bims-camemi Biomed News
on Mitochondrial metabolism in cancer
Issue of 2023‒02‒26
forty-two papers selected by
Christian Frezza
University Hospital Cologne

  1. Cell. 2023 Feb 17. pii: S0092-8674(23)00093-4. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitochondrial activity differs markedly between organs, but it is not known how and when this arises. Here we show that cell lineage-specific expression profiles involving essential mitochondrial genes emerge at an early stage in mouse development, including tissue-specific isoforms present before organ formation. However, the nuclear transcriptional signatures were not independent of organelle function. Genetically disrupting intra-mitochondrial protein synthesis with two different mtDNA mutations induced cell lineage-specific compensatory responses, including molecular pathways not previously implicated in organellar maintenance. We saw downregulation of genes whose expression is known to exacerbate the effects of exogenous mitochondrial toxins, indicating a transcriptional adaptation to mitochondrial dysfunction during embryonic development. The compensatory pathways were both tissue and mutation specific and under the control of transcription factors which promote organelle resilience. These are likely to contribute to the tissue specificity which characterizes human mitochondrial diseases and are potential targets for organ-directed treatments.
    Keywords:  OXPHOS; RNA-seq; SCENIC; mitochondria; mt-Ta; mtDNA; organogenesis; single-cell
  2. EMBO J. 2023 Feb 20. e112067
      A role for hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs) in hypoxia-dependent regulation of tumor cell metabolism has been thoroughly investigated and covered in reviews. However, there is limited information available regarding HIF-dependent regulation of nutrient fates in tumor and stromal cells. Tumor and stromal cells may generate nutrients necessary for function (metabolic symbiosis) or deplete nutrients resulting in possible competition between tumor cells and immune cells, a result of altered nutrient fates. HIF and nutrients in the tumor microenvironment (TME) affect stromal and immune cell metabolism in addition to intrinsic tumor cell metabolism. HIF-dependent metabolic regulation will inevitably result in the accumulation or depletion of essential metabolites in the TME. In response, various cell types in the TME will respond to these hypoxia-dependent alterations by activating HIF-dependent transcription to alter nutrient import, export, and utilization. In recent years, the concept of metabolic competition has been proposed for critical substrates, including glucose, lactate, glutamine, arginine, and tryptophan. In this review, we discuss how HIF-mediated mechanisms control nutrient sensing and availability in the TME, the competition for nutrients, and the metabolic cross-talk between tumor and stromal cells.
    Keywords:  HIF; tumor metabolism; tumor microenvironment
  3. Nat Immunol. 2023 Feb 23.
      Exposure of lipopolysaccharide triggers macrophage pro-inflammatory polarization accompanied by metabolic reprogramming, characterized by elevated aerobic glycolysis and a broken tricarboxylic acid cycle. However, in contrast to lipopolysaccharide, CD40 signal is able to drive pro-inflammatory and anti-tumorigenic polarization by some yet undefined metabolic programming. Here we show that CD40 activation triggers fatty acid oxidation (FAO) and glutamine metabolism to promote ATP citrate lyase-dependent epigenetic reprogramming of pro-inflammatory genes and anti-tumorigenic phenotypes in macrophages. Mechanistically, glutamine usage reinforces FAO-induced pro-inflammatory and anti-tumorigenic activation by fine-tuning the NAD+/NADH ratio via glutamine-to-lactate conversion. Genetic ablation of important metabolic enzymes involved in CD40-mediated metabolic reprogramming abolishes agonistic anti-CD40-induced antitumor responses and reeducation of tumor-associated macrophages. Together these data show that metabolic reprogramming, which includes FAO and glutamine metabolism, controls the activation of pro-inflammatory and anti-tumorigenic polarization, and highlight a therapeutic potential of metabolic preconditioning of tumor-associated macrophages before agonistic anti-CD40 treatments.
  4. Methods Mol Biol. 2023 ;2615 219-228
      Mitochondria are eukaryotic organelles of endosymbiotic origin that contain their own genetic material, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), and dedicated systems for mtDNA maintenance and expression. MtDNA molecules encode a limited number of proteins that are nevertheless all essential subunits of the mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation system. Here, we describe protocols to monitor DNA and RNA synthesis in intact, isolated mitochondria. These in organello synthesis protocols are valuable techniques for studying the mechanisms and regulation of mtDNA maintenance and expression.
    Keywords:  Mitochondria; Radioactive labeling of nucleic acids; in organello replication and transcription; mtDNA; mtDNA maintenance and expression
  5. Mol Oncol. 2023 Feb 21.
      Bicarbonate transport is a pre-existing mechanism of pH regulation in pancreatic ductal cells. In a recent study, Cappellesso et al. demonstrated that pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma metabolic rewiring creates an acidic environment, enhanced by bicarbonate import into cancer cells via SLC4A4. This acidity favours pro-tumourigenic immunosuppression. Targeting SLC4A4 neutralises environmental pH and restores anti-tumour immunity, sensitising tumours to immune checkpoint blockade.
    Keywords:  Acidosis; Cancer; Immunotherapy; Metabolism; T-cells; Tumour microenvironment
  6. Cancer Cell. 2023 Feb 09. pii: S1535-6108(23)00009-0. [Epub ahead of print]
      Increased glucose metabolism and uptake are characteristic of many tumors and used clinically to diagnose and monitor cancer progression. In addition to cancer cells, the tumor microenvironment (TME) encompasses a wide range of stromal, innate, and adaptive immune cells. Cooperation and competition between these cell populations supports tumor proliferation, progression, metastasis, and immune evasion. Cellular heterogeneity leads to metabolic heterogeneity because metabolic programs within the tumor are dependent not only on the TME cellular composition but also on cell states, location, and nutrient availability. In addition to driving metabolic plasticity of cancer cells, altered nutrients and signals in the TME can lead to metabolic immune suppression of effector cells and promote regulatory immune cells. Here we discuss how metabolic programming of cells within the TME promotes tumor proliferation, progression, and metastasis. We also discuss how targeting metabolic heterogeneity may offer therapeutic opportunities to overcome immune suppression and augment immunotherapies.
