bims-mibica Biomed News
on Mitochondrial bioenergetics in cancer
Issue of 2020‒11‒15
34 papers selected by
Kelsey Fisher-Wellman, East Carolina University

  1. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2020 Nov 05. pii: S0006-291X(20)32013-1. [Epub ahead of print]
      Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most common malignant cancers worldwide. The prognosis of HCC remains poor. Currently, sorafenib is the first-line drug for advanced HCC. Although sorafenib's mechanism of action involving several established cancer-related protein kinase targets is well-characterized, the underlying molecular mechanism is still unclear. Here, we found that sorafenib inhibited viability, proliferation, and migration of HCC cells in a dose-dependent manner. Sorafenib treatment of HCC cells destroyed mitochondrial morphology, accompanied by decreased activity of oxidative phosphorylation, collapse of mitochondrial membrane potential, and reduced synthesis of ATP, with consequent cell death due to ferroptosis. Pharmacological utilization of glutathione (GSH) rescued the sorafenib-induced ferroptosis, eliminated the accumulation of cellular mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS), and lipid peroxide. GSH depletion through cysteine deprivation or cysteinase inhibition exacerbated sorafenib-induced ferroptotic cell death and lipid peroxides generation, and enhanced oxidative stress and mitochondrial ROS accumulation. Collectively, these findings indicate that depletion of cysteine acts synergistically with sorafenib and renders HCC cells vulnerable to ferroptosis, presenting the potential value of new therapeutic combinations for advanced HCC.
    Keywords:  Cysteine; Glutathione; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Mitochondria; Oxidative stress; Sorafenib
  2. Life (Basel). 2020 Nov 11. pii: E277. [Epub ahead of print]10(11):
      The heart is the most energy-consuming organ in the human body. In heart failure, the homeostasis of energy supply and demand is endangered by an increase in cardiomyocyte workload, or by an insufficiency in energy-providing processes. Energy metabolism is directly associated with mitochondrial redox homeostasis. The production of toxic reactive oxygen species (ROS) may overwhelm mitochondrial and cellular ROS defense mechanisms in case of heart failure. Mitochondria are essential cell organelles and provide 95% of the required energy in the heart. Metabolic remodeling, changes in mitochondrial structure or function, and alterations in mitochondrial calcium signaling diminish mitochondrial energy provision in many forms of cardiomyopathy. The mitochondrial respiratory chain creates a proton gradient across the inner mitochondrial membrane, which couples respiration with oxidative phosphorylation and the preservation of energy in the chemical bonds of ATP. Akin to other mitochondrial enzymes, the respiratory chain is integrated into the inner mitochondrial membrane. The tight association with the mitochondrial phospholipid cardiolipin (CL) ensures its structural integrity and coordinates enzymatic activity. This review focuses on how changes in mitochondrial CL may be associated with heart failure. Dysfunctional CL has been found in diabetic cardiomyopathy, ischemia reperfusion injury and the aging heart. Barth syndrome (BTHS) is caused by an inherited defect in the biosynthesis of cardiolipin. Moreover, a dysfunctional CL pool causes other types of rare inherited cardiomyopathies, such as Sengers syndrome and Dilated Cardiomyopathy with Ataxia (DCMA). Here we review the impact of cardiolipin deficiency on mitochondrial functions in cellular and animal models. We describe the molecular mechanisms concerning mitochondrial dysfunction as an incitement of cardiomyopathy and discuss potential therapeutic strategies.
    Keywords:  Barth syndrome; Dilated Cardiomyopathy with Ataxia; Sengers syndrome; cardiolipin; cardiomyopathy; mitochondria; respiratory chain
  3. PLoS One. 2020 ;15(11): e0242174
      Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), the essential cofactor derived from vitamin B3, is both a coenzyme in redox enzymatic processes and substrate in non-redox events; processes that are intimately implicated in all essential bioenergetics. A decrease in intracellular NAD+ levels is known to cause multiple metabolic complications and age-related disorders. One NAD+ precursor is dihydronicotinamide riboside (NRH), which increases NAD+ levels more potently in both cultured cells and mice than current supplementation strategies with nicotinamide riboside (NR), nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) or vitamin B3 (nicotinamide and niacin). However, the consequences of extreme boosts in NAD+ levels are not fully understood. Here, we demonstrate the cell-specific effects of acute NRH exposure in mammalian cells. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HepG3) cells show dose-dependent cytotoxicity when supplemented with 100-1000 μM NRH. Cytotoxicity was not observed in human embryonic kidney (HEK293T) cells over the same dose range of NRH. PUMA and BAX mediate the cell-specific cytotoxicity of NRH in HepG3. When supplementing HepG3 with 100 μM NRH, a significant increase in ROS was observed concurrent with changes in the NAD(P)H and GSH/GSSG pools. NRH altered mitochondrial membrane potential, increased mitochondrial superoxide formation, and induced mitochondrial DNA damage in those cells. NRH also caused metabolic dysregulation, altering mitochondrial respiration. Altogether, we demonstrated the detrimental consequences of an extreme boost of the total NAD (NAD+ + NADH) pool through NRH supplementation in HepG3. The cell-specific effects are likely mediated through the different metabolic fate of NRH in these cells, which warrants further study in other systemic models.
