bims-mascan Biomed News
on Mass spectrometry in cancer research
Issue of 2021‒05‒30
twenty-four papers selected by
Giovanny Rodriguez Blanco
University of Edinburgh

  1. J Proteome Res. 2021 May 25.
      Breast cancer (BC) is a common cause of morbidity and mortality, particularly in women. Moreover, the discovery of diagnostic biomarkers for early BC remains a challenging task. Previously, we [Jasbi et al. J. Chromatogr. B. 2019, 1105, 26-37] demonstrated a targeted metabolic profiling approach capable of identifying metabolite marker candidates that could enable highly sensitive and specific detection of BC. However, the coverage of this targeted method was limited and exhibited suboptimal classification of early BC (EBC). To expand the metabolome coverage and articulate a better panel of metabolites or mass spectral features for classification of EBC, we evaluated untargeted liquid chromatography quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (LC-QTOF-MS) data, both individually as well as in conjunction with previously published targeted LC-triple quadruple (QQQ)-MS data. Variable importance in projection scores were used to refine the biomarker panel, whereas orthogonal partial least squares-discriminant analysis was used to operationalize the enhanced biomarker panel for early diagnosis. In this approach, 33 altered metabolites/features were detected by LC-QTOF-MS from 124 BC patients and 86 healthy controls. For EBC diagnosis, significance testing and analysis of the area under receiver operating characteristic (AUROC) curve identified six metabolites/features [ethyl (R)-3-hydroxyhexanoate; caprylic acid; hypoxanthine; and m/z 358.0018, 354.0053, and 356.0037] with p < 0.05 and AUROC > 0.7. These metabolites informed the construction of EBC diagnostic models; evaluation of model performance for the prediction of EBC showed an AUROC = 0.938 (95% CI: 0.895-0.975), with sensitivity = 0.90 when specificity = 0.90. Using the combined untargeted and targeted data set, eight metabolic pathways of potential biological relevance were indicated to be significantly altered as a result of EBC. Metabolic pathway analysis showed fatty acid and aminoacyl-tRNA biosynthesis as well as inositol phosphate metabolism to be most impacted in response to the disease. The combination of untargeted and targeted metabolomics platforms has provided a highly predictive and accurate method for BC and EBC diagnosis from plasma samples. Furthermore, such a complementary approach yielded critical information regarding potential pathogenic mechanisms underlying EBC that, although critical to improved prognosis and enhanced survival, are understudied in the current literature. All mass spectrometry data and deidentified subject metadata analyzed in this study have been deposited to Mendeley Data and are publicly available (DOI: 10.17632/kcjg8ybk45.1).
    Keywords:  biomarker discovery; breast cancer; early diagnosis; targeted metabolomics; untargeted metabolomics
  2. Cancer Discov. 2021 May 26. pii: candisc.1437.2020. [Epub ahead of print]
      Glioblastoma (GBM) is highly resistant to chemo- and immune-based therapies and targeted inhibitors. To identify novel drug targets, we screened orthotopically implanted, patient-derived glioblastoma sphere-forming cells (GSCs) using an RNAi library to probe essential tumor cell metabolic programs. This identified high dependence on mitochondrial fatty acid metabolism. We focused on medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (MCAD), which oxidizes medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), due to its consistently high score and high expression among models and upregulation in GBM compared to normal brain. Beyond the expected energetics impairment, MCAD depletion in primary GBM models induced an irreversible cascade of detrimental metabolic effects characterized by accumulation of unmetabolized MCFAs, which induced lipid peroxidation and oxidative stress, irreversible mitochondrial damage, and apoptosis. Our data uncover a novel protective role for MCAD to clear lipid molecules that may cause lethal cell damage, suggesting that therapeutic targeting of MCFA catabolism could exploit a key metabolic feature of GBM.
