bims-celmim Biomed News
on Cellular and mitochondrial metabolism
Issue of 2024‒01‒21
33 papers selected by
Marc Segarra Mondejar, University of Cologne

  1. Cell Rep. 2024 Jan 17. pii: S2211-1247(24)00009-3. [Epub ahead of print]43(2): 113681
      Mitochondrial calcium (Ca2+) uptake augments metabolic processes and buffers cytosolic Ca2+ levels; however, excessive mitochondrial Ca2+ can cause cell death. Disrupted mitochondrial function and Ca2+ homeostasis are linked to numerous neurodegenerative diseases (NDs), but the impact of mitochondrial Ca2+ disruption is not well understood. Here, we show that Drosophila models of multiple NDs (Parkinson's, Huntington's, Alzheimer's, and frontotemporal dementia) reveal a consistent increase in neuronal mitochondrial Ca2+ levels, as well as reduced mitochondrial Ca2+ buffering capacity, associated with increased mitochondria-endoplasmic reticulum contact sites (MERCs). Importantly, loss of the mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake channel MCU or overexpression of the efflux channel NCLX robustly suppresses key pathological phenotypes across these ND models. Thus, mitochondrial Ca2+ imbalance is a common feature of diverse NDs in vivo and is an important contributor to the disease pathogenesis. The broad beneficial effects from partial loss of MCU across these models presents a common, druggable target for therapeutic intervention.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer's disease; CP: Neuroscience; Drosophila; Huntington's disease; MCU; NCLX; Parkinson's disease; calcium overload; frontotemporal dementia; mitochondrial calcium; neurodegeneration
  2. Cell Death Dis. 2024 Jan 17. 15(1): 65
      Mitochondria are highly dynamic organelles capable of altering their sizes and shapes to maintain metabolic balance through coordinated fission and fusion processes. In various cancer types, mitochondrial hyperfragmentation has been frequently observed, contributing to the progression of cancer toward metastasis. Inverted formin 2 (INF2), which resides in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), has been found to accelerate actin polymerization and drive mitochondrial fission. In this study, we demonstrate that INF2 expression is significantly upregulated in endometrial cancer (EC) and is associated with a poor prognosis in EC patients. INF2 promotes anchorage-dependent and independent EC cell growth in part by facilitating mitochondrial fission. Furthermore, in conditions of energy stress, AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) phosphorylates INF2 at Ser1077, leading to increased localization of INF2 to the ER and enhanced recruitment of the dynamin-related protein 1 (DRP1) to mitochondria. This AMPK-mediated phosphorylation of INF2 at Ser1077 facilitates mitochondrial division and promotes EC cell growth. Pathological examination using immunohistochemical analyses revealed a positive correlation between AMPK activity and phosphorylated INF2 (Ser1077) in EC specimens. Collectively, our findings uncover novel molecular mechanisms involving the AMPK-INF2 axis, which regulates mitochondrial dynamics and malignant cell growth in EC.
  3. Sci Rep. 2024 01 16. 14(1): 1408
      Leptin is an adipokine secreted by adipose tissue, which promotes tumor progression by activating canonical signaling pathways such as MAPK/ERK. Recent studies have shown that leptin induces autophagy, and this process is involved in leptin-induced characteristics of malignancy. Autophagy is an intracellular degradation process associated with different hallmarks of cancer, such as cell survival, migration, and metabolic reprogramming. However, its relationship with metabolic reprogramming has not been clearly described. The purpose of this study was to determine the role of leptin-induced autophagy in cancer cell metabolism and its association with cellular proliferation and migration in breast cancer cells. We used ER+/PR+ and triple-negative breast cancer cell lines treated with leptin, autophagy inhibition, or mitochondrial metabolism inhibitors. Our results show that leptin induces autophagy, increases proliferation, mitochondrial ATP production and mitochondrial function in ER+/PR+ cells. Importantly, autophagy was required to maintain metabolic changes and cell proliferation driven by leptin. In triple-negative cells, leptin did not induce autophagy or cell proliferation but increased glycolytic and mitochondrial ATP production, mitochondrial function, and cell migration. In triple negative cells, autophagy was required to support metabolic changes and cell migration, and autophagy inhibition decreased cellular migration similar to mitochondrial inhibitors. In conclusion, leptin-induced autophagy supports mitochondrial metabolism in breast cancer cells as well as glycolysis in triple negative cells. Importantly, leptin-induced mitochondrial metabolism promoted cancer cell migration.
  4. Open Biol. 2024 Jan;14(1): 230279
      Mitochondria, classically known as the powerhouse of cells, are unique double membrane-bound multifaceted organelles carrying a genome. Mitochondrial content varies between cell types and precisely doubles within cells during each proliferating cycle. Mitochondrial content also increases to a variable degree during cell differentiation triggered after exit from the proliferating cycle. The mitochondrial content is primarily maintained by the regulation of mitochondrial biogenesis, while damaged mitochondria are eliminated from the cells by mitophagy. In any cell with a given mitochondrial content, the steady-state mitochondrial number and shape are determined by a balance between mitochondrial fission and fusion processes. The increase in mitochondrial content and alteration in mitochondrial fission and fusion are causatively linked with the process of differentiation. Here, we critically review the quantitative aspects in the detection methods of mitochondrial content and shape. Thereafter, we quantitatively link these mitochondrial properties in differentiating cells and highlight the implications of such quantitative link on stem cell functionality. Finally, we discuss an example of cell size regulation predicted from quantitative analysis of mitochondrial shape and content. To highlight the significance of quantitative analyses of these mitochondrial properties, we propose three independent rationale based hypotheses and the relevant experimental designs to test them.