    Keywords:  immune; metabolism; metastasis; plasticity; tumor microenvironment
  7. Methods Mol Biol. 2023 ;2615 79-88
      Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) encodes a variety of rRNAs, tRNAs, and respiratory chain complex proteins. The integrity of mtDNA supports the mitochondrial functions and plays an essential role in numerous physiological and pathological processes. Mutations in mtDNA cause metabolic diseases and aging. The mtDNA within the human cells are packaged into hundreds of nucleoids within the mitochondrial matrix. Knowledge of how the nucleoids are dynamically distributed and organized within mitochondria is key to understanding mtDNA structure and functions. Therefore, visualizing the distribution and dynamics of mtDNA within mitochondria is a powerful approach to gain insights into the regulation of mtDNA replication and transcription. In this chapter, we describe the methods of observing mtDNA and its replication with fluorescence microscopy in both fixed and live cells using different labeling strategies.
    Keywords:  BrdU; EdU; Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA); POLG2; PdG; TFAM
  8. Mitochondrion. 2023 Feb 22. pii: S1567-7249(23)00020-X. [Epub ahead of print]
      Understanding cancer cell metabolism always provides information on hidden dimensions of tumor adaptations. Warburg's theory that cancer cells opt for aerobic glycolysis over the mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) system is widely accepted. However, the hypothesis does not explain the mitochondrion's role in these cells. Here, we demonstrate that intact mitochondria are used for anaplerotic functions and ATP production by utilizing glutamine with the help of mitochondrial chaperone TRAP-1 (Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor-associated Protein 1). TRAP-1 otherwise promotes aerobic glycolysis by lowering the mitochondrial OXPHOS in the presence of glucose. Here, we show that TRAP-1 maintains mitochondrial integrity and augments glutamine metabolism upon glucose deprivation to meet the cellular energy demand. The enhanced PER and ECAR correlating with increased ATP production suggest that glutamine fuels mitochondria in the presence of TRAP-1. We also found that TRAP1-dependent glutamine utilization involves the HIF2α-SLC1A5-GLS axis and is independent of hypoxia. Subsequently, we found that the metastatic potential of tumor cells is linked with glucose utilization, whereas the proliferative potential is linked with both glucose and glutamine utilization. Our findings establish that TRAP-1 contributes to enhanced glutamine utilization through the HIF2α-SLC1A5-GLS axis. Our results endow that TRAP-1 inhibitors can be potential drug candidates to combat tumor metabolism. Therefore, their use, either alone or in combination with existing chemotherapeutic agents, may target tumor metabolism and improve anticancer treatment response.
    Keywords:  TRAP-1; cancer; glutamine; metabolism; mitochondria
  9. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2023 ;2023 4985726
      Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) is a coenzyme used in redox reactions, energy metabolism, and mitochondrial biogenesis. NAD+ is also required as a cofactor by nonredox NAD+-dependent enzymes. Hundreds of enzymes that consume NAD+ have been identified. The NAD+-consuming enzymes are involved in a variety of cellular processes such as signal transduction, DNA repair, cellular senescence, and stem cell (SC) homeostasis. In this review, we discussed how different types of NAD+-consuming enzymes regulate SC functions and summarized current research on the roles of the NAD+ consumers in SC homeostasis. We hope to provide a more global and integrative insight to the mechanism and intervention of SC homeostasis via the regulation of the NAD+-consuming enzymes.
  10. bioRxiv. 2023 Feb 18. pii: 2023.02.17.528992. [Epub ahead of print]
      The liver coordinates the systemic response to nutrient deprivation and availability by producing glucose from gluconeogenesis during fasting and synthesizing lipids via de novo lipogenesis (DNL) when carbohydrates are abundant. Mitochondrial pyruvate metabolism is believed to play important roles in both gluconeogenesis and DNL. We examined the effects of hepatocyte-specific mitochondrial pyruvate carrier (MPC) deletion on the fasting-refeeding response. Rates of DNL during refeeding were impaired by liver MPC deletion, but this did not reduce intrahepatic lipid content. During fasting, glycerol is converted to glucose by two pathways; a cytosolic pathway essentially reversing glycolysis and a mitochondrial pathway requiring the MPC. MPC deletion reduced the incorporation of 13 C-glycerol into TCA cycle metabolites but not into newly synthesized glucose. However, suppression of glycerol metabolism did not affect glucose concentrations in fasted hepatocyte-specific MPC-deficient mice. Thus, glycerol-mediated gluconeogenesis and glucose production by kidney and intestine may compensate for MPC deficiency in hepatocytes.
  11. Oncogene. 2023 Feb 22.
      Neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT) used for triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) eradicates tumors in ~45% of patients. Unfortunately, TNBC patients with substantial residual cancer burden have poor metastasis free and overall survival rates. We previously demonstrated mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) was elevated and was a unique therapeutic dependency of residual TNBC cells surviving NACT. We sought to investigate the mechanism underlying this enhanced reliance on mitochondrial metabolism. Mitochondria are morphologically plastic organelles that cycle between fission and fusion to maintain mitochondrial integrity and metabolic homeostasis. The functional impact of mitochondrial structure on metabolic output is highly context dependent. Several chemotherapy agents are conventionally used for neoadjuvant treatment of TNBC patients. Upon comparing mitochondrial effects of conventional chemotherapies, we found that DNA-damaging agents increased mitochondrial elongation, mitochondrial content, flux of glucose through the TCA cycle, and OXPHOS, whereas taxanes instead decreased mitochondrial elongation and OXPHOS. The mitochondrial effects of DNA-damaging chemotherapies were dependent on the mitochondrial inner membrane fusion protein optic atrophy 1 (OPA1). Further, we observed heightened OXPHOS, OPA1 protein levels, and mitochondrial elongation in an orthotopic patient-derived xenograft (PDX) model of residual TNBC. Pharmacologic or genetic disruption of mitochondrial fusion and fission resulted in decreased or increased OXPHOS, respectively, revealing longer mitochondria favor oxphos in TNBC cells. Using TNBC cell lines and an in vivo PDX model of residual TNBC, we found that sequential treatment with DNA-damaging chemotherapy, thus inducing mitochondrial fusion and OXPHOS, followed by MYLS22, a specific inhibitor of OPA1, was able to suppress mitochondrial fusion and OXPHOS and significantly inhibit regrowth of residual tumor cells. Our data suggest that TNBC mitochondria can optimize OXPHOS through OPA1-mediated mitochondrial fusion. These findings may provide an opportunity to overcome mitochondrial adaptations of chemoresistant TNBC.
