bims-camemi Biomed News
on Mitochondrial metabolism in cancer
Issue of 2024‒04‒14
forty-two papers selected by
Christian Frezza, Universität zu Köln

  1. Cell Rep. 2024 Apr 11. pii: S2211-1247(24)00431-5. [Epub ahead of print]43(4): 114103
      Hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF1α) attenuates mitochondrial activity while promoting glycolysis. However, lower glycolysis is compromised in human clear cell renal cell carcinomas, in which HIF1α acts as a tumor suppressor by inhibiting cell-autonomous proliferation. Here, we find that, unexpectedly, HIF1α suppresses lower glycolysis after the glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) step, leading to reduced lactate secretion in different tumor cell types when cells encounter a limited pyruvate supply such as that typically found in the tumor microenvironment in vivo. This is because HIF1α-dependent attenuation of mitochondrial oxygen consumption increases the NADH/NAD+ ratio that suppresses the activity of the NADH-sensitive GAPDH glycolytic enzyme. This is manifested when pyruvate supply is limited, since pyruvate acts as an electron acceptor that prevents the increment of the NADH/NAD+ ratio. Furthermore, this anti-glycolytic function provides a molecular basis to explain how HIF1α can suppress tumor cell proliferation by increasing the NADH/NAD+ ratio.
    Keywords:  CP: Cancer; CP: Metabolism; HIF1α; NADH; glycolysis; hypoxia; mitochondria; oxygen; renal cell carcinoma; tumor
  2. Res Sq. 2024 Mar 29. pii: [Epub ahead of print]
      During the humoral immune response, B cells undergo rapid metabolic reprogramming with a high demand for nutrients, which are vital to sustain the formation of the germinal centers (GCs). Rag-GTPases sense amino acid availability to modulate the mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) pathway and suppress transcription factor EB (TFEB) and transcription factor enhancer 3 (TFE3), members of the microphthalmia (MiT/TFE) family of HLH-leucine zipper transcription factors. However, how Rag-GTPases coordinate amino acid sensing, mTORC1 activation, and TFEB/TFE3 activity in humoral immunity remains undefined. Here, we show that B cell-intrinsic Rag-GTPases are critical for the development and activation of B cells. RagA/RagB deficient B cells fail to form GCs, produce antibodies, and generate plasmablasts in both T-dependent (TD) and T-independent (TI) humoral immune responses. Deletion of RagA/RagB in GC B cells leads to abnormal dark zone (DZ) to light zone (LZ) ratio and reduced affinity maturation. Mechanistically, the Rag-GTPase complex constrains TFEB/TFE3 activity to prevent mitophagy dysregulation and maintain mitochondrial fitness in B cells, which are independent of canonical mTORC1 activation. TFEB/TFE3 deletion restores B cell development, GC formation in Peyer's patches and TI humoral immunity, but not TD humoral immunity in the absence of Rag-GTPases. Collectively, our data establish Rag-GTPase-TFEB/TFE3 axis as an mTORC1 independent mechanism to coordinating nutrient sensing and mitochondrial metabolism in B cells.
  3. Mol Oncol. 2024 Apr 08.
      Ferroptosis is a newly identified iron-dependent type of regulated cell death that can also be regarded as death caused by the specific collapse of the lipid antioxidant defence machinery. Ferroptosis has gained increasing attention as a potential therapeutic strategy for therapy-resistant cancer types. However, many ferroptosis-inducing small molecules do not reach the pharmacokinetic requirements for their effective clinical use yet. Nevertheless, their clinical optimization is under development. In this review, we summarize the current understanding of molecular pathways regulating ferroptosis, how cells protect themselves from the induction of ferroptotic cell death, and how a better understanding of cancer cell metabolism can represent vulnerabilities for ferroptosis-based therapies. Lastly, we discuss the context-dependent effect of ferroptosis on various cell types within the tumor microenvironment and address controversies on how tissue ferroptosis might impact systemic cancer immunity in a paracrine manner.
    Keywords:  cancer biology; cancer metabolism; cell death; ferroptosis; inflammation; iron
  4. Nat Cell Biol. 2024 Apr 11.
      Blocking the import of nutrients essential for cancer cell proliferation represents a therapeutic opportunity, but it is unclear which transporters to target. Here we report a CRISPR interference/activation screening platform to systematically interrogate the contribution of nutrient transporters to support cancer cell proliferation in environments ranging from standard culture media to tumours. We applied this platform to identify the transporters of amino acids in leukaemia cells and found that amino acid transport involves high bidirectional flux dependent on the microenvironment composition. While investigating the role of transporters in cystine starved cells, we uncovered a role for serotonin uptake in preventing ferroptosis. Finally, we identified transporters essential for cell proliferation in subcutaneous tumours and found that levels of glucose and amino acids can restrain proliferation in that environment. This study establishes a framework for systematically identifying critical cellular nutrient transporters, characterizing their function and exploring how the tumour microenvironment impacts cancer metabolism.
  5. Mitochondrion. 2024 Apr 08. pii: S1567-7249(24)00035-7. [Epub ahead of print] 101877
      Mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake is essential in regulating bioenergetics, cell death, and cytosolic Ca2+ transients. Mitochondrial Calcium Uniporter (MCU) mediates the mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake. Though MCU regulation by MICUs is unequivocally established, there needs to be more knowledge of whether divalent cations regulate MCU. Here, we set out to understand the mitochondrial matrix Mg2+-dependent regulation of MCU activity. We showed that decreased matrix [Mg2+] is associated with increased MCU activity and significantly prompted mitochondrial permeability transition pore opening. Our findings support the critical role of mMg2+ in regulating MCU activity.
