bims-mibica Biomed News
on Mitochondrial bioenergetics in cancer
Issue of 2020‒09‒13
forty-four papers selected by
Kelsey Fisher-Wellman
East Carolina University

  1. Nature. 2020 Sep 09.
      Mitochondria require nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) in order to carry out the fundamental processes that fuel respiration and mediate cellular energy transduction. Mitochondrial NAD+ transporters have been identified in yeast and plants1,2 but their very existence is controversial in mammals3-5. Here we demonstrate that mammalian mitochondria are capable of taking up intact NAD+ and identify SLC25A51 (an essential6,7 mitochondrial protein of previously unknown function, also known as MCART1) as a mammalian mitochondrial NAD+ transporter. Loss of SLC25A51 decreases mitochondrial but not whole-cell NAD+ content, impairs mitochondrial respiration, and blocks the uptake of NAD+ into isolated mitochondria. Conversely, overexpression of SLC25A51 or a nearly identical paralog, SLC25A52, increases mitochondrial NAD+ levels and restores NAD+ uptake into yeast mitochondria lacking endogenous NAD+ transporters. Together, these findings identify SLC25A51 as the first transporter capable of importing NAD+ into mammalian mitochondria.
  2. Nat Commun. 2020 09 08. 11(1): 4471
      A human cell contains hundreds to thousands of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) packaged into nucleoids. Currently, the segregation and allocation of nucleoids are thought to be passively determined by mitochondrial fusion and division. Here we provide evidence, using live-cell super-resolution imaging, that nucleoids can be actively transported via KIF5B-driven mitochondrial dynamic tubulation (MDT) activities that predominantly occur at the ER-mitochondria contact sites (EMCS). We further demonstrate that a mitochondrial inner membrane protein complex MICOS links nucleoids to Miro1, a KIF5B receptor on mitochondria, at the EMCS. We show that such active transportation is a mechanism essential for the proper distribution of nucleoids in the peripheral zone of the cell. Together, our work identifies an active transportation mechanism of nucleoids, with EMCS serving as a key platform for the interplay of nucleoids, MICOS, Miro1, and KIF5B to coordinate nucleoids segregation and transportation.
  3. Cell. 2020 Aug 30. pii: S0092-8674(20)30947-8. [Epub ahead of print]
      Metabolic reprogramming is a key feature of many cancers, but how and when it contributes to tumorigenesis remains unclear. Here we demonstrate that metabolic reprogramming induced by mitochondrial fusion can be rate-limiting for immortalization of tumor-initiating cells (TICs) and trigger their irreversible dedication to tumorigenesis. Using single-cell transcriptomics, we find that Drosophila brain tumors contain a rapidly dividing stem cell population defined by upregulation of oxidative phosphorylation (OxPhos). We combine targeted metabolomics and in vivo genetic screening to demonstrate that OxPhos is required for tumor cell immortalization but dispensable in neural stem cells (NSCs) giving rise to tumors. Employing an in vivo NADH/NAD+ sensor, we show that NSCs precisely increase OxPhos during immortalization. Blocking OxPhos or mitochondrial fusion stalls TICs in quiescence and prevents tumorigenesis through impaired NAD+ regeneration. Our work establishes a unique connection between cellular metabolism and immortalization of tumor-initiating cells.
    Keywords:  bioenergetics; cell immortalization; mitochondrial dynamics; neural stem cells; tumor heterogeneity; tumorigenesis
  4. Redox Biol. 2020 Aug 26. pii: S2213-2317(20)30899-5. [Epub ahead of print]37 101694
      Metabolism serves mammalian feeding and active behavior, and is controlled by circadian clock. The molecular mechanism by which clock factors regulate metabolic homeostasis under oxidative stress is unclear. Here, we have characterized that the daily oxygen consumption rhythm was deregulated in Per1 deficient mice. Per1 deficiency impaired daily mitochondrial dynamics and deregulated cellular GPx-related ROS fluctuations in the peripheral organs. We identified that PER1 enhanced GPx activity through PER1/GPX1 interaction in cytoplasm, consequently improving the oxidative phosphorylation efficiency of mitochondria. Per1 expression was specifically elevated in the fasting peripheral organs for protecting mitochondrial from oxidation stress. These observations reveal that Per1-driven mitochondrial dynamics is a critical effector mechanism for the regulation of mitochondrial function in response to oxidation stress.
    Keywords:  GPX1; Metabolic rhythm; Oxidation stress; PER1; ROS
  5. Metabolites. 2020 Sep 06. pii: E363. [Epub ahead of print]10(9):
      In insect, pyruvate is generally the predominant oxidative substrate for mitochondria. This metabolite is transported inside mitochondria via the mitochondrial pyruvate carrier (MPC), but whether and how this transporter controls mitochondrial oxidative capacities in insects is still relatively unknown. Here, we characterize the importance of pyruvate transport as a metabolic control point for mitochondrial substrate oxidation in two genotypes of an insect model, Drosophila melanogaster, differently expressing MPC1, an essential protein for the MPC function. We evaluated the kinetics of pyruvate oxidation, mitochondrial oxygen consumption, metabolic profile, activities of metabolic enzymes, and climbing abilities of wild-type (WT) flies and flies harboring a deficiency in MPC1 (MPC1def). We hypothesized that MPC1 deficiency would cause a metabolic reprogramming that would favor the oxidation of alternative substrates. Our results show that the MPC1def flies display significantly reduced climbing capacity, pyruvate-induced oxygen consumption, and enzymatic activities of pyruvate kinase, alanine aminotransferase, and citrate synthase. Moreover, increased proline oxidation capacity was detected in MPC1def flies, which was associated with generally lower levels of several metabolites, and particularly those involved in amino acid catabolism such as ornithine, citrulline, and arginosuccinate. This study therefore reveals the flexibility of mitochondrial substrate oxidation allowing Drosophila to maintain cellular homeostasis.
    Keywords:  drosophila; kinetics; metabolomics; mitochondrial pyruvate carrier; mitochondrial respiration
  6. Elife. 2020 Sep 11. pii: e59686. [Epub ahead of print]9
      Despite the established role of mitochondria in cancer, the mechanisms by which mitochondrial Ca2+ (mtCa2+) regulates tumorigenesis remain incompletely understood. The crucial role of mtCa2+ in tumorigenesis is highlighted by altered expression of proteins mediating mtCa2+ uptake and extrusion in cancer. Here, we demonstrate decreased expression of the mitochondrial Na+/Ca2+/Li+ exchanger NCLX (SLC8B1) in human colorectal tumors and its association with advanced-stage disease in patients. Downregulation of NCLX causes mtCa2+ overload, mitochondrial depolarization, decreased expression of cell-cycle genes and reduced tumor size in xenograft and spontaneous colorectal cancer mouse models. Concomitantly, NCLX downregulation drives metastatic spread, chemoresistance, and expression of epithelial-to-mesenchymal, hypoxia, and stem cell pathways. Mechanistically, mtCa2+ overload leads to increased mitochondrial reactive oxygen species, which activate HIF1α signaling supporting metastasis of NCLX-null tumor cells. Thus, loss of NCLX is a novel driver of metastasis, indicating that regulation of mtCa2+ is a novel therapeutic approach in metastatic colorectal cancer.