  12. Cell Death Differ. 2023 Feb 22.
      Cell competition describes the process in which cells of greater fitness are capable of sensing and instructing elimination of lesser fit mutant cells. Since its discovery in Drosophila, cell competition has been established as a critical regulator of organismal development, homeostasis, and disease progression. It is therefore unsurprising that stem cells (SCs), which are central to these processes, harness cell competition to remove aberrant cells and preserve tissue integrity. Here, we describe pioneering studies of cell competition across a variety of cellular contexts and organisms, with the ultimate goal of better understanding competition in mammalian SCs. Furthermore, we explore the modes through which SC competition takes place and how this facilitates normal cellular function or contributes to pathological states. Finally, we discuss how understanding of this critical phenomenon will enable targeting of SC-driven processes, including regeneration and tumor progression.
  13. Sci Signal. 2023 Feb 21. 16(773): eabn0782
      Insulin regulates various cellular metabolic processes by activating specific isoforms of the Akt family of kinases. Here, we elucidated metabolic pathways that are regulated in an Akt2-dependent manner. We constructed a transomics network by quantifying phosphorylated Akt substrates, metabolites, and transcripts in C2C12 skeletal muscle cells with acute, optogenetically induced activation of Akt2. We found that Akt2-specific activation predominantly affected Akt substrate phosphorylation and metabolite regulation rather than transcript regulation. The transomics network revealed that Akt2 regulated the lower glycolysis pathway and nucleotide metabolism and cooperated with Akt2-independent signaling to promote the rate-limiting steps in these processes, such as the first step of glycolysis, glucose uptake, and the activation of the pyrimidine metabolic enzyme CAD. Together, our findings reveal the mechanism of Akt2-dependent metabolic pathway regulation, paving the way for Akt2-targeting therapeutics in diabetes and metabolic disorders.
  14. J Biol Chem. 2023 Feb 17. pii: S0021-9258(23)00171-0. [Epub ahead of print] 103039
      The small molecule erastin inhibits the cystine-glutamate antiporter, system xc-, which leads to intracellular cysteine and glutathione depletion. This can cause ferroptosis, which is an oxidative cell death process characterized by uncontrolled lipid peroxidation. Erastin and other ferroptosis inducers have been shown to affect metabolism but the metabolic effects of these drugs have not been systematically studied. To this end, we investigated how erastin impacts global metabolism in cultured cells and compared this metabolic profile to that caused by the ferroptosis inducer RSL3 or in-vivo cysteine deprivation. Common among the metabolic profiles were alterations in nucleotide and central carbon metabolism. Supplementing nucleosides to cysteine-deprived cells rescued cell proliferation in certain contexts, showing that these alterations to nucleotide metabolism can affect cellular fitness. While inhibition of the glutathione peroxidase GPX4 caused a similar metabolic profile as cysteine deprivation, nucleoside treatment did not rescue cell viability or proliferation under RSL3 treatment, suggesting that these metabolic changes have varying importance in different scenarios of ferroptosis. Together, our study shows how global metabolism is affected during ferroptosis, and points to nucleotide metabolism as an important target of cysteine deprivation.
  15. Methods Mol Biol. 2023 ;2615 381-395
      Over the last 10 years, next generation sequencing (NGS) became the gold standard for both diagnosis and discovery of new disease genes responsible for heterogeneous disorders, such as mitochondrial encephalomyopathies. The application of this technology to mtDNA mutations poses extra challenges compared to other genetic conditions because of the peculiarities of mitochondrial genetics and the requirement for proper NGS data management and analysis. Here, we describe a detailed, clinically relevant protocol to sequence the whole mtDNA and quantify heteroplasmy levels of mtDNA variants, starting from total DNA through the generation of a single PCR amplicon.
    Keywords:  Heteroplasmy; Mitochondrial DNA; Mitochondrial disease; Mitochondrial haplogroups; Next generation sequencing; Single amplicon
  16. Mol Metab. 2023 Feb 18. pii: S2212-8778(23)00028-5. [Epub ahead of print] 101694
      OBJECTIVE: The mitochondrial pyruvate carrier (MPC) has emerged as a therapeutic target for treating insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). We evaluated whether MPC inhibitors (MPCi) might correct impairments in branched chain amino acid (BCAA) catabolism, which are predictive of developing diabetes and NASH.METHODS: Circulating BCAA concentrations were measured in people with NASH and type 2 diabetes, who participated in a recent randomized, placebo-controlled Phase IIB clinical trial to test the efficacy and safety of the MPCi MSDC-0602 K (EMMINENCE; NCT02784444). In this 52-week trial, patients were randomly assigned to placebo (n = 94) or 250 mg MSDC-0602 K (n = 101). Human hepatoma cell lines and mouse primary hepatocytes were used to test the direct effects of various MPCi on BCAA catabolism in vitro. Lastly, we investigated how hepatocyte-specific deletion of MPC2 affects BCAA metabolism in the liver of obese mice and MSDC-0602 K treatment of Zucker diabetic fatty (ZDF) rats.
