bims-mepmim Biomed News
on Metabolites in pathological microenvironments and immunometabolism
Issue of 2023‒07‒02
twenty-one papers selected by
Erika Mariana Palmieri
NIH/NCI Laboratory of Cancer ImmunoMetabolism

  1. Cell Metab. 2023 Jun 20. pii: S1550-4131(23)00213-9. [Epub ahead of print]
      Metabolic programming in the tumor microenvironment (TME) alters tumor immunity and immunotherapeutic response in tumor-bearing mice and patients with cancer. Here, we review immune-related functions of core metabolic pathways, key metabolites, and crucial nutrient transporters in the TME, discuss their metabolic, signaling, and epigenetic impact on tumor immunity and immunotherapy, and explore how these insights can be applied to the development of more effective modalities to potentiate the function of T cells and sensitize tumor cell receptivity to immune attack, thereby overcoming therapeutic resistance.
    Keywords:  T cell; checkpoint; immunotherapy; metabolism; metabolite; tumor microenvironment
  2. J Lipid Res. 2023 Jun 23. pii: S0022-2275(23)00080-9. [Epub ahead of print] 100407
      Acetoacetyl-CoA synthetase (AACS) is the key enzyme in the anabolic utilization of ketone bodies (KBs) for denovo lipid synthesis, a process that bypasses citrate and ATP citrate lyase. This review shows that AACS is a highly regulated, cytosolic and lipogenic enzyme and that many tissues can readily use KBs for denovo lipid synthesis. AACS has a low, micromolar Km for acetoacetate (AcAc) and supply of AcAc should not limit its activity in the fed state. In many tissues AACS appears to be regulated in conjunction with the need for cholesterol, but in adipose tissue it seems tied to fatty acid synthesis. KBs are readily utilized as substrates for lipid synthesis in lipogenic tissues including liver, adipose tissue, lactating mammary gland, skin, intestinal mucosa, adrenals and developing brain. In numerous studied cases, KBs served several-fold better than glucose as substrates for lipid synthesis and when present, KBs suppressed the utilization of glucose for lipid synthesis. Here it is hypothesized that a physiological role for the utilization of KBs for lipid synthesis is a metabolic process of lipid interconversion. Fatty acids are converted to KBs in liver and then the KBs are utilized to synthesize cholesterol and other long-chainfatty acids in liver and non-hepatic tissues. The conversion of fatty acids to cholesterol via the KBs may be a particularly important example of lipid interconversion. Utilizing KBs for lipid synthesis is glucose sparing and probably is important with low carbohydrate diets. Metabolic situations and tissues where lipid interconversion may be important are discussed.
    Keywords:  ATP citrate lyase; Acetoacetate; Denovo lipid synthesis; anabolic role for ketone bodies; cholesterol synthesis; glucose sparing; lipid interconversion
  3. Cancer Res Commun. 2023 Apr;3(4): 709-724
      Most cancer-related deaths are due to metastases. Systemic factors, such as lipid-enriched environments [as low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol], favor breast cancer, including triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) metastasis formation. Mitochondria metabolism impacts TNBC invasive behavior but its involvement in a lipid-enriched setting is undisclosed. Here we show that LDL increases lipid droplets, induces CD36 and augments TNBC cells migration and invasion in vivo and in vitro. LDL induces higher mitochondrial mass and network spread in migrating cells, in an actin remodeling-dependent manner, and transcriptomic and energetic analyses revealed that LDL renders TNBC cells dependent on fatty acids (FA) usage for mitochondrial respiration. Indeed, engagement on FA transport into the mitochondria is required for LDL-induced migration and mitochondrial remodeling. Mechanistically, LDL treatment leads to mitochondrial long-chain fatty acid accumulation and increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. Importantly, CD36 or ROS blockade abolished LDL-induced cell migration and mitochondria metabolic adaptations. Our data suggest that LDL induces TNBC cells migration by reprogramming mitochondrial metabolism, revealing a new vulnerability in metastatic breast cancer.Significance: LDL induces breast cancer cell migration that relies on CD36 for mitochondrial metabolism and network remodeling, providing an antimetastatic metabolic strategy.