    Keywords:  Calcium; Cell death; MCU; Magnesium; Mitochondria; Mrs2; mPTP
  6. bioRxiv. 2024 Mar 27. pii: 2024.03.26.582525. [Epub ahead of print]
      The bioenergetic demand of photoreceptors rivals that of cancer cells, and numerous metabolic similarities exist between these cells. Glutamine (Gln) anaplerosis via the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle provides biosynthetic intermediates and is a hallmark of cancer metabolism. In this process, Gln is first converted to glutamate via glutaminase (GLS), which is a crucial pathway in many cancer cells. To date, no study has been undertaken to examine the role of Gln metabolism in vivo in photoreceptors. Here, mice lacking GLS in rod photoreceptors were generated. Animals lacking GLS experienced rapid photoreceptor degeneration with concomitant functional loss. Gln has multiple roles in metabolism including redox balance, biosynthesis of nucleotides and amino acids, and supplementing the TCA cycle. Few alterations were noted in redox balance. Unlabeled targeted metabolomics demonstrated few changes in glycolytic and TCA cycle intermediates, which corresponded with a lack of significant changes in mitochondrial function. GLS deficiency in rod photoreceptors did decrease the fractional labelling of TCA cycle intermediates when provided uniformly labeled 13 C-Gln in vivo . However, supplementation with alpha-ketoglutarate provided only marginal rescue of photoreceptor degeneration. Nonessential amino acids, glutamate and aspartate, were decreased in the retina of mice lacking GLS in rod photoreceptors. In accordance with this amino acid deprivation, the integrated stress response (ISR) was found to be activated with decreased global protein synthesis. Importantly, supplementation with asparagine delayed photoreceptor degeneration to a greater degree than alpha-ketoglutarate. These data show that GLS-mediated Gln catabolism is essential for rod photoreceptor amino acid biosynthesis, function, and survival.Significance Statement: Glucose has been central in the study of photoreceptor cell metabolism. Recently, it was shown that fuel sources besides glucose can meet the metabolic needs of photoreceptors. Glutamine (Gln) is the most abundant circulating amino acid and has many biosynthetic and bioenergetic roles in cells. Glutaminolysis is the process by which Gln is metabolized into tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediates to provide biosynthetic precursors. Here, Gln is first converted to glutamate via the enzyme glutaminase (GLS). This research demonstrates that deletion of GLS in rod photoreceptors alters retinal metabolism, activates the integrated stress response (ISR), and results in rapid photoreceptor degeneration. As such, Gln is a critical fuel source that supports photoreceptor cell biomass, redox balance, and survival.
  7. Cancer Metab. 2024 Apr 09. 12(1): 11
      BACKGROUND: Diffuse midline gliomas (DMG), including diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (DIPGs), are a fatal form of brain cancer. These tumors often carry a driver mutation on histone H3 converting lysine 27 to methionine (H3K27M). DMG-H3K27M are characterized by altered metabolism and resistance to standard of care radiation (RT) but how the H3K27M mediates the metabolic response to radiation and consequent treatment resistance is uncertain.METHODS: We performed metabolomics on irradiated and untreated H3K27M isogenic DMG cell lines and observed an H3K27M-specific enrichment for purine synthesis pathways. We profiled the expression of purine synthesis enzymes in publicly available patient data and our models, quantified purine synthesis using stable isotope tracing, and characterized the in vitro and in vivo response to de novo and salvage purine synthesis inhibition in combination with RT.
    RESULTS: DMG-H3K27M cells activate purine metabolism in an H3K27M-specific fashion. In the absence of genotoxic treatment, H3K27M-expressing cells have higher relative activity of de novo synthesis and apparent lower activity of purine salvage demonstrated via stable isotope tracing of key metabolites in purine synthesis and by lower expression of hypoxanthine-guanine phosphoribosyltransferase (HGPRT), the rate-limiting enzyme of purine salvage into IMP and GMP. Inhibition of de novo guanylate synthesis radiosensitized DMG-H3K27M cells in vitro and in vivo. Irradiated H3K27M cells upregulated HGPRT expression and hypoxanthine-derived guanylate salvage but maintained high levels of guanine-derived salvage. Exogenous guanine supplementation decreased radiosensitization in cells treated with combination RT and de novo purine synthesis inhibition. Silencing HGPRT combined with RT markedly suppressed DMG-H3K27M tumor growth in vivo.
    CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that DMG-H3K27M cells rely on highly active purine synthesis, both from the de novo and salvage synthesis pathways. However, highly active salvage of free purine bases into mature guanylates can bypass inhibition of the de novo synthetic pathway. We conclude that inhibiting purine salvage may be a promising strategy to overcome treatment resistance in DMG-H3K27M tumors.
    Keywords:  Diffuse midline glioma; H3K27M; Purine metabolism; Radiation therapy resistance
  8. bioRxiv. 2024 Mar 31. pii: 2024.03.28.587096. [Epub ahead of print]
      Metabolites and metabolic co-factors can shape the innate immune response, though the pathways by which these molecules adjust inflammation remain incompletely understood. Here we show that the metabolic cofactor Coenzyme A (CoA) enhances IL-4 driven alternative macrophage activation [m(IL-4)] in vitro and in vivo . Unexpectedly, we found that perturbations in intracellular CoA metabolism did not influence m(IL-4) differentiation. Rather, we discovered that exogenous CoA provides a weak TLR4 signal which primes macrophages for increased receptivity to IL-4 signals and resolution of inflammation via MyD88. Mechanistic studies revealed MyD88-linked signals prime for IL-4 responsiveness, in part, by reshaping chromatin accessibility to enhance transcription of IL-4-linked genes. The results identify CoA as a host metabolic co-factor that influences macrophage function through an extrinsic TLR4-dependent mechanism, and suggests that damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) can prime macrophages for alternative activation and resolution of inflammation.