    RESULTS: In patients with NASH, MSDC-0602 K treatment, which led to marked improvements in insulin sensitivity and diabetes, had decreased plasma concentrations of BCAAs compared to baseline while placebo had no effect. The rate-limiting enzyme in BCAA catabolism is the mitochondrial branched chain ketoacid dehydrogenase (BCKDH), which is deactivated by phosphorylation. In multiple human hepatoma cell lines, MPCi markedly reduced BCKDH phosphorylation and stimulated branched chain keto acid catabolism; an effect that required the BCKDH phosphatase PPM1K. Mechanistically, the effects of MPCi were linked to activation of the energy sensing AMP-dependent protein kinase (AMPK) and mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) kinase signaling cascades in vitro. BCKDH phosphorylation was reduced in liver of obese, hepatocyte-specific MPC2 knockout (LS-Mpc2-/-) mice compared to wild-type controls concomitant with activation of mTOR signaling in vivo. Finally, while MSDC-0602 K treatment improved glucose homeostasis and increased the concentrations of some BCAA metabolites in ZDF rats, it did not lower plasma BCAA concentrations.
    CONCLUSIONS: These data demonstrate novel cross talk between mitochondrial pyruvate and BCAA metabolism and suggest that MPC inhibition leads to lower plasma BCAA concentrations and BCKDH phosphorylation by activating the mTOR axis. However, the effects of MPCi on glucose homeostasis may be separable from its effects on BCAA concentrations.
    Keywords:  Branched chain amino acids; Diabetes; Liver; Mitochondria; Pyruvate
  17. Sci Adv. 2023 Feb 24. 9(8): eade7864
      Thermogenesis by uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) is one of the primary mechanisms by which brown adipose tissue (BAT) increases energy expenditure. UCP1 resides in the inner mitochondrial membrane (IMM), where it dissipates membrane potential independent of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) synthase. Here, we provide evidence that phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) modulates UCP1-dependent proton conductance across the IMM to modulate thermogenesis. Mitochondrial lipidomic analyses revealed PE as a signature molecule whose abundance bidirectionally responds to changes in thermogenic burden. Reduction in mitochondrial PE by deletion of phosphatidylserine decarboxylase (PSD) made mice cold intolerant and insensitive to β3 adrenergic receptor agonist-induced increase in whole-body oxygen consumption. High-resolution respirometry and fluorometry of BAT mitochondria showed that loss of mitochondrial PE specifically lowers UCP1-dependent respiration without compromising electron transfer efficiency or ATP synthesis. These findings were confirmed by a reduction in UCP1 proton current in PE-deficient mitoplasts. Thus, PE performs a previously unknown role as a temperature-responsive rheostat that regulates UCP1-dependent thermogenesis.
  18. J Cell Biol. 2023 Mar 06. pii: e202301132. [Epub ahead of print]222(3):
      Despite decades of extensive research, mitochondrial lipid transport is a process far from fully understood. In this issue, Sassano et al. (2023. J. Cell Biol. identified a new complex, composed of E-Syt1 and PERK, which mediates lipid transport at ER-mitochondria contact sites and regulates mitochondrial functions in human cells.
  19. Int J Biol Macromol. 2023 Feb 20. pii: S0141-8130(23)00649-9. [Epub ahead of print] 123755
      Mitochondria are centers of energy metabolism. The mitochondrial network is shaped by mitochondrial dynamics, including the processes of mitochondrial fission and fusion and cristae remodeling. The cristae folded by the inner mitochondrial membrane are sites of the mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) system. However, the factors and their coordinated interplay in cristae remodeling and linked human diseases have not been fully demonstrated. In this review, we focus on key regulators of cristae structure, including the mitochondrial contact site and cristae organizing system, optic atrophy-1, mitochondrial calcium uniporter, and ATP synthase, which function in the dynamic remodeling of cristae. We summarized their contribution to sustaining functional cristae structure and abnormal cristae morphology, including a decreased number of cristae, enlarged cristae junctions, and cristae as concentric ring structures. These abnormalities directly impact cellular respiration and are caused by dysfunction or deletion of these regulators in diseases such as Parkinson's disease, Leigh syndrome, and dominant optic atrophy. Identifying the important regulators of cristae morphology and understanding their role in sustaining mitochondrial morphology could be applied to explore the pathologies of diseases and to develop relevant therapeutic tools.
    Keywords:  ATP synthase; Cristae ultrastructure; MICOS; MICU1; Mitochondria; OPA1
  20. JCI Insight. 2023 Feb 22. pii: e154120. [Epub ahead of print]8(4):
      SETD2, a H3K36 trimethyltransferase, is the most frequently mutated epigenetic modifier in lung adenocarcinoma, with a mutation frequency of approximately 9%. However, how SETD2 loss of function promotes tumorigenesis remains unclear. Using conditional Setd2-KO mice, we demonstrated that Setd2 deficiency accelerated the initiation of KrasG12D-driven lung tumorigenesis, increased tumor burden, and significantly reduced mouse survival. An integrated chromatin accessibility and transcriptome analysis revealed a potentially novel tumor suppressor model of SETD2 in which SETD2 loss activates intronic enhancers to drive oncogenic transcriptional output, including the KRAS transcriptional signature and PRC2-repressed targets, through regulation of chromatin accessibility and histone chaperone recruitment. Importantly, SETD2 loss sensitized KRAS-mutant lung cancer to inhibition of histone chaperones, the FACT complex, or transcriptional elongation both in vitro and in vivo. Overall, our studies not only provide insight into how SETD2 loss shapes the epigenetic and transcriptional landscape to promote tumorigenesis, but they also identify potential therapeutic strategies for SETD2 mutant cancers.
