bims-mascan Biomed News
on Mass spectrometry in cancer research
Issue of 2020‒01‒26
twenty-nine papers selected by
Giovanny Rodriguez Blanco
The Beatson Institute for Cancer Research

  1. Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Cell Biol Lipids. 2020 Jan 21. pii: S1388-1981(20)30026-3. [Epub ahead of print] 158634
      Ultrahigh-performance supercritical fluid chromatography - mass spectrometry (UHPSFC/MS), ultrahigh-performance liquid chromatography - mass spectrometry (UHPLC/MS), and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) - MS techniques were used for the lipidomic characterization of exosomes isolated from human plasma. The high-throughput methods UHPSFC/MS and UHPLC/MS using a silica-based column containing sub-2 μm particles enabled the lipid class separation and the quantitation based on exogenous class internal standards in <7 minute run time. MALDI provided the complementary information on anionic lipid classes, such as sulfatides. The nontargeted analysis of 12 healthy volunteers was performed, and absolute molar concentration of 244 lipids in exosomes and 191 lipids in plasma belonging to 10 lipid classes were quantified. The statistical evaluation of data included principal component analysis, orthogonal partial least square discriminant analysis, S-plots, P-values, T-values, fold changes, false discovery rate, box plots, and correlation plots, which resulted in the information on lipid changes in exosomes in comparison to plasma. The major changes were detected in the composition of triacylglycerols, diacylglycerols, phosphatidylcholines, and lysophosphatidylcholines, whereby sphingomyelins, phosphatidylinositols, and sulfatides showed rather similar profiles in both biological matrices.
    Keywords:  Exosomes; Lipidomics; Lipids; Liquid chromatography; Mass spectrometry; Plasma; Supercritical fluid chromatography
  2. Nat Commun. 2020 Jan 24. 11(1): 498
      Tumour cells frequently utilize glutamine to meet bioenergetic and biosynthetic demands of rapid cell growth. However, glutamine dependence can be highly variable between in vitro and in vivo settings, based on surrounding microenvironments and complex adaptive responses to glutamine deprivation. Soft tissue sarcomas (STSs) are mesenchymal tumours where cytotoxic chemotherapy remains the primary approach for metastatic or unresectable disease. Therefore, it is critical to identify alternate therapies to improve patient outcomes. Using autochthonous STS murine models and unbiased metabolomics, we demonstrate that glutamine metabolism supports sarcomagenesis. STS subtypes expressing elevated glutaminase (GLS) levels are highly sensitive to glutamine starvation. In contrast to previous studies, treatment of autochthonous tumour-bearing animals with Telaglenastat (CB-839), an orally bioavailable GLS inhibitor, successfully inhibits undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma (UPS) tumour growth. We reveal glutamine metabolism as critical for sarcomagenesis, with CB-839 exhibiting potent therapeutic potential.
  3. Nat Commun. 2020 Jan 23. 11(1): 437
      Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have dramatically modified the prognosis of several advanced cancers, however many patients still do not respond to treatment. Optimal results might be obtained by targeting cancer cell metabolism to modulate the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment. Here, we identify sphingosine kinase-1 (SK1) as a key regulator of anti-tumor immunity. Increased expression of SK1 in tumor cells is significantly associated with shorter survival in metastatic melanoma patients treated with anti-PD-1. Targeting SK1 markedly enhances the responses to ICI in murine models of melanoma, breast and colon cancer. Mechanistically, SK1 silencing decreases the expression of various immunosuppressive factors in the tumor microenvironment to limit regulatory T cell (Treg) infiltration. Accordingly, a SK1-dependent immunosuppressive signature is also observed in human melanoma biopsies. Altogether, this study identifies SK1 as a checkpoint lipid kinase that could be targeted to enhance immunotherapy.
  4. J Biol Chem. 2020 Jan 24. pii: jbc.RA119.011081. [Epub ahead of print]
      MS-based metabolomics methods are powerful techniques to map the complex and interconnected metabolic pathways of the heart; however, normalization of metabolite abundance to sample input in heart tissues remains a technical challenge. Herein, we describe an improved GCMS-based metabolomics workflow that uses insoluble protein-derived glutamate for the normalization of metabolites within each sample and includes normalization to protein-derived amino acids to reduce biological variation and detect small metabolic changes. Moreover, glycogen is measured within the metabolomics workflow. We applied this workflow to study heart metabolism by first comparing two different methods of heart removal: the Langendorff heart method (reverse aortic perfusion), and in situ freezing of mouse heart with a modified tissue freeze-clamp approach. We then used the in situ freezing method to study the effects of acute β-adrenergic receptor stimulation (through isoproterenol treatment (ISO)) on heart metabolism. Using our workflow and within minutes, ISO reduced the levels of metabolites involved in glycogen metabolism, glycolysis, and the Krebs cycle, but the levels of pentose phosphate pathway metabolites and of many free amino acids remained unchanged. This observation was coupled to a 6-fold increase in phosphorylated adenosine nucleotide abundance. These results support the notion that ISO acutely accelerates oxidative metabolism of glucose to meet the ATP demand required to support increased heart rate and cardiac output. In summary, our MS-based metabolomics workflow enables improved quantification of cardiac metabolites and may also be compatible with other methods such as liquid chromatography or capillary electrophoresis.
