 ;13 874863
      The immunosuppressive regulatory T (Treg) cells exert emerging effects on adipose tissue homeostasis and systemic metabolism. However, the metabolic regulation and effector mechanisms of Treg cells in coping with obesogenic insults are not fully understood. We have previously established an indispensable role of the O-linked N-Acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc) signaling in maintaining Treg cell identity and promoting Treg suppressor function, via STAT5 O-GlcNAcylation and activation. Here, we investigate the O-GlcNAc transferase (OGT)-STAT5 axis in driving the immunomodulatory function of Treg cells for metabolic homeostasis. Treg cell-specific OGT deficiency renders mice more vulnerable to high-fat diet (HFD)-induced adiposity and insulin resistance. Conversely, constitutive STAT5 activation in Treg cells confers protection against adipose tissue expansion and impaired glucose and insulin metabolism upon HFD feeding, in part by suppressing adipose lipid uptake and redistributing systemic iron storage. Treg cell function can be augmented by targeting the OGT-STAT5 axis to combat obesity and related metabolic disorders.
    Keywords:  O-GlcNAc; Treg - regulatory T cell; adipose tissue; fatty acid uptake; iron
  33. Antioxidants (Basel). 2022 Jul 05. pii: 1324. [Epub ahead of print]11(7):
      Undue elevation of ROS levels commonly occurs during cancer evolution as a result of various antitumor therapeutics and/or endogenous immune response. Overwhelming ROS levels induced cancer cell death through the dysregulation of ROS-sensitive glycolytic enzymes, leading to the catastrophic depression of glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS), which are critical for cancer survival and progression. However, cancer cells also adapt to such catastrophic oxidative and metabolic stresses by metabolic reprograming, resulting in cancer residuality, progression, and relapse. This adaptation is highly dependent on NADPH and GSH syntheses for ROS scavenging and the upregulation of lipolysis and glutaminolysis, which fuel tricarboxylic acid cycle-coupled OXPHOS and biosynthesis. The underlying mechanism remains poorly understood, thus presenting a promising field with opportunities to manipulate metabolic adaptations for cancer prevention and therapy. In this review, we provide a summary of the mechanisms of metabolic regulation in the adaptation of cancer cells to oxidative stress and the current understanding of its regulatory role in cancer survival and progression.
    Keywords:  cancer stemness; metabolic adaptation; metabolic reprogramming; oxidative stress; tumor metastasis
  34. Genome Med. 2022 Jul 29. 14(1): 80
      The interaction between the metabolic activities of the intestinal microbiome and its host forms an important part of health. The basis of this interaction is in part mediated by the release of microbially-derived metabolites that enter the circulation. These products of microbial metabolism thereby interface with the immune, metabolic, or nervous systems of the host to influence physiology. Here, we review the interactions between the metabolic activities of the microbiome and the systemic metabolism of the host. The concept that the endocrine system includes more than just the eukaryotic host component enables the rational design of exogenous interventions that shape human metabolism. An improved mechanistic understanding of the metabolic microbiome-host interaction may therefore pioneer actionable microbiota-based diagnostics or therapeutics that allow the control of host systemic metabolism via the microbiome.
    Keywords:  Metabolism; Metabolites; Microbiome; Nutrients
  35. Biochimie. 2022 Jul 20. pii: S0300-9084(22)00184-5. [Epub ahead of print]
      Apart from the oncometabolite succinate, little studies have appeared on extra-mitochondrial pathways in Succinate Dehydrogenase (SDH) genetic deficiency. The role of NADH/NAD+ redox status and dependent pathways was recently emphasized. Therein, fatty acid (FA) metabolism data were collected here in 30 patients with a loss of function (LOF) variant in one SDHx gene (either with a pheochromocytoma/paraganglioma (PPGL) or asymptomatic) and in 22 wild-type SDHx controls (with PPGL or asymptomatic). Blood acylcarnitines in two patients, peroxisomal biomarkers, very long-chain saturated FA (VLCFA), and C20 to C24 n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), in all patients were measured by mass spectrometry. Preliminary data showed elevated even and odd long- and very long-chain acylcarnitines in two patients with a SDHB variant. In the whole series, no abnormalities were observed in biomarkers of peroxisomal β-oxidation (C27-bile acids, VLCFAs and phytanic/pristanic acids) in SDHx patients. However, an increased hexaene to pentaene PUFA ratio ([TetraHexaenoic Acid + DocosaHexaenoic Acid]/[n-3 DocosaPentaenoic Acid + EicosaPentaenoic Acid]) was noticed in patients with SDHC/SDHD variants vs patients with SDHA/SDHB variants or controls, suggesting a higher degree of unsaturation of PUFAs. Within the group with a SDHx variant, Eicosapentaenoate/Tetracosahexaenoate ratio, as an empiric index of shortening/elongation balance, discriminated patients with PPGL from asymptomatic ones. Present findings argue for stimulated elongation of saturated FAs, changes in shortening/elongation balance and desaturation rates of C20-C24 PUFAs in SDH-deficient patients with PPGL. Overall, oxidation of NADH sustained by these pathways might reflect or impact glycolytic NAD+ recycling and hence tumor proliferation.
