bims-cagime Biomed News
on Cancer, aging and metabolism
Issue of 2024‒04‒21
forty-four papers selected by
Kıvanç Görgülü, Technical University of Munich

  1. J Cachexia Sarcopenia Muscle. 2024 Apr 17.
      BACKGROUND: Patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) often suffer from cachexia, a wasting syndrome that significantly reduces both quality of life and survival. Although advanced cachexia is associated with inflammatory signalling and elevated muscle catabolism, the early events driving wasting are poorly defined. During periods of nutritional scarcity, the body relies on hepatic ketogenesis to generate ketone bodies, and lipid metabolism via ketogenesis is thought to protect muscle from catabolizing during nutritional scarcity.METHODS: We developed an orthotopic mouse model of early PDAC cachexia in 12-week-old C57BL/6J mice. Murine pancreatic cancer cells (KPC) were orthotopically implanted into the pancreas of wild-type, IL-6-/-, and hepatocyte STAT3-/- male and female mice. Mice were subject to fasting, 50% food restriction, ad libitum feeding or ketogenic diet interventions. We measured longitudinal body composition by EchoMRI, body mass and food intake. At the endpoint, we measured tissue mass, tissue gene expression by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction, whole-body calorimetry, circulating hormone levels, faecal protein and lipid content, hepatic lipid content and ketogenic response to medium-chain fatty acid bolus. We assessed muscle atrophy in vivo and C2C12 myotube atrophy in vitro.
    RESULTS: Pre-cachectic PDAC mice did not preserve gastrocnemius muscle mass during 3-day food restriction (-13.1 ± 7.7% relative to food-restricted sham, P = 0.0117) and displayed impaired fatty acid oxidation during fasting, resulting in a hypoketotic state (ketogenic response to octanoate bolus, -83.0 ± 17.3%, P = 0.0328; Hmgcs2 expression, -28.3 ± 7.6%, P = 0.0004). PDAC human patients display impaired fasting ketones (-46.9 ± 7.1%, P < 0.0001) and elevated circulating interleukin-6 (IL-6) (12.4 ± 16.5-fold increase, P = 0.0001). IL-6-/- PDAC mice had improved muscle mass (+35.0 ± 3.9%, P = 0.0031) and ketogenic response (+129.4 ± 44.4%, P = 0.0033) relative to wild-type PDAC mice. Hepatocyte-specific signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) deletion prevented muscle loss (+9.3 ± 4.0%, P = 0.009) and improved fasting ketone levels (+52.0 ± 43.3%, P = 0.018) in PDAC mice. Without affecting tumour growth, a carbohydrate-free diet improved tibialis anterior myofibre diameter (+16.5 ± 3.5%, P = 0.0089), circulating ketone bodies (+333.0 ± 117.6%, P < 0.0001) and Hmgcs2 expression (+106.5 ± 36.1%, P < 0.0001) in PDAC mice. Ketone supplementation protected muscle against PDAC-induced atrophy in vitro (+111.0 ± 17.6%, P < 0.0001 myofibre diameter).
    CONCLUSIONS: In early PDAC cachexia, muscle vulnerability to wasting is dependent on inflammation-driven metabolic reprogramming in the liver. PDAC suppresses lipid β-oxidation and impairs ketogenesis in the liver, which is reversed in genetically modified mouse models deficient in IL-6/STAT3 signalling or through ketogenic diet supplementation. This work establishes a direct link between skeletal muscle homeostasis and hepatic metabolism. Dietary and anti-inflammatory interventions that restore ketogenesis may be a viable preventative approach for pre-cachectic patients with pancreatic cancer.
    Keywords:  STAT3; cachexia; interleukin‐6; ketogenesis; pancreatic cancer
  2. Cancer Res. 2024 04 15. 84(8): 1185-1187
      Pancreatic cancer prevalence increases with age, and disease prognosis is poorer in older individuals. The increased prevalence is driven, undoubtedly, by the multistep accumulation of oncogenic mutations in cancer cells with age. However, fibroblasts are major constituents and key players in pancreatic cancer, and they too undergo age-related changes that may contribute to disease severity. In this issue of Cancer Research, Zabransky and colleagues set out to dissect the effect of age-related changes in pancreatic fibroblasts on pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma growth and metastasis. They discovered that aged fibroblasts secrete GDF-15, which in turn activates AKT signaling and accelerates tumor progression. These findings provide a mechanistic role for aged fibroblasts in pancreatic cancer, underpinning the importance of normal physiologic processes in tumor progression. See related article by Zabransky et al., p. 1221.
  3. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2024 Apr 15. pii: a041549. [Epub ahead of print]
      Diet and exercise are modifiable lifestyle factors known to have a major influence on metabolism. Clinical practice addresses diseases of altered metabolism such as diabetes or hypertension by altering these factors. Despite enormous public interest, there are limited defined diet and exercise regimens for cancer patients. Nevertheless, the molecular basis of cancer has converged over the past 15 years on an essential role for altered metabolism in cancer. However, our understanding of the molecular mechanisms that underlie the impact of diet and exercise on cancer metabolism is in its very early stages. In this work, we propose conceptual frameworks for understanding the consequences of diet and exercise on cancer cell metabolism and tumor biology and also highlight recent developments. By advancing our mechanistic understanding, we also discuss actionable ways that such interventions could eventually reach the mainstay of both medical oncology and cancer control and prevention.
  4. Cancer Res Commun. 2024 Apr 17.
      Tissue stiffness is a critical prognostic factor in breast cancer and is associated with metastatic progression. Here we show an alternative and complementary hypothesis of tumor progression whereby physiological matrix stiffness affects the quantity and protein cargo of small EVs produced by cancer cells, which in turn aid cancer cell dissemination. Primary patient breast tissue produces significantly more EVs from stiff tumor tissue than soft tumor adjacent tissue. EVs released by cancer cells on matrices that model human breast tumors (25 kPa; stiff EVs) feature increased adhesion molecule presentation (ITGα2β1, ITGα6β4, ITGα6β1, CD44) compared to EVs from softer normal tissue (0.5 kPa; soft EVs), which facilitates their binding to extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins including collagen IV, and a 3-fold increase in homing ability to distant organs in mice. In a zebrafish xenograft model, stiff EVs aid cancer cell dissemination. Moreover, normal, resident lung fibroblasts treated with stiff and soft EVs change their gene expression profiles to adopt a cancer associated fibroblast (CAF) phenotype. These findings show that EV quantity, cargo, and function depend heavily on the mechanical properties of the extracellular microenvironment.