    Keywords:  Cardiac metabolism; GCMS; Glycogen; Metabolomics; adrenergic receptor; cardiac metabolism; gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS); glycogen; metabolomics
  5. Exp Mol Med. 2020 Jan 24.
      Over 90 years ago, Otto Warburg's seminal discovery of aerobic glycolysis established metabolic reprogramming as one of the first distinguishing characteristics of cancer1. The field of cancer metabolism subsequently revealed additional metabolic alterations in cancer by focusing on central carbon metabolism, including the citric acid cycle and pentose phosphate pathway. Recent reports have, however, uncovered substantial non-carbon metabolism contributions to cancer cell viability and growth. Amino acids, nutrients vital to the survival of all cell types, experience reprogrammed metabolism in cancer. This review outlines the diverse roles of amino acids within the tumor and in the tumor microenvironment. Beyond their role in biosynthesis, they serve as energy sources and help maintain redox balance. In addition, amino acid derivatives contribute to epigenetic regulation and immune responses linked to tumorigenesis and metastasis. Furthermore, in discussing the transporters and transaminases that mediate amino acid uptake and synthesis, we identify potential metabolic liabilities as targets for therapeutic intervention.
  6. Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Basis Dis. 2020 Jan 18. pii: S0925-4439(20)30029-6. [Epub ahead of print] 165690
      Precision medicine (PM) means the customization of healthcare with decisions and practices adjusted to the individual patient. It includes personalized diagnostics, patients' sub-classification, individual treatment selection and the monitoring of its effectiveness. Currently, in oncology, PM is based on the molecular and cellular features of a tumor, its microenvironment and the patient's genetics and lifestyle. Surprisingly, the available targeted therapies were found effective only in a subset of patients. An in-depth understanding of tumor biology is crucial to improve their effectiveness and develop new therapeutic targets. Completion of genetic information with proteomics and metabolomics can give broader knowledge about tumor biology which consequently provides novel biomarkers and indicates new therapeutic targets. Recently, metabolomics and proteomics have extensively been applied in the field of oncology. In the context of PM, human studies, with the use of mass spectrometry (MS) which allows the detection of thousands of molecules in a large number of samples, are the most valuable. Such studies, focused on cancer biomarkers discovery or patients' stratification, are presented in this review. Moreover, the technical aspects of MS-based clinical proteomics and metabolomics are described.
    Keywords:  Biomarkers; Mass spectrometry; Metabolomics; Oncology; Personalized medicine; Proteomics
  7. Nat Commun. 2020 Jan 23. 11(1): 454
      Acidosis, a common characteristic of the tumor microenvironment, is associated with alterations in metabolic preferences of cancer cells and progression of the disease. Here we identify the TGF-β2 isoform at the interface between these observations. We document that acidic pH promotes autocrine TGF-β2 signaling, which in turn favors the formation of lipid droplets (LD) that represent energy stores readily available to support anoikis resistance and cancer cell invasiveness. We find that, in cancer cells of various origins, acidosis-induced TGF-β2 activation promotes both partial epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and fatty acid metabolism, the latter supporting Smad2 acetylation. We show that upon TGF-β2 stimulation, PKC-zeta-mediated translocation of CD36 facilitates the uptake of fatty acids that are either stored as triglycerides in LD through DGAT1 or oxidized to generate ATP to fulfill immediate cellular needs. We also address how, by preventing fatty acid mobilization from LD, distant metastatic spreading may be inhibited.
  8. Acta Biomater. 2020 Jan 17. pii: S1742-7061(20)30033-7. [Epub ahead of print]
      The unique metabolic demand of cancer cells suggests a new therapeutic strategy targeting the metabolism in cancers. V9302 is a recently reported inhibitor of ASCT2 amino acid transporter which shows promising antitumor activity by blocking glutamine uptake. However, its poor solubility in aqueous solutions and tumor cells' compensatory metabolic shift to glucose metabolism may limit the antitumor efficacy of V9302. 2-Deoxyglucose (2-DG), a derivative of glucose, has been developed as a potential antitumor agent through inhibiting glycolysis in tumor cells. In order to achieve enhanced antitumor effect by inhibiting both metabolic pathways, a 2-DG prodrug-based micellar carrier poly-(oligo ethylene glycol)-co-poly(4-((4-oxo-4-((4-vinylbenzyl)oxy)butyl)disulfaneyl)butanoic acid)-(2-deoxyglucose) (POEG-p-2DG) was developed. POEG-p-2DG well retained the pharmacological activity of 2-DG in vitro and in vivo, More importantly, POEG-p-2DG could self-assemble to form micelles that were capable of loading V9302 to achieve co-delivery of 2-DG and V9302. V9302-loaded POEG-p2DG micelles were small in sizes (∼10nm), showed a slow kinetics of drug release and demonstrated targeted delivery to tumor. In addition, V9302 loaded POEG-p-2DG micelles exhibited improved anti-tumor efficacy both in vitro and in vivo. Interestingly, 2-DG treatment further decreased the glutamine uptake when combined with V9302, likely due to inhibition of ASCT2 glycosylation. These results suggest that POEG-p2DG prodrug micelles may serve as a dual functional carrier for V9302 to achieve synergistic targeting of metabolism in cancers.