  36. Cancer Discov. 2022 Jul 29. OF1
      Tumor-derived lactate disrupts pyruvate metabolism and cytotoxic function of antitumor CD8+ T cells.
  37. Front Immunol. 2022 ;13 891475
      Macrophages deploy a variety of antimicrobial programs to contain mycobacterial infection. Upon activation, they undergo extensive metabolic reprogramming to meet an increase in energy demand, but also to support immune effector functions such as secretion of cytokines and antimicrobial activities. Here, we report that mitochondrial import of pyruvate is linked to production of mitochondrial ROS and control of Mycobacterium avium (M. avium) infection in human primary macrophages. Using chemical inhibition, targeted mass spectrometry and single cell image analysis, we showed that macrophages infected with M. avium switch to aerobic glycolysis without any major imbalances in the tricarboxylic acid cycle volume or changes in the energy charge. Instead, we found that pyruvate import contributes to hyperpolarization of mitochondria in infected cells and increases production of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species by the complex I via reverse electron transport, which reduces the macrophage burden of M. avium. While mycobacterial infections are extremely difficult to treat and notoriously resistant to antibiotics, this work stresses out that compounds specifically inducing mitochondrial reactive oxygen species could present themself as valuable adjunct treatments.
    Keywords:  Mycobacterium avium infection; glycolysis; human primary macrophages; innate immunity; mitochondrial ROS; mitochondrial pyruvate; pyruvate; reverse electron transport
  38. Nature. 2022 Jul 28.
    Bonn COVIMMUNE Consortium
      Anorexia and fasting are host adaptations to acute infection, inducing a metabolic switch towards ketogenesis and the production of ketone bodies, including β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) 1-6. However, whether ketogenesis metabolically influences the immune response in pulmonary infections remains unclear. Here we report impaired production of BHB in humans with SARS-CoV-2-induced but not influenza-induced acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). CD4+ T cell function is impaired in COVID-19 and BHB promotes both survival and production of Interferon-γ from CD4+ T cells. Using metabolic tracing analysis, we uncovered that BHB provides an alternative carbon source to fuel oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) and the production of bioenergetic amino acids and glutathione, which is important for maintaining the redox balance. T cells from patients with SARS-CoV-2-induced ARDS were exhausted and skewed towards glycolysis, but can be metabolically reprogrammed by BHB to perform OXPHOS, thereby increasing their functionality. Finally, we demonstrate that ketogenic diet (KD) and delivery of BHB as ketone ester drink restores CD4+ T cell metabolism and function in respiratory infections, ultimately reducing the mortality of SARS-CoV-2 infected mice. Altogether, our data reveal BHB as alternative carbon source promoting T cell responses in pulmonary viral infections, highlighting impaired ketogenesis as a potential confounder of severe COVID-19.
  39. Metabolites. 2022 Jul 09. pii: 630. [Epub ahead of print]12(7):
      The last decade has seen a strong proliferation of therapeutic strategies for the treatment of metabolic and age-related diseases based on increasing cellular NAD+ bioavailability. Among them, the dietary supplementation with NAD+ precursors-classically known as vitamin B3-has received most of the attention. Multiple molecules can act as NAD+ precursors through independent biosynthetic routes. Interestingly, eukaryote organisms have conserved a remarkable ability to utilize all of these different molecules, even if some of them are scarcely found in nature. Here, we discuss the possibility that the conservation of all of these biosynthetic pathways through evolution occurred because the different NAD+ precursors might serve specialized purposes.