    Keywords:  Epigenetics; Lung cancer; Oncology
  21. Methods Mol Biol. 2023 ;2611 269-282
      Mitochondria are unique organelles of eukaryotic cells that carry their own multicopy number and circular genome. In most mammals, including humans and mice, the size of the chromosome is ~16,000 base pairs and unlike nuclear DNA, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is not densely compacted. This results in mtDNA to be highly accessible for enzymes such as the Tn5 transposase, commonly used for accessible chromatin profiling of nuclear chromatinized DNA. Here, we describe a method for the concomitant sequencing of mtDNA and accessible chromatin in thousands of individual cells via the mitochondrial single-cell assay for transposase accessible chromatin by sequencing (mtscATAC-seq). Our approach extends the utility of existing scATAC-seq products and protocols as we (Nam et al, Nat Rev Genet 22:3-18, 2021) fix cells using formaldehyde to retain mitochondria and its mtDNA within its originating cell, (Buenrostro et al, Nat Methods 10:1213-1218, 2013) modify lysis conditions to permeabilize cells and mitochondria, and (Corces et al, Nat Methods 14:959-962, 2017) optimize bioinformatic processing protocols to collectively increase mitochondrial genome coverage for downstream analysis. Here, we discuss the essentials for the experimental and computational methodologies to generate and analyze thousands of multiomic profiles of single cells over the course of a few days, enabling the profiling of accessible chromatin and mtDNA genotypes to reconstruct clonal relationships and studies of mitochondrial genetics and disease.
    Keywords:  Accessible chromatin profiling; Lineage tracing; Mitochondrial DNA; Mitochondrial disease; Pathogenic mutation; Single cell multiomics; Somatic mutation
  22. Autophagy. 2023 Feb 20.
      Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is prone to the accumulation of mutations. To prevent harmful mtDNA mutations from being passed on to the next generation, the female germline, through which mtDNA is exclusively inherited, has evolved extensive mtDNA quality control. To dissect the molecular underpinnings of this process, we recently performed a large RNAi screen in Drosophila and uncovered a programmed germline mitophagy (PGM) that is essential for mtDNA quality control. We found that PGM begins as germ cells enter meiosis, induced, at least in part, by the inhibition of the mTor (mechanistic Target of rapamycin) complex 1 (mTorC1). Interestingly, PGM requires the general macroautophagy/autophagy machinery and the mitophagy adaptor BNIP3, but not the canonical mitophagy genes Pink1 and park (parkin), even though they are critical for germline mtDNA quality control. We also identified the RNA-binding protein Atx2 as a major regulator of PGM. This work is the first to identify and implicate a programmed mitophagy event in germline mtDNA quality control, and it highlights the utility of the Drosophila ovary for studying developmentally regulated mitophagy and autophagy in vivo.
    Keywords:  Drosophila; autophagy; germline; mitochondria; mitochondrial DNA; mitophagy; mtDNA; purifying selection
  23. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2023 Feb 28. 120(9): e2216810120
      Mitochondria provide essential metabolites and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) for the regulation of energy homeostasis. For instance, liver mitochondria are a vital source of gluconeogenic precursors under a fasted state. However, the regulatory mechanisms at the level of mitochondrial membrane transport are not fully understood. Here, we report that a liver-specific mitochondrial inner-membrane carrier SLC25A47 is required for hepatic gluconeogenesis and energy homeostasis. Genome-wide association studies found significant associations between SLC25A47 and fasting glucose, HbA1c, and cholesterol levels in humans. In mice, we demonstrated that liver-specific depletion of SLC25A47 impaired hepatic gluconeogenesis selectively from lactate, while significantly enhancing whole-body energy expenditure and the hepatic expression of FGF21. These metabolic changes were not a consequence of general liver dysfunction because acute SLC25A47 depletion in adult mice was sufficient to enhance hepatic FGF21 production, pyruvate tolerance, and insulin tolerance independent of liver damage and mitochondrial dysfunction. Mechanistically, SLC25A47 depletion leads to impaired hepatic pyruvate flux and malate accumulation in the mitochondria, thereby restricting hepatic gluconeogenesis. Together, the present study identified a crucial node in the liver mitochondria that regulates fasting-induced gluconeogenesis and energy homeostasis.
    Keywords:  bioenergetics; metabolism; mitochondria; obesity; type 2 diabetes
  24. Biochem Soc Trans. 2023 Feb 23. pii: BST20221525. [Epub ahead of print]
      Cytosolic DNA is recognized by the innate immune system as a potential threat. During apoptotic cell death, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) release activates the DNA sensor cyclic GMP-AMP synthase (cGAS) to promote a pro-inflammatory type I interferon response. Inflammation following mtDNA release during apoptotic cell death can be exploited to engage anti-tumor immunity and represents a potential avenue for cancer therapy. Additionally, various studies have described leakage of mtDNA, independent of cell death, with different underlying cues such as pathogenic infections, changes in mtDNA packaging, mtDNA stress or reduced mitochondrial clearance. The interferon response in these scenarios can be beneficial but also potentially disadvantageous, as suggested by a variety of disease phenotypes. In this review, we discuss mechanisms underlying mtDNA release governed by cell death pathways and summarize release mechanisms independent of cell death. We further highlight the similarities and differences in mtDNA release pathways, outlining gaps in our knowledge and questions for further research. Together, a deeper understanding of how and when mtDNA is released may enable the development of drugs to specifically target or inhibit mtDNA release in different disease settings.
    Keywords:  apoptosis; cell death; mitochondria; mtDNA; pyroptosis
  25. Antioxidants (Basel). 2023 Feb 15. pii: 494. [Epub ahead of print]12(2):
      Cancer cells fuel growth and energy demands by increasing their NAD+ biosynthesis dependency, which therefore represents an exploitable vulnerability for anti-cancer strategies. CD38 is a NAD+-degrading enzyme that has become crucial for anti-MM therapies since anti-CD38 monoclonal antibodies represent the backbone for treatment of newly diagnosed and relapsed multiple myeloma patients. Nevertheless, further steps are needed to enable a full exploitation of these strategies, including deeper insights of the mechanisms by which CD38 promotes tumorigenesis and its metabolic additions that could be selectively targeted by therapeutic strategies. Here, we present evidence that CD38 upregulation produces a pervasive intracellular-NAD+ depletion, which impairs mitochondrial fitness and enhances oxidative stress; as result, genetic or pharmacologic approaches that aim to modify CD38 surface-level prime MM cells to NAD+-lowering agents. The molecular mechanism underlying this event is an alteration in mitochondrial dynamics, which decreases mitochondria efficiency and triggers energetic remodeling. Overall, we found that CD38 handling represents an innovative strategy to improve the outcomes of NAD+-lowering agents and provides the rationale for testing these very promising agents in clinical studies involving MM patients.
