bims-mibica Biomed News
on Mitochondrial bioenergetics in cancer
Issue of 2020‒11‒08
fifty-two papers selected by
Kelsey Fisher-Wellman
East Carolina University

  1. Sci Adv. 2020 Nov;pii: eabb7272. [Epub ahead of print]6(45):
      Mitochondria-derived reactive oxygen species (mROS) are required for the survival, proliferation, and metastasis of cancer cells. The mechanism by which mitochondrial metabolism regulates mROS levels to support cancer cells is not fully understood. To address this, we conducted a metabolism-focused CRISPR-Cas9 genetic screen and uncovered that loss of genes encoding subunits of mitochondrial complex I was deleterious in the presence of the mitochondria-targeted antioxidant mito-vitamin E (MVE). Genetic or pharmacologic inhibition of mitochondrial complex I in combination with the mitochondria-targeted antioxidants, MVE or MitoTEMPO, induced a robust integrated stress response (ISR) and markedly diminished cell survival and proliferation in vitro. This was not observed following inhibition of mitochondrial complex III. Administration of MitoTEMPO in combination with the mitochondrial complex I inhibitor phenformin decreased the leukemic burden in a mouse model of T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Thus, mitochondrial complex I is a dominant metabolic determinant of mROS-dependent cellular fitness.
  2. Cell Metab. 2020 Nov 03. pii: S1550-4131(20)30538-6. [Epub ahead of print]32(5): 889-900.e7
      Differential WNT and Notch signaling regulates differentiation of Lgr5+ crypt-based columnar cells (CBCs) into intestinal cell lineages. Recently we showed that mitochondrial activity supports CBCs, while adjacent Paneth cells (PCs) show reduced mitochondrial activity. This implies that CBC differentiation into PCs involves a metabolic transition toward downregulation of mitochondrial dependency. Here we show that Forkhead box O (FoxO) transcription factors and Notch signaling interact in determining CBC fate. In agreement with the organoid data, Foxo1/3/4 deletion in mouse intestine induces secretory cell differentiation. Importantly, we show that FOXO and Notch signaling converge on regulation of mitochondrial fission, which in turn provokes stem cell differentiation into goblet cells and PCs. Finally, scRNA-seq-based reconstruction of CBC differentiation trajectories supports the role of FOXO, Notch, and mitochondria in secretory differentiation. Together, this points at a new signaling-metabolic axis in CBC differentiation and highlights the importance of mitochondria in determining stem cell fate.
    Keywords:  FOXO; Notch; differentiation; intestine; metabolism; mitochondria; stem cells
  3. Cell Metab. 2020 Nov 03. pii: S1550-4131(20)30540-4. [Epub ahead of print]32(5): 736-750.e5
      Pancreatic β cells couple nutrient metabolism with appropriate insulin secretion. Here, we show that pyruvate kinase (PK), which converts ADP and phosphoenolpyruvate (PEP) into ATP and pyruvate, underlies β cell sensing of both glycolytic and mitochondrial fuels. Plasma membrane-localized PK is sufficient to close KATP channels and initiate calcium influx. Small-molecule PK activators increase the frequency of ATP/ADP and calcium oscillations and potently amplify insulin secretion. PK restricts respiration by cyclically depriving mitochondria of ADP, which accelerates PEP cycling until membrane depolarization restores ADP and oxidative phosphorylation. Our findings support a compartmentalized model of β cell metabolism in which PK locally generates the ATP/ADP required for insulin secretion. Oscillatory PK activity allows mitochondria to perform synthetic and oxidative functions without any net impact on glucose oxidation. These findings suggest a potential therapeutic route for diabetes based on PK activation that would not be predicted by the current consensus single-state model of β cell function.
    Keywords:  K(ATP) channel; anaplerosis; biosensor imaging; insulin secretion; metabolic flux; metabolic oscillations; oxidative phosphorylation; phosphoenolpyruvate cycle; pyruvate kinase; β cell metabolism
  4. Cell Death Dis. 2020 Oct 31. 11(10): 940
      Mitochondrial cristae are the main site for oxidative phosphorylation, which is critical for cellular energy production. Upon different physiological or pathological stresses, mitochondrial cristae undergo remodeling to reprogram mitochondrial function. However, how mitochondrial cristae are formed, maintained, and remolded is still largely unknown due to the technical challenges of tracking mitochondrial crista dynamics in living cells. Here, using live-cell Hessian structured illumination microscopy combined with transmission electron microscopy, focused ion beam/scanning electron microscopy, and three-dimensional tomographic reconstruction, we show, in living cells, that mitochondrial cristae are highly dynamic and undergo morphological changes, including elongation, shortening, fusion, division, and detachment from the mitochondrial inner boundary membrane (IBM). In addition, we find that OPA1, Yme1L, MICOS, and Sam50, along with the newly identified crista regulator ATAD3A, control mitochondrial crista dynamics. Furthermore, we discover two new types of mitochondrial crista in dysfunctional mitochondria, "cut-through crista" and "spherical crista", which are formed due to incomplete mitochondrial fusion and dysfunction of the MICOS complex. Interestingly, cut-through crista can convert to "lamellar crista". Overall, we provide a direct link between mitochondrial crista formation and mitochondrial crista dynamics.
  5. Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Nov 03. pii: E8221. [Epub ahead of print]21(21):
      Cardiomyocytes are among the most energy-intensive cell types. Interplay between the components of cellular magnesium (Mg) homeostasis and energy metabolism in cardiomyocytes is poorly understood. We have investigated the effects of dietary Mg content and presence/functionality of the Na+/Mg2+ exchanger SLC41A1 on enzymatic functions of selected constituents of the Krebs cycle and complexes of the electron transport chain (ETC). The activities of aconitate hydratase (ACON), isocitrate dehydrogenase (ICDH), α-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase (KGDH), and ETC complexes CI-CV have been determined in vitro in mitochondria isolated from hearts of wild-type (WT) and Slc41a1-/- mice fed a diet with either normal or low Mg content. Our data demonstrate that both, the type of Mg diet and the Slc41a1 genotype largely impact on the activities of enzymes of the Krebs cycle and ETC. Moreover, a compensatory effect of Slc41a1-/- genotype on the effect of low Mg diet on activities of the tested Krebs cycle enzymes has been identified. A machine-learning analysis identified activities of ICDH, CI, CIV, and CV as common predictors of the type of Mg diet and of CII as suitable predictor of Slc41a1 genotype. Thus, our data delineate the effect of dietary Mg content and of SLC41A1 functionality on the energy-production in cardiac mitochondria.
    Keywords:  Krebs cycle; Na+/Mg2+ exchanger; cardiomyocyte; electron transport chain; magnesium; oxidative phosphorylation
  6. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2020 Nov 04.
      Assessing mitochondrial function in cell-based systems is a central component of metabolism research. However, the selection of an initial measurement technique may be complicated given the range of parameters that can be studied as well as the need to define the mitochondrial (dys)function of interest. This methods-focused review compares and contrasts the use of mitochondrial membrane potential measurements, plate-based respirometry, and metabolomics and stable isotope tracing. We demonstrate how measurements of (i) cellular substrate preference, (ii) respiratory chain activity, (iii) cell activation, and (iv) mitochondrial biogenesis are enriched by integrating information from multiple methods. This manuscript is meant to serve as a perspective to help choose which technique might be an appropriate initial method to answer a given question, as well as provide a broad 'roadmap' for designing follow-up assays to enrich datasets or resolve ambiguous results.
    Keywords:  bioenergetics; membrane potential; metabolomics; mitochondria; oxygen consumption
  7. Redox Biol. 2020 Oct 28. pii: S2213-2317(20)30977-0. [Epub ahead of print]38 101772
      Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) was once considered to have only toxic properties, until it was discovered to be an endogenous signaling molecule. The effects of H2S are dose dependent, with lower concentrations being beneficial and higher concentrations, cytotoxic. This scenario is especially true for the effects of H2S on mitochondrial function, where higher concentrations of the gasotransmitter inhibit the electron transport chain, and lower concentrations stimulate bioenergetics in multiple ways. Here we review the role of H2S in mitochondrial function and its effects on cellular physiology.
