bims-celmim Biomed News
on Cellular and mitochondrial metabolism
Issue of 2023‒12‒17
34 papers selected by
Marc Segarra Mondejar, University of Cologne

  1. Elife. 2023 Dec 11. pii: RP89232. [Epub ahead of print]12
      Based on studies with a fluorescent reporter dye, Mito Thermo Yellow (MTY), and the genetically encoded gTEMP ratiometric fluorescent temperature indicator targeted to mitochondria, the temperature of active mitochondria in four mammalian and one insect cell line was estimated to be up to 15°C above that of the external environment to which the cells were exposed. High mitochondrial temperature was maintained in the face of a variety of metabolic stresses, including substrate starvation or modification, decreased ATP demand due to inhibition of cytosolic protein synthesis, inhibition of the mitochondrial adenine nucleotide transporter and, if an auxiliary pathway for electron transfer was available via the alternative oxidase, even respiratory poisons acting downstream of oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) complex I. We propose that the high temperature of active mitochondria is an inescapable consequence of the biochemistry of OXPHOS and is homeostatically maintained as a primary feature of mitochondrial metabolism.
    Keywords:  D. melanogaster; OXPHOS; biochemistry; bioenergetics; cell biology; chemical biology; human; mitochondria; mouse; organelle; temperature; thermogenesis
  2. World J Gastrointest Oncol. 2023 Nov 15. 15(11): 1852-1863
      Pancreatic cancer remains one of the most lethal diseases worldwide owing to its late diagnosis, early metastasis, and poor prognosis. Because current therapeutic options are limited, there is an urgent need to investigate novel targeted treatment strategies. Pancreatic cancer faces significant metabolic challenges, principally hypoxia and nutrient deprivation, due to specific microenvironmental constraints, including an extensive desmoplastic stromal reaction. Pancreatic cancer cells have been shown to rewire their metabolism and energy production networks to support rapid survival and proliferation. Increased glucose uptake and glycolytic pathway activity during this process have been extensively described. However, growing evidence suggests that pancreatic cancer cells are glutamine addicted. As a nitrogen source, glutamine directly (or indirectly via glutamate conversion) contributes to many anabolic processes in pancreatic cancer, including amino acids, nucleobases, and hexosamine biosynthesis. It also plays an important role in redox homeostasis, and when converted to α-ketoglutarate, glutamine serves as an energy and anaplerotic carbon source, replenishing the tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediates. The present study aims to provide a comprehensive overview of glutamine metabolic reprogramming in pancreatic cancer, focusing on potential therapeutic approaches targeting glutamine metabolism in pancreatic cancer.
    Keywords:  Cancer treatment; Glutamine metabolism; Pancreatic cancer; Therapeutic strategies
  3. Traffic. 2023 Dec 12.
      In neurons, fast axonal transport (FAT) of vesicles occurs over long distances and requires constant and local energy supply for molecular motors in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). FAT is independent of mitochondrial metabolism. Indeed, the glycolytic machinery is present on vesicles and locally produces ATP, as well as nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide bonded with hydrogen (NADH) and pyruvate, using glucose as a substrate. It remains unclear whether pyruvate is transferred to mitochondria from the vesicles as well as how NADH is recycled into NAD+ on vesicles for continuous glycolysis activity. The optimization of a glycolytic activity test for subcellular compartments allowed the evaluation of the kinetics of vesicular glycolysis in the brain. This revealed that glycolysis is more efficient on vesicles than in the cytosol. We also found that lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) enzymatic activity is required for effective vesicular ATP production. Indeed, inhibition of LDH or the forced degradation of pyruvate inhibited ATP production from axonal vesicles. We found LDHA rather than the B isoform to be enriched on axonal vesicles suggesting a preferential transformation of pyruvate to lactate and a concomitant recycling of NADH into NAD+ on vesicles. Finally, we found that LDHA inhibition dramatically reduces the FAT of both dense-core vesicles and synaptic vesicle precursors in a reconstituted cortico-striatal circuit on-a-chip. Together, this shows that aerobic glycolysis is required to supply energy for vesicular transport in neurons, similar to the Warburg effect.
    Keywords:  Warburg effect; aerobic glycolysis; axonal transport; brain-derived neurotrophic factor; cortico-striatal network; dense-core vesicles; lactate dehydrogenase; metabolism; microfluidic device; nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide; synaptic vesicle precursors
  4. bioRxiv. 2023 Nov 29. pii: 2023.11.28.569098. [Epub ahead of print]
      Targeting the distinct metabolic needs of tumor cells has recently emerged as a promising strategy for cancer therapy. The heterogeneous, context-dependent nature of cancer cell metabolism, however, poses challenges in identifying effective therapeutic interventions. Here, we utilize various unsupervised and supervised multivariate modeling approaches to systematically pinpoint recurrent metabolic states within hundreds of cancer cell lines, elucidate their association with tissue lineage and growth environments, and uncover vulnerabilities linked to their metabolic states across diverse genetic and tissue contexts. We validate key findings using data from an independent set of cell lines, pharmacological screens, and via single-cell analysis of patient-derived tumors. Our analysis uncovers new synthetically lethal associations between the tumor metabolic state (e.g., oxidative phosphorylation), driver mutations (e.g., loss of tumor suppressor PTEN), and actionable biological targets (e.g., mitochondrial electron transport chain). Investigating these relationships could inform the development of more precise and context-specific, metabolism-targeted cancer therapies.
