bims-imicid Biomed News
on Immunometabolism of infection, cancer and immune-mediated disease
Issue of 2022‒03‒06
twenty-two papers selected by
Dylan Ryan
University of Cambridge

  1. Cell Metab. 2022 Mar 01. pii: S1550-4131(22)00046-8. [Epub ahead of print]34(3): 487-501.e8
      The Krebs cycle-derived metabolite itaconate and its derivatives suppress the inflammatory response in pro-inflammatory "M1" macrophages. However, alternatively activated "M2" macrophages can take up itaconate. We therefore examined the effect of itaconate and 4-octyl itaconate (OI) on M2 macrophage activation. We demonstrate that itaconate and OI inhibit M2 polarization and metabolic remodeling. Examination of IL-4 signaling revealed inhibition of JAK1 and STAT6 phosphorylation by both itaconate and OI. JAK1 activation was also inhibited by OI in response to IL-13, interferon-β, and interferon-γ in macrophages and in T helper 2 (Th2) cells. Importantly, JAK1 was directly modified by itaconate derivatives at multiple residues, including cysteines 715, 816, 943, and 1130. Itaconate and OI also inhibited JAK1 kinase activity. Finally, OI treatment suppressed M2 macrophage polarization and JAK1 phosphorylation in vivo. We therefore identify itaconate and OI as JAK1 inhibitors, suggesting a new strategy to inhibit JAK1 in M2 macrophage-driven diseases.
    Keywords:  Jak-STAT; Krebs cycle; M2 macrophage; immunometabolism; itaconate; macrophages
  2. Cell Metab. 2022 Mar 01. pii: S1550-4131(22)00047-X. [Epub ahead of print]34(3): 378-395
      Productive T cell responses to infection and cancer rely on coordinated metabolic reprogramming and epigenetic remodeling among the immune cells. In particular, T cell effector and memory differentiation, exhaustion, and senescence/aging are tightly regulated by the metabolism-epigenetics axis. In this review, we summarize recent advances of how metabolic circuits combined with epigenetic changes dictate T cell fate decisions and shape their functional states. We also discuss how the metabolic-epigenetic axis orchestrates T cell exhaustion and explore how physiological factors, such as diet, gut microbiota, and the circadian clock, are integrated in shaping T cell epigenetic modifications and functionality. Furthermore, we summarize key features of the senescent/aged T cells and discuss how to ameliorate vaccination- and COVID-induced T cell dysfunctions by metabolic modulations. An in-depth understanding of the unexplored links between cellular metabolism and epigenetic modifications in various physiological or pathological contexts has the potential to uncover novel therapeutic strategies for fine-tuning T cell immunity.
    Keywords:  CD8; COVID; aging; epigenetic; exhaustion; immunometabolism
  3. Nat Immunol. 2022 Feb 28.
      Chronic inflammation triggers compensatory immunosuppression to stop inflammation and minimize tissue damage. Studies have demonstrated that endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress augments the suppressive phenotypes of immune cells; however, the molecular mechanisms underpinning this process and how it links to the metabolic reprogramming of immunosuppressive macrophages remain elusive. In the present study, we report that the helper T cell 2 cytokine interleukin-4 and the tumor microenvironment increase the activity of a protein kinase RNA-like ER kinase (PERK)-signaling cascade in macrophages and promote immunosuppressive M2 activation and proliferation. Loss of PERK signaling impeded mitochondrial respiration and lipid oxidation critical for M2 macrophages. PERK activation mediated the upregulation of phosphoserine aminotransferase 1 (PSAT1) and serine biosynthesis via the downstream transcription factor ATF-4. Increased serine biosynthesis resulted in enhanced mitochondrial function and α-ketoglutarate production required for JMJD3-dependent epigenetic modification. Inhibition of PERK suppressed macrophage immunosuppressive activity and could enhance the efficacy of immune checkpoint programmed cell death protein 1 inhibition in melanoma. Our findings delineate a previously undescribed connection between PERK signaling and PSAT1-mediated serine metabolism critical for promoting immunosuppressive function in M2 macrophages.
