bims-camemi Biomed News
on Mitochondrial metabolism in cancer
Issue of 2022‒11‒27
fifty-six papers selected by
Christian Frezza
University Hospital Cologne

  1. Nat Commun. 2022 Nov 23. 13(1): 7204
      DddA-derived cytosine base editors (DdCBEs) use programmable DNA-binding TALE repeat arrays, rather than CRISPR proteins, a split double-stranded DNA cytidine deaminase (DddA), and a uracil glycosylase inhibitor to mediate C•G-to-T•A editing in nuclear and organelle DNA. Here we report the development of zinc finger DdCBEs (ZF-DdCBEs) and the improvement of their editing performance through engineering their architectures, defining improved ZF scaffolds, and installing DddA activity-enhancing mutations. We engineer variants with improved DNA specificity by integrating four strategies to reduce off-target editing. We use optimized ZF-DdCBEs to install or correct disease-associated mutations in mitochondria and in the nucleus. Leveraging their small size, we use a single AAV9 to deliver into heart, liver, and skeletal muscle in post-natal mice ZF-DdCBEs that efficiently install disease-associated mutations. While off-target editing of ZF-DdCBEs is likely too high for therapeutic applications, these findings demonstrate a compact, all-protein base editing research tool for precise editing of organelle or nuclear DNA without double-strand DNA breaks.
  2. Dev Cell. 2022 Nov 21. pii: S1534-5807(22)00760-2. [Epub ahead of print]57(22): 2584-2598.e11
      Autophagy is an essential catabolic process that promotes the clearance of surplus or damaged intracellular components. Loss of autophagy in age-related human pathologies contributes to tissue degeneration through a poorly understood mechanism. Here, we identify an evolutionarily conserved role of autophagy from yeast to humans in the preservation of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) levels, which are critical for cell survival. In respiring mouse fibroblasts with autophagy deficiency, loss of mitochondrial quality control was found to trigger hyperactivation of stress responses mediated by NADases of PARP and Sirtuin families. Uncontrolled depletion of the NAD(H) pool by these enzymes ultimately contributed to mitochondrial membrane depolarization and cell death. Pharmacological and genetic interventions targeting several key elements of this cascade improved the survival of autophagy-deficient yeast, mouse fibroblasts, and human neurons. Our study provides a mechanistic link between autophagy and NAD metabolism and identifies targets for interventions in human diseases associated with autophagic, lysosomal, and mitochondrial dysfunction.
    Keywords:  DNA damage; NAD; PARP; Sirtuins; ageing; autophagy; metabolism; mitochondria; mitophagy
  3. Biochim Biophys Acta Gene Regul Mech. 2022 Nov 17. pii: S1874-9399(22)00113-4. [Epub ahead of print]1866(1): 194898
      Histone epigenetic modifications are chemical modification changes to histone amino acid residues that modulate gene expression without altering the DNA sequence. As both the phenotypic and causal factors, cardiac metabolism disorder exacerbates mitochondrial ATP generation deficiency, thus promoting pathological cardiac hypertrophy. Moreover, several concomitant metabolic substrates also promote the expression of hypertrophy-responsive genes via regulating histone modifications as substrates or enzyme-modifiers, indicating their dual roles as metabolic and epigenetic regulators. This review focuses on the cardiac acetyl-CoA-dependent histone acetylation, NAD+-dependent SIRT-mediated deacetylation, FAD+-dependent LSD-mediated, and α-KG-dependent JMJD-mediated demethylation after briefly addressing the pathological and physiological cardiac energy metabolism. Besides using an "iceberg model" to explain the dual role of metabolic substrates as both metabolic and epigenetic regulators, we also put forward that the therapeutic supplementation of metabolic substrates is promising to blunt HF via re-establishing histone modifications.
    Keywords:  Epigenetics; Heart failure; Histone acetylation; Histone methylation; Metabolic substrates
  4. Adv Biol (Weinh). 2022 Nov 23. e2200233
      Relapses negatively impact cancer patient survival due to the tumorigenesis ability of surviving cancer cells post-therapy. Efforts are needed to better understand and combat this problem. This study hypothesized that dead cell debris post-radiation therapy creates an advantageous microenvironment rich in metabolic materials promoting the growth of remaining live cancer cells. In this study, live cancer cells are co-cultured with dead cancer cells eradicated by UV radiation to mimic a post-therapy environment. Isotopic labeling metabolomics is used to investigate the metabolic behavior of cancer cells grown in a post-radiation-therapy environment. It is found that post-UV-eradicated dead cancer cells serve as nutritional sources of "off-the-shelf" and precursor metabolites for surviving cancer cells. The surviving cancer cells then take up these metabolites, integrate and upregulate multiple vital metabolic processes, thereby significantly increasing growth in vitro and probably in vivo beyond their intrinsic fast-growing characteristics. Importantly, this active metabolite uptake behavior is only observed in oncogenic but not in non-oncogenic cells, presenting opportunities for therapeutic approaches to interrupt the active uptake process of oncogenic cells without affecting normal cells. The process by which living cancer cells re-use vital metabolites released by dead cancer cells post-therapy is coined in this study as "metabolic recycling" of oncogenic cells.
    Keywords:  13C6-glucose labeling; MYC-transformed lymphoma B cells; cancer metabolism; glucose metabolism; mass spectrometry; metabolic recycling; metabolomics
  5. Biochim Biophys Acta Rev Cancer. 2022 Nov 17. pii: S0304-419X(22)00162-7. [Epub ahead of print]1878(1): 188837
      Acetyl-CoA, as an important molecule, not only participates in multiple intracellular metabolic reactions, but also affects the post-translational modification of proteins, playing a key role in the metabolic activity and epigenetic inheritance of cells. Cancer cells require extensive lipid metabolism to fuel for their growth, while also require histone acetylation modifications to increase the expression of cancer-promoting genes. As a raw material for de novo lipid synthesis and histone acetylation, acetyl-CoA has a major impact on lipid metabolism and histone acetylation in cancer. More importantly, in cancer, acetyl-CoA connects lipid metabolism with histone acetylation, forming a more complex regulatory mechanism that influences cancer growth, proliferation, metastasis.
    Keywords:  Acetyl-coenzyme A (acetyl-CoA); Cancer; Histone acetylation; Lipid metabolism
  6. Nat Metab. 2022 Nov 24.
      Innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) are a family of predominantly tissue-resident lymphocytes that critically orchestrate immunity, inflammation, tolerance and repair at barrier surfaces of the mammalian body. Heterogeneity among ILC subsets is comparable to that of adaptive CD4+ T helper cell counterparts, and emerging studies demonstrate that ILC biology is also dictated by cellular metabolism that adapts bioenergetic requirements during activation, proliferation or cytokine production. Accumulating evidence in mouse models and human samples indicates that ILCs exhibit profound roles in shaping states of metabolic health and disease. Here we summarize and discuss our current knowledge of the cell-intrinsic and cell-extrinsic metabolic factors controlling ILC responses, as well as highlight contributions of ILCs to organismal metabolism. It is expected that continued research in this area will advance our understanding of how to manipulate ILCs or their metabolism for therapeutic strategies that benefit human health.
  7. Metabolites. 2022 Nov 15. pii: 1117. [Epub ahead of print]12(11):
      Patient-derived xenografts (PDX) are high-fidelity cancer models typically credentialled by genomics, transcriptomics and proteomics. Characterization of metabolic reprogramming, a hallmark of cancer, is less frequent. Dysregulated metabolism is a key feature of clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) and authentic preclinical models are needed to evaluate novel imaging and therapeutic approaches targeting metabolism. We characterized 5 PDX from high-grade or metastatic ccRCC by multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and steady state metabolic profiling and flux analysis. Similar to MRI of clinical ccRCC, T2-weighted images of orthotopic tumors of most PDX were homogeneous. The increased hyperintense (cystic) areas observed in one PDX mimicked the cystic phenotype typical of some RCC. The negligible hypointense (necrotic) areas of PDX grown under the highly vascularized renal capsule are beneficial for preclinical studies. Mean apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values were equivalent to those of ccRCC in human patients. Hyperpolarized (HP) [1-13C]pyruvate MRI of PDX showed high glycolytic activity typical of high-grade primary and metastatic ccRCC with considerable intra- and inter-tumoral variability, as has been observed in clinical HP MRI of ccRCC. Comparison of steady state metabolite concentrations and metabolic flux in [U-13C]glucose-labeled tumors highlighted the distinctive phenotypes of two PDX with elevated levels of numerous metabolites and increased fractional enrichment of lactate and/or glutamate, capturing the metabolic heterogeneity of glycolysis and the TCA cycle in clinical ccRCC. Culturing PDX cells and reimplanting to generate xenografts (XEN), or passaging PDX in vivo, altered some imaging and metabolic characteristics while transcription remained like that of the original PDX. These findings show that PDX are realistic models of ccRCC for imaging and metabolic studies but that the plasticity of metabolism must be considered when manipulating PDX for preclinical studies.