  5. Front Immunol. 2024 ;15 1378190
      Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is typically diagnosed at advanced stages and associated with early distant metastasis and poor survival. Besides clinical factors, the tumor microenvironment (TME) emerged as a crucial determinant of patient survival and therapy response in many tumors, including PDAC. Thus, the presence of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes and the formation of tertiary lymphoid structures (TLS) is associated with longer survival in PDAC. Although neoadjuvant therapy (NeoTx) has improved the management of locally advanced tumors, detailed insight into its effect on various TME components is limited. While a remodeling towards a proinflammatory state was reported for PDAC-infiltrating T cells, the effect of NeoTx on B cell subsets, including plasma cells, and TLS formation is widely unclear. We thus investigated the frequency, composition, and spatial distribution of PDAC-infiltrating B cells in primary resected (PR) versus neoadjuvant-treated patients using a novel multiplex immunohistochemistry panel. The NeoTx group displayed significantly lower frequencies of pan B cells, GC B cells, plasmablasts, and plasma cells, accompanied by a reduced abundance of TLS. This finding was supported by bulk RNA-sequencing analysis of an independent fresh frozen tissue cohort, which revealed that major B cell pathways were downregulated in the NeoTx group. We further observed that plasma cells frequently formed aggregates that localized close to TLS and that TLS+ patients displayed significantly higher plasma cell frequencies compared to TLS- patients in the PR group. Additionally, high densities of CD20+ intratumoral B cells were significantly associated with longer overall survival in the PR group. While CD20+ B cells held no prognostic value for NeoTx patients, an increased frequency of proliferating CD20+Ki67+ B cells emerged as an independent prognostic factor for longer survival in the NeoTx group. These results indicate that NeoTx differentially affects PDAC-infiltrating immune cells and may have detrimental effects on the existing B cell landscape and the formation of TLS. Gaining further insight into the underlying molecular mechanisms is crucial to overcome the intrinsic immunotherapy resistance of PDAC and develop novel strategies to improve the long-term outcome of PDAC patients.
    Keywords:  B cells; neoadjuvant chemotherapy; pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma; plasma cells; tertiary lymphoid structures; tumor immune contexture
  6. Cancer Sci. 2024 Apr 19.
      Aging is a life phenomenon that occurs in most living organisms and is a major risk factor for many diseases, including cancer. Cellular senescence is a cellular trait induced by various genomic and epigenetic stresses. Senescent cells are characterized by irreversible cell growth arrest and excessive secretion of inflammatory cytokines (senescence-associated secretory phenotypes, SASP). Chronic tissue microinflammation induced by SASP contributes to the pathogenesis of a variety of age-related diseases, including cancer. Senolysis is a promising new strategy to selectively eliminate senescent cells in order to suppress chronic inflammation, suggesting its potential use as an anticancer therapy. This review summarizes recent findings on the molecular basis of senescence in cancer cells and senolysis.
    Keywords:  GLS1; aging; cancer; senescence; senolysis
  7. Cell Oncol (Dordr). 2024 Apr 15.
      PURPOSE: Early dissemination of primary pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is the main cause of dismal prognosis as it highly limits possible treatment options. A number of PDAC patients experience distant metastasis even after treatment due to the metastatic clones. We aimed to demonstrate the molecular architecture of borderline resectable PDAC manifests cancer dissemination of PDAC.METHODS: Here, 36 organoids isolated from primary tumor masses of PDAC patients with diverse metastatic statues are presented. Whole-exome sequencing and RNA sequencing were performed and drug responses to clinically relevant 18 compounds were assessed.
    RESULTS: Our results revealed that borderline resectable PDAC organoids exhibited distinct patterns according to their metastatic potency highlighted by multiple genetic and transcriptional factors and strong variances in drug responses.
    CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that the presence of metastatic PDAC can be identified by integrating molecular compositions and drug responses of borderline resectable PDAC.
    Keywords:  Biobank; Metastasis; Organoid; Pancreatic adenocarcinoma; Prediction model
  8. Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2024 Apr 15. pii: S0955-0674(24)00038-3. [Epub ahead of print]88 102359
      Macropinocytosis (MP), the actin-dependent bulk uptake of extracellular fluids, plays a central role in nutrient scavenging, allowing cancer cells to sustain their growth in the hypoxic and nutrient-deprived microenvironment often found in solid tumours. The lack of soluble nutrients and several oncogenic signalling pathways, with RAS being the most studied, push MP-dependent internalisation of extracellular proteins, which are then digested in the lysosomes, replenishing the intracellular nutrient pools. This review will highlight recent advances in understanding how MP is regulated in hypoxic cancers, how it impinges on chemoresistance, and how different MP cargos facilitate tumour growth. Finally, I will highlight the crosstalk between MP and extracellular matrix receptors.
  9. Cancer Res. 2024 Apr 18.
      Oncogenic KRAS impairs anti-tumor immune responses. As effective strategies to combine KRAS inhibitors and immunotherapies have so far proven elusive, a better understanding of how oncogenic KRAS drives immune evasion is needed to identify approaches that could sensitize KRAS-mutant lung cancer to immunotherapy. In vivo CRISPR-Cas9 screening in an immunogenic murine lung cancer model identified mechanisms by which oncogenic KRAS promotes immune evasion, most notably via upregulation of immunosuppressive cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) in cancer cells. Oncogenic KRAS potently induced COX-2 in both mouse and human lung cancer, which was suppressed using KRAS inhibitors. COX-2 acted via prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) to promote resistance to immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) in lung adenocarcinoma. Targeting COX-2/PGE2 remodeled the tumor microenvironment by inducing pro-inflammatory polarization of myeloid cells and influx of activated cytotoxic CD8+ T cells, which increased the efficacy of ICB. Restoration of COX-2 expression contributed to tumor relapse after prolonged KRAS inhibition. These results provide the rationale for testing COX-2/PGE2 pathway inhibitors in combination with KRASG12C inhibition or ICB in patients with KRAS-mutant lung cancer.
