bims-celmim Biomed News
on Cellular and mitochondrial metabolism
Issue of 2023‒10‒08
35 papers selected by
Marc Segarra Mondejar, University of Cologne

  1. Nat Metab. 2023 Oct 05.
      Neuronal activity creates an intense energy demand that must be met by rapid metabolic responses. To investigate metabolic adaptations in the neuron-enriched dentate granule cell (DGC) layer within its native tissue environment, we employed murine acute hippocampal brain slices, coupled with fast metabolite preservation and followed by mass spectrometry (MS) imaging, to generate spatially resolved metabolomics and isotope-tracing data. Here we show that membrane depolarization induces broad metabolic changes, including increased glycolytic activity in DGCs. Increased glucose metabolism in response to stimulation is accompanied by mobilization of endogenous inosine into pentose phosphates via the action of purine nucleotide phosphorylase (PNP). The PNP reaction is an integral part of the neuronal response to stimulation, because inhibition of PNP leaves DGCs energetically impaired during recovery from strong activation. Performing MS imaging on brain slices bridges the gap between live-cell physiology and the deep chemical analysis enabled by MS.
  2. Biomed Pharmacother. 2023 Oct 04. pii: S0753-3322(23)01450-6. [Epub ahead of print]167 115652
      Mitochondria maintain the normal physiological function of nerve cells by producing sufficient cellular energy and performing crucial roles in maintaining the metabolic balance through intracellular Ca2+ homeostasis, oxidative stress, and axonal development. Depression is a prevalent psychiatric disorder with an unclear pathophysiology. Damage to the hippocampal neurons is a key component of the plasticity regulation of synapses and plays a critical role in the mechanism of depression. There is evidence suggesting that mitochondrial dysfunction is associated with synaptic impairment. The maintenance of mitochondrial homeostasis includes quantitative maintenance and quality control of mitochondria. Mitochondrial biogenesis produces new and healthy mitochondria, and mitochondrial dynamics cooperates with mitophagy to remove damaged mitochondria. These processes maintain mitochondrial population stability and exert neuroprotective effects against early depression. In contrast, mitochondrial dysfunction is observed in various brain regions of patients with major depressive disorders. The accumulation of defective mitochondria accelerates cellular nerve dysfunction. In addition, impaired mitochondria aggravate alterations in the brain microenvironment, promoting neuroinflammation and energy depletion, thereby exacerbating the development of depression. This review summarizes the influence of mitochondrial dysfunction and the underlying molecular pathways on the pathogenesis of depression. Additionally, we discuss the maintenance of mitochondrial homeostasis as a potential therapeutic strategy for depression.
    Keywords:  Major depressive disorder; Mitochondrial dysfunction; Mitochondrial quality control; Neuroinflammation
  3. PLoS One. 2023 ;18(10): e0291950
      System xc-, encoded by Slc7a11, is an antiporter responsible for exporting glutamate while importing cystine, which is essential for protein synthesis and the formation of thiol peptides, such as glutathione. Glutathione acts as a co-factor for enzymes responsible for scavenging reactive oxygen species. Upon exposure to bacterial products, macrophages exhibit a rapid upregulation of system xc-. This study investigates the impact of Slc7a11 deficiency on the functionality of peritoneal and bone marrow-derived macrophages. Our findings reveal that the absence of Slc7a11 results in significantly reduced glutathione levels, compromised mitochondrial flexibility, and hindered cytokine production in bone marrow-derived macrophages. Conversely, system xc- has a lesser impact on peritoneal macrophages in vivo. These results indicate that system xc- is essential for maintaining glutathione levels, mitochondrial functionality, and cytokine production, with a heightened importance under atmospheric oxygen tension.
  4. Cell Mol Neurobiol. 2023 Oct 06.
      Hypercholesterolemia affects the neurovascular unit, including the cerebral blood vessel endothelium. Operation of this system, especially in the context of energy metabolism, is controlled by extracellular concentration of purines, regulated by ecto-enzymes, such as e-NTPDase-1/CD39, ecto-5'-NT/CD73, and eADA. We hypothesize that hypercholesterolemia, via modulation of the activity of nucleotide metabolism-regulating ecto-enzymes, deteriorates glycolytic efficiency and energy metabolism of endothelial cells, which may potentially contribute to development of neurodegenerative processes. We aimed to determine the effect of hypercholesterolemia on the concentration of purine nucleotides, glycolytic activity, and activity of ecto-enzymes in the murine brain microvascular endothelial cells (mBMECs). We used 3-month-old male LDLR-/-/Apo E-/- double knockout mice to model hypercholesterolemia and atherosclerosis. The age-matched wild-type C57/BL6 mice were a control group. The intracellular concentration of ATP and NAD and extracellular activity of the ecto-enzymes were measured by HPLC. The glycolytic function of mBMECs was assessed by means of the extracellular acidification rate (ECAR) using the glycolysis stress test. The results showed an increased activity of ecto-5'-NT and eADA in mBMECs of the hypercholesterolemic mice, but no differences in intracellular concentration of ATP, NAD, and ECAR between the hypercholesterolemic and control groups. The changed activity of ecto-5'-NT and eADA leads to increased purine nucleotides turnover and a shift in their concentration balance towards adenosine and inosine in the extracellular space. However, no changes in the energetic metabolism of the mBMECs are reported. Our results confirm the influence of hypercholesterolemia on regulation of purine nucleotides metabolism, which may impair the function of the cerebral vascular endothelium. The effect of hypercholesterolemia on the murine brain microvascular endothelial cells (mBMECs). An increased activity of ecto-5'-NT and eADA in mBMECs of the LDLR-/-/Apo E-/- mice leads to a shift in the concentration balance towards adenosine and inosine in the extracellular space with no differences in intracellular concentration of ATP. Figure was created with
    Keywords:  Ecto-enzymes; Endothelium; Glycolysis; Hypercholesterolemia; Purinergic nucleotides; Stroke
