bims-mepmim Biomed News
on Metabolites in pathological microenvironments and immunometabolism
Issue of 2022‒04‒17
forty-nine papers selected by
Erika Mariana Palmieri
NIH/NCI Laboratory of Cancer ImmunoMetabolism

  1. Cancers (Basel). 2022 Apr 06. pii: 1850. [Epub ahead of print]14(7):
      Over the past decade, metabolic reprogramming has been defined as a hallmark of cancer. More recently, a large number of studies have demonstrated that metabolic reprogramming can modulate the differentiation and functions of immune cells, and thus modify the antitumor response. Increasing evidence suggests that modified energy metabolism could be responsible for the failure of antitumor immunity. Indeed, tumor-infiltrating immune cells play a key role in cancer, and metabolic switching in these cells has been shown to help determine their phenotype: tumor suppressive or immune suppressive. Recent studies in the field of immunometabolism focus on metabolic reprogramming in the tumor microenvironment (TME) by targeting innate and adaptive immune cells and their associated anti- or protumor phenotypes. In this review, we discuss the lipid metabolism of immune cells in the TME as well as the effects of lipids; finally, we expose the link between therapies and lipid metabolism.
    Keywords:  cancer therapy; immune cells; immunosuppression; lipid metabolism
  2. Front Pharmacol. 2022 ;13 871392
      Metabolic reprogramming is considered to be a hallmark of cancer, and increased glutamine metabolism plays an important role in the progression of many tumors, including colorectal cancer (CRC). Targeting of glutamine uptake via the transporter protein ASCT2/SLC1A5 (solute carrier family 1 member 5) is considered to be an effective strategy for the treatment of malignant tumors. Here, we demonstrate that Ag120 (ivosidenib), a mutant isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 (IDH1) inhibitor approved for the treatment of certain cancers, acts as an ASCT2 inhibitor in CRC cells. Ag120 blocked glutamine uptake and metabolism, leading to reduced cell proliferation, elevated autophagy, and increased oxidative stress in CRC cells in vitro and in vivo, potentially via the ERK and mTOR signaling pathways. These effects occurred independently of mutant IDH1 activity and were supported by experiments with ASCT2-depleted or -overexpressing cells. These data identify a novel mechanism of Ag120 anti-tumor activity and support further exploration of ASCT2 inhibitors for cancer therapy.
    Keywords:  AG120; ASCT2; CRC; glutamine metabolism; tumor proliferation
  3. Cell Rep. 2022 Apr 12. pii: S2211-1247(22)00424-7. [Epub ahead of print]39(2): 110672
      Phospholipid biosynthesis plays a role in mediating membrane-to-histone communication that influences metabolic decisions. Upon nutrient deprivation, phospholipid methylation generates a starvation signal in the form of S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) depletion, leading to dynamic changes in histone methylation. Here we show that the SAM-responsive methylation of H3K36 is critical for metabolic adaptation to nutrient starvation in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We find that mutants deficient in H3K36 methylation exhibit defects in membrane integrity and pyrimidine metabolism and lose viability quickly under starvation. Adjusting the synthesis of phospholipids potently rewires metabolic pathways for nucleotide synthesis and boosts the production of antioxidants, ameliorating the defects resulting from the loss of H3K36 methylation. We further demonstrate that H3K36 methylation reciprocally regulates phospholipid synthesis by influencing redox balance. Our study illustrates an adaptive mechanism whereby phospholipid synthesis entails a histone modification to reprogram metabolism for adaptation in a eukaryotic model organism.
    Keywords:  CP: Metabolism; CP: Molecular biology; H3K36 methylation; S-adenosylmethionine; cellular metabolism; environmental adaptation; phosphatidylcholine; phosphatidylethanolamine; phospholipid; pyrimidine
  4. Front Med (Lausanne). 2022 ;9 872024
      Metabolic reprogramming is one of the hallmarks of tumorigenesis. Understanding the metabolic changes in cancer cells may provide attractive therapeutic targets and new strategies for cancer therapy. The metabolic states are not the same in different cancer types or subtypes, even within the same sample of solid tumors. In order to understand the heterogeneity of cancer cells, we used the Pareto tasks inference method to analyze the metabolic tasks of different cancers, including breast cancer, lung cancer, digestive organ cancer, digestive tract cancer, and reproductive cancer. We found that cancer subtypes haves different propensities toward metabolic tasks, and the biological significance of these metabolic tasks also varies greatly. Normal cells treat metabolic tasks uniformly, while different cancer cells focus on different pathways. We then integrated the metabolic tasks into the multi-objective genome-scale metabolic network model, which shows higher accuracy in the in silico prediction of cell states after gene knockout than the conventional biomass maximization model. The predicted potential single drug targets could potentially turn into biomarkers or drug design targets. We further implemented the multi-objective genome-scale metabolic network model to predict synthetic lethal target pairs of the Basal and Luminal B subtypes of breast cancer. By analyzing the predicted synthetic lethal targets, we found that mitochondrial enzymes are potential targets for drug combinations. Our study quantitatively analyzes the metabolic tasks of cancer and establishes cancer type-specific metabolic models, which opens a new window for the development of specific anti-cancer drugs and provides promising treatment plans for specific cancer subtypes.
    Keywords:  cancer metabolism; metabolic network; metabolic task; multi-objective; synthetic lethality
  5. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Mar 25. pii: 3574. [Epub ahead of print]23(7):
      Increased expression of transketolase (TKT) and its isoform transketolase-like-1 (TKTL1) has been related to the malignant leukemia phenotype through promoting an increase in the non-oxidative branch of the pentose phosphate pathway (PPP). Recently, it has also been described that TKTL1 can have a role in survival under hypoxic conditions and in the acquisition of radio resistance. However, TKTL1's role in triggering metabolic reprogramming under hypoxia in leukemia cells has never been characterized. Using THP-1 AML cells, and by combining metabolomics and transcriptomics techniques, we characterized the impact of TKTL1 knockdown on the metabolic reprogramming triggered by hypoxia. Results demonstrated that TKTL1 knockdown results in a decrease in TKT, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) and glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) activities and impairs the hypoxia-induced overexpression of G6PD and GAPDH, all having significant impacts on the redox capacity of NADPH- and NADH-related cells. Moreover, TKTL1 knockdown impedes hypoxia-induced transcription of genes encoding key enzymes and transporters involved in glucose, PPP and amino acid metabolism, rendering cells unable to switch to enhanced glycolysis under hypoxia. Altogether, our results show that TKTL1 plays a key role in the metabolic adaptation to hypoxia in THP-1 AML cells through modulation of G6PD and GAPDH activities, both regulating glucose/glutamine consumption and the transcriptomic overexpression of key players of PPP, glucose and amino acids metabolism.
    Keywords:  AML; glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase; glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase; hypoxia; leukemia; metabolism; pentose phosphate pathway; transcriptomics; transketolase-like 1
  6. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Mar 23. pii: 3512. [Epub ahead of print]23(7):
      The field of immunometabolism seeks to decipher the complex interplay between the immune system and the associated metabolic pathways. The role of small molecules that can target specific metabolic pathways and subsequently alter the immune landscape provides a desirable platform for new therapeutic interventions. Immunotherapeutic targeting of suppressive cell populations, such as myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC), by small molecules has shown promise in pathologies such as cancer and support testing of similar host-directed therapeutic approaches in MDSC-inducing conditions such as tuberculosis (TB). MDSC exhibit a remarkable ability to suppress T-cell responses in those with TB disease. In tumors, MDSC exhibit considerable plasticity and can undergo metabolic reprogramming from glycolysis to fatty acid oxidation (FAO) and oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) to facilitate their immunosuppressive functions. In this review we look at the role of MDSC during M. tb infection and how their metabolic reprogramming aids in the exacerbation of active disease and highlight the possible MDSC-targeted metabolic pathways utilized during M. tb infection, suggesting ways to manipulate these cells in search of novel insights for anti-TB therapies.
