bims-cagime Biomed News
on Cancer, aging and metabolism
Issue of 2023‒01‒01
28 papers selected by
Kıvanç Görgülü
Technical University of Munich

  1. Nat Cancer. 2022 Dec 30.
      Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is considered non-immunogenic, with trials showing its recalcitrance to PD1 and CTLA4 immune checkpoint therapies (ICTs). Here, we sought to systematically characterize the mechanisms underlying de novo ICT resistance and to identify effective therapeutic options for PDAC. We report that agonist 41BB and antagonist LAG3 ICT alone and in combination, increased survival and antitumor immunity, characterized by modulating T cell subsets with antitumor activity, increased T cell clonality and diversification, decreased immunosuppressive myeloid cells and increased antigen presentation/decreased immunosuppressive capability of myeloid cells. Translational analyses confirmed the expression of 41BB and LAG3 in human PDAC. Since single and dual ICTs were not curative, T cell-activating ICTs were combined with a CXCR1/2 inhibitor targeting immunosuppressive myeloid cells. Triple therapy resulted in durable complete responses. Given similar profiles in human PDAC and the availability of these agents for clinical testing, our findings provide a testable hypothesis for this lethal disease.
  2. J Physiol Biochem. 2022 Dec 29.
      Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is a type of cancer with limited treatment options and terrible long-term survival, and it is expected to become the second leading cause of cancer-related death by 2030. One reason why this cancer is so aggressive and resistant is the formation of dense stroma that surrounds the neoplastic epithelium, which promotes tumor progression, invasion, metastasis, and resistance. The three major components of PDAC stroma are extracellular matrix (ECM), cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs), and vasculature. The dense ECM acts as a natural physical barrier, impeding drug penetration to PDAC tumor cells. Consequently, the method that combines stroma-targeting with anticancer therapy may be a viable alternative for increasing drug penetration. Additionally, blood vessels are key entities of the tumor stroma, serving as a pathway for nutrition as well as the only way for chemical medicines and immune cells to act. Finally, PDAC CAFs and tumor cells have crosstalk effects in the tumor microenvironment, where they are responsible for enhanced matrix deposition. In this review, we aim to provide an overview of our current comprehension of the three key components of PDAC stroma and the new promising therapeutic targets for PDAC.
    Keywords:  CAFs; ECM; Pancreatic cancer; Stroma-targeting therapy; Vasculature
  3. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2022 Dec 26.
      Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) has become one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths across the world. A lack of durable responses to standard-of-care chemotherapies renders its treatment particularly challenging and largely contributes to the devastating outcome. Gemcitabine, a pyrimidine antimetabolite, is a cornerstone in PDA treatment. Given the importance of gemcitabine in PDA therapy, extensive efforts are focusing on exploring mechanisms by which cancer cells evade gemcitabine cytotoxicity, but strategies to overcome them have not been translated into patient care. Here, we will introduce the standard treatment paradigm for PDA patients, highlight mechanisms of gemcitabine action, elucidate gemcitabine resistance mechanisms, and discuss promising strategies to circumvent them.
    Keywords:  Chemoresistance; Gemcitabine; Metabolism; Pancreatic Cancer; Tumor Microenvironment