    Keywords:  hyperpolarized [1-13C]pyruvate; magnetic resonance imaging; metabolism; patient-derived xenografts; renal cell carcinoma
  8. Open Biol. 2022 Nov;12(11): 220248
      Neutrophils are front line cells in immunity that quickly recognize and eliminate pathogens, relying mainly on glycolysis to exert their killing functions. Even though investigations into the influence of metabolic pathways in neutrophil function started in the 1930s, the knowledge of how neutrophils metabolically adapt during a bacterial infection remains poorly understood. In this review, we discuss the current knowledge about the metabolic regulation underlying neutrophils response to bacterial infection. Glycogen metabolism has been shown to be important for multiple neutrophil functions. The potential contribution of metabolic pathways other than glycolysis, such as mitochondrial metabolism, for neutrophil function has recently been explored, including fatty acid oxidation in neutrophil differentiation. Complex III in the mitochondria might also control glycolysis via glycerol-3-phosphate oxidation. Future studies should yield new insights into the role of metabolic change in the anti-bacterial response in neutrophils.
    Keywords:  bacterial infection; glucose metabolism; glutamine metabolism; mitochondrial metabolism; neutrophil function
  9. Nat Cancer. 2022 Nov 21.
      The pancreatic tumor microenvironment drives deregulated nutrient availability. Accordingly, pancreatic cancer cells require metabolic adaptations to survive and proliferate. Pancreatic cancer subtypes have been characterized by transcriptional and functional differences, with subtypes reported to exist within the same tumor. However, it remains unclear if this diversity extends to metabolic programming. Here, using metabolomic profiling and functional interrogation of metabolic dependencies, we identify two distinct metabolic subclasses among neoplastic populations within individual human and mouse tumors. Furthermore, these populations are poised for metabolic cross-talk, and in examining this, we find an unexpected role for asparagine supporting proliferation during limited respiration. Constitutive GCN2 activation permits ATF4 signaling in one subtype, driving excess asparagine production. Asparagine release provides resistance during impaired respiration, enabling symbiosis. Functionally, availability of exogenous asparagine during limited respiration indirectly supports maintenance of aspartate pools, a rate-limiting biosynthetic precursor. Conversely, depletion of extracellular asparagine with PEG-asparaginase sensitizes tumors to mitochondrial targeting with phenformin.
  10. Nat Commun. 2022 Nov 25. 13(1): 7252
      Formation of branched organs requires sequential differentiation of stem cells. In this work, we find that the conducting airways derived from SOX2+ progenitors in the murine lungs fail to form without mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) signaling and are replaced by lung cysts. Proximal-distal patterning through transitioning of distal SOX9+ progenitors to proximal SOX2+ cells is disrupted. Mitochondria number and ATP production are reduced. Compromised mitochondrial capacity results in a similar defect as that in mTORC1-deficient lungs. This suggests that mTORC1 promotes differentiation of SOX9+ progenitors to form the conducting airways by modulating mitochondrial capacity. Surprisingly, in all mutants, saccules are produced from lung cysts at the proper developmental time despite defective branching. SOX9+ progenitors also differentiate into alveolar epithelial type I and type II cells within saccules. These findings highlight selective utilization of energy and regulatory programs during stem cell differentiation to produce distinct structures of the mammalian lungs.
  11. Brain. 2022 Nov 23. pii: awac444. [Epub ahead of print]
      Pyruvate is an essential metabolite produced by glycolysis in the cytosol and must be transported across the inner mitochondrial membrane (IMM) into the mitochondrial matrix, where it is oxidized to fuel mitochondrial respiration. Pyruvate import is performed by Mitochondrial Pyruvate Carrier (MPC), a hetero-oligomeric complex composed by interdependent subunits MPC1 and MPC2. Pathogenic variants in MPC1 gene disrupt mitochondrial pyruvate uptake and oxidation and cause autosomal-recessive early-onset neurological dysfunction in humans. The present work describes the first pathogenic variants in MPC2 associated with human disease in four patients from two unrelated families. In the first family, patients presented with antenatal developmental abnormalities, harbored a homozygous c.148T > C (p.Trp50Arg) variant. In the second family, patients that presented with infantile encephalopathy carried missense c.2T > G (p.Met1? ) variant disrupting the initiation codon. Patient-derived skin fibroblasts exhibit decreased pyruvate-driven oxygen consumption rates with normal activities of the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex and mitochondrial respiratory chain and no defects in mitochondrial content nor morphology. Re-expression of wild type MPC2 restored pyruvate-dependent respiration rates in patient-derived fibroblasts. The discovery of pathogenic variants in MPC2 therefore broadens the clinical and genetic landscape associated with inborn errors in pyruvate metabolism.
    Keywords:  metabolism; mitochondria; pyruvate carrier
  12. Cancers (Basel). 2022 Nov 19. pii: 5691. [Epub ahead of print]14(22):
      Rapid tumor growth requires elevated biosynthetic activity, supported by metabolic rewiring occurring both intrinsically in cancer cells and extrinsically in the cancer host. The Warburg effect is one such example, burning glucose to produce a continuous flux of biomass substrates in cancer cells at the cost of energy wasting metabolic cycles in the host to maintain stable glycemia. Amino acid (AA) metabolism is profoundly altered in cancer cells, which use AAs for energy production and for supporting cell proliferation. The peculiarities in cancer AA metabolism allow the identification of specific vulnerabilities as targets of anti-cancer treatments. In the current review, specific approaches targeting AAs in terms of either deprivation or supplementation are discussed. Although based on opposed strategies, both show, in vitro and in vivo, positive effects. Any AA-targeted intervention will inevitably impact the cancer host, who frequently already has cachexia. Cancer cachexia is a wasting syndrome, also due to malnutrition, that compromises the effectiveness of anti-cancer drugs and eventually causes the patient's death. AA deprivation may exacerbate malnutrition and cachexia, while AA supplementation may improve the nutritional status, counteract cachexia, and predispose the patient to a more effective anti-cancer treatment. Here is provided an attempt to describe the AA-based therapeutic approaches that integrate currently distant points of view on cancer-centered and host-centered research, providing a glimpse of several potential investigations that approach cachexia as a unique cancer disease.
    Keywords:  amino acid; cachexia; cancer metabolism; nutrition; supplement
  13. EMBO J. 2022 Nov 21. e111268
      Reprogramming of lipid metabolism is emerging as a hallmark of cancer, yet involvement of specific fatty acids (FA) species and related enzymes in tumorigenesis remains unclear. While previous studies have focused on involvement of long-chain fatty acids (LCFAs) including palmitate in cancer, little attention has been paid to the role of very long-chain fatty acids (VLCFAs). Here, we show that depletion of acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC1), a critical enzyme involved in the biosynthesis of fatty acids, inhibits both de novo synthesis and elongation of VLCFAs in human cancer cells. ACC1 depletion markedly reduces cellular VLCFA but only marginally influences LCFA levels, including palmitate that can be nutritionally available. Therefore, tumor growth is specifically susceptible to regulation of VLCFAs. We further demonstrate that VLCFA deficiency results in a significant decrease in ceramides as well as downstream glucosylceramides and sphingomyelins, which impairs mitochondrial morphology and renders cancer cells sensitive to oxidative stress and cell death. Taken together, our study highlights that VLCFAs are selectively required for cancer cell survival and reveals a potential strategy to suppress tumor growth.
    Keywords:  acetyl-CoA carboxylase; fatty acid elongation; fatty acid synthase; mitochondria potential; very long-chain fatty acids
  14. Cell Rep. 2022 Nov 22. pii: S2211-1247(22)01565-0. [Epub ahead of print]41(8): 111691
      Branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) catabolism is related to tumorigenesis. However, the underlying mechanism and specific contexts in which BCAAs affect tumor progression remain unclear. Here, we demonstrate that BCAA catabolism is activated in liver cancer cells without glutamine. Enhanced BCAA catabolism leads to BCAA-derived carbon and nitrogen flow toward nucleotide synthesis, stimulating cell-cycle progression and promoting cell survival. Mechanistically, O-GlcNAcylation increases under glutamine-deprivation conditions and stabilizes the PPM1K protein, leading to dephosphorylation of BCKDHA and enhanced decomposition of BCAAs. Dephosphorylation of BCKDHA and high expression of PPM1K promote tumorigenesis in vitro and in vivo and are closely related to the poor prognosis of clinical patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Inhibition of BCAA and glutamine metabolism can further retard HCC growth in vivo. These results not only elucidate a mechanism by which BCAA catabolism affects tumorigenesis but also identify pBCKDHA and PPM1K as potential therapeutic targets and predictive biomarkers.