    Keywords:  human; molecular biophysics; mouse; structural biology
  7. IUBMB Life. 2020 Sep 11.
      This article presents a personal and critical review of the history of the malate-aspartate shuttle (MAS), starting in 1962 and ending in 2020. The MAS was initially proposed as a route for the oxidation of cytosolic NADH by the mitochondria in Ehrlich ascites cell tumor lacking other routes, and to explain the need for a mitochondrial aspartate aminotransferase (glutamate oxaloacetate transaminase 2 [GOT2]). The MAS was soon adopted in the field as a major pathway for NADH oxidation in mammalian tissues, such as liver and heart, even though the energetics of the MAS remained a mystery. Only in the 1970s, LaNoue and coworkers discovered that the efflux of aspartate from mitochondria, an essential step in the MAS, is dependent on the proton-motive force generated by the respiratory chain: for every aspartate effluxed, mitochondria take up one glutamate and one proton. This makes the MAS in practice uni-directional toward oxidation of cytosolic NADH, and explains why the free NADH/NAD ratio is much higher in the mitochondria than in the cytosol. The MAS is still a very active field of research. Most recently, the focus has been on the role of the MAS in tumors, on cells with defects in mitochondria and on inborn errors in the MAS. The year 2019 saw the discovery of two new inborn errors in the MAS, deficiencies in malate dehydrogenase 1 and in aspartate transaminase 2 (GOT2). This illustrates the vitality of ongoing MAS research.
    Keywords:  MAS; NADH/NAD ratio; aspartate; citrate-malate cycle; glycerol-1-P cycle; inborn errors; reductive carboxylation
  8. EMBO Rep. 2020 Sep 07. e50845
      When glucose is available, many organisms repress mitochondrial respiration in favour of aerobic glycolysis, or fermentation in yeast, that suffices for ATP production. Fission yeast cells, however, rely partially on respiration for rapid proliferation under fermentative conditions. Here, we determined the limiting factors that require respiratory function during fermentation. When inhibiting the electron transport chain, supplementation with arginine was necessary and sufficient to restore rapid proliferation. Accordingly, a systematic screen for mutants growing poorly without arginine identified mutants defective in mitochondrial oxidative metabolism. Genetic or pharmacological inhibition of respiration triggered a drop in intracellular levels of arginine and amino acids derived from the Krebs cycle metabolite alpha-ketoglutarate: glutamine, lysine and glutamic acid. Conversion of arginine into these amino acids was required for rapid proliferation when blocking the respiratory chain. The respiratory block triggered an immediate gene expression response diagnostic of TOR inhibition, which was muted by arginine supplementation or without the AMPK-activating kinase Ssp1. The TOR-controlled proteins featured biased composition of amino acids reflecting their shortage after respiratory inhibition. We conclude that respiration supports rapid proliferation in fermenting fission yeast cells by boosting the supply of Krebs cycle-derived amino acids.
    Keywords:   S. pombe ; arginine; cellular metabolism; fermentation; respiration
  9. PLoS One. 2020 ;15(9): e0237981
      Serine hydroxymethyltransferase 2 (SHMT2) converts serine plus tetrahydrofolate (THF) into glycine plus methylene-THF and is upregulated at the protein level in lung and other cancers. In order to better understand the role of SHMT2 in cancer a model system of HeLa cells engineered for inducible over-expression or knock-down of SHMT2 was characterized for cell proliferation and changes in metabolites and proteome as a function of SHMT2. Ectopic over-expression of SHMT2 increased cell proliferation in vitro and tumor growth in vivo. Knockdown of SHMT2 expression in vitro caused a state of glycine auxotrophy and accumulation of phosphoribosylaminoimidazolecarboxamide (AICAR), an intermediate of folate/1-carbon-pathway-dependent de novo purine nucleotide synthesis. Decreased glycine in the HeLa cell-based xenograft tumors with knocked down SHMT2 was potentiated by administration of the anti-hyperglycinemia agent benzoate. However, tumor growth was not affected by SHMT2 knockdown with or without benzoate treatment. Benzoate inhibited cell proliferation in vitro, but this was independent of SHMT2 modulation. The abundance of proteins of mitochondrial respiration complexes 1 and 3 was inversely correlated with SHMT2 levels. Proximity biotinylation in vivo (BioID) identified 48 mostly mitochondrial proteins associated with SHMT2 including the mitochondrial enzymes Acyl-CoA thioesterase (ACOT2) and glutamate dehydrogenase (GLUD1) along with more than 20 proteins from mitochondrial respiration complexes 1 and 3. These data provide insights into possible mechanisms through which elevated SHMT2 in cancers may be linked to changes in metabolism and mitochondrial function.
  10. Aging Cell. 2020 Sep 08. e13214
      The dauer larva of Caenorhabditis elegans, destined to survive long periods of food scarcity and harsh environment, does not feed and has a very limited exchange of matter with the exterior. It was assumed that the survival time is determined by internal energy stores. Here, we show that ethanol can provide a potentially unlimited energy source for dauers by inducing a controlled metabolic shift that allows it to be metabolized into carbohydrates, amino acids, and lipids. Dauer larvae provided with ethanol survive much longer and have greater desiccation tolerance. On the cellular level, ethanol prevents the deterioration of mitochondria caused by energy depletion. By modeling the metabolism of dauers of wild-type and mutant strains with and without ethanol, we suggest that the mitochondrial health and survival of an organism provided with an unlimited source of carbon depends on the balance between energy production and toxic product(s) of lipid metabolism.
    Keywords:  aging; exogenous ethanol; metabolic shift; mitochondrial health; stress resistance
  11. Redox Biol. 2020 Aug 27. pii: S2213-2317(20)30907-1. [Epub ahead of print]37 101702
      Transcription factor nuclear factor-erythroid 2-like 2 (NRF2) mainly regulates cellular antioxidant response, redox homeostasis and metabolic balance. Our previous study illustrated the translational significance of NRF2-mediated transcriptional repression, and the transcription of FOCAD gene might be negatively regulated by NRF2. However, the detailed mechanism and the related significance remain unclear. In this study, we mainly explored the effect of NRF2-FOCAD signaling pathway on ferroptosis regulation in human non-small-cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) model. Our results confirmed the negative regulation relationship between NRF2 and FOCAD, which was dependent on NRF2-Replication Protein A1 (RPA1)-Antioxidant Response Elements (ARE) complex. In addition, FOCAD promoted the activity of focal adhesion kinase (FAK), which further enhanced the sensitivity of NSCLC cells to cysteine deprivation-induced ferroptosis via promoting the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle and the activity of Complex I in mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC). However, FOCAD didn't affect GPX4 inhibition-induced ferroptosis. Moreover, the treatment with the combination of NRF2 inhibitor (brusatol) and erastin showed better therapeutic action against NSCLC in vitro and in vivo than single treatment, and the improved therapeutic function partially depended on the activation of FOCAD-FAK signal. Taken together, our study indicates the close association of NRF2-FOCAD-FAK signaling pathway with cysteine deprivation-induced ferroptosis, and elucidates a novel insight into the ferroptosis-based therapeutic approach for the patients with NSCLC.