  4. Front Physiol. 2020 ;11 557721
      Reactive oxygen species (ROS) function as critical mediators in a broad range of cellular signaling processes. The mitochondrial electron transport chain is one of the major contributors to ROS formation in most cells. Increasing evidence indicates that the respiratory Complex II (CII) can be the predominant ROS generator under certain conditions. A computational, mechanistic model of electron transfer and ROS formation in CII was developed in the present study to facilitate quantitative analysis of mitochondrial ROS production. The model was calibrated by fitting the computer simulated results to experimental data obtained on submitochondrial particles (SMP) prepared from bovine and rat heart mitochondria upon inhibition of the ubiquinone (Q)-binding site by atpenin A5 (AA5) and Complex III by myxothiazol, respectively. The model predicts that only reduced flavin adenine dinucleotide (FADH2) in the unoccupied dicarboxylate state and flavin semiquinone radical (FADH•) feature the experimentally observed bell-shaped dependence of the rate of ROS production on the succinate concentration upon inhibition of respiratory Complex III (CIII) or Q-binding site of CII, i.e., suppression of succinate-Q reductase (SQR) activity. The other redox centers of CII such as Fe-S clusters and Q-binding site have a hyperbolic dependence of ROS formation on the succinate concentration with very small maximal rate under any condition and cannot be considered as substantial ROS generators in CII. Computer simulation results show that CII disintegration (which results in dissociation of the hydrophilic SDHA/SDHB subunits from the inner membrane to the mitochondrial matrix) causes crucial changes in the kinetics of ROS production by CII that are qualitatively and quantitatively close to changes in the kinetics of ROS production by assembled CII upon inhibition of CIII or Q-binding site of CII. Thus, the main conclusions from the present computational modeling study are the following: (i) the impairment of the SQR activity of CII resulting from inhibition of CIII or Q-binding site of CII and (ii) CII disintegration causes a transition in the succinate-dependence of ROS production from a small-amplitude sigmoid (hyperbolic) shape, determined by Q-binding site or [3Fe-4S] cluster to a high-amplitude bell-shaped kinetics with a shift to small subsaturated concentrations of succinate, determined by the flavin site.
    Keywords:  assembled; complex II; computational model; disintegrated; reactive oxygen species
  5. J Biomed Nanotechnol. 2020 Jun 01. 16(6): 853-866
      The mitochondria have recently become a novel target in the treatment of cancer. Targeted delivery by nanoparticles (NPs) has shown potential in enhancing existing therapeutic principles. With toxicity remaining a recurring issue, the green synthesis of inorganic NPs and modification with polymers may help to improve stability and biocompatibility. We synthesized epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG)-capped gold NPs (AuNPs), and functionalized with poly-D-lysine grafted polyethylene glycol (PDL-g-PEG), and the mitochondrial targeting triphenylphosphonium cation, and thereafter assessed their mitochondrial delivery capacity of paclitaxel in cancer cells in vitro. This PDL-g-PEG coated EGCG-AuNPs were further assessed for their laminin receptor avidity and mitochondrial localisation potential, upon functionalisation with the delocalised cation, triphenylphosphine. The laminin receptor dependent uptake and mitochondrial localisation of targeted T-Au(PDL-g-PEG) NPs were confirmed by ICP-OES and fluorescent microscopy. Their delivery of paclitaxel to the mitochondria of cancer cells elicited significant cytotoxicity especially in the human cervical carcinoma (HeLa) cell line, compared to the untargeted T-Au(PDL-g-PEG) and free drugs. Mechanistic studies implicated caspase dependent apoptosis as the mechanism of cell death. Our findings demonstrate the capacity of T-Au-[PDL-PEG] NPs to preferentially localize in the tumour mitochondria, and confirms the potential impact of subcellular targeting, especially to the mitochondria in cancer cells for an improvement in the therapeutic indices of these drugs.