    Keywords:  MDSC; OXPHOS; glycolysis; immunometabolism; metabolic reprogramming; tuberculosis
  7. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Mar 29. pii: 3745. [Epub ahead of print]23(7):
      Melanoma is characterized by high glucose uptake, partially mediated through elevated pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase (PDK), making PDK a potential treatment target in melanoma. We aimed to reduce glucose uptake in melanoma cell lines through PDK inhibitors dichloroacetate (DCA) and AZD7545 and through PDK knockdown, to inhibit cell growth and potentially unveil metabolic co-vulnerabilities resulting from PDK inhibition. MeWo cells were most sensitive to DCA, while SK-MEL-2 was the least sensitive, with IC50 values ranging from 13.3 to 27.0 mM. DCA strongly reduced PDH phosphorylation and increased the oxygen consumption rate:extracellular acidification rate (OCR:ECAR) ratio up to 6-fold. Knockdown of single PDK isoforms had similar effects on PDH phosphorylation and OCR:ECAR ratio as DCA but did not influence sensitivity to DCA. Growth inhibition by DCA was synergistic with the glutaminase inhibitor CB-839 (2- to 5-fold sensitization) and with diclofenac, known to inhibit monocarboxylate transporters (MCTs) (3- to 8-fold sensitization). CB-839 did not affect the OCR:ECAR response to DCA, whereas diclofenac strongly inhibited ECAR and further increased the OCR:ECAR ratio. We conclude that in melanoma cell lines, DCA reduces proliferation through reprogramming of cellular metabolism and synergizes with other metabolically targeted drugs.
    Keywords:  dichloroacetate; melanoma; metabolic reprogramming; metabolism
  8. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2022 Apr 15. e2200028
      SCOPE: Butyrate (B) is a short-chain fatty acid produced by dietary fiber, known to inhibit histone deacetylases (HDACs) and possess cancer-preventive/anticancer effects. However, the role of B in metabolic rewiring, epigenomic reprogramming, transcriptomic network, NRF2 signaling and eliciting cancer-preventive effects in colorectal cancer (CRC) HCT116 cell remains unclear.METHODS AND RESULTS: Sodium butyrate (NaB) dose-dependently inhibited the growth of CRC HCT116 cells. NaB inhibited NRF2/NRF2-target genes and blocked NRF2-ARE signaling. NaB increased NRF2 negative regulator KEAP1 expression through inhibiting its promoter methylation. Associative analysis of DEGs (differentially expressed genes) from RNA-seq and DMRs (differentially methylated regions) from CpG methyl-seq identified the tumor suppressor gene ABCA1 and tumor promote gene EGR3 were correlated with their promoters' CpG methylation indicating NaB regulates cancer markers through modulating their promoter methylation. NaB activated the mitochondrial tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle while inhibited the methionine metabolism which are both tightly coupled to the epigenetic machinery. NaB regulated the epigenetic enzymes/genes including DNMT1, HAT1, KDM1A, KDM1B and TET1. Altogether, B's regulation of metabolites coupled to the epigenetic enzymes illustrates the potential underlying biological connectivity between metabolomics and epigenomics.
    CONCLUSION: B regulates KEAP1/NRF2 signaling, drives metabolic rewiring, CpG methylomic and transcriptomic reprogramming contributing to the overall cancer-prevention/anticancer effect in the CRC cell model. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Keywords:  colorectal cancer; epigenetic; metabolomics; nuclear factor erythroid-2 like 2 (NRF2); sodium butyrate
  9. Cell Immunol. 2022 Apr 04. pii: S0008-8749(22)00040-5. [Epub ahead of print]375 104516
      Mutations causing loss of the NF-κB regulator IκBNS, result in impaired development of innate-like B cells and defective plasma cell (PC) differentiation. Since productive PC differentiation requires B cell metabolic reprogramming, we sought to investigate processes important for this transition using the bumble mouse strain, deficient for IκBNS. We report that LPS-activated bumble B cells exhibited elevated mTOR activation levels, mitochondrial accumulation, increased OXPHOS and mROS production, along with a reduced capacity for autophagy, compared to wildtype B cells. Overall, our results demonstrate that PC differentiation in the absence of IκBNS is characterized by excessive activation during early rounds of B cell division, increased mitochondrial metabolism and decreased autophagic capacity, thus improving our understanding of the role of IκBNS in PC differentiation.
    Keywords:  B cell activation; IκBNS; Mitochondrial metabolism; Plasma cell differentiation; mTOR
  10. Cancers (Basel). 2022 Apr 06. pii: 1845. [Epub ahead of print]14(7):
      Hyperpolarized magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) is a technology for characterizing tumors in vivo based on their metabolic activities. The conversion rates (kpl) of hyperpolarized [1-13C]pyruvate to [1-13C]lactate depend on monocarboxylate transporters (MCT) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH); these are also indicators of tumor malignancy. An unresolved issue is how glucose and glutamine availability in the tumor microenvironment affects metabolic characteristics of the cancer and how this relates to kpl-values. Two breast cancer cells of different malignancy (MCF-7, MDA-MB-231) were cultured in media containing defined combinations of low glucose (1 mM; 2.5 mM) and glutamine (0.1 mM; 1 mM) and analyzed for pyruvate uptake, intracellular metabolite levels, LDH and pyruvate kinase activities, and 13C6-glucose-derived metabolomics. The results show variability of kpl with the different glucose/glutamine conditions, congruent with glycolytic activity, but not with LDH activity or the Warburg effect; this suggests metabolic compartmentation. Remarkably, kpl-values were almost two-fold higher in MCF-7 than in the more malignant MDA-MB-231 cells, the latter showing a higher flux of 13C-glucose-derived pyruvate to the TCA-cycle metabolites 13C2-citrate and 13C3-malate, i.e., pyruvate decarboxylation and carboxylation, respectively. Thus, MRS with hyperpolarized [1-13C-pyruvate] is sensitive to both the metabolic program and the nutritional state of cancer cells.
    Keywords:  13C-glucose metabolomics; LDH; TCA-cycle; Warburg effect; breast cancer cells; compartmentation; glycolysis; hyperpolarized 13C-pyruvate; nutrient deprivation; pyruvate kinase
  11. EMBO J. 2022 Apr 12. e109390
      Mitophagy removes defective mitochondria via lysosomal elimination. Increased mitophagy coincides with metabolic reprogramming, yet it remains unknown whether mitophagy is a cause or consequence of such state changes. The signalling pathways that integrate with mitophagy to sustain cell and tissue integrity also remain poorly defined. We performed temporal metabolomics on mammalian cells treated with deferiprone, a therapeutic iron chelator that stimulates PINK1/PARKIN-independent mitophagy. Iron depletion profoundly rewired the metabolome, hallmarked by remodelling of lipid metabolism within minutes of treatment. DGAT1-dependent lipid droplet biosynthesis occurred several hours before mitochondrial clearance, with lipid droplets bordering mitochondria upon iron chelation. We demonstrate that DGAT1 inhibition restricts mitophagy in vitro, with impaired lysosomal homeostasis and cell viability. Importantly, genetic depletion of DGAT1 in vivo significantly impaired neuronal mitophagy and locomotor function in Drosophila. Our data define iron depletion as a potent signal that rapidly reshapes metabolism and establishes an unexpected synergy between lipid homeostasis and mitophagy that safeguards cell and tissue integrity.
    Keywords:  DGAT1; iron; lipid droplet; metabolism; mitophagy
  12. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Apr 19. 119(16): e2119168119
      SignificanceThe highly desmoplastic and immunosuppressive microenvironment of pancreatic tumors is a major determinant of the aggressive nature and therapeutic resistance of pancreatic cancer. Therefore, improving our understanding of the mechanisms that regulate the composition and function of the pancreatic tumor microenvironment is critical for the design of intervention strategies for this devastating malignancy. This study identifies a modality for the reprogramming of tumor-associated macrophages involving collagen scavenging followed by a metabolic switch toward a profibrotic paracrine phenotype. These findings establish a molecular framework for the elucidation of regulatory processes that could be harnessed to mitigate the stroma-dependent protumorigenic effects in pancreatic cancer.