  4. Autophagy. 2022 Dec 26.
      SUMMARYThe precursors to mammalian autophagosomes originate from pre-existing membranes contributed by a number of sources, and subsequently enlarge through intermembrane lipid transfer, then close to sequester the cargo, and merge with lysosomes to degrade the cargo. Using cellular and in vitro membrane fusion analyses coupled with proteomic and biochemical studies we show that autophagosomes are formed from a hybrid membrane compartment referred to as a prophagophore or HyPAS (hybrid preautophagosomal structure). HyPAS is initially LC3-negative and subsequently becomes an LC3-positive phagophore. The prophagophore emerges through fusion of RB1CC1/FIP200-containing vesicles, derived from the cis-Golgi, with endosomally derived ATG16L1 membranes. A specialized Ca2+-responsive apparatus controls prophagophore biogenesis and can be modulated by pharmacological agents such as SIGMAR1 agonists and antagonists including chloroquine. Autophagic prophagophore formation is inhibited during SARS-CoV-2 infection and is recapitulated by expression of SARS-CoV-2 nsp6. These findings show that mammalian autophagosomal prophagophores emerge via the convergence of secretory and endosomal pathways in a process that is targeted by microbial factors including coronaviral membrane proteins.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; COVID19; Golgi; HyPAS prophagophore; LC3; calcium; endoplasmic reticulum; endosome; syntaxin
  5. Sci Rep. 2022 Dec 27. 12(1): 22452
      Autophagy results in the degradation of cytosolic components via two major membrane deformations. First, the isolation membrane sequesters components from the cytosol and forms autophagosomes, by which open structures become closed compartments. Second, the outer membrane of the autophagosomes fuses with lysosomes to degrade the inner membrane and its contents. The efficiency of the latter degradation process, namely autophagic flux, can be easily evaluated using lysosomal inhibitors, whereas the dynamics of the former process is difficult to analyze because of the challenges in identifying closed compartments of autophagy (autophagosomes and autolysosomes). To resolve this problem, we here developed a method to detect closed autophagic compartments by applying the FLIP technique, and named it FLIP-based Autophagy Detection (FLAD). This technique visualizes closed autophagic compartments and enables differentiation of open autophagic structures and closed autophagic compartments in live cells. In addition, FLAD analysis detects not only starvation-induced canonical autophagy but also genotoxic stress-induced alternative autophagy. By the combinational use of FLAD and LC3, we were able to distinguish the structures of canonical autophagy from those of alternative autophagy in a single cell.
  6. Front Pharmacol. 2022 ;13 1086662
      Cancer cachexia is a multifactorial syndrome defined by progressive loss of body weight with specific depletion of skeletal muscle and adipose tissue. Since there are no FDA-approved drugs that are available, nutritional intervention is recommended as a supporting therapy. Creatine supplementation has an ergogenic effect in various types of sports training, but the regulatory effects of creatine supplementation in cancer cachexia remain unknown. In this study, we investigated the impact of creatine supplementation on cachectic weight loss and muscle loss protection in a tumor-bearing cachectic mouse model, and the underlying molecular mechanism of body weight protection was further assessed. We observed decreased serum creatine levels in patients with cancer cachexia, and the creatine content in skeletal muscle was also significantly decreased in cachectic skeletal muscle in the C26 tumor-bearing mouse model. Creatine supplementation protected against cancer cachexia-associated body weight loss and muscle wasting and induced greater improvements in grip strength. Mechanistically, creatine treatment altered the dysfunction and morphological abnormalities of mitochondria, thus protecting against cachectic muscle wasting by inhibiting the abnormal overactivation of the ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS) and autophagic lysosomal system (ALS). In addition, electron microscopy revealed that creatine supplementation alleviated the observed increase in the percentage of damaged mitochondria in C26 mice, indicating that nutritional intervention with creatine supplementation effectively counteracts mitochondrial dysfunction to mitigate muscle loss in cancer cachexia. These results uncover a previously uncharacterized role for creatine in cachectic muscle wasting by modulating cellular energy metabolism to reduce the level of muscle cell atrophy.
    Keywords:  autophagy; cancer cachexia; metabolism; mitochondria; ubiquitination
  7. Cell Metab. 2022 Dec 21. pii: S1550-4131(22)00542-3. [Epub ahead of print]
      Apoptotic cell (AC) clearance (efferocytosis) is performed by phagocytes, such as macrophages, that inhabit harsh physiological environments. Here, we find that macrophages display enhanced efferocytosis under prolonged (chronic) physiological hypoxia, characterized by increased internalization and accelerated degradation of ACs. Transcriptional and translational analyses revealed that chronic physiological hypoxia induces two distinct but complimentary states. The first, "primed" state, consists of concomitant transcription and translation of metabolic programs in AC-naive macrophages that persist during efferocytosis. The second, "poised" state, consists of transcription, but not translation, of phagocyte function programs in AC-naive macrophages that are translated during efferocytosis. Mechanistically, macrophages efficiently flux glucose into a noncanonical pentose phosphate pathway (PPP) loop to enhance NADPH production. PPP-derived NADPH directly supports enhanced efferocytosis under physiological hypoxia by ensuring phagolysosomal maturation and redox homeostasis. Thus, macrophages residing under physiological hypoxia adopt states that support cell fitness and ensure performance of essential homeostatic functions rapidly and safely.