  6. Int J Med Sci. 2020 ;17(18): 3146-3164
      Trastuzumab has proven its effectiveness in gastric cancer with HER-2 gene-amplification, which has now developed resistance while the mechanism of which is not fully elucidated. Our previous studies demonstrated that the activity of GATA6 binding protein 6 (GATA6) enhanced prominently in trastuzumab resistant gastric cancer cell lines (NCI N87R and MKN45R). In the present study, we further confirmed the re-sensitization to trastuzumab and inhibition of mitochondrial functions of GATA6 knockout sublines (NCI N87R/ΔGATA6 and MKN45R/ΔGATA6). Moreover, we applied untargeted metabolomic profiling to investigate the potential roles of GATA6 in metabolism of NCI N87R and MKN45R. The UPLC system coupled with Q-Exactive Focus Orbitrap mass spectrometry, multivariate in combination with univariate analysis were performed for the screening of differential metabolites between resistant cells and GATA6 knockout sublines. A total of 68 and 59 endogenous metabolites were found to be altered significantly in NCI N87R/ΔGATA6 and MKN45R/ΔGATA6 cells compared with NCI N87R and MKN45R, respectively. Pathway analyses indicated disturbance of metabolic pathways after GATA6 knockout including tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, glycolysis and energy-related amino acid pathways. An integrated proteomics-metabolomics revealed that sub-networks were closely related to TCA cycle, glycolysis, multiple amino acid and nucleotide metabolism. Western blot showed that TCA cycle and glycolysis-related molecules, including PKM, GLS, GLUL and LDHA, were downregulated in GATA6 knockout sublines. Taken together, these findings demonstrate that GATA6 is involved in metabolism reprogramming which might contribute to trastuzumab resistance in gastric cancer.
    Keywords:  GATA 6; TCA cycle; gastric cancer; trastuzumab resistance; untargeted metabolomics
  7. Stem Cell Reports. 2020 Oct 30. pii: S2213-6711(20)30418-5. [Epub ahead of print]
      Insulin is an essential growth factor for the survival and self-renewal of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). Although it is best known as the principal hormone promoting glycolysis in somatic cells, insulin's roles in hESC energy metabolism remain unclear. In this report, we demonstrate that insulin is essential to sustain hESC mitochondrial respiration that is rapidly decreased upon insulin removal. Insulin-dependent mitochondrial respiration is stem cell specific, and mainly relies on pyruvate and glutamine, while glucose suppresses excessive oxidative phosphorylation. Pharmacologic and genetic manipulations reveal that continuous insulin signal sustains mitochondrial respiration through PI3K/AKT activation and downstream GSK3 inhibition. We further show that insulin acts through GSK3 inhibition to suppress caspase activation and rescue cell survival. This study uncovers a critical role of the AKT/GSK3 pathway in the regulation of mitochondrial respiration and cell survival, highlighting insulin as an essential factor for accurate assessment of mitochondrial respiration in hESCs.
    Keywords:  AKT; GSK3; caspase; cell survival; human embryonic stem cells; insulin; mitochondrial respiration
  8. Mol Cell Biol. 2020 Nov 09. pii: MCB.00269-20. [Epub ahead of print]
      The ubiquitin-proteasome system is essential for cell cycle progression. Cyclin F is a cell cycle regulated substrate adapter F-box protein for the SKP1/CUL1/F-box (SCF) family of E3 ubiquitin ligases. Despite its importance in cell cycle progression, identifying SCFCyclin F substrates has remained challenging. Since Cyclin F overexpression rescues a yeast mutant in the cdc4 gene, we considered the possibility that other genes that genetically modify cdc4 mutant lethality could also encode Cyclin F substrates. We identified the mitochondrial and cytosolic deacylating enzyme Sirtuin 5 (SIRT5) as a novel Cyclin F substrate. SIRT5 has been implicated in metabolic processes, but its connection to the cell cycle is not known. We show that Cyclin F interacts with, and controls the ubiquitination, abundance, and stability of SIRT5. We show SIRT5 knockout results in a diminished G1 population, and subsequent increase in both S and G2/M. Global proteomic analyses reveal CDK signaling changes congruent with the cell cycle changes in SIRT5 knockout cells. Together these data demonstrate that SIRT5 is regulated by Cyclin F and suggest a connection between SIRT5, cell cycle regulation, and metabolism.