  5. Trends Cell Biol. 2023 Dec 06. pii: S0962-8924(23)00237-4. [Epub ahead of print]
      The circadian clock and cell metabolism are both dysregulated in cancer cells through intrinsic cell-autonomous mechanisms and external influences from the tumor microenvironment. The intricate interplay between the circadian clock and cancer cell metabolism exerts control over various metabolic processes, including aerobic glycolysis, de novo nucleotide synthesis, glutamine and protein metabolism, lipid metabolism, mitochondrial metabolism, and redox homeostasis in cancer cells. Importantly, oncogenic signaling can confer a moonlighting function on core clock genes, effectively reshaping cellular metabolism to fuel cancer cell proliferation and drive tumor growth. These interwoven regulatory mechanisms constitute a distinctive feature of cancer cell metabolism.
    Keywords:  cancer metabolism; dysregulated circadian clock; moonlighting function
  6. J Enzyme Inhib Med Chem. 2024 Dec;39(1): 2290911
      Alterations in normal metabolic processes are defining features of cancer. Glutamine, an abundant amino acid in the human blood, plays a critical role in regulating several biosynthetic and bioenergetic pathways that support tumour growth. Glutaminolysis is a metabolic pathway that converts glutamine into various metabolites involved in the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle and generates antioxidants that are vital for tumour cell survival. As glutaminase catalyses the initial step of this metabolic pathway, it is of great significance in cancer metabolism and tumour progression. Inhibition of glutaminase and targeting of glutaminolysis have emerged as promising strategies for cancer therapy. This review explores the role of glutaminases in cancer metabolism and discusses various glutaminase inhibitors developed as potential therapies for tumour regression.
    Keywords:  GLS; KEAP1 mutation; anticancer; cancer metabolism; glutaminase
  7. J Cell Biol. 2024 Jan 01. pii: e202312035. [Epub ahead of print]223(1):
      Metabolic plasticity of neurons ensures their activity continues when glucose is limited. Walsh and Simon discuss new work by Ashrafi and colleagues ( that finds Sirtuin 3 directs local metabolic adaptation at synapses during sustained glucose deprivation.
  8. Clin Cancer Res. 2023 Dec 13.
      PURPOSE: Thyroid cancer (TC) metabolic characteristics vary depending on the molecular subtype determined by mutational status. We aimed to investigate the molecular subtype-specific metabolic characteristics of TCs.EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: An integrative multi-omics analysis was conducted, incorporating transcriptomics, metabolomics, and proteomics data obtained from human tissues representing distinct molecular characteristics of TCs; BRAF-like (papillary TC with BRAFV600E mutation; PTC-B), RAS-like (follicular TC with RAS mutation; FTC-R), and ATC-like (anaplastic TC with BRAFV600E or RAS mutation; ATC-B or ATC-R). To validate our findings, we employed tissue microarray of human TC tissues and performed in vitro analyses of cancer cell phenotypes and metabolomic assays after inducing genetic knockdown.
    RESULTS: Metabolic properties differed between differentiated TCs of PTC-B and FTC-R, but were similar in de-differentiated TCs of ATC-B/R, regardless of their mutational status. Tricarboxylic acid (TCA) intermediates and branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) were enriched with the activation of TCA cycle only in FTC-R, whereas one-carbon metabolism and pyrimidine metabolism increased in both PTC-B and FTC-R and to a great extent in ATC-B/R. However, the protein expression levels of the BCAA transporter (SLC7A5) and a key enzyme in one-carbon metabolism (SHMT2) increased in all TCs and were particularly high in ATC-B/R. Knockdown of SLC7A5 or SHMT2 inhibited the migration and proliferation of TC cell lines differently, depending on the mutational status.
    CONCLUSIONS: These findings define the metabolic properties of each molecular subtype of TCs and identify metabolic vulnerabilities, providing a rationale for therapies targeting its altered metabolic pathways in advanced TC.
  9. Cells. 2023 Nov 22. pii: 2686. [Epub ahead of print]12(23):
      Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are a rare cancer cell population, responsible for the facilitation, progression, and resistance of tumors to therapeutic interventions. This subset of cancer cells with stemness and tumorigenic properties is organized in niches within the tumor microenvironment (TME) and presents altered regulation in a variety of metabolic pathways, including glycolysis, oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS), as well as lipid, amino acid, and iron metabolism. CSCs exhibit similarities as well as differences when comparedto normal stem cells, but also possess the ability of metabolic plasticity. In this review, we summarize the metabolic characteristics of normal, non-cancerous stem cells and CSCs. We also highlight the significance and implications of interventions targeting CSC metabolism to potentially achieve more robust clinical responses in the future.