    Keywords:  2-Deoxyglucose; Cancer metabolism; Co-delivery; Prodrug micelles; V9302
  9. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2020 Jan 22.
      Melatonin has the ability to intervene in the initiation, progression and metastasis of some experimental cancers. A large variety of potential mechanisms have been advanced to describe the metabolic and molecular events associated with melatonin's interactions with cancer cells. There is one metabolic perturbation that is common to a large number of solid tumors and accounts for the ability of cancer cells to actively proliferate, avoid apoptosis, and readily metastasize, i.e., they use cytosolic aerobic glycolysis (the Warburg effect) to rapidly generate the necessary ATP required for the high metabolic demands of the cancer cells. There are several drugs, referred to as glycolytic agents, that cause cancer cells to abandon aerobic glycolysis and shift to the more conventional mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation for ATP synthesis as in normal cells. In doing so, glycolytic agents also inhibit cancer growth. Herein, we hypothesize that melatonin also functions as an inhibitor of cytosolic glycolysis in cancer cells using mechanisms, i.e., downregulation of the enzyme (pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase) that interferes with the conversion of pyruvate to acetyl CoA in the mitochondria, as do other glycolytic drugs. In doing so, melatonin halts the proliferative activity of cancer cells, reduces their metastatic potential and causes them to more readily undergo apoptosis. This hypothesis is discussed in relation to the previously published reports. Whereas melatonin is synthesized in the mitochondria of normal cells, we hypothesize that this synthetic capability is not present in cancer cell mitochondria because of the depressed acetyl CoA; acetyl CoA is necessary for the rate limiting enzyme in melatonin synthesis, arylalkylamine-N-acetyltransferase. Finally, the ability of melatonin to switch glucose oxidation from the cytosol to the mitochondria also explains how tumors that become resistant to conventional chemotherapies are re-sensitized to the same treatment when melatonin is applied.
    Keywords:  Acetyl CoA; Chemosensitivity; Citric acid cycle; Dichloroacetate; Glycolysis; Glycolytics; Pyruvate dehydrogenase complex; Pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase
  10. PLoS Med. 2020 Jan;17(1): e1003012
      BACKGROUND: There is growing evidence that Alzheimer disease (AD) is a pervasive metabolic disorder with dysregulation in multiple biochemical pathways underlying its pathogenesis. Understanding how perturbations in metabolism are related to AD is critical to identifying novel targets for disease-modifying therapies. In this study, we test whether AD pathogenesis is associated with dysregulation in brain transmethylation and polyamine pathways.METHODS AND FINDINGS: We first performed targeted and quantitative metabolomics assays using capillary electrophoresis-mass spectrometry (CE-MS) on brain samples from three groups in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA) (AD: n = 17; Asymptomatic AD [ASY]: n = 13; Control [CN]: n = 13) (overall 37.2% female; mean age at death 86.118 ± 9.842 years) in regions both vulnerable and resistant to AD pathology. Using linear mixed-effects models within two primary brain regions (inferior temporal gyrus [ITG] and middle frontal gyrus [MFG]), we tested associations between brain tissue concentrations of 26 metabolites and the following primary outcomes: group differences, Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer's Disease (CERAD) (neuritic plaque burden), and Braak (neurofibrillary pathology) scores. We found significant alterations in concentrations of metabolites in AD relative to CN samples, as well as associations with severity of both CERAD and Braak, mainly in the ITG. These metabolites represented biochemical reactions in the (1) methionine cycle (choline: lower in AD, p = 0.003; S-adenosyl methionine: higher in AD, p = 0.005); (2) transsulfuration and glutathione synthesis (cysteine: higher in AD, p < 0.001; reduced glutathione [GSH]: higher in AD, p < 0.001); (3) polyamine synthesis/catabolism (spermidine: higher in AD, p = 0.004); (4) urea cycle (N-acetyl glutamate: lower in AD, p < 0.001); (5) glutamate-aspartate metabolism (N-acetyl aspartate: lower in AD, p = 0.002); and (6) neurotransmitter metabolism (gamma-amino-butyric acid: lower in AD, p < 0.001). Utilizing three Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) datasets, we then examined mRNA expression levels of 71 genes encoding enzymes regulating key reactions within these pathways in the entorhinal cortex (ERC; AD: n = 25; CN: n = 52) and hippocampus (AD: n = 29; CN: n = 56). Complementing our metabolomics results, our transcriptomics analyses also revealed significant alterations in gene expression levels of key enzymatic regulators of biochemical reactions linked to transmethylation and polyamine metabolism. Our study has limitations: our metabolomics assays measured only a small proportion of all metabolites participating in the pathways we examined. Our study is also cross-sectional, limiting our ability to directly test how AD progression may impact changes in metabolite concentrations or differential-gene expression. Additionally, the relatively small number of brain tissue samples may have limited our power to detect alterations in all pathway-specific metabolites and their genetic regulators.
