bims-mepmim Biomed News
on Metabolites in pathological microenvironments and immunometabolism
Issue of 2023‒02‒26
forty-five papers selected by
Erika Mariana Palmieri
NIH/NCI Laboratory of Cancer ImmunoMetabolism

  1. 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.
  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. 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
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. J Hepatol. 2023 Feb 21. pii: S0168-8278(23)00098-3. [Epub ahead of print]
      BACKGROUND & AIMS: The consumption of sugar and high-fat diet (HFD) promotes the development of obesity and metabolic dysfunction. Despite their well-known synergy, the mechanisms by which sugar worsens the outcomes associated with a HFD intake is largely elusive.METHODS: Six week-old, male, C57 B l/6 J mice were fed either chow or HFD provided with regular, fructose- or glucose-sweetened water. Moreover, cultured AML12 hepatocytes were engineered to overexpress ketohexokinase C (KHK-C) using lentivirus or to knockdown CPT1α using CRISPR-Cas9. The cell culture experiments were complimented with in-vivo studies using mice with hepatic overexpression of KHK-C and in mice with liver-specific CPT1α knockout. We used comprehensive metabolomics, electron microscopy, mitochondrial substrate phenotyping, proteomics and acetylome analysis to investigate the underlying mechanism.
    RESULTS: Fructose supplementation of mice on normal chow, and fructose or glucose supplementation of mice on HFD increase KHK-C, an enzyme that catalyzes the first step of fructolysis. Elevated KHK-C is associated with an increase in lipogenic proteins, such as ACLY, without affecting their mRNA expression. An increase in KHK-C also correlates with acetylation of CPT1α at K508, and lower CPT1α protein in vivo. In vitro, KHK-C overexpression lowers CPT1α and increases triglyceride accumulation. The effects of KHK-C are, in part, replicated by a knockdown of CPT1α. An increase in KHK-C correlates negatively with CPT1α protein in mice fed sugar and HFD, but also in genetically obese db/db and lipodystrophic FIRKO mice. Mechanistically, overexpression of KHK-C in vitro increases global protein acetylation and decreases the major cytoplasmic deacetylase, SIRT2.
    CONCLUSIONS: KHK-C-induced acetylation is a novel mechanism by which dietary fructose augments lipogenesis and decreases fatty acid oxidation to support the development of metabolic complications.
    IMPACT AND IMPLICATIONS: Fructose is a highly lipogenic nutrient whose negative consequences have been largely attributed to increased de novo lipogenesis. Here we show that fructose upregulates ketohexokinase, which in turn modifies global protein acetylation, including acetylation of CPT1a, to decrease fatty acid oxidation. Our findings broaden the impact of dietary sugar beyond its lipogenic role and have implications on drug development aimed at reducing the harmful effects attributed to sugar metabolism.
    Keywords:  Carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1a; Fatty acid oxidation; Fructose; Ketohexokinase; Mass spectrometry; Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease; SIRT2
  7. Hepatology. 2023 Feb 21.
      BACKGROUND AIMS: SLC25A47 was initially identified as mitochondrial hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC)-downregulated carrier protein, but its physiological functions and transport substrates are unknown. We aimed to investigate the physiological role of SLC25A47 in hepatic metabolism.APPROACH RESULTS: Treatment of hepatocytes with metformin found that metformin can transcriptionally activate the expression of Slc25a47, which is required for AMPKα phosphorylation. Slc25a47-deficient mice had increased hepatic lipid content, triglycerides and cholesterol levels, and we found that Slc25a47-deficiency suppressed AMPKα phosphorylation and led to an increased accumulation of nuclear SREBPs with elevated fatty acid and cholesterol biosynthetic activities. Conversely, when Slc25a47 was overexpressed in mouse liver, AMPKα was activated and resulted in inhibition of lipogenesis. Moreover, using a diethylnitrosamine (DEN)-induced mouse HCC model, we found that the deletion of Slc25a47 promoted HCC tumorigenesis and development through the activated mTOR cascade. Employing homology modeling of SLC25A47 and virtual screening of the human metabolome database, we demonstrated that NAD+ was an endogenous substrate for SLC25A47 and the activity of NAD+-dependent SIRT3 declined in Slc25a47-deficient mice, followed by inactivation of AMPKα.
    CONCLUSIONS: Our findings reveal that SLC25A47, a hepatocyte-specific mitochondrial NAD+ transporter, is one of the pharmacological targets of metformin and regulates lipid homeostasis through AMPKα, and may serve as a potential drug target for treating non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and HCC.
  8. Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2023 Mar 01. 39(2): 125-128
      PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Carnitine is an essential micronutrient that transfer long-chain fatty acids from the cytoplasm into the mitochondrial matrix for the β-oxidation. Carnitine is also needed for the mitochondrial efflux of acyl groups in the cases wherein substrate oxidation exceeds energy demands.RECENT FINDINGS: Carnitine deficiency can affect the oxidation of free fatty acids in the mitochondria resulting in the aggregation of lipids in the cytoplasm instead of entering the citric acid cycle. The aggregation leads a lack of energy, acetyl coenzyme A accumulation in the mitochondria and cytotoxic production.
    SUMMARY: Carnitine and its derivatives show great clinical therapeutic effect without significant side effects.