  4. Cell Rep. 2022 Mar 01. pii: S2211-1247(22)00173-5. [Epub ahead of print]38(9): 110446
      The factors that promote T cell expansion are not fully known. Creatine is an abundant circulating metabolite that has recently been implicated in T cell function; however, its cell-autonomous role in immune-cell function is unknown. Here, we show that creatine supports cell-intrinsic CD8+ T cell homeostasis. We further identify creatine kinase B (CKB) as the creatine kinase isoenzyme that supports these T cell properties. Loss of the creatine transporter (Slc6a8) or Ckb results in compromised CD8+ T cell expansion in response to infection without influencing adenylate energy charge. Rather, loss of Slc6a8 or Ckb disrupts naive T cell homeostasis and weakens TCR-mediated activation of mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) signaling required for CD8+ T cell expansion. These data demonstrate a cell-intrinsic role for creatine transport and creatine transphosphorylation, independent of their effects on global cellular energy charge, in supporting CD8+ T cell homeostasis and effector function.
    Keywords:  CD8+ T cells; adoptive transfer; creatine kinase; creatine metabolism; infection
  5. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2022 Mar 04. 79(3): 173
      During embryo implantation, apoptosis is inevitable. These apoptotic cells (ACs) are removed by efferocytosis, in which macrophages are filled with a metabolite load nearly equal to the phagocyte itself. A timely question pertains to the relationship between efferocytosis-related metabolism and the immune behavior of decidual macrophages (dMΦs) and its effect on pregnancy outcome. Here, we report positive feedback of IL-33/ST2-AXL-efferocytosis leading to pregnancy failure through metabolic reprogramming of dMΦs. We compared the serum levels of IL-33 and sST2, along with IL-33 and ST2, efferocytosis and metabolism of dMΦs, from patients with normal pregnancies and unexplained recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL). We revealed disruption of the IL-33/ST2 axis, increased apoptotic cells and elevated efferocytosis of dMΦs from patients with RPL. The dMΦs that engulfed many apoptotic cells secreted more sST2 and less TGF-β, which polarized dMΦs toward the M1 phenotype. Moreover, the elevated sST2 biased the efferocytosis-related metabolism of RPL dMΦs toward oxidative phosphorylation and exacerbated the disruption of the IL-33/ST2 signaling pathway. Metabolic disorders also lead to dysfunction of efferocytosis, resulting in more uncleared apoptotic cells and secondary necrosis. We also screened the efferocytotic molecule AXL regulated by IL-33/ST2. This positive feedback axis of IL-33/ST2-AXL-efferocytosis led to pregnancy failure. IL-33 knockout mice demonstrated poor pregnancy outcomes, and exogenous supplementation with mouse IL-33 reduced the embryo losses. These findings highlight a new etiological mechanism whereby dMΦs leverage immunometabolism for homeostasis of the microenvironment at the maternal-fetal interface.
    Keywords:  Decidual macrophages; Efferocytosis; IL-33/ST2 axis; Metabolic immune reprogramming; Recurrent pregnancy loss
  6. JCI Insight. 2022 Mar 03. pii: e151596. [Epub ahead of print]
      Monocytes play an important role in the regulation of alloimmune responses after heart transplantation (HTx). Recent studies have highlighted the importance of immunometabolism in the differentiation and function of myeloid cells. While the importance of glucose metabolism in monocyte differentiation and function has been reported, a role for fatty acid β-oxidation (FAO) has not been explored. Heterotopic HTx was performed using hearts from Balb/c donor mice implanted into C57Bl/6 recipient mice and treated with etomoxir (eto), an irreversible inhibitor of carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1 (Cpt1), a rate-limiting step of FAO, or vehicle control. FAO inhibition prolonged HTx survival, reduced early T cell infiltration/activation and reduced dendritic cell (DC) and macrophage infiltration to heart allografts of eto-treated recipients. ELISPOT demonstrated eto-treated HTx were less reactive to activated donor antigen presenting cells. FAO inhibition reduced monocyte-to-DC and monocyte-to-macrophage differentiation in vitro and in vivo. FAO inhibition did not alter the survival of heart allografts when transplanted into Ccr2-deficient recipients, suggesting the effects of FAO inhibition were dependent on monocyte mobilization. Finally, we confirmed the importance of FAO on monocyte differentiation in vivo using conditional deletion of Cpt1a. Our findings demonstrate that targeting FAO attenuates alloimmunity after HTx, in part through impairing monocyte differentiation.