    CONCLUSIONS: In this study, we observed broad dysregulation of transmethylation and polyamine synthesis/catabolism, including abnormalities in neurotransmitter signaling, urea cycle, aspartate-glutamate metabolism, and glutathione synthesis. Our results implicate alterations in cellular methylation potential and increased flux in the transmethylation pathways, increased demand on antioxidant defense mechanisms, perturbations in intermediate metabolism in the urea cycle and aspartate-glutamate pathways disrupting mitochondrial bioenergetics, increased polyamine biosynthesis and breakdown, as well as abnormalities in neurotransmitter metabolism that are related to AD.
  11. Metabolomics. 2020 Jan 24. 16(2): 19
      INTRODUCTION: Preterm birth (PTB) is defined as birth occurring before 37 weeks' gestation, affects 5-9% of all pregnancies in developed countries, and is the leading cause of perinatal mortality. Spontaneous preterm birth (sPTB) accounts for 31-50% of all PTB, but the underlying pathophysiology is poorly understood.OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to decipher the lipidomics pathways involved in pathophysiology of sPTB.
    METHODS: Blood samples were taken from SCreening fOr Pregnancy Endpoints (SCOPE), an international study that recruited 5628 nulliparous women, with a singleton low-risk pregnancy. Our analysis focused on plasma from SCOPE in Cork. Discovery profiling of the samples was undertaken using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry Lipidomics, and features significantly altered between sPTB (n = 16) and Control (n = 32) groups were identified using empirical Bayes testing, adjusting for multiple comparisons.
    RESULTS: Twenty-six lipids showed lower levels in plasma of sPTB compared to controls (adjusted p < 0.05), including 20 glycerophospholipids (12 phosphatidylcholines, 7 phosphatidylethanolamines, 1 phosphatidylinositol) and 6 sphingolipids (2 ceramides and 4 sphingomyelines). In addition, a diaglyceride, DG (34:4), was detected in higher levels in sPTB compared to controls.
    CONCLUSIONS: We report reduced levels of plasma phospholipids in sPTB. Phospholipid integrity is linked to biological membrane stability and inflammation, while storage and breakdown of lipids have previously been implicated in pregnancy complications. The contribution of phospholipids to sPTB as a cause or effect is still unclear; however, our results of differential plasma phospholipid expression represent another step in advancing our understanding of the aetiology of sPTB. Further work is needed to validate these findings in independent pregnancy cohorts.
    Keywords:  Lipid profiling; Lipidomics; Metabolic profiling; Pregnancy; SCOPE study; Spontaneous preterm birth
  12. Anal Bioanal Chem. 2020 Jan 22.
      High-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) enables rapid chemical annotation via accurate mass measurements and matching of experimentally derived spectra with reference spectra. Reference libraries are generated from chemical standards and are therefore limited in size relative to known chemical space. To address this limitation, in silico spectra (i.e., MS/MS or MS2 spectra), predicted via Competitive Fragmentation Modeling-ID (CFM-ID) algorithms, were generated for compounds within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Distributed Structure-Searchable Toxicity (DSSTox) database (totaling, at the time of analysis, ~ 765,000 substances). Experimental spectra from EPA's Non-Targeted Analysis Collaborative Trial (ENTACT) mixtures (n = 10) were then used to evaluate the performance of the in silico spectra. Overall, MS2 spectra were acquired for 377 unique compounds from the ENTACT mixtures. Approximately 53% of these compounds were correctly identified using a commercial reference library, whereas up to 50% were correctly identified as the top hit using the in silico library. Together, the reference and in silico libraries were able to correctly identify 73% of the 377 ENTACT substances. When using the in silico spectra for candidate filtering, an examination of binary classifiers showed a true positive rate (TPR) of 0.90 associated with false positive rates (FPRs) of 0.10 to 0.85, depending on the sample and method of candidate filtering. Taken together, these findings show the abilities of in silico spectra to correctly identify true positives in complex samples (at rates comparable to those observed with reference spectra), and efficiently filter large numbers of potential false positives from further consideration. Graphical abstract.
    Keywords:  CFM-ID; DSSTox; ENTACT; High-resolution mass spectrometry; Non-targeted analysis; ToxCast
  13. Nat Commun. 2020 Jan 22. 11(1): 431
      Multinucleated giant cells (MGCs) are implicated in many diseases including schistosomiasis, sarcoidosis and arthritis. MGC generation is energy intensive to enforce membrane fusion and cytoplasmic expansion. Using receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa-Β ligand (RANKL) induced osteoclastogenesis to model MGC formation, here we report RANKL cellular programming requires extracellular arginine. Systemic arginine restriction improves outcome in multiple murine arthritis models and its removal induces preosteoclast metabolic quiescence, associated with impaired tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle function and metabolite induction. Effects of arginine deprivation on osteoclastogenesis are independent of mTORC1 activity or global transcriptional and translational inhibition. Arginine scarcity also dampens generation of IL-4 induced MGCs. Strikingly, in extracellular arginine absence, both cell types display flexibility as their formation can be restored with select arginine precursors. These data establish how environmental amino acids control the metabolic fate of polykaryons and suggest metabolic ways to manipulate MGC-associated pathologies and bone remodelling.