    Keywords:  CP: Cancer; CP: Metabolism; HCC progression; O-GlcNAcylation; branch-chain amino acid; glutamine-depravation
  15. Nat Commun. 2022 Nov 19. 13(1): 7113
      NRAS-mutated melanoma lacks a specific line of treatment. Metabolic reprogramming is considered a novel target to control cancer; however, NRAS-oncogene contribution to this cancer hallmark is mostly unknown. Here, we show that NRASQ61-mutated melanomas specific metabolic settings mediate cell sensitivity to sorafenib upon metabolic stress. Mechanistically, these cells are dependent on glucose metabolism, in which glucose deprivation promotes a switch from CRAF to BRAF signaling. This scenario contributes to cell survival and sustains glucose metabolism through BRAF-mediated phosphorylation of 6-phosphofructo-2-kinase/fructose-2,6-bisphosphatase-2/3 (PFKFB2/PFKFB3). In turn, this favors the allosteric activation of phosphofructokinase-1 (PFK1), generating a feedback loop that couples glycolytic flux and the RAS signaling pathway. An in vivo treatment of NRASQ61 mutant melanomas, including patient-derived xenografts, with 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG) and sorafenib effectively inhibits tumor growth. Thus, we provide evidence for NRAS-oncogene contributions to metabolic rewiring and a proof-of-principle for the treatment of NRASQ61-mutated melanoma combining metabolic stress (glycolysis inhibitors) and previously approved drugs, such as sorafenib.
  16. Nat Commun. 2022 Nov 24. 13(1): 7215
      Tumour cell metabolic plasticity is essential for tumour progression and therapeutic responses, yet the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. Here, we identify Prospero-related homeobox 1 (PROX1) as a crucial factor for tumour metabolic plasticity. Notably, PROX1 is reduced by glucose starvation or AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activation and is elevated in liver kinase B1 (LKB1)-deficient tumours. Furthermore, the Ser79 phosphorylation of PROX1 by AMPK enhances the recruitment of CUL4-DDB1 ubiquitin ligase to promote PROX1 degradation. Downregulation of PROX1 activates branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) degradation through mediating epigenetic modifications and inhibits mammalian target-of-rapamycin (mTOR) signalling. Importantly, PROX1 deficiency or Ser79 phosphorylation in liver tumour shows therapeutic resistance to metformin. Clinically, the AMPK-PROX1 axis in human cancers is important for patient clinical outcomes. Collectively, our results demonstrate that deficiency of the LKB1-AMPK axis in cancers reactivates PROX1 to sustain intracellular BCAA pools, resulting in enhanced mTOR signalling, and facilitating tumourigenesis and aggressiveness.
  17. Elife. 2022 Nov 21. pii: e82860. [Epub ahead of print]11
      The tumor suppressor gene PTEN is the second most commonly deleted gene in cancer. Such deletions often include portions of the chromosome 10q23 locus beyond the bounds of PTEN itself, which frequently disrupts adjacent genes. Coincidental loss of PTEN-adjacent genes might impose vulnerabilities that could either affect patient outcome basally or be exploited therapeutically. Here we describe how the loss of ATAD1, which is adjacent to and frequently co-deleted with PTEN, predisposes cancer cells to apoptosis triggered by proteasome dysfunction and correlates with improved survival in cancer patients. ATAD1 directly and specifically extracts the pro-apoptotic protein BIM from mitochondria to inactivate it. Cultured cells and mouse xenografts lacking ATAD1 are hypersensitive to clinically used proteasome inhibitors, which activate BIM and trigger apoptosis. This work furthers our understanding of mitochondrial protein homeostasis and could lead to new therapeutic options for the hundreds of thousands of cancer patients who have tumors with chromosome 10q23 deletion.
    Keywords:  biochemistry; cancer biology; chemical biology; human; mouse
  18. J Theor Biol. 2022 Nov 22. pii: S0022-5193(22)00345-9. [Epub ahead of print] 111354
      Metabolism is essential for cell function and adaptation. Because of their central role in metabolism, kinetic parameters and enzyme concentrations are under constant selective pressure to adapt the fluxes of the metabolic networks to the needs of the organism. In line with various studies dealing with enzyme evolution, we recently developed a model of the evolution of enzyme concentrations under selection for increased flux, considered as a proxy for fitness (Coton et al., 2021). With this model, taking into account two realistic cellular constraints, competition for resources and co-regulation, we determined the evolutionary equilibria and range of neutral variations of enzyme concentrations. In this article, we expanded this model by considering that the enzymes in a pathway can belong to different co-regulation groups. We determined the equilibria and showed that the constraints modify the adaptive landscape by limiting the number of independent dimensions. We also showed that any trade-off between enzyme concentrations is sufficient to limit the flux and relax selection for increasing the concentration of other enzymes. Even though this model is based on simplifying assumptions, the complexity of the relationship between enzyme concentrations prevents the formal analysis of the range of neutral variation of enzyme concentrations. However, we could show that selection for maximizing the flux results in selective neutrality for all enzymes regardless the constraints applied, giving generality to the prediction of Hartl et al. (1985).
    Keywords:  Adaptive landscape; Co-regulation; Enzyme concentration; Evolutionary equilibrium; Selective neutrality
  19. Biol Open. 2022 Nov 21. pii: bio.059695. [Epub ahead of print]
      The bioactive sphingolipid ceramide impacts diverse cellular processes (e.g., apoptosis and cell proliferation) through its effects on membrane dynamics and intracellular signalling pathways. The dysregulation of ceramide metabolism has been implicated in cancer evasion of apoptosis and targeting ceramide metabolism has potential therapeutic benefits as a strategy to kill cancer cells and slow tumor growth. However, the mechanisms of cancer cell resistance to ceramide-mediated cell death are vastly intertwined and incompletely understood. To shed light on this mystery, we performed a genome wide CRISPR-Cas9 screen to systematically identify regulators of cancer resistance to the soluble short chain ceramide, C6 ceramide (C6-Cer). Our results reveal a complex landscape of genetic modifiers of C6-Cer toxicity, including genes associated with ceramide and sphingolipid metabolism, vesicular trafficking, and membrane biology. Furthermore, we find that loss of the phospholipid flippase subunit TMEM30A impairs the plasma membrane trafficking of its binding partner, the P4-type ATPase ATP11B, and depletion of TMEM30A or ATP11B disrupts plasma membrane asymmetry and promotes resistance to C6-Cer toxicity. Together, our findings provide a resource of genetic modifiers of C6-Cer toxicity and reveal an unexpected role of plasma membrane asymmetry in C6-Cer induced cell death.
    Keywords:  CRISPR; Ceramide; Lipid; Lipotoxicity; Membrane; Screen; Sphingolipid
  20. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2022 ;13 1059085
      Bidirectional crosstalk between the nuclear and mitochondrial genomes is essential for proper cell functioning. Mitochondrial DNA copy number (mtDNA-CN) and heteroplasmy influence mitochondrial function, which can influence the nuclear genome and contribute to health and disease. Evidence shows that mtDNA-CN and heteroplasmic variation are associated with aging, complex disease, and all-cause mortality. Further, the nuclear epigenome may mediate the effects of mtDNA variation on disease. In this way, mitochondria act as an environmental biosensor translating vital information about the state of the cell to the nuclear genome. Cellular communication between mtDNA variation and the nuclear epigenome can be achieved by modification of metabolites and intermediates of the citric acid cycle and oxidative phosphorylation. These essential molecules (e.g. ATP, acetyl-CoA, ɑ-ketoglutarate and S-adenosylmethionine) act as substrates and cofactors for enzymes involved in epigenetic modifications. The role of mitochondria as an environmental biosensor is emerging as a critical modifier of disease states. Uncovering the mechanisms of these dynamics in disease processes is expected to lead to earlier and improved treatment for a variety of diseases. However, the influence of mtDNA-CN and heteroplasmy variation on mitochondrially-derived epigenome-modifying metabolites and intermediates is poorly understood. This perspective will focus on the relationship between mtDNA-CN, heteroplasmy, and epigenome modifying cofactors and substrates, and the influence of their dynamics on the nuclear epigenome in health and disease.