    Keywords:  Bioenergetics; Cell signaling; Hydrogen sulfide; Mitochondria; Sulfhydration/persulfidation; Sulfide oxidation
  8. FEBS Lett. 2020 Nov 07.
      Mitochondrial disorders are amongst the most frequent inborn errors of metabolism, their primary cause being the dysfunction of the oxidative phosphorylation system (OXPHOS). OXPHOS is composed of the electron transport chain (ETC), formed by four multimeric enzymes and two mobile electron carriers, plus an ATP synthase (also called complex V). The ETC performs the redox reactions involved in cellular respiration while generating the proton motive force used by complex V to synthesize ATP. OXPHOS biogenesis involves multiple steps, starting from the expression of genes encoded in physically separated genomes, namely the mitochondrial and nuclear DNA, to the coordinated assembly of components and cofactors building each individual complex and eventually the supercomplexes. The genetic cause underlying around half of the diagnosed mitochondrial disease cases is currently known. Many of these cases result from pathogenic variants in genes encoding structural subunits or additional factors directly involved in the assembly of the ETC complexes. Here we review the historical and most recent findings concerning the clinical phenotypes and the molecular pathological mechanisms underlying this particular group of disorders.
    Keywords:  ATP production; Mitochondrial respiratory chain; biogenesis of the respiratory chain; mitochondrial disease; mitochondrial electrochemical gradient; mitochondrial potential; mitochondrial proton pumping; oxidative phosphorylation; respiratory complex; respiratory supercomplex
  9. J Mol Cell Cardiol. 2020 Nov 01. pii: S0022-2828(20)30316-3. [Epub ahead of print]
      Ca2+ flux into the mitochondrial matrix through the MCU holocomplex (MCUcx) has recently been measured quantitatively and with milliseconds resolution for the first time under physiological conditions in both heart and skeletal muscle. Additionally, the dynamic levels of Ca2+ in the mitochondrial matrix ([Ca2+]m) of cardiomyocytes were measured as it was controlled by the balance between influx of Ca2+ into the mitochondrial matrix through MCUcx and efflux through the mitochondrial Na+ / Ca2+ exchanger (NCLX). Under these conditions [Ca2+]m was shown to regulate ATP production by the mitochondria at only a few critical sites. Additional functions attributed to [Ca2+]m continue to be reported in the literature. Here we review the new findings attributed to MCUcx function and provide a framework for understanding and investigating mitochondrial Ca2+ influx features, many of which remain controversial. The properties and functions of the MCUcx subunits that constitute the holocomplex are challenging to tease apart. Such distinct subunits include EMRE, MCUR1, MICUx (i.e. MICU1, MICU2, MICU3), and the pore-forming subunits (MCUpore). Currently, the specific set of functions of each subunit remains non-quantitative and controversial. The more contentious issues are discussed in the context of the newly measured native MCUcx Ca2+ flux from heart and skeletal muscle. These MCUcx Ca2+ flux measurements have been shown to be a highly-regulated, tissue-specific with femto-Siemens Ca2+ conductances and with distinct extramitochondrial Ca2+ ([Ca2+]i) dependencies. These data from cardiac and skeletal muscle mitochondria have been examined quantitatively for their threshold [Ca2+]i levels and for hypothesized gatekeeping function and are discussed in the context of model cell (e.g. HeLa, MEF, HEK293, COS7 cells) measurements. Our new findings on MCUcx dependent matrix [Ca2+]m signaling provide a quantitative basis for on-going and new investigations of the roles of MCUcx in cardiac function ranging from metabolic fuel selection, capillary blood-flow control and the pathological activation of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore (mPTP). Additionally, this review presents the use of advanced new methods that can be readily adapted by any investigator to enable them to carry out quantitative Ca2+ measurements in mitochondria while controlling the inner mitochondrial membrane potential, ΔΨm.
    Keywords:  Heart; Mitochondrial Ca2+ signaling; Mitochondrial Na+/Ca2+ exchanger (NCLX); Mitochondrial calcium uniporter complex (MCUcx); Mitochondrial permeability transition pore (mPTP); Skeletal muscle
  10. Cell Metab. 2020 Oct 28. pii: S1550-4131(20)30550-7. [Epub ahead of print]
      Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) cells require substantial metabolic rewiring to overcome nutrient limitations and immune surveillance. However, the metabolic pathways necessary for pancreatic tumor growth in vivo are poorly understood. To address this, we performed metabolism-focused CRISPR screens in PDAC cells grown in culture or engrafted in immunocompetent mice. While most metabolic gene essentialities are unexpectedly similar under these conditions, a small fraction of metabolic genes are differentially required for tumor progression. Among these, loss of heme synthesis reduces tumor growth due to a limiting role of heme in vivo, an effect independent of tissue origin or immune system. Our screens also identify autophagy as a metabolic requirement for pancreatic tumor immune evasion. Mechanistically, autophagy protects cancer cells from CD8+ T cell killing through TNFα-induced cell death in vitro. Altogether, this resource provides metabolic dependencies arising from microenvironmental limitations and the immune system, nominating potential anti-cancer targets.
    Keywords:  cancer metabolism; in vivo CRISPR screen; pancreatic cancer; tumor immune evasion
  11. Biochem J. 2020 Nov 13. 477(21): 4085-4132
      Mitochondria produce the bulk of the energy used by almost all eukaryotic cells through oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) which occurs on the four complexes of the respiratory chain and the F1-F0 ATPase. Mitochondrial diseases are a heterogenous group of conditions affecting OXPHOS, either directly through mutation of genes encoding subunits of OXPHOS complexes, or indirectly through mutations in genes encoding proteins supporting this process. These include proteins that promote assembly of the OXPHOS complexes, the post-translational modification of subunits, insertion of cofactors or indeed subunit synthesis. The latter is important for all 13 of the proteins encoded by human mitochondrial DNA, which are synthesised on mitochondrial ribosomes. Together the five OXPHOS complexes and the mitochondrial ribosome are comprised of more than 160 subunits and many more proteins support their biogenesis. Mutations in both nuclear and mitochondrial genes encoding these proteins have been reported to cause mitochondrial disease, many leading to defective complex assembly with the severity of the assembly defect reflecting the severity of the disease. This review aims to act as an interface between the clinical and basic research underpinning our knowledge of OXPHOS complex and ribosome assembly, and the dysfunction of this process in mitochondrial disease.
    Keywords:  mitochondria; mitochondrial dysfunction; mitochondrial respiration; mutation; oxidative phosphorylation; ribosomes
  12. Crit Rev Biochem Mol Biol. 2020 Nov 04. 1-70
      Elevated mitochondrial matrix superoxide and/or hydrogen peroxide concentrations drive a wide range of physiological responses and pathologies. Concentrations of superoxide and hydrogen peroxide in the mitochondrial matrix are set mainly by rates of production, the activities of superoxide dismutase-2 (SOD2) and peroxiredoxin-3 (PRDX3), and by diffusion of hydrogen peroxide to the cytosol. These considerations can be used to generate criteria for assessing whether changes in matrix superoxide or hydrogen peroxide are both necessary and sufficient to drive redox signaling and pathology: is a phenotype affected by suppressing superoxide and hydrogen peroxide production; by manipulating the levels of SOD2, PRDX3 or mitochondria-targeted catalase; and by adding mitochondria-targeted SOD/catalase mimetics or mitochondria-targeted antioxidants? Is the pathology associated with variants in SOD2 and PRDX3 genes? Filtering the large literature on mitochondrial redox signaling using these criteria highlights considerable evidence that mitochondrial superoxide and hydrogen peroxide drive physiological responses involved in cellular stress management, including apoptosis, autophagy, propagation of endoplasmic reticulum stress, cellular senescence, HIF1α signaling, and immune responses. They also affect cell proliferation, migration, differentiation, and the cell cycle. Filtering the huge literature on pathologies highlights strong experimental evidence that 30-40 pathologies may be driven by mitochondrial matrix superoxide or hydrogen peroxide. These can be grouped into overlapping and interacting categories: metabolic, cardiovascular, inflammatory, and neurological diseases; cancer; ischemia/reperfusion injury; aging and its diseases; external insults, and genetic diseases. Understanding the involvement of mitochondrial matrix superoxide and hydrogen peroxide concentrations in these diseases can facilitate the rational development of appropriate therapies.