  3. Anal Chim Acta. 2021 Jun 08. pii: S0003-2670(21)00334-2. [Epub ahead of print]1163 338508
      The focus of this work was the implementation of ion mobility (IM) and a prototype quadrupole driver within data independent acquisition (DIA) using a drift tube IM-QTOFMS aiming to improve the level of confidence in identity confirmation workflows for non-targeted metabolomics. In addition to conventional all ions (IM-AI) acquisition, quadrupole resolved all ions (IM-QRAI) acquisition allows a drift time-directed precursor ion isolation in DIA using sequential isolation of precursor ions using mass windows of up to 100 Da which can be rapidly ramped across single ion mobility transients (i.e., <100 ms) according to the arrival times of precursor ions. Both IM-AI and IM-QRAI approaches were used for identity confirmation and relative quantification of metabolites in cellular extracts of the cell factory host Pichia pastoris. Samples were spiked with a uniformly 13C-labeled (U13C) internal standard and LC with low-field drift tube IM separation was used in combination with IM-AI and IM-QRAI. Combining excellent hardware performance and correlation of IM arrival times of natural (natC) and U13C metabolites enabled alignment of signals in the arrival time domain (DTCCSN2 differences ≤0.3%), and, in the case of IM-QRAI operation, maintenance of quantitative signals in comparison to IM-AI. The combination of tailored IM-QRAI methods for precursor ion isolation and IM separation also minimized the occurrence of spectral interferences in complex DIA datasets. Combined use of the software tools MS-DIAL, MS-Finder and Skyline for peak picking, feature alignment, reconciliation of natC and U13C isotopologue pairs, deconvolution of fragment spectra from DIA data, identity confirmation (including DTCCSN2) and targeted re-extraction of datafiles were employed for the data processing workflow. Overall, the combined new acquisition and data processing approaches enabled 87 metabolites to be identified between Level 1 (identified by standard compound) and Level 3.2 (accurate mass spectrum and number of carbons confirmed). The developed methods constitute promising metabolomics discovery tools and can be used to elucidate the number of carbon atoms present in unknown metabolites in stable isotope-supported metabolomics.
    Keywords:  CCS; HPLC; Ion mobility-mass spectrometry; Metabolomics; Stable isotope labeling; Yeast
  4. FEBS J. 2021 May 25.
      Adaptation of cellular function with the nutrient environment is essential for survival. Failure to adapt can lead to cell death and/or disease. Indeed, energy metabolism alterations are a major contributing factor for many pathologies, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. In particular, a primary characteristic of cancer cells is altered metabolism that promotes survival and proliferation even in the presence of limited nutrients. Interestingly, recent studies demonstrate that metabolic pathways produce intermediary metabolites that directly influence epigenetic modifications in the genome. Emerging evidence demonstrates that metabolic processes in cancer cells fuel malignant growth, in part, through epigenetic regulation of gene expression programs important for proliferation and adaptive survival. In this review, recent progress towards understanding the relationship of cancer cell metabolism, epigenetic modification, and transcriptional regulation will be discussed. Specifically, the need for adaptive cell metabolism and its modulation in cancer cells will be introduced. Current knowledge on the emerging field of metabolite production and epigenetic modification will also be reviewed. Alterations of DNA (de)methylation, histone modifications, such as (de)methylation and (de)acylation, as well as chromatin remodeling, will be discussed in the context of cancer cell metabolism. Finally, how these epigenetic alterations contribute to cancer cell phenotypes will summarized. Collectively, these studies reveal that both metabolic and epigenetic pathways in cancer cells are closely linked, representing multiple opportunities to therapeutically target the unique features of malignant growth.
    Keywords:  DNA methylation; acetylation; acylation; cancer; glycolysis; histone; metabolism; methylation; oxidative phosphorylation
  5. Front Chem. 2021 ;9 678883
      Apolipoprotein-CIII (apo-CIII) is a glycoprotein involved in lipid metabolism and its levels are associated with cardiovascular disease risk. Apo-CIII sialylation is associated with improved plasma triglyceride levels and its glycosylation may have an effect on the clearance of triglyceride-rich lipoproteins by directing these particles to different metabolic pathways. Large-scale sample cohort studies are required to fully elucidate the role of apo-CIII glycosylation in lipid metabolism and associated cardiovascular disease. In this study, we revisited a high-throughput workflow for the analysis of intact apo-CIII by ultrahigh-resolution MALDI FT-ICR MS. The workflow includes a chemical oxidation step to reduce methionine oxidation heterogeneity and spectrum complexity. Sinapinic acid matrix was used to minimize the loss of sialic acids upon MALDI. MassyTools software was used to standardize and automate MS data processing and quality control. This method was applied on 771 plasma samples from individuals without diabetes allowing for an evaluation of the expression levels of apo-CIII glycoforms against a panel of lipid biomarkers demonstrating the validity of the method. Our study supports the hypothesis that triglyceride clearance may be regulated, or at least strongly influenced by apo-CIII sialylation. Interestingly, the association of apo-CIII glycoforms with triglyceride levels was found to be largely independent of body mass index. Due to its precision and throughput, the new workflow will allow studying the role of apo-CIII in the regulation of lipid metabolism in various disease settings.