    Keywords:  DNA methylation; aging; disease; epigenome; histone acetylation; metabolism; mitochondrial DNA
  21. Mitochondrion. 2022 Nov 16. pii: S1567-7249(22)00103-9. [Epub ahead of print]
      Triphenylphosphonium (TPP) derivatives are commonly used to target chemical into mitochondria. We show that alkyl-TPP cause reversible, dose- and hydrophobicity-dependent alterations of mitochondrial morphology and function and a selective decrease of mitochondrial inner membrane proteins including subunits of the respiratory chain complexes, as well as components of the mitochondrial calcium uniporter complex. The treatment with alkyl-TPP resulted in the cleavage of the pro-fusion and cristae organisation regulator Optic atrophy-1. The structural and functional effects of alkyl-TPP were found to be reversible and not merely due to loss of membrane potential. A similar effect was observed with the mitochondria-targeted antioxidant MitoQ.
    Keywords:  MitoQ; inner mitochondrial membrane; lipophilic cations; mitochondria; mitochondrial dynamics; respiratory chain
  22. Cells. 2022 Nov 14. pii: 3595. [Epub ahead of print]11(22):
      The HIF-1 and HIF-2 (HIF1/2) hypoxia responses are frequently upregulated in cancers, and HIF1/2 inhibitors are being developed as anticancer drugs. How could cancers resist anti-HIF1/2 therapy? We studied metabolic and molecular adaptations of HIF-1β-deficient Hepa-1c4, a hepatoma model lacking HIF1/2 signalling, which mimics a cancer treated by a totally effective anti-HIF1/2 agent. [1,2-13C2]-D-glucose metabolism was measured by SiDMAP metabolic profiling, gene expression by TaqMan, and metabolite concentrations by 1H MRS. HIF-1β-deficient Hepa-1c4 responded to hypoxia by increasing glucose uptake and lactate production. They showed higher glutamate, pyruvate dehydrogenase, citrate shuttle, and malonyl-CoA fluxes than normal Hepa-1 cells, whereas pyruvate carboxylase, TCA, and anaplerotic fluxes decreased. Hypoxic HIF-1β-deficient Hepa-1c4 cells increased expression of PGC-1α, phospho-p38 MAPK, and PPARα, suggesting AMPK pathway activation to survive hypoxia. They had higher intracellular acetate, and secreted more H2O2, suggesting increased peroxisomal fatty acid β-oxidation. Simultaneously increased fatty acid synthesis and degradation would have "wasted" ATP in Hepa-1c4 cells, thus raising the [AMP]:[ATP] ratio, and further contributing to the upregulation of the AMPK pathway. Since these tumour cells can proliferate without the HIF-1/2 pathways, combinations of HIF1/2 inhibitors with PGC-1α or AMPK inhibitors should be explored.
    Keywords:  1,2-13C2-labelled glucose; AMP-activated kinase; HIF-1β deficiency; Hepa-1 c4 cells; PGC-1α; PPARα; TCA; fatty acid oxidation; hypoxia response; phospho-p38 MAPK
  23. Nat Rev Nephrol. 2022 Nov 24.
      Nutrients such as glucose, amino acids and lipids are fundamental sources for the maintenance of essential cellular processes and homeostasis in all organisms. The nutrient-sensing kinases mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) and AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) are expressed in many cell types and have key roles in the control of cell growth, proliferation, differentiation, metabolism and survival, ultimately contributing to the physiological development and functions of various organs, including the kidney. Dysregulation of these kinases leads to many human health problems, including cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, metabolic disorders and kidney diseases. In the kidney, physiological levels of mTOR and AMPK activity are required to support kidney cell growth and differentiation and to maintain kidney cell integrity and normal nephron function, including transport of electrolytes, water and glucose. mTOR forms two functional multi-protein kinase complexes, mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) and mTOR complex 2 (mTORC2). Hyperactivation of mTORC1 leads to podocyte and tubular cell dysfunction and vulnerability to injury, thereby contributing to the development of chronic kidney diseases, including diabetic kidney disease, obesity-related kidney disease and polycystic kidney disease. Emerging evidence suggests that targeting mTOR and/or AMPK could be an effective therapeutic approach to controlling or preventing these diseases.
  24. J Mol Cell Cardiol. 2022 Nov 18. pii: S0022-2828(22)00563-6. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitochondrial permeability transition pore (mPTP)-dependent necrotic cell death is a form of necrotic cell death that is driven by mitochondrial dysfunction by the opening of the mPTP and is triggered by increases in matrix levels of Ca2+ and reactive oxygen species. This form of cell death has been implicated in ischemic injuries of the heart and brain as well as numerous degenerative diseases in the brain and skeletal muscle. This review focuses on the molecular triggers and regulators of mPTP-dependent necrosis in the context of myocardial ischemia reperfusion injury. Research over the past 50 years has led to the identity of regulators and putative pore-forming components of the mPTP. Finally, downstream consequences of activation of the mPTP as well as ongoing questions and areas of research are discussed. These questions pose a particular interest as targeting the mPTP could potentially represent an efficacious therapeutic strategy to reduce infarct size following an ischemic event.
    Keywords:  ANT; ATP synthase; BAK; BAX; Calcium; CypD; Ischemia reperfusion; MPTP; Mitochondria; Mitochondrial dysfunction; Necrosis; Permeability transition; ROS
  25. RNA Biol. 2022 Jan;19(1): 1244-1255
      Intracellular and intercellular signalling networks play an essential role in optimizing cellular homoeostasis and are thought to be partly reflected in nuclear mRNA dynamics. However, the regulation of nuclear mRNA dynamics by intracellular and intercellular signals remains largely unexplored, and research tools are lacking. Through an original screening based on the mRNA metabolic mechanism, we discovered that eight well-known inhibitors cause significant nuclear poly(A)+ RNA accumulation. Among these inhibitors, we discovered a new mRNA metabolic response in which the addition of antimycin A, an inhibitor of mitochondrial respiratory-chain complex III (complex III), resulted in a marked accumulation of poly(A)+ RNA near the nuclear speckles. Furthermore, dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHODH) inhibitors, a rate-limiting enzyme in the intracellular de novo pyrimidine synthesis reaction that specifically exchanges electrons with complex III, also caused a remarkable accumulation of nuclear poly(A)+ RNA adjacent to the nuclear speckles, which was abolished by extracellular uridine supply, indicating that the depletion of intracellular pyrimidine affects poly(A)+ RNA metabolism. Further analysis revealed that ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM), a serine and threonine kinase and a master regulator of DNA double-strand break (DSB) and nucleolar stress, is required for this poly(A)+ RNA nuclear accumulation phenomenon. This study reports new insights into novel aspects of nuclear poly(A)+ RNA metabolism, especially the relationship between mitochondrial respiratory-chain functions, pyrimidine metabolism, and nuclear RNA metabolism.
    Keywords:  Poly(A)+ RNA; ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM); dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHODH); pyrimidine; respiratory chain complex III
  26. EMBO Rep. 2022 Nov 21. e54689
      Disruption of sphingolipid homeostasis and signaling has been implicated in diabetes, cancer, cardiometabolic, and neurodegenerative disorders. Yet, mechanisms governing cellular sensing and regulation of sphingolipid homeostasis remain largely unknown. In yeast, serine palmitoyltransferase, catalyzing the first and rate-limiting step of sphingolipid de novo biosynthesis, is negatively regulated by Orm1 and 2. Lowering sphingolipids triggers Orms phosphorylation, upregulation of serine palmitoyltransferase activity and sphingolipid de novo biosynthesis. However, mammalian orthologs ORMDLs lack the N-terminus hosting the phosphosites. Thus, which sphingolipid(s) are sensed by the cells, and mechanisms of homeostasis remain largely unknown. Here, we identify sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) as key sphingolipid sensed by cells via S1PRs to maintain homeostasis. The increase in S1P-S1PR signaling stabilizes ORMDLs, restraining SPT activity. Mechanistically, the hydroxylation of ORMDLs at Pro137 allows a constitutive degradation of ORMDLs via ubiquitin-proteasome pathway, preserving SPT activity. Disrupting S1PR/ORMDL axis results in ceramide accrual, mitochondrial dysfunction, impaired signal transduction, all underlying endothelial dysfunction, early event in the onset of cardio- and cerebrovascular diseases. Our discovery may provide the molecular basis for therapeutic intervention restoring sphingolipid homeostasis.