    Keywords:  Mitochondria; ROS; S1QEL; S3QEL; SOD2; antioxidants; disease; hydrogen peroxide; mCAT; matrix; mitoTEMPO; mitoTEMPOL; peroxiredoxin; redox signaling; superoxide; thioredoxin
  13. Physiol Res. 2020 Nov 02.
      Mitochondrial disorders manifest enormous genetic and clinical heterogeneity - they can appear at any age, present with various phenotypes affecting any organ, and display any mode of inheritance. What mitochondrial diseases do have in common, is impairment of respiratory chain activity, which is responsible for more than 90% of energy production within cells. While diagnostics of mitochondrial disorders has been accelerated by introducing Next-Generation Sequencing techniques in recent years, the treatment options are still very limited. For many patients only a supportive or symptomatic therapy is available at the moment. However, decades of basic and preclinical research have uncovered potential target points and numerous compounds or interventions are now subjects of clinical trials. In this review, we focus on current and emerging therapeutic approaches towards the treatment of mitochondrial disorders. We focus on small compounds, metabolic interference, such as endurance training or ketogenic diet and also on genomic approaches.
  14. Cell Rep. 2020 Nov 03. pii: S2211-1247(20)31329-2. [Epub ahead of print]33(5): 108340
      Bioenergetic reprogramming during hypoxia adaption is critical to promote hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) growth and progression. However, the mechanism underlying the orchestration of mitochondrial OXPHOS (oxidative phosphorylation) and glycolysis in hypoxia is not fully understood. Here, we report that mitochondrial UQCC3 (C11orf83) expression increases in hypoxia and correlates with the poor prognosis of HCC patients. Loss of UQCC3 impairs HCC cell proliferation in hypoxia in vitro and in vivo. Mechanistically, UQCC3 forms a positive feedback loop with mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) to sustain UQCC3 expression and ROS generation in hypoxic HCC cells and subsequently maintains mitochondrial structure and function and stabilizes HIF-1α expression to enhance glycolysis under hypoxia. Thus, UQCC3 plays an indispensable role for bioenergetic reprogramming of HCC cells during hypoxia adaption by simultaneously regulating OXPHOS and glycolysis. The positive feedback between UQCC3 and ROS indicates a self-modulating model within mitochondria that initiates the adaptation of HCC to hypoxic stress.
    Keywords:  ATP; HCC; HIF-1α; OXPHOS; ROS; UQCC3 (C11orf83); bioenergenesis; glycolysis; hypoxia; mitochondria
  15. Cell Metab. 2020 Nov 03. pii: S1550-4131(20)30539-8. [Epub ahead of print]32(5): 751-766.e11
      The mitochondrial GTP (mtGTP)-dependent phosphoenolpyruvate (PEP) cycle couples mitochondrial PEPCK (PCK2) to pyruvate kinase (PK) in the liver and pancreatic islets to regulate glucose homeostasis. Here, small molecule PK activators accelerated the PEP cycle to improve islet function, as well as metabolic homeostasis, in preclinical rodent models of diabetes. In contrast, treatment with a PK activator did not improve insulin secretion in pck2-/- mice. Unlike other clinical secretagogues, PK activation enhanced insulin secretion but also had higher insulin content and markers of differentiation. In addition to improving insulin secretion, acute PK activation short-circuited gluconeogenesis to reduce endogenous glucose production while accelerating red blood cell glucose turnover. Four-week delivery of a PK activator in vivo remodeled PK phosphorylation, reduced liver fat, and improved hepatic and peripheral insulin sensitivity in HFD-fed rats. These data provide a preclinical rationale for PK activation to accelerate the PEP cycle to improve metabolic homeostasis and insulin sensitivity.
    Keywords:  anaplerosis; cataplerosis; fatty liver; human islets; insulin resistance; insulin secretion; mitochondrial GTP; mitochondrial PEPCK; phosphoenolpyruvate cycle; pyruvate kinase
  16. J Cell Sci. 2020 Nov 04. pii: jcs.247957. [Epub ahead of print]
      In response to environmental stimuli, macrophages change their nutrient consumption and undergo an early metabolic adaptation that progressively shapes their polarization state. During the transient, early phase of pro-inflammatory macrophage activation, an increase in tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle activity has been reported but the relative contribution of branched chain amino acid (BCAA) leucine remain to be determined. Here we show that glucose but not glutamine is a major contributor of the increase in TCA cycle metabolites during early macrophage activation in humans. We then show that, although BCAA uptake is not altered, their transamination by BCAT1 is increased following 8h lipopolysaccharide (LPS) stimulation. Of note, leucine is not metabolized to integrate the TCA cycle in neither basal nor stimulated human macrophages. Surprisingly, the pharmacological inhibition of BCAT1 reduced glucose-derived itaconate, α-ketoglutarate, and 2-hydroxyglutarate levels, without affecting succinate and citrate levels, indicating a partial inhibition of TCA cycle. This indirect effect is associated with NRF2 activation and anti-oxidant responses. These results suggest a moonlighting role of BCAT1 through redox-mediated control of mitochondrial function during early macrophage activation.
    Keywords:  BCAT1; Immunometabolism; Macrophages; Mitochondria; Redox biology; TCA cycle
  17. J Immunol. 2020 Nov 04. pii: ji1901474. [Epub ahead of print]
      Emerging evidence indicates that metabolic programs regulate B cell activation and Ab responses. However, the metabolic mediators that support the durability of the memory B cell and long-lived plasma cell populations are not fully elucidated. Adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is an evolutionary conserved serine/threonine kinase that integrates cellular energy status and nutrient availability to intracellular signaling and metabolic pathways. In this study, we use genetic mouse models to show that loss of ΑMPKα1 in B cells led to a weakened recall Ab response associated with a decline in the population of memory-phenotype B cells. AMPKα1-deficient memory B lymphocytes exhibited aberrant mitochondrial activity, decreased mitophagy, and increased lipid peroxidation. Moreover, loss of AMPKα1 in B lymphoblasts was associated with decreased mitochondrial spare respiratory capacity. Of note, AMPKα1 in B cells was dispensable for stability of the bone marrow-resident, long-lived plasma cell population, yet absence of this kinase led to increased rates of Ig production and elevated serum Ab concentrations elicited by primary immunization. Collectively, our findings fit a model in which AMPKα1 in B cells supports recall function of the memory B cell compartment by promoting mitochondrial homeostasis and longevity but restrains rates of Ig production.
  18. Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Nov 04. pii: E8251. [Epub ahead of print]21(21):
      Friedreich's ataxia (FRDA) is a neurodegenerative disease caused by recessive mutations in the frataxin gene that lead to a deficiency of the mitochondrial frataxin (FXN) protein. Alternative forms of frataxin have been described, with different cellular localization and tissue distribution, including a cerebellum-specific cytosolic isoform called FXN II. Here, we explored the functional roles of FXN II in comparison to the mitochondrial FXN I isoform, highlighting the existence of potential cross-talk between cellular compartments. To achieve this, we transduced two human cell lines of patient and healthy subjects with lentiviral vectors overexpressing the mitochondrial or the cytosolic FXN isoforms and studied their effect on the mitochondrial network and metabolism. We confirmed the cytosolic localization of FXN isoform II in our in vitro models. Interestingly, both cytosolic and mitochondrial isoforms have an effect on mitochondrial dynamics, affecting different parameters. Accordingly, increases of mitochondrial respiration were detected after transduction with FXN I or FXN II in both cellular models. Together, these results point to the existence of a potential cross-talk mechanism between the cytosol and mitochondria, mediated by FXN isoforms. A more thorough knowledge of the mechanisms of action behind the extra-mitochondrial FXN II isoform could prove useful in unraveling FRDA physiopathology.
    Keywords:  Friedreich’s ataxia; cytosolic frataxin; mitochondrial dynamics; mitochondrial frataxin; mitochondrial metabolism; subcellular cross-talk
  19. Curr Dev Nutr. 2020 Oct;4(10): nzaa153
      Folate-mediated one-carbon metabolism (FOCM) is compartmentalized within human cells to the cytosol, nucleus, and mitochondria. The recent identifications of mitochondria-specific, folate-dependent thymidylate [deoxythymidine monophosphate (dTMP)] synthesis together with discoveries indicating the critical role of mitochondrial FOCM in cancer progression have renewed interest in understanding this metabolic pathway. The goal of this narrative review is to summarize recent advances in the field of one-carbon metabolism, with an emphasis on the biological importance of mitochondrial FOCM in maintaining mitochondrial DNA integrity and mitochondrial function, as well as the reprogramming of mitochondrial FOCM in cancer. Elucidation of the roles and regulation of mitochondrial FOCM will contribute to a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying folate-associated pathologies.