  10. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2024 Apr 23. 121(17): e2319476121
      Glycerophospholipids are synthesized primarily in the cytosolic leaflet of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane and must be equilibrated between bilayer leaflets to allow the ER and membranes derived from it to grow. Lipid equilibration is facilitated by integral membrane proteins called "scramblases." These proteins feature a hydrophilic groove allowing the polar heads of lipids to traverse the hydrophobic membrane interior, similar to a credit card moving through a reader. Nevertheless, despite their fundamental role in membrane expansion and dynamics, the identity of most scramblases has remained elusive. Here, combining biochemical reconstitution and molecular dynamics simulations, we show that lipid scrambling is a general feature of protein insertases, integral membrane proteins which insert polypeptide chains into membranes of the ER and organelles disconnected from vesicle trafficking. Our data indicate that lipid scrambling occurs in the same hydrophilic channel through which protein insertion takes place and that scrambling is abolished in the presence of nascent polypeptide chains. We propose that protein insertases could have a so-far-overlooked role in membrane dynamics as scramblases.
    Keywords:  cellular organelles; lipid transport; membrane biology; membrane proteins; molecular dynamics
  11. NAR Cancer. 2024 Jun;6(2): zcae017
      The dysregulation of ribosome biogenesis is a hallmark of cancer, facilitating the adaptation to altered translational demands essential for various aspects of tumor progression. This review explores the intricate interplay between ribosome biogenesis and cancer development, highlighting dynamic regulation orchestrated by key oncogenic signaling pathways. Recent studies reveal the multifaceted roles of ribosomes, extending beyond protein factories to include regulatory functions in mRNA translation. Dysregulated ribosome biogenesis not only hampers precise control of global protein production and proliferation but also influences processes such as the maintenance of stem cell-like properties and epithelial-mesenchymal transition, contributing to cancer progression. Interference with ribosome biogenesis, notably through RNA Pol I inhibition, elicits a stress response marked by nucleolar integrity loss, and subsequent G1-cell cycle arrest or cell death. These findings suggest that cancer cells may rely on heightened RNA Pol I transcription, rendering ribosomal RNA synthesis a potential therapeutic vulnerability. The review further explores targeting ribosome biogenesis vulnerabilities as a promising strategy to disrupt global ribosome production, presenting therapeutic opportunities for cancer treatment.
  12. Dis Model Mech. 2024 Apr 01. pii: dmm050624. [Epub ahead of print]17(4):
      Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is a lethal malignancy with very low survival rates. Over the past 50 years, improvements in PDAC survival have significantly lagged behind the progress made in other cancers. PDAC's dismal prognosis is due to typical late-stage diagnosis combined with lack of effective treatments and complex mechanisms of disease. We propose that improvements in survival are partly hindered by the current focus on largely modelling and targeting PDAC as one disease, despite it being heterogeneous. Implementing new disease-representative pre-clinical mouse models that capture this complexity could enable the development of transformative therapies. Specifically, these models should recapitulate human PDAC late-stage biology, heterogeneous genetics, extensive non-malignant stroma, and associated risk factors and comorbidities. In this Perspective, we focus on how pre-clinical mouse models could be improved to exemplify key features of PDAC micro- and macro- environments, which would drive clinically relevant patient stratification, tailored treatments and improved survival.
    Keywords:  Macro-environment; Micro-environment; Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma; Preclinical in vivo models
  13. J Natl Compr Canc Netw. 2024 04;22(3): 158-166
    PRECEDE Consortium
      BACKGROUND: Pancreatic adenocarcinoma (PC) is a highly lethal malignancy with a survival rate of only 12%. Surveillance is recommended for high-risk individuals (HRIs), but it is not widely adopted. To address this unmet clinical need and drive early diagnosis research, we established the Pancreatic Cancer Early Detection (PRECEDE) Consortium.METHODS: PRECEDE is a multi-institutional international collaboration that has undertaken an observational prospective cohort study. Individuals (aged 18-90 years) are enrolled into 1 of 7 cohorts based on family history and pathogenic germline variant (PGV) status. From April 1, 2020, to November 21, 2022, a total of 3,402 participants were enrolled in 1 of 7 study cohorts, with 1,759 (51.7%) meeting criteria for the highest-risk cohort (Cohort 1). Cohort 1 HRIs underwent germline testing and pancreas imaging by MRI/MR-cholangiopancreatography or endoscopic ultrasound.
    RESULTS: A total of 1,400 participants in Cohort 1 (79.6%) had completed baseline imaging and were subclassified into 3 groups based on familial PC (FPC; n=670), a PGV and FPC (PGV+/FPC+; n=115), and a PGV with a pedigree that does not meet FPC criteria (PGV+/FPC-; n=615). One HRI was diagnosed with stage IIB PC on study entry, and 35.1% of HRIs harbored pancreatic cysts. Increasing age (odds ratio, 1.05; P<.001) and FPC group assignment (odds ratio, 1.57; P<.001; relative to PGV+/FPC-) were independent predictors of harboring a pancreatic cyst.
    CONCLUSIONS: PRECEDE provides infrastructure support to increase access to clinical surveillance for HRIs worldwide, while aiming to drive early PC detection advancements through longitudinal standardized clinical data, imaging, and biospecimen captures. Increased cyst prevalence in HRIs with FPC suggests that FPC may infer distinct biological processes. To enable the development of PC surveillance approaches better tailored to risk category, we recommend adoption of subclassification of HRIs into FPC, PGV+/FPC+, and PGV+/FPC- risk groups by surveillance protocols.
  14. Mol Cell. 2024 Apr 18. pii: S1097-2765(24)00271-5. [Epub ahead of print]84(8): 1400-1402
      Nucleolar stress has been consistently linked to age-related diseases. In this issue, Sirozh et al.1 find that the common molecular signature of nucleolar stress is the accumulation of free ribosomal proteins, which leads to premature aging in mice; however, it can be reversed by mTOR inhibition.
  15. Nat Commun. 2024 Apr 18. 15(1): 3363
      Colorectal cancer (CRC) tumors are composed of heterogeneous and plastic cell populations, including a pool of cancer stem cells that express LGR5. Whether these distinct cell populations display different mechanical properties, and how these properties might contribute to metastasis is poorly understood. Using CRC patient derived organoids (PDOs), we find that compared to LGR5- cells, LGR5+ cancer stem cells are stiffer, adhere better to the extracellular matrix (ECM), move slower both as single cells and clusters, display higher nuclear YAP, show a higher survival rate in response to mechanical confinement, and form larger transendothelial gaps. These differences are largely explained by the downregulation of the membrane to cortex attachment proteins Ezrin/Radixin/Moesin (ERMs) in the LGR5+ cells. By analyzing single cell RNA-sequencing (scRNA-seq) expression patterns from a patient cohort, we show that this downregulation is a robust signature of colorectal tumors. Our results show that LGR5- cells display a mechanically dynamic phenotype suitable for dissemination from the primary tumor whereas LGR5+ cells display a mechanically stable and resilient phenotype suitable for extravasation and metastatic growth.