    Keywords:  ORMDL; ceramide; endothelial dysfunction; serine palmitoyltransferase; sphingolipid
  27. J Biosci. 2022 ;pii: 67. [Epub ahead of print]47
      Eukaryotic cells contain multiple copies of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in discrete organelles or as tubular networks throughout the cytoplasm. The mtDNA copy number is dynamically regulated by mitochondrial biogenesis and mitophagy processes. However, the conditions regulating mtDNA replication, an essential component of biogenesis, are unknown. We observed that short-term (2 h) treatment of rat myoblasts with oligomycin, a specific inhibitor of the mitochondrial F1F0 ATP synthase, resulted in stimulation of mtDNA synthesis from the OH replication origin. This effect was abrogated by Compound C, an antagonist of the AMP-dependent protein kinase (AMPK), a universal intracellular energy sensor, and in AMPK-knockdown cells, indicating that mtDNA replication is regulated by AMPK under oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS)- deficient conditions. Using antibody decoration, enzymatically active AMPK, phosphorylated at T172 of the α1 subunit, was found to be located on the mitochondrial surface. Furthermore, oligomycin induced the compartmentalization of several mRNAs encoding OXPHOS components and mtDNA replication factors to mitochondria. Compartmentalization of mRNAs was inhibited by Compound C. We infer that AMPK is locally activated by inhibition of the F1F0 ATP synthase to stimulate association of mtDNA replication factor mRNAs, leading to stimulation of mtDNA synthesis. The findings have implications for the clonal expansion of OXPHOS-deficient mtDNA mutant mitochondria in human patients, with clinical consequences.
  28. Gastroenterology. 2022 Nov 15. pii: S0016-5085(22)01273-2. [Epub ahead of print]
      BACKGROUND AND AIMS: CRC is a devastating disease highly modulated by dietary nutrients. mTORC1 contributes to tumor growth and limits therapy responses. Growth factor signaling is a major mechanism of mTORC1 activation. However, compensatory pathways exist to sustain mTORC1 activity following therapies that target oncogenic growth factor signaling. Amino acids potently activate mTORC1 via amino acid sensing GTPase activity towards Rags complexes (GATOR). The role of amino acid sensing pathways in CRC is unclear.METHODS: Human colon cancer cell lines, preclinical intestinal epithelial specific GATOR1 and GATOR2 knockout mouse subjected to colitis induced or sporadic colon tumor models, siRNA screening targeting regulators of mTORC1, and CRC patient tissues were used to assess the role of amino acid sensing in CRC.
    RESULTS: We identified loss-of-function mutations of the GATOR1 complex in CRC and show that altered expression of amino acid sensing pathways predict poor patient outcomes. We show that dysregulated amino acid sensing induced mTORC1 activation drives colon tumorigenesis in multiple mouse models. We found amino acid sensing pathways to be essential in the cellular reprogramming of chemoresistance, and chemotherapeutic resistant colon cancer patients exhibited deregulated amino acid sensing. Limiting amino acids in in vitro and in vivo model (low protein diet) reverted drug resistance revealing a metabolic vulnerability.
    CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest a critical role of amino acid sensing pathways in driving CRC and highlights translational implications of dietary protein intervention in CRC.
    Keywords:  5-Fluorouracil; Depdc5; Sestrin 2; Wdr24; mTORC1
  29. EMBO J. 2022 Nov 23. e110321
      Eukaryotic cells decide in late G1 phase of the cell cycle whether to commit to another round of division. This point of cell cycle commitment is termed "Restriction Point" in mammals and "Start" in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. At Start, yeast cells integrate multiple signals such as pheromones and nutrients, and will not pass Start if nutrients are lacking. However, how cells respond to nutrient depletion after the Start decision remains poorly understood. Here, we analyze how post-Start cells respond to nutrient depletion, by monitoring Whi5, the cell cycle inhibitor whose export from the nucleus determines Start. Surprisingly, we find that cells that have passed Start can re-import Whi5 into the nucleus. In these cells, the positive feedback loop activating G1/S transcription is interrupted, and the Whi5 repressor re-binds DNA. Cells which re-import Whi5 become again sensitive to mating pheromone, like pre-Start cells, and CDK activation can occur a second time upon replenishment of nutrients. These results demonstrate that upon starvation, the commitment decision at Start can be reversed. We therefore propose that cell cycle commitment in yeast is a multi-step process, similar to what has been suggested for mammalian cells.
    Keywords:  Saccharomyces cerevisiae; cell division cycle; metabolism; nutrient signaling; quiescence
  30. Cancer Discov. 2022 Nov 23. OF1
      Group 3 MYC-driven medulloblastoma depends on de novo uridine synthesis via DHODH for tumor growth.
  31. J Neurogenet. 2022 Nov 22. 1-11
      The rhythmic pattern of biological processes controlled by light over 24 h is termed the circadian rhythm. Disturbance of circadian rhythm due to exposure to light at night (LAN) disrupts the sleep-wake cycle and can promote cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and metabolic disorders in humans. We studied how dim LAN affects the circadian rhythm and metabolism using male Drosophila. Wild-type flies exposed to the dim light of 10 lux at night displayed altered 24 h sleep-wake behavior and expression patterns of circadian rhythm genes. In addition, the flies became more vulnerable to metabolic stress, such as starvation. Whole-body metabolite analysis revealed decreased amounts of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), such as isoleucine and valine. The dim light exposure also increased the expression of branched-chain amino acid aminotransferase (BCAT) and branched-chain α-keto acid dehydrogenase (BCKDC) enzyme complexes that regulate the metabolism of BCAAs. Flies with the Bcat heterozygous mutation were not vulnerable to starvation stress, even when exposed to dim LAN, and hemolymph BCAA levels did not decrease in these flies. Furthermore, the vulnerability to starvation stress was also suppressed when the Bcat expression level was reduced in the whole body, neurons, or fat body during adulthood using conditional GAL4 and RNA interference. Finally, the metabolic vulnerability was reversed when BCAAs were fed to wild-type flies exposed to LAN. Thus, short-term dim light exposure at night affects the expression of circadian genes and BCAA metabolism in Drosophila, implying a novel function of BCAAs in suppressing metabolic stress caused by disrupted circadian rhythm.
    Keywords:  Circadian rhythm; Drosophila; branched-chain amino acid; branched-chain aminotransferase; metabolic stress
  32. J Mol Med (Berl). 2022 Nov 23.
      Mitochondria consist of the inner mitochondrial membrane and the outer mitochondrial membrane, which maintain mitochondrial homeostasis through continuous fission and fusion to ensure a healthy mitochondrial network and thus regulate normal cellular function, namely mitochondrial dynamics. The imbalance between mitochondrial fusion and fission results in abnormal mitochondrial structure and eventually mitochondrial dysfunction, which is involved in the pathological process of ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI). Optic atrophy 1 (OPA1) is a key protein that regulates mitochondrial inner membrane fusion and ensures normal mitochondrial function by balancing mitochondrial dynamics, participating in various processes such as mitochondrial fusion, oxidative stress, and apoptosis. Ischemia-induced changes in mitochondrial dynamics may be a key factor in limiting the recanalization time window and exacerbating reperfusion injury, and the mechanisms of these changes deserve further attention. Therefore, targeting OPA1-related mitochondrial fusions, thereby balancing mitochondrial dynamics and improving mitochondrial dysfunction, is a promising therapeutic strategy for ischemia-reperfusion diseases. This review will elaborate on the structure and function of OPA1 and the role of OPA1 in IRI to provide promising therapeutic targets for the treatment of ischemia-reperfusion diseases.
    Keywords:  Ischemia-reperfusion injury; Mitochondrial dynamics; Mitochondrial fusion; Optic atrophy 1
  33. Cancer Lett. 2022 Nov 17. pii: S0304-3835(22)00497-9. [Epub ahead of print]554 216010
      Alterations in lipid catabolism have been broadly described in cancer cells and show tumor-type specific effects on proliferation and cell survival. The factor(s) responsible for this heterogeneity is currently unknown and represents the main limitation in the development of therapeutic interventions that impair lipid metabolism. In this study, we focused on hexanoic acid, a medium-chain fatty acid, that can quickly boost oxidative metabolism by passively crossing mitochondrial membranes. We demonstrated that the antioxidant adaptation of cancer cells to increased fatty acid oxidation is predictive of the proliferative outcome. By interfering with SOD1 expression and glutathione homeostasis, we verified that mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation has antitumor effects in cancer cells that efficiently buffer ROS. In contrast, increased ROS levels promote proliferation in cells with an imbalanced antioxidant response. In addition, an increase in mitochondrial mass and mitophagy activation were observed, respectively. Overall, these data demonstrate that the capacity to manage ROS from mitochondrial oxidative metabolism determines whether lipid catabolism is advantageous or detrimental for cancer cells.