    Keywords:  cancer metabolism; folate; mitochondrial DNA; mitochondrial metabolism; thymidylate
  20. Cell Adh Migr. 2020 Nov 01.
      For successful transplantation of Hematopoietic Stem cells (HSCs), it is quite necessary that efficient homing, engraftment along with the retention of HSC self-renewal capacity takes place, which is often restricted due to inadequate number of adult HSCs. Here, we report that short-term ex-vivo treatment of mouse bone marrow mononuclear cells (BMMNCs) to Sodium Hydrogen Sulfide (NaHS, Hydrogen sulfide-H2S donor) can be used as a possible strategy to overcome such hurdle. H2S increases the expression of CXCR4 on HSPCs, enhancing their migration towards SDF-1α in-vitro and thus homing to BM niche along with the higher capacity to repopulate. H2S enhances mitochondrial membrane potential, mitochondrial mass and superoxide level, thus activating mitochondria and pushing quiescent HSCs into division which can be attributed to the increased intracellular calcium levels upon H2S exposure. These results suggest a readily available and cost-effective method to facilitate efficient HSC transplantation.
    Keywords:  Bone marrow transplantation; CXCR4 expression; Mitochondrial function; homing; stem cell migration
  21. Annu Rev Physiol. 2020 Nov 03.
      Mitochondria are responsible for ATP production but are also known as regulators of cell death, and mitochondrial matrix Ca2+ is a key modulator of both ATP production and cell death. Although mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake and efflux have been studied for over 50 years, it is only in the past decade that the proteins responsible for mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake and efflux have been identified. The identification of the mitochondrial Ca2+ uniporter (MCU) led to an explosion of studies identifying regulators of the MCU. The levels of these regulators vary in a tissue- and disease-specific manner, providing new insight into how mitochondrial Ca2+ is regulated. This review focuses on the proteins responsible for mitochondrial transport and what we have learned from mouse studies with genetic alterations in these proteins. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Physiology, Volume 83 is February 10, 2021. Please see for revised estimates.
  22. Br J Cancer. 2020 Nov 04.
      Although mitochondrial contributions to cancer have been recognised for approximately a century, given that mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is dwarfed by the size of the nuclear genome (nDNA), nuclear genetics has represented a focal point in cancer biology, often at the expense of mtDNA and mitochondria. However, genomic sequencing and advances in in vivo models underscore the importance of mtDNA and mitochondria in cancer and metastasis. In this review, we explore the roles of mitochondria in the four defined 'hallmarks of metastasis': motility and invasion, microenvironment modulation, plasticity and colonisation. Biochemical processes within the mitochondria of both cancer cells and the stromal cells with which they interact are critical for each metastatic hallmark. We unravel complex dynamics in mitochondrial contributions to cancer, which are context-dependent and capable of either promoting metastasis or being leveraged to prevent it at various points of the metastatic cascade. Ultimately, mitochondrial contributions to cancer and metastasis are rooted in the capacity of these organelles to tune metabolic and genetic responses to dynamic microenvironmental cues.
  23. ACS Omega. 2020 Oct 27. 5(42): 27304-27313
      Mitochondrial metabolism plays an essential role in various biological processes of cancer cells. Herein, we established an experimental procedure for the metabolic assessment of mitochondria in cancer cells. We examined procedures for mitochondrial isolation coupled with various mitochondrial extraction buffers in three major cancer cell lines (PANC1, A549, and MDA-MB-231) and identified a potentially optimal and generalized approach. The purity of the mitochondrial fraction isolated by the selected protocol was verified using specific protein markers of cellular components, and the ultrastructure of the isolated mitochondria was also analyzed by transmission electron microscopy. The isolation procedure, involving a bead beater for cell lysis, a modified sucrose buffer, and differential centrifugation, appeared to be a suitable method for the extraction of mitochondria from cancer cells. Electron micrographs indicated an intact two-layer membrane and inner structures of mitochondria isolated by this procedure. Metabolomic and lipidomic analyses were conducted to examine the metabolic phenotypes of the mitochondria-enriched fractions and associated bulk cancer cells. A total of 44 metabolites, including malate and succinate, occurred at significantly higher levels in the mitochondrial fractions, whereas 51 metabolites, including citrate, oxaloacetate, and fumarate of the Krebs cycle and the oncometabolites glutamine and glutamate, were reduced in mitochondria compared to that in the corresponding bulk cells of PANC1. Similar patterns were observed in mitochondria and bulk cells of MDA-MB-231 and A549 cell lines. A clear difference between the lipid profiles of bulk PANC1, MDA-MB-231, and A549 and corresponding mitochondrial fractions of these cell lines was detected by principal component analysis. In conclusion, we developed an experimental procedure for a large-scale metabolic assessment for suborganelle metabolic profiling and multiple omics data integration in cancer cells with broad applications.
  24. Mol Cell. 2020 Oct 26. pii: S1097-2765(20)30720-6. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitochondria are highly dynamic organelles that continuously grow, divide, and fuse. The division of mitochondria is crucial for human health. During mitochondrial division, the mechano-guanosine triphosphatase (GTPase) dynamin-related protein (Drp1) severs mitochondria at endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-mitochondria contact sites, where peripheral ER tubules interact with mitochondria. Here, we report that Drp1 directly shapes peripheral ER tubules in human and mouse cells. This ER-shaping activity is independent of GTP hydrolysis and located in a highly conserved peptide of 18 amino acids (termed D-octadecapeptide), which is predicted to form an amphipathic α helix. Synthetic D-octadecapeptide tubulates liposomes in vitro and the ER in cells. ER tubules formed by Drp1 promote mitochondrial division by facilitating ER-mitochondria interactions. Thus, Drp1 functions as a two-in-one protein during mitochondrial division, with ER tubulation and mechano-GTPase activities.
    Keywords:  Drp1; mitochondria; mitochondrial division; organelle contact sites; phosphaditic acid; the endoplasmic reticulum
  25. Mol Oncol. 2020 Nov 05.
      Recent studies revealed the role of dynamin-related protein 1 (DRP1), encoded by the DNM1L gene, in regulating the growth of cancer cells of various origins. However, the regulation, function and clinical significance of DRP1 remain undetermined in lung adenocarcinoma. Our study shows that the expression and activation of DRP1 are significantly correlated with proliferation and disease extent, as well as an increased risk of post-operative recurrence in stage I to IIIA lung adenocarcinoma. Loss of DRP1 in lung adenocarcinoma cell lines leads to an altered mitochondrial morphology, fewer copies of mitochondrial DNA, decreased respiratory complexes, and impaired oxidative phosphorylation. Additionally, proliferation and invasion are both suppressed in DRP1-depleted lung adenocarcinoma cell lines. Our data further revealed that DRP1 activation through serine 616 phosphorylation is regulated by ERK/AKT and CDK2 in lung adenocarcinoma cell lines. Collectively, we propose the multi-kinase framework in activating DRP1 in lung adenocarcinoma to promote the malignant properties. Biomarkers related to mitochondrial reprogramming, such as DRP1, can be used to evaluate the risk of post-operative recurrence in early-stage lung adenocarcinoma.
    Keywords:  cyclin-dependent kinase 2; dynamin-related protein 1; glycolytic serine synthesis; lung adenocarcinoma; mitochondria; prognosis
  26. Transl Oncol. 2020 Oct 23. pii: S1936-5233(20)30374-0. [Epub ahead of print]14(1): 100882
      Locally advanced rectal cancer is treated with neoadjuvant-chemoradiotherapy, however only 22% of patients achieve a complete response. Resistance mechanisms are poorly understood. Radiation-induced Bystander Effect (RIBE) describes the effect of radiation on neighbouring unirradiated cells. We investigated the effects of ex vivo RIBE-induction from normal and rectal cancer tissue on bystander cell metabolism, mitochondrial function and metabolomic profiling. We correlated bystander events to patient clinical characteristics. Ex vivo RIBE-induction caused metabolic alterations in bystander cells, specifically reductions in OXPHOS following RIBE-induction in normal (p = 0.01) and cancer tissue (p = 0.03) and reduced glycolysis following RIBE-induction in cancer tissue (p = 0.01). Visceral fat area correlated with glycolysis (p = 0.02) and ATP production (p = 0.03) following exposure of cells to TCM from irradiated cancer biopsies. Leucine levels were reduced in the irradiated cancer compared to the irradiated normal secretome (p = 0.04). ROS levels were higher in cells exposed to the cancer compared to the normal secretome (p = 0.04). RIBE-induction ex vivo causes alterations in the metabolome in normal and malignant rectal tissue along with metabolic alterations in bystander cellular metabolism. This may offer greater understanding of the effects of RIBE on metabolism, mitochondrial function and the secreted metabolome.