  14. Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 2019 Dec 18. pii: S1359-6101(19)30152-2. [Epub ahead of print]
      Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second leading cause of cancer mortality in both men and women worldwide. Survival of patients is significantly associated with disease stage at diagnosis. Recent studies highlighted a role of exosomes in CRC development and progression, thus raising the interest on these nanosized vesicular structures as possible biomarkers. Exosomes contain a large variety of molecules, including proteins, lipids and nucleic acids, that are exchanged between cells either within tumor microenvironment or at distant sites from the primary tumor, where they prepare a suitable soil for tumor metastases. The present review summarizes the principal effects of exosomes on CRC development, progression, and provides an update of the most recent findings on the use of exosomal molecules as diagnostic, prognostic and predictive biomarkers in CRC.
    Keywords:  Biomarkers; Colorectal cancer; Exosomes; Immune cells; Pre-metastatic niche; Tumor microenvironment
  15. J Exp Med. 2020 Mar 02. pii: e20191226. [Epub ahead of print]217(3):
      Cancer cells often proliferate under hypoxia and reprogram their metabolism. However, how to find targets to effectively block the hypoxia-associated metabolic pathways remains unclear. Here, we developed a tool to conveniently calculate electrons dissipated in metabolic transformations. Based on the law of conservation of electrons in chemical reactions, we further built up an electron balance model for central carbon metabolism, and it can accurately outline metabolic plasticity under hypoxia. Our model specifies that glutamine metabolism reprogrammed for biosynthesis of lipid and/or proline actually acts as the alternative electron bin to enable electron transfer in proliferating cells under hypoxia. Inhibition of both proline biosynthesis and lipogenesis can synergistically suppress cancer cell growth under hypoxia and in vivo tumor onset. Therefore, our model helps to reveal combinations of potential targets to inhibit tumor growth by blocking hypoxia-rewired metabolism and provides a useful tool for future studies on cancer metabolism.
  16. Trends Biochem Sci. 2020 Jan 16. pii: S0968-0004(19)30263-4. [Epub ahead of print]
      Metabolism is at the cornerstone of all cellular functions and mounting evidence of its deregulation in different diseases emphasizes the importance of a comprehensive understanding of metabolic regulation at the whole-organism level. Stable-isotope measurements are a powerful tool for probing cellular metabolism and, as a result, are increasingly used to study metabolism in in vivo settings. The additional complexity of in vivo metabolic measurements requires paying special attention to experimental design and data interpretation. Here, we review recent work where in vivo stable-isotope measurements have been used to address relevant biological questions within an in vivo context, summarize different experimental and data interpretation approaches and their limitations, and discuss future opportunities in the field.
    Keywords:  in vivo metabolism; metabolic models; stable-isotope tracers; tracer analysis
  17. J Proteome Res. 2020 Jan 24.
      Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) platforms are typically run in electron ionization (EI) mode for mass spectral matching and metabolite annotation. With the advent of high resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS), soft ionization techniques such as chemical ionization (CI) may provide additional coverage for compound identification. We evaluated NIST SRM 1950 pooled plasma reference sample using a HRGC-MS instrument [GC-Orbitrap-MS with electron ionization (EI), positive chemical ionization (PCI), and negative CI (NCI) capabilities) for metabolite annotation and quantification to assess the suitability of the platform for routine discovery metabolomics. Using both open source and vendor workflows, we validated the spectral matches with an in-house spectral library (Wake Forest CPM GC-MS spectral and retention time libraries) of EI-MS and CI-MS/MS spectra obtained from chemical standards. We confidently [metabolomics standards initiative (MSI) confidence level 2] identified 263, 93, and 65 metabolites using EI, PCI, and NCI modes, respectively, of which 270 metabolites (64%) were validated using our Wake Forest CPM GC-MS spectral libraries. When compared to published LC-MS-based efforts using the same NIST SRM 1950 plasma sample, there was only 17% overlap between the two platforms. In addition, the metabolomics analysis of community approved standard human plasma demonstrated the ability of EI- and CI-MS modes of analysis using a HRGC-MS platform to enable reproducible and interoperable spectral matching.
  18. J Proteome Res. 2020 Jan 22.
      Statins are widely used for the treatment of atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases. They inhibit cholesterol biosynthesis in the liver and cause pleiotropic effects including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. To develop novel therapeutic drugs, the effect of blood-borne lipid molecules on the pleiotropic effects of statins must be elucidated. Myocardial-infarction-prone Watanabe heritable hyperlipidemic (WHHLMI) rabbits, an animal model for hypercholesterolemia, are suitable for the determination of lipid molecules in blood in response to statins because their lipoprotein metabolism is similar to that of humans. Herein, lipid molecules were investigated by lipidome analysis in response to pitavastatin using WHHLMI rabbits. Various lipid molecules in the blood were measured using a supercritical fluid chromatography triple quadrupole mass spectrometry. Cholesterol and cholesterol ester blood levels decreased by reducing the secretion of very low density lipoproteins from the liver. Independent of the inhibition effects of cholesterol biosynthesis, the concentrations of some lipids with anti-inflammation and antioxidant effects (phospholipid molecules with n-6 fatty acid side chains, lysophosphatidylcholines, phosphatidylethanolamine plasmalogens, and ceramide molecules) were significantly altered. These findings may lead to further investigation of the mechanism of statin action.