  9. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020 Nov 09. pii: 202017987. [Epub ahead of print]
      The adenosine triphosphate (ATP) synthase in human mitochondria is a membrane bound assembly of 29 proteins of 18 kinds organized into F1-catalytic, peripheral stalk (PS), and c8-rotor ring modules. All but two membrane components are encoded in nuclear genes, synthesized on cytoplasmic ribosomes, imported into the mitochondrial matrix, and assembled into the complex with the mitochondrial gene products ATP6 and ATP8. Intermediate vestigial ATPase complexes formed by disruption of nuclear genes for individual subunits provide a description of how the various domains are introduced into the enzyme. From this approach, it is evident that three alternative pathways operate to introduce the PS module (including associated membrane subunits e, f, and g). In one pathway, the PS is built up by addition to the core subunit b of membrane subunits e and g together, followed by membrane subunit f. Then this b-e-g-f complex is bound to the preformed F1-c8 module by subunits OSCP and F6 The final component of the PS, subunit d, is added subsequently to form a key intermediate that accepts the two mitochondrially encoded subunits. In another route to this key intermediate, first e and g together and then f are added to a preformed F1-c8-OSCP-F6-b-d complex. A third route involves the addition of the c8-ring module to the complete F1-PS complex. The key intermediate then accepts the two mitochondrially encoded subunits, stabilized by the addition of subunit j, leading to an ATP synthase complex that is coupled to the proton motive force and capable of making ATP.
    Keywords:  ATP synthase; assembly; human mitochondria; peripheral stalk
  10. Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Nov 05. pii: E8283. [Epub ahead of print]21(21):
      Mitochondria are fully integrated in cell signaling. Reversible phosphorylation is involved in adjusting mitochondrial physiology to the cellular needs. Protein kinase A (PKA) phosphorylates several substrates present at the external surface of mitochondria to maintain cellular homeostasis. However, few targets of PKA located inside the organelle are known. The aim of this work was to characterize the impact and the interactome of PKA located inside mitochondria. Our results show that the overexpression of intramitochondrial PKA decreases cellular respiration and increases superoxide levels. Using proximity-dependent biotinylation, followed by LC-MS/MS analysis and in silico phospho-site prediction, we identified 21 mitochondrial proteins potentially targeted by PKA. We confirmed the interaction of PKA with TIM44 using coimmunoprecipitation and observed that TIM44-S80 is a key residue for the interaction between the protein and the kinase. These findings provide insights into the interactome of intramitochondrial PKA and suggest new potential mechanisms in the regulation of mitochondrial functions.
    Keywords:  BioID2; TIM44; mitochondria; protein kinase A; proteomics; serine/threonine phosphoprediction
  11. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2020 Nov 13.
      Mechanical forces shape cells and tissues during development and adult homeostasis. In addition, they also signal to cells via mechanotransduction pathways to control cell proliferation, differentiation and death. These processes require metabolism of nutrients for both energy generation and biosynthesis of macromolecules. However, how cellular mechanics and metabolism are connected is still poorly understood. Here, we discuss recent evidence indicating how the mechanical cues exerted by the extracellular matrix (ECM), cell-ECM and cell-cell adhesion complexes influence metabolic pathways. Moreover, we explore the energy and metabolic requirements associated with cell mechanics and ECM remodelling, implicating a reciprocal crosstalk between cell mechanics and metabolism.
  12. Cancers (Basel). 2020 Nov 06. pii: E3292. [Epub ahead of print]12(11):
      Cancer alters cell metabolism. How these changes are manifested in the metabolite cargo of cancer-derived extracellular vesicles (EVs) remains poorly understood. To explore these changes, EVs from prostate, cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL), colon cancer cell lines, and control EVs from their noncancerous counterparts were isolated by differential ultracentrifugation and analyzed by nanoparticle tracking analysis (NTA), electron microscopy (EM), Western blotting, and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS). Although minor differences between the cancerous and non-cancerous cell-derived EVs were observed by NTA and Western blotting, the largest differences were detected in their metabolite cargo. Compared to EVs from noncancerous cells, cancer EVs contained elevated levels of soluble metabolites, e.g., amino acids and B vitamins. Two metabolites, proline and succinate, were elevated in the EV samples of all three cancer types. In addition, folate and creatinine were elevated in the EVs from prostate and CTCL cancer cell lines. In conclusion, we present the first evidence in vitro that the altered metabolism of different cancer cells is reflected in common metabolite changes in their EVs. These results warrant further studies on the significance and usability of this metabolic fingerprint in cancer.