  9. Cell. 2024 Apr 08. pii: S0092-8674(24)00255-1. [Epub ahead of print]
      Knudson's "two-hit" paradigm posits that carcinogenesis requires inactivation of both copies of an autosomal tumor suppressor gene. Here, we report that the glycolytic metabolite methylglyoxal (MGO) transiently bypasses Knudson's paradigm by inactivating the breast cancer suppressor protein BRCA2 to elicit a cancer-associated, mutational single-base substitution (SBS) signature in nonmalignant mammary cells or patient-derived organoids. Germline monoallelic BRCA2 mutations predispose to these changes. An analogous SBS signature, again without biallelic BRCA2 inactivation, accompanies MGO accumulation and DNA damage in Kras-driven, Brca2-mutant murine pancreatic cancers and human breast cancers. MGO triggers BRCA2 proteolysis, temporarily disabling BRCA2's tumor suppressive functions in DNA repair and replication, causing functional haploinsufficiency. Intermittent MGO exposure incites episodic SBS mutations without permanent BRCA2 inactivation. Thus, a metabolic mechanism wherein MGO-induced BRCA2 haploinsufficiency transiently bypasses Knudson's two-hit requirement could link glycolysis activation by oncogenes, metabolic disorders, or dietary challenges to mutational signatures implicated in cancer evolution.
    Keywords:  DNA repair and replication; breast cancer gene BRCA2; cancer genome; cancer metabolism; environmental carcinogenesis; gene-environment interaction; glycolysis; methylglyoxal; mutational signature; tumor suppression
  10. Neuron. 2024 Mar 26. pii: S0896-6273(24)00167-3. [Epub ahead of print]
      Integration of new neurons into adult hippocampal circuits is a process coordinated by local and long-range synaptic inputs. To achieve stable integration and uniquely contribute to hippocampal function, immature neurons are endowed with a critical period of heightened synaptic plasticity, yet it remains unclear which mechanisms sustain this form of plasticity during neuronal maturation. We found that as new neurons enter their critical period, a transient surge in fusion dynamics stabilizes elongated mitochondrial morphologies in dendrites to fuel synaptic plasticity. Conditional ablation of fusion dynamics to prevent mitochondrial elongation selectively impaired spine plasticity and synaptic potentiation, disrupting neuronal competition for stable circuit integration, ultimately leading to decreased survival. Despite profuse mitochondrial fragmentation, manipulation of competition dynamics was sufficient to restore neuronal survival but left neurons poorly responsive to experience at the circuit level. Thus, by enabling synaptic plasticity during the critical period, mitochondrial fusion facilitates circuit remodeling by adult-born neurons.
    Keywords:  LTP; Mfn2; adult neurogenesis; competition; experience; hippocampus; mitochondria; mitochondrial fusion; neural stem cell; synaptic plasticity
  11. Blood. 2024 Apr 10. pii: blood.2023022859. [Epub ahead of print]
      Chromosomal translocation (4;14), an adverse prognostic factor in multiple myeloma (MM), drives overexpression of the histone methyltransferase NSD2. A genome-wide CRISPR screen in MM cells identified adenylate kinase 2 (AK2), an enzyme critical for high energy phosphate transfer from the mitochondria, as an NSD2-driven vulnerability. AK2 suppression in t(4;14) MM cells decreased NADP(H) critical for conversion of ribonucleotides to deoxyribonucleosides, leading to replication stress, DNA damage and apoptosis. Driving a large genome-wide increase in chromatin methylation, NSD2 overexpression depletes S-adenosylmethionine (SAM), compromising synthesis of creatine from its precursor guanidinoacetate. Creatine supplementation restored NADP(H) levels, reduced DNA damage and rescued AK2-deficient t(4;14) MM cells. As the creatine phosphate shuttle constitutes an alternative means for mitochondrial high energy phosphate transport, these results indicate that NSD2-driven creatine depletion underlies the hypersensitivity of t(4;14) MM cells to AK2 loss. Furthermore, AK2 depletion in t(4;14) cells impaired protein folding in the endoplasmic reticulum consistent with impaired utilization of mitochondrial ATP. Accordingly, AK2 suppression increased sensitivity of MM cells to proteasome inhibition. These findings delineate a novel mechanism in which aberrant transfer of carbon to the epigenome creates a metabolic vulnerability, with direct therapeutic implications for t(4;14) MM.
  12. Nat Commun. 2024 Apr 08. 15(1): 3018
      Ionizing radiation induces cell death in the gastrointestinal (GI) epithelium by activating p53. However, p53 also prevents animal lethality caused by radiation-induced acute GI syndrome. Through single-cell RNA-sequencing of the irradiated mouse small intestine, we find that p53 target genes are specifically enriched in regenerating epithelial cells that undergo fetal-like reversion, including revival stem cells (revSCs) that promote animal survival after severe damage of the GI tract. Accordingly, in mice with p53 deleted specifically in the GI epithelium, ionizing radiation fails to induce fetal-like revSCs. Using intestinal organoids, we show that transient p53 expression is required for the induction of revival stem cells and is controlled by an Mdm2-mediated negative feedback loop. Together, our findings reveal that p53 suppresses severe radiation-induced GI injury by promoting fetal-like reprogramming of irradiated intestinal epithelial cells.
  13. Cell Rep. 2024 Apr 06. pii: S2211-1247(24)00395-4. [Epub ahead of print]43(4): 114067
      Mitochondrial dysfunction critically contributes to many major human diseases. The impact of specific gut microbial metabolites on mitochondrial functions of animals and the underlying mechanisms remain to be uncovered. Here, we report a profound role of bacterial peptidoglycan muropeptides in promoting mitochondrial functions in multiple mammalian models. Muropeptide addition to human intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) leads to increased oxidative respiration and ATP production and decreased oxidative stress. Strikingly, muropeptide treatment recovers mitochondrial structure and functions and inhibits several pathological phenotypes of fibroblast cells derived from patients with mitochondrial disease. In mice, muropeptides accumulate in mitochondria of IECs and promote small intestinal homeostasis and nutrient absorption by modulating energy metabolism. Muropeptides directly bind to ATP synthase, stabilize the complex, and promote its enzymatic activity in vitro, supporting the hypothesis that muropeptides promote mitochondria homeostasis at least in part by acting as ATP synthase agonists. This study reveals a potential treatment for human mitochondrial diseases.