  16. Nat Immunol. 2024 Apr 19.
      T cell infiltration into tumors is a favorable prognostic feature, but most solid tumors lack productive T cell responses. Mechanisms that coordinate T cell exclusion are incompletely understood. Here we identify hepatocyte activation via interleukin-6/STAT3 and secretion of serum amyloid A (SAA) proteins 1 and 2 as important regulators of T cell surveillance of extrahepatic tumors. Loss of STAT3 in hepatocytes or SAA remodeled the tumor microenvironment with infiltration by CD8+ T cells, while interleukin-6 overexpression in hepatocytes and SAA signaling via Toll-like receptor 2 reduced the number of intratumoral dendritic cells and, in doing so, inhibited T cell tumor infiltration. Genetic ablation of SAA enhanced survival after tumor resection in a T cell-dependent manner. Likewise, in individuals with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, long-term survivors after surgery demonstrated lower serum SAA levels than short-term survivors. Taken together, these data define a fundamental link between liver and tumor immunobiology wherein hepatocytes govern productive T cell surveillance in cancer.
  17. Am J Pathol. 2024 Apr 15. pii: S0002-9440(24)00132-9. [Epub ahead of print]
      Since the mechanotransduction by stromal stiffness stimulates the rupture and repair of the nuclear envelope in pancreatic progenitor cells, accumulated genomic aberrations are under selection in the tumor microenvironment. Analysis of cell growth, micronuclei, and γH2AX foci links to mechanotransduction pressure in vivo during serial orthotopic passages of mouse KrasLSL-G12D/+;Trp53flox/flox;Pdx1-Cre (KPC) cancer cells in the tumor and in migrating through the size-restricted 3μm micropores. To search for pancreatic cancer cell-of-origin, analysis of single-cell datasets revealed that the ECM shapes an alternate route of acinar-ductal transdifferentiation of acinar cells into a central hub of elegantly restrained TOP2A-overexpressing cancer cells that spread out as unique cancer clusters with copy number amplifications in MYC-PTK2 locus and PIK3CA. High-PTK2 expression is associated with 171 differentially methylated CpG loci, 319 differentially expressed genes, and poor overall survival in TCGA-PAAD patients. Abolished RGD-integrin signaling by disintegrin KG blocked the PTK2 phosphorylation, increased cancer apoptosis, decreased VAV1 expression, and prolonged overall survival in the KPC mice. Decreases of αSMA deposition in the CD248 knockout KPC mice remodel the tissue stroma and downregulated TOP2A expression in the epithelium. In summary, stromal stiffness induces the onset of cells-of-origin of cancer by ectopic TOP2A expression, and the genomic amplification of MYC-PTK2 locus via alternative transdifferentiation of pancreatic progenitor cells is the vulnerability useful for disintegrin KG treatment against cells-of-origin cancer.
    Keywords:  Cells-of-origin of cancer; DNA methylation; KPC; PTK2; TOP2A; VAV1
  18. Hepatobiliary Surg Nutr. 2024 Apr 03. 13(2): 362-365
    Keywords:  Resectable; adjuvant; borderline; neoadjuvant; persister cells
  19. Dev Cell. 2024 Apr 11. pii: S1534-5807(24)00200-4. [Epub ahead of print]
      Whole-genome duplication (WGD) is a frequent event in cancer evolution that fuels chromosomal instability. WGD can result from mitotic errors or endoreduplication, yet the molecular mechanisms that drive WGD remain unclear. Here, we use live single-cell analysis to characterize cell-cycle dynamics upon aberrant Ras-ERK signaling. We find that sustained ERK signaling in human cells leads to reactivation of the APC/C in G2, resulting in tetraploid G0-like cells that are primed for WGD. This process is independent of DNA damage or p53 but dependent on p21. Transcriptomics analysis and live-cell imaging showed that constitutive ERK activity promotes p21 expression, which is necessary and sufficient to inhibit CDK activity and which prematurely activates the anaphase-promoting complex (APC/C). Finally, either loss of p53 or reduced ERK signaling allowed for endoreduplication, completing a WGD event. Thus, sustained ERK signaling-induced G2 cell cycle exit represents an alternative path to WGD.
    Keywords:  cell cycle dynamics; oncogenesis; signaling dynamics; whole-genome duplication
  20. Cancer Lett. 2024 Apr 16. pii: S0304-3835(24)00263-5. [Epub ahead of print]590 216870
      To seed lethal secondary lesions, circulating tumor cells (CTCs) must survive all rate-limiting factors during hematogenous dissemination, including fluid shear stress (FSS) that poses a grand challenge to their survival. We thus hypothesized that CTCs with the ability to survive FSS in vasculature might hold metastasis-initiating competence. This study reported that FSS of physiologic magnitude selected a small subpopulation of suspended tumor cells in vitro with the traits of metastasis-initiating cells, including stemness, migration/invasion potential, cellular plasticity, and biophysical properties. These shear-selected cells generated local and metastatic tumors at the primary and distal sites efficiently, implicating their metastasis competence. Mechanistically, FSS activated the mechanosensitive protein CXCR4 and the downstream PI3K/AKT signaling, which were essential in shear-mediated selection of metastasis-competent CTCs. In summary, these findings conclude that CTCs with metastasis-initiating competence survive FSS during hematogenous dissemination through CXCR4-PI3K/AKT signaling, which may provide new therapeutic targets for the early prevention of tumor metastasis.
    Keywords:  Fluid shear stress; Hematogenous dissemination; Mechanotransduction; Metastasis-initiating cells
  21. Cancer Res. 2024 Apr 18.
      Ovarian cancer can metastasize to the omentum, which is associated with a complex tumor microenvironment. Omental stromal cells facilitate ovarian cancer colonization by secreting cytokines and growth factors. Improved understanding of the tumor supportive functions of specific cell populations in the omentum could identify strategies to prevent and treat ovarian cancer metastasis. Here, we showed that omental preadipocytes enhance the tumor initiation capacity of ovarian cancer cells. Secreted factors from preadipocytes supported cancer cell viability during nutrient and isolation stress and enabled prolonged proliferation. Co-culturing with pre-adipocytes led to upregulation of genes involved in extracellular matrix (ECM) organization, cellular response to stress, and regulation of insulin-like growth factor (IGF) signaling in ovarian cancer cells. IGF-1 induced ECM genes and increased alternative NF-κB signaling by activating RelB. Inhibiting the IGF-1 receptor (IGF1R) initially increased tumor omental adhesion but decreased growth of established preadipocyte-induced subcutaneous tumors as well as established intraperitoneal tumors. Together, this study shows that omental preadipocytes support ovarian cancer progression, which has implications for targeting metastasis.