    Keywords:  cancer metabolism; colon cancer; cutaneous T-cell lymphoma; extracellular vesicles; prostate cancer
  13. Cell Metab. 2020 Nov 03. pii: S1550-4131(20)30554-4. [Epub ahead of print]
      NAD+ metabolism is implicated in aging and cancer. However, its role in immune checkpoint regulation and immune evasion remains unclear. Here, we find nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (NAMPT), the rate-limiting enzyme of the NAD+ biogenesis, drives interferon γ (IFNγ)-induced PD-L1 expression in multiple types of tumors and governs tumor immune evasion in a CD8+ T cell-dependent manner. Mechanistically, NAD+ metabolism maintains activity and expression of methylcytosine dioxygenase Tet1 via α-ketoglutarate (α-KG). IFNγ-activated Stat1 facilitates Tet1 binding to Irf1 to regulate Irf1 demethylation, leading to downstream PD-L1 expression on tumors. Importantly, high NAMPT-expressing tumors are more sensitive to anti-PD-L1 treatment and NAD+ augmentation enhances the efficacy of anti-PD-L1 antibody in immunotherapy-resistant tumors. Collectively, these data delineate an NAD+ metabolism-dependent epigenetic mechanism contributing to tumor immune evasion, and NAD+ replenishment combined with PD-(L)1 antibody provides a promising therapeutic strategy for immunotherapy-resistant tumors.
    Keywords:  NAD(+) metabolism; NAMPT; PD-L1; Tet1; cancer immune evasion; cancer immunotherapy; epigenetics; immune checkpoint blockade; interferon γ
  14. IUBMB Life. 2020 Nov 12.
      The cross-talk between the mitochondrion and the nucleus regulates cellular functions, including differentiation and adaptation to stress. Mitochondria supply metabolites for epigenetic modifications and other nuclear-associated activities and certain mitochondrial proteins were found in the nucleus. The voltage-dependent anion channel 1 (VDAC1), localized at the outer mitochondrial membrane (OMM) is a central protein in controlling energy production, cell growth, Ca2+ homeostasis, and apoptosis. To alter the cross-talk between the mitochondria and the nucleus, we used specific siRNA to silence the expression of VDAC1 in glioblastoma (GBM) U87-MG and U118-MG cell-derived tumors, and then monitored the nuclear localization of mitochondrial proteins and the methylation and acetylation of histones. Depletion of VDAC1 from tumor cells reduced metabolism, leading to inhibition of tumor growth, and several tumor-associated processes and signaling pathways linked to cancer development. In addition, we demonstrate that certain mitochondrial pro-apoptotic proteins such as caspases 3, 8, and 9, and p53 were unexpectedly overexpressed in tumors, suggesting that they possess additional non-apoptotic functions. VDAC1 depletion and metabolic reprograming altered their expression levels and subcellular localization, specifically their translocation to the nucleus. In addition, VDAC1 depletion also leads to epigenetic modifications of histone acetylation and methylation, suggesting that the interchange between metabolism and cancer signaling pathways involves mitochondria-nucleus cross-talk. The mechanisms regulating mitochondrial protein trafficking into and out of the nucleus and the role these proteins play in the nucleus remain to be elucidated.