  19. Anal Chem. 2020 Jan 21.
      Omics analysis at single-cell resolution has helped to demonstrate the shaping of cellular heterogeneity on the basis of the expression of various molecules. However, in-depth proteomic analysis of low-quantity samples has remained challenging because of difficulties associated with the measurement of large numbers of proteins by shotgun proteomics using nanoflow-liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (nano-LC/MS/MS). To meet such a demand, we developed a method called in-line sample preparation for efficient cellular proteomics (ISPEC) in which cells were captured, directly lysed, and digested with immobilized trypsin within fused-silica capillaries. ISPEC minimized sample loss during the sample preparation processes with a relatively small number of mammalian cells (<1000 cells) and improved the stability and efficiency of digestion by immobilized trypsin, compared to a conventional preparation method. Using our optimized ISPEC method with nano-LC/MS/MS analysis, we identified 1351, 351, and 60 proteins from 100 cells, 10 cells, and single-cells, respectively. The linear response of the signal intensity of each peptide to the introduced cell number indicates the quantitative recovery of the proteome from a very small number of cells. Thus, our ISPEC strategy facilitates quantitative proteomic analysis of small cell population.
  20. Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Jan 17. pii: E596. [Epub ahead of print]21(2):
      The Warburg effect is an emerging hallmark of cancer, which has the tumor suppressor p53 as its major regulator. Herein, we unveiled that p53 activation by (S)-tryptophanol-derived oxazoloisoindolinone (SLMP53-1) mediated the reprograming of glucose metabolism in cancer cells and xenograft human tumor tissue, interfering with angiogenesis and migration. Particularly, we showed that SLMP53-1 regulated glycolysis by downregulating glucose transporter 1 (GLUT1), hexokinase-2 (HK2), and phosphofructokinase-2 isoform 6-phosphofructo-2-kinase/fructose-2,6-biphosphatase-3 (PFKFB3) (key glycolytic enzymes), while upregulating the mitochondrial markers synthesis of cytochrome c oxidase 2 (SCO2), cytochrome c oxidase subunit 4 (COX4), and OXPHOS mitochondrial complexes. SLMP53-1 also downregulated the monocarboxylate transporter 4 (MCT4), causing the subsequent reduction of lactate export by cancer cells. Besides the acidification of the extracellular environment, SLMP53-1 further increased E-cadherin and reduced metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) expression levels in both cancer cells and xenograft human tumor tissue, which suggested the interference of SLMP53-1 in extracellular matrix remodeling and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition. Consistently, SLMP53-1 depleted angiogenesis, decreasing endothelial cell tube formation and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression levels. SLMP53-1 also exhibited synergistic growth inhibitory activity in combination with the metabolic modulator dichloroacetic acid. These data reinforce the promising application of the p53-activating agent SLMP53-1 in cancer therapy, by targeting p53-mediated pathways of growth and dissemination.
    Keywords:  OXPHOS; anti-angiogenic; anti-migratory; anticancer drug; glycolysis; p53
  21. FEBS J. 2020 Jan 22.
      Very-long-chain-acyl-CoA-dehydrogenase-deficiency (VLCAD) is the most common defect of long-chain fatty acid β-oxidation. The recommended treatment includes the application of medium-chain-triglycerides (MCT). However, long-term treatment of VLCAD-/- mice resulted in the development of a sex specific metabolic syndrome due to the selective activation of the ERK/mTORc1 signaling in females and ERK/PPARγ pathway in males. In order to investigate a subsequent sex-specific effect of MCT on the lipid composition of the cellular membranes, we performed lipidomic analysis, SILAC-based quantitative proteomics and gene expression in fibroblasts from WT and VLCAD-/- mice of both sexes. Treatment with octanoate (C8) affected the composition of complex lipids resulting in a sex specific signature of the molecular profile. The content of ceramides and sphingomyelins in particular differed significantly under control conditions and increased markedly in cells from mutant female mice but remained unchanged in cells from mutant males. Moreover, we observed a specific upregulation of biosynthesis of plasmalogens only in male mice, whereas in females C8 led to the accumulation of higher concentration of phosphatidylcholines and lysophosphosphatidylcholines. Our data on membrane lipids in VLCAD-deficiency after supplementation with C8 provide evidence of a sex specific lipid perturbation. We hypothesize a likely C8-induced pro-inflammatory response contributing to the development of a severe metabolic syndrome in female VLCAD-/- mice on long-term MCT supplementation.
    Keywords:  Complex lipids; Lysophosphatidylcholines; MCT; Plasmalogens; Sexual dimorphism; VLCAD
  22. Cell. 2020 Jan 23. pii: S0092-8674(19)31385-6. [Epub ahead of print]180(2): 387-402.e16
      Proteins are essential agents of biological processes. To date, large-scale profiling of cell line collections including the Cancer Cell Line Encyclopedia (CCLE) has focused primarily on genetic information whereas deep interrogation of the proteome has remained out of reach. Here, we expand the CCLE through quantitative profiling of thousands of proteins by mass spectrometry across 375 cell lines from diverse lineages to reveal information undiscovered by DNA and RNA methods. We observe unexpected correlations within and between pathways that are largely absent from RNA. An analysis of microsatellite instable (MSI) cell lines reveals the dysregulation of specific protein complexes associated with surveillance of mutation and translation. These and other protein complexes were associated with sensitivity to knockdown of several different genes. These data in conjunction with the wider CCLE are a broad resource to explore cellular behavior and facilitate cancer research.