    Keywords:  ATP synthase; CP: Cell biology; CP: Metabolism; Leigh syndrome; PGN; ROS; antibiotic-induced microbiome depletion; electron transfer chain; energy metabolism; intestinal epithelial cells; intestinal homeostasis; mitochondrial diseases; oxidative phosphorylation; oxidative stress; peptidoglycan
  14. Cancer Discov. 2024 Mar 29. OF1-OF19
      Metastases, which are the leading cause of death in patients with cancer, have metabolic vulnerabilities. Alterations in metabolism fuel the energy and biosynthetic needs of metastases but are also needed to activate cell state switches in cells leading to invasion, migration, colonization, and outgrowth in distant organs. Specifically, metabolites can activate protein kinases as well as receptors and they are crucial substrates for posttranslational modifications on histone and nonhistone proteins. Moreover, metabolic enzymes can have moonlighting functions by acting catalytically, mainly as protein kinases, or noncatalytically through protein-protein interactions. Here, we summarize the current knowledge on metabolic signaling in cancer metastasis.SIGNIFICANCE: Effective drugs for the prevention and treatment of metastases will have an immediate impact on patient survival. To overcome the current lack of such drugs, a better understanding of the molecular processes that are an Achilles heel in metastasizing cancer cells is needed. One emerging opportunity is the metabolic changes cancer cells need to undergo to successfully metastasize and grow in distant organs. Mechanistically, these metabolic changes not only fulfill energy and biomass demands, which are often in common between cancer and normal but fast proliferating cells, but also metabolic signaling which enables the cell state changes that are particularly important for the metastasizing cancer cells.
  15. RNA. 2024 Apr 12. pii: rna.079925.123. [Epub ahead of print]
      Several enzymes of intermediary metabolism have been identified to bind RNA in 2 cells, with potential consequences for the bound RNAs and/or the enzyme. In this 3 study, we investigate the RNA-binding activity of the mitochondrial enzyme malate 4 dehydrogenase 2 (MDH2), which functions in the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle and 5 the malate-aspartate shuttle. We confirmed in cellulo RNA-binding of MDH2 using 6 orthogonal biochemical assays and performed enhanced crosslinking and 7 immunoprecipitation (eCLIP) to identify the cellular RNAs associated with endogenous 8 MDH2. Surprisingly, MDH2 preferentially binds cytosolic over mitochondrial RNAs, 9 although the latter are abundant in the milieu of the mature protein. Subcellular 10 fractionation followed by RNA-binding assays revealed that MDH2-RNA interactions 11 occur predominantly outside of mitochondria. We also found that a cytosolically-12 retained N-terminal deletion mutant of MDH2 is competent to bind RNA, indicating that 13 mitochondrial targeting is dispensable for MDH2-RNA interactions. MDH2 RNA 14 binding increased when cellular NAD+ levels (MDH2's co-factor) was 15 pharmacologically diminished, suggesting that the metabolic state of cells affects RNA 16 binding. Taken together, our data implicate an as yet unidentified function of MDH2 17 binding RNA in the cytosol.
    Keywords:  MDH2; RNA-binding proteins; metabolic enzymes
  16. Nat Immunol. 2024 Apr 12.
      The linear ubiquitin assembly complex (LUBAC) consists of HOIP, HOIL-1 and SHARPIN and is essential for proper immune responses. Individuals with HOIP and HOIL-1 deficiencies present with severe immunodeficiency, autoinflammation and glycogen storage disease. In mice, the loss of Sharpin leads to severe dermatitis due to excessive keratinocyte cell death. Here, we report two individuals with SHARPIN deficiency who manifest autoinflammatory symptoms but unexpectedly no dermatological problems. Fibroblasts and B cells from these individuals showed attenuated canonical NF-κB responses and a propensity for cell death mediated by TNF superfamily members. Both SHARPIN-deficient and HOIP-deficient individuals showed a substantial reduction of secondary lymphoid germinal center B cell development. Treatment of one SHARPIN-deficient individual with anti-TNF therapies led to complete clinical and transcriptomic resolution of autoinflammation. These findings underscore the critical function of the LUBAC as a gatekeeper for cell death-mediated immune dysregulation in humans.
  17. Elife. 2024 Apr 11. pii: e85964. [Epub ahead of print]13
      Stains are known to be anti-inflammatory, but the mechanism remains poorly understood. Here we show that macrophages, either treated with statin in vitro or from statin-treated mice, have reduced cholesterol levels and higher expression of Jmjd3, a H3K27me3 demethylase. We provide evidence that lowering cholesterol levels in macrophages suppresses the ATP synthase in the inner mitochondrial membrane (IMM) and changes the proton gradient in the mitochondria. This activates NFkB and Jmjd3 expression to remove the repressive marker H3K27me3. Accordingly, the epigenome is altered by the cholesterol reduction. When subsequently challenged by the inflammatory stimulus LPS (M1), both macrophages treated with statins in vitro or isolated from statin-treated mice in vivo, express lower levels pro-inflammatory cytokines than controls, while augmenting anti-inflammatory Il10 expression. On the other hand, when macrophages are alternatively activated by IL4 (M2), statins promote the expression of Arg1, Ym1, and Mrc1. The enhanced expression is correlated with the statin-induced removal of H3K27me3 from these genes prior to activation. In addition, Jmjd3 and its demethylase activity are necessary for cholesterol to modulate both M1 and M2 activation. We conclude that upregulation of Jmjd3 is a key event for the anti-inflammatory function of statins on macrophages.
    Keywords:  cell biology; mouse
  18. Nature. 2024 Apr 10.
      Glucocorticoids represent the mainstay of therapy for a broad spectrum of immune-mediated inflammatory diseases. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying their anti-inflammatory mode of action have remained incompletely understood1. Here we show that the anti-inflammatory properties of glucocorticoids involve reprogramming of the mitochondrial metabolism of macrophages, resulting in increased and sustained production of the anti-inflammatory metabolite itaconate and consequent inhibition of the inflammatory response. The glucocorticoid receptor interacts with parts of the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex whereby glucocorticoids provoke an increase in activity and enable an accelerated and paradoxical flux of the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle in otherwise pro-inflammatory macrophages. This glucocorticoid-mediated rewiring of mitochondrial metabolism potentiates TCA-cycle-dependent production of itaconate throughout the inflammatory response, thereby interfering with the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. By contrast, artificial blocking of the TCA cycle or genetic deficiency in aconitate decarboxylase 1, the rate-limiting enzyme of itaconate synthesis, interferes with the anti-inflammatory effects of glucocorticoids and, accordingly, abrogates their beneficial effects during a diverse range of preclinical models of immune-mediated inflammatory diseases. Our findings provide important insights into the anti-inflammatory properties of glucocorticoids and have substantial implications for the design of new classes of anti-inflammatory drugs.