    Keywords:  amino acid metabolism; cancerstem cells; glycolysis; lipid metabolism; metabolism; oxidative phosphorylation; stem cells
  10. Cancers (Basel). 2023 Nov 24. pii: 5566. [Epub ahead of print]15(23):
      In rapidly proliferating cancer cells, glutamine is a major source of energy and building blocks. Increased glutamine uptake and enhanced glutaminolysis are key metabolic features of many cancers. Glutamine is metabolized by glutaminase (GA), which is encoded by two genes: GLS and GLS2. In contrast to isoforms arising from the GLS gene, which clearly act as oncoproteins, the role of GLS2 products in tumorigenesis is far from well understood. While in some cancer types GLS2 is overexpressed and drives cancer development, in some other types it is downregulated and behaves as a tumor suppressor gene. In this review, we describe the essential functions and regulatory mechanisms of human GLS2 and the cellular compartments in which GLS2 has been localized. Furthermore, we present the context-dependent oncogenic and tumor-suppressor properties of GLS2, and delve into the mechanisms underlying these phenomena.
    Keywords:  apoptosis; epithelial-mesenchymal transition; ferroptosis; glutaminase GLS2; glutamine metabolism; oxidative stress; tumor promoter; tumor suppressor
  11. bioRxiv. 2023 Nov 28. pii: 2023.11.28.568893. [Epub ahead of print]
      With age, people tend to accumulate body fat and reduce energy expenditure 1 . Brown (BAT) and beige adipose tissue dissipate heat and increase energy expenditure via the activity of the uncoupling protein UCP1 and other thermogenic futile cycles 2,3 . The activity of brown and beige depots inversely correlates with BMI and age 4-11 , suggesting that promoting thermogenesis may be an effective approach for combating age-related metabolic disease 12-15 . Heme is an enzyme cofactor and signaling molecule that we recently showed to regulate BAT function 16 . Here, we show that heme biosynthesis is the primary contributor to intracellular heme levels in brown adipocytes. Inhibition of heme biosynthesis leads to mitochondrial dysfunction and reduction in UCP1. Although supplementing heme can restore mitochondrial function in heme-synthesis-deficient cells, the downregulation of UCP1 persists due to the accumulation of the heme precursors, particularly propionyl-CoA, which is a product of branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) catabolism. Cold exposure promotes BCAA uptake in BAT, and defects in BCAA catabolism in this tissue hinder thermogenesis 17 . However, BCAAs' contribution to the TCA cycle in BAT and WAT never exceeds 2% of total TCA flux 18 . Our work offers a way to integrate current literature by describing heme biosynthesis as an important metabolic sink for BCAAs.
  12. Elife. 2023 12 11. pii: RP87510. [Epub ahead of print]12
      Lipid metabolism plays a critical role in cancer metastasis. However, the mechanisms through which metastatic genes regulate lipid metabolism remain unclear. Here, we describe a new oncogenic-metabolic feedback loop between the epithelial-mesenchymal transition transcription factor ZEB2 and the key lipid enzyme ACSL4 (long-chain acyl-CoA synthetase 4), resulting in enhanced cellular lipid storage and fatty acid oxidation (FAO) to drive breast cancer metastasis. Functionally, depletion of ZEB2 or ACSL4 significantly reduced lipid droplets (LDs) abundance and cell migration. ACSL4 overexpression rescued the invasive capabilities of the ZEB2 knockdown cells, suggesting that ACSL4 is crucial for ZEB2-mediated metastasis. Mechanistically, ZEB2-activated ACSL4 expression by directly binding to the ACSL4 promoter. ACSL4 binds to and stabilizes ZEB2 by reducing ZEB2 ubiquitination. Notably, ACSL4 not only promotes the intracellular lipogenesis and LDs accumulation but also enhances FAO and adenosine triphosphate production by upregulating the FAO rate-limiting enzyme CPT1A (carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1 isoform A). Finally, we demonstrated that ACSL4 knockdown significantly reduced metastatic lung nodes in vivo. In conclusion, we reveal a novel positive regulatory loop between ZEB2 and ACSL4, which promotes LDs storage to meet the energy needs of breast cancer metastasis, and identify the ZEB2-ACSL4 signaling axis as an attractive therapeutic target for overcoming breast cancer metastasis.
    Keywords:  cancer biology; ACSL4; lipid metabolism; lipid droplets; cancer metastasis; EMT; ZEB2
  13. J Neurochem. 2023 Dec 08.
      Glutamate recycling between neurons and astrocytes is essential to maintain neurotransmitter homeostasis. Disturbances in glutamate homeostasis, resulting in excitotoxicity and neuronal death, have been described as a potential mechanism in Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathophysiology. However, glutamate neurotransmitter metabolism in different human brain cells, particularly astrocytes, has been poorly investigated at the early stages of AD. We sought to investigate glucose and glutamate metabolism in AD by employing human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-derived astrocytes and neurons carrying mutations in the amyloid precursor protein (APP) or presenilin-1 (PSEN-1) gene as found in familial types of AD (fAD). Methods such as live-cell bioenergetics and metabolic mapping using [13 C]-enriched substrates were used to examine metabolism in the early stages of AD. Our results revealed greater glycolysis and glucose oxidative metabolism in astrocytes and neurons with APP or PSEN-1 mutations, accompanied by an elevated glutamate synthesis compared to control WT cells. Astrocytes with APP or PSEN-1 mutations exhibited reduced expression of the excitatory amino acid transporter 2 (EAAT2), and glutamine uptake increased in mutated neurons, with enhanced glutamate release specifically in neurons with a PSEN-1 mutation. These results demonstrate a hypermetabolic phenotype in astrocytes with fAD mutations possibly linked to toxic glutamate accumulation. Our findings further identify metabolic imbalances that may occur in the early phases of AD pathophysiology.