    Keywords:  cell differentiation; cell proliferation; mitochondrial content; mitochondrial heterogeneity; mitochondrial shape; stem cells
  5. Biochim Biophys Acta Gene Regul Mech. 2024 Jan 17. pii: S1874-9399(24)00001-4. [Epub ahead of print] 195005
      The mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) is a kinase complex that plays a crucial role in coordinating cell growth in response to various signals, including amino acids, growth factors, oxygen, and ATP. Activation of mTORC1 promotes cell growth and anabolism, while its suppression leads to catabolism and inhibition of cell growth, enabling cells to withstand nutrient scarcity and stress. Dysregulation of mTORC1 activity is associated with numerous diseases, such as cancer, metabolic disorders, and neurodegenerative conditions. This review focuses on how post-translational modifications, particularly phosphorylation and ubiquitination, modulate mTORC1 signaling pathway and their consequential implications for pathogenesis. Understanding the impact of phosphorylation and ubiquitination on the mTORC1 signaling pathway provides valuable insights into the regulation of cellular growth and potential therapeutic targets for related diseases.
    Keywords:  Phosphorylation; Transcription factor; Ubiquitination; mTOR; mTORC1 signaling pathway
  6. Sci Rep. 2024 Jan 19. 14(1): 1729
      Anoxia halts oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) causing an accumulation of reduced compounds in the mitochondrial matrix which impedes dehydrogenases. By simultaneously measuring oxygen concentration, NADH autofluorescence, mitochondrial membrane potential and ubiquinone reduction extent in isolated mitochondria in real-time, we demonstrate that Complex I utilized endogenous quinones to oxidize NADH under acute anoxia. 13C metabolic tracing or untargeted analysis of metabolites extracted during anoxia in the presence or absence of site-specific inhibitors of the electron transfer system showed that NAD+ regenerated by Complex I is reduced by the 2-oxoglutarate dehydrogenase Complex yielding succinyl-CoA supporting mitochondrial substrate-level phosphorylation (mtSLP), releasing succinate. Complex II operated amphidirectionally during the anoxic event, providing quinones to Complex I and reducing fumarate to succinate. Our results highlight the importance of quinone provision to Complex I oxidizing NADH maintaining glutamate catabolism and mtSLP in the absence of OXPHOS.
  7. Adv Sci (Weinh). 2024 Jan 18. e2306469
      In Alzheimer's disease (AD), dysfunctional mitochondrial metabolism is associated with synaptic loss, the major pathological correlate of cognitive decline. Mechanistic insight for this relationship, however, is still lacking. Here, comparing isogenic wild-type and AD mutant human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-derived cerebrocortical neurons (hiN), evidence is found for compromised mitochondrial energy in AD using the Seahorse platform to analyze glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS). Isotope-labeled metabolic flux experiments revealed a major block in activity in the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle at the α-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase (αKGDH)/succinyl coenzyme-A synthetase step, metabolizing α-ketoglutarate to succinate. Associated with this block, aberrant protein S-nitrosylation of αKGDH subunits inhibited their enzyme function. This aberrant S-nitrosylation is documented not only in AD-hiN but also in postmortem human AD brains versus controls, as assessed by two separate unbiased mass spectrometry platforms using both SNOTRAP identification of S-nitrosothiols and chemoselective-enrichment of S-nitrosoproteins. Treatment with dimethyl succinate, a cell-permeable derivative of a TCA substrate downstream to the block, resulted in partial rescue of mitochondrial bioenergetic function as well as reversal of synapse loss in AD-hiN. These findings have therapeutic implications that rescue of mitochondrial energy metabolism can ameliorate synaptic loss in hiPSC-based models of AD.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer's diseases; S-nitrosylation; tricarboxylic acid cycles
  8. EMBO Rep. 2024 Jan 19.
      Neuronal maturation is the phase during which neurons acquire their final characteristics in terms of morphology, electrical activity, and metabolism. However, little is known about the metabolic pathways governing neuronal maturation. Here, we investigate the contribution of the main metabolic pathways, namely glucose, glutamine, and fatty acid oxidation, during the maturation of primary rat hippocampal neurons. Blunting glucose oxidation through the genetic and chemical inhibition of the mitochondrial pyruvate transporter reveals that this protein is critical for the production of glutamate, which is required for neuronal arborization, proper dendritic elongation, and spine formation. Glutamate supplementation in the early phase of differentiation restores morphological defects and synaptic function in mitochondrial pyruvate transporter-inhibited cells. Furthermore, the selective activation of metabotropic glutamate receptors restores the impairment of neuronal differentiation due to the reduced generation of glucose-derived glutamate and rescues synaptic local translation. Fatty acid oxidation does not impact neuronal maturation. Whereas glutamine metabolism is important for mitochondria, it is not for endogenous glutamate production. Our results provide insights into the role of glucose-derived glutamate as a key player in neuronal terminal differentiation.
    Keywords:  Glutamate; Local Protein Translation in Neurons; Metabolism; Mitochondrial Pyruvate Carrier
  9. J Cell Physiol. 2024 Jan 14.
      Angiogenesis is a complex process that involves the expansion of the pre-existing vascular plexus to enhance oxygen and nutrient delivery and is stimulated by various factors, including hypoxia. Since the process of angiogenesis requires a lot of energy, mitochondria play an important role in regulating and promoting this phenomenon. Besides their roles as an oxidative metabolism base, mitochondria are potential bioenergetics organelles to maintain cellular homeostasis via sensing alteration in oxygen levels. Under hypoxic conditions, mitochondria can regulate angiogenesis through different factors. It has been indicated that unidirectional and bidirectional exchange of mitochondria or their related byproducts between the cells is orchestrated via different intercellular mechanisms such as tunneling nanotubes, extracellular vesicles, and gap junctions to maintain the cell homeostasis. Even though, the transfer of mitochondria is one possible mechanism by which cells can promote and regulate the process of angiogenesis under reperfusion/ischemia injury. Despite the existence of a close relationship between mitochondrial donation and angiogenic response in different cell types, the precise molecular mechanisms associated with this phenomenon remain unclear. Here, we aimed to highlight the possible role of mitochondria concerning angiogenesis, especially the role of mitochondrial transport and the possible relation of this transfer with autophagy, the housekeeping phenomenon of cells, and angiogenesis.