  19. Nat Commun. 2024 Apr 12. 15(1): 3173
      Semaphorin-3A (SEMA3A) functions as a chemorepulsive signal during development and can affect T cells by altering their filamentous actin (F-actin) cytoskeleton. The exact extent of these effects on tumour-specific T cells are not completely understood. Here we demonstrate that Neuropilin-1 (NRP1) and Plexin-A1 and Plexin-A4 are upregulated on stimulated CD8+ T cells, allowing tumour-derived SEMA3A to inhibit T cell migration and assembly of the immunological synapse. Deletion of NRP1 in both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells enhance CD8+ T-cell infiltration into tumours and restricted tumour growth in animal models. Conversely, over-expression of SEMA3A inhibit CD8+ T-cell infiltration. We further show that SEMA3A affects CD8+ T cell F-actin, leading to inhibition of immune synapse formation and motility. Examining a clear cell renal cell carcinoma patient cohort, we find that SEMA3A expression is associated with reduced survival, and that T-cells appear trapped in SEMA3A rich regions. Our study establishes SEMA3A as an inhibitor of effector CD8+ T cell tumour infiltration, suggesting that blocking NRP1 could improve T cell function in tumours.
  20. Mitochondrion. 2024 Apr 08. pii: S1567-7249(24)00036-9. [Epub ahead of print]76 101878
      Mitochondrial volume is maintained through the permeability of the inner mitochondrial membrane by a specific aquaporin and the osmotic balance between the mitochondrial matrix and cellular cytoplasm. Various electrolytes, such as calcium and hydrogen ions, potassium, and sodium, as well as other osmotic substances, affect the swelling of mitochondria. Intracellular glucose levels may also affect mitochondrial swelling, although the relationship between mitochondrial ion homeostasis and intracellular glucose is poorly understood. This article reviews what is currently known about how the Sodium-Glucose transporter (SGLT) may impact mitochondrial sodium (Na+) homeostasis. SGLTs regulate intracellular glucose and sodium levels and, therefore, interfere with mitochondrial ion homeostasis because mitochondrial Na+ is closely linked to cytoplasmic calcium and sodium dynamics. Recently, a large amount of data has been available on the effects of SGLT2 inhibitors on mitochondria in different cell types, including renal proximal tubule cells, endothelial cells, mesangial cells, podocytes, neuronal cells, and cardiac cells. The current evidence suggests that SGLT inhibitors (SGLTi) may affect mitochondrial dynamics regarding intracellular Sodium and hydrogen ions. Although the regulation of mitochondrial ion channels by SGLTs is still in its infancy, the evidence accumulated thus far of the effect of SGLTi on mitochondrial functions certainly will foster further research in this direction.
    Keywords:  Endothelium; Gliflozins; Proximal tubule; SGLT2; Sodium; Swelling
  21. Nature. 2024 Apr 08.
      Broad-spectrum RAS inhibition holds the potential to benefit roughly a quarter of human cancer patients whose tumors are driven by RAS mutations1,2. RMC-7977 is a highly selective inhibitor of the active GTP-bound forms of KRAS, HRAS, and NRAS, with affinity for both mutant and wild type (WT) variants (RAS(ON) multi-selective)3. As >90% of human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) cases are driven by activating mutations in KRAS4, we assessed the therapeutic potential of the RAS(ON) multi-selective inhibitor RMC-7977 in a comprehensive range of PDAC models. We observed broad and pronounced anti-tumor activity across models following direct RAS inhibition at exposures that were well-tolerated in vivo. Pharmacological analyses revealed divergent responses to RMC-7977 in tumor versus normal tissues. Treated tumors exhibited waves of apoptosis along with sustained proliferative arrest whereas normal tissues underwent only transient decreases in proliferation, with no evidence of apoptosis. In the autochthonous KPC model, RMC-7977 treatment resulted in a profound extension of survival followed by on-treatment relapse. Analysis of relapsed tumors identified Myc copy number gain as a prevalent candidate resistance mechanism, which could be overcome by combinatorial TEAD inhibition in vitro. Together, these data establish a strong preclinical rationale for the use of broad-spectrum RAS-GTP inhibition in the setting of PDAC and identify a promising candidate combination therapeutic regimen to overcome monotherapy resistance.
  22. Sci Rep. 2024 Apr 11. 14(1): 8469
      Obesity is associated with increased risk and worse prognosis of many tumours including those of the breast and of the esophagus. Adipokines released from the peritumoural adipose tissue promote the metastatic potential of cancer cells, suggesting the existence of a crosstalk between the adipose tissue and the surrounding tumour. Mitochondrial Ca2+ signaling contributes to the progression of carcinoma of different origins. However, whether adipocyte-derived factors modulate mitochondrial Ca2+ signaling in tumours is unknown. Here, we show that conditioned media derived from adipose tissue cultures (ADCM) enriched in precursor cells impinge on mitochondrial Ca2+ homeostasis of target cells. Moreover, in modulating mitochondrial Ca2+ responses, a univocal crosstalk exists between visceral adipose tissue-derived preadipocytes and esophageal cancer cells, and between subcutaneous adipose tissue-derived preadipocytes and triple-negative breast cancer cells. An unbiased metabolomic analysis of ADCM identified creatine and creatinine for their ability to modulate mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake, migration and proliferation of esophageal and breast tumour cells, respectively.
