bims-imseme Biomed News
on Immunosenescence and T cell metabolism
Issue of 2024‒05‒19
25 papers selected by
Pierpaolo Ginefra, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research

  1. Cell Death Dis. 2024 May 15. 15(5): 339
      The therapeutic efficacy of adoptive T cell therapy is largely restricted by reduced viability and dysfunction of CD8+ T cells. Continuous antigen stimulation disrupts the expansion, effector function, and metabolic fitness of CD8+ T cells, leading to their differentiation into an exhausted state within the tumor microenvironment (TME). While the function of the cell cycle negative regulator p16 in senescent cells is well understood, its role in T cell exhaustion remains unclear. In this study, we demonstrated that TCR stimulation of CD8+ T cells rapidly upregulates p16 expression, with its levels positively correlating with TCR affinity. Chronic TCR stimulation further increased p16 expression, leading to CD8+ T cell apoptosis and exhaustion differentiation, without inducing DNA damage or cell senescence. Mechanistic investigations revealed that p16 downregulates mTOR, glycolysis, and oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) associated gene expression, resulting in impaired mitochondrial fitness, reduced T cell viability, and diminished effector function. Furthermore, the deletion of p16 significantly enhances the persistence of CD8+ T cells within tumors and suppresses the terminal exhaustion of tumor-infiltrating T cells. Overall, our findings elucidate how increased p16 expression reshapes T cell intracellular metabolism, drives T cell apoptosis and exhaustion differentiation, and ultimately impairs T cell anti-tumor function.
  2. Cell Stem Cell. 2024 May 13. pii: S1934-5909(24)00174-7. [Epub ahead of print]
      Autophagy is central to the benefits of longevity signaling programs and to hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) response to nutrient stress. With age, a subset of HSCs increases autophagy flux and preserves regenerative capacity, but the signals triggering autophagy and maintaining the functionality of autophagy-activated old HSCs (oHSCs) remain unknown. Here, we demonstrate that autophagy is an adaptive cytoprotective response to chronic inflammation in the aging murine bone marrow (BM) niche. We find that inflammation impairs glucose uptake and suppresses glycolysis in oHSCs through Socs3-mediated inhibition of AKT/FoxO-dependent signaling, with inflammation-mediated autophagy engagement preserving functional quiescence by enabling metabolic adaptation to glycolytic impairment. Moreover, we show that transient autophagy induction via a short-term fasting/refeeding paradigm normalizes glycolytic flux and significantly boosts oHSC regenerative potential. Our results identify inflammation-driven glucose hypometabolism as a key driver of HSC dysfunction with age and establish autophagy as a targetable node to reset oHSC regenerative capacity.
    Keywords:  aging; autophagy; hematopoietic stem cells; inflammation; metabolism; regeneration
  3. Nat Immunol. 2024 May 14.
      The etiology and effect of age-related immune dysfunction in cancer is not completely understood. Here we show that limited priming of CD8+ T cells in the aged tumor microenvironment (TME) outweighs cell-intrinsic defects in limiting tumor control. Increased tumor growth in aging is associated with reduced CD8+ T cell infiltration and function. Transfer of T cells from young mice does not restore tumor control in aged mice owing to rapid induction of T cell dysfunction. Cell-extrinsic signals in the aged TME drive a tumor-infiltrating age-associated dysfunctional (TTAD) cell state that is functionally, transcriptionally and epigenetically distinct from canonical T cell exhaustion. Altered natural killer cell-dendritic cell-CD8+ T cell cross-talk in aged tumors impairs T cell priming by conventional type 1 dendritic cells and promotes TTAD cell formation. Aged mice are thereby unable to benefit from therapeutic tumor vaccination. Critically, myeloid-targeted therapy to reinvigorate conventional type 1 dendritic cells can improve tumor control and restore CD8+ T cell immunity in aging.