    Keywords:  Phosphatase and Tensin Homolog; angiogenesis; autophagy; endothelial cells; exosomes; mitochondrial donation; tunneling nanotubes
  10. Eye Vis (Lond). 2024 Jan 16. 11(1): 5
      BACKGROUND: Diabetic retinopathy is a progressive disease, and one of the key metabolic abnormalities in the pathogenesis of diabetic retinopathy, mitochondrial damage, is also influenced by the duration of hyperglycemia. Mitochondrial quality control involves a coordination of mitochondrial dynamics, biogenesis and removal of the damaged mitochondria. In diabetes, these processes are impaired, and the damaged mitochondria continue to produce free radicals. Diabetic patients also have high homocysteine and reduced levels of hydrogen sulfide, and hyperhomocysteinemia is shown to exacerbate diabetes-induced mitochondrial damage and worsen their dynamics. This study aims to investigate the temporal relationship between hyperhomocysteinemia and retinal mitochondrial quality control in diabetic retinopathy.METHODS: Human retinal endothelial cells incubated in 20 mM D-glucose for 24 to 96 h, in the absence or presence of 100 µM homocysteine, with/without a hydrogen sulfide donor GYY4137, were analyzed for mitochondrial ROS (MitoSox fluorescence), DNA damage (transcripts of mtDNA-encoded ND6 and CytB), copy numbers, oxygen consumption rate (Seahorse XF analyzer) and mitophagy (mitophagosomes immunofluorescence labeling and flow cytometry). Results were confirmed in the retina from mice genetically manipulated for hyperhomocysteinemia (cystathionine β-synthase deficient mice, Cbs+/-), streptozotocin-induced diabetic for 8 to 24 weeks. At 24 weeks of diabetes, vascular health was evaluated by counting acellular capillaries in the trypsin digested retinal vasculature and by fluorescein angiography.
    RESULTS: Homocysteine, in high glucose medium, exacerbated mitochondrial ROS production, mtDNA damage and impaired mitochondrial respiration within 24 h, and slowed down/worsened mitochondrial biogenesis and mitophagy, as compared to 48 to 96 h in high glucose alone. GYY4137 supplementation ameliorated homocysteine + high glucose-induced mitochondrial damage and impairment in biogenesis and mitophagy. Similar results were obtained from Cbs+/- mice-mitochondrial ROS, mtDNA damage and decline in biogenesis and mitophagy were observed within eight weeks of diabetes vs. 16 to 24 weeks of diabetes in Cbs+/+ mice, and at 24 weeks of diabetes, Cbs+/- mice had significantly higher acellular capillaries and vascular leakage.
    CONCLUSIONS: Hyperhomocysteinemia, in a hyperglycemic environment, overwhelms the mitochondria, accelerating and exacerbating their dysfunction, and also delays/worsens their removal, augmenting the development of diabetic retinopathy. Thus, our results strengthen the importance of maintaining homocysteine-hydrogen sulfide balance during the early stages of diabetes for a patient to prevent/retard vision loss.
    Keywords:  Diabetic retinopathy; Homocysteine; Hydrogen sulfide; Mitochondria; Mitophagy; Retina
  11. Mol Neurodegener. 2024 Jan 18. 19(1): 6
      BACKGROUND: Reactive oxidative stress is a critical player in the amyloid beta (Aβ) toxicity that contributes to neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Damaged mitochondria are one of the main sources of reactive oxygen species and accumulate in Aβ plaque-associated dystrophic neurites in the AD brain. Although Aβ causes neuronal mitochondria reactive oxidative stress in vitro, this has never been directly observed in vivo in the living mouse brain. Here, we tested for the first time whether Aβ plaques and soluble Aβ oligomers induce mitochondrial oxidative stress in surrounding neurons in vivo, and whether this neurotoxic effect can be abrogated using mitochondrial-targeted antioxidants.METHODS: We expressed a genetically encoded fluorescent ratiometric mitochondria-targeted reporter of oxidative stress in mouse models of the disease and performed intravital multiphoton microscopy of neuronal mitochondria and Aβ plaques.
    RESULTS: For the first time, we demonstrated by direct observation in the living mouse brain exacerbated mitochondrial oxidative stress in neurons after both Aβ plaque deposition and direct application of soluble oligomeric Aβ onto the brain, and determined the most likely pathological sequence of events leading to oxidative stress in vivo. Oxidative stress could be inhibited by both blocking calcium influx into mitochondria and treating with the mitochondria-targeted antioxidant SS31. Remarkably, the latter ameliorated plaque-associated dystrophic neurites without impacting Aβ plaque burden.
    CONCLUSIONS: Considering these results, combination of mitochondria-targeted compounds with other anti-amyloid beta or anti-tau therapies hold promise as neuroprotective drugs for the prevention and/or treatment of AD.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer’s disease; Mitochondria; Multiphoton microscopy; Neurodegeneration; Oxidative stress; ROS; SS31
  12. Cell Death Discov. 2024 Jan 15. 10(1): 27
      Metabolic rewiring is the result of the increasing demands and proliferation of cancer cells, leading to changes in the biological activities and responses to treatment of cancer cells. The mitochondrial citrate transport protein SLC25A1 is involved in metabolic reprogramming offering a strategy to induce metabolic bottlenecks relevant to radiosensitization through the accumulation of the oncometabolite D-2-hydroxyglutarate (D-2HG) upon SLC25A1 inhibition (SLC25A1i). Previous studies have revealed the comparative effects of SLC25A1i or cell-permeable D-2HG (octyl-D-2HG) treatments on DNA damage induction and repair, as well as on energy metabolism and cellular function, which are crucial for the long-term survival of irradiated cells. Here, α-ketoglutarate (αKG), the precursor of D-2HG, potentiated the effects observed upon SLC25A1i on DNA damage repair, cell function and long-term survival in vitro and in vivo, rendering NCI-H460 cancer cells more vulnerable to ionizing radiation. However, αKG treatment alone had little effect on these phenotypes. In addition, supplementation with nicotinamide (NAM), a precursor of NAD (including NAD+ and NADH), counteracted the effects of SLC25A1i or the combination of SLC25A1i with αKG, highlighting a potential importance of the NAD+/NADH balance on cellular activities relevant to the survival of irradiated cancer cells upon SLC25A1i. Furthermore, inhibition of histone lysine demethylases (KDMs), as a major factor affected upon SLC25A1i, by JIB04 treatment alone or in combination with αKG supplementation phenocopied the broad effects on mitochondrial and cellular function induced by SLC25A1i. Taken together, αKG supplementation potentiated the effects on cellular processes observed upon SLC25A1i and increased the cellular demand for NAD to rebalance the cellular state and ensure survival after irradiation. Future studies will elucidate the underlying metabolic reprogramming induced by SLC25A1i and provide novel therapeutic strategies for cancer treatment.