  23. Nat Rev Cancer. 2024 Apr 11.
      Lymphatic transport maintains homeostatic health and is necessary for immune surveillance, and yet lymphatic growth is often associated with solid tumour development and dissemination. Although tumour-associated lymphatic remodelling and growth were initially presumed to simply expand a passive route for regional metastasis, emerging research puts lymphatic vessels and their active transport at the interface of metastasis, tumour-associated inflammation and systemic immune surveillance. Here, we discuss active mechanisms through which lymphatic vessels shape their transport function to influence peripheral tissue immunity and the current understanding of how tumour-associated lymphatic vessels may both augment and disrupt antitumour immune surveillance. We end by looking forward to emerging areas of interest in the field of cancer immunotherapy in which lymphatic vessels and their transport function are likely key players: the formation of tertiary lymphoid structures, immune surveillance in the central nervous system, the microbiome, obesity and ageing. The lessons learnt support a working framework that defines the lymphatic system as a key determinant of both local and systemic inflammatory networks and thereby a crucial player in the response to cancer immunotherapy.
  24. Trends Biochem Sci. 2024 Apr 09. pii: S0968-0004(24)00074-4. [Epub ahead of print]
      Investigating how cells and organisms sense and respond to O2 levels is essential to our understanding of physiology and pathology. This field has advanced considerably since the discovery of the major transcription factor family, hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF), and the enzymes that control its levels: prolyl hydroxylases (PHDs). However, with its expansion, new complexities have emerged. Herein we highlight three main areas where, in our opinion, the research community could direct some of their attention. These include non-transcriptional roles of HIFs, specificity and O2 sensitivity of 2-oxoglutarate-dependent dioxygenases (2-OGDDs), and new tools and methods to detect O2 concentrations in cells and organs. A greater understanding of these areas would answer big questions and help drive our knowledge of cellular responses to hypoxia forward.
    Keywords:  2-OGDDs; HIF; chromatin; imaging; oxygen; proteomics; sequencing
  25. Redox Biol. 2024 Apr 03. pii: S2213-2317(24)00126-5. [Epub ahead of print]72 103150
      Niemann-Pick type C (NPC) disease is a lysosomal storage disorder characterized by impaired motor coordination due to neurological defects and cerebellar dysfunction caused by the accumulation of cholesterol in endolysosomes. Besides the increase in lysosomal cholesterol, mitochondria are also enriched in cholesterol, which leads to decreased membrane fluidity, impaired mitochondrial function and loss of GSH, and has been shown to contribute to the progression of NPC disease. S-Adenosyl-l-methionine (SAM) regulates membrane physical properties through the generation of phosphatidylcholine (PC) from phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) methylation and functions as a GSH precursor by providing cysteine in the transsulfuration pathway. However, the role of SAM in NPC disease has not been investigated. Here we report that Npc1-/- mice exhibit decreased brain SAM levels but unchanged S-adenosyl-l-homocysteine content and lower expression of Mat2a. Brain mitochondria from Npc1-/- mice display decreased mitochondrial GSH levels and liquid chromatography-high resolution mass spectrometry analysis reveal a lower PC/PE ratio in mitochondria, contributing to increased mitochondrial membrane order. In vivo treatment of Npc1-/- mice with SAM restores SAM levels in mitochondria, resulting in increased PC/PE ratio, mitochondrial membrane fluidity and subsequent replenishment of mitochondrial GSH levels. In vivo SAM treatment improves the decline of locomotor activity, increases Purkinje cell survival in the cerebellum and extends the average and maximal life spam of Npc1-/- mice. These findings identify SAM as a potential therapeutic approach for the treatment of NPC disease.
    Keywords:  Antioxidants; Membrane fluidity; Mitochondrial GSH; Neurodegeneration
  26. Cancer Sci. 2024 Apr 09.
      Constitutively active KRAS mutations are among the major drivers of lung cancer, yet the identity of molecular co-operators of oncogenic KRAS in the lung remains ill-defined. The innate immune cytosolic DNA sensor and pattern recognition receptor (PRR) Absent-in-melanoma 2 (AIM2) is best known for its assembly of multiprotein inflammasome complexes and promoting an inflammatory response. Here, we define a role for AIM2, independent of inflammasomes, in KRAS-addicted lung adenocarcinoma (LAC). In genetically defined and experimentally induced (nicotine-derived nitrosamine ketone; NNK) LAC mouse models harboring the KrasG12D driver mutation, AIM2 was highly upregulated compared with other cytosolic DNA sensors and inflammasome-associated PRRs. Genetic ablation of AIM2 in KrasG12D and NNK-induced LAC mouse models significantly reduced tumor growth, coincident with reduced cellular proliferation in the lung. Bone marrow chimeras suggest a requirement for AIM2 in KrasG12D-driven LAC in both hematopoietic (immune) and non-hematopoietic (epithelial) cellular compartments, which is supported by upregulated AIM2 expression in immune and epithelial cells of mutant KRAS lung tissues. Notably, protection against LAC in AIM2-deficient mice is associated with unaltered protein levels of mature Caspase-1 and IL-1β inflammasome effectors. Moreover, genetic ablation of the key inflammasome adapter, ASC, did not suppress KrasG12D-driven LAC. In support of these in vivo findings, AIM2, but not mature Caspase-1, was upregulated in human LAC patient tumor biopsies. Collectively, our findings reveal that endogenous AIM2 plays a tumor-promoting role, independent of inflammasomes, in mutant KRAS-addicted LAC, and suggest innate immune DNA sensing may provide an avenue to explore new therapeutic strategies in lung cancer.