    Keywords:  apoptotic cell clearance; cellular adaptation; efferocytosis; homeostasis; metabolism; oxygen; pentose phosphate pathway; physiological hypoxia
  8. Front Oncol. 2022 ;12 992927
      Pancreatic cancer is a kind of aggressive tumor famous for its lethality and intractability, and pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma is the most common type. Patients with pancreatic cancer often suffer a rapid loss of weight and abdominal neuropathic pain in their early stages and then go through cachexia in the advanced stage. These features of patients are considered to be related to metabolic reprogramming of pancreatic cancer and abundant nerve innervation responsible for the pain. With increasing literature certifying the relationship between nerves and pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), more evidence point out that innervation's role is not limited to neuropathic pain but explore its anti/pro-tumor functions in PDAC, especially the neural-metabolic crosstalks. This review aims to unite pancreatic cancer's innervation and metabolic rearrangements with terminated published articles. Hopefully, this article could explore the pathogenesis of PDAC and further promote promising detecting or therapeutic measurements for PDAC according to the lavish innervation in PDAC.
    Keywords:  cancer; innervation; malignant tumors; metabolic rearrangements; pancreatic
  9. J Biol Chem. 2022 Dec 26. pii: S0021-9258(22)01285-6. [Epub ahead of print] 102842
      The small GTPase KRAS is frequently mutated in pancreatic cancer and its cooperation with the transcription factor MYC is essential for malignant transformation. The key to oncogenic KRAS and MYC working together is the stabilization of MYC expression due to KRAS activating the extracellular-signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2), which phosphorylates MYC at serine 62 (Ser 62). This prevents the proteasomal degradation of MYC while enhancing its transcriptional activity. Here, we identify how this essential signaling connection between oncogenic KRAS and MYC expression is mediated by the inhibitor of apoptosis protein (IAP) family member Survivin. This discovery stemmed from our finding that Survivin expression is downregulated upon treatment of pancreatic cancer cells with the KRASG12C inhibitor Sotorasib. We went on to show that oncogenic KRAS increases Survivin expression by activating ERK1/2 in pancreatic cancer cells, and that treating the cells either with siRNAs targeting Survivin or with YM155, a small molecule that potently blocks Survivin expression, downregulates MYC and strongly inhibited their growth. We further determined that Survivin protects MYC from degradation by blocking autophagy, which then prevents cellular inhibitor of protein phosphatase 2A (CIP2A) from undergoing autophagic degradation. CIP2A, by inhibiting protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A), helps to maintain MYC phosphorylation at Ser 62, thereby ensuring its cooperation with oncogenic KRAS in driving cancer progression. Overall, these findings highlight a novel role for Survivin in mediating the cooperative actions of KRAS and MYC during malignant transformation and raise the possibility that targeting Survivin may offer therapeutic benefits against KRAS-driven cancers.
    Keywords:  CIP2A; KRAS; MYC; Pancreatic Cancer; Survivin; and Autophagy
  10. J Cachexia Sarcopenia Muscle. 2022 Dec 25.
      BACKGROUND: The fat mass and nutritional status play important roles in the onset and progression of cancer cachexia. The present study evaluated the joint prognostic value of the fat mass, as indicated by the triceps skinfold thickness (TSF), and the serum albumin level, for mortality in patients with cancer cachexia.METHODS: We performed a multicentre cohort study including 5134 patients with cancer cachexia from January 2013 to April 2019. The sum of the TSF (mm) and serum albumin (g/L) was defined as the triceps skinfold-albumin index (TA). Harrell's C index, a time-dependent receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis and the area under the curve (AUC) were used to evaluate the prognostic performance of the TA and other indices. Optimal stratification was used to identify the thresholds to define a low TA, and the association of the TA with all-cause mortality was evaluated using Kaplan-Meier analysis and Cox proportional hazard regression models.