  13. Cell Death Dis. 2024 Jan 17. 15(1): 58
      MitoKATP is a channel of the inner mitochondrial membrane that controls mitochondrial K+ influx according to ATP availability. Recently, the genes encoding the pore-forming (MITOK) and the regulatory ATP-sensitive (MITOSUR) subunits of mitoKATP were identified, allowing the genetic manipulation of the channel. Here, we analyzed the role of mitoKATP in determining skeletal muscle structure and activity. Mitok-/- muscles were characterized by mitochondrial cristae remodeling and defective oxidative metabolism, with consequent impairment of exercise performance and altered response to damaging muscle contractions. On the other hand, constitutive mitochondrial K+ influx by MITOK overexpression in the skeletal muscle triggered overt mitochondrial dysfunction and energy default, increased protein polyubiquitination, aberrant autophagy flux, and induction of a stress response program. MITOK overexpressing muscles were therefore severely atrophic. Thus, the proper modulation of mitoKATP activity is required for the maintenance of skeletal muscle homeostasis and function.
  14. Cell Death Dis. 2024 Jan 17. 15(1): 64
      Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is one of the three major malignant tumors of the urinary system and originates from proximal tubular epithelial cells. Clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) accounts for approximately 80% of RCC cases and is recognized as a metabolic disease driven by genetic mutations and epigenetic alterations. Through bioinformatic analysis, we found that FK506 binding protein 10 (FKBP10) may play an essential role in hypoxia and glycolysis pathways in ccRCC progression. Functionally, FKBP10 promotes the proliferation and metastasis of ccRCC in vivo and in vitro depending on its peptidyl-prolyl cis-trans isomerase (PPIase) domains. Mechanistically, FKBP10 binds directly to lactate dehydrogenase A (LDHA) through its C-terminal region, the key regulator of glycolysis, and enhances the LDHA-Y10 phosphorylation, which results in a hyperactive Warburg effect and the accumulation of histone lactylation. Moreover, HIFα negatively regulates the expression of FKBP10, and inhibition of FKBP10 enhances the antitumor effect of the HIF2α inhibitor PT2385. Therefore, our study demonstrates that FKBP10 promotes clear cell renal cell carcinoma progression and regulates sensitivity to HIF2α blockade by facilitating LDHA phosphorylation, which may be exploited for anticancer therapy.
  15. EMBO Rep. 2024 Jan 17.
      Autophagy is initiated by the assembly of multiple autophagy-related proteins that form the phagophore assembly site where autophagosomes are formed. Atg13 is essential early in this process, and a hub of extensive phosphorylation. How these multiple phosphorylations contribute to autophagy initiation, however, is not well understood. Here we comprehensively analyze the role of phosphorylation events on Atg13 during nutrient-rich conditions and nitrogen starvation. We identify and functionally characterize 48 in vivo phosphorylation sites on Atg13. By generating reciprocal mutants, which mimic the dephosphorylated active and phosphorylated inactive state of Atg13, we observe that disrupting the dynamic regulation of Atg13 leads to insufficient or excessive autophagy, which are both detrimental to cell survival. We furthermore demonstrate an involvement of Atg11 in bulk autophagy even during nitrogen starvation, where it contributes together with Atg1 to the multivalency that drives phase separation of the phagophore assembly site. These findings reveal the importance of post-translational regulation on Atg13 early during autophagy initiation, which provides additional layers of regulation to control bulk autophagy activity and integrate cellular signals.
    Keywords:  Atg1 Kinase Complex; Atg11; Atg13; Autophagy; PAS Formation
  16. Cell. 2024 Jan 18. pii: S0092-8674(23)01332-6. [Epub ahead of print]187(2): 235-256
      Cell death supports morphogenesis during development and homeostasis after birth by removing damaged or obsolete cells. It also curtails the spread of pathogens by eliminating infected cells. Cell death can be induced by the genetically programmed suicide mechanisms of apoptosis, necroptosis, and pyroptosis, or it can be a consequence of dysregulated metabolism, as in ferroptosis. Here, we review the signaling mechanisms underlying each cell-death pathway, discuss how impaired or excessive activation of the distinct cell-death processes can promote disease, and highlight existing and potential therapies for redressing imbalances in cell death in cancer and other diseases.