    Keywords:  Fatty acid oxidation; Metabolism; Monocytes; Organ transplantation; Transplantation
  7. Mol Immunol. 2022 Feb 24. pii: S0161-5890(22)00041-4. [Epub ahead of print]144 152-165
      Immunometabolism plays a crucial role in the activation and functional plasticity of immune cells, which in large determines a variety of health and disease states. Factors that integrate immunometabolism in immune cell signaling and functions are beginning to be identified. Previously, we have reported that two transgenic mouse models, Mito-Ob and mutant Mito-Ob (m-Mito-Ob), overexpressing a pleiotropic protein, prohibitin (PHB) or a mutant form of PHB (Tyr114Phe-PHB or m-PHB), respectively, developed distinct immunometabolic phenotypes. Specifically, the immune phenotype appears to be driven by the monocytic cell lineage. Based on immunophenotyping of their splenocytes, we focused our attention on macrophages and hypothesized that PHB may play a role in regulating the two functionally polarized states, M1 and M2. Here, we report that macrophage polarization to the M1 and M2 phenotypes did not alter PHB protein level, but overexpression of PHB in macrophages differentially affected cytokine production in the two polarized states. Furthermore, we found that mutation of the Tyr114 phosphorylation site in PHB affects ERK and STAT6 signaling, arginase synthesis and activity, and mitochondrial respiration in macrophages indicating an important role of PHB in integrating cell signaling events with cell metabolism. In summary, we have discovered that PHB is a crucial regulator in the functional plasticity of macrophages. These initial studies expect to lay the foundation for future research into the relationship between cell signaling events pertaining to immunometabolism in immune cell functions, which are integral components of immune-related health and disease.
    Keywords:  IL-4; Immunometabolism; LPS; Macrophages; Prohibitin
  8. J Biol Chem. 2022 Feb 23. pii: S0021-9258(22)00208-3. [Epub ahead of print] 101768
      As a crucial metabolic intermediate, L-lactate is involved in redox balance, energy balance, and acid-base balance in organisms. Moderate exercise training transiently elevates plasma L-lactate levels and ameliorates obesity-associated type 2 diabetes. However, whether moderate L-lactate administration improves obesity-associated insulin resistance remains unclear. In this study, we defined 800 mg/kg/day as the dose of moderate L-lactate administration. In mice fed with a high-fat diet (HFD), moderate L-lactate administration for 12 weeks was shown to alleviate weight gain, fat accumulation, and insulin resistance. Along with the phenotype alterations, white adipose tissue thermogenesis was also found to be elevated in HFD-fed mice. Meanwhile, moderate L-lactate administration suppressed the infiltration and pro-inflammatory M1 polarization of adipose tissue macrophages (ATMs) in HFD-fed mice. Furthermore, L-lactate treatment suppressed the lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced M1 polarization of bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDMs). L-lactate can bind to the surface receptor GPR132, which typically drives the downstream cAMP-PKA signaling. As a nutrient sensor, AMPK critically controls macrophage inflammatory signaling and phenotype. Thus, utilizing inhibitors of the kinases PKA and AMPK as well as siRNA against GPR132, we demonstrated that GPR132-PKA-AMPKα1 signaling mediated the suppression caused by L-lactate treatment on BMDM M1 polarization. Finally, L-lactate addition remarkably resisted the impairment of LPS-treated BMDM conditional media on adipocyte insulin sensitivity. In summary, moderate L-lactate administration suppresses ATM pro-inflammatory M1 polarization through activation of the GPR132-PKA-AMPKα1 signaling pathway to improve insulin resistance in HFD-fed mice, suggesting a new therapeutic and interventional approach to obesity-associated type 2 diabetes.