  4. Nat Commun. 2023 Jun 28. 14(1): 3823
      Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is highly resistant to chemotherapy. Effective alternative therapies have yet to emerge, as chemotherapy remains the best available systemic treatment. However, the discovery of safe and available adjuncts to enhance chemotherapeutic efficacy can still improve survival outcomes. We show that a hyperglycemic state substantially enhances the efficacy of conventional single- and multi-agent chemotherapy regimens against PDAC. Molecular analyses of tumors exposed to high glucose levels reveal that the expression of GCLC (glutamate-cysteine ligase catalytic subunit), a key component of glutathione biosynthesis, is diminished, which in turn augments oxidative anti-tumor damage by chemotherapy. Inhibition of GCLC phenocopies the suppressive effect of forced hyperglycemia in mouse models of PDAC, while rescuing this pathway mitigates anti-tumor effects observed with chemotherapy and high glucose.
  5. Cell Rep. 2023 Jun 28. pii: S2211-1247(23)00733-7. [Epub ahead of print]42(7): 112722
      Aging impairs the capacity to respond to novel antigens, reducing immune protection against pathogens and vaccine efficacy. Dietary restriction (DR) extends life- and health span in diverse animals. However, little is known about the capacity of DR to combat the decline in immune function. Here, we study the changes in B cell receptor (BCR) repertoire during aging in DR and control mice. By sequencing the variable region of the BCR heavy chain in the spleen, we show that DR preserves diversity and attenuates the increase in clonal expansions throughout aging. Remarkably, mice starting DR in mid-life have repertoire diversity and clonal expansion rates indistinguishable from chronic DR mice. In contrast, in the intestine, these traits are unaffected by either age or DR. Reduced within-individual B cell repertoire diversity and increased clonal expansions are correlated with higher morbidity, suggesting a potential contribution of B cell repertoire dynamics to health during aging.
    Keywords:  B cell receptor repertoire; CP: Immunology; adaptive immunity; aging; dietary restriction; late onset; mice
  6. Nat Cell Biol. 2023 Jun 29.
      Fasting triggers diverse physiological adaptations including increases in circulating fatty acids and mitochondrial respiration to facilitate organismal survival. The mechanisms driving mitochondrial adaptations and respiratory sufficiency during fasting remain incompletely understood. Here we show that fasting or lipid availability stimulates mTORC2 activity. Activation of mTORC2 and phosphorylation of its downstream target NDRG1 at serine 336 sustains mitochondrial fission and respiratory sufficiency. Time-lapse imaging shows that NDRG1, but not the phosphorylation-deficient NDRG1Ser336Ala mutant, engages with mitochondria to facilitate fission in control cells, as well as in those lacking DRP1. Using proteomics, a small interfering RNA screen, and epistasis experiments, we show that mTORC2-phosphorylated NDRG1 cooperates with small GTPase CDC42 and effectors and regulators of CDC42 to orchestrate fission. Accordingly, RictorKO, NDRG1Ser336Ala mutants and Cdc42-deficient cells each display mitochondrial phenotypes reminiscent of fission failure. During nutrient surplus, mTOR complexes perform anabolic functions; however, paradoxical reactivation of mTORC2 during fasting unexpectedly drives mitochondrial fission and respiration.