  5. J Vis Exp. 2023 09 15.
      Mitophagy is a quality control mechanism necessary to maintain optimal mitochondrial function. Dysfunctional β-cell mitophagy results in insufficient insulin release. Advanced quantitative assessments of mitophagy often require the use of genetic reporters. The mt-Keima mouse model, which expresses a mitochondria-targeted pH-sensitive dual-excitation ratiometric probe for quantifying mitophagy via flow cytometry, has been optimized in β-cells. The ratio of acidic-to-neutral mt-Keima wavelength emissions can be used to robustly quantify mitophagy. However, using genetic mitophagy reporters can be challenging when working with complex genetic mouse models or difficult-to-transfect cells, such as primary human islets. This protocol describes a novel complementary dye-based method to quantify β-cell mitophagy in primary islets using MtPhagy. MtPhagy is a pH-sensitive, cell-permeable dye that accumulates in the mitochondria and increases its fluorescence intensity when mitochondria are in low pH environments, such as lysosomes during mitophagy. By combining the MtPhagy dye with Fluozin-3-AM, a Zn2+ indicator that selects for β-cells, and Tetramethylrhodamine, ethyl ester (TMRE) to assess mitochondrial membrane potential, mitophagy flux can be quantified specifically in β-cells via flow cytometry. These two approaches are highly complementary, allowing for flexibility and precision in assessing mitochondrial quality control in numerous β-cell models.
  6. Sci Rep. 2023 Oct 06. 13(1): 16863
      Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) cells have a great demand for nutrients in the form of sugars, amino acids, and lipids. Particularly, amino acids are critical for cancer growth and, as intermediates, connect glucose, lipid and nucleotide metabolism. PDAC cells meet these requirements by upregulating selective amino acid transporters. Here we show that SLC38A5 (SN2/SNAT5), a neutral amino acid transporter is highly upregulated and functional in PDAC cells. Using CRISPR/Cas9-mediated knockout of SLC38A5, we show its tumor promoting role in an in vitro cell line model as well as in a subcutaneous xenograft mouse model. Using metabolomics and RNA sequencing, we show significant reduction in many amino acid substrates of SLC38A5 as well as OXPHOS inactivation in response to SLC38A5 deletion. Experimental validation demonstrates inhibition of mTORC1, glycolysis and mitochondrial respiration in KO cells, suggesting a serious metabolic crisis associated with SLC38A5 deletion. Since many SLC38A5 substrates are activators of mTORC1 as well as TCA cycle intermediates/precursors, we speculate amino acid insufficiency as a possible link between SLC38A5 deletion and inactivation of mTORC1, glycolysis and mitochondrial respiration, and the underlying mechanism for PDAC attenuation. Overall, we show that SLC38A5 promotes PDAC, thereby identifying a novel, hitherto unknown, therapeutic target for PDAC.
  7. Chem Commun (Camb). 2023 Oct 06.
      A mitochondria-targeted far-red fluorescent probe LY-1 with AIE character was formulated to track cell viscosity alterations with excellent sensitivity and selectivity, which was used to discriminate between mitophagy and ferroptosis in cancer cells. Probe LY-1 is expected to be an effective vehicle for the diagnosis of mitochondrial viscosity relevant diseases.
  8. Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2023 Sep 30. pii: S0958-1669(23)00105-2. [Epub ahead of print]84 102995
      Despite the higher incidence of cancer with increasing age, few preclinical or clinical studies incorporate age. This, coupled with an aging world population, requires that we improve our understanding of how aging affects cancer development, progression, and treatment. One key area will be how the tumor microenvironment (TME) changes with age. Metabolite levels are an essential component of the TME, and they are affected by the metabolic requirements of the cells present and systemic metabolite availability. These factors are affected by aging, causing different TME metabolic states between young and older adults. In this review, we will summarize what is known about how aging impacts the TME metabolic state, and suggest how we can improve our understanding of it.
  9. eNeuro. 2023 Sep 28. pii: ENEURO.0159-23.2023. [Epub ahead of print]
      The levels of purines, essential molecules to sustain eukaryotic cell homeostasis, are regulated by the coordination of the de novo and salvage synthesis pathways. In the embryonic central nervous system (CNS), the de novo pathway is considered crucial to meet the requirements for the active proliferation of neural stem/progenitor cells (NSPCs). However, how these two pathways are balanced or separately utilized during CNS development remains poorly understood. In this study, we showed a dynamic shift in pathway utilization, with greater reliance on the de novo pathway during embryonic stages and on the salvage pathway in postnatal-adult mouse brain. The pharmacological effects of various purine synthesis inhibitors in vitro and the expression profile of purine synthesis enzymes indicated that NSPCs in the embryonic cerebrum mainly utilize the de novo pathway. Simultaneously, NSPCs in the cerebellum require both the de novo and the salvage pathways. In vivo administration of de novo inhibitors resulted in severe hypoplasia of the forebrain cortical region, indicating a gradient of purine demand along the anteroposterior axis of the embryonic brain, with cortical areas of the dorsal forebrain having higher purine requirements than ventral or posterior areas such as the striatum and thalamus. This histological defect of the neocortex was accompanied by strong downregulation of the mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1)/ribosomal protein S6 kinase (S6K)/S6 signaling cascade, a crucial pathway for cell metabolism, growth, and survival. These findings indicate the importance of the spatiotemporal regulation of both purine pathways for mTORC1 signaling and proper brain development.Significance StatementBrain development requires a balance of de novo and salvage purine synthetic pathways. However, the utilization of these pathways during brain development remains poorly understood. This study provides evidence that the spatiotemporal regulation of these two purine synthesis pathways is essential for normal brain development. We revealed that inhibition of de novo purine synthesis results in the downregulation of mammalian/mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling, leading to malformations in specific embryonic brain regions such as the cerebral neocortex. These results suggest a temporal and spatial gradient of purine demand during embryonic brain development. These findings could improve our understanding of neurological diseases caused by defects in purine metabolism.