    Keywords:  collagen; fibrosis; macrophage; pancreatic cancer; stellate cell
  13. Int J Oncol. 2022 Jun;pii: 67. [Epub ahead of print]60(6):
      Metabolic reprogramming is one of the main characteristics of malignant tumors. The metabolic reprogramming of tumors is not only related to the characteristics of cancer cells, but also closely related to the tumor microenvironment (TME). 'Aerobic glycolysis' is considered to be the classic metabolic mode of tumor cells. However, recent experiments have shown that the TME plays a key role in carcinogenesis and epithelial‑mesenchymal transition. Cancer‑associated fibroblasts (CAFs) dominate in the microenvironment and affect the homeostasis of the TME. The interaction between cancer cells and the surrounding CAFs markedly affects the growth, metabolism, metastasis, and progression of cancer. Based on this, a 'dual‑chamber' model, also known as the 'Reverse Warburg effect', is proposed. Specifically, cancer cells secrete hydrogen peroxide into the TME to induce oxidative stress in neighboring stromal cells. CAFs undergo aerobic glycolysis and produce high levels of energy‑rich 'fuels' (such as pyruvate, ketone bodies, fatty acids, and lactic acid). In turn, these energy‑rich 'fuels' then 'feed' cancer cells. The mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation system produces a large quantity of ATP, such that tumor cells have a higher proliferation ability. The proposed 'Reverse Warburg effect' redefines the tumor cell microenvironment and tumor metabolic reprogramming. Therefore, understanding the 'Reverse Warburg effect' of CAFs and its related mechanisms will help us to understand the association between the microenvironment, the matrix, and cancer cells, and may lead to new treatment strategies and targets.
    Keywords:  Reverse Warburg effect; cancer‑associated fibroblasts; interleukin‑6; reactive oxygen species; signal transduction pathway; transforming growth factor‑β
  14. Nutrients. 2022 Mar 28. pii: 1414. [Epub ahead of print]14(7):
      Lipid metabolism plays an essential role in modulating inflammation within the context of acute and chronic diseases [...].
  15. Open Biol. 2022 Apr;12(4): 220010
      There are many reactive intermediates found in metabolic pathways. Could these potentially toxic molecules be exploited for an organism's benefit? We propose that during certain microbial infections, the production of inherently reactive aldehydes by an infected host is a previously unappreciated innate immune defence mechanism. While there has been a significant focus on the effects of aldehydes on mammalian physiology, the idea that they might be exploited or purposefully induced to kill pathogens is new. Given that aldehydes are made as parts of metabolic programmes that accompany immune cell activation by the cytokine interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) during infections, we hypothesize that aldehydes are among the arsenal of IFN-γ-inducible effectors needed for pathogen control.
    Keywords:  Mycobacterium tuberculosis; aldehydes; innate immunity; interferon-gamma; macrophages; nitric oxide
  16. Stem Cells Int. 2022 ;2022 3490433
      Epigenetic regulation can dynamically adjust the gene expression program of cell fate decision according to the cellular microenvironment. Emerging studies have shown that metabolic activities provide fundamental components for epigenetic modifications and these metabolic-sensitive epigenetic events dramatically impact the cellular function of stem cells. Dental mesenchymal stem cells are promising adult stem cell resource for in situ injury repair and tissue engineering. In this review, we discuss the impact of metabolic fluctuations on epigenetic modifications in the oral and maxillofacial regions. The principles of the metabolic link to epigenetic modifications and the interaction between metabolite substrates and canonical epigenetic events in dental mesenchymal stem cells are summarized. The coordination between metabolic pathways and epigenetic events plays an important role in cellular progresses including differentiation, inflammatory responses, and aging. The metabolic-epigenetic network is critical for expanding our current understanding of tissue homeostasis and cell fate decision and for guiding potential therapeutic approaches in dental regeneration and infectious diseases.
  17. Toxicol In Vitro. 2022 Apr 12. pii: S0887-2333(22)00054-6. [Epub ahead of print] 105357
      Gastric cancer (GC) is among the deadliest cancers worldwide despite available therapies, highlighting the need for novel therapies and pharmacological agents. Metabolic deregulation is a potential study area for new anticancer targets, but the in vitro metabolic studies are controversial, as different ranges of glucose used in the culture medium can influence results. In this study, we evaluated cellular viability, glucose uptake, and LDH activity in gastric cell lines when exposed to different glucose concentrations: high (HG, 25 mM), low (LG, 5.5 mM), and free (FG, 0 mM) glucose mediums. Moreover, we evaluated how glucose variations may influence cellular phenotype and the expression of genes related to epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), metabolism, and cancer development in metastatic GC cells (AGP-01). Results showed that in the FG metastatic cells evidenced higher viability when compared with other cell lines and that when exposed to either LG or HG mediums most of the phenotypic assays did not differ. However, cells exposed to LG increased colony formation and mRNA levels of metabolic-related genes when compared to HG medium. Our results recommend LG medium to metabolic studies once glucose concentration is closer to physiological levels. These findings are important to point out new relevant targets in metabolic reprogramming that can be alternatives to current chemotherapies in patients with metastatic GC.
    Keywords:  Aerobic pathways; Cancer microenvironment; Gastric cancer; Glucose deprivation; Metabolism reprogramming
  18. Am J Cancer Res. 2022 ;12(3): 1372-1392
      The disruption of tumour cell metabolism can inhibit tumour metastasis, indicating that aerobic glycolysis is central to tumour development. However, the key factors responsible for mediating aerobic glycolysis in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remain unknown. Here, we observed that RBCK1 expression was significantly upregulated in HCC tissues. Our clinical study revealed that high RBCK1 expression is significantly correlated with poor tumour survival and distant invasion. Functional assays revealed that RBCK1 promotes migration and invasion by enhancing GLUT1-mediated aerobic glycolysis. Furthermore, RBCK1-induced HCC cell migration and aerobic glycolysis via activation of WNT/β-catenin/GLUT1 pathway, which was dependent on the destruction of the PPARγ/PGC1α complex. Mechanistically, RBCK1 promotes PPARγ ubiquitination and degradation, and RBCK1 overexpression enhances the transcriptional activity of WNT/β-catenin, thus to upregulate the expression of GLUT1-mediated aerobic glycolysis in HCC cells. Altogether, our findings identify a mechanism used by HCC cells to survive the nutrient-poor tumour microenvironment and provide insight into the role of RBCK1 in HCC cellular adaptation to metabolic stresses.
    Keywords:  GLUT1; Hepatocellular carcinoma; PPARγ/PGC1α complex; RBCK; metastasis and invasion
  19. Cancer Metastasis Rev. 2022 Apr 14.
      Reprogrammed metabolism and high energy demand are well-established properties of cancer cells that enable tumor growth. Glycolysis is a primary metabolic pathway that supplies this increased energy demand, leading to a high rate of glycolytic flux and a greater dependence on glucose in tumor cells. Finding safe and effective means to control glycolytic flux and curb cancer cell proliferation has gained increasing interest in recent years. A critical step in glycolysis is controlled by the enzyme 6-phosphofructo-2-kinase/fructose-2,6-biphosphatase 3 (PFKFB3), which converts fructose 6-phosphate (F6P) to fructose 2,6-bisphosphate (F2,6BP). F2,6BP allosterically activates the rate-limiting step of glycolysis catalyzed by PFK1 enzyme. PFKFB3 is often overexpressed in many human cancers including pancreatic, colon, prostate, and breast cancer. Hence, PFKFB3 has gained increased interest as a compelling therapeutic target. In this review, we summarize and discuss the current knowledge of PFKFB3 functions, its role in cellular pathways and cancer development, its transcriptional and post-translational activity regulation, and the multiple pharmacologic inhibitors that have been used to block PFKFB3 activity in cancer cells. While much remains to be learned, PFKFB3 continues to hold great promise as an important therapeutic target either as a single agent or in combination with current interventions for breast and other cancers.