    Keywords:  apolipoprotein-CIII; glycosylation; high-throughput; mass spectrometry; oxidation
  6. Methods Mol Biol. 2021 ;2295 59-80
      Lipids are produced through a dynamic metabolic network involving branch points, cycles, reversible reactions, parallel reactions in different subcellular compartments, and distinct pools of the same lipid class involved in different parts of the network. For example, diacylglycerol (DAG) is a biosynthetic and catabolic intermediate of many different lipid classes. Triacylglycerol can be synthesized from DAG assembled de novo, or from DAG produced by catabolism of membrane lipids, most commonly phosphatidylcholine. Quantification of lipids provides a snapshot of the lipid abundance at the time they were extracted from the given tissue. However, quantification alone does not provide information on the path of carbon flux through the metabolic network to synthesize each lipid. Understanding lipid metabolic flux requires tracing lipid metabolism with isotopically labeled substrates over time in living tissue. [14C]acetate and [14C]glycerol are commonly utilized substrates to measure the flux of nascent fatty acids and glycerol backbones through the lipid metabolic network in vivo. When combined with mutant or transgenic plants, tracing of lipid metabolism can provide information on the molecular control of lipid metabolic flux. This chapter provides a method for tracing in vivo lipid metabolism in developing Arabidopsis thaliana seeds, including analysis of 14C labeled lipid classes and fatty acid regiochemistry through both thin-layer chromatography (TLC) and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) approaches.
    Keywords:  Carbon-14; Flow liquid scintillation counting; Metabolic flux; Pulse–chase; Radiolabel
  7. Redox Biol. 2021 Jul;pii: S2213-2317(21)00164-6. [Epub ahead of print]43 102006
      PROBLEM: Tumor recurrence is a major clinical issue that represents the principal cause of cancer-related deaths, with few targetable common pathways. Mechanisms by which residual tumors persist and progress under a continuous shift between hypoxia-reoxygenation after neoadjuvent-therapy are unknown. In this study, we investigated the role of lipid metabolism and tumor redox balance in tumor recurrence.METHODS: Lipidomics, proteomics and mass spectrometry imaging approaches where applied to mouse tumor models of recurrence. Genetic and pharmacological inhibitions of lipid mediators in tumors were used in vivo and in functional assays in vitro.
    RESULTS: We found that stearoyl-CoA desaturase-1 (SCD1) expressed by cancer cells and fatty acid binding protein-4 (FABP4) produced by tumor endothelial cells (TECs) and adipocytes in the tumor microenvironment (TME) are essential for tumor relapse in response to tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) and chemotherapy. SCD1 and FABP4 were also found upregulated in recurrent human breast cancer samples and correlated with worse prognosis of cancer patients with different types of tumors. Mechanistically, SCD1 leads to fatty acid (FA) desaturation and FABP4 derived from TEM enhances lipid droplet (LD) in cancer cells, which cooperatively protect from oxidative stress-induced ferroptosis. We revealed that lipid mobilization and desaturation elicit tumor intrinsic antioxidant and anti-ferroptotic resources for survival and regrowth in a harsh TME. Inhibition of lipid transport from TME by FABP4 inhibitor reduced tumor regrowth and by genetic - or by pharmacological - targeting SCD1 in vivo, tumor regrowth was abolished completely.
    CONCLUSION: This finding unveils that it is worth taking advantage of tumor lipid addiction, as a tumor vulnerability to design novel treatment strategy to prevent cancer recurrence.