    Keywords:  Adipose tissue macrophage; GPR132-PKA-AMPKα1 pathway; Insulin resistance; Moderate L-lactate administration; Obesity
  9. Sci Immunol. 2022 Mar 04. 7(69): eabo6765
      MTHFD2 is a metabolic checkpoint of T cell fate and function.
  10. Cell Rep. 2022 Mar 01. pii: S2211-1247(22)00160-7. [Epub ahead of print]38(9): 110433
      Phagocytosis, signal transduction, and inflammatory responses require changes in lipid metabolism. Peroxisomes have key roles in fatty acid homeostasis and in regulating immune function. We find that Drosophila macrophages lacking peroxisomes have perturbed lipid profiles, which reduce host survival after infection. Using lipidomic, transcriptomic, and genetic screens, we determine that peroxisomes contribute to the cell membrane glycerophospholipid composition necessary to induce Rho1-dependent signals, which drive cytoskeletal remodeling during macrophage activation. Loss of peroxisome function increases membrane phosphatidic acid (PA) and recruits RhoGAPp190 during infection, inhibiting Rho1-mediated responses. Peroxisome-glycerophospholipid-Rho1 signaling also controls cytoskeleton remodeling in mouse immune cells. While high levels of PA in cells without peroxisomes inhibit inflammatory phenotypes, large numbers of peroxisomes and low amounts of cell membrane PA are features of immune cells from patients with inflammatory Kawasaki disease and juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Our findings reveal potential metabolic markers and therapeutic targets for immune diseases and metabolic disorders.
    Keywords:  Pex1; Pex2; RhoI/A; Rhogap190; autoimmune disorders; cytokine secretion; cytoskeleton remodeling; immunometabolism; peroxisomes; phospholipids
  11. iScience. 2022 Mar 18. 25(3): 103932
      Nicotinamide (NAM) shapes T cell responses but its precise molecular mechanism of action remains elusive. Here, we show that NAM impairs naive T cell effector transition but also effector T cells themselves. Although aerobic glycolysis is a hallmark of activated T cells, CD8+ T cells exposed to NAM displayed enhanced glycolysis, yet producing significantly less IFNγ. Mechanistically, NAM reduced mTORC1 activity independently of NAD+ metabolism, decreasing IFNγ translation and regulating T cell transcriptional factors critical to effector/memory fate. Finally, the role of NAM in a biomedically relevant model of lung injury was tested. Specifically, a NAM-supplemented diet reduced systemic IL-2, antigen-specific T cell clonal expansion, and effector function after inhalation of Staphylococcus aureus enterotoxin A. These findings identify NAM as a potential therapeutic supplement that uncouples glycolysis from effector cytokine production and may be a powerful treatment for diseases associated with T cell hyperactivation.
    Keywords:  Biological sciences; Immunology; Molecular biology
  12. Genes Dis. 2022 Mar;9(2): 429-442
      Obesity-induced inflammation, characterized by augmented infiltration and altered balance of macrophages, is a critical component of systemic insulin resistance. Chemokine-chemokine receptor system plays a vital role in the macrophages accumulation. CC-Chemokine Receptor-like 2 (Ccrl2) is one of the receptors of Chemerin, which is a member of atypical chemokine receptors (ACKR) family, reported taking part in host immune responses and inflammation-related conditions. In our study, we found ccrl2 expression significantly elevated in visceral adipose tissue (VAT) of high fat diet (HFD) induced obese mice and ob/ob mice. Systemic deletion of Ccrl2 gene aggravated HFD induced obesity and insulin resistance and ccrl2 -/- mice showed aggravated VAT inflammation and increased M1/M2 macrophages ratio, which is due to the increase of macrophages chemotaxis in Ccrl2 deficiency mice. Cumulatively, these results indicate that Ccrl2 has a critical function in obesity and obesity-induced insulin resistance via mediating macrophages chemotaxis.