    Keywords:  FAK; FOCAD; Ferroptosis; Mitochondria; NRF2; NSCLC
  12. ACS Chem Biol. 2020 Sep 08.
      The estrogen related receptors (ERRs) are a subgroup of nuclear receptors that play a role in regulation of cellular metabolism. Prostate cancer (PCa) cells display altered metabolic signatures, such as the Warburg effect, and the ERRs have been implicated in driving this phenotype. Despite the lack of a known endogenous ligand, synthetic ligands that target the ERRs have been discovered. For example, the ERRα inverse agonist XCT790 modulates metabolic pathways in PCa cells, but it also functions as a mitochondrial uncoupler independent of targeting ERRα. Here, we describe a novel dual ERRα/γ inverse agonist, SLU-PP-1072, derived from the GSK4716 ERRγ agonist scaffold that is distinct from the XCT790 scaffold. SLU-PP-1072 alters PCa cell metabolism and gene expression, resulting in cell cycle dysregulation and increased apoptosis without acute mitochondrial uncoupling activity. Our data suggest that inhibition of ERRα/γ may be beneficial in treatment of PCa, and SLU-PP-1072 provides a unique chemical tool to evaluate the pharmacology of ERRα and ERRγ.
  13. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020 Sep 08. pii: 202013998. [Epub ahead of print]
      The structure of the dimeric ATP synthase from bovine mitochondria determined in three rotational states by electron cryo-microscopy provides evidence that the proton uptake from the mitochondrial matrix via the proton inlet half channel proceeds via a Grotthus mechanism, and a similar mechanism may operate in the exit half channel. The structure has given information about the architecture and mechanical constitution and properties of the peripheral stalk, part of the membrane extrinsic region of the stator, and how the action of the peripheral stalk damps the side-to-side rocking motions that occur in the enzyme complex during the catalytic cycle. It also describes wedge structures in the membrane domains of each monomer, where the skeleton of each wedge is provided by three α-helices in the membrane domains of the b-subunit to which the supernumerary subunits e, f, and g and the membrane domain of subunit A6L are bound. Protein voids in the wedge are filled by three specifically bound cardiolipin molecules and two other phospholipids. The external surfaces of the wedges link the monomeric complexes together into the dimeric structures and provide a pivot to allow the monomer-monomer interfaces to change during catalysis and to accommodate other changes not related directly to catalysis in the monomer-monomer interface that occur in mitochondrial cristae. The structure of the bovine dimer also demonstrates that the structures of dimeric ATP synthases in a tetrameric porcine enzyme have been seriously misinterpreted in the membrane domains.
    Keywords:  Grotthus chain; bovine mitochondria; dimeric ATP synthase; structure; torque generation
  14. Cell Rep. 2020 Sep 08. pii: S2211-1247(20)31097-4. [Epub ahead of print]32(10): 108108
      The metabolic program of osteoblasts, the chief bone-making cells, remains incompletely understood. Here in murine calvarial cells, we establish that osteoblast differentiation under aerobic conditions is coupled with a marked increase in glucose consumption and lactate production but reduced oxygen consumption. As a result, aerobic glycolysis accounts for approximately 80% of the ATP production in mature osteoblasts. In vivo tracing with 13C-labeled glucose in the mouse shows that glucose in bone is readily metabolized to lactate but not organic acids in the TCA cycle. Glucose tracing in osteoblast cultures reveals that pyruvate is carboxylated to form malate integral to the malate-aspartate shuttle. RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) identifies Me2, encoding the mitochondrial NAD-dependent isoform of malic enzyme, as being specifically upregulated during osteoblast differentiation. Knockdown of Me2 markedly reduces the glycolytic flux and impairs osteoblast proliferation and differentiation. Thus, the mitochondrial malic enzyme functionally couples the mitochondria with aerobic glycolysis in osteoblasts.
    Keywords:  TCA cycle; aerobic glycolysis; bone; differentiation; malate-aspartate shuttle; malic enzyme; metabolic tracing; metabolism; mitochondria; osteoblast
  15. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2020 Sep 05. pii: S0006-291X(20)31688-0. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitochondria play a central role in biological oxidation that inevitably generates reactive oxygen species (ROS) as by-products. Maintenance of mitochondrial redox balance status requires NADPH, which is primarily generated by the mitochondrial matrix protein isocitrate dehydrogenase 2 (IDH2). The activity of IDH2 is regulated by post-translational modifications (PTMs). In this study, we found IDH2 is modified by small ubiquitin-like modifier 1 (SUMO1) at lysine 45. SUMO specific protease 1 (SENP1) is responsible for deSUMOylation of IDH2. SUMOylation of IDH2 is induced by oxidants and enhances the antioxidant activity of IDH2 to protect cells against oxidative stress. Mutation of the SUMOylation site impairs the enzymatic activity of IDH2 and hence decreases levels of α-ketoglutarate (α-KG), NADPH and GSH. Cells with SUMOylation deficient IDH2 suffer more apoptosis than that with wild type IDH2 under oxidative stress. These results indicate that SUMOylation is an important way to regulate IDH2 activity to maintain mitochondrial redox balance.
    Keywords:  IDH2; Mitochondria; Oxidative stress; SUMOylation
  16. Mol Neurobiol. 2020 Sep 11.
      Mitochondrial diseases (MD), such as Leigh syndrome (LS), present with severe neurological and muscular phenotypes in patients, but have no known cure and limited treatment options. Based on their neuroprotective effects against other neurodegenerative diseases in vivo and their positive impact as an antioxidant against complex I deficiency in vitro, we investigated the potential protective effect of metallothioneins (MTs) in an Ndufs4 knockout mouse model (with a very similar phenotype to LS) crossed with an Mt1 overexpressing mouse model (TgMt1). Despite subtle reductions in the expression of neuroinflammatory markers GFAP and IBA1 in the vestibular nucleus and hippocampus, we found no improvement in survival, growth, locomotor activity, balance, or motor coordination in the Mt1 overexpressing Ndufs4-/- mice. Furthermore, at a cellular level, no differences were detected in the metabolomics profile or gene expression of selected one-carbon metabolism and oxidative stress genes, performed in the brain and quadriceps, nor in the ROS levels of macrophages derived from these mice. Considering these outcomes, we conclude that MT1, in general, does not protect against the impaired motor activity or improve survival in these complex I-deficient mice. The unexpected absence of increased oxidative stress and metabolic redox imbalance in this MD model may explain these observations. However, tissue-specific observations such as the mildly reduced inflammation in the hippocampus and vestibular nucleus, as well as differential MT1 expression in these tissues, may yet reveal a tissue- or cell-specific role for MTs in these mice.
    Keywords:  Leigh syndrome; Metallothionein; Mitochondrial disease; Ndufs4 knockout mice; Oxidative stress; Phenotyping
  17. Cell Rep. 2020 Sep 08. pii: S2211-1247(20)31114-1. [Epub ahead of print]32(10): 108125
      Individually, dysfunction of both the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and mitochondria has been linked to aging, but how communication between these organelles might be targeted to promote longevity is unclear. Here, we provide evidence that, in Caenorhabditis elegans, inhibition of the conserved unfolded protein response (UPRER) mediator, activating transcription factor (atf)-6, increases lifespan by modulating calcium homeostasis and signaling to mitochondria. Atf-6 loss confers longevity via downregulation of the ER calcium buffer, calreticulin. ER calcium release via the inositol triphosphate receptor (IP3R/itr-1) is required for longevity, while IP3R/itr-1 gain of function is sufficient to extend lifespan. Highlighting coordination between organelles, the mitochondrial calcium import channel mcu-1 is also required for atf-6 longevity. IP3R inhibition leads to impaired mitochondrial bioenergetics and hyperfusion, which is sufficient to suppress long life in atf-6 mutants. This study reveals the importance of organellar calcium handling as a critical output for the UPRER in determining the quality of aging.