  9. 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
  10. Cell Rep. 2023 Feb 17. pii: S2211-1247(23)00139-0. [Epub ahead of print]42(2): 112128
      The cytokine interleukin-23 (IL-23) is involved in the pathogenesis of inflammatory and autoimmune conditions including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). IL23R is enriched in intestinal Tregs, yet whether IL-23 modulates intestinal Tregs remains unknown. Here, investigating IL-23R signaling in Tregs specifically, we show that colonic Tregs highly express Il23r compared with Tregs from other compartments and their frequency is reduced upon IL-23 administration and impairs Treg suppressive function. Similarly, colonic Treg frequency is increased in mice lacking Il23r specifically in Tregs and exhibits a competitive advantage over IL-23R-sufficient Tregs during inflammation. Finally, IL-23 antagonizes liver X receptor pathway, cellular cholesterol transporter Abca1, and increases Treg apoptosis. Our results show that IL-23R signaling regulates intestinal Tregs by increasing cell turnover, antagonizing suppression, and decreasing cholesterol efflux. These results suggest that IL-23 negatively regulates Tregs in the intestine with potential implications for promoting chronic inflammation in patients with IBD.
    Keywords:  CP: Immunology; IBD; IL-23R12; Treg cell; Tregs; colitis; colon; interleukin-23; ustekinumab
  11. Immunity. 2023 Feb 14. pii: S1074-7613(23)00035-3. [Epub ahead of print]
      The aryl-hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) is a ligand-activated transcription factor that buoys intestinal immune responses. AHR induces its own negative regulator, the AHR repressor (AHRR). Here, we show that AHRR is vital to sustaining intestinal intraepithelial lymphocytes (IELs). AHRR deficiency reduced IEL representation in a cell-intrinsic fashion. Single-cell RNA sequencing revealed an oxidative stress profile in Ahrr-/- IELs. AHRR deficiency unleashed AHR-induced expression of CYP1A1, a monooxygenase that generates reactive oxygen species, increasing redox imbalance, lipid peroxidation, and ferroptosis in Ahrr-/- IELs. Dietary supplementation with selenium or vitamin E to restore redox homeostasis rescued Ahrr-/- IELs. Loss of IELs in Ahrr-/- mice caused susceptibility to Clostridium difficile infection and dextran sodium-sulfate-induced colitis. Inflamed tissue of inflammatory bowel disease patients showed reduced Ahrr expression that may contribute to disease. We conclude that AHR signaling must be tightly regulated to prevent oxidative stress and ferroptosis of IELs and to preserve intestinal immune responses.
    Keywords:  AHRR; Ahr; Cyp1a1; IBD; IEL; ROS; ferroptosis; mucosal immunity; oxidative stress
  12. 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
  13. J Biol Chem. 2023 Feb 21. pii: S0021-9258(23)00178-3. [Epub ahead of print] 103046
      Exocrine Meibomian glands (MGs) play a central role in the ocular physiology and biochemistry by producing in situ and, mostly, de novo, a secretion (meibum), which is composed of a complex mixture of homologous lipids of various classes, in a metabolic pathway termed meibogenesis. Recent in vivo experiments with a number of mouse models demonstrated that inactivation of any of the major genes of meibogenesis led to alterations in the lipid composition of meibum and severe ocular and MG abnormalities that replicated various human ocular pathologies. However, the role of dietary lipids in meibogenesis, and in the onset and/or alleviation of these diseases, remains controversial. To uncover the role of dietary lipids, the metabolic transformations of a dietary lipid tracer - stable isotope-labeled glyceryl tri(oleate-1,2,3,7,8-13C5) (13C15-TO) - were investigated using LC-high-resolution TOF-MS/MS. We demonstrated that major metabolic transformations of the tracer occurred in the stomach and small intestines where 13C15-TO underwent immediate and extensive transesterification into 13C5- and 13C10-substituted triacylglycerols of various lengths, giving a mixture of 13C-labeled compounds that remain virtually unchanged in the mouse plasma, liver, and white adipose tissue, but were almost undetectable in the feces. Importantly, the tracer and its metabolites were virtually undetectable in MGs, even after 4 weeks of daily supplementation. Notably, unbiased Principal Component Analysis of the data revealed no measurable changes in the overall chemical composition of meibum after the treatment, which implies no direct effect of dietary triacylglycerols on meibogenesis, and left their systemic effects as the most likely mechanism.
    Keywords:  Lipidomics; Meibomian gland; acylglycerols; lipogenesis; meibogenesis; small intestine
  14. 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
  15. JCI Insight. 2023 Feb 21. pii: e164296. [Epub ahead of print]
      Diabetes is associated with increased risk for kidney and liver diseases, congestive heart failure, and mortality. Urinary glucose excretion using sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors prevents these adverse outcomes. We performed in vivo metabolic labeling with 13C-glucose in normoglycemic and diabetic mice treated with or without the SGLT2 inhibitor dapagliflozin, followed by simultaneous metabolomics and metabolic flux analyses in different organs and the plasma. We found that in diabetes, glycolysis and glucose oxidation are impaired in the kidney, liver, and heart. Treatment with dapagliflozin failed to rescue glycolysis and further inhibited pyruvate kinase activity in the liver. SGLT2 inhibition increased glucose oxidation in all organs; in the kidney, this effect was associated with modulation of the redox state, which may protect against oxidative stress. In addition, diabetes was associated with altered methionine cycle metabolism, evident by decreased betaine and methionine levels, whereas treatment with SGLT2i increased hepatic betaine along with decreased homocysteine levels. mTORC1 activity was inhibited by SGLT2i along with stimulation of AMPK in both normoglycemic and diabetic animals, possibly explaining the protective effects against kidney, liver, and heart diseases. Collectively, our findings suggest that SGLT2i induces metabolic reprogramming orchestrated by AMPK-mTORC1 signaling with common and distinct effects in various tissues with implications for diabetes and aging.