  22. Nat Commun. 2024 Apr 15. 15(1): 3226
    iMAXT Consortium
      The tumor microenvironment plays a crucial role in determining response to treatment. This involves a series of interconnected changes in the cellular landscape, spatial organization, and extracellular matrix composition. However, assessing these alterations simultaneously is challenging from a spatial perspective, due to the limitations of current high-dimensional imaging techniques and the extent of intratumoral heterogeneity over large lesion areas. In this study, we introduce a spatial proteomic workflow termed Hyperplexed Immunofluorescence Imaging (HIFI) that overcomes these limitations. HIFI allows for the simultaneous analysis of > 45 markers in fragile tissue sections at high magnification, using a cost-effective high-throughput workflow. We integrate HIFI with machine learning feature detection, graph-based network analysis, and cluster-based neighborhood analysis to analyze the microenvironment response to radiation therapy in a preclinical model of glioblastoma, and compare this response to a mouse model of breast-to-brain metastasis. Here we show that glioblastomas undergo extensive spatial reorganization of immune cell populations and structural architecture in response to treatment, while brain metastases show no comparable reorganization. Our integrated spatial analyses reveal highly divergent responses to radiation therapy between brain tumor models, despite equivalent radiotherapy benefit.
  23. Nat Commun. 2024 Apr 17. 15(1): 3290
      The functions of cellular organelles and sub-compartments depend on their protein content, which can be characterized by spatial proteomics approaches. However, many spatial proteomics methods are limited in their ability to resolve organellar sub-compartments, profile multiple sub-compartments in parallel, and/or characterize membrane-associated proteomes. Here, we develop a cross-link assisted spatial proteomics (CLASP) strategy that addresses these shortcomings. Using human mitochondria as a model system, we show that CLASP can elucidate spatial proteomes of all mitochondrial sub-compartments and provide topological insight into the mitochondrial membrane proteome. Biochemical and imaging-based follow-up studies confirm that CLASP allows discovering mitochondria-associated proteins and revising previous protein sub-compartment localization and membrane topology data. We also validate the CLASP concept in synaptic vesicles, demonstrating its applicability to different sub-cellular compartments. This study extends the scope of cross-linking mass spectrometry beyond protein structure and interaction analysis towards spatial proteomics, and establishes a method for concomitant profiling of sub-organelle and membrane proteomes.
  24. Cell Syst. 2024 Apr 17. pii: S2405-4712(24)00089-9. [Epub ahead of print]15(4): 322-338.e5
      Cancer progression is a complex process involving interactions that unfold across molecular, cellular, and tissue scales. These multiscale interactions have been difficult to measure and to simulate. Here, we integrated CODEX multiplexed tissue imaging with multiscale modeling software to model key action points that influence the outcome of T cell therapies with cancer. The initial phenotype of therapeutic T cells influences the ability of T cells to convert tumor cells to an inflammatory, anti-proliferative phenotype. This T cell phenotype could be preserved by structural reprogramming to facilitate continual tumor phenotype conversion and killing. One takeaway is that controlling the rate of cancer phenotype conversion is critical for control of tumor growth. The results suggest new design criteria and patient selection metrics for T cell therapies, call for a rethinking of T cell therapeutic implementation, and provide a foundation for synergistically integrating multiplexed imaging data with multiscale modeling of the cancer-immune interface. A record of this paper's transparent peer review process is included in the supplemental information.
    Keywords:  T cells; agent-based modeling; cellular therapy; computational analysis of tissue imaging data; immunotherapy; multiplexed tissue imaging; multiscale modeling; spatial biology; systems biology; tumor cell phenotype
  25. Autophagy. 2024 Apr 18. 1-2
      Macroautophagy (referred to as autophagy hereafter) is a highly conserved catabolic process which sequesters intracellular substrates for lysosomal degradation. Autophagy-related proteins have been shown to be involved in various aspects of tumor development by engaging with multiple cellular substrates. We recently uncovered a novel role for autophagy in regulating the signaling and levels of PDGFRA, a receptor tyrosine kinase amplified in several cancers. We discovered that PDGFRA can be targeted to autophagic degradation by binding the autophagy cargo receptor SQSTM1. Surprisingly, PDGFRA-mediated signaling is perturbed in the absence of autophagy despite enhanced receptor levels. We show that this is due to disrupted trafficking of the receptor to late endosomes where signaling activity persists. Conversely, prolonged autophagy inhibition results in a transcriptional downregulation of Pdgfra as a result of inhibited signaling activity demonstrating that short- and long-term autophagy inhibition have opposing effects on receptor levels. We further investigated the consequence of PDGFRA regulation by autophagy using a mouse model for gliomagenesis where we observed a disruption in PDGFA-driven tumor formation when autophagy is inhibited. Activation of downstream signaling through Pten mutation overrides the need for autophagy during tumor development suggesting a genotype-specific role for autophagy during tumorigenesis. Altogether, our findings provide a novel mechanism through which autophagy can support tumor growth.
    Keywords:  Cancer; PDGFRA; endocytosis; glioblastoma; receptor tyrosine kinases; signaling
  26. J Am Chem Soc. 2024 Apr 15.
      In nature, chemotactic interactions are ubiquitous and play a critical role in driving the collective behavior of living organisms. Reproducing these interactions in vitro is still a paramount challenge due to the complexity of mimicking and controlling cellular features, such as tangled metabolic networks, cytosolic macromolecular crowding, and cellular migration, on a microorganism size scale. Here, we generate enzymatically active cell-sized droplets able to move freely, and by following a chemical gradient, able to interact with the surrounding droplets in a collective manner. The enzyme within the droplets generates a pH gradient that extends outside the edge of the droplets. We discovered that the external pH gradient triggers droplet migration and controls its directionality, which is selectively toward the neighboring droplets. Hence, by changing the enzyme activity inside the droplet, we tuned the droplet migration speed. Furthermore, we showed that these cellular-like features can facilitate the reconstitution of a simple and linear protometabolic pathway and increase the final reaction product generation. Our work suggests that simple and stable membraneless droplets can reproduce complex biological phenomena, opening new perspectives as bioinspired materials and synthetic biology tools.