    Keywords:  Ccrl2; Inflammation; Insulin resistance; Macrophages; Obesity
  13. Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2022 Feb 26. 15353702221080130
      Macrophages, the key cells of innate immunity, possess wide phenotypical and functional heterogeneity. In vitro studies showed that microenvironment signals could induce the so-called polarization of macrophages into two phenotypes: classically activated macrophages (M1) or alternatively activated macrophages (M2). Functionally, they are considered as proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory/pro-regenerative, respectively. However, in vivo studies into macrophage states revealed a continuum of phenotypes from M1 to M2 state instead of the clearly distinguished extreme phenotypes. An important role in determining the type of polarization of macrophages is played by energy metabolism, including the activity of oxidative phosphorylation. In this regard, hypoxia and ischemia that affect cellular energetics can modulate macrophage polarization. Here, we overview the data on macrophage polarization during metabolic shift-associated pathologies including ischemia and ischemia/reperfusion in various organs and discuss the role of energy metabolism potentially triggering the macrophage polarization.
    Keywords:  M1–M2 macrophage polarization; Macrophages; energy metabolism; hypoxia; ischemia; metabolism
  14. Front Immunol. 2021 ;12 781923
      Immunological non-responders (InRs) are HIV-infected individuals in whom the administration of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART), although successful in suppressing viral replication, cannot properly reconstitute patient circulating CD4+ T-cell number to immunocompetent levels. The causes for this immunological failure remain elusive, and no therapeutic strategy is available to restore a proper CD4+ T-cell immune response in these individuals. We have recently demonstrated that platelets harboring infectious HIV are a hallmark of InR, and we now report on a causal connection between HIV-containing platelets and T-cell dysfunctions. We show here that in vivo, platelet-T-cell conjugates are more frequent among CD4+ T cells in InRs displaying HIV-containing platelets (<350 CD4+ T cells/μl blood for >1 year) as compared with healthy donors or immunological responders (IRs; >350 CD4+ T cells/μl). This contact between platelet containing HIV and T cell in the conjugates is not infectious for CD4+ T cells, as coculture of platelets from InRs containing HIV with healthy donor CD4+ T cells fails to propagate infection to CD4+ T cells. In contrast, when macrophages are the target of platelets containing HIV from InRs, macrophages become infected. Differential transcriptomic analyses comparing InR and IR CD4+ T cells reveal an upregulation of genes involved in both aerobic and anaerobic glycolysis in CD4+ T cells from InR vs. IR individuals. Accordingly, InR platelets containing HIV induce a dysfunctional increase in glycolysis-mediated energy production in CD4+ T cells as compared with T cells cocultured with IR platelets devoid of virus. In contrast, macrophage metabolism is not affected by platelet contact. Altogether, this brief report demonstrates a direct causal link between presence of HIV in platelets and T-cell dysfunctions typical of InR, contributing to devise a platelet-targeted therapy for improving immune reconstitution in these individuals.