    Keywords:  APP; PSEN-1; energy metabolism; excitotoxicity; hiPSC astrocytes; hiPSC neurons
  14. bioRxiv. 2023 Dec 03. pii: 2023.12.01.569679. [Epub ahead of print]
      Autophagy is a highly conserved, intracellular recycling process by which cytoplasmic contents are degraded in the lysosome. This process occurs at a low level constitutively; however, it is induced robustly in response to stressors, in particular, starvation of critical nutrients such as amino acids and glucose. That said, the relative contribution of these inputs is ambiguous and many starvation medias are poorly defined or devoid of multiple nutrients. Here, we sought to generate a quantitative catalog of autophagy across multiple stages and in single, living cells under normal growth conditions as well as in media starved specifically of amino acids or glucose. We found that autophagy is induced by starvation of amino acids, but not glucose, in U2OS cells, and that MTORC1-mediated ULK1 regulation and autophagy are tightly linked to amino acid levels. While autophagy is engaged immediately during amino acid starvation, a heightened response occurs during a period marked by transcriptional upregulation of autophagy genes during sustained starvation. Finally, we demonstrated that cells immediately return to their initial, low-autophagy state when nutrients are restored, highlighting the dynamic relationship between autophagy and environmental conditions. In addition to sharing our findings here, we provide our data as a high-quality resource for others interested in mathematical modeling or otherwise exploring autophagy in individual cells across a population.
  15. Cells. 2023 Nov 30. pii: 2742. [Epub ahead of print]12(23):
      Autophagy is an essential lysosome-mediated degradation pathway that maintains cellular homeostasis and viability in response to various intra- and extracellular stresses. Mitophagy is a type of autophagy that is involved in the intricate removal of dysfunctional mitochondria during conditions of metabolic stress. In this review, we describe the multifaceted roles of autophagy and mitophagy in normal physiology and the field of cancer biology. Autophagy and mitophagy exhibit dual context-dependent roles in cancer development, acting as tumor suppressors and promoters. We also discuss the important role of autophagy and mitophagy within the cancer microenvironment and how autophagy and mitophagy influence tumor host-cell interactions to overcome metabolic deficiencies and sustain the activity of cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) in a stromal environment. Finally, we explore the dynamic interplay between autophagy and the immune response in tumors, indicating their potential as immunomodulatory targets in cancer therapy. As the field of autophagy and mitophagy continues to evolve, this comprehensive review provides insights into their important roles in cancer and cancer microenvironment.
    Keywords:  autophagy; cancer; cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs); mitophagy; tumor microenvironment (TME); tumor-associated immune cells
  16. Nat Commun. 2023 Dec 11. 14(1): 8187
      The serine/threonine kinase, PINK1, and the E3 ubiquitin ligase, Parkin, are known to facilitate LC3-dependent autophagosomal encasement and lysosomal clearance of dysfunctional mitochondria, and defects in this process contribute to a variety of cardiometabolic and neurological diseases. Although recent evidence indicates that dynamic actin remodeling plays an important role in PINK1/Parkin-mediated mitochondrial autophagy (mitophagy), the underlying signaling mechanisms remain unknown. Here, we identify the RhoGAP GRAF1 (Arhgap26) as a PINK1 substrate that regulates mitophagy. GRAF1 promotes the release of damaged mitochondria from F-actin anchors, regulates mitochondrial-associated Arp2/3-mediated actin remodeling and facilitates Parkin-LC3 interactions to enhance mitochondria capture by autophagosomes. Graf1 phosphorylation on PINK1-dependent sites is dysregulated in human heart failure, and cardiomyocyte-restricted Graf1 depletion in mice blunts mitochondrial clearance and attenuates compensatory metabolic adaptations to stress. Overall, we identify GRAF1 as an enzyme that coordinates cytoskeletal and metabolic remodeling to promote cardioprotection.
  17. Cell. 2023 Nov 28. pii: S0092-8674(23)01228-X. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mounting evidence suggests metabolism instructs stem cell fate decisions. However, how fetal metabolism changes during development and how altered maternal metabolism shapes fetal metabolism remain unexplored. We present a descriptive atlas of in vivo fetal murine metabolism during mid-to-late gestation in normal and diabetic pregnancy. Using 13C-glucose and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS), we profiled the metabolism of fetal brains, hearts, livers, and placentas harvested from pregnant dams between embryonic days (E)10.5 and 18.5. Our analysis revealed metabolic features specific to a hyperglycemic environment and signatures that may denote developmental transitions during euglycemic development. We observed sorbitol accumulation in fetal tissues and altered neurotransmitter levels in fetal brains isolated from hyperglycemic dams. Tracing 13C-glucose revealed disparate fetal nutrient sourcing depending on maternal glycemic states. Regardless of glycemic state, histidine-derived metabolites accumulated in late-stage fetal tissues. Our rich dataset presents a comprehensive overview of in vivo fetal tissue metabolism and alterations due to maternal hyperglycemia.