    Keywords:  Diabetes; Glucose metabolism; Metabolism; Signal transduction; Therapeutics
  16. J Bone Miner Res. 2023 Feb 23.
      Lipids play a crucial role in signalling and metabolism, regulating the development and maintenance of the skeleton. Membrane lipids have been hypothesised to act as intermediates upstream of orphan phosphatase 1 (PHOSPHO1), a major contributor to phosphate generation required for bone mineralisation. Here, we spatially resolve the lipid atlas of the healthy mouse knee and demonstrate the effects of PHOSPHO1 ablation on the growth plate lipidome. Lipids spanning 17 subclasses were mapped across the knee joints of healthy juvenile and adult mice using matrix-assisted laser desorption ionisation imaging mass spectrometry (MALDI-IMS), with annotation supported by shotgun lipidomics. Multivariate analysis identified 96 and 80 lipid ions with differential abundances across joint tissues in juvenile and adult mice respectively. In both ages, marrow was enriched in phospholipid platelet activating factors (PAFs) and related metabolites, cortical bone had a low lipid content, while lysophospholipids were strikingly enriched in the growth plate, an active site of mineralisation and PHOSPHO1 activity. Spatially-resolved profiling of PHOSPHO1-knockout (KO) mice across the resting, proliferating, and hypertrophic growth plate zones revealed 272, 306, and 296 significantly upregulated, and 155, 220 and 190 significantly downregulated features, respectively, relative to wild type (WT) controls. Of note, phosphatidylcholine, lysophosphatidylcholine, sphingomyelin, lysophosphatidylethanolamine and phosphatidylethanolamine derived lipid ions were upregulated in PHOSPHO1-KO versus WT. Our imaging pipeline has established a spatially-resolved lipid signature of joint tissues and has demonstrated that PHOSPHO1 ablation significantly alters the growth plate lipidome, highlighting an essential role of the PHOSPHO1-mediated membrane phospholipid metabolism in lipid and bone homeostasis.
    Keywords:  bone modelling and remodelling; disorders of calcium/phosphate metabolism; growth plate; matrix mineralization; statistical methods
  17. Cell Chem Biol. 2023 Feb 17. pii: S2451-9456(23)00033-8. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitochondrial fission is critical for mitochondrial dynamics and homeostasis. The dynamin superfamily GTPase DRP1 is recruited by three functionally redundant receptors, MFF, MiD49, and MiD51, to mitochondria to drive fission. Here, we exploit high-content live-cell imaging to screen for mitochondrial fission inhibitors and have developed a covalent compound, mitochondrial division inhibitor (MIDI). MIDI treatment potently blocks mitochondrial fragmentation induced by mitochondrial toxins and restores mitochondrial morphology in fusion-defective cells carrying pathogenic mitofusin and OPA1 mutations. Mechanistically, MIDI does not affect DRP1 tetramerization nor DRP1 GTPase activity but does block DRP1 recruitment to mitochondria. Subsequent biochemical and cellular characterizations reveal an unexpected mechanism that MIDI targets DRP1 interaction with multiple receptors via covalent interaction with DRP1-C367. Taken together, beyond developing a potent mitochondrial fission inhibitor that profoundly impacts mitochondrial morphogenesis, our study establishes proof of concept for developing protein-protein interaction inhibitors targeting DRP1.
    Keywords:  DRP1 inhibitor; MFF; MIDI; MiD49/51; OPA1; mitochondrial dynamics; mitochondrial fission; mitofusin
  18. Anal Chem. 2023 Feb 22.
      Metabolism plays a fundamental role in regulating cellular functions and fate decisions. Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS)-based targeted metabolomic approaches provide high-resolution insights into the metabolic state of a cell. However, the typical sample size is in the order of 105-107 cells and thus not compatible with rare cell populations, especially in the case of a prior flow cytometry-based purification step. Here, we present a comprehensively optimized protocol for targeted metabolomics on rare cell types, such as hematopoietic stem cells and mast cells. Only 5000 cells per sample are required to detect up to 80 metabolites above background. The use of regular-flow liquid chromatography allows for robust data acquisition, and the omission of drying or chemical derivatization avoids potential sources of error. Cell-type-specific differences are preserved while the addition of internal standards, generation of relevant background control samples, and targeted metabolite with quantifiers and qualifiers ensure high data quality. This protocol could help numerous studies to gain thorough insights into cellular metabolic profiles and simultaneously reduce the number of laboratory animals and the time-consuming and costly experiments associated with rare cell-type purification.
  19. J Biol Chem. 2023 Feb 15. pii: S0021-9258(23)00154-0. [Epub ahead of print] 103022
      The endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-resident protein fat storage-inducing transmembrane protein 2 (FIT2) catalyzes acyl-CoA cleavage in vitro and is required for ER homeostasis and normal lipid storage in cells. The gene encoding FIT2 is essential for the viability of mice and worms. Whether FIT2 acts as an acyl-CoA diphosphatase in vivo and how this activity affects the liver, where the protein was discovered, are unknown. Here, we report that hepatocyte-specific Fitm2 knockout (FIT2-LKO) mice fed a chow diet exhibited elevated acyl-CoA levels, ER stress, and signs of liver injury. These mice also had more triglycerides in their livers than control littermates due, in part, to impaired secretion of triglyceride-rich lipoproteins and reduced capacity for fatty acid oxidation. We found that challenging FIT2-LKO mice with a high-fat diet worsened hepatic ER stress and liver injury, but unexpectedly reversed the steatosis phenotype, similar to what is observed in FIT2-deficient cells loaded with fatty acids. Our findings support the model that FIT2 acts as an acyl-CoA diphosphatase in vivo and is crucial for normal hepatocyte function and ER homeostasis in murine liver.