    Keywords:  CD4+ T-cell metabolism; HIV-1; glycolysis; immunological failure; platelets; virus-containing platelets
  15. Front Immunol. 2022 ;13 832159
      As the major hub of metabolic activity and an organelle sequestering pro-apoptogenic intermediates, mitochondria lie at the crossroads of cellular decisions of death and survival. Intracellular calcium is a key regulator of these outcomes with rapid, uncontrolled uptake into mitochondria, activating pro-apoptotic cascades that trigger cell death. Here, we show that calcium uptake and mitochondrial metabolism in murine T-regulatory cells (Tregs) is tuned by Notch1 activity. Based on analysis of Tregs and the HEK cell line, we present evidence that modulation of cellular calcium dynamics underpins Notch1 regulation of mitochondrial homeostasis and consequently anti-apoptotic activity. Targeted siRNA-mediated ablations reveal dependency on molecules controlling calcium release from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and the chaperone, glucose-regulated protein 75 (Grp75), the associated protein Voltage Dependent Anion Channel (VDAC)1 and the Mitochondrial Calcium Uniporter (MCU), which together facilitate ER calcium transfer and uptake into the mitochondria. Endogenous Notch1 is detected in immune-complexes with Grp75 and VDAC1. Deficits in mitochondrial oxidative and survival in Notch1 deficient Tregs, were corrected by the expression of recombinant Notch1 intracellular domain, and in part by recombinant Grp75. Thus, the modulation of calcium dynamics and consequently mitochondrial metabolism underlies Treg survival in conditions of nutrient stress. This work positions a key role for Notch1 activity in these outcomes.
    Keywords:  Grp75; NOTCH1; Tregs; apoptosis; calcium; mammalian cells; mitochondria; oxphos
  16. Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Cell Biol Lipids. 2022 Feb 23. pii: S1388-1981(22)00015-4. [Epub ahead of print]1867(6): 159125
      Obesity leads to persistent increases in immune responses that contribute to cardiometabolic pathologies such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Pro-inflammatory macrophages infiltrate the expanding fat mass, which leads to increased production of cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha. Moreover, saturated fatty acids enhance signaling through the toll-like receptors involved in innate immunity. Herein we discuss the evidence that ceramides-which are intermediates in the biosynthetic pathway that produces sphingolipids-are essential intermediates that link these inflammatory signals to impaired tissue function. We discuss the mechanisms linking these immune insults to ceramide production and review the numerous ceramide actions that alter cellular metabolism, induce oxidative stress, and stimulate apoptosis. Lastly, we evaluate the correlation of ceramides humans with inflammation-linked cardiometabolic disease and discuss preclinical studies which suggest that ceramide-lowering interventions may be an effective strategy to treat or prevent such maladies.
    Keywords:  Cytokine; Diabetes; Heart disease; Inflammation; Sphingolipids; Steatosis
  17. Front Cardiovasc Med. 2022 ;9 829877
      Macrophages are critical components of atherosclerotic lesions and their pro- and anti-inflammatory responses influence atherogenesis. Type-I interferons (IFNs) are cytokines that play an essential role in antiviral responses and inflammatory activation and have been shown to promote atherosclerosis. Although the impact of type-I IFNs on macrophage foam cell formation is well-documented, the effect of lipid accumulation in monocytes and macrophages on type-I IFN responses remains unknown. Here we examined IFN stimulated (ISG) and non-ISG inflammatory gene expression in mouse and human macrophages that were loaded with acetylated LDL (acLDL), as a model for foam cell formation. We found that acLDL loading in mouse and human macrophages specifically suppressed expression of ISGs and IFN-β secretion, but not other pro-inflammatory genes. The down regulation of ISGs could be rescued by exogenous IFN-β supplementation. Activation of the cholesterol-sensing nuclear liver X receptor (LXR) recapitulated the cholesterol-initiated type-I IFN suppression. Additional analyses of murine in vitro and in vivo generated foam cells confirmed the suppressed IFN signaling pathways and suggest that this phenotype is mediated via down regulation of interferon regulatory factor binding at gene promoters. Finally, RNA-seq analysis of monocytes of familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) patients also showed type-I IFN suppression which was restored by lipid-lowering therapy and not present in monocytes of healthy donors. Taken together, we define type-I IFN suppression as an athero-protective characteristic of foamy macrophages. These data provide new insights into the mechanisms that control inflammatory responses in hyperlipidaemic settings and can support future therapeutic approaches focusing on reprogramming of macrophages to reduce atherosclerotic plaque progression and improve stability.