    Keywords:  NSPCs; cortical development; de novo pathway; mTOR; purine metabolism; salvage pathway
  10. Cell Rep. 2023 Oct 03. pii: S2211-1247(23)01217-2. [Epub ahead of print]42(10): 113205
      Target of Rapamycin Complex 1 (TORC1) is a conserved eukaryotic protein complex that links the presence of nutrients with cell growth. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, TORC1 activity is positively regulated by the presence of amino acids and glucose in the medium. However, the mechanisms underlying nutrient-induced TORC1 activation remain poorly understood. By utilizing an in vivo TORC1 activation assay, we demonstrate that differential metabolism of glucose activates TORC1 through three distinct pathways in yeast. The first "canonical Rag guanosine triphosphatase (GTPase)-dependent pathway" requires conversion of glucose to fructose 1,6-bisphosphate, which activates TORC1 via the Rag GTPase heterodimer Gtr1GTP-Gtr2GDP. The second "non-canonical Rag GTPase-dependent pathway" requires conversion of glucose to glucose 6-phosphate, which activates TORC1 via a process that involves Gtr1GTP-Gtr2GTP and mitochondrial function. The third "Rag GTPase-independent pathway" requires complete glycolysis and vacuolar ATPase reassembly for TORC1 activation. We have established a roadmap to deconstruct the link between glucose metabolism and TORC1 activation.
    Keywords:  CP: Cell biology; CP: Metabolism; glucose signaling; glycolysis; mitochondrial function; target of rapamycin complex 1; vacuolar ATPase reassembly
  11. Front Immunol. 2023 ;14 1243104
      Amino acid transporters are generally recognized as machinery that transport amino acids from the extracellular environment into the cytoplasm. Although their primary function is the uptake of amino acids to supply the cell with nutrients and energy, endolysosome-resident amino acid (EL-aa) transporters possess several unique functions in accordance with their localization in intracellular vesicular membranes. They play pivotal roles in the maintenance of metabolic homeostasis via direct involvement in the amino acid sensing pathway, which regulates the activity of mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1), a master regulator of cellular metabolism. Additionally, some EL-aa transporters contribute to the maintenance of dynamic homeostasis of endolysosomes, including the regulation of endolysosomal acidity, by carrying amino acids out of endolysosomes. In addition, EL-aa transporters act as a scaffold to gather signaling molecules and multiple enzymes to control cellular metabolism on the endolysosomal membrane. Among EL-aa transporters, solute carrier family 15 member 4 (SLC15A4) is preferentially expressed in immune cells, including macrophages, dendritic cells, and B cells, and plays a key role in the integration of metabolic and inflammatory signals. In this review, we summarize our recent findings on EL-aa transporter contributions to inflammatory and metabolic signaling in the endolysosomes of immune cells by focusing on the SLC15 family, including SLC15A4 and SLC15A3, and discuss their uniqueness and universality. We also discuss the potential of targeting these EL-aa transporters in immune cells for the development of novel therapeutic strategies for inflammatory diseases. Because these transporters are highly expressed in immune cells and significantly alter the functions of immune cells, targeting them would provide a great advantage in ensuring a wide safety margin.
    Keywords:  amino acid transporter; endolysosome; immune cells; inflammation; mTORC1; metabolism; solute carrier family 15; therapeutic target
  12. Cell Death Dis. 2023 Oct 04. 14(10): 648
      Autophagy is the process by which cells degrade and recycle proteins and organelles to maintain intracellular homeostasis. Generally, autophagy plays a protective role in cells, but disruption of autophagy mechanisms or excessive autophagic flux usually leads to cell death. Despite recent progress in the study of the regulation and underlying molecular mechanisms of autophagy, numerous questions remain to be answered. How does autophagy regulate cell death? What are the fine-tuned regulatory mechanisms underlying autophagy-dependent cell death (ADCD) and autophagy-mediated cell death (AMCD)? In this article, we highlight the different roles of autophagy in cell death and discuss six of the main autophagy-related cell death modalities, with a focus on the metabolic changes caused by excessive endoplasmic reticulum-phagy (ER-phagy)-induced cell death and the role of mitophagy in autophagy-mediated ferroptosis. Finally, we discuss autophagy enhancement in the treatment of diseases and offer a new perspective based on the use of autophagy for different functional conversions (including the conversion of autophagy and that of different autophagy-mediated cell death modalities) for the clinical treatment of tumors.
  13. Nat Commun. 2023 09 30. 14(1): 6117
      The proline synthesis is importantly involved in tumor growth under hypoxia, while the underlying mechanism remains to be further investigated. Here we show that pyrroline-5-carpoxylate reductase-1 (PYCR1), displaying a constant nuclear localization, is phosphorylated by nuclear IGF1R at Tyrosine 135 under hypoxia; this phosphorylation promotes the binding of PYCR1 to ELK4 and thus PYCR1 recruitment to ELK4-targeted genes promoter. Under hypoxia, ELK4-binding ability and enzymatic activity of PYCR1 are both required for ELK4-Sirt7-mediated transcriptional repression and cell growth maintenance, in which PYCR1-catalyzed NAD+ production stimulates the deacetylation activity of Sirt7 on H3K18ac that restrains genes transcription. Functionally, PYCR1 Tyr-135 phosphorylation exerts supportive effect on tumor growth under hypoxia, and the level of PYCR1 Tyr-135 phosphorylation is associated with malignancy of colorectal cancer (CRC). These data uncover the relationship between the compartmentally metabolic activity of PYCR1 and genes transcription regulation, and highlight the oncogenic role of PYCR1 during CRC development.