  7. Nat Genet. 2023 Jun 29.
      Pathogenic mutations in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) compromise cellular metabolism, contributing to cellular heterogeneity and disease. Diverse mutations are associated with diverse clinical phenotypes, suggesting distinct organ- and cell-type-specific metabolic vulnerabilities. Here we establish a multi-omics approach to quantify deletions in mtDNA alongside cell state features in single cells derived from six patients across the phenotypic spectrum of single large-scale mtDNA deletions (SLSMDs). By profiling 206,663 cells, we reveal the dynamics of pathogenic mtDNA deletion heteroplasmy consistent with purifying selection and distinct metabolic vulnerabilities across T-cell states in vivo and validate these observations in vitro. By extending analyses to hematopoietic and erythroid progenitors, we reveal mtDNA dynamics and cell-type-specific gene regulatory adaptations, demonstrating the context-dependence of perturbing mitochondrial genomic integrity. Collectively, we report pathogenic mtDNA heteroplasmy dynamics of individual blood and immune cells across lineages, demonstrating the power of single-cell multi-omics for revealing fundamental properties of mitochondrial genetics.
  8. Nat Immunol. 2023 Jun 26.
      Following infection or vaccination, activated B cells at extrafollicular sites or within germinal centers (GCs) undergo vigorous clonal proliferation. Proliferating lymphocytes have been shown to undertake lactate dehydrogenase A (LDHA)-dependent aerobic glycolysis; however, the specific role of this metabolic pathway in a B cell transitioning from a naïve to a highly proliferative, activated state remains poorly defined. Here, we deleted LDHA in a stage-specific and cell-specific manner. We find that ablation of LDHA in a naïve B cell did not profoundly affect its ability to undergo a bacterial lipopolysaccharide-induced extrafollicular B cell response. On the other hand, LDHA-deleted naïve B cells had a severe defect in their capacities to form GCs and mount GC-dependent antibody responses. In addition, loss of LDHA in T cells severely compromised B cell-dependent immune responses. Strikingly, when LDHA was deleted in activated, as opposed to naïve, B cells, there were only minimal effects on the GC reaction and in the generation of high-affinity antibodies. These findings strongly suggest that naïve and activated B cells have distinct metabolic requirements that are further regulated by niche and cellular interactions.
  9. Nature. 2023 Jun 28.
      In metazoan organisms, cell competition acts as a quality control mechanism to eliminate unfit cells in favour of their more robust neighbours1,2. This mechanism has the potential to be maladapted, promoting the selection of aggressive cancer cells3-6. Tumours are metabolically active and are populated by stroma cells7,8, but how environmental factors affect cancer cell competition remains largely unknown. Here we show that tumour-associated macrophages (TAMs) can be dietarily or genetically reprogrammed to outcompete MYC-overexpressing cancer cells. In a mouse model of breast cancer, MYC overexpression resulted in an mTORC1-dependent 'winner' cancer cell state. A low-protein diet inhibited mTORC1 signalling in cancer cells and reduced tumour growth, owing unexpectedly to activation of the transcription factors TFEB and TFE3 and mTORC1 in TAMs. Diet-derived cytosolic amino acids are sensed by Rag GTPases through the GTPase-activating proteins GATOR1 and FLCN to control Rag GTPase effectors including TFEB and TFE39-14. Depletion of GATOR1 in TAMs suppressed the activation of TFEB, TFE3 and mTORC1 under the low-protein diet condition, causing accelerated tumour growth; conversely, depletion of FLCN or Rag GTPases in TAMs activated TFEB, TFE3 and mTORC1 under the normal protein diet condition, causing decelerated tumour growth. Furthermore, mTORC1 hyperactivation in TAMs and cancer cells and their competitive fitness were dependent on the endolysosomal engulfment regulator PIKfyve. Thus, noncanonical engulfment-mediated Rag GTPase-independent mTORC1 signalling in TAMs controls competition between TAMs and cancer cells, which defines a novel innate immune tumour suppression pathway that could be targeted for cancer therapy.