    Keywords:  NAD+; niacin; nicotinamide riboside; vitamin B3
  40. Nat Genet. 2022 Jul 28.
      Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is a highly lethal and treatment-refractory cancer. Molecular stratification in pancreatic cancer remains rudimentary and does not yet inform clinical management or therapeutic development. Here, we construct a high-resolution molecular landscape of the cellular subtypes and spatial communities that compose PDAC using single-nucleus RNA sequencing and whole-transcriptome digital spatial profiling (DSP) of 43 primary PDAC tumor specimens that either received neoadjuvant therapy or were treatment naive. We uncovered recurrent expression programs across malignant cells and fibroblasts, including a newly identified neural-like progenitor malignant cell program that was enriched after chemotherapy and radiotherapy and associated with poor prognosis in independent cohorts. Integrating spatial and cellular profiles revealed three multicellular communities with distinct contributions from malignant, fibroblast and immune subtypes: classical, squamoid-basaloid and treatment enriched. Our refined molecular and cellular taxonomy can provide a framework for stratification in clinical trials and serve as a roadmap for therapeutic targeting of specific cellular phenotypes and multicellular interactions.
  41. Brain. 2022 Jul 28. pii: awac222. [Epub ahead of print]
      Malignant brain tumours are the cause of a disproportionate level of morbidity and mortality among cancer patients, an unfortunate statistic that has remained constant for decades. Despite considerable advances in the molecular characterization of these tumours, targeting the cancer cells has yet to produce significant advances in treatment. An alternative strategy is to target cells in the glioblastoma microenvironment, such as tumour-associated astrocytes. Astrocytes control multiple processes in health and disease, ranging from maintaining the brain's metabolic homeostasis, to modulating neuroinflammation. However, their role in glioblastoma pathogenicity is not well understood. Here we report that depletion of reactive astrocytes regresses glioblastoma and prolongs mouse survival. Analysis of the tumour-associated astrocyte translatome revealed astrocytes initiate transcriptional programmes that shape the immune and metabolic compartments in the glioma microenvironment. Specifically, their expression of CCL2 and CSF1 governs the recruitment of tumour-associated macrophages and promotes a pro-tumourigenic macrophage phenotype. Concomitantly, we demonstrate that astrocyte-derived cholesterol is key to glioma cell survival, and that targeting astrocytic cholesterol efflux, via ABCA1, halts tumour progression. In summary, astrocytes control glioblastoma pathogenicity by reprogramming the immunological properties of the tumour microenvironment and supporting the non-oncogenic metabolic dependency of glioblastoma on cholesterol. These findings suggest that targeting astrocyte immunometabolic signalling may be useful in treating this uniformly lethal brain tumour.
    Keywords:  astrocytes; cholesterol; glioma
  42. Wiley Interdiscip Rev RNA. 2022 Jul 25. e1753
      Mitochondrial epitranscriptomics refers to the modifications occurring in all the different RNA types of mitochondria. Although the number of mitochondrial RNA modifications is less than those in cytoplasm, substantial evidence indicates that they play a critical role in accurate protein synthesis. Recent evidence supported those modifications in mitochondrial RNAs also have crucial implications in mitochondrial-related diseases. In the light of current knowledge about the involvement, the association between mitochondrial RNA modifications and diseases arises from studies focusing on mutations in both mitochondrial and nuclear DNA genes encoding enzymes involved in such modifications. Here, we review the current evidence available for mitochondrial RNA modifications and their role in metabolic disorders, and we also explore the possibility of using them as promising targets for prevention and early detection. Finally, we discuss future directions of mitochondrial epitranscriptomics in these metabolic alterations, and how these RNA modifications may offer a new diagnostic and theragnostic avenue for preventive purposes. This article is categorized under: RNA Processing > RNA Editing and Modification.