    RESULTS: The study enrolled 2408 women and 2726 men with a median age of 58.6 years and a median follow-up of 44 months. A total of 607 women (TA < 49.9) and 817 men (TA < 45.6) were classified as having a low TA. The TA showed better discrimination performance (C index = 0.621, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.607-0.636) to predict mortality in patients with cancer cachexia than the handgrip strength, the nutritional risk index, the prognostic nutritional index, the controlling nutritional status index, the systemic immune-inflammation index, the modified Glasgow prognostic score, and the TSF or albumin alone in the study population (all P < 0.05). The 1-, 3- and 5-year time-dependent ROC analyses (AUC = 0.647, 0.625 and 0.630, respectively) showed that the TA had the highest prognostic value among all indices investigated (all P < 0.05). Univariate analysis showed that a lower TA was associated with an increased death hazard (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.859, 95% CI = 1.677-2.062), regardless of the sex and cancer type. Multivariable survival analysis showed that a lower TA was independently associated with an increased death hazard (HR = 1.381, 95% CI = 1.223-1.560). This association was significantly strengthened in patients who did not receive curative chemotherapy (HR = 1.491, 95% CI = 1.298-1.713), those who had higher serum total protein levels (HR = 1.469, 95% CI = 1.284-1.681) and those with better physical performance (HR = 1.453, 95% CI = 1.271-1.662).
    CONCLUSIONS: This study defined and evaluated a new prognostic index, the TA, which may improve the selection of intervention strategies to optimize the survival of patients with cancer cachexia.
    Keywords:  albumin; cancer cachexia; malnutrition; mortality; triceps skinfold
  11. Autophagy. 2022 Dec 29. 1-2
      Resistance to anti-cancer therapy is a major challenge for cancer treatment. Many studies revealed that macroautophagy/autophagy inhibition can overcome autophagy-mediated therapy resistance, but these efforts have not yet led to the success of clinical applications. In a recent paper, we established a 37-gene autophagy signature to estimate the autophagy status of approximately 10,000 tumor samples across 33 cancer types from The Cancer Genome Atlas, and muti-omics characterization reveals that autophagy induction may also sensitize cancer cells to anti-cancer drugs. These findings provide a comprehensive resource of molecular alterations associated with autophagy and highlight the potential to utilize drug sensitivity induced by autophagy to overcome the resistance of cancer therapy.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; drug sensitivity; gene signature; multi-omics; therapy
  12. J Biol Chem. 2022 Dec 26. pii: S0021-9258(22)01281-9. [Epub ahead of print] 102838
      The tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, otherwise known as the Krebs cycle, is a central metabolic pathway that performs the essential function of oxidizing nutrients to support cellular bioenergetics. More recently, it has become evident that TCA cycle behavior is dynamic and products of the TCA cycle can be co-opted in cancer and other pathologic states. In this review, we revisit the TCA cycle, including its potential origins and the history of its discovery. We provide a detailed accounting of the requirements for sustained TCA cycle function and the critical regulatory nodes that can stimulate or constrain TCA cycle activity. We also discuss recent advances in our understanding of the flexibility of TCA cycle wiring and the increasingly appreciated heterogeneity in TCA cycle activity exhibited by mammalian cells. Deeper insight into how the TCA cycle can be differentially regulated and, consequently, configured in different contexts will shed light on how this pathway is primed to meet the requirements of distinct mammalian cell states.
  13. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2023 Jan 03. 120(1): e2209973120
      Obesity is a major risk factor for cancer. Conventional thought suggests that elevated adiposity predisposes to heightened inflammatory stress and potentiates tumor growth, yet underlying mechanisms remain ill-defined. Here, we show that tumors from patients with a body mass index >35 carry a high burden of senescent cells. In mouse syngeneic tumor models, we correlated a pronounced accretion of senescent cancer cells with poorly immunogenic tumors when mice were subjected to diet-induced obesity (DIO). Highly immunogenic tumors showed lesser senescence burden suggesting immune-mediated elimination of senescent cancer cells, likely targeted as a consequence of their senescence-associated secretory phenotype. Treatment with the senolytic BH3 mimetic small molecule inhibitor ABT-263 selectively stalled tumor growth in mice with DIO to rates comparable to regular diet-fed mice. Thus, consideration of body adiposity in the selection of cancer therapy may be a critical determinant for disease outcome in poorly immunogenic malignancies.
    Keywords:  cancer; immunogenicity; obesity; senescence
  14. Biochim Biophys Acta Biomembr. 2022 Dec 26. pii: S0005-2736(22)00252-8. [Epub ahead of print] 184114
      The fluid mosaic model proposed by Singer and Nicolson established a powerful framework to interrogate biological membranes that has stood the test of time. They proposed that the membrane is a simple fluid, meaning that proteins and lipids are randomly distributed over distances larger than those dictated by direct interactions. Here we present an update to this model that describes a spatially adaptable fluid membrane capable of tuning local composition in response to forces originating outside the membrane plane. This revision is rooted in the thermodynamics of lipid mixtures, draws from recent experimental results, and suggests new modes of membrane function.