    Keywords:  NAD+ biosynthetic pathway; NAD+-lowering agents; cancer metabolism; mitochondrial disfunction; multiple myeloma; oxidative stress
  26. Nat Commun. 2023 Feb 21. 14(1): 906
      Osteoclasts are giant bone-digesting cells that harbor specialized lysosome-related organelles termed secretory lysosomes (SLs). SLs store cathepsin K and serve as a membrane precursor to the ruffled border, the osteoclast's 'resorptive apparatus'. Yet, the molecular composition and spatiotemporal organization of SLs remains incompletely understood. Here, using organelle-resolution proteomics, we identify member a2 of the solute carrier 37 family (Slc37a2) as a SL sugar transporter. We demonstrate in mice that Slc37a2 localizes to the SL limiting membrane and that these organelles adopt a hitherto unnoticed but dynamic tubular network in living osteoclasts that is required for bone digestion. Accordingly, mice lacking Slc37a2 accrue high bone mass owing to uncoupled bone metabolism and disturbances in SL export of monosaccharide sugars, a prerequisite for SL delivery to the bone-lining osteoclast plasma membrane. Thus, Slc37a2 is a physiological component of the osteoclast's unique secretory organelle and a potential therapeutic target for metabolic bone diseases.
  27. Biochem Soc Trans. 2023 Feb 23. pii: BST20220014. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitochondria have long been appreciated as the metabolic hub of cells. Emerging evidence also posits these organelles as hubs for innate immune signalling and activation, particularly in macrophages. Macrophages are front-line cellular defenders against endogenous and exogenous threats in mammals. These cells use an array of receptors and downstream signalling molecules to respond to a diverse range of stimuli, with mitochondrial biology implicated in many of these responses. Mitochondria have the capacity to both divide through mitochondrial fission and coalesce through mitochondrial fusion. Mitochondrial dynamics, the balance between fission and fusion, regulate many cellular functions, including innate immune pathways in macrophages. In these cells, mitochondrial fission has primarily been associated with pro-inflammatory responses and metabolic adaptation, so can be considered as a combative strategy utilised by immune cells. In contrast, mitochondrial fusion has a more protective role in limiting cell death under conditions of nutrient starvation. Hence, fusion can be viewed as a cellular survival strategy. Here we broadly review the role of mitochondria in macrophage functions, with a focus on how regulated mitochondrial dynamics control different functional responses in these cells.
    Keywords:  inflammation; macrophages; mitochondrial dynamics; mitochondrial fission; mitochondrial fusion; neuroinflammation
  28. Nat Chem Biol. 2023 Feb 23.
      Creatine kinases (CKs) provide local ATP production in periods of elevated energetic demand, such as during rapid anabolism and growth. Thus, creatine energetics has emerged as a major metabolic liability in many rapidly proliferating cancers. Whether CKs can be targeted therapeutically is unknown because no potent or selective CK inhibitors have been developed. Here we leverage an active site cysteine present in all CK isoforms to develop a selective covalent inhibitor of creatine phosphagen energetics, CKi. Using deep chemoproteomics, we discover that CKi selectively engages the active site cysteine of CKs in cells. A co-crystal structure of CKi with creatine kinase B indicates active site inhibition that prevents bidirectional phosphotransfer. In cells, CKi and its analogs rapidly and selectively deplete creatine phosphate, and drive toxicity selectively in CK-dependent acute myeloid leukemia. Finally, we use CKi to uncover an essential role for CKs in the regulation of proinflammatory cytokine production in macrophages.
  29. Methods Mol Biol. 2023 ;2615 31-40
      Direct analysis of mtDNA using PCR-free methods is limited by the presence of persistent, contaminating nucleic acids originating from the nuclear genome, even following stringent mitochondrial isolations. Here we describe a method developed in our laboratory that couples existing, commercially available mtDNA isolation protocols with exonuclease treatment and size exclusion chromatography (DIFSEC). This protocol produces highly enriched mtDNA extracts from small-scale cell culture, with near-undetectable nuclear DNA contamination.
    Keywords:  DNA; Gel filtration; Purification; Size exclusion chromatography; mtDNA
  30. Ann Pathol. 2023 Feb 21. pii: S0242-6498(23)00034-2. [Epub ahead of print]
      Fumarate hydratase deficient renal cell carcinoma (FH-RCC) is a rare malignant neoplasia caused by constitutive or somatic mutations in the FH gene whose diagnosis is primordial, requiring genetic counselling. Because of histological heterogeneity, such tumors have been in the past misclassified as "type 2 papillary carcinoma", "tubulo-cystic renal cell carcinoma" or "high grade papillary carcinoma". We report here a case of FH deficient renal cell carcinoma (FH-RCC) in a 69years old patient. Through this observation, we precise the epidemiological and histological aspects and diagnosis criteria of this rare tumor.