    Keywords:  Aerobic glycolysis; Cancer; Glucose metabolism; PFKFB3; Phosphofructo-2-kinase/fructose-2,6-biphosphatase
  20. J Vis Exp. 2022 Mar 23.
      Mitochondria host the machinery for the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle and electron transport chain (ETC), which generate adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to maintain energy homeostasis. Glucose, fatty acids, and amino acids are the major energy substrates fueling mitochondrial respiration in most somatic cells. Evidence shows that different cell types may have a distinct preference for certain substrates. However, substrate utilization by various cells in the skeleton has not been studied in detail. Moreover, as cellular metabolism is attuned to physiological and pathophysiological changes, direct assessments of substrate dependence in skeletal cells may provide important insights into the pathogenesis of bone diseases. The following protocol is based on the principle of carbon dioxide release from substrate molecules following oxidative phosphorylation. By using substrates containing radioactively labeled carbon atoms (14C), the method provides a sensitive and easy-to-use assay for the rate of substrate oxidation in cell culture. A case study with primary calvarial preosteoblasts versus bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMMs) demonstrates different utilization of the main substrates between the two cell types.
  21. Cells. 2022 Mar 31. pii: 1177. [Epub ahead of print]11(7):
      The oncogenic expression or mutation of tumor suppressors drives metabolic alteration, causing cancer cells to utilize diverse nutrients. Lactate is a known substrate for cancer cells, yet the regulatory mechanisms of lactate catabolism are limited. Here, we show that a heme-binding transcription factor, BACH1, negatively regulates lactate catabolic pathways in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) cells. BACH1 suppresses the transcriptional expression of monocarboxylate transporter 1 (MCT1) and lactate dehydrogenase B, inhibiting lactate-mediated mitochondrial metabolism. In our studies, the depletion of BACH1 either genetically or pharmacologically increased the lactate use of TNBC cells, increasing their sensitivity to MCT1 inhibition. Thus, small inhibitory molecules (SR13800 and AZD3965) blocking MCT1 better suppressed the growth of BACH1-depleted TNBC cells than did the controls. Particularly, hemin treatment degrading BACH1 proteins induced lactate catabolism in TNBC cells, generating synthetic lethality with MCT1 inhibition. Our data indicates that targeting BACH1 generates metabolic vulnerability and increases sensitivity to lactate transporter inhibition, suggesting a potential novel combination therapy for cancer patients with TNBC.
    Keywords:  BACH1; lactate catabolism; lactate transporter; novel combination therapy targeting BACH1 and MCT1; triple-negative breast cancer
  22. Comp Med. 2022 Apr 11.
      Altered energy metabolism (glucose, lipid, amino acid) is a hallmark of cancer growth that provides the theoretical basis for the development of metabolic therapies as cancer treatments. ATP is one of the major biochemical constituents of the tumor microenvironment. ATP promotes tumor progression or suppression depending on various factors, including concentration and tumor type. Here we evaluated the antitumor effect of extracellular ATP on melanoma and the potential underlying mechanisms. A subcutaneous tumor model in mice was used to investigate the antitumor effects of ATP. Major lymphocyte cell changes and intratumoral metabolic changes were assessed. Metabolomic analysis (1H nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy) was performed on tumor samples. We measured the activities of lactate dehydrogenase A (LDHA) and LDHB in the excised tumors and serum and found that ATP and its metabolites affected the proliferation of and LDHA activity in B16F10 cells, a murine melanoma cell line. In addition, treatment with ATP dose-dependently reduced tumor size in melanoma-bearing mice. Moreover, flow cytometry analysis demonstrated that the antitumor effect of ATP was not achieved through changes in T-cell or B-cell subsets. Metabolomics analysis revealed that ATP treatment simultaneously reduced multiple intratumoral metabolites related to energy metabolism as well as serum and tumor LDHA activities. Furthermore, both ATP and its metabolites significantly suppressed both tumor cell proliferation and LDHA activity in the melanoma cell line. Our results in vivo and in vitro indicate that exogenous ATP inhibits melanoma growth in association with altered intratumoral metabolism.
  23. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Mar 26. pii: 3652. [Epub ahead of print]23(7):
      Recent mouse model experiments support an instrumental role for senescent cells in age-related diseases and senescent cells may be causal to certain age-related pathologies. A strongly supported hypothesis is that extranuclear chromatin is recognized by the cyclic GMP-AMP synthase-stimulator of interferon genes pathway, which in turn leads to the induction of several inflammatory cytokines as part of the senescence-associated secretory phenotype. This sterile inflammation increases with chronological age and age-associated disease. More recently, several intracellular and extracellular metabolic changes have been described in senescent cells but it is not clear whether any of them have functional significance. In this review, we highlight the potential effect of dietary and age-related metabolites in the modulation of the senescent phenotype in addition to discussing how experimental conditions may influence senescent cell metabolism, especially that of energy regulation. Finally, as extracellular citrate accumulates following certain types of senescence, we focus on the recently reported role of extracellular citrate in aging and age-related pathologies. We propose that citrate may be an active component of the senescence-associated secretory phenotype and via its intake through the diet may even contribute to the cause of age-related disease.
    Keywords:  ageing; cancer; citrate; energy; metabolism; senescence; telomere; transport
  24. Clin Cancer Res. 2022 Apr 14. pii: clincanres.0470.2022. [Epub ahead of print]
      PURPOSE: To investigate the metabolism of SS and elucidate the effect of malic enzyme 1 absence on SS redox homeostasis.EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: ME1 expression was measured in SS clinical samples, SS cell lines, and tumors from a SS mouse model. The effect of ME1 absence on glucose metabolism was evaluated utilizing Seahorse assays, metabolomics, and C13tracings. The impact of ME1 absence on SS redox homeostasis was evaluated by metabolomics, cell death assays with inhibitors of antioxidant systems, and measurements intracellular ROS. The susceptibility of ME1 null SS to ferroptosis induction was interrogated in in vitro and in vivo.
    RESULTS: ME1 absence in SS was confirmed in clinical samples, SS cell lines, and a SS tumor model. Investigation of SS glucose metabolism revealed that ME1 null cells exhibit higher rates of glycolysis and higher flux of glucose into the pentose phosphate pathway (PPP), which is necessary to produce NADPH. Evaluation of cellular redox homeostasis demonstrated that ME1 absence shifts dependence from the glutathione system to the thioredoxin system. Concomitantly, ME1 absence drives the accumulation of ROS and labile iron. ROS and iron accumulation enhances the susceptibility of ME1 null cells to ferroptosis induction with inhibitors of xCT (erastin and ACXT-3102). In vivo xenograft models of ME1 null SS demonstrate significantly increased tumor response to ACX`T-3102 compared to ME1 expressing controls.
    CONCLUSIONS: These findings demonstrate the translational potential of targeting redox homeostasis in ME1 null cancers, and establish the preclinical rational for a phase 1 trial of ACXT-3102 in synovial sarcoma patients.
  25. Int J Biol Sci. 2022 ;18(6): 2304-2316
      Background: Acidic microenvironment is a common physiological phenomenon in tumors, and is closely related to cancer development, but the effects of acidosis on pancreatic adenocarcinoma (PDAC) remains to be elucidated. Methods: Metabonomic assay and transcriptomic microarray were used to detect the changes of metabolites and gene expression profile respectively in acidosis-adapted PDAC cells. Wound healing, transwell and in vivo assay were applied to evaluate cell migration and invasion capacity. CCK8 and colony formation assays were performed to determine cell proliferation. Results: The acidosis-adapted PDAC cells had stronger metastasis and proliferation ability compared with the control cells. Metabonomic analysis showed that acidosis-adapted PDAC cells had both increased glucose and decreased glycolysis, implying a shift to pentose phosphate pathway. The metabolic shift further led to the inactivation of AMPK by elevating ATP. Transcriptomic analysis revealed that the differentially expressed genes in acidosis-adapted cells were enriched in extracellular matrix modification and Hippo signaling. Besides, MMP1 was the most upregulated gene in acidosis-adapted cells, mediated by the YAP/TAZ pathway, but could be reduced by AMPK activator. Conclusion: The present study showed that metabolic reprogramming promotes proliferation and metastasis of acidosis-adapted PDAC cells by inhibiting AMPK/Hippo signaling, thus upregulating MMP1.