    Keywords:  Metabolism; Metabolomics; Radiation; Radiation-induced Bystander Effect; Rectal cancer
  27. Sci Rep. 2020 Nov 03. 10(1): 18941
      Mitochondria are highly dynamic organelles that can exhibit a wide range of morphologies. Mitochondrial morphology can differ significantly across cell types, reflecting different physiological needs, but can also change rapidly in response to stress or the activation of signaling pathways. Understanding both the cause and consequences of these morphological changes is critical to fully understanding how mitochondrial function contributes to both normal and pathological physiology. However, while robust and quantitative analysis of mitochondrial morphology has become increasingly accessible, there is a need for new tools to generate and analyze large data sets of mitochondrial images in high throughput. The generation of such datasets is critical to fully benefit from rapidly evolving methods in data science, such as neural networks, that have shown tremendous value in extracting novel biological insights and generating new hypotheses. Here we describe a set of three computational tools, Cell Catcher, Mito Catcher and MiA, that we have developed to extract extensive mitochondrial network data on a single-cell level from multi-cell fluorescence images. Cell Catcher automatically separates and isolates individual cells from multi-cell images; Mito Catcher uses the statistical distribution of pixel intensities across the mitochondrial network to detect and remove background noise from the cell and segment the mitochondrial network; MiA uses the binarized mitochondrial network to perform more than 100 mitochondria-level and cell-level morphometric measurements. To validate the utility of this set of tools, we generated a database of morphological features for 630 individual cells that encode 0, 1 or 2 alleles of the mitochondrial fission GTPase Drp1 and demonstrate that these mitochondrial data could be used to predict Drp1 genotype with 87% accuracy. Together, this suite of tools enables the high-throughput and automated collection of detailed and quantitative mitochondrial structural information at a single-cell level. Furthermore, the data generated with these tools, when combined with advanced data science approaches, can be used to generate novel biological insights.
  28. PLoS One. 2020 ;15(11): e0241716
      Ubiquitin C-terminal Hydrolase L1 (UCHL1) is a deubiquitinating enzyme that was originally identified in neurons. Our recent study showed that UCHL1 was expressed in C2C12 myoblast cells and mouse skeletal muscle. Here we report that in mouse skeletal muscle, UCHL1 is primarily expressed in oxidative muscle fibers. Skeletal muscle specific gene knockout (smKO) of UCHL1 in mice reduced oxidative activity in skeletal muscle measured by SDH staining. The in situ muscle contraction test revealed that gastrocnemius muscle from UCHL1 smKO mice was more prone to fatigue in response to the repetitive stimulation. This data suggests that UCHL1 plays a role in maintenance of muscle oxidative metabolism. Moreover, UCHL1 smKO caused a significant reduction in key proteins that are involved in mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation in soleus muscles, suggesting that UCHL1 may be involved in regulation of mitochondrial content and function. Immunostaining showed the co-localization of UCHL1 and mitochondrial marker VDAC in skeletal muscle. Mitochondrial fractionation assay revealed that, although UCHL1 was primarily present in the cytosolic fraction, a low level of UCHL1 protein was present in mitochondrial fraction. The level of phosphorylation of AMPKα, a master regulator of mitochondrial biogenesis, were unchanged in UCHL1 smKO muscle. On the other hand, immunoprecipitation from soleus muscle sample indicated the interaction between UCHL1 and HSP60, a chaperon protein that is involved in mitochondrial protein transport. There was a trend of downregulation of HSP60 in UCHL1 smKO muscle. Overall, our data suggests UCHL1 is a novel regulator of mitochondrial function and oxidative activity in skeletal muscle.
  29. JCI Insight. 2020 Nov 05. pii: 141183. [Epub ahead of print]5(21):
      Complex I (also known as NADH-ubiquinone oxidoreductase) deficiency is the most frequent mitochondrial disorder present in childhood. NADH-ubiquinone oxidoreductase iron-sulfur protein 3 (NDUFS3) is a catalytic subunit of the mitochondrial complex I; NDUFS3 is conserved from bacteria and essential for complex I function. Mutations affecting complex I, including in the Ndufs3 gene, cause fatal neurodegenerative diseases, such as Leigh syndrome. No treatment is available for these conditions. We developed and performed a detailed molecular characterization of a neuron-specific Ndufs3 conditional KO mouse model. We showed that deletion of Ndufs3 in forebrain neurons reduced complex I activity, altered brain energy metabolism, and increased locomotor activity with impaired motor coordination, balance, and stereotyped behavior. Metabolomics analyses showed an increase of glycolysis intermediates, suggesting an adaptive response to the complex I defect. Administration of metformin to these mice delayed the onset of the neurological symptoms but not of neuronal loss. This improvement was likely related to enhancement of glucose uptake and utilization, which are known effects of metformin in the brain. Despite reports that metformin inhibits complex I activity, our findings did not show worsening a complex I defect nor increases in lactic acid, suggesting that metformin should be further evaluated for use in patients with mitochondrial encephalopathies.
    Keywords:  Genetics; Mitochondria; Mouse models
  30. Nat Metab. 2020 Nov 02.
      Current clinical trials are testing the life-extending benefits of the diabetes drug metformin in healthy individuals without diabetes. However, the metabolic response of a non-diabetic cohort to metformin treatment has not been studied. Here, we show in C. elegans and human primary cells that metformin shortens lifespan when provided in late life, contrary to its positive effects in young organisms. We find that metformin exacerbates ageing-associated mitochondrial dysfunction, causing respiratory failure. Age-related failure to induce glycolysis and activate the dietary-restriction-like mobilization of lipid reserves in response to metformin result in lethal ATP exhaustion in metformin-treated aged worms and late-passage human cells, which can be rescued by ectopic stabilization of cellular ATP content. Metformin toxicity is alleviated in worms harbouring disruptions in insulin-receptor signalling, which show enhanced resilience to mitochondrial distortions at old age. Together, our data show that metformin induces deleterious changes of conserved metabolic pathways in late life, which could bring into question its benefits for older individuals without diabetes.
  31. Carcinogenesis. 2020 Nov 04. pii: bgaa114. [Epub ahead of print]
      Age and DNA repair deficiencies are strong risk factors for developing cancer. This is reflected in the comorbidity of cancer with premature aging diseases associated with DNA damage repair deficiencies. Recent research has suggested that DNA damage accumulation, telomere dysfunction, and the accompanying mitochondrial dysfunction exacerbate the aging process and may increase the risk of cancer development. Thus, an area of interest in both cancer and aging research is the elucidation of the dynamic crosstalk between the nucleus and the mitochondria. In this review, we discuss current research on aging and cancer with specific focus on the role of mitochondrial dysfunction in cancer and aging as well as how nuclear to mitochondrial DNA damage signaling may be a driving factor in the increased cancer incidence with aging. We suggest that therapeutic interventions aimed at induction of autophagy and mediation of nuclear to mitochondrial signaling may provide a mechanism for healthier aging and reduced tumorigenesis.
  32. Mol Genet Metab. 2020 Oct 13. pii: S1096-7192(20)30205-5. [Epub ahead of print]
      Isolated complex I (CI) deficiency is the most common cause of oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) dysfunction. Whole-exome sequencing identified biallelic mutations in NDUFA8 (c.[293G > T]; [293G > T], encoding for an accessory subunit of CI, in two siblings with a favorable clinical evolution. The individuals reported here are practically asymptomatic, with the exception of slight failure to thrive and some language difficulties at the age of 6 and 9 years, respectively. These observations are remarkable since the vast majority of patients with CI deficiency, including the only NDUFA8 patient reported so far, showed an extremely poor clinical outcome. Western blot studies demonstrated that NDUFA8 protein was strongly reduced in the patients' fibroblasts and muscle extracts. In addition, there was a marked and specific decrease in the steady-state levels of CI subunits. BN-PAGE demonstrated an isolated defect in the assembly and the activity of CI with impaired supercomplexes formation and abnormal accumulation of CI subassemblies. Confocal microscopy analysis in fibroblasts showed rounder mitochondria and diminished branching degree of the mitochondrial network. Functional complementation studies demonstrated disease-causality for the identified mutation as lentiviral transduction with wild-type NDUFA8 cDNA restored the steady-state levels of CI subunits and completely recovered the deficient enzymatic activity in immortalized mutant fibroblasts. In summary, we provide additional evidence of the involvement of NDUFA8 as a mitochondrial disease-causing gene associated with altered mitochondrial morphology, CI deficiency, impaired supercomplexes formation, and very mild progression of the disease.