    Keywords:  apoptosis; cell death; ferroptosis; necroptosis; pyroptosis
  17. Cell Death Differ. 2024 Jan 18.
      Selective removal of dysfunctional mitochondria via autophagy is crucial for the maintenance of cellular homeostasis. This event is initiated by the translocation of the E3 ubiquitin ligase Parkin to damaged mitochondria, and it requires the Serine/Threonine-protein kinase PINK1. In a coordinated set of events, PINK1 operates upstream of Parkin in a linear pathway that leads to the phosphorylation of Parkin, Ubiquitin, and Parkin mitochondrial substrates, to promote ubiquitination of outer mitochondrial membrane proteins. Ubiquitin-decorated mitochondria are selectively recruiting autophagy receptors, which are required to terminate the organelle via autophagy. In this work, we show a previously uncharacterized molecular pathway that correlates the activation of the Ca2+-dependent phosphatase Calcineurin to Parkin translocation and Parkin-dependent mitophagy. Calcineurin downregulation or genetic inhibition prevents Parkin translocation to CCCP-treated mitochondria and impairs stress-induced mitophagy, whereas Calcineurin activation promotes Parkin mitochondrial recruitment and basal mitophagy. Calcineurin interacts with Parkin, and promotes Parkin translocation in the absence of PINK1, but requires PINK1 expression to execute mitophagy in MEF cells. Genetic activation of Calcineurin in vivo boosts basal mitophagy in neurons and corrects locomotor dysfunction and mitochondrial respiratory defects of a Drosophila model of impaired mitochondrial functions. Our study identifies Calcineurin as a novel key player in the regulation of Parkin translocation and mitophagy.
  18. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2024 Dec;108(1): 110
      Terpenoids are widely used in the food, beverage, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical industries. Microorganisms have been extensively studied for terpenoid production. In yeast, the introduction of the mevalonate (MVA) pathway in organelles in addition to the augmentation of its own MVA pathway have been challenging. Introduction of the MVA pathway into mitochondria is considered a promising approach for terpenoid production because acetyl-CoA, the starting molecule of the MVA pathway, is abundant in mitochondria. However, mitochondria comprise only a small percentage of the entire cell. Therefore, we hypothesized that increasing the total mitochondrial volume per cell would increase terpenoid production. First, we ascertained that the amounts of isopentenyl diphosphate (IPP) and dimethylallyl diphosphate (DMAPP), the final molecules of the MVA pathway, were 15-fold higher of the strain expressing the MVA pathway in mitochondria than in the wild-type yeast strain. Second, we found that different deletion mutants induced different mitochondrial volumes by measuring the mitochondrial volume in various deletion mutants affecting mitochondrial morphology; for example,Δmdm32 increased mitochondrial volume, and Δfzo1 decreased it. Finally, the effects of mitochondrial volume on amounts of IPP/DMAPP and terpenoids (squalene or β-carotene) were investigated using mutants harboring large or small mitochondria expressing the MVA pathway in mitochondria. Amounts of IPP/DMAPP and terpenoids (squalene or β-carotene) increased when the mitochondrial volume expanded. Introducing the MVA pathway into mitochondria for terpenoid production in yeast may become more attractive by enlarging the mitochondrial volume. KEY POINTS: • IPP/DMAPP content increased in the strain expressing the MVA pathway in mitochondria • IPP/DMAPP and terpenoid contents are positively correlated with mitochondrial volume • Enlarging the mitochondria may improve mitochondria-mediated terpenoid production.
    Keywords:  Mevalonate pathway; Mitochondria; Squalene; Terpenoid; Yeast; β-carotene
  19. Mol Vis. 2023 ;29 274-288
      Purpose: The cystine/glutamate antiporter is involved in the export of intracellular glutamate in exchange for extracellular cystine. Glutamate is the main neurotransmitter in the retina and plays a key metabolic role as a major anaplerotic substrate in the tricarboxylic acid cycle to generate adenosine triphosphate (ATP). In addition, glutamate is also involved in the outer plexiform glutamate-glutamine cycle, which links photoreceptors and supporting Müller cells and assists in maintaining photoreceptor neurotransmitter supply. In this study, we investigated the role of xCT, the light chain subunit responsible for antiporter function, in glutamate pathways in the mouse retina using an xCT knockout mouse. As xCT is a glutamate exporter, we hypothesized that loss of xCT function may influence the presynaptic metabolism of photoreceptors and postsynaptic levels of glutamate.Methods: Retinas of C57BL/6J wild-type (WT) and xCT knockout (KO) mice of either sex were analyzed from 6 weeks to 12 months of age. Biochemical assays were used to determine the effect of loss of xCT on glycolysis and energy metabolism by measuring lactate dehydrogenase activity and ATP levels. Next, biochemical assays were used to measure whole-tissue glutamate and glutamine levels, while silver-intensified immunogold labeling was performed on 6-week and 9-month-old retinas to visualize and quantify the distribution of glutamate, glutamine, and related neurochemical substrates gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and glycine in the different layers of the retina.
    Results: Biochemical analysis revealed that loss of xCT function did not alter the lactate dehydrogenase activity, ATP levels, or glutamate and glutamine contents in whole retinas in any age group. However, at 6 weeks of age, the xCT KO retinas revealed altered glutamate distribution compared with the age-matched WT retinas, with accumulation of glutamate in the photoreceptors and outer plexiform layer. In addition, at 6 weeks and 9 months of age, the xCT KO retinas also showed altered glutamine distribution compared with the WT retinas, with glutamine labeling significantly decreased in Müller cell bodies. No significant difference in GABA or glycine distribution were found between the WT and xCT KO retinas at 6 weeks or 9 months of age.
    Conclusion: Loss of xCT function results in glutamate metabolic disruption through the accumulation of glutamate in photoreceptors and a reduced uptake of glutamate by Müller cells, which in turn decreases glutamine production. These findings support the idea that xCT plays a role in the presynaptic metabolism of photoreceptors and postsynaptic levels of glutamate and derived neurotransmitters in the retina.