    Keywords:  AMPK; Acidic microenvironment; Hippo signaling; MMP1; Metastasis; PDAC
  26. J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2022 Apr 15. 41(1): 144
      Metabolites are intermediate products of cellular metabolism catalysed by various enzymes. Metabolic remodelling, as a biochemical fingerprint of cancer cells, causes abnormal metabolite accumulation. These metabolites mainly generate energy or serve as signal transduction mediators via noncovalent interactions. After the development of highly sensitive mass spectrometry technology, various metabolites were shown to covalently modify proteins via forms of lysine acylation, including lysine acetylation, crotonylation, lactylation, succinylation, propionylation, butyrylation, malonylation, glutarylation, 2-hydroxyisobutyrylation and β-hydroxybutyrylation. These modifications can regulate gene expression and intracellular signalling pathways, highlighting the extensive roles of metabolites. Lysine acetylation is not discussed in detail in this review since it has been broadly investigated. We focus on the nine aforementioned novel lysine acylations beyond acetylation, which can be classified into two categories: histone acylations and nonhistone acylations. We summarize the characteristics and common functions of these acylation types and, most importantly, provide a glimpse into their fine-tuned control of tumorigenesis and potential value in tumour diagnosis, monitoring and therapy.
    Keywords:  Epigenetic modification; Lysine acylation; Metabolites; Tumour
  27. Sci Rep. 2022 Apr 15. 12(1): 6261
      Metabolic reprogramming is a malignant phenotype of cancer. Cancer cells utilize glycolysis to fuel rapid proliferation even in the presence of oxygen, and elevated glycolysis is coupled to lactate fermentation in the cancer microenvironment. Although lactate has been recognized as a metabolic waste product, it has become evident that lactate functions as not only an energy source but a signaling molecule through the lactate receptor G-protein-coupled receptor 81 (GPR81) under physiological conditions. However, the pathological role of GPR81 in cancer remains unclear. Here, we show that GPR81 regulates the malignant phenotype of breast cancer cell by reprogramming energy metabolism. We found that GPR81 is highly expressed in breast cancer cell lines but not in normal breast epithelial cells. Knockdown of GPR81 decreased breast cancer cell proliferation, and tumor growth. Mechanistically, glycolysis and lactate-dependent ATP production were impaired in GPR81-silenced breast cancer cells. RNA sequencing accompanied by Gene Ontology enrichment analysis further demonstrated a significant decrease in genes associated with cell motility and silencing of GPR81 suppressed cell migration and invasion. Notably, histological examination showed strong expression of GPR81 in clinical samples of human breast cancer. Collectively, our findings suggest that GPR81 is critical for malignancy of breast cancer and may be a potential novel therapeutic target for breast carcinoma.
  28. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2022 Apr 07. pii: S0003-9861(22)00084-4. [Epub ahead of print] 109199
      The tumor microenvironment (TME) promotes the malignant transformation of cancer cells, mainly through metabolic reprogramming. As one of the most prominent features of the TME, hypoxia contributes to cancer cell death resistance, invasion, metastasis, and therapy-resistant phenotypes. As an important cofactor for various enzymes, iron is essential for ATP generation, antioxidant protein function, and DNA-damage repair in hypoxic cancer cells. Iron metabolism, as a promoter of aggressive hypoxic cancer cell biology, has attracted an increasing amount of attention. Iron utilization, storage, and efflux are enhanced in hypoxic cancer cells, which further contributes to cancer cell proliferation, metastasis, ferroptosis resistance, and immune escape. This review describes the relationship between iron metabolism and proliferation, metastasis, and ferroptosis of hypoxic cancer cells, as well as several iron-targeted cancer therapy strategies. Understanding the hypoxia-specific regulatory mechanism of iron metabolism could aid the development of targeted therapy against refractory hypoxic cancer cells.
    Keywords:  Ferroptosis; Hypoxia; Iron metabolism; Metabolic reprogramming; The tumor microenvironment
  29. Bioact Mater. 2022 Dec;18 492-506
      Understanding mechanisms underlying the heterogeneity of multipotent stem cells offers invaluable insights into biogenesis and tissue development. Extracellular matrix (ECM) stiffness has been acknowledged as a crucial factor regulating stem cell fate. However, how cells sense stiffness cues and adapt their metabolism activity is still unknown. Here we report the novel role of mitochondrial phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PCK2) in enhancing osteogenesis in 3D ECM via glycolysis. We experimentally mimicked the physical characteristics of 3D trabeculae network of normal and osteoporotic bone with different microstructure and stiffness, observing that PCK2 promotes osteogenesis in 3D ECM with tunable stiffness in vitro and in vivo. Mechanistically, PCK2 enhances the rate-limiting metabolic enzyme pallet isoform phosphofructokinase (PFKP) in 3D ECM, and further activates AKT/extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) cascades, which directly regulates osteogenic differentiation of MSCs. Collectively, our findings implicate an intricate crosstalk between cell mechanics and metabolism, and provide new perspectives for strategies of osteoporosis.
    Keywords:  Extracellular matrix; Mesenchymal stem cells; Osteogenesis; Osteoporosis; PCK2; Stiffness
  30. J Biol Chem. 2022 Apr 06. pii: S0021-9258(22)00337-4. [Epub ahead of print] 101897
      In the glucose-rich milieu of red blood cells, asexually-replicating malaria parasites mainly rely on glycolysis for ATP production, with limited carbon flux through the mitochondrial tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle. By contrast, gametocytes and mosquito-stage parasites exhibit an increased dependence on the TCA cycle and oxidative phosphorylation for more economical energy generation. Prior genetic studies supported these stage-specific metabolic preferences by revealing that six out of eight TCA cycle enzymes are completely dispensable during the asexual blood stages of P. falciparum, with only fumarate hydratase (FH) and malate-quinone oxidoreductase (MQO) being refractory to deletion. Several hypotheses have been put forth to explain the possible essentiality of FH and MQO, including their participation in a malate shuttle between the mitochondrial matrix and the cytosol. However, using newer genetic techniques like CRISPR and DiCre, we were able to generate deletion strains of FH and MQO in P. falciparum. We employed metabolomic analyses to characterize a double knockout mutant of FH and MQO (ΔFM) and identified changes in purine salvage and urea cycle metabolism that may help to limit fumarate accumulation. Correspondingly, we found that the ΔFM mutant was more sensitive to exogenous fumarate, which is known to cause toxicity by modifying and inactivating proteins and metabolites. Overall, our data indicate that P. falciparum is able to adequately compensate for the loss of FH and MQO, rendering them unsuitable targets for drug development.
    Keywords:  DiCre; Malaria; Metabolomics; Plasmodium falciparum; apartate shuttle; mitochondrion; oxaloacetate; tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle
  31. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Mar 29. pii: 3785. [Epub ahead of print]23(7):
      The brain is one of the most energy-consuming organs in the body. Satisfying such energy demand requires compartmentalized, cell-specific metabolic processes, known to be complementary and intimately coupled. Thus, the brain relies on thoroughly orchestrated energy-obtaining agents, processes and molecular features, such as the neurovascular unit, the astrocyte-neuron metabolic coupling, and the cellular distribution of energy substrate transporters. Importantly, early features of the aging process are determined by the progressive perturbation of certain processes responsible for adequate brain energy supply, resulting in brain hypometabolism. These age-related brain energy alterations are further worsened during the prodromal stages of neurodegenerative diseases, namely Alzheimer's disease (AD), preceding the onset of clinical symptoms, and are anatomically and functionally associated with the loss of cognitive abilities. Here, we focus on concrete neuroenergetic features such as the brain's fueling by glucose and lactate, the transporters and vascular system guaranteeing its supply, and the metabolic interactions between astrocytes and neurons, and on its neurodegenerative-related disruption. We sought to review the principles underlying the metabolic dimension of healthy and AD brains, and suggest that the integration of these concepts in the preventive, diagnostic and treatment strategies for AD is key to improving the precision of these interventions.