  10. J Exp Med. 2023 Sep 04. pii: e20221939. [Epub ahead of print]220(9):
      Mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells use canonical semi-invariant T cell receptors (TCR) to recognize microbial riboflavin precursors displayed by the antigen-presenting molecule MR1. The extent of MAIT TCR crossreactivity toward physiological, microbially unrelated antigens remains underexplored. We describe MAIT TCRs endowed with MR1-dependent reactivity to tumor and healthy cells in the absence of microbial metabolites. MAIT cells bearing TCRs crossreactive toward self are rare but commonly found within healthy donors and display T-helper-like functions in vitro. Experiments with MR1-tetramers loaded with distinct ligands revealed significant crossreactivity among MAIT TCRs both ex vivo and upon in vitro expansion. A canonical MAIT TCR was selected on the basis of extremely promiscuous MR1 recognition. Structural and molecular dynamic analyses associated promiscuity to unique TCRβ-chain features that were enriched within self-reactive MAIT cells of healthy individuals. Thus, self-reactive recognition of MR1 represents a functionally relevant indication of MAIT TCR crossreactivity, suggesting a potentially broader role of MAIT cells in immune homeostasis and diseases, beyond microbial immunosurveillance.
  11. Nat Commun. 2023 Jun 30. 14(1): 3878
      Interleukin (IL)-26 is a TH17 cytokine with known antimicrobial and pro-inflammatory functions. However, the precise role of IL-26 in the context of pathogenic TH17 responses is unknown. Here we identify a population of blood TH17 intermediates that produce high levels of IL-26 and differentiate into IL-17A-producing TH17 cells upon TGF-β1 exposure. By combining single cell RNA sequencing, TCR sequencing and spatial transcriptomics we show that this process occurs in psoriatic skin. In fact, IL-26+ TH17 intermediates infiltrating psoriatic skin induce TGF-β1 expression in basal keratinocytes and thereby promote their own differentiation into IL-17A-producing cells. Thus, our study identifies IL-26-producing cells as an early differentiation stage of TH17 cells that infiltrates psoriatic skin and controls its own maturation into IL17A-producing TH17 cells, via epithelial crosstalk involving paracrine production of TGF-β1.
  12. Cell Rep. 2023 Jun 23. pii: S2211-1247(23)00690-3. [Epub ahead of print]42(7): 112679
      The adhesion G-protein-coupled receptor GPR133 (ADGRD1) supports growth of the brain malignancy glioblastoma. How the extracellular interactome of GPR133 in glioblastoma modulates signaling remains unknown. Here, we use affinity proteomics to identify the transmembrane protein PTK7 as an extracellular binding partner of GPR133 in glioblastoma. PTK7 binds the autoproteolytically generated N-terminal fragment of GPR133 and its expression in trans increases GPR133 signaling. This effect requires the intramolecular cleavage of GPR133 and PTK7's anchoring in the plasma membrane. PTK7's allosteric action on GPR133 signaling is additive with but topographically distinct from orthosteric activation by soluble peptide mimicking the endogenous tethered Stachel agonist. GPR133 and PTK7 are expressed in adjacent cells in glioblastoma, where their knockdown phenocopies each other. We propose that this ligand-receptor interaction is relevant to the pathogenesis of glioblastoma and possibly other physiological processes in healthy tissues.
    Keywords:  ADGRD1; CP: Cancer; CP: Molecular biology; G protein-coupled receptor; GPR133; PTK7; adhesion GPCR; allosteric signal activation; glioblastoma; ligand discovery
  13. EMBO Rep. 2023 Jun 29. e56233
      Cortical neurogenesis depends on the balance between self-renewal and differentiation of apical progenitors (APs). Here, we study the epigenetic control of AP's division mode by focusing on the enzymatic activity of the histone methyltransferase DOT1L. Combining lineage tracing with single-cell RNA sequencing of clonally related cells, we show at the cellular level that DOT1L inhibition increases neurogenesis driven by a shift of APs from asymmetric self-renewing to symmetric neurogenic consumptive divisions. At the molecular level, DOT1L activity prevents AP differentiation by promoting transcription of metabolic genes. Mechanistically, DOT1L inhibition reduces activity of an EZH2/PRC2 pathway, converging on increased expression of asparagine synthetase (ASNS), a microcephaly associated gene. Overexpression of ASNS in APs phenocopies DOT1L inhibition, and also increases neuronal differentiation of APs. Our data suggest that DOT1L activity/PRC2 crosstalk controls AP lineage progression by regulating asparagine metabolism.