  20. J Biol Chem. 2024 Jan 11. pii: S0021-9258(24)00021-8. [Epub ahead of print] 105645
      Glutathione (GSH) is a highly abundant tripeptide thiol that performs diverse protective and biosynthetic functions in cells. While changes in GSH availability are associated with inborn errors of metabolism, cancer and neurodegenerative disorders, studying the limiting role of GSH in physiology and disease has been challenging due to its tight regulation. To address this, we generated cell and mouse models that express a bifunctional glutathione-synthesizing enzyme from Streptococcus thermophilus (GshF), which possesses both glutamate-cysteine ligase and glutathione synthase activities. GshF expression allows efficient production of GSH in the cytosol and mitochondria and prevents cell death in response to GSH depletion, but not ferroptosis induction, indicating that GSH is not a limiting factor under lipid peroxidation. CRISPR screens using engineered enzymes further revealed genes required for cell proliferation under cellular and mitochondrial GSH depletion. Among these, we identified the glutamate-cysteine ligase modifier subunit, Gclm, as a requirement for cellular sensitivity to buthionine sulfoximne, a glutathione synthesis inhibitor. Finally, GshF expression in mice is embryonically lethal but sustains postnatal viability when restricted to adulthood. Overall, our work identifies a conditional mouse model to investigate the limiting role of GSH in physiology and disease.
  21. Nat Aging. 2024 Jan;4(1): 80-94
      Skeletal muscle plays a central role in the regulation of systemic metabolism during lifespan. With aging, this function is perturbed, initiating multiple chronic diseases. Our knowledge of mechanisms responsible for this decline is limited. Glycerophosphocholine phosphodiesterase 1 (Gpcpd1) is a highly abundant muscle enzyme that hydrolyzes glycerophosphocholine (GPC). The physiological functions of Gpcpd1 remain largely unknown. Here we show, in mice, that the Gpcpd1-GPC metabolic pathway is perturbed in aged muscles. Further, muscle-specific, but not liver- or fat-specific, inactivation of Gpcpd1 resulted in severely impaired glucose metabolism. Western-type diets markedly worsened this condition. Mechanistically, Gpcpd1 muscle deficiency resulted in accumulation of GPC, causing an 'aged-like' transcriptomic signature and impaired insulin signaling in young Gpcpd1-deficient muscles. Finally, we report that the muscle GPC levels are markedly altered in both aged humans and patients with type 2 diabetes, displaying a high positive correlation between GPC levels and chronological age. Our findings reveal that the muscle GPCPD1-GPC metabolic pathway has an important role in the regulation of glucose homeostasis and that it is impaired during aging, which may contribute to glucose intolerance in aging.
  22. Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2024 Jan 15.
      In eukaryotic cells, the mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (sometimes referred to as the mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1; mTORC1) orchestrates cellular metabolism in response to environmental energy availability. As a result, at the organismal level, mTORC1 signalling regulates the intake, storage and use of energy by acting as a hub for the actions of nutrients and hormones, such as leptin and insulin, in different cell types. It is therefore unsurprising that deregulated mTORC1 signalling is associated with obesity. Strategies that increase energy expenditure offer therapeutic promise for the treatment of obesity. Here we review current evidence illustrating the critical role of mTORC1 signalling in the regulation of energy expenditure and adaptive thermogenesis through its various effects in neuronal circuits, adipose tissue and skeletal muscle. Understanding how mTORC1 signalling in one organ and cell type affects responses in other organs and cell types could be key to developing better, safer treatments targeting this pathway in obesity.
  23. Cell Death Dis. 2024 Jan 17. 15(1): 63
      Acute kidney injury (AKI) constitutes a prevalent clinical syndrome characterized by elevated morbidity and mortality rates, emerging as a significant public health issue. This study investigates the interplay between endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, unfolded protein response (UPR), and ER-associated degradation (ER-phagy) in the pathogenesis of AKI. We employed four distinct murine models of AKI-induced by contrast media, ischemia-reperfusion injury, cisplatin, and folic acid-to elucidate the relationship between ER-phagy, ER stress, and apoptosis. Our findings reveal a marked decrease in ER-phagy coinciding with an accumulation of damaged ER, elevated ER stress, and increased apoptosis across all AKI models. Importantly, overexpression of DDRGK1 in HK-2 cells enhanced ER-phagy levels, ameliorating contrast-induced ER stress and apoptosis. These findings unveil a novel protective mechanism in AKI, wherein DDRGK1-UFL1-mediated ER-phagy mitigates ER stress and apoptosis in renal tubular epithelial cells. Our results thereby contribute to understanding the molecular underpinnings of AKI and offer potential therapeutic targets for its treatment.
  24. Curr Opin Chem Biol. 2024 Jan 18. pii: S1367-5931(24)00001-2. [Epub ahead of print]78 102425
      Numerous electrophilic metabolites are formed during cellular activity, particularly under conditions of oxidative, inflammatory and metabolic stress. Among them are lipid oxidation and nitration products, and compounds derived from amino acid and central carbon metabolism. Here we focus on one cellular target of electrophiles, the Kelch-like ECH associated protein 1 (KEAP1)/nuclear factor erythroid 2 p45-related factor 2 (NRF2) partnership. Many of these reactive compounds modify C151, C273 and/or C288 within KEAP1. Other types of modifications include S-lactoylation of C273, N-succinylation of K131, and formation of methylimidazole intermolecular crosslink between two KEAP1 monomers. Modified KEAP1 relays the initial signal to transcription factor NRF2 and its downstream targets, the ultimate effectors that provide means for detoxification, adaptation and survival. Thus, by non-enzymatically covalently modifying KEAP1, the electrophilic metabolites discussed here serve as chemical signals connecting metabolism with stress responses.