  4. Front Immunol. 2024 ;15 1371708
      Impaired metabolism is recognized as an important contributor to pathogenicity of T cells in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). Over the last two decades, we have acquired significant knowledge about the signaling and transcriptomic programs related to metabolic rewiring in healthy and SLE T cells. However, our understanding of metabolic network activity derives largely from studying metabolic pathways in isolation. Here, we argue that enzymatic activities are necessarily coupled through mass and energy balance constraints with in-built network-wide dependencies and compensation mechanisms. Therefore, metabolic rewiring of T cells in SLE must be understood in the context of the entire network, including changes in metabolic demands such as shifts in biomass composition and cytokine secretion rates as well as changes in uptake/excretion rates of multiple nutrients and waste products. As a way forward, we suggest cell physiology experiments and integration of orthogonal metabolic measurements through computational modeling towards a comprehensive understanding of T cell metabolism in lupus.
    Keywords:  CD4 T cell; flux balance analysis; lupus; metabolic network; multiomic analyses
  5. Cell Death Discov. 2024 May 16. 10(1): 236
      Maturing immunometabolic research empowers immune regulation novel approaches. Progressive metabolic adaptation of tumor cells permits a thriving tumor microenvironment (TME) in which immune cells always lose the initial killing capacity, which remains an unsolved dilemma even with the development of immune checkpoint therapies. In recent years, many studies on tumor immunometabolism have been reported. The development of immunometabolism may facilitate anti-tumor immunotherapy from the recurrent crosstalk between metabolism and immunity. Here, we discuss clinical studies of the core signaling pathways of immunometabolism and their inhibitors or agonists, as well as the specific functions of these pathways in regulating immunity and metabolism, and discuss some of the identified immunometabolic checkpoints. Understanding the comprehensive advances in immunometabolism helps to revise the status quo of cancer treatment. An overview of the new landscape of immunometabolism. The PI3K pathway promotes anabolism and inhibits catabolism. The LKB1 pathway inhibits anabolism and promotes catabolism. Overactivation of PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway and IDO, IL4I1, ACAT, Sirt2, and MTHFD2 promote immunosuppression of TME formation, as evidenced by increased Treg and decreased T-cell proliferation. The LKBI-AMPK pathway promotes the differentiation of naive T cells to effector T cells and memory T cells and promotes anti-tumor immunity in DCs.
  6. Cell Chem Biol. 2024 May 16. pii: S2451-9456(24)00169-7. [Epub ahead of print]31(5): 932-943.e8
      Nucleotides perform important metabolic functions, carrying energy and feeding nucleic acid synthesis. Here, we use isotope tracing-mass spectrometry to quantitate contributions to purine nucleotides from salvage versus de novo synthesis. We further explore the impact of augmenting a key precursor for purine synthesis, one-carbon (1C) units. We show that tumors and tumor-infiltrating T cells (relative to splenic or lymph node T cells) synthesize purines de novo. Shortage of 1C units for T cell purine synthesis is accordingly a potential bottleneck for anti-tumor immunity. Supplementing 1C units by infusing formate drives formate assimilation into purines in tumor-infiltrating T cells. Orally administered methanol functions as a formate pro-drug, with deuteration enabling kinetic control of formate production. Safe doses of methanol raise formate levels and augment anti-PD-1 checkpoint blockade in MC38 tumors, tripling durable regressions. Thus, 1C deficiency can gate antitumor immunity and this metabolic checkpoint can be overcome with pharmacological 1C supplementation.
  7. bioRxiv. 2024 May 05. pii: 2024.05.03.592310. [Epub ahead of print]
      T-cells recognize antigens and induce specialized gene expression programs (GEPs) enabling functions including proliferation, cytotoxicity, and cytokine production. Traditionally, different classes of helper T-cells express mutually exclusive responses - for example, Th1, Th2, and Th17 programs. However, new single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-Seq) experiments have revealed a continuum of T-cell states without discrete clusters corresponding to these subsets, implying the need for new analytical frameworks. Here, we advance the characterization of T-cells with T-CellAnnoTator (TCAT), a pipeline that simultaneously quantifies pre-defined GEPs capturing activation states and cellular subsets. From 1,700,000 T-cells from 700 individuals across 38 tissues and five diverse disease contexts, we discover 46 reproducible GEPs reflecting the known core functions of T-cells including proliferation, cytotoxicity, exhaustion, and T helper effector states. We experimentally characterize several novel activation programs and apply TCAT to describe T-cell activation and exhaustion in Covid-19 and cancer, providing insight into T-cell function in these diseases.