    Keywords:  development; diabetes; fetal metabolism; isotope tracing; metabolism; metabolomics; pregnancy
  18. bioRxiv. 2023 Dec 01. pii: 2023.12.01.569475. [Epub ahead of print]
      Phagosome maturation arrest (PMA) imposed by Mycobacterium tuberculosis ( Mtb ) is a classic tool that helps Mtb evade macrophage anti-bacterial responses. The exclusion of RAB7, a small GTPase, from Mtb -phagosomes underscores PMA. Here we report an unexpected mechanism that triggers crosstalk between the mitochondrial quality control (MQC) and the phagosome maturation pathways that reverses the PMA. CRISPR-mediated p62/SQSTM1 depletion ( p62 KD ) blocks mitophagy flux without impacting mitochondrial quality. In p62 KD cells, Mtb growth and survival are diminished, mainly through witnessing an increasingly oxidative environment and increased lysosomal targeting. The lysosomal targeting of Mtb is facilitated by enhanced TOM20 + mitochondria-derived vesicles (MDVs) biogenesis, a key MQC mechanism. In p62 KD cells, TOM20 + -MDVs biogenesis is MIRO1/MIRO2-dependent and delivered to lysosomes for degradation in a RAB7-dependent manner. Upon infection in p62 KD cells, TOM20 + -MDVs get extensively targeted to Mtb -phagosomes, inadvertently facilitating RAB7 recruitment, PMA reversal and lysosomal targeting of Mtb . Triggering MQC collapse in p62 KD cells further diminishes Mtb survival signifying cooperation between redox- and lysosome-mediated mechanisms. The MQC-anti-bacterial pathway crosstalk could be exploited for host-directed anti-tuberculosis therapies.
  19. Front Bioeng Biotechnol. 2023 ;11 1293268
      Metabolic reprogramming at a cellular level contributes to many diseases including cancer, yet few assays are capable of measuring metabolic pathway usage by individual cells within living samples. Here, autofluorescence lifetime imaging is combined with single-cell segmentation and machine-learning models to predict the metabolic pathway usage of cancer cells. The metabolic activities of MCF7 breast cancer cells and HepG2 liver cancer cells were controlled by growing the cells in culture media with specific substrates and metabolic inhibitors. Fluorescence lifetime images of two endogenous metabolic coenzymes, reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) and oxidized flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD), were acquired by a multi-photon fluorescence lifetime microscope and analyzed at the cellular level. Quantitative changes of NADH and FAD lifetime components were observed for cells using glycolysis, oxidative phosphorylation, and glutaminolysis. Conventional machine learning models trained with the autofluorescence features classified cells as dependent on glycolytic or oxidative metabolism with 90%-92% accuracy. Furthermore, adapting convolutional neural networks to predict cancer cell metabolic perturbations from the autofluorescence lifetime images provided improved performance, 95% accuracy, over traditional models trained via extracted features. Additionally, the model trained with the lifetime features of cancer cells could be transferred to autofluorescence lifetime images of T cells, with a prediction that 80% of activated T cells were glycolytic, and 97% of quiescent T cells were oxidative. In summary, autofluorescence lifetime imaging combined with machine learning models can detect metabolic perturbations between glycolysis and oxidative metabolism of living samples at a cellular level, providing a label-free technology to study cellular metabolism and metabolic heterogeneity.
    Keywords:  autofluorescence; cancer; fluorescence lifetime; machine learning; metabolism
  20. Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2023 Dec 13. pii: S0955-0674(23)00142-4. [Epub ahead of print]86 102293
      In cells, organelles are distributed nonrandomly to regulate cells' physiological and disease-associated processes. Based on their morphology, position within the cell, and contacts with other organelles, they exert different biological functions. Endo-lysosomes are critical cell metabolism and nutrient-sensing regulators modulating cell growth and cellular adaptation in response to nutrient availability. Their spatial distribution is intimately linked to their function. In this review, we will discuss the role of endolysosomes under physiological conditions and in the context of cancer progression, with a special focus on their morphology, the molecular mechanisms determining their subcellular position, and the contacts they form with other organelles. We aim to highlight the relationship between cell architecture and cell function and its impact on maintaining organismal homeostasis.
  21. bioRxiv. 2023 Nov 29. pii: 2023.11.29.569289. [Epub ahead of print]
      Contact sites between lipid droplets and other organelles are essential for cellular lipid and energy homeostasis. Detection of these contact sites at nanometer scale over time in living cells is challenging. Here, we developed a tool kit for detecting contact sites based on F luorogen- A ctivated B imolecular complementation at CON tact sites, FABCON, using a reversible, low affinity split fluorescent protein, splitFAST. FABCON labels contact sites with minimal perturbation to organelle interaction. Via FABCON, we quantitatively demonstrated that endoplasmic reticulum (ER)- and mitochondria (mito)-lipid droplet contact sites are dynamic foci in distinct metabolic conditions, such as during lipid droplet biogenesis and consumption. An automated analysis pipeline further classified individual contact sites into distinct subgroups based on size, likely reflecting differential regulation and function. Moreover, FABCON is generalizable to visualize a repertoire of organelle contact sites including ER-mito. Altogether, FABCON reveals insights into the dynamic regulation of lipid droplet-organelle contact sites and generates new hypotheses for further mechanistical interrogation during metabolic switch.