  25. Neuroscience. 2024 Jan 12. pii: S0306-4522(24)00011-3. [Epub ahead of print]
      Current evidence suggests that glial cells provide C3 carbon sources to fuel neuronal activity; however, this notion has become challenged by biosensor studies carried out in acute brain slices or in vivo, showing that neuronal activity does not rely on the import of astrocyte-produced L-lactate. Rather, stimulated neurons become net lactate exporters, as it was also shown in Drosophila neurons, in which astrocyte-provided lactate returns as lipid droplets to be stored in glial cells. In this view, we investigate whether exogenously supplied monocarboxylates can support Drosophila motoneuron neurotransmitter release (NTR). By assessing the excitatory post-synaptic current (EPSC) amplitude under voltage-clamp as NTR indicative, we found that both pyruvate and L-lactate, as the only carbon sources in the synapses bathing-solution, cause a large transient NTR enhancement, which declines to reach a synaptic depression state, from which the synapses do not recover. The FM1-43 pre-synaptic loading ability, however, is maintained under monocarboxylate, suggesting that SV cycling should not contribute to the synaptic depression state. The NTR recovery was reached by supplementing the monocarboxylate medium with sucrose. However, monocarboxylate addition to sucrose medium does not enhance NTR, but it does when the disaccharide concentration becomes too reduced. Thus, when pyruvate concentrations become too reduced, exogenously supplied L-lactate could be converted to pyruvate and metabolized by the neural mitochondria, triggering the NTR enhancement. Significance Statement The question of whether monocarboxylic acids can fuel the Drosophila motoneuron NTR was challenged. Our findings show that exogenously supplied monocarboxylates trigger a large transient synaptic enhancement just under extreme glycolysis reduction but fail to maintain NTR under sustained synaptic demand, still at low frequency stimulation, driven to the synapses to a synaptic depression state. Glycolysis activation, by adding sucrose to the monocarboxylate bath solution, restores the motoneuron NTR ability, giving place to a hexoses role in SV recruitment. Moreover these results suggest exogenously supplied C3 carbon sources could have an additional role beyond providing energetic support for neural activity.
    Keywords:  Drosophila motoneuron synapses; Monocarboxylic acids; Neurotransmitter release; Synaptic vesicles
  26. EMBO J. 2024 Jan 15.
      Cristae membrane state plays a central role in regulating mitochondrial function and cellular metabolism. The protein Optic atrophy 1 (Opa1) is an important crista remodeler that exists as two forms in the mitochondrion, a membrane-anchored long form (l-Opa1) and a processed short form (s-Opa1). The mechanisms for how Opa1 influences cristae shape have remained unclear due to lack of native three-dimensional views of cristae. We perform in situ cryo-electron tomography of cryo-focused ion beam milled mouse embryonic fibroblasts with defined Opa1 states to understand how each form of Opa1 influences cristae architecture. In our tomograms, we observe a variety of cristae shapes with distinct trends dependent on s-Opa1:l-Opa1 balance. Increased l-Opa1 levels promote cristae stacking and elongated mitochondria, while increased s-Opa1 levels correlated with irregular cristae packing and round mitochondria shape. Functional assays indicate a role for l-Opa1 in wild-type apoptotic and calcium handling responses, and show a compromised respiratory function under Opa1 imbalance. In summary, we provide three-dimensional visualization of cristae architecture to reveal relationships between mitochondrial ultrastructure and cellular function dependent on Opa1-mediated membrane remodeling.
    Keywords:  Cristae Remodeling; Cryo-Electron Tomography; Cryo-Focused Ion Beam Milling; Mitochondrial Biology
  27. PLoS Biol. 2024 Jan;22(1): e3002406
      Breast tumours are embedded in a collagen I-rich extracellular matrix (ECM) network, where nutrients are scarce due to limited blood flow and elevated tumour growth. Metabolic adaptation is required for cancer cells to endure these conditions. Here, we demonstrated that the presence of ECM supported the growth of invasive breast cancer cells, but not non-transformed mammary epithelial cells, under amino acid starvation, through a mechanism that required macropinocytosis-dependent ECM uptake. Importantly, we showed that this behaviour was acquired during carcinoma progression. ECM internalisation, followed by lysosomal degradation, contributed to the up-regulation of the intracellular levels of several amino acids, most notably tyrosine and phenylalanine. This resulted in elevated tyrosine catabolism on ECM under starvation, leading to increased fumarate levels, potentially feeding into the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle. Interestingly, this pathway was required for ECM-dependent cell growth and invasive cell migration under amino acid starvation, as the knockdown of p-hydroxyphenylpyruvate hydroxylase-like protein (HPDL), the third enzyme of the pathway, opposed cell growth and motility on ECM in both 2D and 3D systems, without affecting cell proliferation on plastic. Finally, high HPDL expression correlated with poor prognosis in breast cancer patients. Collectively, our results highlight that the ECM in the tumour microenvironment (TME) represents an alternative source of nutrients to support cancer cell growth by regulating phenylalanine and tyrosine metabolism.
  28. Cell Rep Med. 2024 Jan 16. pii: S2666-3791(23)00601-8. [Epub ahead of print]5(1): 101372
      Insulin sensitivity and metabolic flexibility decrease in response to bed rest, but the temporal and causal adaptations in human skeletal muscle metabolism are not fully defined. Here, we use an integrative approach to assess human skeletal muscle metabolism during bed rest and provide a multi-system analysis of how skeletal muscle and the circulatory system adapt to short- and long-term bed rest (German Clinical Trials: DRKS00015677). We uncover that intracellular glycogen accumulation after short-term bed rest accompanies a rapid reduction in systemic insulin sensitivity and less GLUT4 localization at the muscle cell membrane, preventing further intracellular glycogen deposition after long-term bed rest. We provide evidence of a temporal link between the accumulation of intracellular triglycerides, lipotoxic ceramides, and sphingomyelins and an altered skeletal muscle mitochondrial structure and function after long-term bed rest. An intracellular nutrient overload therefore represents a crucial determinant for rapid skeletal muscle insulin insensitivity and mitochondrial alterations after prolonged bed rest.
    Keywords:  GLUT4; bed rest; insulin sensitivity; lipotoxicity; metabolism; mitochondria; nutrient overload; physical inactivity; skeletal muscle
  29. Cell Death Dis. 2024 Jan 13. 15(1): 42
      Amino acid metabolism plays important roles in tumor biology and tumor therapy. Accumulating evidence has shown that amino acids contribute to tumorigenesis and tumor immunity by acting as nutrients, signaling molecules, and could also regulate gene transcription and epigenetic modification. Therefore, targeting amino acid metabolism will provide new ideas for tumor treatment and become an important therapeutic approach after surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. In this review, we systematically summarize the recent progress of amino acid metabolism in malignancy and their interaction with signal pathways as well as their effect on tumor microenvironment and epigenetic modification. Collectively, we also highlight the potential therapeutic application and future expectation.