  14. bioRxiv. 2023 Sep 22. pii: 2023.09.21.558912. [Epub ahead of print]
      Efficient communication between mitochondria and the nucleus underlies homoeostatic metabolic control, though the involved mitochondrial factors and their mechanisms are poorly defined. Here, we report the surprising detection of multiple mitochondrial-derived transfer RNAs (mito-tRNAs) within the nuclei of human cells. Focused studies of nuclear-transported mito-tRNA-asparagine (mtAsn) revealed that its cognate charging enzyme (NARS2) is also present in the nucleus. MtAsn promoted interaction of NARS2 with histone deacetylase 2 (HDAC2), and repressed HDAC2 association with specific chromatin loci. Perturbation of this axis using antisense oligonucleotides promoted nucleotide biogenesis and enhanced breast cancer growth, and RNA and nascent transcript sequencing demonstrated specific alterations in the transcription of nuclear genes. These findings uncover nucleic-acid mediated communication between two organelles and the existence of a machinery for nuclear gene regulation by a mito-tRNA that restricts tumor growth through metabolic control.Highlights: Multiple mitochondrial-derived tRNAs are detected in human cell nucleiMtAsn promotes binding between NARS2 and HDAC2Metabolic alterations driven by mtAsn impact cell proliferationMtAsn inhibition releases HDAC2 to bind and transcriptionally regulate multiple nuclear genes.
  15. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2023 Oct 03. pii: a041199. [Epub ahead of print]
      Changes in mitochondrial function play a critical role in the basic biology of aging and age-related disease. Mitochondria are typically thought of in the context of ATP production and oxidant production. However, it is clear that the mitochondria sit at a nexus of cell signaling where they affect metabolite, redox, and energy status, which influence many factors that contribute to the biology of aging, including stress responses, proteostasis, epigenetics, and inflammation. This has led to growing interest in identifying mitochondrial targeted interventions to delay or reverse age-related decline in function and promote healthy aging. In this review, we discuss the diverse roles of mitochondria in the cell. We then highlight some of the most promising strategies and compounds to target aging mitochondria in preclinical testing. Finally, we review the strategies and compounds that have advanced to clinical trials to test their ability to improve health in older adults.
  16. Elife. 2023 10 02. pii: e79725. [Epub ahead of print]12
      The heteroplasmic state of eukaryotic cells allows for cryptic accumulation of defective mitochondrial genomes (mtDNA). 'Purifying selection' mechanisms operate to remove such dysfunctional mtDNAs. We found that activators of programmed cell death (PCD), including the CED-3 and CSP-1 caspases, the BH3-only protein CED-13, and PCD corpse engulfment factors, are required in C. elegans to attenuate germline abundance of a 3.1-kb mtDNA deletion mutation, uaDf5, which is normally stably maintained in heteroplasmy with wildtype mtDNA. In contrast, removal of CED-4/Apaf1 or a mutation in the CED-4-interacting prodomain of CED-3, do not increase accumulation of the defective mtDNA, suggesting induction of a non-canonical germline PCD mechanism or non-apoptotic action of the CED-13/caspase axis. We also found that the abundance of germline mtDNAuaDf5 reproducibly increases with age of the mothers. This effect is transmitted to the offspring of mothers, with only partial intergenerational removal of the defective mtDNA. In mutants with elevated mtDNAuaDf5 levels, this removal is enhanced in older mothers, suggesting an age-dependent mechanism of mtDNA quality control. Indeed, we found that both steady-state and age-dependent accumulation rates of uaDf5 are markedly decreased in long-lived, and increased in short-lived, mutants. These findings reveal that regulators of both PCD and the aging program are required for germline mtDNA quality control and its intergenerational transmission.
    Keywords:  C. elegans; aging; cell biology; genetics; genomics; heteroplasmy; insulin signaling; programmed cell death; purifying selection; uaDf5
  17. Elife. 2023 10 03. pii: RP88189. [Epub ahead of print]12
      Insufficient insulin secretion to meet metabolic demand results in diabetes. The intracellular flux of Ca2+ into β-cells triggers insulin release. Since genetics strongly influences variation in islet secretory responses, we surveyed islet Ca2+ dynamics in eight genetically diverse mouse strains. We found high strain variation in response to four conditions: (1) 8 mM glucose; (2) 8 mM glucose plus amino acids; (3) 8 mM glucose, amino acids, plus 10 nM glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP); and (4) 2 mM glucose. These stimuli interrogate β-cell function, α- to β-cell signaling, and incretin responses. We then correlated components of the Ca2+ waveforms to islet protein abundances in the same strains used for the Ca2+ measurements. To focus on proteins relevant to human islet function, we identified human orthologues of correlated mouse proteins that are proximal to glycemic-associated single-nucleotide polymorphisms in human genome-wide association studies. Several orthologues have previously been shown to regulate insulin secretion (e.g. ABCC8, PCSK1, and GCK), supporting our mouse-to-human integration as a discovery platform. By integrating these data, we nominate novel regulators of islet Ca2+ oscillations and insulin secretion with potential relevance for human islet function. We also provide a resource for identifying appropriate mouse strains in which to study these regulators.