    Keywords:  GLUTs; astrocyte; astrocyte–neuron lactate shuttle (ANLS); glucose; hypometabolism; lactate; neurodegeneration
  32. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2022 ;13 865655
      Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is one of the most malignant cancers. It is characterized by stromal richness, lack of blood supply and special metabolic reprogramming in the tumor microenvironment, which is difficult to treat and easy to metastase. Great efforts have been made to develop new drugs which can pass through the stroma and are more effective than traditional chemotherapeutics, such as ferroptosis inducers-Erastin and RSL-3. As current anti-angiogenic therapy drugs alone are suboptimal for PDAC, novel vascular disruption agents in combination with ferroptosis inducers might provide a possible solution. Here, we designed human platelet vesicles (PVs) to camouflage RSL-3 to enhance drug uptake rate by tumor cells and circulation time in vivo, deteriorating the tumor vessels and resulting in tumor embolism to cut the nutrient supply as well as causing cell death due to excessive lipid peroxidation. The RSL-3@PVs can also cause the classic ferroptosis-related change of mitochondrial morphology, with changes in cellular redox levels. Besides that, RSL-3@PVs has been proved to have great biological safety profile in vitro and in vivo. This study demonstrates the promising potential of integrating PVs and RSL-3 as a combination therapy for improving the outcome of PDAC.
    Keywords:  RSL-3; anti-angiogenic; ferroptosis; pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma; platelet vesicles
  33. Cancer Discov. 2022 Apr 12. pii: candisc.1022.2021. [Epub ahead of print]
      The overall response rate for anti-PD-1 therapy remains modest in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We found that a combination of interferon alpha (IFN-a) and anti-PD-1-based immunotherapy resulted in enhanced antitumor activity in unresectable HCC patients. In both immunocompetent orthotopic and spontaneous HCC models, IFN-a therapy synergized with anti-PD-1 and the combination treatment led to significant enrichment of cytotoxic CD27+ CD8+ T cells. Mechanistically, IFN-a suppressed HIF1a signaling by inhibiting FosB transcription in HCC cells, resulting in reduced glucose consumption capacity and consequentially establishing the high-glucose microenvironment that fostered transcription of the T cell costimulatory molecule Cd27 via mTOR-FOXM1 signaling in infiltrating CD8+ T cells. Together, these data reveal that IFN-a reprograms glucose metabolism within HCC tumor microenvironment, thereby liberating T cell cytotoxic capacities and potentiating the PD-1 blockade-induced immune response. Our findings suggest that IFN-a and anti-PD-1 cotreatment is an effective novel combination strategy for HCC patients.
  34. Horm Metab Res. 2022 Apr;54(4): 203-211
      Fibroblast growth factor (FGF) 21 is a recently recognized metabolic regulator that evokes interest due to its beneficial action of maintaining whole-body energy balance and protecting the liver from excessive triglyceride production and storage. Together with FGF19 and FGF23, FGF21 belongs to the FGF family with hormone-like activity. Serum FGF21 is generated primarily in the liver under nutritional stress stimuli like prolonged fasting or the lipotoxic diet, but also during increased mitochondrial and endoplasmic reticulum stress. FGF21 exerts its endocrine action in the central nervous system and adipose tissue. Acting in the ventromedial hypothalamus, FGF21 diminishes simple sugar intake. In adipose tissue, FGF21 promotes glucose utilization and increases energy expenditure by enhancing adipose tissue insulin sensitivity and brown adipose tissue thermogenesis. Therefore, FGF21 favors glucose consumption for heat production instead of energy storage. Furthermore, FGF21 specifically acts in the liver, where it protects hepatocytes from metabolic stress caused by lipid overload. FGF21 stimulates hepatic fatty acid oxidation and reduces lipid flux into the liver by increasing peripheral lipoprotein catabolism and reducing adipocyte lipolysis. Paradoxically, and despite its beneficial action, FGF21 is elevated in insulin resistance states, that is, fatty liver, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
  35. Cell Death Dis. 2022 Apr 11. 13(4): 331
      As the first rate-limiting enzyme in fatty acid oxidation (FAO), CPT1 plays a significant role in metabolic adaptation in cancer pathogenesis. FAO provides an alternative energy supply for cancer cells and is required for cancer cell survival. Given the high proliferation rate of cancer cells, nucleotide synthesis gains prominence in rapidly proliferating cells. In the present study, we found that CPT1A is a determining factor for the abnormal activation of FAO in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) cells. CPT1A is highly expressed in NPC cells and biopsies. CPT1A dramatically affects the malignant phenotypes in NPC, including proliferation, anchorage-independent growth, and tumor formation ability in nude mice. Moreover, an increased level of CPT1A promotes core metabolic pathways to generate ATP, inducing equivalents and the main precursors for nucleotide biosynthesis. Knockdown of CPT1A markedly lowers the fraction of 13C-palmitate-derived carbons into pyrimidine. Periodic activation of CPT1A increases the content of nucleoside metabolic intermediates promoting cell cycle progression in NPC cells. Targeting CPT1A-mediated FAO hinders the cell cycle G1/S transition. Our work verified that CPT1A links FAO to cell cycle progression in NPC cellular proliferation, which supplements additional experimental evidence for developing a therapeutic mechanism based on manipulating lipid metabolism.
  36. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Mar 26. pii: 3650. [Epub ahead of print]23(7):
      Given the popularity of ketogenic diets, their potential long-term consequences deserve to be more carefully monitored. Mitochondrially derived formate has a critical role in mammalian one-carbon (1C) metabolism and development. The glycine cleavage system (GCS) accounts for another substantial source for mitochondrially derived 1C units.OBJECTIVE: We investigated how the ketogenic state modulates mitochondrial formate generation and partitioning of 1C metabolic fluxes.
    DESIGN: HepG2 cells treated with physiological doses (1 mM and 10 mM) of β-hydroxybutyrate (βHB) were utilized as the in vitro ketogenic model. Eight-week male C57BL/6JNarl mice received either a medium-chain fatty-acid-enriched ketogenic diet (MCT-KD) or a control diet AIN 93M for 8 weeks. Stable isotopic labeling experiments were conducted.
    RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: MCT-KD is effective in weight and fat loss. Deoxythymidine (dTMP) synthesis from the mitochondrial GCS-derived formate was significantly suppressed by βHB and consumption of MCT-KD. Consistently, plasma formate concentrations, as well as the metabolic fluxes from serine and glycine, were suppressed by MCT-KD. MCT-KD also decreased the fractional contribution of mitochondrially derived formate in methionine synthesis from serine. With the worldwide application, people and medical professionals should be more aware of the potential metabolic perturbations when practicing a long-term ketogenic diet.
    Keywords:  glycine cleavage system; ketogenic diet; medium-chain triglycerides; mitochondrial formate production; one-carbon metabolism; stable isotopic labeling experiments
  37. Science. 2022 Apr 15. 376(6590): eabh1623
      Human cells produce thousands of lipids that change during cell differentiation and can vary across individual cells of the same type. However, we are only starting to characterize the function of these cell-to-cell differences in lipid composition. Here, we measured the lipidomes and transcriptomes of individual human dermal fibroblasts by coupling high-resolution mass spectrometry imaging with single-cell transcriptomics. We found that the cell-to-cell variations of specific lipid metabolic pathways contribute to the establishment of cell states involved in the organization of skin architecture. Sphingolipid composition is shown to define fibroblast subpopulations, with sphingolipid metabolic rewiring driving cell-state transitions. Therefore, cell-to-cell lipid heterogeneity affects the determination of cell states, adding a new regulatory component to the self-organization of multicellular systems.