    Keywords:  cell proliferation; inflammasome; innate immunity; lung cancer; pattern recognition receptors
  27. Nature. 2024 Apr 10.
      A major limitation of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapies is the poor persistence of these cells in vivo1. The expression of memory-associated genes in CAR T cells is linked to their long-term persistence in patients and clinical efficacy2-6, suggesting that memory programs may underpin durable CAR T cell function. Here we show that the transcription factor FOXO1 is responsible for promoting memory and restraining exhaustion in human CAR T cells. Pharmacological inhibition or gene editing of endogenous FOXO1 diminished the expression of memory-associated genes, promoted an exhaustion-like phenotype and impaired the antitumour activity of CAR T cells. Overexpression of FOXO1 induced a gene-expression program consistent with T cell memory and increased chromatin accessibility at FOXO1-binding motifs. CAR T cells that overexpressed FOXO1 retained their function, memory potential and metabolic fitness in settings of chronic stimulation, and exhibited enhanced persistence and tumour control in vivo. By contrast, overexpression of TCF1 (encoded by TCF7) did not enforce canonical memory programs or enhance the potency of CAR T cells. Notably, FOXO1 activity correlated with positive clinical outcomes of patients treated with CAR T cells or tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes, underscoring the clinical relevance of FOXO1 in cancer immunotherapy. Our results show that overexpressing FOXO1 can increase the antitumour activity of human CAR T cells, and highlight memory reprogramming as a broadly applicable approach for optimizing therapeutic T cell states.
  28. J Biol Chem. 2024 Apr 06. pii: S0021-9258(24)01770-8. [Epub ahead of print] 107269
      Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is an important cofactor and antioxidant for numerous cellular processes, and its deficiency has been linked to human disorders including mitochondrial disease, heart failure, Parkinson's disease, and hypertension. Unfortunately, treatment with exogenous CoQ10 is often ineffective, likely due to the extreme hydrophobicity and high molecular weight of CoQ10. Here, we show that less hydrophobic CoQ species with shorter isoprenoid tails can serve as viable substitutes for CoQ10 in human cells. We demonstrate that CoQ4 can perform multiple functions of CoQ10 in CoQ-deficient cells at markedly lower treatment concentrations, motivating further investigation of CoQ4 as a supplement for CoQ10 deficiencies. In addition, we describe the synthesis and evaluation of an initial set of compounds designed to target CoQ4 selectively to mitochondria using triphenylphosphonium (TPP). Our results indicate that select versions of these compounds can successfully be delivered to mitochondria in a cell model and be cleaved to produce CoQ4, laying the groundwork for further development.
    Keywords:  Antioxidant; Bioenergetics; Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10); Ferroptosis; Membrane lipid; Mitochondrial respiratory chain complex; Mitochondrial therapeutics; Pyrimidine biosynthesis; Ubiquinone
  29. Cell Metab. 2024 Apr 08. pii: S1550-4131(24)00088-3. [Epub ahead of print]
      Cellular senescence underlies many aging-related pathologies, but its heterogeneity poses challenges for studying and targeting senescent cells. We present here a machine learning program senescent cell identification (SenCID), which accurately identifies senescent cells in both bulk and single-cell transcriptome. Trained on 602 samples from 52 senescence transcriptome datasets spanning 30 cell types, SenCID identifies six major senescence identities (SIDs). Different SIDs exhibit different senescence baselines, stemness, gene functions, and responses to senolytics. SenCID enables the reconstruction of senescent trajectories under normal aging, chronic diseases, and COVID-19. Additionally, when applied to single-cell Perturb-seq data, SenCID helps reveal a hierarchy of senescence modulators. Overall, SenCID is an essential tool for precise single-cell analysis of cellular senescence, enabling targeted interventions against senescent cells.
    Keywords:  computational tool; senescence; senescence identification; senescence quantification; senescence regulators; single cell; trajectory
  30. Nat Aging. 2024 Apr 12.
      Studies in preclinical models suggest that complex lipids, such as phospholipids, play a role in the regulation of longevity. However, identification of universally conserved complex lipid changes that occur during aging, and how these respond to interventions, is lacking. Here, to comprehensively map how complex lipids change during aging, we profiled ten tissues in young versus aged mice using a lipidomics platform. Strikingly, from >1,200 unique lipids, we found a tissue-wide accumulation of bis(monoacylglycero)phosphate (BMP) during mouse aging. To investigate translational value, we assessed muscle tissue of young and older people, and found a similar marked BMP accumulation in the human aging lipidome. Furthermore, we found that a healthy-aging intervention consisting of moderate-to-vigorous exercise was able to lower BMP levels in postmenopausal female research participants. Our work implicates complex lipid biology as central to aging, identifying a conserved aging lipid signature of BMP accumulation that is modifiable upon a short-term healthy-aging intervention.
  31. Nat Commun. 2024 Apr 08. 15(1): 3031
      Hepatoblastomas (HB) display heterogeneous cellular phenotypes that influence the clinical outcome, but the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. Here, we use a single-cell multiomic strategy to unravel the molecular determinants of this plasticity. We identify a continuum of HB cell states between hepatocytic (scH), liver progenitor (scLP) and mesenchymal (scM) differentiation poles, with an intermediate scH/LP population bordering scLP and scH areas in spatial transcriptomics. Chromatin accessibility landscapes reveal the gene regulatory networks of each differentiation pole, and the sequence of transcription factor activations underlying cell state transitions. Single-cell mapping of somatic alterations reveals the clonal architecture of each tumor, showing that each genetic subclone displays its own range of cellular plasticity across differentiation states. The most scLP subclones, overexpressing stem cell and DNA repair genes, proliferate faster after neo-adjuvant chemotherapy. These results highlight how the interplay of clonal evolution and epigenetic plasticity shapes the potential of HB subclones to respond to chemotherapy.
  32. bioRxiv. 2024 Mar 29. pii: 2024.03.26.586781. [Epub ahead of print]
      Organ function declines with age, and large-scale transcriptomic analyses have highlighted differential aging trajectories across tissues. The mechanisms underlying shared and organ-selective functional changes across the lifespan, however, still remains poorly understood. Given the central role of mitochondria in powering cellular processes needed to maintain tissue health, we therefore undertook a systematic assessment of respiratory activity across 33 different tissues in young (2.5 months) and old (20 months) mice of both sexes. Our high-resolution mitochondrial respiration atlas reveals: 1) within any group of mice, mitochondrial activity varies widely across tissues, with the highest values consistently seen in heart, brown fat, and kidney; 2) biological sex is a significant but minor contributor to mitochondrial respiration, and its contributions are tissue-specific, with major differences seen in the pancreas, stomach, and white adipose tissue; 3) age is a dominant factor affecting mitochondrial activity, especially across different fat depots and skeletal muscle groups, and most brain regions; 4) age-effects can be sex- and tissue-specific, with some of the largest effects seen in pancreas, heart, adipose tissue, and skeletal muscle; and 5) while aging alters the functional trajectories of mitochondria in a majority of tissues, some are remarkably resilient to age-induced changes. Altogether, our data provide the most comprehensive compendium of mitochondrial respiration and illuminate functional signatures of aging across diverse tissues and organ systems.