    Keywords:  Aerobic glycolysis; Antioxidants; Lipid catabolism; Mitochondrial metabolism; ROS
  34. Nitric Oxide. 2022 Nov 19. pii: S1089-8603(22)00122-7. [Epub ahead of print]
      Limited O2 availability can decrease essential processes in energy metabolism. However, cancers have developed distinct metabolic adaptations to these conditions. For example, glutaminolysis can maintain energy metabolism and hypoxia signaling. Additionally, it has been observed that nitric oxide (NO) possesses concentration-dependent, biphasic effects in cancer. NO has potent anti-tumor effects through modulating events such as angiogenesis and metastasis at low physiological concentrations and inducing cell death at higher concentrations. In this study, Ewing Sarcoma cells (A-673), MIA PaCa, and SKBR3 cells were treated with DetaNONOate (DetaNO) in a model of hypoxia (1% O2) and reoxygenation (21% O2). All 3 cell types showed NO-dependent inhibition of cellular O2 consumption which was enhanced as O2-tension decreased. L-Gln depletion suppressed the mitochondrial response to decreasing O2 tension in all 3 cell types and resulted in inhibition of Complex I activity. In A-673 cells the O2 tension dependent change in mitochondrial O2 consumption and increase in glycolysis was dependent on the presence of L-Gln. The response to hypoxia and Complex I activity were restored by α-ketoglutarate. NO exposure resulted in the A-673 cells showing greater sensitivity to decreasing O2 tension. Under conditions of L-Gln depletion, NO restored HIF-1α levels and the mitochondrial response to O2 tension possibly through the increase of 2-hydroxyglutarate. NO also resulted in suppression of cellular bioenergetics and further inhibition of Complex I which was not rescued by α-ketoglutarate. Taken together these data suggest that NO modulates the mitochondrial response to O2 differentially in the absence and presence of L-Gln. These data suggest a combination of metabolic strategies targeting glutaminolysis and Complex I in cancer cells.
    Keywords:  Cancer; Glutaminolysis; Mitochondria; Mitochondrial function; Nitric oxide
  35. EMBO Rep. 2022 Nov 23. e54006
      While previous studies have identified cancer stem-like cells (CSCs) as a crucial driver for chemoresistance and tumor recurrence, the underlying mechanisms for populating the CSC pool remain unclear. Here, we identify hypermitophagy as a feature of human lung CSCs, promoting metabolic adaption via the Notch1-AMPK axis to drive CSC expansion. Specifically, mitophagy is highly active in CSCs, resulting in increased mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) content in the lysosome. Lysosomal mtDNA acts as an endogenous ligand for Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) that promotes Notch1 activity. Notch1 interacts with AMPK to drive lysosomal AMPK activation by inducing metabolic stress and LKB1 phosphorylation. This TLR9-Notch1-AMPK axis supports mitochondrial metabolism to fuel CSC expansion. In patient-derived xenograft chimeras, targeting mitophagy and TLR9-dependent Notch1-AMPK pathway restricts tumor growth and CSC expansion. Taken together, mitochondrial hemostasis is interlinked with innate immune sensing and Notch1-AMPK activity to increase the CSC pool of human lung cancer.
    Keywords:  AMPK; Notch1; TLR9; cancer stem-like cell; mitophagy
  36. Nutrients. 2022 Nov 21. pii: 4932. [Epub ahead of print]14(22):
      The ketone bodies (KBs) β-hydroxybutyrate and acetoacetate are important alternative energy sources for glucose during nutrient deprivation. KBs synthesized by hepatic ketogenesis are catabolized to acetyl-CoA through ketolysis in extrahepatic tissues, followed by the tricarboxylic acid cycle and electron transport chain for ATP production. Ketogenesis and ketolysis are regulated by the key rate-limiting enzymes, 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA synthase 2 and succinyl-CoA:3-oxoacid-CoA transferase, respectively. KBs participate in various cellular processes as signaling molecules. KBs bind to G protein-coupled receptors. The most abundant KB, β-hydroxybutyrate, regulates gene expression and other cellular functions by inducing post-translational modifications. KBs protect tissues by regulating inflammation and oxidative stress. Recently, interest in KBs has been increasing due to their potential for treatment of various diseases such as neurological and cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Cancer cells reprogram their metabolism to maintain rapid cell growth and proliferation. Dysregulation of KB metabolism also plays a role in tumorigenesis in various types of cancer. Targeting metabolic changes through dietary interventions, including fasting and ketogenic diets, has shown beneficial effects in cancer therapy. Here, we review current knowledge of the molecular mechanisms involved in the regulation of KB metabolism and cellular signaling functions, and the therapeutic potential of KBs and ketogenic diets in cancer.
    Keywords:  cancer; inflammation; ketogenic diet; ketone bodies; oxidative stress; post-translational modifications; β-hydroxybutyrate
  37. JCI Insight. 2022 Nov 22. pii: e153740. [Epub ahead of print]
      Carbohydrate Responsive Element-Binding Protein (ChREBP) is a carbohydrate sensing transcription factor that regulates both adaptive and maladaptive genomic responses in coordination of systemic fuel homeostasis. Genetic variants in the ChREBP locus associate with diverse metabolic traits in humans, including circulating lipids. To identify novel ChREBP-regulated hepatokines that contribute to its systemic metabolic effects, we integrated ChREBP ChIP-seq analysis in mouse liver with human genetic and genomic data for lipid traits and identified Hepatocyte Growth Factor Activator (HGFAC) as a promising ChREBP-regulated candidate in mice and humans. HGFAC is a protease that activates the pleiotropic hormone Hepatocyte Growth Factor (HGF). We demonstrate that HGFAC KO mice have phenotypes concordant with putative loss-of-function variants in human HGFAC. Moreover, in gain- and loss-of-function genetic mouse models, we demonstrate that HGFAC enhances lipid and glucose homeostasis, which may be mediated in part through actions to activate hepatic PPARγ activity. Together, our studies show that ChREBP mediates an adaptive response to overnutrition via activation of HGFAC in the liver to preserve glucose and lipid homeostasis.
    Keywords:  Carbohydrate metabolism; Glucose metabolism; Growth factors; Metabolism
  38. Front Med (Lausanne). 2022 ;13 1035335
    Keywords:  glutaminase II pathway; glutamine transaminase K; glutamine transaminases; methionine salvage pathway; nitrogen homeostasis; α-ketoglutaramate; α-ketoglutarate; ω-amidase
  39. Cancers (Basel). 2022 Nov 09. pii: 5508. [Epub ahead of print]14(22):
      Fumarate hydratase (FH) is an evolutionary conserved TCA cycle enzyme that reversibly catalyzes the hydration of fumarate to L-malate and has a moonlight function in the DNA damage response (DDR). Interestingly, FH has a contradictory cellular function, as it is pro-survival through its role in the TCA cycle, yet its loss can drive tumorigenesis. Here, we found that in both non-cancerous (HEK-293T) and cancerous cell lines (HepG2), the cell response to FH loss is separated into two distinct time frames based on cell proliferation and DNA damage repair. During the early stages of FH loss, cell proliferation rate and DNA damage repair are inhibited. However, over time the cells overcome the FH loss and form knockout clones, indistinguishable from WT cells with respect to their proliferation rate. Due to the FH loss effect on DNA damage repair, we assumed that the recovered cells bear adaptive mutations. Therefore, we applied whole-exome sequencing to identify such mutated genes systematically. Indeed, we identified recurring mutations in genes belonging to central oncogenic signaling pathways, such as JAK/STAT3, which we validated in impaired FH-KO clones. Intriguingly, we demonstrate that these adaptive mutations are responsible for FH-KO cell proliferation under TCA cycle malfunction.