    Keywords:  Drug-resistance; Hypoxia; Lipid metabolism; ROS-ferroptosis; Reoxygenation; Tumor-microenvironment
  8. Methods Mol Biol. 2021 ;2295 101-115
      Direct infusion or "shotgun" mass spectrometry provides a fast strategy to measure different classes of lipids, combining rapid analysis and short idle time. In contrast to liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS), the lipids are infused into the mass spectrometer without prior separation by liquid chromatography. Ions are separated in the quadrupole of a tandem mass spectrometer, and after collision-induced dissociation fragments are quantified relative to internal standards in the third quadrupole or in the time-of-flight mass analyzer of a triple quadrupole or quadrupole time of flight (Q-TOF) mass spectrometer. Abundant lipids, that is, galactolipids and phospholipids in leaves, are measured in crude lipid extracts, while less abundant lipids can be measured after enrichment by solid-phase extraction. Here we describe protocols for the quantification of the major plant glycerolipids (galactolipids, phospholipids, diacylglycerol, and triacylglycerol) using nanospray direct infusion mass spectrometry. This provides a strategy for comprehensive, highly sensitive, high-throughput lipidomic analyses.
    Keywords:  Arabidopsis thaliana; Galactolipids; Lipidomics; Mass spectrometry; Nanospray direct infusion; Nonpolar lipids; Phospholipids; Solid-phase extraction
  9. Methods Mol Biol. 2021 ;2295 117-133
      Total acyl lipid collision-induced dissociation time-of-flight (TAL-CID-TOF) mass spectrometry uses a quadrupole time-of-flight (QTOF) mass spectrometer to rapidly provide a comprehensive fatty acid composition of a biological lipid extract. Samples are infused into a QTOF instrument, operated in negative mode, and the quadrupole is used to transfer all, or a wide mass range of, precursor ions to the collision cell for fragmentation. Time-of-flight-acquired mass spectra provide mass accuracy and resolution sufficient for chemical formula determination of fatty acids in the complex mixture. Considering the limited number of reasonable CHO variants in fatty acids, one can discern acyl anions with the same nominal mass but different chemical formulas. An online application, LipidomeDB Data Calculation Environment, is employed to process the mass spectral output data and match identified fragments to target fragments at a resolution specified by the user. TAL-CID-TOF methodology is a useful discovery or screening tool to identify and compare fatty acid profiles of biological samples.
    Keywords:  Collision-induced dissociation; Fatty acid analysis; Fatty acid composition; Fatty acyl; LipidomeDB Data Calculation Environment (DCE); Lipidomics; Mass spectrometry; QTOF; TAL-CID-TOF
  10. Methods Mol Biol. 2021 ;2295 219-247
      The fatty acid biosynthetic cycle is predicated on an acyl carrier protein (ACP) scaffold where two carbon acetyl groups are added in a chain elongation process through a series of repeated enzymatic steps. The chain extension is terminated by hydrolysis with a thioesterase or direct transfer of the acyl group to a glycerophospholipid by an acyltransferase. Methods for analysis of the concentrations of acyl chains attached to ACPs are lacking but would be informative for studies in lipid metabolism. We describe a method to profile and quantify the levels of acyl-ACPs in plants, bacteria and mitochondria of animals and fungi that represent Type II fatty acid biosynthetic systems. ACPs of Type II systems have a highly conserved Asp-Ser-Leu-Asp (DSLD) amino acid sequence at the attachment site for 4'-phosphopantetheinyl arm carrying the acyl chain. Three amino acids of the conserved sequence can be cleaved away from the remainder of the protein using an aspartyl protease. Thus, partially purified protein can be enzymatically hydrolyzed to produce an acyl chain linked to a tripeptide via the 4'-phosphopantetheinyl group. After ionization and fragmentation, the corresponding fragment ion is detected by a triple quadrupole mass spectrometer using a multiple reaction monitoring method. 15N isotopically labeled acyl-ACPs generated in high amounts are used with an isotope dilution strategy to quantify the absolute levels of each acyl group attached to the acyl carrier protein scaffold.