    Keywords:  InsP3R; UPR; aging; calreticulin; interorganelle communication; longevity
  18. Nat Rev Cancer. 2020 Sep 07.
      Circadian rhythms govern a large array of physiological and metabolic functions. Perturbations of the daily cycle have been linked to elevated risk of developing cancer as well as poor prognosis in patients with cancer. Also, expression of core clock genes or proteins is remarkably attenuated particularly in tumours of a higher stage or that are more aggressive, possibly linking the circadian clock to cellular differentiation. Emerging evidence indicates that metabolic control by the circadian clock underpins specific hallmarks of cancer metabolism. Indeed, to support cell proliferation and biomass production, the clock may direct metabolic processes of cancer cells in concert with non-clock transcription factors to control how nutrients and metabolites are utilized in a time-specific manner. We hypothesize that the metabolic switch between differentiation or stemness of cancer may be coupled to the molecular clockwork. Moreover, circadian rhythms of host organisms appear to dictate tumour growth and proliferation. This Review outlines recent discoveries of the interplay between circadian rhythms, proliferative metabolism and cancer, highlighting potential opportunities in the development of future therapeutic strategies.
  19. Cardiovasc Toxicol. 2020 Sep 10.
      Although a mitochondrial redox-cycling superoxide-generating mechanism for the cardiotoxicity of doxorubicin was suggested from experiments with isolated mitochondria, its occurrence and contribution to cytotoxicity in intact cardiomyocytes is not fully established. Therefore, we determined the immediate and delayed effects of doxorubicin on the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and cytotoxicity in differentiated H9c2 cardiomyocytes. Although relatively short incubations (3 or 6 h) with 1 or 5 µM doxorubicin did not acutely decrease cell survival, exposure to 5 µM doxorubicin for 3 h was sufficient to cause a significant delayed decrease in cell survival after an additional 24 h without doxorubicin. Mitochondrial superoxide generation was observed to increase within 30 min of incubation with 5 µM doxorubicin. Increased intracellular ROS generation, decreased mitochondrial metabolic activity, and decreased mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) were observed after more extended periods (6-12 h). Overall, these observations support that the toxicity of doxorubicin to differentiated cardiomyocytes involves acute mitochondrial superoxide generation with subsequent intracellular ROS generation, mitochondrial dysfunction, and cell death.
    Keywords:  Cardiomyocyte cytotoxicity; Cell death; Doxorubicin; Intracellular ROS; Mitochondrial dysfunction; Mitochondrial superoxide
  20. Ageing Res Rev. 2020 Sep 04. pii: S1568-1637(20)30303-2. [Epub ahead of print] 101168
      Mitochondrial dysfunction is one of the hallmarks of aging. Consistently mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) copy number and function decline with age in various tissues. There is increasing evidence to support that mitochondrial dysfunction drives ovarian aging. A decreased mtDNA copy number is also reported during ovarian aging. However, the mitochondrial mechanisms contributing to ovarian aging and infertility are not fully understood. Additionally, investigations into mitochondrial therapies to rejuvenate oocyte quality, select viable embryos and improve mitochondrial function may help enhance fertility or extend reproductive longevity in the future. These therapies include the use of mitochondrial replacement techniques, quantification of mtDNA copy number, and various pharmacologic and lifestyle measures. This review aims to describe the key evidence and current knowledge of the role of mitochondria in ovarian aging and identify the emerging potential options for therapy to extend reproductive longevity and improve fertility.
    Keywords:  Infertility; Mitochondrial DNA; Mitochondrial Dysfunction; Mitochondrial therapies; Ovarian aging; Reproductive longevity
  21. Dig Dis Sci. 2020 Sep 10.
      BACKGROUND: Oxaliplatin is one of the most effective chemotherapeutic drugs used for the treatment of colorectal cancer (CRC). However, intervention that attenuates the resistance of oxaliplatin is still required in the treatment of CRC.AIMS: To investigate the role of miR-325 in changing the oxaliplatin sensitivity to CRC cells.
    METHODS: Expression of miR-325 in colorectal cancer tissues and cell lines was measured by using qRT-PCR analysis. Cytotoxicity of oxaliplatin to control or miR-325-overexpressed HT29 and SW480 cells was evaluated by CCK-8 assays. Luciferase reporter assay was used to confirm the regulation of miR-325 on HSPA12B. Flow cytometry was performed to detect the mitochondrial membrane potential and cell apoptosis.
    RESULTS: Expression of miR-325 was decreased in colorectal cancer tissues and cell lines. However, overexpression of miR-325 can decrease the 50% inhibiting concentration of oxaliplatin to colorectal cancer cell lines HT29 and SW480. Mechanically, we confirmed that miR-325 targeted HSPA12B in colorectal cancer. Therefore, overexpression of miR-325 inhibited the phosphorylation of PI3K and AKT and decreased the expression of Bcl-2 to promote the oxaliplatin-induced mitochondrial apoptosis in colorectal cancer.
    CONCLUSIONS: MiR-325 sensitizes the colorectal cancer cells to oxaliplatin-induced cytotoxicity through the HSPA12B/PI3K/AKT/Bcl-2 pathway.
    Keywords:  Bcl-2; Colorectal cancer; HSPA12B; Oxaliplatin; PI3K/AKT; miR-325
  22. Cancers (Basel). 2020 Sep 08. pii: E2548. [Epub ahead of print]12(9):
      The nuclear-encoded subunit 4 of cytochrome c oxidase (COX4) plays a role in regulation of oxidative phosphorylation and contributes to cancer progression. We sought to determine the role of COX4 in differentiated (DTC) and medullary (MTC) thyroid cancers. We examined the expression of COX4 in human thyroid tumors by immunostaining and used shRNA-mediated knockdown of COX4 to evaluate its functional contributions in thyroid cancer cell lines. In human thyroid tissue, the expression of COX4 was higher in cancers than in either normal thyroid (p = 0.0001) or adenomas (p = 0.001). The level of COX4 expression correlated with tumor size (p = 0.04) and lymph-node metastases (p = 0.024) in patients with MTCs. COX4 silencing had no effects on cell signaling activation and mitochondrial respiration in DTC cell lines (FTC133 and BCPAP). In MTC-derived TT cells, COX4 silencing inhibited p70S6K/pS6 and p-ERK signaling, and was associated with decreased oxygen consumption and ATP production. Treatment with potassium cyanide had minimal effects on FTC133 and BCPAP, but inhibited mitochondrial respiration and induced apoptosis in MTC-derived TT cells. Our data demonstrated that metastatic MTCs are characterized by increased expression of COX4, and MTC-derived TT cells are vulnerable to COX4 silencing. These data suggest that COX4 can be considered as a novel molecular target for the treatment of MTC.