    Keywords:  RNA modifications; epitranscriptomics; metabolic alterations; metabolism; mitochondria
  43. Nat Metab. 2022 Jul 28.
      ABSTACT: Ageing is the largest risk factor for many chronic diseases. Studies of heterochronic parabiosis, substantiated by blood exchange and old plasma dilution, show that old-age-related factors are systemically propagated and have pro-geronic effects in young mice. However, the underlying mechanisms how bloodborne factors promote ageing remain largely unknown. Here, using heterochronic blood exchange in male mice, we show that aged mouse blood induces cell and tissue senescence in young animals after one single exchange. This induction of senescence is abrogated if old animals are treated with senolytic drugs before blood exchange, therefore attenuating the pro-geronic influence of old blood on young mice. Hence, cellular senescence is neither simply a response to stress and damage that increases with age, nor a chronological cell-intrinsic phenomenon. Instead, senescence quickly and robustly spreads to young mice from old blood. Clearing senescence cells that accumulate with age rejuvenates old circulating blood and improves the health of multiple tissues.
  44. J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2022 Jul;71(1): 48-54
      Glutathione (GSH) is synthesized from three amino acids and the overall process is highly dependent on the availability of l-cysteine (l-Cys). GSH serves as an essential cofactor for glutathione peroxidase 4 (Gpx4), which reduces phospholipid hydroperoxides. The inactivation of Gpx4 or an insufficient supply of l-Cys results in the accumulation of lipid hydroperoxides, eventually leading to iron-dependent cell death, ferroptosis. In this study, we investigated the anti-ferroptotic properties of d-cysteine (d-Cys) under conditions of dysfunction in cystine transporter, xCT. l-Cys supplementation completely rescued ferroptosis that had been induced by the erastin-mediated inhibition of xCT in Hepa 1-6 cells. Upon d-Cys supplementation, the erastin-treated cells remained completely viable for periods of up to 24 h but eventually died after 48 h. d-Cys supplementation suppressed the production of lipid peroxides, thereby ferroptosis. The addition of d-Cys sustained intracellular Cys and GSH levels to a certain extent. When Hepa 1-6 cells were treated with a combination of buthionine sulfoximine and erastin, the anti-ferroptotic effect of d-Cys was diminished. These collective results indicate that, although d-Cys is not the direct source of GSH, d-Cys supplementation protects cells from ferroptosis in a manner that is dependent on GSH synthesis via stimulating the uptake of l-Cys.
    Keywords:  cystine; d-‍cysteine; ferroptosis; glutathione; l-cysteine
  45. Nat Chem. 2022 Jul 28.
      The Strecker reaction of aldehydes is the pre-eminent pathway to explain the prebiotic origins of α-amino acids. However, biology employs transamination of α-ketoacids to synthesize amino acids which are then transformed to nucleobases, implying an evolutionary switch-abiotically or biotically-of a prebiotic pathway involving the Strecker reaction into today's biosynthetic pathways. Here we show that α-ketoacids react with cyanide and ammonia sources to form the corresponding α-amino acids through the Bucherer-Bergs pathway. An efficient prebiotic transformation of oxaloacetate to aspartate via N-carbamoyl aspartate enables the simultaneous formation of dihydroorotate, paralleling the biochemical synthesis of orotate as the precursor to pyrimidine nucleobases. Glyoxylate forms both glycine and orotate and reacts with malonate and urea to form aspartate and dihydroorotate. These results, along with the previously demonstrated protometabolic analogues of the Krebs cycle, suggest that there can be a natural emergence of congruent forerunners of biological pathways with the potential for seamless transition from prebiotic chemistry to modern metabolism.
  46. Cancer Res. 2022 Jul 25. pii: CAN-22-0419. [Epub ahead of print]
      Epithelial transformation and carcinogenesis are characterized by profound alterations in cell mechanics that significantly impact multiple steps of the metastatic cascade. The ability of cancer cells to grow in the primary tumor, to locally invade through the confining extracellular matrix, to survive in circulation, and to extravasate into distant vital organs all depend on specific mechanical characteristics. Importantly, recent studies have shown that the mechanical properties of cancer cells also influence their interactions with immune and stromal cells. Here, we discuss the mechanical changes that cancer cells undergo during metastasis, how these changes impact immune and stromal responses, and the implications of these new insights for therapeutic intervention.