    Keywords:  Critical fluctuations; Phase separation; Plasma membranes; Signaling; Susceptibility
  15. Genome Biol. 2022 Dec 27. 23(1): 267
      BACKGROUND: Quality control (QC) of cells, a critical first step in single-cell RNA sequencing data analysis, has largely relied on arbitrarily fixed data-agnostic thresholds applied to QC metrics such as gene complexity and fraction of reads mapping to mitochondrial genes. The few existing data-driven approaches perform QC at the level of samples or studies without accounting for biological variation.RESULTS: We first demonstrate that QC metrics vary with both tissue and cell types across technologies, study conditions, and species. We then propose data-driven QC (ddqc), an unsupervised adaptive QC framework to perform flexible and data-driven QC at the level of cell types while retaining critical biological insights and improved power for downstream analysis. ddqc applies an adaptive threshold based on the median absolute deviation on four QC metrics (gene and UMI complexity, fraction of reads mapping to mitochondrial and ribosomal genes). ddqc retains over a third more cells when compared to conventional data-agnostic QC filters. Finally, we show that ddqc recovers biologically meaningful trends in gradation of gene complexity among cell types that can help answer questions of biological interest such as which cell types express the least and most number of transcripts overall, and ribosomal transcripts specifically.
    CONCLUSIONS: ddqc retains cell types such as metabolically active parenchymal cells and specialized cells such as neutrophils which are often lost by conventional QC. Taken together, our work proposes a revised paradigm to quality filtering best practices-iterative QC, providing a data-driven QC framework compatible with observed biological diversity.
    Keywords:  Adaptive QC; Biological variation; Data-driven; Exploratory data analysis (EDA); Quality control (QC); Single cell; scRNA-seq
  16. Biochim Biophys Acta Gen Subj. 2022 Dec 23. pii: S0304-4165(22)00219-7. [Epub ahead of print] 130301
      Our understanding of metabolic reprogramming in cancer has tremendously improved along with the technical progression of metabolomic analysis. Metabolic changes in cancer cells proved much more complicated than the classical Warburg effect. Previous studies have approached metabolic changes as therapeutic and/or chemopreventive targets. Recently, several clinical trials have reported anti-cancer agents associated with metabolism. However, whether cancer cells are dependent on metabolic reprogramming or favor suitable conditions remains nebulous. Both scenarios are possibly intertwined. Identification of downstream molecules and the understanding of mechanisms underlying reprogrammed metabolism can improve the effectiveness of cancer therapy. Here, we review several examples of the metabolic reprogramming of cancer cells and the therapies targeting the metabolism-related molecules as well as discuss practical approaches to improve the next generation of cancer therapies focused on the metabolic reprogramming of cancer.
    Keywords:  Anticancer agent; Clinical trial; Drug discovery; Metabolic reprograming; Therapeutic target
  17. Brief Bioinform. 2022 Dec 30. pii: bbac561. [Epub ahead of print]
      Single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) clustering and labelling methods are used to determine precise cellular composition of tissue samples. Automated labelling methods rely on either unsupervised, cluster-based approaches or supervised, cell-based approaches to identify cell types. The high complexity of cancer poses a unique challenge, as tumor microenvironments are often composed of diverse cell subpopulations with unique functional effects that may lead to disease progression, metastasis and treatment resistance. Here, we assess 17 cell-based and 9 cluster-based scRNA-seq labelling algorithms using 8 cancer datasets, providing a comprehensive large-scale assessment of such methods in a cancer-specific context. Using several performance metrics, we show that cell-based methods generally achieved higher performance and were faster compared to cluster-based methods. Cluster-based methods more successfully labelled non-malignant cell types, likely because of a lack of gene signatures for relevant malignant cell subpopulations. Larger cell numbers present in some cell types in training data positively impacted prediction scores for cell-based methods. Finally, we examined which methods performed favorably when trained and tested on separate patient cohorts in scenarios similar to clinical applications, and which were able to accurately label particularly small or under-represented cell populations in the given datasets. We conclude that scPred and SVM show the best overall performances with cancer-specific data and provide further suggestions for algorithm selection. Our analysis pipeline for assessing the performance of cell type labelling algorithms is available in
    Keywords:  automated algorithms; cancer; labelling; machine learning; single-cell RNA-seq
  18. Dis Model Mech. 2022 Dec 29. pii: dmm.049699. [Epub ahead of print]
      Five-year survival of pancreatic cancer (PC) remains low. Murine models may not adequately mimic human PC and can be too small for medical device development. A large animal PC model could address these issues. We induced and characterized pancreatic tumors in Oncopigs (transgenic swine containing KRASG12D and TP53R167H). Oncopigs underwent injection of adenovirus expressing Cre recombinase (AdCre) into one of the main pancreatic ducts. Resultant tumors were characterized by histology, cytokine expression, exome sequencing and transcriptome analysis. Ten out of fourteen Oncopigs (71%) had gross tumor within three weeks. At necropsy all of these subjects had gastric outlet obstruction secondary to pancreatic tumor and phlegmon. Oncopigs with injections without Cre recombinase and wild type pigs with AdCre injection did not show notable effect. Exome and transcriptome analysis of the porcine pancreatic tumors revealed similarity with the molecular signatures and pathways of human PC. While further optimization and validation of this porcine PC model would be beneficial, it is anticipated that this model will be useful for focused research and development of diagnostic and therapeutic technologies for PC.