  8. EBioMedicine. 2024 May 14. pii: S2352-3964(24)00189-0. [Epub ahead of print]104 105154
      Immune therapies represented by immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) have significantly transformed cancer treatment. However, the effectiveness of these treatments depends on the status of T cells. T cell exhaustion, characterized by diminished effector function, increased expression of co-inhibitory receptors, and clonal deletion, emerges as a hypofunctional state resulting from chronic exposure to antigens, posing an obstacle to ICB therapy. Several studies have deeply explored T cell exhaustion, providing innovative insights and correlating T cell exhaustion with tertiary lymphoid structures (TLS) formation. TLS, lymphocyte aggregates formed in non-lymphoid tissues amid chronic inflammation, serve as pivotal reservoirs for anti-tumour immunity. Here, we underscore the pivotal role of T cell exhaustion as a signalling mechanism in reinvigorating anti-tumour immunity by turbocharging cancer-immunity (CI) cycle, particularly when tumour becomes unmanageable. Building upon this concept, we summarize emerging immunotherapeutic strategies aimed at enhancing the response rate to ICB therapy and improving patient prognosis.
    Keywords:  Cancer; Immunotherapy; T cell exhaustion; Tertiary lymphoid structure
  9. Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2024 May 15.
      Chimeric antigen receptor-expressing T (CAR-T) cells induce robust antitumor responses in patients with hematologic malignancies. However, CAR-T cells exhibit only limited efficacy against solid tumors such as hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), partially due to their limited expansion and persistence. CD8+ T cells, as key components of the adaptive immune response, play a central role in antitumor immunity. Aerobic glycolysis is the main metabolic feature of activated CD8+ T cells. In the tumor microenvironment, however, the uptake of large amounts of glucose by tumor cells and other immunosuppressive cells can impair the activation of T cells. Only when tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) in the tumor microenvironment have a glycolytic advantage might the effector function of T cells be activated. Glucose transporter type 1 (GLUT1) and acylglycerol kinase (AGK) can boost glycolytic metabolism and activate the effector function of CD8+ T cells, respectively. In this study, we generated GPC3-targeted CAR-T cells overexpressing GLUT1 or AGK for the treatment of HCC. GPC3-targeted CAR-T cells overexpressing GLUT1 or AGK specifically and effectively lysed GPC3-positive tumor cells in vitro in an antigen-dependent manner. Furthermore, GLUT1 or AGK overexpression protected CAR-T cells from apoptosis during repeated exposures to tumor cells. Compared with second-generation CAR-T cells, GPC3-targeted CAR-T cells overexpressing GLUT1 or AGK exhibited greater CD8+ T-cell persistence in vivo and better antitumor effects in HCC allograft mouse models. Finally, we revealed that GLUT1 or AGK maintained anti-apoptosis ability in CD8+ T cells via activation of the PI3K/Akt pathway. This finding might identify a therapeutic strategy for advanced HCC.
    Keywords:  GPC3-targeted CAR-T cells; PI3K/Akt pathway; acylglycerol kinase; glucose transporter type 1; hepatocellular carcinoma
  10. Cell. 2024 May 09. pii: S0092-8674(24)00448-3. [Epub ahead of print]
      Alterations in extracellular matrix (ECM) architecture and stiffness represent hallmarks of cancer. Whether the biomechanical property of ECM impacts the functionality of tumor-reactive CD8+ T cells remains largely unknown. Here, we reveal that the transcription factor (TF) Osr2 integrates biomechanical signaling and facilitates the terminal exhaustion of tumor-reactive CD8+ T cells. Osr2 expression is selectively induced in the terminally exhausted tumor-specific CD8+ T cell subset by coupled T cell receptor (TCR) signaling and biomechanical stress mediated by the Piezo1/calcium/CREB axis. Consistently, depletion of Osr2 alleviates the exhaustion of tumor-specific CD8+ T cells or CAR-T cells, whereas forced Osr2 expression aggravates their exhaustion in solid tumor models. Mechanistically, Osr2 recruits HDAC3 to rewire the epigenetic program for suppressing cytotoxic gene expression and promoting CD8+ T cell exhaustion. Thus, our results unravel Osr2 functions as a biomechanical checkpoint to exacerbate CD8+ T cell exhaustion and could be targeted to potentiate cancer immunotherapy.