    Keywords:  Carcinome à cellules rénales; Fumarate hydratase; HLRCC; Renal cell carcinoma
  31. Cell Metab. 2023 Feb 16. pii: S1550-4131(23)00010-4. [Epub ahead of print]
      The efficacy of immunotherapy is limited by the paucity of T cells delivered and infiltrated into the tumors through aberrant tumor vasculature. Here, we report that phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase (PHGDH)-mediated endothelial cell (EC) metabolism fuels the formation of a hypoxic and immune-hostile vascular microenvironment, driving glioblastoma (GBM) resistance to chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cell immunotherapy. Our metabolome and transcriptome analyses of human and mouse GBM tumors identify that PHGDH expression and serine metabolism are preferentially altered in tumor ECs. Tumor microenvironmental cues induce ATF4-mediated PHGDH expression in ECs, triggering a redox-dependent mechanism that regulates endothelial glycolysis and leads to EC overgrowth. Genetic PHGDH ablation in ECs prunes over-sprouting vasculature, abrogates intratumoral hypoxia, and improves T cell infiltration into the tumors. PHGDH inhibition activates anti-tumor T cell immunity and sensitizes GBM to CAR T therapy. Thus, reprogramming endothelial metabolism by targeting PHGDH may offer a unique opportunity to improve T cell-based immunotherapy.
    Keywords:  ATF4; CAR T immunotherapy; PHGDH; endothelial metabolism; glycolysis; vascular pruning
  32. Curr Protoc. 2023 Feb;3(2): e679
      To cope with DNA damage, mitochondria have developed a pathway whereby severely damaged or unrepairable mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) molecules can be discarded and degraded, after which new molecules are synthesized using intact templates. In this unit, we describe a method that harnesses this pathway to eliminate mtDNA from mammalian cells by transiently overexpressing the Y147A mutant of human uracil-N-glycosylase (mUNG1) in mitochondria. We also provide alternate protocols for mtDNA elimination using either combined treatment with ethidium bromide (EtBr) and dideoxycytidine (ddC) or clustered regulatory interspersed short palindromic repeat (CRISPR)-Cas9-mediated knockout of TFAM or other genes essential for mtDNA replication. Support protocols detail approaches for several processes: (1) genotyping ρ0 cells of human, mouse, and rat origin by polymerase chain reaction (PCR); (2) quantification of mtDNA by quantitative PCR (qPCR); (3) preparation of calibrator plasmids for mtDNA quantification; and (4) quantification of mtDNA by direct droplet digital PCR (dddPCR). © 2023 Wiley Periodicals LLC. Basic Protocol: Inducing mtDNA loss with mUNG1 Alternate Protocol 1: Generation of ρ0 cells by mtDNA depletion with EtBr and ddC Alternate Protocol 2: Generation of ρ0 cells by knocking out genes critical for mtDNA replication Support Protocol 1: Genotyping ρ0 cells by DirectPCR Support Protocol 2: Determination of mtDNA copy number by qPCR Support Protocol 3: Preparation of calibrator plasmid for qPCR Support Protocol 4: Determination of mtCN by direct droplet digital PCR (dddPCR).
    Keywords:  cybrids; mtDNA; mtDNA copy number; mtDNA damage; ρ0 cells
  33. J Clin Invest. 2023 Feb 23. pii: e164610. [Epub ahead of print]
      How phosphate levels are detected in mammals is unknown. The bone-derived hormone fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23) lowers blood phosphate by reducing kidney phosphate reabsorption and 1,25(OH)2D production, but phosphate does not directly stimulate bone FGF23 expression. Using PET scanning and LC-MS, we show that phosphate increases kidney-specific glycolysis and synthesis of glycerol-3-phosphate (G-3-P), which then circulates to bone to trigger FGF23 production. Further, we find that glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase 1 (Gpd1), a cytosolic enzyme that synthesizes G-3-P and oxidizes NADH to NAD+, is required for phosphate-stimulated G-3-P and FGF23 production and prevention of hyperphosphatemia. In proximal tubule cells, we find that phosphate availability is substrate-limiting for glycolysis and G-3-P production, and that increased glycolysis and Gpd1 activity are coupled through cytosolic NAD+ recycling. Finally, we show that the type II sodium-dependent phosphate co-transporter Npt2a, which is expressed exclusively in the proximal tubule, confers kidney specificity to phosphate-stimulated G-3-P production. Importantly, exogenous G-3-P stimulates FGF23 production when Npt2a or Gpd1 are absent, confirming that it is the key circulating factor downstream of glycolytic phosphate sensing in the kidney. Together, these findings place glycolysis at the nexus of mineral and energy metabolism and identify a kidney-bone feedback loop that controls phosphate homeostasis.
    Keywords:  Calcium; Chronic kidney disease; Endocrinology; Glucose metabolism; Nephrology
  34. bioRxiv. 2023 Feb 18. pii: 2023.02.17.528937. [Epub ahead of print]
      The dependency of cancer cells on glucose can be targeted with high-fat low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet (KD). However, hepatic ketogenesis is suppressed in IL-6 producing cancers, which prevents the utilization of this nutrient source as energy for the organism. In two IL-6 associated murine models of cancer cachexia we describe delayed tumor growth but accelerated onset of cancer cachexia and shortened survival when mice are fed KD. Mechanistically, we find this uncoupling is a consequence of the biochemical interaction of two simultaneously occurring NADPH-dependent pathways. Within the tumor, increased production of lipid peroxidation products (LPPs) and, consequently, saturation of the glutathione (GSH) system leads to ferroptotic death of cancer cells. Systemically, redox imbalance and NADPH depletion impairs the biosynthesis of corticosterone, the main regulator of metabolic stress, in the adrenal glands. Administration of dexamethasone, a potent glucocorticoid, improves food intake, normalizes glucose homeostasis and utilization of nutritional substrates, delays onset of cancer cachexia and extends survival of tumor-bearing mice fed KD, while preserving reduced tumor growth. Our study highlights that the outcome of systemic interventions cannot necessarily be extrapolated from the effect on the tumor alone, but that they have to be investigated for anti-cancer and host effects. These findings may be relevant to clinical research efforts that investigate nutritional interventions such as KD in patients with cancer.