    Keywords:  calcium imaging; cell biology; diabetes; genetics; genomics; insulin secretion; islet; mouse; mouse genetics; β-cell
  18. bioRxiv. 2023 Sep 24. pii: 2023.09.23.558792. [Epub ahead of print]
      The mechanisms underlying adult hippocampal neurogenesis (AHN) are not fully understood. AHN plays instrumental roles in learning and memory. Understanding the signals that regulate AHN has implications for brain function and therapy. Here we show that Caveolin-1 (Cav-1), a protein that is highly enriched in endothelial cells and the principal component of caveolae, autonomously regulates AHN. Conditional deletion of Cav-1 in adult neural progenitor cells (nestin +) led to increased neurogenesis and enhanced performance of mice in contextual discrimination. Proteomic analysis revealed that Cav-1 plays a role in mitochondrial pathways in neural progenitor cells. Importantly, Cav-1 was localized to the mitochondria in neural progenitor cells and modulated mitochondrial fission-fusion, a critical process in neurogenesis. These results suggest that Cav-1 is a novel regulator of AHN and underscore the impact of AHN on cognition.
  19. Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Basis Dis. 2023 Sep 25. pii: S0925-4439(23)00263-6. [Epub ahead of print]1870(1): 166897
      Little is known about the metabolic regulation of cancer stem cells (CSCs) in melanoma. Here, we used A375 and WM115 cell lines to dissect the role of mitochondria in conferring CSC traits. Notably, we observed that A375 and WM115 melanospheres, known to be enriched in ABCG2+ CSCs, showed higher mitochondrial mass compared with their adherent counterpart. In particular, they displayed increased PGC1-α expression and oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) complex levels, leading to a metabolic switch characterized by enhanced mitochondrial membrane potential, oxygen consumption, ATP synthesis and ROS production. Interestingly, PGC1-α silencing resulted in the suppression of CSC features, including clonogenic ability, migration, spheroid formation and ABCG2 enrichment. Similarly, XCT790 and SR-18292, two PGC1-α inhibitors, were able not only to reduce melanoma tumorigenicity and invasion but also to block melanosphere growth and propagation and ABCG2+ cell proliferation. In conclusion, improved mitochondrial biogenesis is associated with a stem-like phenotype in melanoma, and therapeutically targeting the mitochondria-enriched CSC subpopulation might overcome tumor progression.
    Keywords:  Melanoma; Mitochondrial biogenesis; Oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS); PGC1-α; cancer stem cells (CSCs)
  20. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2023 Oct 06. 80(11): 315
      Melanoma is the most lethal skin cancer originating from the malignant transformation of epidermal melanocyte. The dysregulation of cellular metabolism is a hallmark of cancer, including in melanoma. Aberrant branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) metabolism and related enzymes has been greatly implicated in the progression of multiple types of cancer, whereas remains far from understood in melanoma. Herein, we reported that the critical BCAA metabolism enzyme branched-chain amino acid transaminase 2 (BCAT2) is an oncogenic factor in melanoma by activating lipogenesis via the epigenetic regulation of fatty acid synthase (FASN) and ATP-citrate lyase (ACLY) expressions. Firstly, we found that BCAT2 expression was prominently increased in melanoma, and highly associated with clinical stage. Then, it was proved that the deficiency of BCAT2 led to impaired tumor cell proliferation, invasion and migration in vitro, and tumor growth and metastasis in vivo. Further, RNA sequencing technology and a panel of biochemical assays demonstrated that BCAT2 regulated de novo lipogenesis via the regulation of the expressions of both FASN and ACLY. Mechanistically, the inhibition of BCAT2 suppressed the generation of intracellular acetyl-CoA, mitigating P300-dependent histone acetylation at the promoter of FASN and ACLY, and thereby their transcription. Ultimately, zinc finger E-box binding homeobox 1 (ZEB1) was identified as the upstream transcriptional factor responsible for BCAT2 up-regulation in melanoma. Our results demonstrate that BCAT2 promotes melanoma progression by epigenetically regulating FASN and ACLY expressions via P300-dependent histone acetylation. Targeting BCAT2 could be exploited as a promising strategy to restrain tumor progression in melanoma.
    Keywords:  ACLY; BCAT2; Epigenetic; FASN; Lipogenesis; Melanoma
  21. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2023 Oct 10. 120(41): e2221653120
      Fatty acid oxidation (FAO) fuels many cancers. However, knowledge of pathways that drive FAO in cancer remains unclear. Here, we revealed that valosin-containing protein (VCP) upregulates FAO to promote colorectal cancer growth. Mechanistically, nuclear VCP binds to histone deacetylase 1 (HDAC1) and facilitates its degradation, thus promoting the transcription of FAO genes, including the rate-limiting enzyme carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1A (CPT1A). FAO is an alternative fuel for cancer cells in environments exhibiting limited glucose availability. We observed that a VCP inhibitor blocked the upregulation of FAO activity and CPT1A expression triggered by metformin in colorectal cancer (CRC) cells. Combined VCP inhibitor and metformin prove more effective than either agent alone in culture and in vivo. Our study illustrates the molecular mechanism underlying the regulation of FAO by nuclear VCP and demonstrates the potential therapeutic utility of VCP inhibitor and metformin combination treatment for colorectal cancer.