    Keywords:  atherosclerosis; cholesterol; foam cell formation; immunometabolism; inflammation; interferon response; macrophage; monocyte
  18. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2022 ;2022 5180242
      Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), characterized with oxidative stress and hepatic steatosis, is a serious threat to human health. As a specific activator of nuclear factor E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2), the 4-octyl itaconate (4-OI) has the beneficial effects in antioxidant and anti-inflammation; however, whether 4-OI can alleviate hepatic steatosis and its mechanism is still unknown. The present study was aimed at investigating the protective effects of 4-OI on free fat acid- (FFA-) induced lipid metabolism disorder and its potential molecular mechanism in hepatocytes. The results showed that 4-OI treatment markedly alleviated FFA-induced oxidative stress and excessive lipid accumulation in hepatocytes. Mechanistically, 4-OI significantly suppressed the overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) through activation of Nrf2; the downregulation of ROS level induced a downregulation of AMP-dependent protein kinase (AMPK) phosphorylation level which finally ameliorated excessive lipid accumulation in FFA-stimulated hepatocytes. In general, our data demonstrated that 4-OI relieves the oxidative stress and lipid metabolism disorder in FFA-stimulated hepatocytes; and these beneficial effects were achieved by activating the Nrf2-AMPK signaling pathway. These data not only expand the new biological function of 4-OI but also provide a theoretical basis for 4-OI to protect against lipid metabolism disorders and related diseases, such as NAFLD.
  19. Cell Death Dis. 2022 Mar 04. 13(3): 206
      Aerobic glycolysis (the Warburg effect) has been demonstrated to facilitate tumor progression by producing lactate, which has important roles as a proinflammatory and immunosuppressive mediator. However, how aerobic glycolysis is directly regulated is largely unknown. Here, we show that ectopic Zeb1 directly increases the transcriptional expression of HK2, PFKP, and PKM2, which are glycolytic rate-determining enzymes, thus promoting the Warburg effect and breast cancer proliferation, migration, and chemoresistance in vitro and in vivo. In addition, Zeb1 exerts its biological effects to induce glycolytic activity in response to hypoxia via the PI3K/Akt/HIF-1α signaling axis, which contributes to fostering an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment (TME). Mechanistically, breast cancer cells with ectopic Zeb1 expression produce lactate in the acidic tumor milieu to induce the alternatively activated (M2) macrophage phenotype through stimulation of the PKA/CREB signaling pathway. Clinically, the expression of Zeb1 is positively correlated with dysregulation of aerobic glycolysis, accumulation of M2-like tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) and a poor prognosis in breast cancer patients. In conclusion, these findings identify a Zeb1-dependent mechanism as a driver of breast cancer progression that acts by stimulating tumor-macrophage interplay, which could be a viable therapeutic target for the treatment of advanced human cancers.
  20. Nat Neurosci. 2022 Mar 03.
      Microglial function declines during aging. The interaction of microglia with the gut microbiota has been well characterized during development and adulthood but not in aging. Here, we compared microglial transcriptomes from young-adult and aged mice housed under germ-free and specific pathogen-free conditions and found that the microbiota influenced aging associated-changes in microglial gene expression. The absence of gut microbiota diminished oxidative stress and ameliorated mitochondrial dysfunction in microglia from the brains of aged mice. Unbiased metabolomic analyses of serum and brain tissue revealed the accumulation of N6-carboxymethyllysine (CML) in the microglia of the aging brain. CML mediated a burst of reactive oxygen species and impeded mitochondrial activity and ATP reservoirs in microglia. We validated the age-dependent rise in CML levels in the sera and brains of humans. Finally, a microbiota-dependent increase in intestinal permeability in aged mice mediated the elevated levels of CML. This study adds insight into how specific features of microglia from aged mice are regulated by the gut microbiota.