    Keywords:  DOT1L; asparagine synthetase; epigenetics; fate choice; metabolic regulation
  14. EMBO Mol Med. 2023 Jun 26. e16845
      Liver X receptor (LXR) agonism has theoretical potential for treating NAFLD/NASH, but synthetic agonists induce hyperlipidemia in preclinical models. Desmosterol, which is converted by Δ24-dehydrocholesterol reductase (DHCR24) into cholesterol, is a potent endogenous LXR agonist with anti-inflammatory properties. We aimed to investigate the effects of DHCR24 inhibition on NAFLD/NASH development. Here, by using APOE*3-Leiden. CETP mice, a well-established translational model that develops diet-induced human-like NAFLD/NASH characteristics, we report that SH42, a published DHCR24 inhibitor, markedly increases desmosterol levels in liver and plasma, reduces hepatic lipid content and the steatosis score, and decreases plasma fatty acid and cholesteryl ester concentrations. Flow cytometry showed that SH42 decreases liver inflammation by preventing Kupffer cell activation and monocyte infiltration. LXRα deficiency completely abolishes these beneficial effects of SH42. Together, the inhibition of DHCR24 by SH42 prevents diet-induced hepatic steatosis and inflammation in a strictly LXRα-dependent manner without causing hyperlipidemia. Finally, we also showed that SH42 treatment decreased liver collagen content and plasma alanine transaminase levels in an established NAFLD model. In conclusion, we anticipate that pharmacological DHCR24 inhibition may represent a novel therapeutic strategy for treatment of NAFLD/NASH.
    Keywords:  Kupffer cell; desmosterol; liver X receptor; nonalcoholic steatohepatitis; Δ24-dehydrocholesterol reductase
  15. iScience. 2023 Jun 16. 26(6): 106910
      Severe acute malnutrition (SAM) is a multifactorial disease affecting millions of children worldwide. It is associated with changes in intestinal physiology, microbiota, and mucosal immunity, emphasizing the need for multidisciplinary studies to unravel its full pathogenesis. We established an experimental model in which weanling mice fed a high-deficiency diet mimic key anthropometric and physiological features of SAM in children. This diet alters the intestinal microbiota (less segmented filamentous bacteria, spatial proximity to epithelium), metabolism (decreased butyrate), and immune cell populations (depletion of LysoDC in Peyer's patches and intestinal Th17 cells). A nutritional intervention leads to a fast zoometric and intestinal physiology recovery but to an incomplete restoration of the intestinal microbiota, metabolism, and immune system. Altogether, we provide a preclinical model of SAM and have identified key markers to target with future interventions during the education of the immune system to improve SAM whole defects.
    Keywords:  Gastroenterology; Immunology; Microbiome
  16. Science. 2023 Jun 30. 380(6652): 1372-1380
      Adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activity is stimulated to promote metabolic adaptation upon energy stress. However, sustained metabolic stress may cause cell death. The mechanisms by which AMPK dictates cell death are not fully understood. We report that metabolic stress promoted receptor-interacting protein kinase 1 (RIPK1) activation mediated by TRAIL receptors, whereas AMPK inhibited RIPK1 by phosphorylation at Ser415 to suppress energy stress-induced cell death. Inhibiting pS415-RIPK1 by Ampk deficiency or RIPK1 S415A mutation promoted RIPK1 activation. Furthermore, genetic inactivation of RIPK1 protected against ischemic injury in myeloid Ampkα1-deficient mice. Our studies reveal that AMPK phosphorylation of RIPK1 represents a crucial metabolic checkpoint, which dictates cell fate response to metabolic stress, and highlight a previously unappreciated role for the AMPK-RIPK1 axis in integrating metabolism, cell death, and inflammation.
