bims-mepmim Biomed News
on Metabolites in pathological microenvironments and immunometabolism
Issue of 2023‒06‒25
24 papers selected by
Erika Mariana Palmieri
NIH/NCI Laboratory of Cancer ImmunoMetabolism

  1. Nat Commun. 2023 Jun 21. 14(1): 3673
      The cystine transporter solute carrier family 7 member 11 (SLC7A11; also called xCT) protects cancer cells from oxidative stress and is overexpressed in many cancers. Here we report a surprising finding that, whereas moderate overexpression of SLC7A11 is beneficial for cancer cells treated with H2O2, a common oxidative stress inducer, its high overexpression dramatically increases H2O2-induced cell death. Mechanistically, high cystine uptake in cancer cells with high overexpression of SLC7A11 in combination with H2O2 treatment results in toxic buildup of intracellular cystine and other disulfide molecules, NADPH depletion, redox system collapse, and rapid cell death (likely disulfidptosis). We further show that high overexpression of SLC7A11 promotes tumor growth but suppresses tumor metastasis, likely because metastasizing cancer cells with high expression of SLC7A11 are particularly susceptible to oxidative stress. Our findings reveal that SLC7A11 expression level dictates cancer cells' sensitivity to oxidative stress and suggests a context-dependent role for SLC7A11 in tumor biology.
  2. Nat Metab. 2023 Jun 19.
      Adaptive thermogenesis by brown adipose tissue (BAT) dissipates calories as heat, making it an attractive anti-obesity target. Yet how BAT contributes to circulating metabolite exchange remains unclear. Here, we quantified metabolite exchange in BAT and skeletal muscle by arteriovenous metabolomics during cold exposure in fed male mice. This identified unexpected metabolites consumed, released and shared between organs. Quantitative analysis of tissue fluxes showed that glucose and lactate provide ~85% of carbon for adaptive thermogenesis and that cold and CL316,243 trigger markedly divergent fuel utilization profiles. In cold adaptation, BAT also dramatically increases nitrogen uptake by net consuming amino acids, except glutamine. Isotope tracing and functional studies suggest glutamine catabolism concurrent with synthesis via glutamine synthetase, which avoids ammonia buildup and boosts fuel oxidation. These data underscore the ability of BAT to function as a glucose and amino acid sink and provide a quantitative and comprehensive landscape of BAT fuel utilization to guide translational studies.
  3. Nat Commun. 2023 Jun 22. 14(1): 3716
      Accumulating evidence indicates that mitochondria play crucial roles in immunity. However, the role of the mitochondrial Krebs cycle in immunity remains largely unknown, in particular at the organism level. Here we show that mitochondrial aconitase, ACO-2, a Krebs cycle enzyme that catalyzes the conversion of citrate to isocitrate, inhibits immunity against pathogenic bacteria in C. elegans. We find that the genetic inhibition of aco-2 decreases the level of oxaloacetate. This increases the mitochondrial unfolded protein response, subsequently upregulating the transcription factor ATFS-1, which contributes to enhanced immunity against pathogenic bacteria. We show that the genetic inhibition of mammalian ACO2 increases immunity against pathogenic bacteria by modulating the mitochondrial unfolded protein response and oxaloacetate levels in cultured cells. Because mitochondrial aconitase is highly conserved across phyla, a therapeutic strategy targeting ACO2 may eventually help properly control immunity in humans.
  4. Cell Rep. 2023 Jun 21. pii: S2211-1247(23)00677-0. [Epub ahead of print]42(7): 112666
      Protein lysine crotonylation has been recently identified as a vital posttranslational modification in cellular processes, particularly through the modification of histones. We show that lysine crotonylation is an important modification of the cytoplastic and mitochondria proteins. Enzymes in glycolysis, the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, fatty acid metabolism, glutamine metabolism, glutathione metabolism, the urea cycle, one-carbon metabolism, and mitochondrial fusion/fission dynamics are found to be extensively crotonylated in pancreatic cancer cells. This modulation is mainly controlled by a pair of crotonylation writers and erasers including CBP/p300, HDAC1, and HDAC3. The dynamic crotonylation of metabolic enzymes is involved in metabolism regulation, which is linked with tumor progression. Interestingly, the activation of MTHFD1 by decrotonylation at Lys354 and Lys553 promotes the development of pancreatic cancer by increasing resistance to ferroptosis. Our study suggests that crotonylation represents a metabolic regulatory mechanism in pancreatic cancer progression.