    Keywords:  Oncopig; Pancreas; Pancreatic cancer; Porcine pancreatic cancer
  19. J Cell Biol. 2023 Feb 06. pii: e202108144. [Epub ahead of print]222(2):
      Limitation of excessive inflammation due to selective degradation of pro-inflammatory proteins is one of the cytoprotective functions attributed to autophagy. In the current study, we highlight that selective autophagy also plays a vital role in promoting the establishment of a robust inflammatory response. Under inflammatory conditions, here TLR3-activation by poly(I:C) treatment, the inflammation repressor TNIP1 (TNFAIP3 interacting protein 1) is phosphorylated by Tank-binding kinase 1 (TBK1) activating an LIR motif that leads to the selective autophagy-dependent degradation of TNIP1, supporting the expression of pro-inflammatory genes and proteins. This selective autophagy efficiently reduces TNIP1 protein levels early (0-4 h) upon poly(I:C) treatment to allow efficient initiation of the inflammatory response. At 6 h, TNIP1 levels are restored due to increased transcription avoiding sustained inflammation. Thus, similarly as in cancer, autophagy may play a dual role in controlling inflammation depending on the exact state and timing of the inflammatory response.
  20. Cell Death Dis. 2022 Dec 29. 13(12): 1077
      NLRP1 is the primary inflammasome sensor in human keratinocytes. Sensing of UVB radiation by NLRP1 is believed to underlie the induction of sunburn. Although constitutive NLRP1 activation causes skin inflammation and predisposes patients to the development of cutaneous SCCs, the NLRP1 pathway is suppressed in established SCCs. Here, we identified high levels of the autophagy receptor p62 in SCC cells lines and SCC tumors. Increased NF-κB activity in SCC cells causes p62 up-regulation. Suppression of p62 expression rescues UVB-induced NLRP1 inflammasome activation in early-stage SCC cells. p62 expression protects SCC cells from cytotoxic drugs, whereas NLRP1 sensitizes them. In summary, we identify p62 as a novel negative regulator of the NLRP1 inflammasome in human cutaneous SCC cells, in which suppression of NLRP1 by increased levels of p62 supports stress resistance of skin cancer cells.
  21. ACS Sens. 2022 Dec 27.
      The Warburg effect suggests that upregulated glycolysis arising from high glucose uptake in cancer cells might be accompanied with suppressed mitochondrial respiration. However, recent studies have shown that the mitochondrial temperature in cancer cells could be relatively higher than that in normal cells, suggesting hyperactive mitochondrial respiration in cancer cells. However, hot mitochondria have not been reported in patients with cancer. Here, near-infrared small-molecule fluorescent probes TRNs are rationally designed with two ethyl amino groups as the temperature-sensitive moiety. Afterward, a mitochondrial targeting group is installed via ether bonds on TRN-8 to build MTN. To the best of our knowledge, MTN is the near-infrared probe with the highest sensitivity for mitochondrial temperature. Moreover, it also displays high photostability, wide linearity, and high specificity. Using MTN, we can monitor the ups and downs of mitochondrial temperature in cancer cells upon the perturbations of mitochondrial respiration. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the mitochondrial temperature in surgically resected human tumors is relatively higher than that in paracancerous tissues. Our results indicate that relatively hot mitochondria may exist in tumors from patients. We envisage that our study provides critical evidence for revisiting the Warburg effect and cancer metabolism.