    Keywords:  CCLE; MSI; RNA/Protein correlation; TMT; cancer cell lines; microsatellite instability; protein expression; quantitative proteomics; systems biology
  23. Cancers (Basel). 2020 Jan 23. pii: E279. [Epub ahead of print]12(2):
      High-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC) is currently treated with cytoreductive surgery and platinum-based chemotherapy. The majority of patients show a primary response; however, many rapidly develop drug resistance. Antiestrogens have been studied as low toxic treatment options for HGSOC, with higher response rates in platinum-sensitive cases. Mechanisms for this difference in response remain unknown. Therefore, the present study investigated the impact of platinum resistance on steroid metabolism in six established HGSOC cell lines sensitive and resistant against carboplatin using a high-resolution mass spectrometry assay to simultaneously quantify the ten main steroids of the estrogenic metabolic pathway. An up to 60-fold higher formation of steroid hormones and their sulfated or glucuronidated metabolites was observed in carboplatin-sensitive cells, which was reversible by treatment with interleukin-6 (IL-6). Conversely, treatment of carboplatin-resistant cells expressing high levels of endogenous IL-6 with the monoclonal anti-IL-6R antibody tocilizumab changed their status to "platinum-sensitive", exhibiting a decreased IC50 value for carboplatin, decreased growth, and significantly higher estrogen metabolism. Analysis of these metabolic differences could help to detect platinum resistance in HGSOC patients earlier, thereby allowing more efficient interventions.
    Keywords:  LC-HRMS; carboplatin resistance; high-grade serous ovarian cancer; interleukin-6; metabolomics; steroid hormones
  24. Cell Death Dis. 2020 Jan 20. 11(1): 38
      In mammals, autophagosome formation is initiated by ULK1 via the posttranslational modification of this protein. However, the precise role of ULK1 ubiquitination in modulating autophagy is unknown. Here, we show that NEDD4L, an E3 ubiquitin ligase, binds ULK1 in pancreatic cancer cells. ULK1 expression was stabilized in NEDD4L knockdown cells compared to that in control cells, suggesting that NEDD4L is involved in ULK1 ubiquitination and its subsequent degradation. Autophagy activity was enhanced in NEDD4L knockdown cells compared to control cells. NEDD4L-depleted cells exhibited an increase in the cellular oxygen consumption rate (OCR) and mitochondrial membrane potential, and maintained mitochondrial fusion status in response to metabolic stress. Enhanced OCR and mitochondrial fusion morphology in NEDD4L knockdown cells were repressed by siRNA targeting ULK1. In addition to ULK1, ASCT2, a glutamine transporter, was accumulated in NEDD4L-depleted cells; this is important for maintaining autophagy activation and mitochondrial metabolic function. Finally, the cellular growth and survival rate increased in NEDD4L knockdown cells compared to control cells. However, the genetic or pharmacological blockade of either ULK1 or ASCT2 in NEDD4L-depleted cells sensitized pancreatic cancer cells, particularly in response to nutrient deprivation. In a mouse xenograft model of pancreatic cancer, the use of autophagy inhibitors suppressed tumor growth more in NEDD4L-depleted cells than in tumors from control cells. NEDD4L and ULK1 levels were inversely correlated in two different pancreatic cancer mouse models-xenograft mouse and KPC mouse models. These results suggest that NEDD4L suppressed autophagy and mitochondrial metabolism by reducing cellular ULK1 or ASCT2 levels, and thus could repress the growth and survival of pancreatic cancer cells. Therefore, ubiquitin ligase-mediated autophagy plays a critical role in regulating mitochondrial metabolism, thereby contributing to the growth and survival of certain cancers with low NEDD4L levels.
  25. J Lipid Res. 2020 Jan 21. pii: jlr.D119000591. [Epub ahead of print]
      Analysis of the global steroid metabolism in human can shed light on the etiologies of steroid-related diseases. However, existing methods require large amounts of serum, and lack accuracy evaluation. Here, we developed an LC-MS/MS method for simultaneous quantification of 12 steroid hormones, including testosterone, pregnenolone, progesterone, androstenedione, corticosterone, 11-deoxycortisol, cortisol, 17-hydroxypregnenolone, 17-hydroxyprogesterone, dehydroepiandrosterone, estriol, and estradiol. Steroids and the spiked internal standards in 100 μL serum were extracted by protein precipitation and liquid-liquid extraction. The organic phase was dried by evaporation and isonicotinoyl chloride was added for  steroid derivatization, followed by evaporation under nitrogen and redissolving in 50% methanol. Chromatographic separation was performed on a reverse-phase PFP column, and analytes were detected on a triple quadrupole mass spectrometer with ESI. The lower limits of quantification ranged from 0.005 ng/mL for estradiol to 1 ng/mL for cortisol. Apparent recoveries of steroids at high-, medium- and low- concentrations in quality-control samples were between 86.4% and 115.0%. There were limited biases (-10.7%-10.5%) between the measured values and the authentic values, indicating that the method has excellent reliability. An analysis of the steroid metabolome in pregnant women highlighted the applicability of the method in clinical serum samples. We conclude that the LC-MS/MS method reported here enables steroid metabolome analysis with high accuracy and reduced serum consumption, indicating that it may be useful tool for both clinical and scientific laboratory research.