    Keywords:  COX4; cancer metabolism; cytochrome-c oxidase; medullary thyroid cancer; thyroid cancer
  23. Cancer Immunol Res. 2020 Sep 11. pii: canimm.0005.2019. [Epub ahead of print]
      Despite the clinical success of T cell checkpoint blockade, most cancer patients still fail to have durable responses to immunotherapy. The molecular mechanisms driving checkpoint blockade resistance, whether pre-existing or evolved, remain unclear. To address this critical knowledge gap, we treated B16 melanoma with the combination of CTLA-4, PD-1, and PD-L1 blockade and a Flt3 ligand vaccine (≥75% curative), isolated tumors resistant to therapy, and serially passaged them in vivo with the same treatment regimen until they developed complete resistance. Using gene expression analysis and immunogenomics, we determined the adaptations associated with this resistance phenotype. Checkpoint resistance coincided with acquisition of a "hypermetabolic" phenotype characterized by coordinated upregulation of the glycolytic, oxidoreductase, and mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation pathways. These resistant tumors flourished under hypoxic conditions whereas metabolically starved T cells lost glycolytic potential, effector function, and the ability to expand in response to immunotherapy. Further, we found that checkpoint resistant versus sensitive tumors could be separated by non-invasive MRI imaging based solely on their metabolic state. In a cohort of melanoma patients resistant to both CTLA-4 and PD-1 blockade, we observed upregulation of pathways indicative of a similar hypermetabolic state. Together these data indicated that melanoma can evade T cell checkpoint blockade immunotherapy by adapting a hypermetabolic phenotype.
  24. Oncogenesis. 2020 Sep 10. 9(9): 80
      NAMPT mediates the rate-limiting step of the NAD salvage pathway, which maintains cellular bioenergetics and provides a necessary substrate for functions essential to rapidly proliferating cancer cells. In this study, we evaluated the efficacy and mechanisms of action of OT-82, a novel, high-potency NAMPT inhibitor with a favorable toxicity profile, in preclinical models of Ewing sarcoma (EWS), an aggressive pediatric malignancy with previously reported selective sensitivity to NAMPT inhibition. We show that OT-82 decreased NAD concentration and impaired proliferation of EWS cells in a dose-dependent manner, with IC50 values in the single-digit nanomolar range. Notably, genetic depletion of NAMPT phenocopied pharmacological inhibition. On-target activity of OT-82 was confirmed with the addition of NMN, the product of NAMPT, which rescued NAD concentration and EWS cellular viability. Mechanistically, OT-82 treatment resulted in impaired DNA damage repair through loss of PARP activity, G2 cell-cycle arrest, and apoptosis in EWS cells. Additional consequences of OT-82 treatment included reduction of glycolytic and mitochondrial activity. In vivo, OT-82 impaired tumor growth and prolonged survival in mice bearing EWS xenografts. Importantly, antitumor effect correlated with pharmacodynamic markers of target engagement. Furthermore, combining low-dose OT-82 with low doses of agents augmenting DNA damage demonstrated enhanced antitumor activity in vitro and in vivo. Thus, OT-82 treatment represents a potential novel targeted approach for the clinical treatment of EWS.
  25. Diagnostics (Basel). 2020 Sep 04. pii: E674. [Epub ahead of print]10(9):
      Ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme 2C (UBE2C) involves in numerous cellular processes and the tumor progression in many cancers. However, its role in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is unclear. We aimed to investigate the role and clinical significance of UBE2C in OSCC. The expression levels of UBE2C were examined by immunohistochemistry in 185 buccal mucosa squamous cell carcinomas, 247 tongue squamous cell carcinomas (TSCCs) and 75 lip squamous cell carcinomas. The roles of UBE2C in cell growth, invasion/migration and cancer stemness were also examined in OSCC cells. The expression levels of UBE2C protein were higher in tumor tissues than they were in the corresponding tumor adjacent normal tissues from OSCC patients. Higher UBE2C expression was associated with poor cell differentiation and lymph node invasion in OSCC patients. High UBE2C expression was also correlated with shorter disease-specific survival in TSCC patients having poor cell differentiation, advanced pathological stages, lymph node metastasis as well as receiving radiation therapy. Compared to control cells, OSCC cells in which UBE2C was silenced showed decreased cell proliferation, migration/invasion and colony formation and they exhibited lower expression levels of the following cancer stemness markers-ALDH1/A2, CD44, CD166 and EpCAM. High co-expression levels of UBE2C/CD44, UBE2C/CD166 and UBE2C/EpCAM were associated with poor prognosis in oral cancer patients from The Cancer Genome Atlas database. Our findings indicated that UBE2C might be a potential biomarker for tumorigenesis and prognosis in TSCC.
    Keywords:  UBE2C; biomarker; prognosis; tongue squamous cell carcinoma; tumorigenesis
  26. Sci Rep. 2020 Sep 11. 10(1): 14981
      The poor prognosis of gastric adenocarcinoma is partly due to chemotherapy failure, especially the oxaliplatin-based chemotherapy. However, the specific mechanism of oxaliplatin resistance is unclear. We aim to find the roles that LINC00641 and miR-582-5p play in regulating oxaliplatin resistance. Quantitative reverse transcriptase-PCR was used to evaluate the expression of LINC00641 and microRNA-582-5p (miR-582-5p) in gastric cancer both in vivo and in vitro. Transwell and CCK-8 assays were performed; and LC3 I/II and p62 were detected by western blot to evaluate the activation of autophagy. LINC00641 expression was associated with prognosis and oxaliplatin resistance in patients with gastric adenocarcinoma. The expression of LINC00641 was higher in gastric cancer tissues; whereas miR-582-5p was down-regulated in gastric cancer tissues. Moreover, LINC00641 was highly expressed in oxaliplatin-resistant cell lines and miR-582-5p was down-regulated. In addition, LINC00641 negatively regulated the expression of miR-582-5p. With regard to biological functions, down-regulation of LINC00641 suppressed cell migration and proliferation. Further experiments indicated that down-regulation of LINC00641 inhibited the autophagy process, making gastric cancer cells more sensitive to oxaliplatin. LINC00641 and miR-582-5p are biomarkers for predicting overall survival, as they were involved in regulating oxaliplatin resistance by altering autophagy in gastric adenocarcinoma.
  27. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020 Sep 09. pii: 202002806. [Epub ahead of print]
      Immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) is efficacious in many diverse cancer types, but not all patients respond. It is important to understand the mechanisms driving resistance to these treatments and to identify predictive biomarkers of response to provide best treatment options for all patients. Here we introduce a resection and response-assessment approach for studying the tumor microenvironment before or shortly after treatment initiation to identify predictive biomarkers differentiating responders from nonresponders. Our approach builds on a bilateral tumor implantation technique in a murine metastatic breast cancer model (E0771) coupled with anti-PD-1 therapy. Using our model, we show that tumors from mice responding to ICB therapy had significantly higher CD8+ T cells and fewer Gr1+CD11b+ myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) at early time points following therapy initiation. RNA sequencing on the intratumoral CD8+ T cells identified the presence of T cell exhaustion pathways in nonresponding tumors and T cell activation in responding tumors. Strikingly, we showed that our derived response and resistance signatures significantly segregate patients by survival and associate with patient response to ICB. Furthermore, we identified decreased expression of CXCR3 in nonresponding mice and showed that tumors grown in Cxcr3 -/- mice had an elevated resistance rate to anti-PD-1 treatment. Our findings suggest that the resection and response tumor model can be used to identify response and resistance biomarkers to ICB therapy and guide the use of combination therapy to further boost the antitumor efficacy of ICB.