    Keywords:  Acyl-carrier protein; Aspartyl protease; Fatty acid synthesis; Isotope dilution; Lipid metabolism; Liquid chromatography; Mass spectrometry; Multiple reaction monitoring
  11. Methods Mol Biol. 2021 ;2295 203-218
      The acyl-CoA pool is pivotal in cellular metabolism. The ability to provide reliable estimates of acyl-CoA abundance and distribution between molecular species in plant tissues and microalgae is essential to our understanding of lipid metabolism and acyl exchange. Acyl-CoAs are typically found in low abundance and require specific methods for extraction, separation and detection. Here we describe methods for acyl-CoA extraction and measurement in plant tissues and microalgae, with a focus on liquid chromatography hyphenated to detection techniques including ultraviolet (UV), fluorescence and mass spectrometry (MS). We address the resolution of isobaric species and the selection of columns needed to achieve this, including the analysis of branched chain acyl-CoA thioesters. For MS analyses, we describe diagnostic ions for the identification of acyl-CoA species and how these can be used for both discovery of new species (data dependent acquisition) and routine quantitation (triple quadrupole MS with multiple reaction monitoring).
    Keywords:  Acyl-CoAs; Lipid metabolism; Camelina sativa; LC-MS/MS; Liquid chromatography; Mass-spectrometry; Microalgae; Multiple reaction monitoring
  12. Lipids. 2021 May 25.
      Plasma biochemical analysis remains one of the established ways of monitoring captive marine mammal health. More recently, complementary plasma lipidomic analysis has proven to be a valid tool in disease diagnosis and prevention, with the potential to validate and complement common biochemical analysis, providing a more integrative approach. In this study, we thoroughly characterized the plasma polar lipid content of Tursiops truncatus, the most common cetacean species held under human care. Our results showed that phosphatidylcholine, lysophosphatidylcholine, and sphingomyelins (CerPCho) are the most represented phospholipid classes in T. truncatus plasma. Palmitic, oleic, and stearic acids are the major fatty acid (FA) present esterified to the plasma polar lipids of this species, although some n-3 species are also remarkably present, namely eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids. The polar lipidome identified by HILIC LC-MS allowed identifying 304 different lipid species. These species belong to the phosphatidylcholine (103 lipid species), lysophosphatidylcholine (35), phosphatidylethanolamine (71), lysophosphatidylethanolamine (20), phosphatidylglycerol (13), lysophosphatidylglycerol (5), phosphatidylinositol (15), lysophosphatidylinositol (3), phosphatidylserine (6) lysophosphatidylserine (1), and sphimgomyelin (32) classes. This was the first time that the dolphin plasma phospholipid profile was characterized, providing a knowledge that will be important to further understand lipid metabolism and physiological regulation in small cetaceans. Furthermore, this study proved the practicability of the use of plasma lipid profiling for health assessment in marine mammals under human care.
    Keywords:  LC-MS; health screening tools; lipidomics; plasma biomarkers; small cetaceans
  13. Mol Cell Oncol. 2021 ;8(3): 1919006
      Ferroptosis is a cell death mechanism triggered by lipid peroxidation. Our recent study linked cyst(e)ine availability with glutathione peroxidase 4 (GPX4) protein synthesis and ferroptosis mitigation via a Rag-mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) axis, and proposed that co-targeting mTORC1 and ferroptosis is a promising strategy for cancer therapy.
    Keywords:  GPX4; SLC7A11; cancer therapy; cysteine; cystine; ferroptosis; lipid peroxidation; mTORC1
  14. Mass Spectrom Rev. 2021 May 24.
      Single cell analysis has drawn increasing interest from the research community due to its capability to interrogate cellular heterogeneity, allowing refined tissue classification and facilitating novel biomarker discovery. With the advancement of relevant instruments and techniques, it is now possible to perform multiple omics including genomics, transcriptomics, metabolomics or even proteomics at single cell level. In comparison with other omics studies, single-cell metabolomics (SCM) represents a significant challenge since it involves many types of dynamically changing compounds with a wide range of concentrations. In addition, metabolites cannot be amplified. Although difficult, considerable progress has been made over the past decade in mass spectrometry (MS)-based SCM in terms of processing technologies and biochemical applications. In this review, we will summarize recent progress in the development of promising MS platforms, sample preparation methods and SCM analysis of various cell types (including plant cell, cancer cell, neuron, embryo cell, and yeast cell). Current limitations and future research directions in the field of SCM will also be discussed.