  22. BMC Mol Cell Biol. 2023 Dec 11. 24(1): 35
      Mitochondria are key cytoplasmic organelles in eukaryotic cells that generate adenosine triphosphate (ATP) through the electron transport chain and oxidative phosphorylation. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) copy number (mtDNAcn) is considered a biomarker for both mitochondrial quantity and function as well as cellular oxidative stress level. Previous epidemiologic findings revealed that weight gain, higher body mass index (BMI), smoking, and high insulinemic potential of lifestyle were associated with lower leukocyte mtDNAcn. Carnitines are a group of compounds that play a critical role in energy production. We quantified the associations of plasma L-carnitine levels with leukocyte mtDNAcn. We then examined the association between mtDNAcn and L-carnitine (HMDB0000062) in 538 U.S. men without cancers, diabetes, or cardiovascular disease at blood collection from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (HPFS). We found a significant inverse association between L-carnitine and mtDNAcn (ρ = -0.1, P = 0.02). This implies that the carnitine metabolic pathway may be associated with mitochondrial function and oxidative stress.
    Keywords:  Body mass index; Cross-sectional study; L-carnitine; Metabolites; Mitochondria; Mitochondrial DNA copy number
  23. Cell Rep. 2023 Dec 06. pii: S2211-1247(23)01556-5. [Epub ahead of print]42(12): 113544
      Dysregulated iron or Ca2+ homeostasis has been reported in Parkinson's disease (PD) models. Here, we discover a connection between these two metals at the mitochondria. Elevation of iron levels causes inward mitochondrial Ca2+ overflow, through an interaction of Fe2+ with mitochondrial calcium uniporter (MCU). In PD neurons, iron accumulation-triggered Ca2+ influx across the mitochondrial surface leads to spatially confined Ca2+ elevation at the outer mitochondrial membrane, which is subsequently sensed by Miro1, a Ca2+-binding protein. A Miro1 blood test distinguishes PD patients from controls and responds to drug treatment. Miro1-based drug screens in PD cells discover Food and Drug Administration-approved T-type Ca2+-channel blockers. Human genetic analysis reveals enrichment of rare variants in T-type Ca2+-channel subtypes associated with PD status. Our results identify a molecular mechanism in PD pathophysiology and drug targets and candidates coupled with a convenient stratification method.
    Keywords:  CP: Neuroscience
  24. Nat Metab. 2023 Dec 08.
      Serine is a vital amino acid in tumorigenesis. While cells can perform de novo serine synthesis, most transformed cells rely on serine uptake to meet their increased biosynthetic requirements. Solute carriers (SLCs), a family of transmembrane nutrient transport proteins, are the gatekeepers of amino acid acquisition and exchange in mammalian cells and are emerging as anticancer therapeutic targets; however, the SLCs that mediate serine transport in cancer cells remain unknown. Here we perform an arrayed RNAi screen of SLC-encoding genes while monitoring amino acid consumption and cell proliferation in colorectal cancer cells using metabolomics and high-throughput imaging. We identify SLC6A14 and SLC25A15 as major cytoplasmic and mitochondrial serine transporters, respectively. We also observe that SLC12A4 facilitates serine uptake. Dual targeting of SLC6A14 and either SLC25A15 or SLC12A4 diminishes serine uptake and growth of colorectal cancer cells in vitro and in vivo, particularly in cells with compromised de novo serine biosynthesis. Our results provide insight into the mechanisms that contribute to serine uptake and intracellular handling.
  25. Nat Commun. 2023 Dec 12. 14(1): 8248
      The Mitochondrial Complex I Assembly (MCIA) complex is essential for the biogenesis of respiratory Complex I (CI), the first enzyme in the respiratory chain, which has been linked to Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathogenesis. However, how MCIA facilitates CI assembly, and how it is linked with AD pathogenesis, is poorly understood. Here we report the structural basis of the complex formation between the MCIA subunits ECSIT and ACAD9. ECSIT binding induces a major conformational change in the FAD-binding loop of ACAD9, releasing the FAD cofactor and converting ACAD9 from a fatty acid β-oxidation (FAO) enzyme to a CI assembly factor. We provide evidence that ECSIT phosphorylation downregulates its association with ACAD9 and is reduced in neuronal cells upon exposure to amyloid-β (Aβ) oligomers. These findings advance our understanding of the MCIA complex assembly and suggest a possible role for ECSIT in the reprogramming of bioenergetic pathways linked to Aβ toxicity, a hallmark of AD.
  26. Nat Protoc. 2023 Dec 07.
      The central nervous system (CNS) comprises diverse and morphologically complex cells. To understand the molecular basis of their physiology, it is crucial to assess proteins expressed within intact cells. Commonly used methods utilize cell dissociation and sorting to isolate specific cell types such as neurons and astrocytes, the major CNS cells. Proteins purified from isolated cells are identified by mass spectrometry-based proteomics. However, dissociation and cell-sorting methods lead to near total loss of cellular morphology, thereby losing proteins from key relevant subcompartments such as processes, end feet, dendrites and axons. Here we provide a systematic protocol for cell- and subcompartment-specific labeling and identification of proteins found within intact astrocytes and neurons in vivo. This protocol utilizes the proximity-dependent biotinylation system BioID2, selectively expressed in either astrocytes or neurons, to label proximal proteins in a cell-specific manner. BioID2 is targeted genetically to assess the subproteomes of subcellular compartments such as the plasma membrane and sites of cell-cell contacts. We describe in detail the expression methods (variable timing), stereotaxic surgeries for expression (1-2 d and then 3 weeks), in vivo protein labeling (7 d), protein isolation (2-3 d), protein identification methods (2-3 d) and data analysis (1 week). The protocol can be applied to any area of the CNS in mouse models of physiological processes and for disease-related research.