    Keywords:  VCP; colorectal cancer; combination therapy; fatty acid oxidation; metformin
  22. Redox Biol. 2023 Sep 26. pii: S2213-2317(23)00308-7. [Epub ahead of print]67 102907
      Cardiac fibrosis is characterized by the excessive deposition of extracellular matrix in the myocardium with cardiac fibroblast activation, leading to chronic cardiac remodeling and dysfunction. However, little is known about metabolic alterations in fibroblasts during cardiac fibrosis, and there is a lack of pharmaceutical treatments that target metabolic dysregulation. Here, we provided evidence that fatty acid β-oxidation (FAO) dysregulation contributes to fibroblast activation and cardiac fibrosis. With transcriptome, metabolome, and functional assays, we demonstrated that FAO was downregulated during fibroblast activation and cardiac fibrosis, and that perturbation of FAO reversely affected the fibroblast-to-myofibroblast transition. The decrease in FAO may be attributed to reduced long-chain fatty acid (LCFA) uptake. Voltage-dependent anion channel 1 (VDAC1), the main gatekeeper of the outer mitochondrial membrane (OMM), serves as the transporter of LCFA into the mitochondria for further utilization and has been shown to be decreased in myofibroblasts. In vitro, the addition of exogenous VDAC1 was shown to ameliorate cardiac fibroblast activation initiated by transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-β1) stimuli, and silencing of VDAC1 displayed the opposite effect. A mechanistic study revealed that VDAC1 exerts a protective effect by regulating LCFA uptake into the mitochondria, which is impaired by an inhibitor of carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1A. In vivo, AAV9-mediated overexpression of VDAC1 in myofibroblasts significantly alleviated transverse aortic constriction (TAC)-induced cardiac fibrosis and rescued cardiac function in mice. Finally, we treated mice with the VDAC1-derived R-Tf-D-LP4 peptide, and the results showed that R-Tf-D-LP4 prevented TAC-induced cardiac fibrosis and dysfunction in mice. In conclusion, this study provides evidence that VDAC1 maintains FAO metabolism in cardiac fibroblasts to repress fibroblast activation and cardiac fibrosis and suggests that the VDAC1 peptide is a promising drug for rescuing fibroblast metabolism and repressing cardiac fibrosis.
    Keywords:  Cardiac fibroblasts; Cardiac fibrosis; Fatty acid metabolism; Voltage-dependent anion channel 1 (VDAC1)
  23. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2023 Oct 02.
      In mammals, hundreds of proteins use iron in a multitude of cellular functions, including vital processes such as mitochondrial respiration, gene regulation and DNA synthesis or repair. Highly orchestrated regulatory systems control cellular and systemic iron fluxes ensuring sufficient iron delivery to target proteins is maintained, while limiting its potentially deleterious effects in iron-mediated oxidative cell damage and ferroptosis. In this Review, we discuss how cells acquire, traffick and export iron and how stored iron is mobilized for iron-sulfur cluster and haem biogenesis. Furthermore, we describe how these cellular processes are fine-tuned by the combination of various sensory and regulatory systems, such as the iron-regulatory protein (IRP)-iron-responsive element (IRE) network, the nuclear receptor co-activator 4 (NCOA4)-mediated ferritinophagy pathway, the prolyl hydroxylase domain (PHD)-hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) axis or the nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (NRF2) regulatory hub. We further describe how these pathways interact with systemic iron homeostasis control through the hepcidin-ferroportin axis to ensure appropriate iron fluxes. This knowledge is key for the identification of novel therapeutic opportunities to prevent diseases of cellular and/or systemic iron mismanagement.
  24. Annu Rev Pathol. 2023 Oct 03.
      Apoptosis, necroptosis, and pyroptosis are genetically programmed cell death mechanisms that eliminate obsolete, damaged, infected, and self-reactive cells. Apoptosis fragments cells in a manner that limits immune cell activation, whereas the lytic death programs of necroptosis and pyroptosis release proinflammatory intracellular contents. Apoptosis fine-tunes tissue architecture during mammalian development, promotes tissue homeostasis, and is crucial for averting cancer and autoimmunity. All three cell death mechanisms are deployed to thwart the spread of pathogens. Disabling regulators of cell death signaling in mice has revealed how excessive cell death can fuel acute or chronic inflammation. Here we review strategies for modulating cell death in the context of disease. For example, BCL-2 inhibitor venetoclax, an inducer of apoptosis, is approved for the treatment of certain hematologic malignancies. By contrast, inhibition of RIPK1, NLRP3, GSDMD, or NINJ1 to limit proinflammatory cell death and/or the release of large proinflammatory molecules from dying cells may benefit patients with inflammatory diseases. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Pathology: Mechanisms of Disease, Volume 19 is January 2024. Please see for revised estimates.
  25. Exp Mol Med. 2023 Oct 02.
      Histone acetylation involves the transfer of two-carbon units to the nucleus that are embedded in low-concentration metabolites. We found that lactate, a high-concentration metabolic byproduct, can be a major carbon source for histone acetylation through oxidation-dependent metabolism. Both in cells and in purified nuclei, 13C3-lactate carbons are incorporated into histone H4 (maximum incorporation: ~60%). In the purified nucleus, this process depends on nucleus-localized lactate dehydrogenase (LDHA), knockout (KO) of which abrogates incorporation. Heterologous expression of nucleus-localized LDHA reverses the KO effect. Lactate itself increases histone acetylation, whereas inhibition of LDHA reduces acetylation. In vitro and in vivo settings exhibit different lactate incorporation patterns, suggesting an influence on the microenvironment. Higher nuclear LDHA localization is observed in pancreatic cancer than in normal tissues, showing disease relevance. Overall, lactate and nuclear LDHA can be major structural and regulatory players in the metabolism-epigenetics axis controlled by the cell's own status or the environmental status.
  26. Cell Rep. 2023 Sep 29. pii: S2211-1247(23)01195-6. [Epub ahead of print]42(10): 113183
      Recent developments in genome sequencing have expanded the knowledge of genetic factors associated with late-onset Alzheimer's disease (AD). Among them, genetic variant ε4 of the APOE gene (APOE4) confers the greatest disease risk. Dysregulated glucose metabolism is an early pathological feature of AD. Using isogenic ApoE3 and ApoE4 astrocytes derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells, we find that ApoE4 increases glycolytic activity but impairs mitochondrial respiration in astrocytes. Ultrastructural and autophagy flux analyses show that ApoE4-induced cholesterol accumulation impairs lysosome-dependent removal of damaged mitochondria. Acute treatment with cholesterol-depleting agents restores autophagic activity, mitochondrial dynamics, and associated proteomes, and extended treatment rescues mitochondrial respiration in ApoE4 astrocytes. Taken together, our study provides a direct link between ApoE4-induced lysosomal cholesterol accumulation and abnormal oxidative phosphorylation.