  27. Nat Rev Cancer. 2024 Apr 16.
      Although RAS was formerly considered undruggable, various agents that inhibit RAS or specific RAS oncoproteins have now been developed. Indeed, the importance of directly targeting RAS has recently been illustrated by the clinical success of mutant-selective KRAS inhibitors. Nevertheless, responses to these agents are typically incomplete and restricted to a subset of patients, highlighting the need to develop more effective treatments, which will likely require a combinatorial approach. Vertical strategies that target multiple nodes within the RAS pathway to achieve deeper suppression are being investigated and have precedence in other contexts. However, alternative strategies that co-target RAS and other therapeutic vulnerabilities have been identified, which may mitigate the requirement for profound pathway suppression. Regardless, the efficacy of any given approach will likely be dictated by genetic, epigenetic and tumour-specific variables. Here we discuss various combinatorial strategies to treat KRAS-driven cancers, highlighting mechanistic concepts that may extend to tumours harbouring other RAS mutations. Although many promising combinations have been identified, clinical responses will ultimately depend on whether a therapeutic window can be achieved and our ability to prospectively select responsive patients. Therefore, we must continue to develop and understand biologically diverse strategies to maximize our likelihood of success.
  28. Commun Biol. 2024 Apr 16. 7(1): 459
      Cellular glucose uptake is a key feature reflecting metabolic demand of cells in physiopathological conditions. Fluorophore-conjugated sugar derivatives are widely used for monitoring glucose transporter (GLUT) activity at the single-cell level, but have limitations in in vivo applications. Here, we develop a click chemistry-based post-labeling method for flow cytometric measurement of glucose uptake with low background adsorption. This strategy relies on GLUT-mediated uptake of azide-tagged sugars, and subsequent intracellular labeling with a cell-permeable fluorescent reagent via a copper-free click reaction. Screening a library of azide-substituted monosaccharides, we discover 6-azido-6-deoxy-D-galactose (6AzGal) as a suitable substrate of GLUTs. 6AzGal displays glucose-like physicochemical properties and reproduces in vivo dynamics similar to 18F-FDG. Combining this method with multi-parametric immunophenotyping, we demonstrate the ability to precisely resolve metabolically-activated cells with various GLUT activities in ex vivo and in vivo models. Overall, this method provides opportunities to dissect the heterogenous metabolic landscape in complex tissue environments.
  29. Nat Aging. 2024 Apr;4(4): 464-482
      Aging is a major risk factor for numerous chronic diseases. Vaccination offers a promising strategy to combat these age-related diseases by targeting specific antigens and inducing immune responses. Here, we provide a comprehensive overview of recent advances in vaccine-based interventions targeting these diseases, including Alzheimer's disease, type II diabetes, hypertension, abdominal aortic aneurysm, atherosclerosis, osteoarthritis, fibrosis and cancer, summarizing current approaches for identifying disease-associated antigens and inducing immune responses against these targets. Further, we reflect on the recent development of vaccines targeting senescent cells, as a strategy for more broadly targeting underlying causes of aging and associated pathologies. In addition to highlighting recent progress in these areas, we discuss important next steps to advance the therapeutic potential of these vaccines, including improving and robustly demonstrating efficacy in human clinical trials, as well as rigorously evaluating the safety and long-term effects of these vaccine strategies.
  30. Cell Rep. 2024 Apr 16. pii: S2211-1247(24)00344-9. [Epub ahead of print] 114016
      How cancer cells determine their shape in response to three-dimensional (3D) geometric and mechanical cues is unclear. We develop an approach to quantify the 3D cell shape of over 60,000 melanoma cells in collagen hydrogels using high-throughput stage-scanning oblique plane microscopy (ssOPM). We identify stereotypic and environmentally dependent changes in shape and protrusivity depending on whether a cell is proximal to a flat and rigid surface or is embedded in a soft environment. Environmental sensitivity metrics calculated for small molecules and gene knockdowns identify interactions between the environment and cellular factors that are important for morphogenesis. We show that the Rho guanine nucleotide exchange factor (RhoGEF) TIAM2 contributes to shape determination in environmentally independent ways but that non-muscle myosin II, microtubules, and the RhoGEF FARP1 regulate shape in ways dependent on the microenvironment. Thus, changes in cancer cell shape in response to 3D geometric and mechanical cues are modulated in both an environmentally dependent and independent fashion.
    Keywords:  CP: Cell biology; FARP1; OPM; RhoGEF; TIAM2; cell protrusions; collagen; imaging 3D morphology; melanoma; microenvironment; oblique plane microscopy
  31. Sci Adv. 2024 Apr 19. 10(16): eadk0217
      Biological phenomena, from enzymatic catalysis to synaptic transmission, originate in the structural transformations of biomolecules and biomolecular assemblies in liquid water. However, directly imaging these nanoscopic dynamics without probes or labels has been a fundamental methodological challenge. Here, we developed an approach for "electron videography"-combining liquid phase electron microscopy with molecular modeling-with which we filmed the nanoscale structural fluctuations of individual, suspended, and unlabeled membrane protein nanodiscs in liquid. Systematic comparisons with biochemical data and simulation indicate the graphene encapsulation involved can afford sufficiently reduced effects of the illuminating electron beam for these observations to yield quantitative fingerprints of nanoscale lipid-protein interactions. Our results suggest that lipid-protein interactions delineate dynamically modified membrane domains across unexpectedly long ranges. Moreover, they contribute to the molecular mechanics of the nanodisc as a whole in a manner specific to the protein within. Overall, this work illustrates an experimental approach to film, quantify, and understand biomolecular dynamics at the nanometer scale.
  32. Mol Cancer Ther. 2024 Apr 19.
      KRAS is the most frequently mutated oncogene in human cancer and facilitates uncontrolled growth through hyperactivation of the RTK/MAPK pathway. The Son of Sevenless homolog 1 (SOS1) protein functions as a guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) for the RAS subfamily of small GTPases and represents a druggable target in the pathway. Using a structure-based drug discovery approach, MRTX0902 was identified as a selective and potent SOS1 inhibitor that disrupts the KRAS:SOS1 protein-protein interaction to prevent SOS1-mediated nucleotide exchange on KRAS and translates into an anti-proliferative effect in cancer cell lines with genetic alterations of the KRAS-MAPK pathway. MRTX0902 augmented the antitumor activity of the KRAS G12C inhibitor adagrasib when dosed in combination in eight out of twelve KRAS G12C-mutant human non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and colorectal cancer (CRC) xenograft models. Pharmacogenomic profiling in preclinical models identified cell cycle genes and the SOS2 homolog as genetic co-dependencies and implicated tumor suppressor genes (NF1, PTEN) in resistance following combination treatment. Lastly, combined vertical inhibition of RTK/MAPK pathway signaling by MRTX0902 with inhibitors of EGFR or RAF/MEK led to greater downregulation of pathway signaling and improved antitumor responses in KRAS-MAPK pathway-mutant models. These studies demonstrate the potential clinical application of dual inhibition of SOS1 and KRAS G12C and additional SOS1 combination strategies that will aide in the understanding of SOS1 and RTK/MAPK biology in targeted cancer therapy.