    Keywords:  DNA damage; TCA cycle; cancer metabolism; fumarate hydratase
  40. Elife. 2022 Nov 24. pii: e84034. [Epub ahead of print]11
      N6-methyladenosine (m6A) RNA modification impacts mRNA fate primarily via reader proteins, which dictate processes in development, stress, and disease. Yet little is known about m6A function in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which occurs solely during early meiosis. Here we perform a multifaceted analysis of the m6A reader protein Pho92/Mrb1. Cross-linking immunoprecipitation analysis reveals that Pho92 associates with the 3'end of meiotic mRNAs in both an m6A-dependent and independent manner. Within cells, Pho92 transitions from the nucleus to the cytoplasm, and associates with translating ribosomes. In the nucleus Pho92 associates with target loci through its interaction with transcriptional elongator Paf1C. Functionally, we show that Pho92 promotes and links protein synthesis to mRNA decay. As such, the Pho92-mediated m6A-mRNA decay is contingent on active translation and the CCR4-NOT complex. We propose that the m6A reader Pho92 is loaded co-transcriptionally to facilitate protein synthesis and subsequent decay of m6A modified transcripts, and thereby promotes meiosis.
    Keywords:  S. cerevisiae; biochemistry; chemical biology; chromosomes; gene expression
  41. J Cell Biol. 2022 Dec 05. pii: e202210021. [Epub ahead of print]221(12):
      The process of adipogenesis is critical for forming new, healthy adipocytes that are capable of storing lipids. In this issue, Sánchez-Ramírez and Ung et al. (2022. J. Cell Biol. reveal a novel role for the metabolite nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide in controlling differentiation of mesenchymal stromal cells into adipocytes.
  42. Methods Mol Biol. 2023 ;2583 149-156
      Diverse metabolic disorders can disrupt brain growth, and analyzing metabolism in animal models of microcephaly may reveal new mechanisms of pathogenesis. The metabolism of functioning cells in a living organism is constantly changing in response to a changing environment, circadian rhythms, consumed food, drugs, progressing sicknesses, aging, and many other factors. Metabolic profiling can give important insights into the working machinery of the cell. However, a frozen snapshot of the interconnected, complex network of reactions gives very limited information about this system. Flux analysis using stable isotope labels enables more robust metabolic studies that consider interrogate metabolite processing and changes in molecular concentrations over time.
    Keywords:  13C; Fluxomics; Intermediaries; Metabolomics; Stable isotope label
  43. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Nov 10. pii: 13880. [Epub ahead of print]23(22):
      Mitochondrial oxidative phospho rylation, the center of cellular metabolism, is pivotal for the energy production in eukaryotes. Mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation relies on the mitochondrial respiratory chain, which consists of four main enzyme complexes and two mobile electron carriers. Mitochondrial enzyme complexes also assemble into respiratory chain supercomplexes (SCs) through specific interactions. The SCs not only have respiratory functions but also improve the efficiency of electron transfer and reduce the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Impaired assembly of SCs is closely related to various diseases, especially neurodegenerative diseases. Therefore, SCs play important roles in improving the efficiency of the mitochondrial respiratory chain, as well as maintaining the homeostasis of cellular metabolism. Here, we review the structure, assembly, and functions of SCs, as well as the relationship between mitochondrial SCs and diseases.
    Keywords:  assembly; cytochrome c; mitochondria; respiratory chain; supercomplexes
  44. Sci Immunol. 2022 Nov 25. 7(77): eabl9467
      Activated lymphocytes adapt their metabolism to meet the energetic and biosynthetic demands imposed by rapid growth and proliferation. Common gamma chain (cγ) family cytokines are central to these processes, but the role of downstream signal transducer and activator of transcription 5 (STAT5) signaling, which is engaged by all cγ members, is poorly understood. Using genome-, transcriptome-, and metabolome-wide analyses, we demonstrate that STAT5 is a master regulator of energy and amino acid metabolism in CD4+ T helper cells. Mechanistically, STAT5 localizes to an array of enhancers and promoters for genes encoding essential enzymes and transporters, where it facilitates p300 recruitment and epigenetic remodeling. We also find that STAT5 licenses the activity of two other key metabolic regulators, the mTOR signaling pathway and the MYC transcription factor. Building on the latter, we present evidence for transcriptome-wide cooperation between STAT5 and MYC in both normal and transformed T cells. Together, our data provide a molecular framework for transcriptional programing of T cell metabolism downstream of cγ cytokines and highlight the JAK-STAT pathway in mediating cellular growth and proliferation.
  45. Cell Rep. 2022 Nov 22. pii: S2211-1247(22)01577-7. [Epub ahead of print]41(8): 111703
      Macrophages are critical immune cells in inflammatory diseases, and their differentiation and function are tightly regulated by histone modifications. H3K79 methylation is a histone modification associated with active gene expression, and DOT1L is the only histone methyltransferase for H3K79. Here we determine the role of DOT1L in macrophages by applying a selective DOT1L inhibitor in mouse and human macrophages and using myeloid-specific Dot1l-deficient mice. We found that DOT1L directly regulates macrophage function by controlling lipid biosynthesis gene programs including central lipid regulators like sterol regulatory element-binding proteins SREBP1 and SREBP2. DOT1L inhibition also leads to macrophage hyperactivation, which is associated with disrupted SREBP pathways. In vivo, myeloid Dot1l deficiency reduces atherosclerotic plaque stability and increases the activation of inflammatory plaque macrophages. Our data show that DOT1L is a crucial regulator of macrophage inflammatory responses and lipid regulatory pathways and suggest a high relevance of H3K79 methylation in inflammatory disease.
    Keywords:  CP: Molecular biology; DOT1L; H3K79; atherosclerosis; epigenetics; immune system; inflammation; lipid metabolism; macrophage; methyltransferase
  46. Nat Commun. 2022 Nov 24. 13(1): 7226
      Protein phosphorylation is a ubiquitous post-translational modification used to regulate cellular processes and proteome architecture by modulating protein-protein interactions. The identification of phosphorylation events through proteomic surveillance has dramatically outpaced our capacity for functional assignment using traditional strategies, which often require knowledge of the upstream kinase a priori. The development of phospho-amino-acid-specific orthogonal translation systems, evolutionarily divergent aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase and tRNA pairs that enable co-translational insertion of a phospho-amino acids, has rapidly improved our ability to assess the physiological function of phosphorylation by providing kinase-independent methods of phosphoprotein production. Despite this utility, broad deployment has been hindered by technical limitations and an inability to reconstruct complex phopho-regulatory networks. Here, we address these challenges by optimizing genetically encoded phosphothreonine translation to characterize phospho-dependent kinase activation mechanisms and, subsequently, develop a multi-level protein interaction platform to directly assess the overlap of kinase and phospho-binding protein substrate networks with phosphosite-level resolution.
  47. Am Nat. 2022 Dec;200(6): 755-772
      AbstractThe adaptive potential of nonheritable somatic mutations has received limited attention in traditional evolutionary theory because heritability is a fundamental pillar of Darwinian evolution. We hypothesized that the ability of a germline genotype to express a novel phenotype via nonheritable somatic mutations can be selectively advantageous and that this advantage will channel evolving populations toward germline genotypes that constitutively express the phenotype. We tested this hypothesis by simulating evolving populations of developing organisms with an impermeable germline-soma separation navigating a minimal fitness landscape. The simulations revealed the conditions under which nonheritable somatic mutations promote adaptation. Specifically, this can occur when the somatic mutation supply is high, when few cells with the advantageous somatic mutation are required to increase organismal fitness, and when the somatic mutation also confers a selective advantage at the cellular level. We therefore provide proof of principle that nonheritable somatic mutations can promote adaptive evolution via a process we call "somatic genotypic exploration." We discuss the biological plausibility of this phenomenon as well as its evolutionary implications.
    Keywords:  Weissman; adaptive landscape; development; evolutionary theory; multilevel selection; somatic mutations
  48. Sci Adv. 2022 Nov 25. 8(47): eabq1984
      Acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC) regulates lipid synthesis; however, its role in inflammatory regulation in macrophages remains unclear. We generated mice that are deficient in both ACC isoforms in myeloid cells. ACC deficiency altered the lipidomic, transcriptomic, and bioenergetic profile of bone marrow-derived macrophages, resulting in a blunted response to proinflammatory stimulation. In response to lipopolysaccharide (LPS), ACC is required for the early metabolic switch to glycolysis and remodeling of the macrophage lipidome. ACC deficiency also resulted in impaired macrophage innate immune functions, including bacterial clearance. Myeloid-specific deletion or pharmacological inhibition of ACC in mice attenuated LPS-induced expression of proinflammatory cytokines interleukin-6 (IL-6) and IL-1β, while pharmacological inhibition of ACC increased susceptibility to bacterial peritonitis in wild-type mice. Together, we identify a critical role for ACC in metabolic regulation of the innate immune response in macrophages, and thus a clinically relevant, unexpected consequence of pharmacological ACC inhibition.