    Keywords:  ApoE4; CP: Cell biology; CP: Metabolism; glucose metabolism; human astrocytes; lysosomal cholesterol accumulation; mitophagy
  27. Physiol Genomics. 2023 Oct 02.
      Lysine is an essential amino acid that serves as a building block in protein synthesis. Beside this, lysine's metabolic activity has only recently been unraveled. Lysine metabolism is tissue specific and is linked to several renal, cardiovascular and endocrinological diseases through human metabolomics datasets. As a free molecule, lysine takes part in antioxidant response, engages in protein modifications and its chemistry shapes both proteome and metabolome. In the proteome, it is an acceptor for a plethora of posttranslational modifications. In the metabolome it can be modified, conjugated and degraded. Here, we provide an update on integrative physiology of mammalian lysine metabolites such as α-aminoadipic acid, saccharopine, pipecolic acid, and lysine conjugates such as acetyl-lysine, and sugar-lysine conjugates such as advanced glycation end products. We also comment on their emerging associative and mechanistic links to renal disease, hypertension, diabetes and cancer.
    Keywords:  Lysine; metabolism
  28. Biomark Res. 2023 Oct 05. 11(1): 89
      Mitochondria are energy-generated organelles and take an important part in biological metabolism. Mitochondria could be transferred between cells, which serves as a new intercellular communication. Mitochondrial transfer improves mitochondrial defects, restores the biological functions of recipient cells, and maintains the high metabolic requirements of tumor cells as well as drug resistance. In recent years, it has been reported mitochondrial transfer between cells of bone marrow microenvironment and hematological malignant cells play a critical role in the disease progression and resistance during chemotherapy. In this review, we discuss the patterns and mechanisms on mitochondrial transfer and their engagement in different pathophysiological contexts and outline the latest knowledge on intercellular transport of mitochondria in hematological malignancies. Besides, we briefly outline the drug resistance mechanisms caused by mitochondrial transfer in cells during chemotherapy. Our review demonstrates a theoretical basis for mitochondrial transfer as a prospective therapeutic target to increase the treatment efficiency in hematological malignancies and improve the prognosis of patients.
    Keywords:  Extracellular mitochondria; Extracellular vesicles; Hematological malignancies; Mitochondrial transfer; Tunneling nanotubes
  29. Mol Cell. 2023 Oct 05. pii: S1097-2765(23)00699-8. [Epub ahead of print]83(19): 3485-3501.e11
      p62 is a well-characterized autophagy receptor that recognizes and sequesters specific cargoes into autophagosomes for degradation. p62 promotes the assembly and removal of ubiquitinated proteins by forming p62-liquid droplets. However, it remains unclear how autophagosomes efficiently sequester p62 droplets. Herein, we report that p62 undergoes reversible S-acylation in multiple human-, rat-, and mouse-derived cell lines, catalyzed by zinc-finger Asp-His-His-Cys S-acyltransferase 19 (ZDHHC19) and deacylated by acyl protein thioesterase 1 (APT1). S-acylation of p62 enhances the affinity of p62 for microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 (LC3)-positive membranes and promotes autophagic membrane localization of p62 droplets, thereby leading to the production of small LC3-positive p62 droplets and efficient autophagic degradation of p62-cargo complexes. Specifically, increasing p62 acylation by upregulating ZDHHC19 or by genetic knockout of APT1 accelerates p62 degradation and p62-mediated autophagic clearance of ubiquitinated proteins. Thus, the protein S-acylation-deacylation cycle regulates p62 droplet recruitment to the autophagic membrane and selective autophagic flux, thereby contributing to the control of selective autophagic clearance of ubiquitinated proteins.
    Keywords:  APT1; S-acylation; ZDHHC19; autophagy; autophagy receptor; liquid-liquid phase separation; p62 droplet; p62 protein; protein posttranslational modification; selective autophagy
  30. Ageing Res Rev. 2023 Oct 04. pii: S1568-1637(23)00243-X. [Epub ahead of print] 102084
      It has been illustrated that metabolic syndrome (MetS) is associated with Alzheimer disease (AD) neuropathology. Components of MetS including central obesity, hypertension, insulin resistance (IR), and dyslipidemia adversely affect the pathogenesis of AD by different mechanisms including activation of renin-angiotensin system (RAS), inflammatory signaling pathways, neuroinflammation, brain IR, mitochondrial dysfunction, and oxidative stress. MetS exacerbates AD neuropathology, and targeting of molecular pathways in MetS by pharmacological approach could a novel therapeutic strategy in the management of AD in high risk group. However, the underlying mechanisms of these pathways in AD neuropathology are not completely clarified. Therefore, this review aims to elucidate the association between MetS and AD regarding the oxidative and inflammatory mechanistic pathways.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer disease; Metabolic syndrome; amyloid beta; hypertension; insulin resistance; obesity