  35. Curr Opin Struct Biol. 2023 Feb 16. pii: S0959-440X(23)00018-0. [Epub ahead of print]79 102544
      Amino acid pools in the cell are monitored by dedicated sensors, whose structures are now coming into view. The lysosomal Rag GTPases are central to this pathway, and the regulation of their GAP complexes, FLCN-FNIP and GATOR1, have been worked out in detail. For FLCN-FNIP, the entire chain of events from the arginine transporter SLC38A9 to substrate-specific mTORC1 activation has been visualized. The structure GATOR2 has been determined, hinting at an ordering of amino acid signaling across a larger size scale than anticipated. The centerpiece of lysosomal signaling, mTORC1, has been revealed to recognize its substrates by more nuanced and substrate-specific mechanisms than previous appreciated. Beyond the well-studied Rag GTPase and mTORC1 machinery, another lysosomal amino acid sensor/effector system, that of PQLC2 and the C9orf72-containing CSW complex, is coming into structural view. These developments hold promise for further insights into lysosomal physiology and lysosome-centric therapeutics.
  36. Methods Mol Biol. 2023 ;2615 329-344
      Mouse models of mitochondrial DNA mutations hold promise in the development and optimization of mitochondrial gene therapy technology and for gathering pre-clinical data prior to human trials. Their suitability for this purpose stems from the high similarity of human and murine mitochondrial genomes and the increasing availability of rationally designed AAV vectors capable of selectively transducing murine tissues. Our laboratory routinely optimizes mitochondrially targeted zinc finger nucleases (mtZFNs), the compactness of which makes them highly suitable for downstream AAV-based in vivo mitochondrial gene therapy. This chapter discusses the necessary precautions for the robust and precise genotyping of the murine mitochondrial genome as well as the optimization of mtZFNs intended for subsequent use in vivo.
    Keywords:  Gene therapy; Heteroplasmy; MEF; Mitochondria; Mouse; Zinc Finger nuclease; mtDNA; mtZFN
  37. Methods Mol Biol. 2023 ;2615 3-16
      Detailed analysis of mitochondrial function cannot be achieved without good quality preparations of isolated mitochondria. Ideally, the isolation protocol should be quick, while producing a reasonably pure pool of mitochondria that are still intact and coupled. Here, we describe a fast and simple method for the purification of mammalian mitochondria relying on isopycnic density gradient centrifugation. We describe specific steps that should be taken into consideration when functional mitochondria from different tissues should be isolated. This protocol is suitable for the analysis of many aspects of the organelle's structure and function.
    Keywords:  Blue native PAGE; Electron transport chain; Isopycnic density gradient centrifugation; Mitochondria; Organelle isolation; Oxidative phosphorylation; Respirometry
  38. Cell. 2023 Feb 16. pii: S0092-8674(23)00053-3. [Epub ahead of print]186(4): 683-685
      Transgenerational epigenetic inheritance in mammals has long been debatable. In this issue of Cell, Takahashi et al. induce DNA methylation at promoter-associated CpG islands (CGIs) of two metabolism-related genes and show that the acquired epigenetic changes and associated metabolic phenotypes are stably propagated across several generations in transgenic mice.
  39. Nature. 2023 Feb 23.
    Keywords:  Animal behaviour; Metabolism; Neuroscience; Obesity
  40. Nat Commun. 2023 Feb 23. 14(1): 1011
      Serine synthesis is crucial for tumor growth and survival, but its regulatory mechanism in cancer remains elusive. Here, using integrative metabolomics and transcriptomics analyses, we show a heterogeneity between metabolite and transcript profiles. Specifically, the level of serine in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) tissues is increased, whereas the expression of phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase (PHGDH), the first rate-limiting enzyme in serine biosynthesis pathway, is markedly downregulated. Interestingly, the increased serine level is obtained by enhanced PHGDH catalytic activity due to protein arginine methyltransferase 1 (PRMT1)-mediated methylation of PHGDH at arginine 236. PRMT1-mediated PHGDH methylation and activation potentiates serine synthesis, ameliorates oxidative stress, and promotes HCC growth in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, PRMT1-mediated PHGDH methylation correlates with PHGDH hyperactivation and serine accumulation in human HCC tissues, and is predictive of poor prognosis of HCC patients. Notably, blocking PHGDH methylation with a TAT-tagged nonmethylated peptide inhibits serine synthesis and restrains HCC growth in an HCC patient-derived xenograft (PDX) model and subcutaneous HCC cell-derived xenograft model. Overall, our findings reveal a regulatory mechanism of PHGDH activity and serine synthesis, and suggest PHGDH methylation as a potential therapeutic vulnerability in HCC.
  41. Nat Commun. 2023 Feb 23. 14(1): 1009
      Mutations in the mitochondrial or nuclear genomes are associated with a diverse group of human disorders characterized by impaired mitochondrial respiration. Within this group, an increasing number of mutations have been identified in nuclear genes involved in mitochondrial RNA biology. The TEFM gene encodes the mitochondrial transcription elongation factor responsible for enhancing the processivity of mitochondrial RNA polymerase, POLRMT. We report for the first time that TEFM variants are associated with mitochondrial respiratory chain deficiency and a wide range of clinical presentations including mitochondrial myopathy with a treatable neuromuscular transmission defect. Mechanistically, we show muscle and primary fibroblasts from the affected individuals have reduced levels of promoter distal mitochondrial RNA transcripts. Finally, tefm knockdown in zebrafish embryos resulted in neuromuscular junction abnormalities and abnormal mitochondrial function, strengthening the genotype-phenotype correlation. Our study highlights that TEFM regulates mitochondrial transcription elongation and its defect results in variable, tissue-specific neurological and neuromuscular symptoms.
  42. Nat Cardiovasc Res. 2022 Dec;1(12): 1101-1103
      Nature has evolved creative ways to maintain oxygen homeostasis, but what happens when these adaptations are insufficient? Here we discuss biochemical failure points across the oxygen spectrum from 'too little' to 'too much' oxygen and their potential contributions to cardiovascular disease.