    Keywords:  FITM2; acyl-CoA; endoplasmic reticulum; lipid metabolism; liver
  20. Nat Commun. 2023 Feb 17. 14(1): 915
      Cellular cholesterol can be metabolized to its fatty acid esters, cholesteryl esters (CEs), to be stored in lipid droplets (LDs). With triacylglycerols (TGs), CEs represent the main neutral lipids in LDs. However, while TG melts at ~4 °C, CE melts at ~44 °C, raising the question of how CE-rich LDs form in cells. Here, we show that CE forms supercooled droplets when the CE concentration in LDs is above 20% to TG and, in particular, liquid-crystalline phases when the fraction of CEs is above 90% at 37 °C. In model bilayers, CEs condense and nucleate droplets when the CE/phospholipid ratio reaches over 10-15%. This concentration is reduced by TG pre-clusters in the membrane that thereby facilitate CE nucleation. Accordingly, blocking TG synthesis in cells is sufficient to strongly dampen CE LD nucleation. Finally, CE LDs emerged at seipins, which cluster and nucleate TG LDs in the ER. However, when TG synthesis is inhibited, similar numbers of LDs are generated in the presence and absence of seipin, suggesting that seipin controls CE LD formation via its TG clustering capacity. Our data point to a unique model whereby TG pre-clusters, favorable at seipins, catalyze the nucleation of CE LDs.
  21. 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.
  22. Front Immunol. 2022 ;13 1047661
      CD8 T cells play a central role in antiviral immunity. Type I interferons are among the earliest responders after virus exposure and can cause extensive reprogramming and antigen-independent bystander activation of CD8 T cells. Although bystander activation of pre-existing memory CD8 T cells is known to play an important role in host defense and immunopathology, its impact on naïve CD8 T cells remains underappreciated. Here we report that exposure to reovirus, both in vitro or in vivo, promotes bystander activation of naïve CD8 T cells within 24 hours and that this distinct subtype of CD8 T cell displays an innate, antiviral, type I interferon sensitized signature. The induction of bystander naïve CD8 T cells is STAT1 dependent and regulated through nicotinamide phosphoribosyl transferase (NAMPT)-mediated enzymatic actions within NAD+ salvage metabolic biosynthesis. These findings identify a novel aspect of CD8 T cell activation following virus infection with implications for human health and physiology.
    Keywords:  CD8 T cells; NAD+ salvage metabolism; antiviral immunity; bystander activation; immunometabolism; metabolic reprogramming; naïve CD8 T cells; type I interferons
  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. Elife. 2023 Feb 22. pii: e81177. [Epub ahead of print]12
      Cyclic AMP (cAMP) is a ubiquitous second messenger that transduces signals from cellular receptors to downstream effectors. Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), the etiological agent of tuberculosis, devotes a considerable amount of coding capacity to produce, sense, and degrade cAMP. Despite this fact, our understanding of how cAMP regulates Mtb physiology remains limited. Here, we took a genetic approach to investigate the function of the sole essential adenylate cyclase in Mtb H37Rv, Rv3645. We found that lack of rv3645 resulted in increased sensitivity to numerous antibiotics by a mechanism independent of substantial increases in envelope permeability. We made the unexpected observation that rv3645 is conditionally essential for Mtb growth only in the presence of long-chain fatty acids, a host-relevant carbon source. A suppressor screen further identified mutations in the atypical cAMP phosphodiesterase rv1339 that suppress both fatty acid and drug sensitivity phenotypes in strains lacking rv3645. Using mass spectrometry, we found that Rv3645 is the dominant source of cAMP under standard laboratory growth conditions, that cAMP production is the essential function of Rv3645 in the presence of long-chain fatty acids, and that reduced cAMP levels result in increased long-chain fatty acid uptake and metabolism and increased antibiotic susceptibility. Our work defines rv3645 and cAMP as central mediators of intrinsic multidrug resistance and fatty acid metabolism in Mtb and highlights the potential utility of small molecule modulators of cAMP signaling.
    Keywords:  infectious disease; microbiology
  25. J Cell Biol. 2023 Mar 06. pii: e202206008. [Epub ahead of print]222(3):
      The integrity of ER-mitochondria appositions ensures transfer of ions and phospholipids (PLs) between these organelles and exerts crucial effects on mitochondrial bioenergetics. Malfunctions within the ER-mitochondria contacts altering lipid trafficking homeostasis manifest in diverse pathologies, but the molecular effectors governing this process remain ill-defined. Here, we report that PERK promotes lipid trafficking at the ER-mitochondria contact sites (EMCS) through a non-conventional, unfolded protein response-independent, mechanism. PERK operates as an adaptor for the recruitment of the ER-plasma membrane tether and lipid transfer protein (LTP) Extended-Synaptotagmin 1 (E-Syt1), within the EMCS. In resting cells, the heterotypic E-Syt1-PERK interaction endorses transfer of PLs between the ER and mitochondria. Weakening the E-Syt1-PERK interaction or removing the lipid transfer SMP-domain of E-Syt1, compromises mitochondrial respiration. Our findings unravel E-Syt1 as a PERK interacting LTP and molecular component of the lipid trafficking machinery of the EMCS, which critically maintains mitochondrial homeostasis and fitness.
  26. Nat Commun. 2023 Feb 20. 14(1): 937
      Lipidomics encompassing automated lipid extraction, a four-dimensional (4D) feature selection strategy for confident lipid annotation as well as reproducible and cross-validated quantification can expedite clinical profiling. Here, we determine 4D descriptors (mass to charge, retention time, collision cross section, and fragmentation spectra) of 200 lipid standards and 493 lipids from reference plasma via trapped ion mobility mass spectrometry to enable the implementation of stringent criteria for lipid annotation. We use 4D lipidomics to confidently annotate 370 lipids in reference plasma samples and 364 lipids in serum samples, and reproducibly quantify 359 lipids using level-3 internal standards. We show the utility of our 4D lipidomics workflow for high-throughput applications by reliable profiling of intra-individual lipidome phenotypes in plasma, serum, whole blood, venous and finger-prick dried blood spots.