    Keywords:  NIR; diethyl amino group; mitochondria; temperature-sensitive probe; tumor
  22. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2023 Jan 03. 120(1): e2213846120
      Piezo1 and 2 are evolutionarily conserved mechanosensory cation channels known to function on the cell surface by responding to external pressure and transducing a mechanically activated Ca2+ current. Here we show that both Piezo1 and 2 also exhibit concentrated intracellular localization at centrosomes. Both Piezo1 and 2 loss-of-function and Piezo1 activation by the small molecule Yoda1 result in supernumerary centrosomes, premature centriole disengagement, multi-polar spindles, and mitotic delay. By using a GFP, Calmodulin and M13 Protein fusion (GCaMP) Ca2+-sensitive reporter, we show that perturbations in Piezo modulate Ca2+ flux at centrosomes. Moreover, the inhibition of Polo-like-kinase 1 eliminates Yoda1-induced centriole disengagement. Because previous studies have implicated force generation by microtubules as essential for maintaining centrosomal integrity, we propose that mechanotransduction by Piezo maintains pericentrosomal Ca2+ within a defined range, possibly through sensing cell intrinsic forces from microtubules.
    Keywords:  Ca2+ signaling; centrioles; centrosomes; mechanotransduction; piezo
  23. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2022 Dec 28.
      While brown fat is strongly associated with a constellation of cardiometabolic benefits in animal models and humans, it has also been tied to cancer cachexia. In humans, cancer-associated cachexia increases mortality, raising the possibility that brown fat in this context may be associated with increased cancer death. However, the effect of brown fat on cancer-associated cachexia and survival in humans remains unclear. Here, we retrospectively identify patients with and without brown fat on fluorodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG) positron-emission tomography (PET) scans obtained as part of routine cancer care and assemble a cohort to address these questions. We did not find an association between brown fat status and cachexia. Furthermore, we did not observe an association between brown fat and increased mortality in patients with cachexia. Our analyses controlled for confounding factors including age at cancer diagnosis, sex, body mass index, cancer site, cancer stage, outdoor temperature, comorbid conditions (heart failure, type 2 diabetes mellitus, coronary artery disease, hypertension, dyslipidemia, cerebrovascular disease), and beta-blocker use. Taken together, our results suggest that brown fat is not linked to cancer-associated cachexia and does not worsen overall survival in patients with cachexia.
    Keywords:  brown fat; cachexia; cancer
  24. Anal Chem. 2022 Dec 29.
      Cellular senescence is a stable cell cycle arrest in response to stress or other damage stimuli to maintain tissue homeostasis. However, the accumulation of senescent cells can lead to the progression of various senescence-related disorders. In this paper, we describe the development of a β-galactosidase-activatable near-infrared (NIR) senoprobe, NBGal, for the detection of senescent cells based on the use of the FDA-approved Nile blue (NB) fluorophore. NBGal was validated in chemotherapeutic-induced senescence cancer models in vitro using SK-Mel 103 and 4T1 cell lines. In vivo monitoring of cellular senescence was evaluated in orthotopic triple-negative breast cancer-bearing mice treated with palbociclib to induce senescence. In all cases, NBGal exhibited a selective tracking of senescent cells mainly ascribed to the overexpressed β-galactosidase enzyme responsible for hydrolyzing the NBGal probe generating the highly emissive NB fluorophore. In this way, NBGal has proven to be a qualitative, rapid, and minimally invasive probe that allows the direct detection of senescent cells in vivo.
  25. Nat Methods. 2022 Dec 30.
      Recent advances in multiplexed imaging methods allow simultaneous detection of dozens of proteins and hundreds of RNAs, enabling deep spatial characterization of both healthy and diseased tissues. Parameters for the design of optimal multiplex imaging studies, especially those estimating how much area has to be imaged to capture all cell phenotype clusters, are lacking. Here, using a spatial transcriptomic atlas of healthy and tumor human tissues, we developed a statistical framework that determines the number and area of fields of view necessary to accurately identify all cell phenotypes that are part of a tissue. Using this strategy on imaging mass cytometry data, we identified a measurement of tissue spatial segregation that enables optimal experimental design. This strategy will enable an improved design of multiplexed imaging studies.