    Keywords:  VDAC1; apoptosis; cancer; epigenetics; metabolism; mitochondria; nuclear
  15. Mol Cell Proteomics. 2020 Nov 11. pii: mcp.RA120.002370. [Epub ahead of print]
      Modulation of the host cell is integral to the survival and replication of microbial pathogens. Several intracellular bacterial pathogens deliver bacterial proteins, termed 'effector proteins' into the host cell during infection by sophisticated protein translocation systems, which manipulate cellular processes and functions. The functional contribution of individual effectors is poorly characterised, particularly in intracellular bacterial pathogens with large effector protein repertoires. Technical caveats have limited the capacity to study these proteins during a native infection, with many effector proteins having only been demonstrated to be translocated during over-expression of tagged versions. Here we developed a novel strategy to examine effector proteins in the context of infection. We coupled a broad, unbiased proteomics-based screen with organelle purification to study the host-pathogen interactions occurring between the host cell mitochondrion and the Gram-negative, Q fever pathogen Coxiella burnetii. We identify 4 novel mitochondrially-targeted C. burnetii effector proteins, renamed Mitochondrial Coxiella effector protein (Mce) B to E. Examination of the subcellular localisation of ectopically expressed proteins confirmed their mitochondrial localisation, demonstrating the robustness of our approach. Subsequent biochemical analysis and affinity enrichment proteomics of one of these effector proteins, MceC, revealed the protein localises to the inner membrane and can interact with components of the mitochondrial quality control machinery. Our study adapts high-sensitivity proteomics to study intracellular host-pathogen interactions, providing a robust strategy to examine the sub-cellular localisation of effector proteins during native infection. This approach could be applied to a range of pathogens and host cell compartments to provide a rich map of effector dynamics throughout infection.
    Keywords:  Bacteria; Cell biology*; Coxiella; Effector Proteins; Intracellular Bacteria; Mass Spectrometry; Mitochondria; Mitochondria function or biology; Molecular biology*; Proteomics
  16. Mol Genet Metab. 2020 Oct 03. pii: S1096-7192(20)30200-6. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitochondrial complex II (succinate:ubiquinone oxidoreductase) is the smallest complex of the oxidative phosphorylation system, a tetramer of just 140 kDa. Despite its diminutive size, it is a key complex in two coupled metabolic pathways - it oxidises succinate to fumarate in the tricarboxylic acid cycle and the electrons are used to reduce FAD to FADH2, ultimately reducing ubiquinone to ubiquinol in the respiratory chain. The biogenesis and assembly of complex II is facilitated by four ancillary proteins, all of which are autosomally-encoded. Numerous pathogenic defects have been reported which describe two broad clinical manifestations, either susceptibility to cancer in the case of single, heterozygous germline variants, or a mitochondrial disease presentation, almost exclusively due to bi-allelic recessive variants and associated with an isolated complex II deficiency. Here we present a compendium of pathogenic gene variants that have been documented in the literature in patients with an isolated mitochondrial complex II deficiency. To date, 61 patients are described, harbouring 32 different pathogenic variants in four distinct complex II genes: three structural subunit genes (SDHA, SDHB and SDHD) and one assembly factor gene (SDHAF1). Many pathogenic variants result in a null allele due to nonsense, frameshift or splicing defects however, the missense variants that do occur tend to induce substitutions at highly conserved residues in regions of the proteins that are critical for binding to other subunits or substrates. There is phenotypic heterogeneity associated with defects in each complex II gene, similar to other mitochondrial diseases.
    Keywords:  Complex II; Mitochondrial disease; Pathogenic variants; Succinate dehydrogenase
  17. Nat Commun. 2020 11 11. 11(1): 5711
      Mitochondria are multifunctional organelles that produce energy and are critical for various signaling pathways. Mitochondrial antiviral signaling (MAVS) is a mitochondrial outer membrane protein essential for the anti-RNA viral immune response, which is regulated by mitochondrial dynamics and energetics; however, the molecular link between mitochondrial metabolism and immunity is unclear. Here we show in cultured mammalian cells that MAVS is activated by mitochondrial fission factor (Mff), which senses mitochondrial energy status. Mff mediates the formation of active MAVS clusters on mitochondria, independent of mitochondrial fission and dynamin-related protein 1. Under mitochondrial dysfunction, Mff is phosphorylated by the cellular energy sensor AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), leading to the disorganization of MAVS clusters and repression of the acute antiviral response. Mff also contributes to immune tolerance during chronic infection by disrupting the mitochondrial MAVS clusters. Taken together, Mff has a critical function in MAVS-mediated innate immunity, by sensing mitochondrial energy metabolism via AMPK signaling.