  17. Curr Opin Chem Biol. 2023 Jun 23. pii: S1367-5931(23)00091-1. [Epub ahead of print]76 102353
      Recognition of the prevalence of hydropersulfides (RSSH) and characterization of their enhanced two-electron reactivity relative to thiols have led to their implication in maintaining cellular redox homeostasis, in addition to other potential roles. Recent attention on the one-electron reactivity of RSSH has uncovered their potent radical-trapping antioxidant activity, which enables them to inhibit phospholipid peroxidation and associated cell death by ferroptosis. Herein, we briefly review key aspects of the reactivity and underlying physicochemical properties of RSSH. We emphasize their reactivity to radicals-particularly lipid peroxyl radicals that propagate the lipid peroxidation chain reaction-and the recent recognition that this results in ferroptosis suppression. We highlight open questions related to recent developments in this area and, given that all living organisms possess the ability to synthesize persulfides endogenously, suggest they may be primordial radical scavengers that occurred early in evolution and still play a role today.
    Keywords:  Cell death; Ferroptosis; Hydropersulfides; Lipid peroxidation; Persulfides; Reactive sulfur species
  18. Sci Adv. 2023 Jun 30. 9(26): eade6308
      Deleterious variants in N-acetylneuraminate pyruvate lyase (NPL) cause skeletal myopathy and cardiac edema in humans and zebrafish, but its physiological role remains unknown. We report generation of mouse models of the disease: NplR63C, carrying the human p.Arg63Cys variant, and Npldel116 with a 116-bp exonic deletion. In both strains, NPL deficiency causes drastic increase in free sialic acid levels, reduction of skeletal muscle force and endurance, slower healing and smaller size of newly formed myofibers after cardiotoxin-induced muscle injury, increased glycolysis, partially impaired mitochondrial function, and aberrant sialylation of dystroglycan and mitochondrial LRP130 protein. NPL-catalyzed degradation of sialic acid in the muscle increases after fasting and injury and in human patient and mouse models with genetic muscle dystrophy, demonstrating that NPL is essential for muscle function and regeneration and serves as a general marker of muscle damage. Oral administration of N-acetylmannosamine rescues skeletal myopathy, as well as mitochondrial and structural abnormalities in NplR63C mice, suggesting a potential treatment for human patients.
  19. Nature. 2023 Jun 28.
      The human gut microbiome constantly converts natural products derived from the host and diet into numerous bioactive metabolites1-3. Dietary fats are essential micronutrients that undergo lipolysis to release free fatty acids (FAs) for absorption in the small intestine4. Gut commensal bacteria modify some unsaturated FAs-for example, linoleic acid (LA)-into various intestinal FA isomers that regulate host metabolism and have anticarcinogenic properties5. However, little is known about how this diet-microorganism FA isomerization network affects the mucosal immune system of the host. Here we report that both dietary factors and microbial factors influence the level of gut LA isomers (conjugated LAs (CLAs)) and that CLAs in turn modulate a distinct population of CD4+ intraepithelial lymphocytes (IELs) that express CD8αα in the small intestine. Genetic abolition of FA isomerization pathways in individual gut symbionts significantly decreases the number of CD4+CD8αα+ IELs in gnotobiotic mice. Restoration of CLAs increases CD4+CD8αα+ IEL levels in the presence of the transcription factor hepatocyte nuclear factor 4γ (HNF4γ). Mechanistically, HNF4γ facilitates CD4+CD8αα+ IEL development by modulating interleukin-18 signalling. In mice, specific deletion of HNF4γ in T cells leads to early mortality from infection by intestinal pathogens. Our data reveal a new role for bacterial FA metabolic pathways in the control of host intraepithelial immunological homeostasis by modulating the relative number of CD4+ T cells that were CD4+CD8αα+.