    Keywords:  bilateral tumor model; breast cancer; immune checkpoint blockade; predictive biomarkers; tumor immune microenvironment
  28. Biochem J. 2020 Sep 08. pii: BCJ20200240. [Epub ahead of print]
      In yeast and animal cells, mitochondrial disturbances resulting from imbalances in the respiratory chain require malate dehydrogenase (MDH) activities for re-directing fluxes of reducing equivalents. In plants, in addition to mitochondria, plastids use malate valves to counterbalance and maintain redox-homeostasis. Arabidopsis expresses three cytosolic MDH isoforms, namely cyMDH1, cyMDH2, and cyMDH3, the latter possessing an N-terminal extension carrying a unique cysteine residue C2. In this study, redox-effects on activity and structure of all three cyMDH isoforms were analyzed in vitro. cyMDH1 and cyMDH2 were reversibly inactivated by diamide treatment, accompanied by dimerization via disulfide-bridge formation. In contrast, cyMDH3 forms dimers and higher oligomers upon oxidation, but its low specific activity is redox-independent. In the presence of glutathione, cyMDH1 and cyMDH2 are protected from dimerization and inactivation. In contrast, cyMDH3 still dimerizes but does not form oligomers any longer. From analyses of single and double cysteine mutants and structural modeling of cyMDH3, we conclude that the presence of C2 and C336 allows for multiple cross-links in the higher molecular weight complexes comprising disulfides within the dimer as well as between monomers of two different dimers. Furthermore, nuclear localization of cyMDH isoforms was significantly increased under oxidizing conditions in isolated Arabidopsis protoplasts, in particular of isoform cyMDH3. The unique cyMDH3 C2-C2-linked dimer is, therefore, a good candidate as a redox-sensor taking over moonlighting functions upon disturbances of energy metabolism, as shown previously for the glycolytic enzyme glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) where oxidative modification of the sensitive catalytic cysteine residues induces nuclear translocation.
    Keywords:  Arabidopsis thaliana; S-glutathionylation; energy metabolism; malate dehydrogenase; redox signalling; small molecules
  29. Cancer Res. 2020 Sep 09. pii: canres.0600.2020. [Epub ahead of print]
      PIK3CA encodes the p110α catalytic subunit of PI3 kinase and is frequently mutated in human cancers, including ~30% of colorectal cancer (CRC). Oncogenic mutations in PIK3CA render CRCs more dependent on glutamine. Here we report that the glutaminase inhibitor CB-839 preferentially inhibits xenograft growth of PIK3CA-mutant, but not wild-type (WT), CRCs. Moreover, the combination of CB-839 and 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) induces PIK3CA-mutant tumor regression in xenograft models. CB-839 treatment increased reactive oxygen species and caused nuclear translocation of Nrf2, which in turn up-regulated mRNA expression of uridine phosphorylase 1 (UPP1). UPP1 facilitated the conversion of 5-FU to its active compound, thereby enhancing the inhibition of thymidylate synthase. Consistently, knockout of UPP1 abrogated the tumor inhibitory effect of combined CB-839 and 5-FU administration. A phase I clinical trial showed that the combination of CB-839 and capecitabine, a prodrug of 5-FU, was well tolerated at biologically-active doses. Although not designed to test efficacy, an exploratory analysis of the phase I data showed a trend that PIK3CA-mutant CRC patients might derive greater benefit from this treatment strategy as compared to PIK3CA WT CRC patients. These results effectively demonstrate that targeting glutamine metabolism may be an effective approach for treating patients with PIK3CA-mutant CRCs and warrants further clinical evaluation.
  30. FASEB J. 2020 Sep 12.
      Mitochondrial adaptation during non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) include remodeling of ketogenic flux and sustained tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle activity, which are concurrent to onset of oxidative stress. Over 70% of obese humans have NAFLD and ketogenic diets are common weight loss strategies. However, the effectiveness of ketogenic diets toward alleviating NAFLD remains unclear. We hypothesized that chronic ketogenesis will worsen metabolic dysfunction and oxidative stress during NAFLD. Mice (C57BL/6) were kept (for 16-wks) on either a low-fat, high-fat, or high-fat diet supplemented with 1.5X branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) by replacing carbohydrate calories (ketogenic). The ketogenic diet induced hepatic lipid oxidation and ketogenesis, and produced multifaceted changes in flux through the individual steps of the TCA cycle. Higher rates of hepatic oxidative fluxes fueled by the ketogenic diet paralleled lower rates of de novo lipogenesis. Interestingly, this metabolic remodeling did not improve insulin resistance, but induced fibrogenic genes and inflammation in the liver. Under a chronic "ketogenic environment," the hepatocyte diverted more acetyl-CoA away from lipogenesis toward ketogenesis and TCA cycle, a milieu which can hasten oxidative stress and inflammation. In summary, chronic exposure to ketogenic environment during obesity and NAFLD has the potential to aggravate hepatic mitochondrial dysfunction.
    Keywords:  fatty liver; hepatic insulin resistance; lipogenesis; liver mitochondria
  31. Cell Death Dis. 2020 Sep 10. 11(9): 736
      Colon tumors grow in an adipose tissue-enriched microenvironment. Locally advanced colon cancers often invade into surrounding adipose tissue with a direct contact with adipocytes. We have previously shown that adipocytes promote tumor growth by modulating cellular metabolism. Here we demonstrate that carnitine palmitoyltransferase I (CPT1A), a key enzyme controlling fatty acid oxidation (FAO), was upregulated in colon cancer cells upon exposure to adipocytes or fatty acids. In addition, CPT1A expression was increased in invasive tumor cells within the adipose tissue compared to tumors without direct contact with adipocytes. Silencing CPT1A abolished the protective effect provided by fatty acids against nutrient deprivation and reduced tumor organoid formation in 3D culture and the expression of genes associated with cancer stem cells downstream of Wnt/β-catenin. Mechanistically, CPT1A-dependent FAO promoted the acetylation and nuclear translocation of β-catenin. Furthermore, knockdown of CPT1A blocked the tumor-promoting effect of adipocytes in vivo and inhibited xenograft tumor initiation. Taken together, our findings identify CPT1A-depedent FAO as an essential metabolic pathway that enables the interaction between adipocytes and colon cancer cells.
  32. Sci Rep. 2020 Sep 08. 10(1): 14777
      Green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagging is the prevalent strategy to monitor protein dynamics in living cells. However, the consequences of appending the bulky GFP moiety to the protein of interest are rarely investigated. Here, using a powerful combination of quantitative fluorescence spectroscopic and imaging techniques, we have examined the oligomerization dynamics of the GFP-tagged mitochondrial fission GTPase dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1) both in vitro and in vivo. We find that GFP-tagged Drp1 exhibits impaired oligomerization equilibria in solution that corresponds to a greatly diminished cooperative GTPase activity in comparison to native Drp1. Consequently, GFP-tagged Drp1 constitutes aberrantly stable, GTP-resistant supramolecular assemblies both in vitro and in vivo, neither of which reflects a more dynamic native Drp1 oligomerization state. Indeed, GFP-tagged Drp1 is detected more frequently per unit length over mitochondria in Drp1-null mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) compared to wild-type (wt) MEFs, indicating that the drastically reduced GTP turnover restricts oligomer disassembly from the mitochondrial surface relative to mixed oligomers comprising native and GFP-tagged Drp1. Yet, GFP-tagged Drp1 retains the capacity to mediate membrane constriction in vitro and mitochondrial division in vivo. These findings suggest that instead of robust assembly-disassembly dynamics, persistent Drp1 higher-order oligomerization over membranes is sufficient for mitochondrial fission.