    Keywords:  Complex I; Exome; Mitochondrial morphology; NDUFA8; OXPHOS; Supercomplexes
  33. J Bioenerg Biomembr. 2020 Nov 06.
      The omega 3 fatty acids (ω3FA) have been recommended for the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) and its complications, but there are studies questioning those beneficial effects. In this research, we supplemented the short-chain ω3FA, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), to a model of rats with T2DM and normoglycemic controls, for 5 months. We were mainly interested in studying the effects of diabetes and ALA on the physicochemical properties of mitochondrial membranes and the consequences on mitochondrial respiration. We found that the Respiratory Control (RC) of diabetic rats was 46% lower than in control rats; in diabetic rats with ALA supplement, it was only 23.9% lower, but in control rats with ALA supplement, the RC was 29.5% higher, apparently improving. Diabetes also decreased the membrane fluidity, changed the thermotropic characteristics of membranes, and increased the proportion of saturated fatty acids. ALA supplement partially kept regulated the physicochemical properties of mitochondrial membranes in induced rats. Our data indicate that diabetes decreased the membrane fluidity through changes in the fatty acids composition that simultaneously affected the RC, which means that the mitochondrial respiration is highly dependent on the physicochemical properties of the membranes. Simultaneously, it was followed the effects of ALA on the progress of diabetes and we found also that the supplementation of ALA helped in controlling glycaemia in rats induced to T2DM; however, in control non-induced rats, the supplementation of ALA derived in characteristics of initial development of diabetes.
    Keywords:  Alpha-linolenic acid; Diabetes; Liver; Membrane fluidity; Mitochondria; Omega 3 fatty acids
  34. FASEB J. 2020 Nov 01.
      The impairment of autophagy can cause cellular metabolic perturbations involved in endothelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EndoMT). However, the interplay between the cellular autophagy machinery and endothelial metabolism remains elusive. Sirtuin 3 (SIRT3), an NAD-dependent deacetylase, is a major cellular sensor of energy metabolism. The aim of this work was to determine the role of SIRT3-mediated autophagy in cellular metabolism and the process of EndoMT. We demonstrated that Angiotensin II (Ang II) led to defective autophagic flux and high levels of glycolysis in endothelial cells (ECs) accompanied by a loss of mitochondrial SIRT3 during EndoMT. The loss of SIRT3 further induced the hyperacetylation of endogenous autophagy-regulated gene 5 (ATG5), which in turn inhibited autophagosome maturation and increased pyruvate kinase M2 (PKM2) dimer expression. The M2 dimer is the less active form of PKM2, which drives glucose through aerobic glycolysis. Additionally, TEPP-46, a selective PKM2 tetramer activator, produced lower concentrations of lactate and led to the reduction of EndoMT both in vitro and in vivo. In parallel, the blockade of lactate influx from ECs into vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) downregulated synthetic VSMC markers. EC-specific SIRT3 transgenic mice exhibited reduced endothelial cell transition but partial rescue of vascular fibrosis and collagen accumulation. Taken together, these findings reveal that SIRT3 regulates EndoMT by improving the autophagic degradation of PKM2. Pharmacological targeting of glycolysis metabolism may, therefore, represent an effective therapeutic strategy for hypertensive vascular remodeling.
    Keywords:  PKM2; SIRT3; autophagy; endothelial-to-mesenchymal transition; glycolysis
  35. Biochim Biophys Acta Bioenerg. 2020 Oct 28. pii: S0005-2728(20)30182-1. [Epub ahead of print] 148332
      The BlueNative page (BNGE) gel has been the reference technique for studying the electron transport chain organization since it was established 20 years ago. Although the migration of supercomplexes has been demonstrated being real, there are still several concerns about its ability to reveal genuine interactions between respiratory complexes. Moreover, the use of different solubilization conditions generates conflicting interpretations. Here, we thoroughly compare the impact of different digitonin concentrations on the liquid dispersions' physical properties and correlate with the respiratory complexes' migration pattern and supercomplexes. Our results demonstrate that digitonin concentration generates liquid dispersions with specific size and variability critical to distinguish between a real association of complexes from being trapped in the same micelle.
    Keywords:  Bluenative page; detergent,liquid dispersions; digitonin; mitochondria; supercomplexes
  36. Elife. 2020 Nov 03. pii: e61245. [Epub ahead of print]9
      Degradation of mitochondria through mitophagy contributes to the maintenance of mitochondrial function. In this study, we identified that Atg43, a mitochondrial outer membrane protein, serves as a mitophagy receptor in the model organism Schizosaccharomyces pombe to promote the selective degradation of mitochondria. Atg43 contains an Atg8-family-interacting motif essential for mitophagy. Forced recruitment of Atg8 to mitochondria restores mitophagy in Atg43-deficient cells, suggesting that Atg43 tethers expanding isolation membranes to mitochondria. We found that the mitochondrial import factors, including the Mim1-Mim2 complex and Tom70, are crucial for mitophagy. Artificial mitochondrial loading of Atg43 bypasses the requirement of the import factors, suggesting that they contribute to mitophagy through Atg43. Atg43 not only maintains growth ability during starvation but also facilitates vegetative growth through its mitophagy-independent function. Thus, Atg43 is a useful model to study the mechanism and physiological roles, as well as the origin and evolution, of mitophagy in eukaryotes.
    Keywords:  Atg43; MIM complex; S. pombe; autophagy; cell biology; mitochondria; mitophagy; receptor
  37. Oncol Lett. 2020 Dec;20(6): 374
      The uncoupling protein-2 (UCP2) serves a role in tumor aggressiveness and anticancer resistance, which is considered to be associated with its ability to attenuate reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. We hypothesized that UCP2 may protect cancer cells from elesclomol-induced cytotoxicity, and that this may be overcome by blocking UCP2 function with genipin. In A549 lung cancer cells that exhibited high UCP2 expression, treatment with elesclomol alone induced limited changes in glucose uptake, ROS production and cell survival. By contrast, both UCP2 knockdown and genipin treatment mildly reduced glucose uptake, increased ROS production and decreased cell survival. Combining genipin and elesclomol further reduced glucose uptake and increased cellular and mitochondrial ROS production. Moreover, co-treatment with genipin and elesclomol reduced the colony forming capacity to 50.6±7.4% and the cell survival to 42.0±3.4% of that in the control cells (both P<0.001). Suppression of cell survival by treatment with elesclomol and genipin was enhanced in the presence of an exogenous ROS inducer and attenuated by a ROS scavenger. The cytotoxic effects of combining genipin and elesclomol were accompanied by reduced mitochondrial membrane potential and occurred through apoptosis as demonstrated by Annexin V assay and increased protein cleavage of PARP and caspase-3. Finally, in an A549 ×enograft mouse model, tumor growth was only modestly retarded by treatment with elesclomol or genipin alone, but was markedly suppressed by combining the two drugs compared with that in the control group (P=0.008). Therefore, high UCP2 expression may limit the antitumor effect of elesclomol by attenuating ROS responses, and this may be overcome by co-treatment with genipin; combining elesclomol and genipin may be an effective strategy for treating cancers with high UCP2.
    Keywords:  ROS; UCP2; elesclomol; genipin; mitochondria
  38. EMBO Rep. 2020 Nov 05. 21(11): e51652
      Mitochondrial homeostasis is necessary for the maintenance of cellular function and neuronal survival. Mitochondrial quality is tightly regulated by mitophagy, in which defective/superfluous mitochondria are degraded and recycled. Here, Hara et al demonstrate that induction of mitophagy via iron depletion suppresses the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). This work suggests turning up mitophagy as a potential therapeutic strategy against liver cancer.
  39. Cell Metab. 2020 Nov 03. pii: S1550-4131(20)30549-0. [Epub ahead of print]32(5): 699-701
      Nutrient acquisition and metabolism are integral components of cell growth, proliferation, and differentiation programs. In a recent study in Nature, Bian et al. (2020) revealed that cancer cells outcompete T cells for methionine uptake, resulting in diminished SAM production, attenuated H3K79 dimethylation, decreased STAT5 expression, and impaired T cell immunity to cancer.
  40. EMBO J. 2020 Oct 31. e106927
      Whether changes in cellular metabolism precede tumor formation and trigger malignant properties or simply serve as a bioenergetic adaptation of cancer during disease progression remains debated. Bonnay et al (2020) now show that a metabolic reprogramming toward increased oxidative phosphorylation is required for irreversible cell immortalization and subsequent tumor formation.