  27. Hepatology. 2023 Feb 27.
      Hepatocytes work in highly structured, repetitive hepatic lobules. Blood flow across the radial axis of the lobule generates oxygen, nutrient, and hormone gradients that result in zoned spatial variability and functional diversity. This large heterogeneity suggests that hepatocytes in different lobule zones may have distinct gene expression profiles, metabolic features, regenerative capacity, and susceptibility to damage. Here, we describe the principles of liver zonation, introduce metabolomic approaches to study the spatial heterogeneity of the liver, and highlight the possibility of exploring the spatial metabolic profile leading to a deeper understanding of the tissue metabolic organization. Spatial metabolomics can also reveal intercellular heterogeneity and its contribution to liver disease. These approaches facilitate the global characterization of liver metabolic function with high spatial resolution along physiological and pathological time scales. This review summarizes the state of the art for spatially resolved metabolomic analysis and the challenges that hinder the achievement of metabolome coverage at the single-cell level. We also discuss several major contributions to the understanding of liver spatial metabolism and conclude with our opinion on future developments and applications of these exciting new technologies.
  28. J Biol Chem. 2023 Feb 17. pii: S0021-9258(23)00174-6. [Epub ahead of print] 103042
      Hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) are liver-resident cells best known for their role in vitamin A storage under physiological conditions. Upon liver injury, HSCs activate into myofibroblast-like cells, a key process in the onset of liver fibrosis. Lipids play an important role during HSC activation. Here we provide a comprehensive characterization of the lipidomes of primary rat HSCs during 17 days of activation in vitro. For lipidomic data interpretation, we expanded our previously described Lipid Ontology (LION) and associated web application (LION/Web) with the LION-PCA heatmap module, which generates heatmaps of the most typical LION-signatures in lipidomic datasets. Furthermore, we used LION to perform pathway analysis to determine the significant metabolic conversions in lipid pathways. Together, we identify two distinct stages of HSC activation. In the first stage, we observe a decrease of saturated phosphatidylcholine (PC), sphingomyelin and phosphatidic acid, and an increase in phosphatidylserine and polyunsaturated bis(monoacylglycero)phosphate (BMP), a lipid class typically localized at endo- and lysosomes. In the second activation stage, BMPs, hexosylceramides and ether-linked PCs are elevated, resembling a lysosomal lipid storage disease profile. The presence of isomeric structures of BMP in HSCs was confirmed ex vivo in MS-imaging datasets of steatosed liver sections. Finally, treatment with pharmaceuticals targeting the lysosomal integrity led to cell death in primary HSCs but not in HeLa cells. In summary, our combined data suggest that lysosomes play a critical role during a two-stage activation process of HSCs.
    Keywords:  bioinformatics; hepatic stellate cell (HSC); lipidomics; lysosome; phospholipid turnover; polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA)
  29. 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.
  30. J Biol Chem. 2023 Feb 15. pii: S0021-9258(23)00159-X. [Epub ahead of print] 103027
      Imbalances in the amounts of amyloid-β peptides (Aβ) generated by the membrane proteases β- and γ-secretase are considered as a trigger of Alzheimer´s disease (AD). Cell-free studies of γ-secretase have shown that increasing membrane thickness modulates Aβ generation, but it has remained unclear if these effects are translatable to cells. Here we show that the very long chain fatty acid erucic acid (EA) triggers acyl chain remodeling in AD cell models, resulting in substantial lipidome alterations which included increased esterification of EA in membrane lipids. Membrane remodeling enhanced γ-secretase processivity, resulting in the increased production of the potentially beneficial Aβ37 and/or Aβ38 species in multiple cell lines. Unexpectedly, we found that the membrane remodeling stimulated total Aβ secretion by cells expressing WT γ-secretase, but lowered it for cells expressing an aggressive familial AD mutant γ-secretase. We conclude that EA-mediated modulation of membrane composition is accompanied by complex lipid homeostatic changes that can impact amyloidogenic processing in different ways and elicit distinct γ-secretase responses, providing critical implications for lipid-based AD treatment strategies.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer disease; Amyloid-β peptide (Aβ); Aβ37/38; amyloid precursor protein (APP) processing; erucic acid; lipid homeostasis; lipidomics; membrane thickness; presenilin; γ‐secretase
  31. Sci Immunol. 2023 Feb 23. eadf0348
      The relationship between diabetes and COVID-19 is bi-directional: while individuals with diabetes and high blood glucose (hyperglycemia) are predisposed to severe COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2 infection can also cause hyperglycemia and exacerbate underlying metabolic syndrome. Therefore, interventions capable of breaking the network of SARS-CoV-2 infection, hyperglycemia, and hyper-inflammation, all factors that drive COVID-19 pathophysiology, are urgently needed. Here, we show that genetic ablation or pharmacological inhibition of mitochondrial pyruvate carrier (MPC) attenuates severe disease following influenza or SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia. MPC inhibition using a second-generation insulin sensitizer, MSDC-0602 K (MSDC), dampened pulmonary inflammation and promoted lung recovery, while concurrently reducing blood glucose levels and hyperlipidemia following viral pneumonia in obese mice. Mechanistically, MPC inhibition enhanced mitochondrial fitness and destabilized HIF-1α, leading to dampened virus-induced inflammatory responses in both murine and human lung macrophages. We further showed that MSDC enhanced responses to nirmatrelvir (the antiviral component of Paxlovid) to provide high levels of protection against severe host disease development following SARS-CoV-2 infection and suppressed cellular inflammation in human COVID-19 lung autopsies, demonstrating its translational potential for treating severe COVID-19. Collectively, we uncover a metabolic pathway that simultaneously modulates pulmonary inflammation, tissue recovery, and host metabolic health, presenting a synergistic therapeutic strategy to treat severe COVID-19, particularly in patients with underlying metabolic disease.