  21. Wellcome Open Res. 2021 ;6 134
      Background: Siglec-1 is a macrophage lectin-like receptor that mediates sialic acid-dependent cellular interactions. Its upregulation on macrophages in autoimmune disease was shown previously to promote inflammation through suppressing the expansion of regulatory T cells (Tregs). Here we investigate the molecular basis for Siglec-1 binding to Tregs using in vitro-induced cells as a model system. Methods: Glycosylation changes that affect Siglec‑1 binding were studied by comparing activated and resting Tregs using RNA-Seq, glycomics, proteomics and binding of selected antibodies and lectins. A proximity labelling and proteomics strategy was used to identify Siglec-1 counter-receptors expressed on activated Tregs. Results: Siglec-1 binding was strongly upregulated on activated Tregs, but lost under resting conditions. Glycomics revealed changes in N-glycans and glycolipids following Treg activation and we observed changes in expression of multiple 'glycogenes' that could lead to the observed increase in Siglec-1 binding. Proximity labelling of intact, living cells identified 49 glycoproteins expressed by activated Tregs that may function as Siglec-1 counter-receptors. These represent ~5% of the total membrane protein pool and were mainly related to T cell activation and proliferation. We demonstrate that several of these counter-receptors were upregulated following activation of Tregs and provide initial evidence that their altered glycosylation may also be important for Siglec-1 binding. Conclusions: We provide the first comprehensive analysis of glycan changes that occur in activated Tregs, leading to recognition by the macrophage lectin, Siglec-1 and suppression of Treg expansion. We furthermore provide insights into glycoprotein counter-receptors for Siglec-1 expressed by activated Tregs that are likely to be important for suppressing Treg expansion.
    Keywords:  Regulatory T cell; glycomics; inflammation; macrophage; proteomics; sialic acid
  22. Free Radic Biol Med. 2022 Feb 26. pii: S0891-5849(22)00090-9. [Epub ahead of print]182 108-118
      Itaconate is produced by an enzyme encoded by the immune-responsive gene 1 (IRG1) and exerts antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effects via multiple mechanisms. However, the role of IRG1/itaconate in liver injury caused by Concanavalin A (Con A) is not fully understood. In this study, we explored the therapeutic effect of IRG1/four-octyl itaconate (4-OI), a derivative of itaconate, on liver injury caused by Con A and its possible underlying mechanisms. In vivo experiments, we found that Con A promoted IRG1 expression in the liver tissue. Deletion of IRG1 in mice aggravated Con A-induced liver injury. Compared to wild-type (WT) mice, the inflammatory response, hepatocyte apoptosis, and serum cytokine levels were significantly increased, while the antioxidant capacity was significantly attenuated in IRG1-/- mice. In addition, we found that Con A promoted the nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain-like receptor family pyrin domain-containing 3 inflammasome, caspase-1, and gasdermin D activation, and pyroptosis was more obvious in IRG1-/- mice, while 4-OI inhibited pyroptosis. In vivo experiments showed that Con A promoted hepatocyte apoptosis by promoting reactive oxygen species (ROS) expression, and 4-OI reduced ROS-mediate apoptosis in NCTC 1469 cells. In RAW264.7 cells, we demonstrated that 4-OI inhibited the inflammatory response by promoting the nuclear factor erythroid 2 [NF-E2]-related factor 2 (Nrf2)/heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) pathway and inhibiting the nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB)/mitogen-activated protein kinases signaling pathway. To further confirm that Nrf2 is the target of itaconate, we pretreated WT mice with ML385, an Nrf2 inhibitor, and found that ML385 could weaken the protection of 4-OI in Con A-induced liver injury mouse model. Furthermore, when we knocked down the Nrf2 gene in NCTC 1469 and RAW264.7 cells, the effect of 4-OI in inhibiting inflammation and apoptosis also decreased. In conclusion, our study shows the importance of IRG1 in inflammation and oxidative stress, and suggests that it plays a vital protective role in Con A-induced liver injury. These findings indicate IRG1/itaconate is a potential therapeutic strategy for immune liver injury, which requires further clinical exploration.
    Keywords:  Concanavalin A; Immune responsive gene 1; Itaconate; Liver injury; Reactive oxygen species