    Keywords:  Osr2; Piezo1; T cell exhaustion; biomechanical stress; cancer immunotherapy
  11. iScience. 2024 May 17. 27(5): 109767
      T cells protect tissues from cancer. Although investigations in mice showed that amino acids (AA) critically regulate T cell immunity, this remains poorly understood in humans. Here, we describe the AA composition of interstitial fluids in keratinocyte-derived skin cancers (KDSCs) and study the effect of AA on T cells using models of primary human cells and tissues. Gln contributed to ∼15% of interstitial AAs and promoted interferon gamma (IFN-γ), but not granzyme B (GzB) expression, in CD8+ T cells. Furthermore, the Toll-like receptor 7 agonist imiquimod (IMQ), a common treatment for KDSCs, down-regulated the metabolic gatekeepers c-MYC and mTORC1, as well as the AA transporter ASCT2 and intracellular Gln, Asn, Ala, and Asp in T cells. Reduced proliferation and IFN-γ expression, yet increased GzB, paralleled IMQ effects on AA. Finally, Gln was sufficient to promote IFN-γ-production in IMQ-treated T cells. Our findings indicate that Gln metabolism can be harnessed for treating KDSCs.
    Keywords:  Dermatology; Immunology
  12. bioRxiv. 2024 Apr 29. pii: 2024.04.26.591344. [Epub ahead of print]
      T cell receptor (TCR) engagement triggers T cell responses, yet how TCR-mediated activation is regulated at the plasma membrane remains unclear. Here, we report that deleting the membrane scaffolding protein Flotillin-2 (Flot2) increases T cell antigen sensitivity, resulting in enhanced TCR signaling and effector function to weak TCR stimulation. T cell-specific Flot2-deficient mice exhibited reduced tumor growth and enhanced immunity to infection. Flot2-null CD4 + T cells exhibited increased T helper 1 polarization, proliferation, Nur77 induction, and phosphorylation of ZAP70 and LCK upon weak TCR stimulation, indicating a sensitized TCR-triggering threshold. Single cell-RNA sequencing suggested that Flot2 - null CD4 + T cells follow a similar route of activation as wild-type CD4 + T cells but exhibit higher occupancy of a discrete activation state under weak TCR stimulation. Given prior reports that TCR clustering influences sensitivity of T cells to stimuli, we evaluated TCR distribution with super-resolution microscopy. Flot2 ablation increased the number of surface TCR nanoclusters on naïve CD4 + T cells. Collectively, we posit that Flot2 modulates T cell functionality to weak TCR stimulation, at least in part, by regulating surface TCR clustering. Our findings have implications for improving T cell reactivity in diseases with poor antigenicity, such as cancer and chronic infections.
  13. Cancer Cell. 2024 May 09. pii: S1535-6108(24)00135-1. [Epub ahead of print]
      Total tumor clearance through immunotherapy is associated with a fully coordinated innate and adaptive immune response, but knowledge on the exact contribution of each immune cell subset is limited. We show that therapy-induced intratumoral CD8+ T cells recruited and skewed late-stage activated M1-like macrophages, which were critical for effective tumor control in two different murine models of cancer immunotherapy. The activated CD8+ T cells summon these macrophages into the tumor and their close vicinity via CCR5 signaling. Exposure of non-polarized macrophages to activated T cell supernatant and tumor lysate recapitulates the late-stage activated and tumoricidal phenotype in vitro. The transcriptomic signature of these macrophages is also detected in a similar macrophage population present in human tumors and coincides with clinical response to immune checkpoint inhibitors. The requirement of a functional co-operation between CD8+ T cells and effector macrophages for effective immunotherapy gives warning to combinations with broad macrophage-targeting strategies.