    Keywords:  CP: Cancer; CP: Molecular biology; MTHFD1; crotonylation; metabolism; pancreatic cancer; tumor progression
  5. Nat Metab. 2023 Jun 19.
      Tumour metabolism is controlled by coordinated changes in metabolite abundance and gene expression, but simultaneous quantification of metabolites and transcripts in primary tissue is rare. To overcome this limitation and to study gene-metabolite covariation in cancer, we assemble the Cancer Atlas of Metabolic Profiles of metabolomic and transcriptomic data from 988 tumour and control specimens spanning 11 cancer types in published and newly generated datasets. Meta-analysis of the Cancer Atlas of Metabolic Profiles reveals two classes of gene-metabolite covariation that transcend cancer types. The first corresponds to gene-metabolite pairs engaged in direct enzyme-substrate interactions, identifying putative genes controlling metabolite pool sizes. A second class of gene-metabolite covariation represents a small number of hub metabolites, including quinolinate and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, which correlate to many genes specifically expressed in immune cell populations. These results provide evidence that gene-metabolite covariation in cellularly heterogeneous tissue arises, in part, from both mechanistic interactions between genes and metabolites, and from remodelling of the bulk metabolome in specific immune microenvironments.
  6. Nat Metab. 2023 Jun 19.
      Increased expression of branched-chain amino acid transaminase 1 or 2 (BCAT1 and BCAT2) has been associated with aggressive phenotypes of different cancers. Here we identify a gain of function of BCAT1 glutamic acid to alanine mutation at codon 61 (BCAT1E61A) enriched around 2.8% in clinical gastric cancer samples. We found that BCAT1E61A confers higher enzymatic activity to boost branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) catabolism, accelerate cell growth and motility and contribute to tumor development. BCAT1 directly interacts with RhoC, leading to elevation of RhoC activity. Notably, the BCAA-derived metabolite, branched-chain α-keto acid directly binds to the small GTPase protein RhoC and promotes its activity. BCAT1 knockout-suppressed cell motility could be rescued by expressing BCAT1E61A or adding branched-chain α-keto acid. We also identified that candesartan acts as an inhibitor of BCAT1E61A, thus repressing RhoC activity and cancer cell motility in vitro and preventing peritoneal metastasis in vivo. Our study reveals a link between BCAA metabolism and cell motility and proliferation through regulating RhoC activation, with potential therapeutic implications for cancers.
  7. Nature. 2023 Jun 21.
    Keywords:  Cancer; Immunology
  8. Nature. 2023 Jun;618(7966): 698-707
      Embryo-derived tissue-resident macrophages are the first representatives of the haematopoietic lineage to emerge in metazoans. In mammals, resident macrophages originate from early yolk sac progenitors and are specified into tissue-specific subsets during organogenesis-establishing stable spatial and functional relationships with specialized tissue cells-and persist in adults. Resident macrophages are an integral part of tissues together with specialized cells: for instance, microglia reside with neurons in brain, osteoclasts reside with osteoblasts in bone, and fat-associated macrophages reside with white adipocytes in adipose tissue. This ancillary cell type, which is developmentally and functionally distinct from haematopoietic stem cell and monocyte-derived macrophages, senses and integrates local and systemic information to provide specialized tissue cells with the growth factors, nutrient recycling and waste removal that are critical for tissue growth, homeostasis and repair. Resident macrophages contribute to organogenesis, promote tissue regeneration following damage and contribute to tissue metabolism and defence against infectious disease. A correlate is that genetic or environment-driven resident macrophage dysfunction is a cause of degenerative, metabolic and possibly inflammatory and tumoural diseases. In this Review, we aim to provide a conceptual outline of our current understanding of macrophage physiology and its importance in human diseases, which may inform and serve the design of future studies.