  33. FEBS J. 2020 Sep 08.
      Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ, ubiquinone) is a redox-active lipid endogenously synthesized by the cells. The final stage of CoQ biosynthesis is performed at the mitochondrial level by the "complex Q", where coq2 is responsible for the prenylation of the benzoquinone ring of the molecule. We report that the competitive coq2 inhibitor 4-nitrobenzoate (4-NB) decreased the cellular CoQ content and caused severe impairment of mitochondrial function in the T67 human glioma cell line. In parallel with the reduction of CoQ biosynthesis, the cholesterol level increased, leading to significant perturbation of the plasma membrane physico-chemical properties. We show that 4-NB treatment did not significantly affect the cell viability, because of an adaptive metabolic rewiring toward glycolysis. HIF-1α stabilization was detected in 4-NB treated cells, possibly due to the contribution of both reduction of intracellular oxygen tension and ROS overproduction. Exogenous CoQ supplementation partially recovered cholesterol content, HIF-1α degradation and ROS production, whereas only weakly improved the bioenergetic impairment induced by the CoQ depletion. Our data provide new insights on the effect of CoQ depletion and contribute to shed light on the pathogenic mechanisms of ubiquinone deficiency syndrome.
    Keywords:  4-nitrobenzoate; HIF-1α; cholesterol content; coenzyme Q deficiency; coq2 inhibition; respiratory chain
  34. Genes Dev. 2020 Sep 10.
      The uptake of macromolecules and cellular debris through macropinocytosis has emerged as an important nutrient acquisition strategy of cancer cells. Genetic alterations commonly found in human cancers (e.g. mutations in KRAS or loss of PTEN) have been shown to increase macropinocytosis. To identify additional effectors that enable cell growth dependent on the uptake of extracellular proteins, pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) cells were selected for growth in medium where extracellular albumin was the obligate source of the essential amino acid leucine. Analysis of global changes in chromatin availability and gene expression revealed that PDA cells selected under these conditions exhibited elevated activity of the transcriptional activators Yap/Taz. Knockout of Yap/Taz prevented growth of PDA cells in leucine-deficient medium, but not in complete medium. Furthermore, constitutively active forms of Yap or Taz were sufficient to stimulate macropinocytosis of extracellular protein. In addition to promoting the uptake of plasma proteins, Yap/Taz also promoted the scavenging of apoptotic cell bodies and necrotic debris by PDA cells. The Yap/Taz transcriptional target Axl was found to be essential for cell growth dependent on the uptake of dead cells and cell debris. Together, these studies suggest that the Hippo pathway effectors Yap and Taz are important transcriptional regulators of endocytic nutrient uptake.
    Keywords:  Yap; cancer metabolism; macropinocytosis
  35. Nat Commun. 2020 Sep 11. 11(1): 4551
      Circular RNAs (circRNAs) have recently gained substantial attention in the cancer research field where most, including the putative oncogene ciRS-7 (CDR1as), have been proposed to function as competitive endogenous RNAs (ceRNAs) by sponging specific microRNAs. Here, we report the first spatially resolved cellular expression patterns of ciRS-7 in colon cancer and show that ciRS-7 is completely absent in the cancer cells, but highly expressed in stromal cells within the tumor microenvironment. Additionally, our data suggest that this generally apply to classical oncogene-driven adenocarcinomas, but not to other cancers, including malignant melanoma. Moreover, we find that correlations between circRNA and mRNA expression, which are commonly interpreted as evidence of a ceRNA function, can be explained by different cancer-to-stromal cell ratios among the studied tumor specimens. Together, these results have wide implications for future circRNA studies and highlight the importance of spatially resolving expression patterns of circRNAs proposed to function as ceRNAs.
  36. Prostate Cancer. 2020 ;2020 7673684
      Primary prostate tumor heterogeneity is poorly understood, leaving research efforts with challenges regarding the initiation and advancement of the disease. The growth of tumor cells is accompanied by mutations in nuclear and in mitochondrial genomes. Thus, mitochondrial DNA mutations may be used as tumor cell markers. By the use of laser capture microdissection coupled with assays for mitochondrial point mutation detection, mtDNA mutations were used to trace mutated cells at a histological level. Point mutations in mtDNA were determined in 12 primary prostate cancers. The tumors represent different pathology-prognostic grade groups. Known mutational hotspots of the mtDNA were scanned for heteroplasmy. All specimens with mtDNA heteroplasmy were subsequently subsampled by laser capture microdissection. From a total number of 1728 microsamples, mitochondrial DNA target sequences were amplified and base substitutions detected by cycling temperature capillary electrophoresis. Real-time PCR was used as a quantitative assay to determine the relative mtDNA copy number of 12 tumors studied, represented by two samples from each (N = 24); a high degree (75%) demonstrated tumor specimen heterogeneity. A grid of 96 spots isolated by laser capture microdissection demonstrated interfocal sample heterogeneity and increased the limit of detection. The spots demonstrated a wide range of mutant fractions from 0 to 100% mutant copies. The mitochondrial DNA copy number in the samples was determined by real-time PCR. No correlation between copy number and pathology-prognostic grade groups was observed. Somatic mitochondrial DNA point mutations represent traceable biomarkers demonstrating heterogeneity in primary prostate cancer. Mutations can be detected in areas before changes in tissue histopathology are evident to the pathologist.
  37. Free Radic Biol Med. 2020 Sep 05. pii: S0891-5849(20)31233-8. [Epub ahead of print]
      Nitric oxide (NO)-dependent signaling and cytotoxic effects are mediated in part via protein S-nitrosylation. The magnitude and duration of S-nitrosylation are governed by the two main thiol reducing systems, the glutathione (GSH) and thioredoxin (Trx) antioxidant systems. In recent years, approaches have been developed to harness the cytotoxic potential of NO/nitrosylation to inhibit tumor cell growth. However, progress in this area has been hindered by insufficient understanding of the balance and interplay between cellular nitrosylation, other oxidative processes and the GSH/Trx systems. In addition, the mechanistic relationship between thiol redox imbalance and cancer cell death is not fully understood. Herein, we explored the redox and cellular effects induced by the S-nitrosylating agent, S-nitrosocysteine (CysNO), in GSH-sufficient and -deficient human tumor cells. We used L-buthionine-sulfoximine (BSO) to induce GSH deficiency, and employed redox, biochemical and cellular assays to interrogate molecular mechanisms. We found that, under GSH-sufficient conditions, a CysNO challenge (100-500 μM) results in a marked yet reversible increase in protein S-nitrosylation in the absence of appreciable S-oxidation. In contrast, under GSH-deficient conditions, CysNO induces elevated and sustained levels of both S-nitrosylation and S-oxidation. Experiments in various cancer cell lines showed that administration of CysNO or BSO alone commonly induce minimal cytotoxicity whereas BSO/CysNO combination therapy leads to extensive cell death. Studies in HeLa cancer cells revealed that treatment with BSO/CysNO results in dual inhibition of the GSH and Trx systems, thereby amplifying redox stress and causing cellular dysfunction. In particular, BSO/CysNO induced rapid oxidation and collapse of the actin cytoskeletal network, followed by loss of mitochondrial function, leading to profound and irreversible decrease in ATP levels. Further observations indicated that BSO/CysNO-induced cell death occurs via a caspase-independent mechanism that involves multiple stress-induced pathways. The present findings provide new insights into the relationship between cellular nitrosylation/oxidation, thiol antioxidant defenses and cell death. These results may aid future efforts to develop NO/redox-based anticancer approaches.