    Keywords:  mass spectrometry; metabolomics; single cell analysis; single-cell metabolomics
  15. Autophagy. 2021 May 26.
      The sensu stricto autophagy, macroautophagy, is considered to be both a metabolic process as well as a bona fide quality control process. The question as to how these two aspects of autophagy are coordinated and whether and why they overlap has implications for fundamental aspects, pathophysiological effects, and pharmacological manipulation of autophagy. At the top of the regulatory cascade controlling autophagy are master regulators of cellular metabolism, such as MTOR and AMPK, which render the system responsive to amino acid and glucose starvation. At the other end exists a variety of specific autophagy receptors, engaged in the selective removal of a diverse array of intracellular targets, from protein aggregates/condensates to whole organelles such as mitochondria, ER, peroxisomes, lysosomes and lipid droplets. Are the roles of autophagy in metabolism and quality control mutually exclusive, independent or interlocked? How are priorities established? What are the molecular links between both phenomena? This article will provide a starting point to formulate these questions, the responses to which should be taken into consideration in future autophagy-based interventions.
    Keywords:  AMPK; ATG; Aging; Akt; Alzheimer’s disease; ESCRT; FOXO; LC3; MTOR; NAD; NASH; Obesity; Parkinson’s Disease; RagA/B; SIRT1; SIRT3; Selective autophagy; TBK1; TCA; TFEB; Tor; acetyl CoA; autophagy; calcienurin; cancer; cardiovascular; diabetes; endoplasmic reticulum; fatty acids; ferritin; galectin; glycogen; glycolysis; heart; immunity; infection; insulin; lipid droplets; liver; lysosomes; metabolism; mitochondria; mitophagy; neurodegeneration; nutrition; oxidative phosphorylation; p62 SQSTM1; peroxisome; quality control; sirtuin
  16. Cancer Discov. 2021 May 24. pii: candisc.1815.2020. [Epub ahead of print]
      Identifying strategies to improve the efficacy of immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) remains a major clinical need. Here, we show that therapeutically targeting the COX-2/PGE2/EP2-4 pathway with widely used non-steroidal and steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs synergized with ICB in mouse cancer models. We exploited a bilateral surgery model to distinguish responders from non-responders shortly following treatment and identified acute IFN-γ-driven transcriptional remodeling in responder mice, which was also associated with patient benefit to ICB. Monotherapy with COX-2 inhibitors or EP2-4 PGE2 receptor antagonists rapidly induced this response program and, in combination with ICB, increased the intratumoral accumulation of effector T cells. Treatment of patient-derived tumor fragments from multiple cancer types revealed a similar shift in the tumor inflammatory environment to favor T cell activation. Our findings establish the COX-2/PGE2/EP2-4 axis as an independent immune checkpoint and a readily translatable strategy to rapidly switch the tumor inflammatory profile from cold to hot.
  17. Anal Chim Acta. 2021 Jun 29. pii: S0003-2670(21)00399-8. [Epub ahead of print]1166 338573
      Acidic lipids are associated with the regulation of the structure and function of membrane proteins. Therefore, accurate and highly precise analysis of acidic lipids is important for elucidating their biological roles and pathological mechanisms. In this study, an enhanced analytical method for the separation and quantification of acidic lipids, including phosphatidylserine (PS), phosphatidic acid (PA), cardiolipin, and their lyso-derivatives, was developed using nanoflow ultrahigh performance liquid chromatography-electrospray ionisation-tandem mass spectrometry. The separation and mass spectrometry detection of acidic lipids were optimised in terms of peak tailing and time-based separation efficiencies, with carbamate-embedded C18 as the stationary phase, in the presence of an appropriate liquid chromatography solvent modifier. This newly developed method was applied to analyse a lipid extract from porcine brain. A significant increase in the number of acidic lipids identified (176 vs. 134), including intact monolysocardiolipin (17 vs. 4), was observed with the new method compared with conventional C18. The quantification of acidic lipids was validated with plasma standard (NIST SRM 1950) spiked with a number of LPS and PS standards, and acceptable accuracy (<15%) was obtained. The present method was found to be reliable for the acidic lipid analysis based on qualitative results from tissue extract and plasma samples.