  9. Nature. 2023 Jun 19.
      Uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) conducts protons through the inner mitochondrial membrane to uncouple mitochondrial respiration from ATP production, thereby converting the electrochemical gradient of protons into heat1,2. The activity of UCP1 is activated by endogenous fatty acids and synthetic small molecules, such as 2,4-dinitrophenol (DNP), and is inhibited by purine nucleotides, such as ATP3-5. However, the mechanism by which UCP1 binds these ligands remains elusive. Here, we present the structures of human UCP1 in the nucleotide-free state, the DNP-bound state, and the ATP-bound state. The structures show that the central cavity of UCP1 is open to the cytosolic side. DNP binds inside the cavity, making contact with TM2 and TM6. ATP also binds inside the same cavity and induces conformational changes in TM2, together with the inward bending of TM1, TM4, TM5, and TM6 of UCP1, resulting in a more compact structure of UCP1. The binding site of ATP overlaps with that of DNP, suggesting that ATP competitively blocks the functional engagement of DNP, resulting in the inhibition of the proton-conducting activity of UCP1.
  10. J Biol Chem. 2023 Jun 16. pii: S0021-9258(23)01966-X. [Epub ahead of print] 104938
      S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) is the methyl donor for site-specific methylation reactions on histone proteins, imparting key epigenetic information. During SAM-depleted conditions that can arise from dietary methionine restriction, lysine di- and tri-methylation are reduced while sites such as Histone-3 lysine-9 (H3K9) are actively maintained, allowing cells to restore higher-state methylation upon metabolic recovery. Here, we investigated if the intrinsic catalytic properties of H3K9 histone methyltransferases (HMTs) contribute to this epigenetic persistence. We employed systematic kinetic analyses and substrate binding assays using four recombinant H3K9 HMTs (i.e., EHMT1, EHMT2, SUV39H1, and SUV39H2). At both high and low (sub-saturating) [SAM], all HMTs displayed the highest catalytic efficiency (kcat/KM) for monomethylation compared to di- and trimethylation on H3 peptide substrates. The favored monomethylation reaction was also reflected in kcat values, apart from SUV39H2 which displayed a similar kcat regardless of substrate methylation state. Using differentially-methylated nucleosomes as substrates, kinetic analyses of EHMT1 and EHMT2 revealed similar catalytic preferences. Orthogonal binding assays revealed only small differences in substrate affinity across methylation states, suggesting that catalytic steps dictate the monomethylation preferences of EHMT1, EHMT2, and SUV39H1. To link in vitro catalytic rates with nuclear methylation dynamics, we built a mathematical model incorporating measured kinetic parameters and a time course of mass spectrometry-based H3K9 methylation measurements following cellular SAM depletion. The model revealed that the intrinsic kinetic constants of the catalytic domains could recapitulate in vivo observations. Together, these results suggest catalytic discrimination by H3K9 HMTs maintain nuclear H3K9me1, ensuring epigenetic persistence after metabolic stress.
    Keywords:  S-adenosylmethionine; histone; kinetics; metabolism; methyltransferase; nucleosome
  11. Nat Commun. 2023 Jun 23. 14(1): 3746
      Brown adipose tissue (BAT) has abundant mitochondria with the unique capability of generating heat via uncoupled respiration. Mitochondrial uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) is activated in BAT during cold stress and dissipates mitochondrial proton motive force generated by the electron transport chain to generate heat. However, other mitochondrial factors required for brown adipocyte respiration and thermogenesis under cold stress are largely unknown. Here, we show LETM1 domain-containing protein 1 (LETMD1) is a BAT-enriched and cold-induced protein required for cold-stimulated respiration and thermogenesis of BAT. Proximity labeling studies reveal that LETMD1 is a mitochondrial matrix protein. Letmd1 knockout male mice display aberrant BAT mitochondria and fail to carry out adaptive thermogenesis under cold stress. Letmd1 knockout BAT is deficient in oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) complex proteins and has impaired mitochondrial respiration. In addition, BAT-specific Letmd1 deficient mice exhibit phenotypes identical to those observed in Letmd1 knockout mice. Collectively, we demonstrate that the BAT-enriched mitochondrial matrix protein LETMD1 plays a tissue-autonomous role that is essential for BAT mitochondrial function and thermogenesis.