  32. 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.
  33. Cell Metab. 2023 Feb 14. pii: S1550-4131(23)00011-6. [Epub ahead of print]
      How exercise elicits systemic metabolic benefits in both muscles and non-contractile tissues is unclear. Autophagy is a stress-induced lysosomal degradation pathway that mediates protein and organelle turnover and metabolic adaptation. Exercise activates autophagy in not only contracting muscles but also non-contractile tissues including the liver. However, the role and mechanism of exercise-activated autophagy in non-contractile tissues remain mysterious. Here, we show that hepatic autophagy activation is essential for exercise-induced metabolic benefits. Plasma or serum from exercised mice is sufficient to activate autophagy in cells. By proteomic studies, we identify fibronectin (FN1), which was previously considered as an extracellular matrix protein, as an exercise-induced, muscle-secreted, autophagy-inducing circulating factor. Muscle-secreted FN1 mediates exercise-induced hepatic autophagy and systemic insulin sensitization via the hepatic receptor α5β1 integrin and the downstream IKKα/β-JNK1-BECN1 pathway. Thus, we demonstrate that hepatic autophagy activation drives exercise-induced metabolic benefits against diabetes via muscle-secreted soluble FN1 and hepatic α5β1 integrin signaling.
    Keywords:  ATG7; BECN1; autophagy; exercise; fibronectin; insulin sensitivity; integrin; liver; muscle
  34. J Clin Invest. 2023 Feb 23. pii: e166031. [Epub ahead of print]
      Activation of STING signaling in dendritic cells (DCs) promotes antitumor immunity. Aerobic glycolysis is a metabolic hallmark of activated DCs, but how the glycolytic pathway intersects with STING signaling in tumor-infiltrating DCs remains elusive. Here, we show that glycolysis drives STING signaling to facilitate DC-mediated antitumor immune responses. Tumor-infiltrating DCs exhibited elevated glycolysis, and blockade of glycolysis by DC-specific Ldha/Ldhb double deletion resulted in defective antitumor immunity. Mechanistically, glycolysis augmented ATP production to boost STING activation and STING-dependent DC antitumor functions. Moreover, DC-intrinsic STING activation accelerated HIF-1a-mediated glycolysis and established a positive feedback loop. Importantly, glycolysis facilitated STING-dependent DC activity in tissue samples from non-small cell lung cancer patients. Our results provide mechanistic insight into how the crosstalk of glycolytic metabolism and STING signaling enhances DC antitumor activity and can be harnessed to improve cancer therapies.
    Keywords:  Cancer immunotherapy; Glucose metabolism; Immunology; Innate immunity; Metabolism
  35. Biomark Res. 2023 Feb 18. 11(1): 20
      BACKGROUND: Aging and diet are risks for metabolic diseases. Bile acid receptor farnesoid X receptor (FXR) knockout (KO) mice develop metabolic liver diseases that progress into cancer as they age, which is accelerated by Western diet (WD) intake. The current study uncovers the molecular signatures for diet and age-linked metabolic liver disease development in an FXR-dependent manner.METHODS: Wild-type (WT) and FXR KO male mice, either on a healthy control diet (CD) or a WD, were euthanized at the ages of 5, 10, or 15 months. Hepatic transcriptomics, liver, serum, and urine metabolomics as well as microbiota were profiled.
    RESULTS: WD intake facilitated hepatic aging in WT mice. In an FXR-dependent manner, increased inflammation and reduced oxidative phosphorylation were the primary pathways affected by WD and aging. FXR has a role in modulating inflammation and B cell-mediated humoral immunity which was enhanced by aging. Moreover, FXR dictated neuron differentiation, muscle contraction, and cytoskeleton organization in addition to metabolism. There were 654 transcripts commonly altered by diets, ages, and FXR KO, and 76 of them were differentially expressed in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and healthy livers. Urine metabolites differentiated dietary effects in both genotypes, and serum metabolites clearly separated ages irrespective of diets. Aging and FXR KO commonly affected amino acid metabolism and TCA cycle. Moreover, FXR is essential for colonization of age-related gut microbes. Integrated analyses uncovered metabolites and bacteria linked with hepatic transcripts affected by WD intake, aging, and FXR KO as well as related to HCC patient survival.
    CONCLUSION: FXR is a target to prevent diet or age-associated metabolic disease. The uncovered metabolites and microbes can be diagnostic markers for metabolic disease.
    Keywords:  Bile acid; Bile acid receptor; Gut microbiota; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Liver; Metabolic disease; Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease; Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis
  36. Nat Commun. 2023 Feb 21. 14(1): 959
      The main hallmark of myocardial substrate metabolism in cardiac hypertrophy or heart failure is a shift from fatty acid oxidation to greater reliance on glycolysis. However, the close correlation between glycolysis and fatty acid oxidation and underlying mechanism by which causes cardiac pathological remodelling remain unclear. We confirm that KLF7 simultaneously targets the rate-limiting enzyme of glycolysis, phosphofructokinase-1, liver, and long-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase, a key enzyme for fatty acid oxidation. Cardiac-specific knockout and overexpression KLF7 induce adult concentric hypertrophy and infant eccentric hypertrophy by regulating glycolysis and fatty acid oxidation fluxes in male mice, respectively. Furthermore, cardiac-specific knockdown phosphofructokinase-1, liver or overexpression long-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase partially rescues the cardiac hypertrophy in adult male KLF7 deficient mice. Here we show that the KLF7/PFKL/ACADL axis is a critical regulatory mechanism and may provide insight into viable therapeutic concepts aimed at the modulation of cardiac metabolic balance in hypertrophied and failing heart.