    Keywords:  CCR5 attraction; CXCL9/CXCL10; M1 macrophages; T cell-macrophage interactions; cancer immunotherapy; coordinated immunity; effector macrophages; immune checkpoint inhibition; macrophage skewing
  14. J Med Virol. 2024 May;96(5): e29661
      While dysfunctional exhausted CD8+ T cells hamper viral control when children acquire hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, it's crucial to recognize that CD8+ T cells have diverse phenotypes and functions. This study explored a subset of CD8+ T cells expressing C-C chemokine receptor type 5 (CCR5) in children with HBV infection. Thirty-six patients in the immune tolerant group, 33 patients in the immune active group, 55 patients in the combined response group, and 22 healthy control children were enrolled. The frequency, functional molecules, and effector functions of the CCR5+CD8+ T cell population in different groups were evaluated. The frequency of CCR5+CD8+ T cells correlated positively with the frequency of CCR5+CD4+ T cells and patient age, and it correlated negatively with alanine aminotransferase, aspartate transaminase, HBV DNA, hepatitis B surface antigen, and lactic dehydrogenase levels. CCR5+CD8+ T cells had higher levels of inhibitory and activated receptors and produced higher levels of IFN-γ, IL-2, and TNF-α than CCR5-CD8+ T cells. CCR5+CD8+ T cells were partially exhausted but possessed a stronger antiviral activity than CCR5-CD8+ T cells. The identification of this subset increases our understanding of CD8+ T cell functions and serves as a potential immunotherapeutic target for children with HBV infection.
    Keywords:  CD8; T cells; children; chronic hepatitis B; flow cytometry; hepatitis B virus
  15. Cell Death Discov. 2024 May 14. 10(1): 233
      A key factor contributing to resistance in immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) therapies is CD8+ T-cell tolerance in the tumor microenvironment (TME), partly resulting from upregulating coinhibitory receptors. Here, we describe the role of PGRN as a coinhibitory molecule that modulates the antitumor response of CD8+ T cells, thus presenting a novel immunosuppressive target for lung cancer. The in vivo subcutaneous transplanted lung cancer model showed that PGRN expression was elevated on CD8+ T cells that infiltrated transplanted lung cancers. Furthermore, PGRN deficiency was found to specifically encourage the infiltration of CD8+ T cells, enhance their proliferation, migration, and activation, and resist apoptosis, ultimately inhibiting tumor growth. This was achieved by PGRN knockout, increasing the production of T cell chemokine CCL3, which boosts the antitumor immune response induced by CD8+ T cells. Critically, the PD-L1 inhibitor exhibited a synergistic effect in enhancing the antitumor response in PGRN-/- mice. In summary, our findings highlight the significance of PGRN as a novel target for boosting CD8+ T cells antitumor immunity and its potential to overcome the resistance in ICB therapy.
  16. Int J Mol Sci. 2024 May 06. pii: 5044. [Epub ahead of print]25(9):
      Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is an essential nutrient for humans and animals. Metabolically active forms of B12-methylcobalamin and 5-deoxyadenosylcobalamin are cofactors for the enzymes methionine synthase and mitochondrial methylmalonyl-CoA mutase. Malfunction of these enzymes due to a scarcity of vitamin B12 leads to disturbance of one-carbon metabolism and impaired mitochondrial function. A significant fraction of the population (up to 20%) is deficient in vitamin B12, with a higher rate of deficiency among elderly people. B12 deficiency is associated with numerous hallmarks of aging at the cellular and organismal levels. Cellular senescence is characterized by high levels of DNA damage by metabolic abnormalities, increased mitochondrial dysfunction, and disturbance of epigenetic regulation. B12 deficiency could be responsible for or play a crucial part in these disorders. In this review, we focus on a comprehensive analysis of molecular mechanisms through which vitamin B12 influences aging. We review new data about how deficiency in vitamin B12 may accelerate cellular aging. Despite indications that vitamin B12 has an important role in health and healthy aging, knowledge of the influence of vitamin B12 on aging is still limited and requires further research.
    Keywords:  aging; cobalamin; inflammation; protein modifications; senescence; vitamin B12
  17. Clin Lab. 2024 May 01. 70(5):
      BACKGROUND: For many years it has been postulated that the immune system controls the progress of multiple myeloma (MM). However, the phenotypes of T cells in MM remain to be elucidated. In this study, we compared the phenotypes of T cells, which were obtained from the peripheral blood, in MM patients with those in healthy donors (HD). The expression of CCR7, CD57, CD28, HLA-DR, CD38, CD45RA, and CD45RO were assessed on T cells from MM patients and HDs using multicolor flow cytometry (MFC).METHODS: For this study, 17 newly diagnosed MM patients were selected, and 20 healthy people were selected as a control group. MFC was used to detect the markers on T cells.