  27. Cell Rep. 2023 Dec 05. pii: S2211-1247(23)01541-3. [Epub ahead of print]42(12): 113529
      Chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA) and endosomal microautophagy (eMI) are pathways for selective degradation of cytosolic proteins in lysosomes and late endosomes, respectively. These autophagic processes share as a first step the recognition of the same five-amino-acid motif in substrate proteins by the Hsc70 chaperone, raising the possibility of coordinated activity of both pathways. In this work, we show the existence of a compensatory relationship between CMA and eMI and identify a role for the chaperone protein Bag6 in triage and internalization of eMI substrates into late endosomes. Association and dynamics of Bag6 at the late endosome membrane change during starvation, a stressor that, contrary to other autophagic pathways, causes a decline in eMI activity. Collectively, these results show a coordinated function of eMI with CMA, identify the interchangeable subproteome degraded by these pathways, and start to elucidate the molecular mechanisms that facilitate the switch between them.
    Keywords:  Bag6; CP: Molecular biology; autophagy; chaperone; late endosome; lysosome; microautophagy; protein degradation; protein targeting; proteostasis; starvation
  28. Cell Signal. 2023 Dec 11. pii: S0898-6568(23)00424-2. [Epub ahead of print]114 111009
      AIMS: Glucokinase (GCK) acts as the glucose sensor in maintaining glucose homeostasis. The inactivating mutation of the GCK gene leads to glucokinase-maturity onset diabetes of the young (GCK-MODY). This study aims to gain further insights into the molecular alterations triggered by GCK partial inactivation in hepatocytes, potentially underlying the favorable prognosis of GCK-MODY.MAIN METHODS: A GCK knockdown HepG2 cell model was established, and the integration of proteomics and metabolomics was used to gain a comprehensive understanding of the molecular pathway changes caused by GCK inactivation in the liver.
    KEY FINDINGS: Proteomic analysis identified 257 differential proteins. KEGG pathway enrichment analysis showed that protein expression changes in the GCK knockdown group were significantly enriched in central carbon metabolism, the TCA cycle, amino acid metabolism and the oxidative phosphorylation pathway. Among them, enzymes in the TCA cycle (PC, IDH2, SDH) were significantly downregulated in GCK-knockdown group. Targeted metabolomics revealed that in the GCK knockdown hepatocytes, TCA cycle intermediates were significantly decreased, including pyruvate, oxaloacetate, citrate and succinic acid, and three metabolites increased including glycine, betaine and homocysteine. These metabolic alterations in turn reduced the accumulation of reactive oxygen species in GCK knockdown hepatocytes. Correlation analysis indicated that TCA cycle metabolites were positively correlated with proteins involved in the TCA cycle, carbon metabolism, glycolysis, Ras signaling, fibrosis and inflammation.
    SIGNIFICANCE: In conclusion, GCK knockdown reduced TCA cycle flux and oxidative stress in hepatocytes by influencing the levels of key transcription factors and enzymes, providing a comprehensive understanding of the effects of GCK partial inactivation on liver metabolism and molecular mechanisms.
    Keywords:  GCK-MODY; Glucokinase; Liver; Metabolomics; Proteomics; TCA cycle
  29. Cells. 2023 Nov 22. pii: 2682. [Epub ahead of print]12(23):
      Targeting tumour metabolism through glucose transporters is an attractive approach. However, the role these transporters play through interaction with other signalling proteins is not yet defined. The glucose transporter SLC2A3 (GLUT3) is a member of the solute carrier transporter proteins. GLUT3 has a high affinity for D-glucose and regulates glucose uptake in the neurons, as well as other tissues. Herein, we show that GLUT3 is involved in the uptake of arsenite, and its level is regulated by peroxiredoxin 1 (PRDX1). In the absence of PRDX1, GLUT3 mRNA and protein expression levels are low, but they are increased upon arsenite treatment, correlating with an increased uptake of glucose. The downregulation of GLUT3 by siRNA or deletion of the gene by CRISPR cas-9 confers resistance to arsenite. Additionally, the overexpression of GLUT3 sensitises the cells to arsenite. We further show that GLUT3 interacts with PRDX1, and it forms nuclear foci, which are redistributed upon arsenite exposure, as revealed by immunofluorescence analysis. We propose that GLUT3 plays a role in mediating the uptake of arsenite into cells, and its homeostatic and redox states are tightly regulated by PRDX1. As such, GLUT3 and PRDX1 are likely to be novel targets for arsenite-based cancer therapy.