  49. Commun Biol. 2022 Nov 19. 5(1): 1269
      The analysis of somatic variation in the mitochondrial genome requires deep sequencing of mitochondrial DNA. This is ordinarily achieved by selective enrichment methods, such as PCR amplification or probe hybridization. These methods can introduce bias and are prone to contamination by nuclear-mitochondrial sequences (NUMTs), elements that can introduce artefacts into heteroplasmy analysis. We isolated intact mitochondria using differential centrifugation and alkaline lysis and subjected purified mitochondrial DNA to a sequence-independent and PCR-free method to obtain ultra-deep (>80,000X) sequencing coverage of the mitochondrial genome. This methodology avoids false-heteroplasmy calls that occur when long-range PCR amplification is used for mitochondrial DNA enrichment. Previously published methods employing mitochondrial DNA purification did not measure mitochondrial DNA enrichment or utilise high coverage short-read sequencing. Here, we describe a protocol that yields mitochondrial DNA and have quantified the increased level of mitochondrial DNA post-enrichment in 7 different mouse tissues. This method will enable researchers to identify changes in low frequency heteroplasmy without introducing PCR biases or NUMT contamination that are incorrectly identified as heteroplasmy when long-range PCR is used.
  50. Cancer Cell. 2022 Nov 16. pii: S1535-6108(22)00548-7. [Epub ahead of print]
      Tumor behavior is intricately dependent on the oncogenic properties of cancer cells and their multi-cellular interactions. To understand these dependencies within the wider microenvironment, we studied over 270,000 single-cell transcriptomes and 100 microdissected whole exomes from 12 patients with kidney tumors, prior to validation using spatial transcriptomics. Tissues were sampled from multiple regions of the tumor core, the tumor-normal interface, normal surrounding tissues, and peripheral blood. We find that the tissue-type location of CD8+ T cell clonotypes largely defines their exhaustion state with intra-tumoral spatial heterogeneity that is not well explained by somatic heterogeneity. De novo mutation calling from single-cell RNA-sequencing data allows us to broadly infer the clonality of stromal cells and lineage-trace myeloid cell development. We report six conserved meta-programs that distinguish tumor cell function, and find an epithelial-mesenchymal transition meta-program highly enriched at the tumor-normal interface that co-localizes with IL1B-expressing macrophages, offering a potential therapeutic target.
    Keywords:  IL1B; kidney cancer; multi-regional sequencing; pseudocapsule; renal cell carcinoma; single-cell sequencing; tumor microenvironment
  51. Microbiome. 2022 Nov 23. 10(1): 198
      BACKGROUND: Dysregulation of gut microbiota-associated tryptophan metabolism has been observed in patients with multiple sclerosis. However, defining direct mechanistic links between this apparent metabolic rewiring and individual constituents of the gut microbiota remains challenging. We and others have previously shown that colonization with the gut commensal and putative probiotic species, Lactobacillus reuteri, unexpectedly enhances host susceptibility to experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a murine model of multiple sclerosis. To identify underlying mechanisms, we characterized the genome of commensal L. reuteri isolates, coupled with in vitro and in vivo metabolomic profiling, modulation of dietary substrates, and gut microbiota manipulation.RESULTS: The enzymes necessary to metabolize dietary tryptophan into immunomodulatory indole derivatives were enriched in the L. reuteri genomes, including araT, fldH, and amiE. Moreover, metabolite profiling of L. reuteri monocultures and serum of L. reuteri-colonized mice revealed a depletion of kynurenines and production of a wide array of known and novel tryptophan-derived aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) agonists and antagonists, including indole acetate, indole-3-glyoxylic acid, tryptamine, p-cresol, and diverse imidazole derivatives. Functionally, dietary tryptophan was required for L. reuteri-dependent EAE exacerbation, while depletion of dietary tryptophan suppressed disease activity and inflammatory T cell responses in the CNS. Mechanistically, L. reuteri tryptophan-derived metabolites activated the AhR and enhanced T cell production of IL-17.
    CONCLUSIONS: Our data suggests that tryptophan metabolism by gut commensals, such as the putative probiotic species L. reuteri, can unexpectedly enhance autoimmunity, inducing broad shifts in the metabolome and immunological repertoire. Video Abstract.
    Keywords:  Aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR); Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE); L. reuteri; Microbiome; Microbiota; Multiple sclerosis; Tryptophan
  52. Cell. 2022 Nov 23. pii: S0092-8674(22)01366-6. [Epub ahead of print]185(24): 4574-4586.e16
      CRISPR-Cas systems are host-encoded pathways that protect microbes from viral infection using an adaptive RNA-guided mechanism. Using genome-resolved metagenomics, we find that CRISPR systems are also encoded in diverse bacteriophages, where they occur as divergent and hypercompact anti-viral systems. Bacteriophage-encoded CRISPR systems belong to all six known CRISPR-Cas types, though some lack crucial components, suggesting alternate functional roles or host complementation. We describe multiple new Cas9-like proteins and 44 families related to type V CRISPR-Cas systems, including the Casλ RNA-guided nuclease family. Among the most divergent of the new enzymes identified, Casλ recognizes double-stranded DNA using a uniquely structured CRISPR RNA (crRNA). The Casλ-RNA-DNA structure determined by cryoelectron microscopy reveals a compact bilobed architecture capable of inducing genome editing in mammalian, Arabidopsis, and hexaploid wheat cells. These findings reveal a new source of CRISPR-Cas enzymes in phages and highlight their value as genome editors in plant and human cells.
    Keywords:  CRISPR; CRISPR-Cas; anti-viral; enzyme; genome editing; genome editor; metagenomics; phage; structure; tool
  53. J Clin Invest. 2022 Nov 22. pii: e153470. [Epub ahead of print]
      KRAS is one of the most frequently activated oncogenes in human cancers. While the role of KRAS mutation in tumorigenesis and tumor maintenance has been extensively studied, the relationship between KRAS and the tumor immune microenvironment is not fully understood. Herein, we identified a novel role of KRAS in driving tumor evasion from innate immune surveillance. In lung adenocarcinoma patient samples and Kras-driven genetic mouse models of lung cancer, mutant KRAS activated the expression of cluster of differentiation 47 (CD47), an antiphagocytic signal in cancer cells, leading to decreased phagocytosis of cancer cells by macrophages. Mechanistically, mutant KRAS activated PI3K-STAT3 signaling, which restrained miR-34a expression and relieved the post-transcriptional repression of miR-34a on CD47. In three independent lung cancer patient cohorts, KRAS mutation status positively correlated with CD47 expression. Therapeutically, disruption of the KRAS-CD47 signaling axis with KRAS siRNA, the KRASG12C inhibitor AMG 510 or miR-34a mimic suppressed CD47 expression, enhanced the phagocytic capacity of macrophages and restored innate immune surveillance. Our results revealed a direct mechanistic link between active KRAS and innate immune evasion and identified CD47 as a major effector underlying KRAS-mediated immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment.
    Keywords:  Cancer immunotherapy; Lung cancer; Oncogenes; Oncology; Pulmonology
  54. Hum Mol Genet. 2022 Nov 23. pii: ddac287. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitochondrial involvement in neurodegenerative diseases is widespread and multifactorial. Targeting mitochondrial pathology is therefore of interest. The recent development of bioactive molecules that modulate mitochondrial dynamics (fusion, fission and motility) offers a new therapeutic approach for neurodegenerative diseases with either indirect or direct mitochondrial involvement. Here, we asked: 1. Can enhanced mitochondrial fusion and motility improve secondary mitochondrial pathology in SOD1 mutant amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)? And: 2. What is the impact of enhancing mitochondria fitness on in vivo manifestations of SOD1 mutant ALS? We observed that small molecule mitofusin activators corrected mitochondrial fragmentation, depolarization and dysmotility in genetically diverse ALS patient reprogrammed motor neurons and fibroblasts, and in motor neurons, sensory neurons and fibroblasts from SOD1 G93A mice. Continuous, but not intermittent, pharmacologic mitofusin activation delayed phenotype progression and lethality in SOD1 G93A mice, reducing neuron loss and improving neuromuscular connectivity. Mechanistically, mitofusin activation increased mitochondrial motility, fitness and residency within neuromuscular synapses, reduced mitochondrial ROS production, and diminished apoptosis in SOD1 mutant neurons. These benefits were accompanied by improved mitochondrial respiratory coupling, despite characteristic SOD1 mutant ALS-associated downregulation of mitochondrial respiratory complexes. Targeting mitochondrial dysdynamism is a promising approach to alleviate pathology caused by secondary mitochondrial dysfunction in some neurodegenerative diseases.