  38. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2022 ;13 858012
      Diabetic retinopathy is one of the serious complications of diabetes, which the leading causes of blindness worldwide, and its irreversibility renders the existing treatment methods unsatisfactory. Early detection and timely intervention can effectively reduce the damage caused by diabetic retinopathy. Metabolomics is a branch of systems biology and a powerful tool for studying pathophysiological processes, which can help identify the characteristic metabolic changes marking the progression of diabetic retinopathy, discover potential biomarkers to inform clinical diagnosis and treatment. This review provides an update on the known metabolomics biomarkers of diabetic retinopathy. Through comprehensive analysis of biomarkers, we found that the arginine biosynthesis is closely related to diabetic retinopathy. Meanwhile, creatine, a metabolite with arginine as a precursor, has attracted our attention due to its important correlation with diabetic retinopathy. We discuss the possibility of the arginine-creatine metabolic pathway as a therapeutic strategy for diabetic retinopathy.
    Keywords:  arginine; biomarker; creatine; diabetic retinopathy; mechanism; metabolomics
  39. PLoS One. 2022 ;17(4): e0266783
      Metabolic pathway design is an essential step in the course of constructing an efficient microbial cell factory to produce high value-added chemicals. Meanwhile, the computational design of biologically meaningful metabolic pathways has been attracting much attention to produce natural and non-natural products. However, there has been a lack of effective methods to perform metabolic network reduction automatically. In addition, comprehensive evaluation indexes for metabolic pathway are still relatively scarce. Here, we define a novel uniform similarity to calculate the main substrate-product pairs of known biochemical reactions, and develop further an efficient metabolic pathway design tool named PyMiner. As a result, the redundant information of general metabolic network (GMN) is eliminated, and the number of substrate-product pairs is shown to decrease by 81.62% on average. Considering that the nodes in the extracted metabolic network (EMN) constructed in this work is large in scale but imbalanced in distribution, we establish a conditional search strategy (CSS) that cuts search time in 90.6% cases. Compared with state-of-the-art methods, PyMiner shows obvious advantages and demonstrates equivalent or better performance on 95% cases of experimentally verified pathways. Consequently, PyMiner is a practical and effective tool for metabolic pathway design.
  40. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Mar 29. pii: 3740. [Epub ahead of print]23(7):
      Sirtuin-3 (Sirt3) is a major mitochondrial deacetylase enzyme that regulates multiple metabolic pathways, and its expression is decreased in diabetes type 1 and type 2 diabetes. This study aimed to elucidate Sirt3's molecular mechanism in regulating insulin sensitivity in adipocytes that can contribute to the effort of targeting Sirt3 for the treatment of obesity and type 2 diabetes. We found that the Sirt3 activator honokiol (HNK) induced adipogenesis compared to the control, in contrast to Sirt3 inhibitor, 3-TYP. Accordingly, HNK increased expression of adipocyte gene markers, gene-involved lipolysis and glucose transport (GLUT4), while 3-TYP reduced expression of those genes. Interestingly, 3-TYP caused an increase in gene expression of adipocyte-specific cytokines including IL6, resistin, and TNF-α. However, changes in adipocyte-specific cytokines in HNK treated cells were not significant. In addition, HNK stimulated insulin pathway by promoting insulin receptor beta (IRβ) and PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathways, resulting in an increase in phosphorylation of the forkhead family FoxO1/FoxO3a/FoxO4 and glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3β), opposing 3-TYP. In line with these findings, HNK increased free fatty acid and glucose uptake, contrary to 3-TYP. In conclusion, Sirt3 activator-HNK induced adipogenesis and lipolysis reduced adipocytes specific cytokines. Intriguingly, HNK activated insulin signaling pathway and increased free fatty acid as well as glucose uptake and transport, in sharp contrast to 3-TYP. These results indicate that, via insulin signaling regulation, Sirt3 activation by HNK improves insulin resistance, while Sirt3 inhibition by 3-TYP might precipitate insulin resistance.
    Keywords:  3-TYP; PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling pathway; Sirt3; Sirt3 activator; Sirt3 inhibitor; adipocytes; honokiol; insulin pathway; insulin/IGF-1 (Insulin-like Growth Factor-1) signaling pathway; mitochondrial sirtuins
  41. Cells. 2022 Mar 29. pii: 1157. [Epub ahead of print]11(7):
      Melanoma cells are notorious for their high plasticity and ability to switch back and forth between various melanoma cell states, enabling the adaptation to sub-optimal conditions and therapeutics. This phenotypic plasticity, which has gained more attention in cancer research, is proposed as a new paradigm for melanoma progression. In this review, we provide a detailed and deep comprehensive recapitulation of the complex spectrum of phenotype switching in melanoma, the key regulator factors, the various and new melanoma states, and corresponding signatures. We also present an extensive description of the role of epigenetic modifications (chromatin remodeling, methylation, and activities of long non-coding RNAs/miRNAs) and metabolic rewiring in the dynamic switch. Furthermore, we elucidate the main role of the crosstalk between the tumor microenvironment (TME) and oxidative stress in the regulation of the phenotype switching. Finally, we discuss in detail several rational therapeutic approaches, such as exploiting phenotype-specific and metabolic vulnerabilities and targeting components and signals of the TME, to improve the response of melanoma patients to treatments.
    Keywords:  melanoma; metabolic reprogramming; oxidative stress; phenotype switching; therapeutic strategies; tumor microenvironment
  42. Cancers (Basel). 2022 Apr 05. pii: 1830. [Epub ahead of print]14(7):
      The cancer state is thought to be maintained by genetic and epigenetic changes that drive a cancer-promoting gene expression program. However, recent results show that cellular states can be also stably maintained by the reorganization of cell structure leading to the formation of biological condensates via the process of liquid-liquid phase separation. Here, we review the data showing cancer-specific biological condensates initiated by mutant oncoproteins, RNA-binding proteins, or lincRNAs that regulate oncogenic gene expression programs and cancer metabolism. Effective anticancer drugs may specifically partition into oncogenic biological condensates (OBC).
    Keywords:  biomolecular condensates; liquid-liquid phase separation; metabolon
  43. Front Nutr. 2022 ;9 861664
      Palmitic acid (PA) is ubiquitously present in dietary fat guaranteeing an average intake of about 20 g/d. The relative high requirement and relative content in the human body, which accounts for 20-30% of total fatty acids (FAs), is justified by its relevant nutritional role. In particular physiological conditions, such as in the fetal stage or in the developing brain, the respectively inefficient placental and brain blood-barrier transfer of PA strongly induces its endogenous biosynthesis from glucose via de novo lipogenesis (DNL) to secure a tight homeostatic control of PA tissue concentration required to exert its multiple physiological activities. However, pathophysiological conditions (insulin resistance) are characterized by a sustained DNL in the liver and aimed at preventing the excess accumulation of glucose, which result in increased tissue content of PA and disrupted homeostatic control of its tissue concentration. This leads to an overaccumulation of tissue PA, which results in dyslipidemia, increased ectopic fat accumulation, and inflammatory tone via toll-like receptor 4. Any change in dietary saturated FAs (SFAs) usually reflects a complementary change in polyunsaturated FA (PUFA) intake. Since PUFA particularly n-3 highly PUFA, suppress lipogenic gene expression, their reduction in intake rather than excess of dietary SFA may promote endogenous PA production via DNL. Thereby, the increase in tissue PA and its deleterious consequences from dysregulated DNL can be mistakenly attributed to dietary intake of PA.
    Keywords:  de novo lipogenesis; dietary fatty acids; fatty acid metabolism; palmitic acid; saturated/unsaturated ratio
  44. Nutrients. 2022 Mar 22. pii: 1319. [Epub ahead of print]14(7):
      Lipids are increasingly recognized as bioactive mediators of extracellular vesicle (EV) functions. However, while EV proteins and nucleic acids are well described, EV lipids are insufficiently understood due to lack of adequate quantitative methods. We adapted an established targeted and quantitative mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) method originally developed for analysis of 94 eicosanoids and seven polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) in human plasma. Additionally, the influence of freeze-thaw (FT) cycles, injection volume, and extraction solvent were investigated. The modified protocol was applied to lipidomic analysis of differently polarized macrophage-derived EVs. We successfully quantified three PUFAs and eight eicosanoids within EVs. Lipid extraction showed reproducible PUFA and eicosanoid patterns. We found a particularly high impact of FT cycles on EV lipid profiles, with significant reductions of up to 70%. Thus, repeated FT will markedly influence analytical results and may alter EV functions, emphasizing the importance of a standardized sample pretreatment protocol for the analysis of bioactive lipids in EVs. EV lipid profiles differed largely depending on the polarization of the originating macrophages. Particularly, we observed major changes in the arachidonic acid pathway. We emphasize the importance of a standardized sample pretreatment protocol for the analysis of bioactive lipids in EVs.