  12. Nat Metab. 2023 Jun 19.
      Adipocyte function is a major determinant of metabolic disease, warranting investigations of regulating mechanisms. We show at single-cell resolution that progenitor cells from four human brown and white adipose depots separate into two main cell fates, an adipogenic and a structural branch, developing from a common progenitor. The adipogenic gene signature contains mitochondrial activity genes, and associates with genome-wide association study traits for fat distribution. Based on an extracellular matrix and developmental gene signature, we name the structural branch of cells structural Wnt-regulated adipose tissue-resident (SWAT) cells. When stripped from adipogenic cells, SWAT cells display a multipotent phenotype by reverting towards progenitor state or differentiating into new adipogenic cells, dependent on media. Label transfer algorithms recapitulate the cell types in human adipose tissue datasets. In conclusion, we provide a differentiation map of human adipocytes and define the multipotent SWAT cell, providing a new perspective on adipose tissue regulation.
  13. Nat Commun. 2023 Jun 20. 14(1): 3659
      Iron is essential to cells as a cofactor in enzymes of respiration and replication, however without correct storage, iron leads to the formation of dangerous oxygen radicals. In yeast and plants, iron is transported into a membrane-bound vacuole by the vacuolar iron transporter (VIT). This transporter is conserved in the apicomplexan family of obligate intracellular parasites, including in Toxoplasma gondii. Here, we assess the role of VIT and iron storage in T. gondii. By deleting VIT, we find a slight growth defect in vitro, and iron hypersensitivity, confirming its essential role in parasite iron detoxification, which can be rescued by scavenging of oxygen radicals. We show VIT expression is regulated by iron at transcript and protein levels, and by altering VIT localization. In the absence of VIT, T. gondii responds by altering expression of iron metabolism genes and by increasing antioxidant protein catalase activity. We also show that iron detoxification has an important role both in parasite survival within macrophages and in virulence in a mouse model. Together, by demonstrating a critical role for VIT during iron detoxification in T. gondii, we reveal the importance of iron storage in the parasite and provide the first insight into the machinery involved.
  14. J Exp Med. 2023 Sep 04. pii: e20210788. [Epub ahead of print]220(9):
      Healthy adipose tissue (AT) contains ST2+ Tregs, ILC2s, and alternatively activated macrophages that are lost in mice or humans on high caloric diet. Understanding how this form of type 2 immunity is regulated could improve treatment of obesity. The STE20 kinase Thousand And One amino acid Kinase-3 (TAOK3) has been linked to obesity in mice and humans, but its precise function is unknown. We found that ST2+ Tregs are upregulated in visceral epididymal white AT (eWAT) of Taok3-/- mice, dependent on IL-33 and the kinase activity of TAOK3. Upon high fat diet feeding, metabolic dysfunction was attenuated in Taok3-/- mice. ST2+ Tregs disappeared from eWAT in obese wild-type mice, but this was not the case in Taok3-/- mice. Mechanistically, AT Taok3-/- Tregs were intrinsically more responsive to IL-33, through higher expression of ST2, and expressed more PPARγ and type 2 cytokines. Thus, TAOK3 inhibits adipose tissue Tregs and regulates immunometabolism under excessive caloric intake.
  15. Elife. 2023 Jun 22. pii: e84209. [Epub ahead of print]12
      Group 1 innate lymphoid cells (G1-ILCs), including circulating natural killer (NK) cells and tissue-resident type 1 ILCs (ILC1s), are innate immune sentinels critical for responses against infection and cancer. In contrast to relatively uniform NK cells through the body, diverse ILC1 subsets have been characterized across and within tissues in mice, but their developmental and functional heterogeneity remain unsolved. Here, using multimodal in vivo approaches including fate-mapping and targeting of the interleukin 15 (IL-15)-producing microenvironment, we demonstrate that liver parenchymal niches support the development of a cytotoxic ILC1 subset lacking IL-7 receptor (7 R- ILC1s). During ontogeny, fetal liver (FL) G1-ILCs arise perivascularly and then differentiate into 7 R- ILC1s within sinusoids. Hepatocyte-derived IL-15 supports parenchymal development of FL G1-ILCs to maintain adult pool of 7 R- ILC1s. IL-7R+ (7R+) ILC1s in the liver, candidate precursors for 7 R- ILC1s, are not essential for 7 R- ILC1 development in physiological conditions. Functionally, 7 R- ILC1s exhibit killing activity at steady state through granzyme B expression, which is underpinned by constitutive mTOR activity, unlike NK cells with exogenous stimulation-dependent cytotoxicity. Our study reveals the unique ontogeny and functions of liver-specific ILC1s, providing a detailed interpretation of ILC1 heterogeneity.