    Keywords:  Acidic lipid; Lipidomics; Mass spectrometry; Nanoflow UHPLC; Porcine brain lipids; Validation
  18. Adv Sci (Weinh). 2021 May;8(10): 2003047
      Protein arginine methyltransferase 5 (PRMT5) is the type II arginine methyltransferase that catalyzes the mono- and symmetrical dimethylation of protein substrates at the arginine residues. Emerging evidence reveals that PRMT5 is involved in the regulation of tumor cell proliferation and cancer development. However, the exact role of PRMT5 in human lung cancer cell proliferation and the underlying molecular mechanism remain largely elusive. Here, it is shown that PRMT5 promotes lung cancer cell proliferation through the Smad7-STAT3 axis. Depletion or inhibition of PRMT5 dramatically dampens STAT3 activation and thus suppresses the proliferation of human lung cancer cells. Furthermore, depletion of Smad7 blocks PRMT5-mediated STAT3 activation. Mechanistically, PRMT5 binds to and methylates Smad7 on Arg-57, enhances Smad7 binding to IL-6 co-receptor gp130, and consequently ensures robust STAT3 activation. The findings position PRMT5 as a critical regulator of STAT3 activation, and suggest it as a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of human lung cancer.
    Keywords:  PRMT5; STAT3; Smad7; methylation; migration; proliferation
  19. J Lipid Res. 2021 May 19. pii: S0022-2275(21)00070-5. [Epub ahead of print] 100088
      A proposed beneficial impact of highly unsaturated "fish oil" fatty acids is their conversion by lipoxygenase (LOX) enzymes to specialized proresolving lipid mediators, including 12/15-LOX products from EPA and DHA. The transformations of DHA include formation of docosatrienes, named for the distinctive conjugated triene of the double bonds. To further the understanding of biosynthetic pathways and mechanisms, herein we meld together biosynthesis and NMR characterization of the unstable Leukotriene A (LTA)-related epoxide intermediates formed by recombinant human 15-LOX-1, along with identification of the stable enzymatic products, and extend the findings into the 12/15-LOX metabolism in resident murine peritoneal macrophages. Oxygenation of EPA by 15-LOX-1 converts the initial 15S-hydroperoxide to 14,15-LTA5 (appearing as its 8,15-diol hydrolysis products) and mixtures of dihydroperoxy fatty acids, while mainly the epoxide hydrolysis products are evident in the murine cells. DHA also undergoes transformations to epoxide and dihydroperoxides by 15-LOX-1, resulting in a mixture of 10,17-dihydro(pero)xy derivatives (docosatrienes) and minor 7S,17S- and 14,17S-dihydroperoxides. The 10,17S-dihydroxy hydrolysis products of the LTA-related epoxide intermediate dominate the product profile in mouse macrophages, while (neuro)protectin D1, the LTB4-related derivative with trans,trans,cis conjugated triene, was undetectable. In this study we emphasize the utility of UV spectral characteristics for product identification, being diagnostic of the different double bond configurations and hydroxy fatty acid functionality versus hydroperoxide. LC-MS is not definitive for configurational isomers. Secure identification is based on chromatographic retention times, comparison with authentic standards and the highly distinctive UV spectra.
    Keywords:  Docosatrienes; Eicosanoids; Enzymology; Leukotrienes; Lipid biochemistry; Lipoxygenase; Liquid chromatography; Omega-3 fatty acids; Specialized pro-resolving mediators; Spectrometry
  20. Data Brief. 2021 Jun;36 107091
      Measuring bile acids in feces has an important role in disease prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and can be considered a measure of health status. Therefore, the primary aim was to develop a sensitive, robust, and high throughput liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry method with minimal sample preparation for quantitative determination of bile acids in human feces applicable to large cohorts. Due to the chemical diversity of bile acids, their wide concentration range in feces, and the complexity of feces itself, developing a sensitive and selective analytical method for bile acids is challenging. A simple extraction method using methanol suitable for subsequent quantification by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry has been reported in, "Extraction and quantitative determination of bile acids in feces" [1]. The data highlight the importance of optimization of the extraction procedure and the stability of the bile acids in feces post-extraction and prior to analysis and after several freeze-thaw cycles.