  41. Cell Metab. 2020 Oct 28. pii: S1550-4131(20)30551-9. [Epub ahead of print]
      Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) is a deadly cancer characterized by complex metabolic adaptations that promote survival in a severely hypoxic and nutrient-limited tumor microenvironment (TME). Modeling microenvironmental influences in cell culture has been challenging, and technical limitations have hampered the comprehensive study of tumor-specific metabolism in vivo. To systematically interrogate metabolic vulnerabilities in PDA, we employed parallel CRISPR-Cas9 screens using in vivo and in vitro systems. This work revealed striking overlap of in vivo metabolic dependencies with those in vitro. Moreover, we identified that intercellular nutrient sharing can mask dependencies in pooled screens, highlighting a limitation of this approach to study tumor metabolism. Furthermore, metabolic dependencies were similar between 2D and 3D culture, although 3D culture may better model vulnerabilities that influence certain oncogenic signaling pathways. Lastly, our work demonstrates the power of genetic screening approaches to define in vivo metabolic dependencies and pathways that may have therapeutic utility.
    Keywords:  cancer cell signaling; metabolism; nutrient crosstalk; pancreatic cancer; tumor microenvironment
  42. Cell Death Dis. 2020 Nov 02. 11(11): 941
      Defects in apoptosis can promote tumorigenesis and impair responses of malignant B cells to chemotherapeutics. Members of the B-cell leukemia/lymphoma-2 (BCL-2) family of proteins are key regulators of the intrinsic, mitochondrial apoptotic pathway. Overexpression of antiapoptotic BCL-2 family proteins is associated with treatment resistance and poor prognosis. Thus, inhibition of BCL-2 family proteins is a rational therapeutic option for malignancies that are dependent on antiapoptotic BCL-2 family proteins. Venetoclax (ABT-199, GDC-0199) is a highly selective BCL-2 inhibitor that represents the first approved agent of this class and is currently widely used in the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) as well as acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Despite impressive clinical activity, venetoclax monotherapy for a prolonged duration can lead to drug resistance or loss of dependence on the targeted protein. In this review, we provide an overview of the mechanism of action of BCL-2 inhibition and the role of this approach in the current treatment paradigm of B-cell malignancies. We summarize the drivers of de novo and acquired resistance to venetoclax that are closely associated with complex clonal shifts, interplay of expression and interactions of BCL-2 family members, transcriptional regulators, and metabolic modulators. We also examine how tumors initially resistant to venetoclax become responsive to it following prior therapies. Here, we summarize preclinical data providing a rationale for efficacious combination strategies of venetoclax to overcome therapeutic resistance by a targeted approach directed against alternative antiapoptotic BCL-2 family proteins (MCL-1, BCL-xL), compensatory prosurvival pathways, epigenetic modifiers, and dysregulated cellular metabolism/energetics for durable clinical remissions.
  43. Transl Oncol. 2020 Oct 30. pii: S1936-5233(20)30412-5. [Epub ahead of print]14(1): 100920
      Regulated by the tumor microenvironment, the metabolic network of the tumor is reprogrammed, driven by oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes. The metabolic phenotype of tumors of different driven-genes and different tissue types is extremely heterogeneous. KRAS-mutant non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has glutamine dependence. In this study, we demonstrated that glutamine utilization of KRAS-mutant NSCLC was higher than that of KRAS wild-type. CB839, an efficient glutaminase inhibitor, synergized with the MEK inhibitor selumetinib to enhance antitumor activity in KRAS-mutant NSCLC cells and xenografts, and the therapeutic response could be well identified by 18F-FDG PET imaging. Combination therapy induced redox stress, manifesting as a decrease in mitochondrial membrane potential and an increase in ROS levels, and energetic stress manifesting as suppression of glycolysis and glutamine degradation. The phosphorylation of AKT was also suppressed. These effects combined to induce autophagy and thereby caused cancer cell death. Our results suggest that dual inhibition of the MEK-ERK pathway and glutamine metabolism activated by KRAS mutation may be an effective treatment strategy for KRAS-driven NSCLC.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Glutaminase; KRAS; Microenvironment
  44. Endocr Relat Cancer. 2020 Nov 01. pii: ERC-20-0308.R1. [Epub ahead of print]
      Pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas (PPGLs) caused by mutations in the B-subunit of the succinate dehydrogenase (SDHB) have the highest metastatic rate among PPGLs, and effective systemic therapy is lacking. To unravel underlying pathogenic mechanisms, and to evaluate therapeutic strategies, suitable in vivo models are needed. The available systemic Sdhb knock-out mice cannot model the human PPGL phenotype: heterozygous Sdhb mice lack a disease phenotype, and homozygous Sdhb mice are embryonically lethal. Using CRISPR/cas9 technology, we introduced a protein-truncating germline lesion into the zebrafish sdhb gene. Heterozygous sdhb mutants were viable and displayed no obvious morphological or developmental defects. Homozygous sdhb larvae were viable, but exhibited a decreased lifespan. Morphological analysis revealed incompletely or non-inflated swim bladders in homozygous sdhb mutants at day 6. Although no differences in number and ultrastructure of the mitochondria were observed. Clear defects in energy metabolism and swimming behaviour were observed in homozygous sdhb mutantlarvae. Functional and metabolomic analyses revealed decreased mitochondrial complex 2 activity and significant succinate accumulation in the homozygous sdhb mutant larvae, mimicking the metabolic effects observed in SDHB-associated PPGLs. This is the first study to present a vertebrate animal model that mimics metabolic effects of SDHB-associated PPGLs. This model will be useful in unraveling pathomechanisms behind SDHB-associated PPGLs. We can now study the metabolic effects of sdhb disruption during different developmental stages and develop screening assays to identify novel therapeutic targets in vivo. Besides oncological syndromes, our model might also be useful for paediatric mitochondrial disease caused by loss of the SDHB gene.
  45. Cell Death Dis. 2020 Nov 06. 11(11): 956
      Spleen tyrosine kinase (SYK) is an important oncogene and signaling mediator activated by cell surface receptors crucial for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) maintenance and progression. Genetic or pharmacologic inhibition of SYK in AML cells leads to increased differentiation, reduced proliferation, and cellular apoptosis. Herein, we addressed the consequences of SYK inhibition to leukemia stem-cell (LSC) function and assessed SYK-associated pathways in AML cell biology. Using gain-of-function MEK kinase mutant and constitutively active STAT5A, we demonstrate that R406, the active metabolite of a small-molecule SYK inhibitor fostamatinib, induces differentiation and blocks clonogenic potential of AML cells through the MEK/ERK1/2 pathway and STAT5A transcription factor, respectively. Pharmacological inhibition of SYK with R406 reduced LSC compartment defined as CD34+CD38-CD123+ and CD34+CD38-CD25+ in vitro, and decreased viability of LSCs identified by a low abundance of reactive oxygen species. Primary leukemic blasts treated ex vivo with R406 exhibited lower engraftment potential when xenotransplanted to immunodeficient NSG/J mice. Mechanistically, these effects are mediated by disturbed mitochondrial biogenesis and suppression of oxidative metabolism (OXPHOS) in LSCs. These mechanisms appear to be partially dependent on inhibition of STAT5 and its target gene MYC, a well-defined inducer of mitochondrial biogenesis. In addition, inhibition of SYK increases the sensitivity of LSCs to cytarabine (AraC), a standard of AML induction therapy. Taken together, our findings indicate that SYK fosters OXPHOS and participates in metabolic reprogramming of AML LSCs in a mechanism that at least partially involves STAT5, and that SYK inhibition targets LSCs in AML. Since active SYK is expressed in a majority of AML patients and confers inferior prognosis, the combination of SYK inhibitors with standard chemotherapeutics such as AraC constitutes a new therapeutic modality that should be evaluated in future clinical trials.