    Keywords:  GLUT3 redox state; PRDX1; SLC2A3; arsenite sensitivity
  30. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2023 Dec 19. 120(51): e2303713120
      The mitochondrial permeability transition pore (mPTP) is a channel in the inner mitochondrial membrane whose sustained opening in response to elevated mitochondrial matrix Ca2+ concentrations triggers necrotic cell death. The molecular identity of mPTP is unknown. One proposed candidate is the mitochondrial ATP synthase, whose canonical function is to generate most ATP in multicellular organisms. Here, we present mitochondrial, cellular, and in vivo evidence that, rather than serving as mPTP, the mitochondrial ATP synthase inhibits this pore. Our studies confirm previous work showing persistence of mPTP in HAP1 cell lines lacking an assembled mitochondrial ATP synthase. Unexpectedly, however, we observe that Ca2+-induced pore opening is markedly sensitized by loss of the mitochondrial ATP synthase. Further, mPTP opening in cells lacking the mitochondrial ATP synthase is desensitized by pharmacological inhibition and genetic depletion of the mitochondrial cis-trans prolyl isomerase cyclophilin D as in wild-type cells, indicating that cyclophilin D can modulate mPTP through substrates other than subunits in the assembled mitochondrial ATP synthase. Mitoplast patch clamping studies showed that mPTP channel conductance was unaffected by loss of the mitochondrial ATP synthase but still blocked by cyclophilin D inhibition. Cardiac mitochondria from mice whose heart muscle cells we engineered deficient in the mitochondrial ATP synthase also demonstrate sensitization of Ca2+-induced mPTP opening and desensitization by cyclophilin D inhibition. Further, these mice exhibit strikingly larger myocardial infarctions when challenged with ischemia/reperfusion in vivo. We conclude that the mitochondrial ATP synthase does not function as mPTP and instead negatively regulates this pore.
    Keywords:  mitochondrial ATP synthase; mitochondrial permeability transition pore; necrosis
  31. J Mater Chem B. 2023 Dec 08.
      A series of near-infrared fluorescent probes, labeled A to E, were developed by combining electron-rich thiophene and 3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene bridges with 3-quinolinium and various electron deficient groups, enabling the sensing of NAD(P)H. Probes A and B exhibit absorptions and emissions in the near-infrared range, offering advantages such as minimal interference from autofluorescence, negligible photo impairment in cells and tissues, and exceptional tissue penetration. These probes show negligible fluorescence when NADH is not present, and their absorption maxima are at 438 nm and 470 nm, respectively. In contrast, probes C-E feature absorption maxima at 450, 334 and 581 nm, respectively. Added NADH triggers the transformation of the electron-deficient 3-quinolinium units into electron-rich 1,4-dihydroquinoline units resulting in fluorescence responses which were established at 748, 730, 575, 625 and 661 for probes AH-EH, respectively, at detection limits of 0.15 μM and 0.07 μM for probes A and B, respectively. Optimized geometries based on theoretical calculations reveal non-planar geometries for probes A-E due to twisting of the 3-quinolinium and benzothiazolium units bonded to the central thiophene group, which all attain planarity upon addition of hydride resulting in absorption and fluorescence in the near-IR region for probes AH and BH in contrast to probes CH-EH which depict fluorescence in the visible range. Probe A has been successfully employed to monitor NAD(P)H levels in glycolysis and specific mitochondrial targeting. Furthermore, it has been used to assess the influence of lactate and pyruvate on the levels of NAD(P)H, to explore how hypoxia in cancer cells can elevate levels of NAD(P)H, and to visualize changes in levels of NAD(P)H under hypoxic conditions with CoCl2 treatment. Additionally, probe A has facilitated the examination of the potential impact of chemotherapy drugs, namely gemcitabine, camptothecin, and cisplatin, on metabolic processes and energy generation within cancer cells by affecting NAD(P)H levels. Treatment of A549 cancer cells with these drugs has been shown to increase NAD(P)H levels, which may contribute to their anticancer effects ultimately leading to programmed cell death or apoptosis. Moreover, probe A has been successfully employed in monitoring NAD(P)H level changes in D. melanogaster larvae treated with cisplatin.
  32. Biotechniques. 2023 Dec 12.
      Tweetable abstract This perspective considers several avenues for future research on mitochondrial dynamics, stress, and DNA in outer space.
    Keywords:  metabolism; mitochondria; mitochondrial structure; space travel
  33. Anal Chem. 2023 Dec 12.
      Mitochondrial fission is a highly regulated process that can affect metabolism, proliferation, and apoptosis. Division at the periphery enables damaged material to be shed into smaller mitochondria destined for mitophagy, which is found preceded by increased Ca2+ and reactive oxygen species, as well as reduced membrane potential and pH. However, the variation of hypochlorous acid (HOCl) during the peripheral fission has not been well studied, and the existing fluorescent probes are unsuitable for detecting mitochondrial HOCl because of the 0.8-fold decreased pH during this process. Herein, we design a novel CCS (changeable π-conjugation system)-based probe (ON-mito) with a dibenzo[1,4]oxazepine core, which can selectively react with HOCl at pH 6.4, generating an oxazine-containing product that emits at 660 nm. The capability of ON-mito for imaging the HOCl generation in HeLa cells during mitophagy is demonstrated under weakly acidic condition. Further, with ON-mito, we find for the first time a burst increase of the mitochondrial HOCl in COS-7 cells during peripheral fission, which may serve as an important indicator of this process. Probe ON-mito may be useful for studying mitochondrial damage under diverse conditions.