    RESULTS: We detected significant increases in the expression levels of HLA-DR, CD38, and CD57on CD8+ T cells, significant decreases in the expression levels of CD28 and CD45RA on CD8+ T cells, and a decrease of CD4+ effec-tor T cells in MM patients, compared to the HD group.
    CONCLUSIONS: Our study shows that the accumulation of peripheral CD8+CD57+T cells, CD8+CD38high T cells, and CD8+HLA-DR+CD38high T cells is reflective of an ongoing antitumor T cell response and a progressive immune dysfunction in MM. During chemotherapy, the recovery of immune function can be monitored by detecting the proportion of activated molecules of T lymphocytes.
  18. Nature. 2024 May 15.
      Adoptively transferred T cells and agents designed to block the CD47-SIRPα axis are promising cancer therapeutics that activate distinct arms of the immune system1,2. Here we administered anti-CD47 antibodies in combination with adoptively transferred T cells with the goal of enhancing antitumour efficacy but observed abrogated therapeutic benefit due to rapid macrophage-mediated clearance of T cells expressing chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) or engineered T cell receptors. Anti-CD47-antibody-mediated CAR T cell clearance was potent and rapid enough to serve as an effective safety switch. To overcome this challenge, we engineered the CD47 variant CD47(Q31P) (47E), which engages SIRPα and provides a 'don't eat me' signal that is not blocked by anti-CD47 antibodies. TCR or CAR T cells expressing 47E are resistant to clearance by macrophages after treatment with anti-CD47 antibodies, and mediate substantial, sustained macrophage recruitment to the tumour microenvironment. Although many of the recruited macrophages manifested an M2-like profile3, the combined therapy synergistically enhanced antitumour efficacy. Our study identifies macrophages as major regulators of T cell persistence and illustrates the fundamental challenge of combining T-cell-directed therapeutics with those designed to activate macrophages. It delivers a therapeutic approach that is capable of simultaneously harnessing the antitumour effects of T cells and macrophages, offering enhanced potency against solid tumours.
  19. Mol Cell Proteomics. 2024 May 10. pii: S1535-9476(24)00074-4. [Epub ahead of print] 100784
      Colorectal cancer (CRC) is characterized by high morbidity, high mortality, and limited response to immunotherapies. The peripheral immune system is an important component of tumor immunity, and enhancements of peripheral immunity help to suppress tumor progression. However, the functional alterations of the peripheral immune system in CRC are unclear. Here, we used mass spectrometry-based quantitative proteomics to establish a protein expression atlas for the peripheral immune system in CRC, including plasma and five types of immune cells (CD4+ T cells, CD8+ T cells, monocytes, natural killer cells, and B cells). Synthesizing the results of the multidimensional analysis, we observed an enhanced inflammatory phenotype in CRC, including elevated expression of plasma inflammatory proteins, activation of the inflammatory pathway in monocytes, and increased inflammation-related ligand-receptor interactions. Notably, we observed tumor effects on peripheral T cells, including altered cell subpopulation ratios and suppression of cell function. Suppression of CD4+ T cell function is mainly mediated by high expression levels of protein tyrosine phosphatases. Among them, the expression of protein tyrosine phosphatase receptor type J (PTPRJ) gradually increased with CRC progression; knockdown of PTPRJ in vitro could promote T cell activation, thereby enhancing peripheral immunity. We also found that the combination of leucine-rich α-2 glycoprotein 1 (LRG1) and apolipoprotein A4 (APOA4) had the best predictive ability for colorectal cancer and has the potential to be a biomarker. Overall, this study provides a comprehensive understanding of the peripheral immune system in CRC. It also offers insights regarding the potential clinical utilities of these peripheral immune characteristics as diagnostic indicators and therapeutic targets.