  26. J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2022 Dec 27. 41(1): 360
      Cellular senescence is a state of stable cell-cycle arrest with secretory features in response to cellular stress. Historically, it has been considered as an endogenous evolutionary homeostatic mechanism to eliminate damaged cells, including damaged cells which are at risk of malignant transformation, thereby protecting against cancer. However, accumulation of senescent cells can cause long-term detrimental effects, mainly through the senescence-associated secretory phenotype, and paradoxically contribute to age-related diseases including cancer. Besides its role as tumor suppressor, cellular senescence is increasingly being recognized as an in vivo response in cancer patients to various anticancer therapies. Its role in cancer is ambiguous and even controversial, and senescence has recently been promoted as an emerging hallmark of cancer because of its hallmark-promoting capabilities. In addition, the prognostic implications of cellular senescence have been underappreciated due to the challenging detection and sparse in and ex vivo evidence of cellular senescence in cancer patients, which is only now catching up. In this review, we highlight the approaches and current challenges of in and ex vivo detection of cellular senescence in cancer patients, and we discuss the prognostic implications of cellular senescence based on in and ex vivo evidence in cancer patients.
    Keywords:  Cancer; Detection; Oncogene-induced senescence; Prognosis; SASP; Senescence; Therapy-induced senescence
  27. Biosens Bioelectron. 2022 Dec 16. pii: S0956-5663(22)01006-5. [Epub ahead of print]223 114966
      Effective isolation and in-depth analysis of Circulating Tumour Cells (CTCs) are greatly needed in diagnosis, prognosis and monitoring of the therapeutic response of cancer patients but have not been completely fulfilled by conventional approaches. The rarity of CTCs and the lack of reliable biomarkers to distinguish them from peripheral blood cells have remained outstanding challenges for their clinical implementation. Herein, we developed a high throughput Static Droplet Microfluidic (SDM) device with 38,400 chambers, capable of isolating and classifying the number of metabolically active CTCs in peripheral blood at single-cell resolution. Owing to the miniaturisation and compartmentalisation capability of our device, we first demonstrated the ability to precisely measure the lactate production of different types of cancer cells inside 125 pL droplets at single-cell resolution. Furthermore, we compared the metabolomic activity of leukocytes from healthy donors to cancer cells and showed the ability to differentiate them. To further prove the clinical relevance, we spiked cancer cell lines in human healthy blood and showed the possibility to detect the cancer cells from leukocytes. Lastly, we tested the workflow on 8 preclinical mammary mouse models including syngeneic 67NR (non-metastatic) and 4T1.2 (metastatic) models with Triple-Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) as well as transgenic mouses (12-week-old MMTV-PyMT). The results have shown the ability to precisely distinguish metabolically active CTCs from the blood using the proposed SDM device. The workflow is simple and robust which can eliminate the need for specialised equipment and expertise required for single-cell analysis of CTCs and facilitate on-site metabolic screening of cancer cells.
    Keywords:  Circulating tumour cells; Droplet microfluidics; Metabolomic screening; Rare cell; Single cell; Static droplets
  28. Elife. 2022 Dec 28. pii: e82207. [Epub ahead of print]11
      The malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum synthesizes significant amounts of phospholipids to meet the demands of replication within red blood cells. De novo phosphatidylcholine (PC) biosynthesis via the Kennedy pathway is essential, requiring choline that is primarily sourced from host serum lysophosphatidylcholine (lysoPC). LysoPC also acts as an environmental sensor to regulate parasite sexual differentiation. Despite these critical roles for host lysoPC, the enzyme(s) involved in its breakdown to free choline for PC synthesis are unknown. Here we show that a parasite glycerophosphodiesterase (PfGDPD) is indispensable for blood stage parasite proliferation. Exogenous choline rescues growth of PfGDPD-null parasites, directly linking PfGDPD function to choline incorporation. Genetic ablation of PfGDPD reduces choline uptake from lysoPC, resulting in depletion of several PC species in the parasite, whilst purified PfGDPD releases choline from glycerophosphocholine in vitro. Our results identify PfGDPD as a choline-releasing glycerophosphodiesterase that mediates a critical step in PC biosynthesis and parasite survival.
    Keywords:  P. falciparum; biochemistry; chemical biology; infectious disease; microbiology