  31. J Neurochem. 2023 Oct 03.
      Phosphorylation of tau at sites associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD) likely plays a role in the disease progression. Mitochondrial impairment, correlating with increased presence of phosphorylated tau, has been identified as a contributing factor to neurodegenerative processes in AD. However, how tau phosphorylated at specific sites impacts mitochondrial function has not been fully defined. We examined how AD-relevant phosphomimetics of tau impact selected aspects of mitochondrial biology. To mimic phosphorylation at AD-associated sites, the serine/threonine (Ser/Thr) sites in wild-type green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged tau (T4) were converted to glutamic acid (E) to make pseudo-phosphorylated GFP-tagged Ser-396/404 (2EC) and GFP-tagged Thr-231/Ser-235 (2EM) constructs. These constructs were expressed in immortalized mouse hippocampal neuronal cell lines, and their impact on specific mitochondrial functions and responses to stressors were measured. Phosphomimetic tau altered mitochondrial distribution. Specifically, mitochondria accumulated in the soma of cells expressing either 2EC or 2EM and neurite-like extensions in 2EC cells were shorter. Additionally, adenosine triphosphate levels were reduced in both 2EC- and 2EM-expressing cells, and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production increased in 2EC cells during oxidation of succinate when compared to T4-expressing cells. Thapsigargin reduced mitochondrial membrane potential and increased ROS production in both 2EC and 2EM cells relative to T4 cells, with no significant difference in the effects of rotenone. These results show that tau phosphorylation at specific AD-relevant epitopes negatively affects mitochondria, with the extent of dysfunction and stress response varying according to the sites of phosphorylation. Altogether, these findings show that phosphorylated tau increases mitochondrial susceptibility to stressors and extend our understanding of potential mechanisms whereby phosphorylated tau promotes mitochondria dysfunction in tauopathies, including AD.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer's disease; mitochondria; neuronal cells; phosphomimetic tau; stressors
  32. Sci Adv. 2023 Oct 06. 9(40): eadi8317
      Several genetically encoded sensors have been developed to study live cell NADPH/NADP+ dynamics, but their use has been predominantly in vitro. Here, we developed an in vivo assay using the Apollo-NADP+ sensor and microfluidic devices to measure endogenous NADPH/NADP+ dynamics in the pancreatic β cells of live zebrafish embryos. Flux through the pentose phosphate pathway, the main source of NADPH in many cell types, has been reported to be low in β cells. Thus, it is unclear how these cells compensate to meet NADPH demands. Using our assay, we show that pyruvate cycling is the main source of NADP+ reduction in β cells, with contributions from folate cycling after acute electrical activation. INS1E β cells also showed a stress-induced increase in folate cycling and further suggested that this cycling requires both increased glycolytic intermediates and cytosolic NAD+. Overall, we show in vivo application of the Apollo-NADP+ sensor and reveal that β cells are capable of adapting NADPH/NADP+ redox during stress.
  33. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2023 ;11 1254313
      Deregulation of tumor cell metabolism is widely recognized as a "hallmark of cancer." Many of the selective pressures encountered by tumor cells, such as exposure to anticancer therapies, navigation of the metastatic cascade, and communication with the tumor microenvironment, can elicit further rewiring of tumor cell metabolism. Furthermore, phenotypic plasticity has been recently appreciated as an emerging "hallmark of cancer." Mitochondria are dynamic organelles and central hubs of metabolism whose roles in cancers have been a major focus of numerous studies. Importantly, therapeutic approaches targeting mitochondria are being developed. Interestingly, both plastic (i.e., reversible) and permanent (i.e., stable) metabolic adaptations have been observed following exposure to anticancer therapeutics. Understanding the plastic or permanent nature of these mechanisms is of crucial importance for devising the initiation, duration, and sequential nature of metabolism-targeting therapies. In this review, we compare permanent and plastic mitochondrial mechanisms driving therapy resistance. We also discuss experimental models of therapy-induced metabolic adaptation, therapeutic implications for targeting permanent and plastic metabolic states, and clinical implications of metabolic adaptations. While the plasticity of metabolic adaptations can make effective therapeutic treatment challenging, understanding the mechanisms behind these plastic phenotypes may lead to promising clinical interventions that will ultimately lead to better overall care for cancer patients.
    Keywords:  cancer; metabolism; oxphos (oxidative phosphorylation); plasticity; resistance
  34. Life Sci Alliance. 2024 Jan;pii: e202302193. [Epub ahead of print]7(1):
      Decades of research have sought to determine the intrinsic and extrinsic mechanisms underpinning the regulation of neural progenitor maintenance and differentiation. A series of precise temporal transitions within progenitor cell populations generates all the appropriate neural cell types while maintaining a pool of self-renewing progenitors throughout embryogenesis. Recent technological advances have enabled us to gain new insights at the single-cell level, revealing an interplay between metabolic state and developmental progression that impacts the timing of proliferation and neurogenesis. This can have long-term consequences for the developing brain's neuronal specification, maturation state, and organization. Furthermore, these studies have highlighted the need to reassess the instructive role of glucose metabolism in determining progenitor cell division, differentiation, and fate. This review focuses on glucose metabolism (glycolysis) in cortical progenitor cells and the emerging focus on glycolysis during neurogenic transitions. Furthermore, we discuss how the field can learn from other biological systems to improve our understanding of the spatial and temporal changes in glycolysis in progenitors and evaluate functional neurological outcomes.
  35. Cell Metab. 2023 Sep 27. pii: S1550-4131(23)00337-6. [Epub ahead of print]
      Cold-induced thermogenesis (CIT) is widely studied as a potential avenue to treat obesity, but a thorough understanding of the metabolic changes driving CIT is lacking. Here, we present a comprehensive and quantitative analysis of the metabolic response to acute cold exposure, leveraging metabolomic profiling and minimally perturbative isotope tracing studies in unanesthetized mice. During cold exposure, brown adipose tissue (BAT) primarily fueled the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle with fat in fasted mice and glucose in fed mice, underscoring BAT's metabolic flexibility. BAT minimally used branched-chain amino acids or ketones, which were instead avidly consumed by muscle during cold exposure. Surprisingly, isotopic labeling analyses revealed that BAT uses glucose largely for TCA anaplerosis via pyruvate carboxylation. Finally, we find that cold-induced hepatic gluconeogenesis is critical for CIT during fasting, demonstrating a key functional role for glucose metabolism. Together, these findings provide a detailed map of the metabolic rewiring driving acute CIT.
    Keywords:  FBP1; brown adipose tissue; cold exposure; flux; gluconeogenesis; glucose; metabolomics; pyruvate carboxylase; thermogenesis