    Keywords:  Cholesterol; Derivatization; Hormones/Steroid; Mass spectrometry; Pregnancy; Steroid hormones; global metabolite analysis; steroid-related disease
  26. Nat Commun. 2020 Jan 23. 11(1): 433
      Ferroptosis is a newly defined form of regulated cell death characterized by the iron-dependent accumulation of lipid hydroperoxides. Erastin, the ferroptosis activator, binds to voltage-dependent anion channels VDAC2 and VDCA3, but treatment with erastin can result in the degradation of the channels. Here, the authors show that Nedd4 is induced following erastin treatment, which leads to the ubiquitination and subsequent degradation of the channels. Depletion of Nedd4 limits the protein degradation of VDAC2/3, which increases the sensitivity of cancer cells to erastin. By understanding the molecular mechanism of erastin-induced cellular resistance, we can discover how cells adapt to new molecules to maintain homeostasis. Furthermore, erastin-induced resistance mediated by FOXM1-Nedd4-VDAC2/3 negative feedback loop provides an initial framework for creating avenues to overcome the drug resistance of ferroptosis activators.
  27. Exp Dermatol. 2020 Jan 20.
      Development and progression of melanoma can be accelerated by intensification of particular metabolic pathways, such as aerobic glycolysis and avid amino acid catabolism, and is accompanied by aberrant immune responses within the tumor microenvironment. Contrary to other cancer types, melanoma reveals some unique tissue-specific features, such as melanogenesis, which is intertwined with metabolism. Nuclear peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) take part in regulation of systemic and cellular metabolism, inflammation and melanogenesis. They appear as a focal regulatory point for these three distinct processes by occupying the intersection among AMP-dependent protein kinase (AMPK), mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and PPAR gamma coactivator 1-alpha (PGC-1α) signaling pathways. When deregulated, they may accelerate melanoma malignant growth. Presenting the contribution of PPARα and PPARγ in melanoma biology, we attempt to ask how two contrasting metabolic states: obesity and fasting can change progression of the disease and possible outcome of the treatment. This short essay is aimed to provoke a discussion about some practical implications for melanoma prevention and treatment, especially: how metabolic manipulation may be exploited to overcome immunosuppression and support immune checkpoint blockade efficacy.
    Keywords:  AMP-dependent protein kinase (AMPK); inflammasome; ketone bodies; mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR); signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT)
  28. FASEB J. 2020 Jan 20.
      The discovery of the IDH1 R132H (IDH1 mut) mutation in low-grade glioma and the associated change in function of the IDH1 enzyme has increased the interest in glioma metabolism. In an earlier study, we found that changes in expression of genes involved in the aerobic glycolysis and the TCA cycle are associated with IDH1 mut. Here, we apply proteomics to FFPE samples of diffuse gliomas with or without IDH1 mutations, to map changes in protein levels associated with this mutation. We observed significant changes in the enzyme abundance associated with aerobic glycolysis, glutamate metabolism, and the TCA cycle in IDH1 mut gliomas. Specifically, the enzymes involved in the metabolism of glutamate, lactate, and enzymes involved in the conversion of α-ketoglutarate were increased in IDH1 mut gliomas. In addition, the bicarbonate transporter (SLC4A4) was increased in IDH1 mut gliomas, supporting the idea that a mechanism preventing intracellular acidification is active. We also found that enzymes that convert proline, valine, leucine, and isoleucine into glutamate were increased in IDH1 mut glioma. We conclude that in IDH1 mut glioma metabolism is rewired (increased input of lactate and glutamate) to preserve TCA-cycle activity in IDH1 mut gliomas.
    Keywords:  IDH1 mutation; TCA cycle; glioma; glutaminolysis; metabolism; proteomics
  29. Oncogene. 2020 Jan 23.
      Metabolic alteration for adaptation of the local environment has been recognized as a hallmark of cancer. GNPAT dysregulation has been implicated in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, the precise posttranslational regulation of GNPAT is still undiscovered. Here we show that ACAT1 is upregulated in response to extra palmitic acid (PA). ACAT1 acetylates GNPAT at K128, which represses TRIM21-mediated GNPAT ubiquitination and degradation. Conversely, GNPAT deacetylation by SIRT4 antagonizes ACAT1's function. GNPAT represses TRIM21-mediated FASN degradation and promotes lipid metabolism. Furthermore, shRNA-mediated ACAT1 ablation and acetylation deficiency of GNPAT repress lipid metabolism and tumor progression in xenograft and DEN/CCl4-induced HCC. Otherwise, ACAT1 inhibitor combination with sorafenib enormously retards tumor formation in mice. Collectively, we demonstrate that stabilization of FASN by ACAT1-mediated GNPAT acetylation plays a critical role in hepatocarcinogenesis.