    Keywords:  Thiols; cancer; cell death; glutathione; nitrosylation; oxidation; thioredoxin
  38. Nat Commun. 2020 Sep 09. 11(1): 4512
      Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is recognized to act as a signaling molecule. Peroxiredoxins (Prxs) have the ability to transfer H2O2-derived oxidizing equivalents to redox-regulated target proteins, thus facilitating the transmission of H2O2 signals. It has remained unclear how Prxs and their target proteins are brought together to allow for target-specific protein thiol oxidation. Addressing the specific case of Prx2-dependent STAT3 oxidation, we here show that the association of the two proteins occurs prior to Prx oxidation and depends on a scaffolding protein, the membrane chaperone annexin A2. Deletion or depletion of annexin A2 interrupts the transfer of oxidizing equivalents from Prx2 to STAT3, which is observed to take place on membranes. These findings support the notion that the Prx2-STAT3 redox relay is part of a highly organized membrane signaling domain.
  39. Nat Commun. 2020 Sep 10. 11(1): 4527
      Evasion of programmed cell death represents a critical form of oncogene addiction in cancer cells. Understanding the molecular mechanisms underpinning cancer cell survival despite the oncogenic stress could provide a molecular basis for potential therapeutic interventions. Here we explore the role of pro-survival genes in cancer cell integrity during clonal evolution in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). We identify gains of MCL-1 at high frequency in multiple independent NSCLC cohorts, occurring both clonally and subclonally. Clonal loss of functional TP53 is significantly associated with subclonal gains of MCL-1. In mice, tumour progression is delayed upon pharmacologic or genetic inhibition of MCL-1. These findings reveal that MCL-1 gains occur with high frequency in lung adenocarcinoma and can be targeted therapeutically.
  40. Nat Commun. 2020 Sep 09. 11(1): 4509
      Glycolysis is one of the primordial pathways of metabolism, playing a pivotal role in energy metabolism and biosynthesis. Glycolytic enzymes are known to form transient multi-enzyme assemblies. Here we examine the wider protein-protein interactions of plant glycolytic enzymes and reveal a moonlighting role for specific glycolytic enzymes in mediating the co-localization of mitochondria and chloroplasts. Knockout mutation of phosphoglycerate mutase or enolase resulted in a significantly reduced association of the two organelles. We provide evidence that phosphoglycerate mutase and enolase form a substrate-channelling metabolon which is part of a larger complex of proteins including pyruvate kinase. These results alongside a range of genetic complementation experiments are discussed in the context of our current understanding of chloroplast-mitochondrial interactions within photosynthetic eukaryotes.
  41. Cell Death Dis. 2020 Sep 05. 11(9): 722
      Intrinsic apoptosis as a modality of regulated cell death is intimately linked to permeabilization of the outer mitochondrial membrane and subsequent release of the protein cytochrome c into the cytosol, where it can participate in caspase activation via apoptosome formation. Interestingly, cytochrome c release is an ancient feature of regulated cell death even in unicellular eukaryotes that do not contain an apoptosome. Therefore, it was speculated that cytochrome c release might have an additional, more fundamental role for cell death signalling, because its absence from mitochondria disrupts oxidative phosphorylation. Here, we permanently anchored cytochrome c with a transmembrane segment to the inner mitochondrial membrane of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, thereby inhibiting its release from mitochondria during regulated cell death. This cytochrome c retains respiratory growth and correct assembly of mitochondrial respiratory chain supercomplexes. However, membrane anchoring leads to a sensitisation to acetic acid-induced cell death and increased oxidative stress, a compensatory elevation of cellular oxygen-consumption in aged cells and a decreased chronological lifespan. We therefore conclude that loss of cytochrome c from mitochondria during regulated cell death and the subsequent disruption of oxidative phosphorylation is not required for efficient execution of cell death in yeast, and that mobility of cytochrome c within the mitochondrial intermembrane space confers a fitness advantage that overcomes a potential role in regulated cell death signalling in the absence of an apoptosome.
  42. Oncol Rep. 2020 Sep 07.
      Leukemia, a malignant hematological disease, has poor therapeutic outcomes due to chemotherapeutic resistance. Increasing evidence has confirmed that the elevated capacity for DNA damage repair in cancer cells is a major mechanism of acquired chemotherapeutic resistance. Thus, combining chemotherapy with inhibitors of DNA damage repair pathways is potentially an ideal strategy for treating leukemia. Checkpoint kinase 1 (CHK1) is an important component of the DNA damage response (DDR) and is involved in the G2/M DNA damage checkpoint. In the present study, we demonstrated that shRNA‑mediated CHK1 silencing suppressed cell proliferation and enhanced the cytotoxic effects of etoposide (VP16) in the chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) cell line K562 through the results of CCK‑8, and comet assay. The results demonstrated that shRNA‑induced CHK1 silencing can override G2/M arrest and impair homologous recombination (HR) repair by reducing breast cancer susceptibility gene 1 (BRCA1) expression. Cells had no time, and thus limited ability, to repair the damage and were thus more sensitive to chemotherapy after CHK1 downregulation. Second, we tested the therapeutic effect of VP16 combined with CCT245737, an orally bioavailable CHK1 inhibitor, and observed strong synergistic anticancer effects in K562 cells. Moreover, we discovered that CCT245737 significantly prevented the G2/M arrest caused by acute exposure to VP16. Interestingly, CCT245737 inhibited both BRCA1 and Rad51, the most important component of the HR repair pathway. In conclusion, these results revealed that CHK1 is potentially an ideal therapeutic target for the treatment of CML and that CCT245737 should be considered a candidate drug.
  43. Apoptosis. 2020 Sep 08.
      Ovarian cancer remains one of the most frequent causes of cancer-related death in women. Many patients with ovarian cancer suffer from de novo or acquired resistance to chemotherapy. Here, we report that RAB25 suppresses chemotherapy-induced mitochondrial apoptosis signaling in ovarian cancer cell lines and primary ovarian cancer cells. RAB25 blocks chemotherapy-induced apoptosis upstream of mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization by either increasing antiapoptotic BCL-2 proteins or decreasing proapoptotic BCL-2 proteins. In particular, BAX expression negatively correlates with RAB25 expression in ovarian cancer cells. BH3 profiling assays corroborated that RAB25 decreases mitochondrial cell death priming. Suppressing RAB25 by means of RNAi or RFP14 inhibitory hydrocarbon-stapled peptide sensitizes ovarian cancer cells to chemotherapy as well as RAB25-mediated proliferation, invasion and migration. Our data suggest that RAB25 is a potential therapeutic target for ovarian cancer.
    Keywords:  Bcl-2 proteins; Chemotherapy; Ovarian cancer; RAB25
  44. Dev Cell. 2020 Aug 31. pii: S1534-5807(20)30666-3. [Epub ahead of print]
      Lysosome function is essential for cellular homeostasis, but quality-control mechanisms that maintain healthy lysosomes remain poorly characterized. Here, we developed a method to measure lysosome turnover and use this to identify a selective mechanism of membrane degradation that involves lipidation of the autophagy protein LC3 onto lysosomal membranes and the formation of intraluminal vesicles through microautophagy. This mechanism is induced in response to metabolic stress resulting from glucose starvation or by treatment with pharmacological agents that induce osmotic stress on lysosomes. Cells lacking ATG5, an essential component of the LC3 lipidation machinery, show reduced ability to regulate lysosome size and degradative capacity in response to activation of this mechanism. These findings identify a selective mechanism of lysosome membrane turnover that is induced by stress and uncover a function for LC3 lipidation in regulating lysosome size and activity through microautophagy.
    Keywords:  ATG5; LAP; LC3; ammonium; autophagy; glucose; glutamine; lysosome; metabolism; microautophagy