    Keywords:  Bile acids; Extraction; Feces; LC-MS/MS; Stability
  21. Trends Cancer. 2021 May 19. pii: S2405-8033(21)00099-6. [Epub ahead of print]
      Neutrophils, the most abundant leukocyte population in humans, constantly patrol the body for foreign cells, including pathogens and cancer cells. Once neutrophils are activated, they engage distinct metabolic pathways to fulfill their specialized antipathogen functions. In this review, we examine current research on the metabolism of neutrophil differentiation and antipathogen responses. We also discuss how tumor-associated neutrophils (TANs) can be educated by cytokines and by the nutrient-restrictive milieu of the tumor microenvironment (TME) to suppress antitumor immunity, promote cancer progression, and contribute to biological heterogeneity among tumors. Last, we discuss the clinical implications of circulating neutrophils and infiltrating TANs and consider how targeting TAN metabolism may synergize with cancer immunotherapy.
    Keywords:  immunotherapy; metabolism; metastasis; neutrophils; tumor microenvironment
  22. Mol Cell Oncol. 2021 Mar 25. 8(3): 1902250
      The rate-limiting enzyme of serine biosynthesis, 3-phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase (PHGDH), contributes to rapid growth and proliferation when it is overexpressed in cancer. We recently described the metabolic adaptations that occur upon PHGDH inhibition in osteosarcoma. PHGDH inhibition causes metabolite accumulation that activates the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling, sensitizing osteosarcoma to non-rapalog mTOR inhibition.
    Keywords:  PHGDH; mTORC1; methotrexate; osteosarcoma; perhexiline; serine
  23. Nucleic Acids Res. 2021 May 28. pii: gkab419. [Epub ahead of print]
      With the continuing rise of lipidomic studies, there is an urgent need for a useful and comprehensive tool to facilitate lipidomic data analysis. The most important features making lipids different from general metabolites are their various characteristics, including their lipid classes, double bonds, chain lengths, etc. Based on these characteristics, lipid species can be classified into different categories and, more interestingly, exert specific biological functions in a group. In an effort to simplify lipidomic analysis workflows and enhance the exploration of lipid characteristics, we have developed a highly flexible and user-friendly web server called LipidSig. It consists of five sections, namely, Profiling, Differential Expression, Correlation, Network and Machine Learning, and evaluates lipid effects on cellular or disease phenotypes. One of the specialties of LipidSig is the conversion between lipid species and characteristics according to a user-defined characteristics table. This function allows for efficient data mining for both individual lipids and subgroups of characteristics. To expand the server's practical utility, we also provide analyses focusing on fatty acid properties and multiple characteristics. In summary, LipidSig is expected to help users identify significant lipid-related features and to advance the field of lipid biology. The LipidSig webserver is freely available at
  24. Methods Mol Biol. 2021 ;2295 337-349
      Diverse classes of lipids are found in cell membranes, the major ones being glycerolipids, sphingolipids, and sterols. In eukaryotic cells, each organelle has a specific lipid composition, which defines its identity and regulates its biogenesis and function. For example, glycerolipids are present in all membranes, whereas sphingolipids and sterols are mostly enriched in the plasma membrane. In addition to phosphoglycerolipids, plants also contain galactoglycerolipids, a family of glycerolipids present mainly in chloroplasts and playing an important role in photosynthesis. During phosphate starvation, galactoglycerolipids are also found in large amounts in other organelles, illustrating the dynamic nature of membrane lipid composition. Thus, it is important to determine the lipid composition of each organelle, as analyses performed on total cells do not represent the specific changes occurring at the organelle level. This task requires the optimization of standard protocols to isolate organelles with high yield and low contamination by other cellular fractions. In this chapter, we describe a protocol to isolate mitochondria from Arabidopsis thaliana cell cultures to perform lipidomic analysis.
    Keywords:  Arabidopsis thaliana; Cell cultures; Mitochondria isolation