    Keywords:  ILC1s; Interleukin 15; NK cells; cytotoxicity; development; immunology; inflammation; mouse; niche
  16. Nat Commun. 2023 Jun 23. 14(1): 3745
      Intracellular pH dynamics is increasingly recognized to regulate myriad cell behaviors. We report a finding that intracellular pH dynamics also regulates adult stem cell lineage specification. We identify an intracellular pH gradient in mouse small intestinal crypts, lowest in crypt stem cells and increasing along the crypt column. Disrupting this gradient by inhibiting H+ efflux by Na+/H+ exchanger 1 abolishes crypt budding and blocks differentiation of Paneth cells, which are rescued with exogenous WNT. Using single-cell RNA sequencing and lineage tracing we demonstrate that intracellular pH dynamics acts downstream of ATOH1, with increased pH promoting differentiation toward the secretory lineage. Our findings indicate that an increase in pH is required for the lineage specification that contributes to crypt maintenance, establishing a role for intracellular pH dynamics in cell fate decisions within an adult stem cell lineage.
  17. Nat Metab. 2023 Jun 22.
      Redox metabolites have been observed to fluctuate through the cell cycle in cancer cells, but the functional impacts of such metabolic oscillations remain unknown. Here, we uncover a mitosis-specific nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) upsurge that is essential for tumour progression. Specifically, NADPH is produced by glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) upon mitotic entry, which neutralizes elevated reactive oxygen species (ROS) and prevents ROS-mediated inactivation of mitotic kinases and chromosome missegregation. Mitotic activation of G6PD depends on the phosphorylation of its co-chaperone protein BAG3 at threonine 285, which results in dissociation of inhibitory BAG3. Blocking BAG3T285 phosphorylation induces tumour suppression. A mitotic NADPH upsurge is present in aneuploid cancer cells with high levels of ROS, while nearly unobservable in near-diploid cancer cells. High BAG3T285 phosphorylation is associated with worse prognosis in a cohort of patients with microsatellite-stable colorectal cancer. Our study reveals that aneuploid cancer cells with high levels of ROS depend on a G6PD-mediated NADPH upsurge in mitosis to protect them from ROS-induced chromosome missegregation.
  18. Nat Commun. 2023 Jun 20. 14(1): 3643
      Accumulation of inorganic nanoparticles in living organisms can cause an increase in cellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) in a dose-dependent manner. Low doses of nanoparticles have shown possibilities to induce moderate ROS increases and lead to adaptive responses of biological systems, but beneficial effects of such responses on metabolic health remain elusive. Here, we report that repeated oral administrations of various inorganic nanoparticles, including TiO2, Au, and NaYF4 nanoparticles at low doses, can promote lipid degradation and alleviate steatosis in the liver of male mice. We show that low-level uptake of nanoparticles evokes an unusual antioxidant response in hepatocytes by promoting Ces2h expression and consequently enhancing ester hydrolysis. This process can be implemented to treat specific hepatic metabolic disorders, such as fatty liver in both genetic and high-fat-diet obese mice without causing observed adverse effects. Our results demonstrate that low-dose nanoparticle administration may serve as a promising treatment for metabolic regulation.