    Keywords:  Biomarker; Colorectal cancer; Ligand-receptor interaction; Peripheral immune system; Quantitative proteomics
  20. Autophagy. 2024 May 14.
      AMPK promotes catabolic and suppresses anabolic cell metabolism to promote cell survival during energetic stress, in part by inhibiting MTORC1, an anabolic kinase requiring sufficient levels of amino acids. We found that cells lacking AMPK displayed increased apoptotic cell death during nutrient stress caused by prolonged amino acid deprivation. We presumed that impaired macroautophagy/autophagy explained this phenotype, as a prevailing view posits that AMPK initiates autophagy (often a pro-survival response) through phosphorylation of ULK1. Unexpectedly, however, autophagy remained unimpaired in cells lacking AMPK, as monitored by several autophagic readouts in several cell lines. More surprisingly, the absence of AMPK increased ULK1 signaling and MAP1LC3B/LC3B lipidation during amino acid deprivation while AMPK-mediated phosphorylation of ULK1 S555 (a site proposed to initiate autophagy) decreased upon amino acid withdrawal or pharmacological MTORC1 inhibition. In addition, activation of AMPK with compound 991, glucose deprivation, or AICAR blunted autophagy induced by amino acid withdrawal. These results demonstrate that AMPK activation and glucose deprivation suppress autophagy. As AMPK controlled autophagy in an unexpected direction, we examined how AMPK controls MTORC1 signaling. Paradoxically, we observed impaired reactivation of MTORC1 in cells lacking AMPK upon prolonged amino acid deprivation. Together these results oppose established views that AMPK promotes autophagy and inhibits MTORC1 universally. Moreover, they reveal unexpected roles for AMPK in the suppression of autophagy and the support of MTORC1 signaling in the context of prolonged amino acid deprivation. These findings prompt a reevaluation of how AMPK and its control of autophagy and MTORC1 affect health and disease.
    Keywords:  ATG16L1; EIF4EBP1/4EBP1; LC3B; MTOR; RPS6KB1/S6K1; ULK1
  21. bioRxiv. 2024 May 05. pii: 2024.05.04.592445. [Epub ahead of print]
      Humans are living longer, but this is accompanied by an increased incidence of age-related chronic diseases. Many of these diseases are influenced by age-associated metabolic dysregulation, but how metabolism changes in multiple organs during aging in males and females is not known. Answering this could reveal new mechanisms of aging and age-targeted therapeutics. In this study, we describe how metabolism changes in 12 organs in male and female mice at 5 different ages. Organs show distinct patterns of metabolic aging that are affected by sex differently. Hydroxyproline shows the most consistent change across the dataset, decreasing with age in 11 out of 12 organs investigated. We also developed a metabolic aging clock that predicts biological age and identified alpha-ketoglutarate, previously shown to extend lifespan in mice, as a key predictor of age. Our results reveal fundamental insights into the aging process and identify new therapeutic targets to maintain organ health.
  22. Age Ageing. 2024 May 11. 53(Supplement_2): ii1-ii3
    Keywords:  dietary patterns; healthy ageing; nutrition; older people
  23. iScience. 2024 May 17. 27(5): 109779
      Metabolic heterogeneity is a determinant of immune cell function. The normal physiological metabolic reprogramming of pregnancy that ensures the fuel requirements of mother and baby are met, might also underpin changes in immunity that occur with pregnancy and manifest as altered responses to pathogens and changes to autoimmune disease symptoms. Using peripheral blood from pregnant women at term, we reveal that monocytes lose M2-like and gain M1-like properties accompanied by reductions in mitochondrial mass, maximal respiration, and cardiolipin content in pregnancy; glycolysis is unperturbed. We establish that muramyl dipeptide (MDP)-stimulated cytokine production relies on oxidative metabolism, then show in pregnancy reduced cytokine production in response to MDP but not LPS. Overall, mitochondrially centered metabolic capabilities of late gestation monocytes are down-regulated revealing natural plasticity in monocyte phenotype and function that could reveal targets for improving pregnancy outcomes but also yield alternative therapeutic approaches to diverse metabolic and/or immune-mediated diseases beyond pregnancy.
    Keywords:  Immunology; Physiology; Reproductive medicine; cell biology