  37. 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.
  38. J Leukoc Biol. 2023 Jan 10. 113(1): 41-57
      Systemic lupus erythematosus development is influenced by both sex and the gut microbiota. Metabolite production is a major mechanism by which the gut microbiota influences the immune system, and we have previously found differences in the fecal metabolomic profiles of lupus-prone female and lupus-resistant male BWF1 mice. Here we determine how sex and microbiota metabolite production may interact to affect lupus. Transcriptomic analysis of female and male splenocytes showed genes that promote phagocytosis were upregulated in BWF1 male mice. Because patients with systemic lupus erythematosus exhibit defects in macrophage-mediated phagocytosis of apoptotic cells (efferocytosis), we compared splenic macrophage efferocytosis in vitro between female and male BWF1 mice. Macrophage efferocytosis was deficient in female compared to male BWF1 mice but could be restored by feeding male microbiota. Further transcriptomic analysis of the genes upregulated in male BWF1 mice revealed enrichment of genes stimulated by PPARγ and LXR signaling. Our previous fecal metabolomics analyses identified metabolites in male BWF1 mice that can activate PPARγ and LXR signaling and identified one in particular, phytanic acid, that is a very potent agonist. We show here that treatment of female BWF1 splenic macrophages with phytanic acid restores efferocytic activity via activation of the PPARγ and LXR signaling pathways. Furthermore, we found phytanic acid may restore female BWF1 macrophage efferocytosis through upregulation of the proefferocytic gene CD36. Taken together, our data indicate that metabolites produced by BWF1 male microbiota can enhance macrophage efferocytosis and, through this mechanism, could potentially influence lupus progression.
    Keywords:  CD36; androgens; phagocytosis; phytanic acid; sex; systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
  39. FASEB J. 2023 Mar;37(3): e22817
      Cytokine-induced inflammation and mitochondrial oxidative stress are key drivers of liver tissue injury. Here, we describe experiments modeling hepatic inflammatory conditions in which plasma leakage leads to large amounts of albumin to reach the interstitium and parenchymal surfaces to explore whether this protein plays a role in preserving hepatocyte mitochondria against the damaging actions of the cytotoxic cytokine tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα). Hepatocytes and precision-cut liver slices were cultured in the absence or presence of albumin in the cell media and then exposed to mitochondrial injury with the cytokine TNFα. The homeostatic role of albumin was also investigated in a mouse model of TNFα-mediated liver injury induced by lipopolysaccharide and D-galactosamine (LPS/D-gal). Mitochondrial ultrastructure, oxygen consumption, ATP and reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, fatty acid β-oxidation (FAO), and metabolic fluxes were assessed by transmission electron microscopy (TEM), high-resolution respirometry, luminescence-fluorimetric-colorimetric assays and NADH/FADH2 production from various substrates, respectively. TEM analysis revealed that in the absence of albumin, hepatocytes were more susceptible to the damaging actions of TNFα and showed more round-shaped mitochondria with less intact cristae than hepatocytes cultured with albumin. In the presence of albumin in the cell media, hepatocytes also showed reduced mitochondrial ROS generation and FAO. The mitochondria protective actions of albumin against TNFα damage were associated with the restoration of a breakpoint between isocitrate and α-ketoglutarate in the tricarboxylic acid cycle and the upregulation of the antioxidant activating transcription factor 3 (ATF3). The involvement of ATF3 and its downstream targets was confirmed in vivo in mice with LPS/D-gal-induced liver injury, which showed increased hepatic glutathione levels, indicating a reduction in oxidative stress after albumin administration. These findings reveal that the albumin molecule is required for the effective protection of liver cells from mitochondrial oxidative stress induced by TNFα. These findings emphasize the importance of maintaining the albumin levels in the interstitial fluid within the normal range to protect the tissues against inflammatory injury in patients with recurrent hypoalbuminemia.
    Keywords:  hepatocytes; liver injury; mitochondrial dysfunction; mitochondrial oxidative stress; mitochondrial respiration; tricarboxylic acid cycle
  40. EMBO J. 2023 Feb 24. e108533
      Macromolecules of various sizes induce crowding of the cellular environment. This crowding impacts on biochemical reactions by increasing solvent viscosity, decreasing the water-accessible volume and altering protein shape, function, and interactions. Although mitochondria represent highly protein-rich organelles, most of these proteins are somehow immobilized. Therefore, whether the mitochondrial matrix solvent exhibits macromolecular crowding is still unclear. Here, we demonstrate that fluorescent protein fusion peptides (AcGFP1 concatemers) in the mitochondrial matrix of HeLa cells display an elongated molecular structure and that their diffusion constant decreases with increasing molecular weight in a manner typical of macromolecular crowding. Chloramphenicol (CAP) treatment impaired mitochondrial function and reduced the number of cristae without triggering mitochondrial orthodox-to-condensed transition or a mitochondrial unfolded protein response. CAP-treated cells displayed progressive concatemer immobilization with increasing molecular weight and an eightfold matrix viscosity increase, compatible with increased macromolecular crowding. These results establish that the matrix solvent exhibits macromolecular crowding in functional and dysfunctional mitochondria. Therefore, changes in matrix crowding likely affect matrix biochemical reactions in a manner depending on the molecular weight of the involved crowders and reactants.