  33. Biochem Soc Trans. 2024 Apr 17. pii: BST20230550. [Epub ahead of print]
      Pathological breakdown of membrane lipids through excessive lipid peroxidation (LPO) was first described in the mid-20th century and is now recognized as a form of regulated cell death, dubbed ferroptosis. Accumulating evidence unveils how metabolic regulation restrains peroxidation of phospholipids within cellular membranes, thereby impeding ferroptosis execution. Unleashing these metabolic breaks is currently therapeutically explored to sensitize cancers to ferroptosis inducing anti-cancer therapies. Reversely, these natural ferroptotic defense mechanisms can fail resulting in pathological conditions or diseases such as ischemia-reperfusion injury, multi-organ dysfunction, stroke, infarction, or neurodegenerative diseases. This minireview outlines current ferroptosis-inducing anti-cancer strategies and highlights the detection as well as the therapeutic targeting of ferroptosis in preclinical experimental settings. Herein, we also briefly summarize observations related to LPO, iron and redox deregulation in patients that might hint towards ferroptosis as a contributing factor.
    Keywords:  cancer; cell death; ferroptosis; ischaemia-reperfusion injury; lipid peroxidation; oxidative stress
  34. Genome Biol. 2024 Apr 15. 25(1): 95
      BACKGROUND: Aneuploidy, an abnormal number of chromosomes within a cell, is a hallmark of cancer. Patterns of aneuploidy differ across cancers, yet are similar in cancers affecting closely related tissues. The selection pressures underlying aneuploidy patterns are not fully understood, hindering our understanding of cancer development and progression.RESULTS: Here, we apply interpretable machine learning methods to study tissue-selective aneuploidy patterns. We define 20 types of features corresponding to genomic attributes of chromosome-arms, normal tissues, primary tumors, and cancer cell lines (CCLs), and use them to model gains and losses of chromosome arms in 24 cancer types. To reveal the factors that shape the tissue-specific cancer aneuploidy landscapes, we interpret the machine learning models by estimating the relative contribution of each feature to the models. While confirming known drivers of positive selection, our quantitative analysis highlights the importance of negative selection for shaping aneuploidy landscapes. This is exemplified by tumor suppressor gene density being a better predictor of gain patterns than oncogene density, and vice versa for loss patterns. We also identify the importance of tissue-selective features and demonstrate them experimentally, revealing KLF5 as an important driver for chr13q gain in colon cancer. Further supporting an important role for negative selection in shaping the aneuploidy landscapes, we find compensation by paralogs to be among the top predictors of chromosome arm loss prevalence and demonstrate this relationship for one paralog interaction. Similar factors shape aneuploidy patterns in human CCLs, demonstrating their relevance for aneuploidy research.
    CONCLUSIONS: Our quantitative, interpretable machine learning models improve the understanding of the genomic properties that shape cancer aneuploidy landscapes.
  35. Mol Cancer Ther. 2024 Apr 20.
      Although patient-derived xenografts (PDXs) are commonly used for preclinical modeling in cancer research, a standard approach to in vivo tumor growth analysis and assessment of antitumor activity is lacking, complicating comparison of different studies and determination of whether a PDX experiment has produced evidence needed to consider a new therapy promising. We present consensus recommendations for assessment of PDX growth and antitumor activity, providing public access to a suite of tools for in vivo growth analyses. We expect that harmonizing PDX study design and analysis and access to a suite of analytical tools will enhance information exchange and facilitate identification of promising novel therapies and biomarkers for guiding cancer therapy.
  36. J Phys Chem Lett. 2024 Apr 18. 4515-4522
      Cholesterol-rich lipid rafts are found to facilitate membrane fusion, central to processes like viral entry, fertilization, and neurotransmitter release. While the fusion process involves local, transient membrane dehydration, the impact of reduced hydration on cholesterol's structural organization in biological membranes remains unclear. Here, we employ confocal fluorescence microscopy and atomistic molecular dynamics simulations to investigate cholesterol behavior in phase-separated lipid bilayers under controlled hydration. We unveiled that dehydration prompts cholesterol release from raft-like domains into the surrounding fluid phase. Unsaturated phospholipids undergo more significant dehydration-induced structural changes and lose more hydrogen bonds with water than sphingomyelin. The results suggest that cholesterol redistribution is driven by the equalization of biophysical properties between phases and the need to satisfy lipid hydrogen bonds. This underscores the role of cholesterol-phospholipid-water interplay in governing cholesterol affinity for a specific lipid type, providing a new perspective on the regulatory role of cell membrane heterogeneity during membrane fusion.
  37. J Physiol. 2024 Apr;602(8): 1637-1654
      The eukaryotic cell is highly compartmentalized with organelles. Owing to their function in transporting metabolites, metabolic intermediates and byproducts of metabolic activity, organelles are important players in the orchestration of cellular function. Recent advances in optical methods for interrogating the different aspects of organellar activity promise to revolutionize our ability to dissect cellular processes with unprecedented detail. The transport activity of organelles is usually coupled to the transport of charged species; therefore, it is not only associated with the metabolic landscape but also entangled with membrane potentials. In this context, the targeted expression of fluorescent probes for interrogating organellar membrane potential (Ψorg) emerges as a powerful approach, offering less-invasive conditions and technical simplicity to interrogate cellular signalling and metabolism. Different research groups have made remarkable progress in adapting a variety of optical methods for measuring and monitoring Ψorg. These approaches include using potentiometric dyes, genetically encoded voltage indicators, hybrid fluorescence resonance energy transfer sensors and photoinduced electron transfer systems. These studies have provided consistent values for the resting potential of single-membrane organelles, such as lysosomes, the Golgi and the endoplasmic reticulum. We can foresee the use of dynamic measurements of Ψorg to study fundamental problems in organellar physiology that are linked to serious cellular disorders. Here, we present an overview of the available techniques, a survey of the resting membrane potential of internal membranes and, finally, an open-source mathematical model useful to interpret and interrogate membrane-bound structures of small volume by using the lysosome as an example.