    Keywords:  eicosanoids; extracellular vesicles; pre-analytics; quantitative lipidomics
  45. Cancers (Basel). 2022 Mar 27. pii: 1702. [Epub ahead of print]14(7):
      Due to advances in the detection and management of prostate cancer over the past 20 years, most cases of localised disease are now potentially curable by surgery or radiotherapy, or amenable to active surveillance without treatment. However, this has given rise to a new dilemma for disease management; the inability to distinguish indolent from lethal, aggressive forms of prostate cancer, leading to substantial overtreatment of some patients and delayed intervention for others. Driving this uncertainty is the critical deficit of novel targets for systemic therapy and of validated biomarkers that can inform treatment decision-making and to select and monitor therapy. In part, this lack of progress reflects the inherent challenge of undertaking target and biomarker discovery in clinical prostate tumours, which are cellularly heterogeneous and multifocal, necessitating the use of spatial analytical approaches. In this review, the principles of mass spectrometry-based lipid imaging and complementary gene-based spatial omics technologies, their application to prostate cancer and recent advancements in these technologies are considered. We put in perspective studies that describe spatially-resolved lipid maps and metabolic genes that are associated with prostate tumours compared to benign tissue and increased risk of disease progression, with the aim of evaluating the future implementation of spatial lipidomics and complementary transcriptomics for prognostication, target identification and treatment decision-making for prostate cancer.
    Keywords:  MALDI; biomarkers; lipidomics; lipids; mass spectrometry imaging; metabolomics; prostate cancer
  46. Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2022 Apr 06. pii: S0303-7207(22)00089-2. [Epub ahead of print] 111641
      Luteinizing hormone (LH) stimulates testosterone production from Leydig cells. Both LH and testosterone play important roles in spermatogenesis and male fertility. To identify LH - and testosterone - responsive transporter genes that play key roles in spermatogenesis, we performed large-scale gene expression analyses on testes obtained from adult control and Lhb knockout mice. We found a significant reduction in cystine/glutamate transporter encoding Slc7a11 mRNA in testes of Lhb null mice. We observed that Slc7a11/SLC7A11 expression was initiated pre-pubertally and developmentally regulated in mouse testis. Immunolocalization studies confirmed that SLC7A11 was mostly expressed in Sertoli cells in testes of control and germ cell-deficient mice. Western blot analyses indicated that SLC7A11 was significantly reduced in testes of mutant mice lacking either LH or androgen receptor selectively in Sertoli cells. Genetic and pharmacological rescue of Lhb knockout mice restored the testicular expression of Slc7a11 comparable to that observed in controls. Additionally, Slc7a11 mRNA was significantly suppressed upon Sertoli cell/testicular damage induced in mice by cadmium treatment. Knockdown of Slc7a11 in vitro in TM4 Sertoli cells or treatment of mice with sulfasalazine, a SLC7A11 inhibitor caused a significant reduction in intracellular cysteine and glutathione levels but glutamate content remained unchanged as determined by metabolomic analysis. Knockdown of Slc7a11 resulted in compensatory upregulation of other glutamate transporters belonging to the Slc1a family presumably to maintain intracellular glutamate levels. Collectively, our studies identified that SLC7A11 is an LH/testosterone-regulated transporter that is required for cysteine/glutathione but not glutamate homeostasis in mouse Sertoli cells.
    Keywords:  Cystine; Germ cell; Glutathione; LH; Leydig cell; Sertoli cell; Testis; Testosterone
  47. Nat Cell Biol. 2022 Apr 11.
      Skeletal muscle has long been recognized as an inhospitable site for disseminated tumour cells (DTCs). Yet its antimetastatic nature has eluded a thorough mechanistic examination. Here, we show that DTCs traffic to and persist within skeletal muscle in mice and in humans, which raises the question of how this tissue suppresses colonization. Results from mouse and organotypic culture models along with metabolomic profiling suggested that skeletal muscle imposes a sustained oxidative stress on DTCs that impairs their proliferation. Functional studies demonstrated that disrupting reduction-oxidation homeostasis via chemogenetic induction of reactive oxygen species slowed proliferation in a more fertile organ: the lung. Conversely, enhancement of the antioxidant potential of tumour cells through ectopic expression of catalase in the tumour or host mitochondria allowed robust colonization of skeletal muscle. These findings reveal a profound metabolic bottleneck imposed on DTCs and sustained by skeletal muscle. A thorough understanding of this biology could reveal previously undocumented DTC vulnerabilities that can be exploited to prevent metastasis in other more susceptible tissues.
  48. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Mar 24. pii: 3544. [Epub ahead of print]23(7):
      Resistance to 5-Fluorouracil (5-Fu) chemotherapy is the main cause of treatment failure in the cure of colon cancer. Therefore, there is an urgent need to explore a safe and effective multidrug resistance reversal agent for colorectal cancer, which would be of great significance for improving clinical efficacy. The dietary flavonoid kaempferol plays a key role in the progression of colorectal cancer and 5-Fu resistance. However, the molecular mechanism of kaempferol in reversing 5-Fu resistance in human colorectal cancer cells is still unclear. We found that kaempferol could reverse the drug resistance of HCT8-R cells to 5-Fu, suggesting that kaempferol alone or in combination with 5-Fu has the potential to treat colorectal cancer. It is well known that aerobic glycolysis is related to tumor growth and chemotherapy resistance. Indeed, kaempferol treatment significantly reduced glucose uptake and lactic acid production in drug-resistant colorectal cancer cells. In terms of mechanism, kaempferol promotes the expression of microRNA-326 (miR-326) in colon cancer cells, and miR-326 could inhibit the process of glycolysis by directly targeting pyruvate kinase M2 isoform (PKM2) 3'-UTR (untranslated region) to inhibit the expression of PKM2 or indirectly block the alternative splicing factors of PKM mRNA, and then reverse the resistance of colorectal cancer cells to 5-Fu. Taken together, our data suggest that kaempferol may play an important role in overcoming resistance to 5-Fu therapy by regulating the miR-326-hnRNPA1/A2/PTBP1-PKM2 axis.
    Keywords:  5-Fu resistance; PKM2; aerobic glycolysis; colorectal cancer; kaempferol; miR-326
  49. J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2022 Mar;70(2): 108-116
      Metabolic alteration is increasingly recognized as an important pathogenic process that underlies fibrosis across many organ types, and metabolically targeted therapies could become important strategies for reducing fibrosis. In present study, target enzymes that are involved in changes in phospholipid metabolism during fibroblast-to-myofibroblast transition induced by transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-β1) were examined. Different amounts of phospholipids were found in the 2 groups. In response to TGF-β1 stimulation, 17 lipids decreased and 17 increased. The latter included the phospholipids phosphatidylcholine (PC), phosphatidylserine (PS), and phosphatidylethanolamine (PE). Furthermore, among the rate-limiting enzymes that regulate these phospholipids, phosphatidylserine decarboxylase (PISD), which controls conversion of PS to PE and is localized in mitochondria, decreased in response to TGF-β1. Knockdown of PISD alone without TGF-β1 stimulation increased expression of α-smooth muscle actin mRNA and production of total collagen. Taken together, these results indicate that PISD is involved in the mechanism of fibrogenesis by regulating phospholipid metabolism.
    Keywords:  fibrosis; lung; mitochondria; myofibroblasts; phosphatidylserine decarboxylase; phospholipids