  19. J Lipid Res. 2023 Jun 21. pii: S0022-2275(23)00078-0. [Epub ahead of print] 100405
      Alpha/beta hydrolase domain-containing protein 4 (ABHD4) catalyzes the deacylation of N-acyl phosphatidyl-ethanolamine (NAPE) and lyso-NAPE to produce glycerophospho-N-acyl ethanolamine (GP-NAE). Through a variety of metabolic enzymes, NAPE, lyso-NAPE, and GP-NAE are ultimately converted into NAE, a group of bioactive lipids that control many physiological processes including inflammation, cognition, food intake, and lipolysis (i.e., oleoylethanolamide or OEA). In a diet-induced obese mouse model, adipose tissue ABHD4 gene expression positively correlated with adiposity. However, it is unknown whether ABHD4 is a causal or a reactive gene to obesity. To fill this knowledge gap, we generated an ABHD4 knockout (KO) 3T3-L1 pre-adipocyte. During adipogenic stimulation, ABHD4 KO pre-adipocytes had increased adipogenesis and lipid accumulation, suggesting ABHD4 is responding to (a reactive gene), not contributing to (not a causal gene), adiposity and may serve as a mechanism for protecting against obesity. However, we did not observe any differences in adiposity and metabolic outcomes between whole body ABHD4 KO or adipocyte specific ABHD4 KO mice and their littermate control mice (both male and female) on chow or a high fat diet. This might be because we found that deletion of ABHD4 did not affect NAE such as OEA production, even though ABHD4 was highly expressed in adipose tissue and correlated with fasting adipose OEA levels and lipolysis. These data suggest that ABHD4 plays a role in adipocyte differentiation in vitro but not in adipose tissue lipid metabolism in mice despite nutrient overload, possibly due to compensation from other NAPE and NAE metabolic enzymes.
    Keywords:  ABHD4; Adipocyte; Alpha/beta hydrolase domain; Lipogenesis; Lipolysis; N-acyl ethanolamine; Obesity; Oleoylethanolamide
  20. STAR Protoc. 2023 Jun 22. pii: S2666-1667(23)00341-6. [Epub ahead of print]4(3): 102374
      Current techniques for producing induced-pluripotent-stem-cell-derived mid/hindgut spheroids have faced major hurdles in consistency and reproducibility. Here, we present a protocol that uses mid/hindgut cells to generate homogeneous spheroids that subsequently mature into human intestinal organoids (HIOs). We describe steps for stepwise differentiation and spheroid formation using a 96-well plate. We then detail cell maturation in a suspended state and the implementation of a rotational bioreactor platform to maximize the culture efficiency of larger HIOs. For complete details on the use and execution of this protocol, please refer to Takahashi et al.1.
    Keywords:  Cell Biology; Cell Differentiation; Cell culture; Organoids; Stem Cells; Tissue Engineering
  21. Nat Commun. 2023 Jun 21. 14(1): 3675
      Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammatory bowel disorder with cellular heterogeneity. To understand the composition and spatial changes of the ulcerative colitis ecosystem, here we use imaging mass cytometry and single-cell RNA sequencing to depict the single-cell landscape of the human colon ecosystem. We find tissue topological changes featured with macrophage disappearance reaction in the ulcerative colitis region, occurring only for tissue-resident macrophages. Reactive oxygen species levels are higher in the ulcerative colitis region, but reactive oxygen species scavenging enzyme SOD2 is barely detected in resident macrophages, resulting in distinct reactive oxygen species vulnerability for inflammatory macrophages and resident macrophages. Inflammatory macrophages replace resident macrophages and cause a spatial shift of TNF production during ulcerative colitis via a cytokine production network formed with T and B cells. Our study suggests components of a mechanism for the observed macrophage disappearance reaction of resident macrophages, providing mechanistic hints for macrophage disappearance reaction in other inflammation or infection situations.
  22. Nat Commun. 2023 Jun 20. 14(1): 3652
      A key feature in intestinal immunity is the dynamic intestinal barrier, which separates the host from resident and pathogenic microbiota through a mucus gel impregnated with antimicrobial peptides. Using a forward genetic screen, we have found a mutation in Tvp23b, which conferred susceptibility to chemically induced and infectious colitis. Trans-Golgi apparatus membrane protein TVP23 homolog B (TVP23B) is a transmembrane protein conserved from yeast to humans. We found that TVP23B controls the homeostasis of Paneth cells and function of goblet cells, leading to a decrease in antimicrobial peptides and more penetrable mucus layer. TVP23B binds with another Golgi protein, YIPF6, which is similarly critical for intestinal homeostasis. The Golgi proteomes of YIPF6 and TVP23B-deficient colonocytes have a common deficiency of several critical glycosylation enzymes. TVP23B is necessary for the formation of the sterile mucin layer of the intestine and its absence disturbs the balance of host and microbe in vivo.