    Keywords:  FRAP; chloramphenicol; diffusion; macromolecular crowding; mitochondria
  41. iScience. 2023 Feb 17. 26(2): 106020
      Despite modest clinical improvement with anti-vascular endothelial growth factor antibody (AVA) therapy in ovarian cancer, adaptive resistance is ubiquitous and additional options are limited. A dependence on glutamine metabolism, via the enzyme glutaminase (GLS), is a known mechanism of adaptive resistance and we aimed to investigate the utility of a GLS inhibitor (GLSi). Our in vitro findings demonstrated increased glutamine abundance and a significant cytotoxic effect in AVA-resistant tumors when GLSi was administered in combination with bevacizumab. In vivo, GLSi led to a reduction in tumor growth as monotherapy and when combined with AVA. Furthermore, GLSi initiated after the emergence of resistance to AVA therapy resulted in a decreased metabolic conversion of pyruvate to lactate as assessed by hyperpolarized magnetic resonance spectroscopy and demonstrated robust antitumor effects with a survival advantage. Given the increasing population of patients receiving AVA therapy, these findings justify further development of GLSi in AVA resistance.
    Keywords:  Cancer; Cellular physiology; Oncology
  42. JCI Insight. 2023 Feb 23. pii: e155448. [Epub ahead of print]
      Cholesterol-25-hydroxylase (CH25H), the biosynthetic enzyme for 25-hydroxycholesterol (25HC), is most highly expressed in the lung, but its role in lung biology is poorly defined. Recently, we reported that Ch25h is induced in monocyte-derived macrophages recruited to the airspace during resolution of lung inflammation and that 25HC promotes Liver X Receptor (LXR)-dependent clearance of apoptotic neutrophils by these cells. Ch25h and 25HC are, however, also robustly induced by lung-resident cells during the early hours of lung inflammation, suggesting additional cellular sources and targets. Here, using Ch25h-/- mice and exogenous 25HC in lung injury models, we provide evidence that 25HC sustains pro-inflammatory cytokines in the airspace and augments lung injury, at least in part, by inducing LXR-independent endoplasmic reticulum stress and endothelial leak. Suggesting an autocrine effect in endothelium, inhaled LPS upregulates pulmonary endothelial Ch25h and non-hematopoietic Ch25h deletion is sufficient to confer lung protection. In acute respiratory distress syndrome patients, airspace 25HC and alveolar macrophage CH25H were associated with markers of microvascular leak, endothelial activation, endoplasmic reticulum stress, inflammation, and clinical severity. Taken together, our findings suggest that 25HC deriving from and acting upon different cell types in the lung communicates distinct, temporal LXR-independent and -dependent signals to regulate inflammatory homeostasis.
    Keywords:  Cell stress; Inflammation; Innate immunity; Mouse models; Pulmonology
  43. J Leukoc Biol. 2023 Jan 10. pii: qiac020. [Epub ahead of print]
      Agents that induce inflammation have been used since the 18th century for the treatment of cancer. The inflammation induced by agents such as Toll-like receptor agonists is thought to stimulate tumor-specific immunity in patients and augment control of tumor burden. While NOD-scid IL2rγnull mice lack murine adaptive immunity (T cells and B cells), these mice maintain a residual murine innate immune system that responds to Toll-like receptor agonists. Here we describe a novel NOD-scid IL2rγnull mouse lacking murine TLR4 that fails to respond to lipopolysaccharide. NSG-Tlr4null mice support human immune system engraftment and enable the study of human-specific responses to TLR4 agonists in the absence of the confounding effects of a murine response. Our data demonstrate that specific stimulation of TLR4 activates human innate immune systems and delays the growth kinetics of a human patient-derived xenograft melanoma tumor.
    Keywords:  NSG; PDX; TLR; cytokine; humanized
  44. Front Microbiol. 2023 ;14 1115556
      Cancer and microbial infections are significant worldwide health challenges. Numerous studies have demonstrated that bacteria may contribute to the emergence of cancer. In this review, we assemble bacterial species discovered in various cancers to describe their variety and specificity. The relationship between bacteria and macrophages in cancer is also highlighted, and we look for ample proof to establish a biological basis for bacterial-induced macrophage polarization. Finally, we quickly go over the potential roles of metabolites, cytokines, and microRNAs in the regulation of the tumor microenvironment by bacterially activated macrophages. The complexity of bacteria and macrophages in cancer will be revealed as we gain a better understanding of their pathogenic mechanisms, which will lead to new therapeutic approaches for both inflammatory illnesses and cancer.
    Keywords:  M1/M2 macrophage polarization; bacteria; cancer; tumor microenvironment; tumor-associated macrophages
  45. Immunity. 2023 Feb 14. pii: S1074-7613(23)00036-5. [Epub ahead of print]
      Diet profoundly influences physiology. Whereas over-nutrition elevates risk for disease via its influence on immunity and metabolism, caloric restriction and fasting appear to be salutogenic. Despite multiple correlations observed between diet and health, the underlying biology remains unclear. Here, we identified a fasting-induced switch in leukocyte migration that prolongs monocyte lifespan and alters susceptibility to disease in mice. We show that fasting during the active phase induced the rapid return of monocytes from the blood to the bone marrow. Monocyte re-entry was orchestrated by hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis-dependent release of corticosterone, which augmented the CXCR4 chemokine receptor. Although the marrow is a safe haven for monocytes during nutrient scarcity, re-feeding prompted mobilization culminating in monocytosis of chronologically older and transcriptionally distinct monocytes. These shifts altered response to infection. Our study shows that diet-in particular, a diet's temporal dynamic balance-modulates monocyte lifespan with consequences for adaptation to external stressors.
    Keywords:  bone marrow; corticosterone; fasting; hematopoiesis; hypothalamus; infection; monocyte