  33. Nat Metab. 2024 Apr 11.
      The obesity epidemic continues to worsen worldwide, driving metabolic and chronic inflammatory diseases. Thiazolidinediones, such as rosiglitazone (Rosi), are PPARγ agonists that promote 'M2-like' adipose tissue macrophage (ATM) polarization and cause insulin sensitization. As ATM-derived small extracellular vesicles (ATM-sEVs) from lean mice are known to increase insulin sensitivity, we assessed the metabolic effects of ATM-sEVs from Rosi-treated obese male mice (Rosi-ATM-sEVs). Here we show that Rosi leads to improved glucose and insulin tolerance, transcriptional repolarization of ATMs and increased sEV secretion. Administration of Rosi-ATM-sEVs rescues obesity-induced glucose intolerance and insulin sensitivity in vivo without the known thiazolidinedione-induced adverse effects of weight gain or haemodilution. Rosi-ATM-sEVs directly increase insulin sensitivity in adipocytes, myotubes and primary mouse and human hepatocytes. Additionally, we demonstrate that the miRNAs within Rosi-ATM-sEVs, primarily miR-690, are responsible for these beneficial metabolic effects. Thus, using ATM-sEVs with specific miRNAs may provide a therapeutic path to induce insulin sensitization.
  34. Immunity. 2024 Apr 09. pii: S1074-7613(24)00127-4. [Epub ahead of print]57(4): 834-836
      Various microbial metabolites promote cell transformation. In this issue of Immunity, Cong et al. show that deoxycholic acid (DCA), a microbial metabolite of bile, promotes tumor growth by suppressing antitumor CD8+ T cell responses via dysregulation of calcium efflux.
  35. Cell. 2024 Apr 05. pii: S0092-8674(24)00312-X. [Epub ahead of print]
      Microbial communities are resident to multiple niches of the human body and are important modulators of the host immune system and responses to anticancer therapies. Recent studies have shown that complex microbial communities are present within primary tumors. To investigate the presence and relevance of the microbiome in metastases, we integrated mapping and assembly-based metagenomics, genomics, transcriptomics, and clinical data of 4,160 metastatic tumor biopsies. We identified organ-specific tropisms of microbes, enrichments of anaerobic bacteria in hypoxic tumors, associations between microbial diversity and tumor-infiltrating neutrophils, and the association of Fusobacterium with resistance to immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) in lung cancer. Furthermore, longitudinal tumor sampling revealed temporal evolution of the microbial communities and identified bacteria depleted upon ICB. Together, we generated a pan-cancer resource of the metastatic tumor microbiome that may contribute to advancing treatment strategies.
    Keywords:  assembly-based metagenomics; fusobacterium; immune checkpoint blockade; immunotherapy; longitudinal sampling; metastatic cancers; pan-cancer; tumor microbiome
  36. Dev Cell. 2024 Apr 06. pii: S1534-5807(24)00195-3. [Epub ahead of print]
      Endoplasmic reticulum exit sites (ERESs) are tubular outgrowths of endoplasmic reticulum that serve as the earliest station for protein sorting and export into the secretory pathway. How these structures respond to different cellular conditions remains unclear. Here, we report that ERESs undergo lysosome-dependent microautophagy when Ca2+ is released by lysosomes in response to nutrient stressors such as mTOR inhibition or amino acid starvation in mammalian cells. Targeting and uptake of ERESs into lysosomes were observed by super-resolution live-cell imaging and focus ion beam scanning electron microscopy (FIB-SEM). The mechanism was ESCRT dependent and required ubiquitinated SEC31, ALG2, and ALIX, with a knockout of ALG2 or function-blocking mutations of ALIX preventing engulfment of ERESs by lysosomes. In vitro, reconstitution of the pathway was possible using lysosomal lipid-mimicking giant unilamellar vesicles and purified recombinant components. Together, these findings demonstrate a pathway of lysosome-dependent ERES microautophagy mediated by COPII, ALG2, and ESCRTS induced by nutrient stress.
    Keywords:  ALG2; COPII; ER exit sites; ESCRTs; FIB-SEM; autophagy; cellular stress; lysosome; mTOR
  37. Cancer Discov. 2024 Apr 06.
      Understanding the role of the tumour microenvironment (TME) in lung cancer is critical to improving patient outcome. We identified four histology-independent archetype TMEs in treatment-naive early-stage lung cancer using imaging mass cytometry in the TRACERx study (n=81 patients/198 samples/2.3million cells). In immune-hot adenocarcinomas, spatial niches of T cells and macrophages increased with clonal neoantigen burden, whereas such an increase was observed for niches of plasma and B cells in immune-excluded squamous cell carcinomas (LUSC). Immune-low TMEs were associated with fibroblast barriers to immune infiltration. The fourth archetype, characterised by sparse lymphocytes and high tumour-associated neutrophil (TAN) infiltration, had tumour cells spatially separated from vasculature and exhibited low spatial intratumour heterogeneity. TAN-High LUSC had frequent PIK3CA mutations. TAN-High tumours harboured recently expanded and metastasis-seeding subclones and had a shorter disease-free survival independent of stage. These findings delineate genomic, immune and physical barriers to immune surveillance and implicate neutrophil-rich TMEs in metastasis.
  38. Nature. 2024 Apr;628(8007): 260-261
    Keywords:  Animal behaviour; Ecology; Evolution