  46. Metallomics. 2020 Nov 04.
      Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common primary liver cancer, of which ∼800 000 new cases will be diagnosed worldwide this year, portends a five-year survival rate of merely 17% in patients with unresectable disease. This dismal prognosis is due, at least in part, from the late stage of diagnosis and the limited efficacy of systemic therapies. As a result, there is an urgent need to identify risk factors that contribute to HCC initiation and provide targetable vulnerabilities to improve patient survival. While myriad risk factors are known, elevated copper (Cu) levels in HCC patients and the incidence of hepatobiliary malignancies in Wilson disease patients, which exhibit hereditary liver Cu overload, suggests the possibility that metal accumulation promotes malignant transformation. Here we found that expression of the Cu transporter genes ATP7A, ATP7B, SLC31A1, and SLC31A2 was significantly altered in liver cancer samples and were associated with elevated Cu levels in liver cancer tissue and cells. Further analysis of genomic copy number data revealed that alterations in Cu transporter gene loci correlate with poorer survival in HCC patients. Genetic loss of the Cu importer SLC31A1 (CTR1) or pharmacologic suppression of Cu decreased the viability, clonogenic survival, and anchorage-independent growth of human HCC cell lines. Mechanistically, CTR1 knockdown or Cu chelation decreased glycolytic gene expression and downstream metabolite utilization and as a result forestalled tumor cell survival after exposure to hypoxia, which mimics oxygen deprivation elicited by transarterial embolization, a standard-of-care therapy used for patients with unresectable HCC. Taken together, these findings established an association between altered Cu homeostasis and HCC and suggest that limiting Cu bioavailability may provide a new treatment strategy for HCC by restricting the metabolic reprogramming necessary for cancer cell survival.
  47. Cancer Discov. 2020 Nov;10(11): 1632-1634
      The chemotherapeutic enzyme asparaginase depletes systemic asparagine to kill cancers; however, its efficacy thus far is limited to a subset of leukemias. Hinze and colleagues identify that inhibiting proteasomal release of asparagine can sensitize colorectal cancers to asparagine depletion, providing a potential avenue to repurpose asparaginase for treatment of solid tumors.See related article by Hinze et al., p. 1690.
  48. Biochem Pharmacol. 2020 Oct 28. pii: S0006-2952(20)30541-4. [Epub ahead of print] 114305
      Phosphorus, often in the form of inorganic phosphate (Pi), is critical to cellular function on many levels; it is required as an integral component of kinase signaling, in the formation and function of DNA and lipids, and energy metabolism in the form of ATP. Accordingly, crucial aspects of cell mitosis - such as DNA synthesis and ATP energy generation - elevate the cellular requirement for Pi, with rapidly dividing cells consuming increased levels. Mechanisms to sense, respond, acquire, accumulate, and potentially seek Pi have evolved to support highly proliferative cellular states such as injury and malignant transformation. As such, manipulating Pi availability to target rapidly dividing cells presents a novel strategy to reduce or prevent unrestrained cell growth. Currently, limited knowledge exists regarding how modulating Pi consumption by pre-cancerous cells might influence the initiation of aberrant growth during malignant transformation, and if reducing the bioavailability or suppressing Pi consumption by malignant cells could alter tumorigenesis. The concept of targeting Pi-regulated pathways and/or consumption by pre-cancerous or tumor cells represents a novel approach to cancer prevention and control, although current data remains insufficient as to rigorously assess the therapeutic value and physiological relevance of this strategy. With this review, we present a critical evaluation of the paradox of how an element critical to essential cellular functions can, when available in excess, influence and promote a cancer phenotype. Further, we conjecture how Pi manipulation could be utilized as a therapeutic intervention, either systemically or at the cell level, to ultimately suppress or treat cancer initiation and/or progression.
    Keywords:  Cell proliferation; Dietary phosphate; Osteopontin; Phosphate addiction; Phosphate transport; Tumor progression
  49. Cancers (Basel). 2020 Nov 03. pii: E3237. [Epub ahead of print]12(11):
      Succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) complex connects both the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle and the electron transport chain (ETC) in the mitochondria. However, SDH mutation or dysfunction-induced succinate accumulation results in multiple cancers and non-cancer diseases. The mechanistic studies show that succinate activates hypoxia response and other signal pathways via binding to 2-oxoglutarate-dependent oxygenases and succinate receptors. Recently, the increasing knowledge of ribonucleic acid (RNA) networks, including non-coding RNAs, RNA editors, and RNA modifiers has expanded our understanding of the interplay between SDH and RNA networks in cancer and other diseases. Here, we summarize recent discoveries in the RNA networks and their connections to SDH. Additionally, we discuss current therapeutics targeting SDH in both pre-clinical and clinical trials. Thus, we propose a new model of SDH-RNA network interaction and bring promising RNA therapeutics against SDH-relevant cancer and other diseases.
    Keywords:  RNA-editing; RNA-modification; cancer; disease; electron transport chain; metabolism; non-coding RNA; reactive oxygen species; succinate dehydrogenase; tricarboxylic acid cycle
  50. Clin Colorectal Cancer. 2020 Sep 15. pii: S1533-0028(20)30123-7. [Epub ahead of print]
      BACKGROUND: We previously showed that lifelong rapamycin treatment of short-lived ApcMin/+ mice, a model for familial adenomatous polyposis, resulted in a normal lifespan. ApcMin/+ mice develop colon polyps with a low frequency but can be converted to a colon cancer model by dextran sodium sulfate (DSS) treatments (ApcMin/+-DSS model).MATERIALS AND METHODS: We asked, what effect would pretreatment of ApcMin/+ mice with chronic rapamycin prior to DSS exposure have on survival and colonic neoplasia?
    RESULTS: Forty-two ppm enteric formulation of rapamycin diet exacerbated the temporary weight loss associated with DSS treatment in both sexes. However, our survival studies showed that chronic rapamycin treatment significantly extended lifespan of ApcMin/+-DSS mice (both sexes) by reductions in colon neoplasia and prevention of anemia. Rapamycin also had prophylactic effects on colon neoplasia induced by azoxymethane and DSS in C57BL/6 males and females. Immunoblot assays showed the expected inhibition of complex 1 of mechanistic or mammalian target of rapamycin (mTORC1) and effectors (S6K→rpS6 and S6K→eEF2K→eEF2) in colon by lifelong rapamycin treatments. To address the question of cell types affected by chronic enteric rapamycin treatment, immunohistochemistry analyses demonstrated that crypt cells had a prominent reduction in rpS6 phosphorylation and increase in eEF2 phosphorylation relative controls.
    CONCLUSION: These data indicate that enteric rapamycin prevents or delays colon neoplasia in ApcMin/+-DSS mice through inhibition of mTORC1 in the crypt cells.
    Keywords:  Aging; Crypt stem cells; eEF2K; mTORC1; rpS6
  51. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2020 Nov 05.
      The COVID-19 pandemic has been the primary global health issue since its outbreak in December 2019. Patients with metabolic syndrome suffer from severe complications and a higher mortality rate due to SARS-CoV-2 infection. We recently proposed that SARS-CoV-2 can hijack host mitochondrial function and manipulate metabolic pathways for their own advantage. The aim of the current study was to investigate functional mitochondrial changes in live peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from COVID-19 patients, decipher the pathways of substrate utilization in these cells and corresponding changes in the inflammatory pathways. We demonstrate mitochondrial dysfunction, metabolic alterations with an increase in glycolysis and high levels of mitokine in PBMCs from COVID-19 patients. Interestingly, we found that levels of FGF-21 mitokine correlate with COVID-19 disease severity and mortality. These data suggest that COVID-19 patients have compromised mitochondrial function and an energy deficit which is compensated by a metabolic switch to glycolysis. This metabolic manipulation by SARS-CoV-2 triggers an enhanced inflammatory response which contributes to severity of symptoms in COVID-19. Targeting mitochondrial metabolic pathway(s) can help define novel strategies for COVID-19.
    Keywords:  COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; glycolysis; mitochondrial dysfunction; mitokines
  52. Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2020 Oct 30. pii: S0958-1669(20)30144-0. [Epub ahead of print]68 72-88
      A major question remaining in the field of evolutionary biology is how prokaryotic organisms made the leap to complex eukaryotic life. The prevailing theory depicts the origin of eukaryotic cell complexity as emerging from the symbiosis between an α-proteobacterium, the ancestor of present-day mitochondria, and an archaeal host (endosymbiont theory). A primary contribution of mitochondria to eukaryogenesis has been attributed to the mitochondrial genome, which enabled the successful internalisation of bioenergetic membranes and facilitated remarkable genome expansion. It has also been postulated that a key contribution of the archaeal host during eukaryogenesis was in providing 'archaeal histones' that would enable compaction and regulation of an expanded genome. Yet, how the communication between the host and the symbiont evolved is unclear. Here, we propose an evolutionary concept in which mitochondrial TCA cycle signalling was also a crucial player during eukaryogenesis enabling the dynamic control of an expanded genome via regulation of DNA and histone modifications. Furthermore, we discuss how TCA cycle remodelling is a common evolutionary strategy invoked by eukaryotic organisms to coordinate stress responses and gene expression programmes, with a particular focus on the TCA cycle-derived metabolite itaconate.