    Keywords:  Golgi; hybrid voltage sensor; lysosome; model; optical; organelle; reticulum; voltage
  38. EMBO J. 2024 Apr 16.
      Phosphatidylinositol (PI) is the precursor lipid for the minor phosphoinositides (PPIns), which are critical for multiple functions in all eukaryotic cells. It is poorly understood how phosphatidylinositol, which is synthesized in the ER, reaches those membranes where PPIns are formed. Here, we used VT01454, a recently identified inhibitor of class I PI transfer proteins (PITPs), to unravel their roles in lipid metabolism, and solved the structure of inhibitor-bound PITPNA to gain insight into the mode of inhibition. We found that class I PITPs not only distribute PI for PPIns production in various organelles such as the plasma membrane (PM) and late endosomes/lysosomes, but that their inhibition also significantly reduced the levels of phosphatidylserine, di- and triacylglycerols, and other lipids, and caused prominent increases in phosphatidic acid. While VT01454 did not inhibit Golgi PI4P formation nor reduce resting PM PI(4,5)P2 levels, the recovery of the PM pool of PI(4,5)P2 after receptor-mediated hydrolysis required both class I and class II PITPs. Overall, these studies show that class I PITPs differentially regulate phosphoinositide pools and affect the overall cellular lipid landscape.
    Keywords:  Golgi Complex; Membrane Contact Sites; Non-Vesicular Lipid Transport; Phosphatidylinositol; Phospholipase C
  39. EMBO Rep. 2024 Apr 16.
      Cells are equipped with asymmetrically localised and functionally specialised components, including cytoskeletal structures and organelles. Positioning these components to specific intracellular locations in an asymmetric manner is critical for their functionality and affects processes like immune responses, tissue maintenance, muscle functionality, and neurobiology. Here, we provide an overview of strategies to actively move, position, and anchor organelles to specific locations. By conceptualizing the cytoskeletal forces and the organelle-to-cytoskeleton connectivity, we present a framework of active positioning of both membrane-enclosed and membrane-less organelles. Using this framework, we discuss how different principles of force generation and organelle anchorage are utilised by different cells, such as mesenchymal and amoeboid cells, and how the microenvironment influences the plasticity of organelle positioning. Given that motile cells face the challenge of coordinating the positioning of their content with cellular motion, we particularly focus on principles of organelle positioning during migration. In this context, we discuss novel findings on organelle positioning by anchorage-independent mechanisms and their advantages and disadvantages in motile as well as stationary cells.
    Keywords:  Cytoplasmic Streaming; Cytoskeletal Forces; Motile and Branched Cells; Organelle Positioning; Organelle-Cytoskeleton Interface
  40. Cancer Res Commun. 2024 Apr 16.
      p16 is a tumor suppressor encoded by the CDKN2A gene whose expression is lost in ~50% of all human cancers. In its canonical role, p16 inhibits the G1-S phase cell cycle progression through suppression of cyclin dependent kinases. Interestingly, p16 also has roles in metabolic reprogramming, and we previously published that loss of p16 promotes nucleotide synthesis via the pentose phosphate pathway. However, the broader impact of p16/CDKN2A loss on other nucleotide metabolic pathways and potential therapeutic targets remains unexplored. Using CRISPR KO libraries in isogenic human and mouse melanoma cell lines, we determined several nucleotide metabolism genes essential for the survival of cells with loss of p16/CDKN2A. Consistently, many of these genes are upregulated in melanoma cells with p16 knockdown or endogenously low CDKN2A expression. We determined that cells with low p16/CDKN2A expression are sensitive to multiple inhibitors of de novo purine synthesis, including anti-folates. Finally, tumors with p16 knockdown were more sensitive to the anti-folate methotrexate in vivo than control tumors. Together, our data provide evidence to reevaluate the utility of these drugs in patients with p16/CDKN2Alow tumors as loss of p16/CDKN2A may provide a therapeutic window for these agents.
  41. Hepatobiliary Surg Nutr. 2024 Apr 03. 13(2): 370-373
    Keywords:  Prognostic factor; bibliometric analysis; pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC)
  42. Cell. 2024 Apr 08. pii: S0092-8674(24)00315-5. [Epub ahead of print]
      Ubiquitylation regulates most proteins and biological processes in a eukaryotic cell. However, the site-specific occupancy (stoichiometry) and turnover rate of ubiquitylation have not been quantified. Here we present an integrated picture of the global ubiquitylation site occupancy and half-life. Ubiquitylation site occupancy spans over four orders of magnitude, but the median ubiquitylation site occupancy is three orders of magnitude lower than that of phosphorylation. The occupancy, turnover rate, and regulation of sites by proteasome inhibitors are strongly interrelated, and these attributes distinguish sites involved in proteasomal degradation and cellular signaling. Sites in structured protein regions exhibit longer half-lives and stronger upregulation by proteasome inhibitors than sites in unstructured regions. Importantly, we discovered a surveillance mechanism that rapidly and site-indiscriminately deubiquitylates all ubiquitin-specific E1 and E2 enzymes, protecting them against accumulation of bystander ubiquitylation. The work provides a systems-scale, quantitative view of ubiquitylation properties and reveals general principles of ubiquitylation-dependent governance.
    Keywords:  cell signaling; dynamics; mass spectrometry; occupancy; posttranslational modification; proteomics; turnover rate; ubiquitin signaling; ubiquitylation
  43. Sci Adv. 2024 Apr 19. 10(16): eadk4825
      The ability of epithelial monolayers to self-organize into a dynamic polarized state, where cells migrate in a uniform direction, is essential for tissue regeneration, development, and tumor progression. However, the mechanisms governing long-range polar ordering of motility direction in biological tissues remain unclear. Here, we investigate the self-organizing behavior of quiescent epithelial monolayers that transit to a dynamic state with long-range polar order upon growth factor exposure. We demonstrate that the heightened self-propelled activity of monolayer cells leads to formation of vortex-antivortex pairs that undergo sequential annihilation, ultimately driving the spread of long-range polar order throughout the system. A computational model, which treats the monolayer as an active elastic solid, accurately replicates this behavior, and weakening of cell-to-cell interactions impedes vortex-antivortex annihilation and polar ordering. Our findings uncover a mechanism in epithelia, where elastic solid material characteristics, activated self-propulsion, and topology-mediated guidance converge to fuel a highly efficient polar self-ordering activity.