  30. EMBO J. 2024 Jan 18.
      Hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) divisional fate and function are determined by cellular metabolism, yet the contribution of specific cellular organelles and metabolic pathways to blood maintenance and stress-induced responses in the bone marrow remains poorly understood. The outer mitochondrial membrane-localized E3 ubiquitin ligase MITOL/MARCHF5 (encoded by the Mitol gene) is known to regulate mitochondrial and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) interaction and to promote cell survival. Here, we investigated the functional involvement of MITOL in HSC maintenance by generating MX1-cre inducible Mitol knockout mice. MITOL deletion in the bone marrow resulted in HSC exhaustion and impairment of bone marrow reconstitution capability in vivo. Interestingly, MITOL loss did not induce major mitochondrial dysfunction in hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells. In contrast, MITOL deletion induced prolonged ER stress in HSCs, which triggered cellular apoptosis regulated by IRE1α. In line, dampening of ER stress signaling by IRE1α inihibitor KIRA6 partially rescued apoptosis of long-term-reconstituting HSC. In summary, our observations indicate that MITOL is a principal regulator of hematopoietic homeostasis and protects blood stem cells from cell death through its function in ER stress signaling.
    Keywords:  Apoptosis; Cell Cycle; ER Stress Response; IRE1; MITOL
  31. Sci Adv. 2024 Jan 19. 10(3): eadi4298
      Bone is one of the most common sites of tumor metastases. During the last step of bone metastasis, cancer cells colonize and disrupt the bone matrix, which is maintained mainly by osteocytes, the most abundant cells in the bone microenvironment. However, the role of osteocytes in bone metastasis is still unclear. Here, we demonstrated that osteocytes transfer mitochondria to metastatic cancer cells and trigger the cGAS/STING-mediated antitumor response. Blocking the transfer of mitochondria by specifically knocking out mitochondrial Rho GTPase 1 (Rhot1) or mitochondrial mitofusin 2 (Mfn2) in osteocytes impaired tumor immunogenicity and consequently resulted in the progression of metastatic cancer toward the bone matrix. These findings reveal the protective role of osteocytes against cancer metastasis by transferring mitochondria to cancer cells and potentially offer a valuable therapeutic strategy for preventing bone metastasis.
  32. bioRxiv. 2023 Dec 27. pii: 2023.12.27.573447. [Epub ahead of print]
      During an immune response, macrophages systematically rewire their metabolism in specific ways to support their diversve functions. However, current knowledge of macrophage metabolism is largely concentrated on central carbon metabolism. Using multi-omics analysis, we identified nucleotide metabolism as one of the most significantly rewired pathways upon classical activation. Further isotopic tracing studies revealed several major changes underlying the substantial metabolomic alterations: 1) de novo synthesis of both purines and pyrimidines is shut down at several specific steps; 2) nucleotide degradation activity to nitrogenous bases is increased but complete oxidation of bases is reduced, causing a great accumulation of nucleosides and bases; and 3) cells gradually switch to primarily relying on salvaging the nucleosides and bases for maintaining most nucleotide pools. Mechanistically, the inhibition of purine nucleotide de novo synthesis is mainly caused by nitric oxide (NO)-driven inhibition of the IMP synthesis enzyme ATIC, with NO-independent transcriptional downregulation of purine synthesis genes augmenting the effect. The inhibition of pyrimidine nucleotide de novo synthesis is driven by NO-driven inhibition of CTP synthetase (CTPS) and transcriptional downregulation of thymidylate synthase (TYMS). For the rewiring of degradation, purine nucleoside phosphorylase (PNP) and uridine phosphorylase (UPP) are transcriptionally upregulated, increasing nucleoside degradation activity. However, complete degradation of purine bases by xanthine oxidoreductase (XOR) is inhibited by NO, diverting flux into nucleotide salvage. Inhibiting the activation-induced switch from nucleotide de novo synthesis to salvage by knocking out the purine salvage enzyme hypoxanthine-guanine phosporibosyl transferase ( Hprt ) significantly alters the expression of genes important for activated macrophage functions, suppresses macrophage migration, and increases pyroptosis. Furthermore, knocking out Hprt or Xor increases proliferation of the intracellular parasite Toxoplasma gondii in macrophages. Together, these studies comprehensively reveal the characteristics, the key regulatory mechanisms, and the functional importance of the dynamic rewiring of nucleotide metabolism in classically activated macrophages.
  33. Cell Rep Methods. 2024 Jan 11. pii: S2667-2375(23)00378-8. [Epub ahead of print] 100692
      We have developed an open-source workflow that allows for quantitative single-cell analysis of organelle morphology, distribution, and inter-organelle contacts with an emphasis on the analysis of mitochondria and mitochondria-endoplasmic reticulum (mito-ER) contact sites. As the importance of inter-organelle contacts becomes more widely recognized, there is a concomitant increase in demand for tools to analyze subcellular architecture. Here, we describe a workflow we call MitER (pronounced "mightier"), which allows for automated calculation of organelle morphology, distribution, and inter-organelle contacts from 3D renderings by employing the animation software Blender. We then use MitER to quantify the variations in the mito-ER networks of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, revealing significantly more mito-ER contacts within respiring cells compared to fermenting cells. We then demonstrate how this workflow can be applied to mammalian systems and used to monitor mitochondrial dynamics and inter-organelle contact in time-lapse studies.
    Keywords:  CP: Imaging; Saccharomyces cerevisea; image analysis; imaging; inter-organelle contact; mitochondrial-ER contact; organelle distribution; organelle morphology