  18. Elife. 2020 11 10. pii: e62420. [Epub ahead of print]9
      Average age and obesity prevalence are increasing globally. Both aging and obesity are characterized by profound systemic metabolic and immunologic changes and are cancer risk factors. The mechanisms linking age and body weight to cancer are incompletely understood, but recent studies have provided evidence that the anti-tumor immune response is reduced in both conditions, while responsiveness to immune checkpoint blockade, a form of cancer immunotherapy, is paradoxically intact. Dietary restriction, which promotes health and lifespan, may enhance cancer immunity. These findings illustrate that the systemic context can impact anti-tumor immunity and immunotherapy responsiveness. Here, we review the current knowledge of how age and systemic metabolic state affect the anti-tumor immune response, with an emphasis on CD8+ T cells, which are key players in anti-tumor immunity. A better understanding of the underlying mechanisms may lead to novel therapies enhancing anti-tumor immunity in the context of aging or metabolic dysfunction.
    Keywords:  aging; cancer biology; cancer metabolism; immunity; immunology; inflammation; metabolism; obesity
  19. Nature. 2020 Nov 11.
      Despite its success in achieving the long-term survival of 10-30% of treated individuals, immune therapy is still ineffective for most patients with cancer1,2. Many efforts are therefore underway to identify new approaches that enhance such immune 'checkpoint' therapy3-5 (so called because its aim is to block proteins that inhibit checkpoint signalling pathways in T cells, thereby freeing those immune cells to target cancer cells). Here we show that inhibiting PCSK9-a key protein in the regulation of cholesterol metabolism6-8-can boost the response of tumours to immune checkpoint therapy, through a mechanism that is independent of PCSK9's cholesterol-regulating functions. Deleting the PCSK9 gene in mouse cancer cells substantially attenuates or prevents their growth in mice in a manner that depends on cytotoxic T cells. It also enhances the efficacy of immune therapy that is targeted at the checkpoint protein PD1. Furthermore, clinically approved PCSK9-neutralizing antibodies synergize with anti-PD1 therapy in suppressing tumour growth in mouse models of cancer. Inhibiting PCSK9-either through genetic deletion or using PCSK9 antibodies-increases the expression of major histocompatibility protein class I (MHC I) proteins on the tumour cell surface, promoting robust intratumoral infiltration of cytotoxic T cells. Mechanistically, we find that PCSK9 can disrupt the recycling of MHC I to the cell surface by associating with it physically and promoting its relocation and degradation in the lysosome. Together, these results suggest that inhibiting PCSK9 is a promising way to enhance immune checkpoint therapy for cancer.
  20. Cell Metab. 2020 Nov 06. pii: S1550-4131(20)30535-0. [Epub ahead of print]
      The emergence of cancer from diverse normal tissues has long been rationalized to represent a common set of fundamental processes. However, these processes are not fully defined. Here, we show that forced expression of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) affords immortalized mouse and human cells anchorage-independent growth in vitro and tumorigenicity in animals. Mechanistically, G6PD augments the NADPH pool by stimulating NAD+ kinase-mediated NADP+ biosynthesis in addition to converting NADP+ to NADPH, bolstering antioxidant defense. G6PD also increases nucleotide precursor levels through the production of ribose and NADPH, promoting cell proliferation. Supplementation of antioxidants or nucleosides suffices to convert immortalized mouse and human cells into a tumorigenic state, and supplementation of both is required when their overlapping metabolic consequences are minimized. These results suggest that normal cells have a limited capacity for redox balance and nucleotide synthesis, and overcoming this limit might represent a key aspect of oncogenic transformation.
    Keywords:  G6PD; NAD kinase; NADPH; antioxidants; cancer metabolism; nucleosides; nucleotide synthesis; oncogenic transformation; pentose phosphate pathway; redox regulation
  21. Cells. 2020 Nov 09. pii: E2439. [Epub ahead of print]9(11):
      Tumor heterogeneity impinges on all the aspects of tumor history, from onset to metastasis and relapse. It is growingly recognized as a propelling force for tumor adaptation to environmental and micro-environmental cues. Metabolic heterogeneity perfectly falls into this process. It strongly contributes to the metabolic plasticity which characterizes cancer cell subpopulations-capable of adaptive switching under stress conditions, between aerobic glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation-in both a convergent and divergent modality. The mitochondria appear at center-stage in this adaptive process and thus, targeting mitochondria in cancer may prove of therapeutic value. Metformin is the oldest and most used anti-diabetic medication and its relationship with cancer has witnessed rises and falls in the last 30 years. We believe it is useful to revisit the main mechanisms of action of metformin in light of the emerging views on tumor heterogeneity. We first analyze the most consolidated view of its mitochondrial mechanism of action and then we frame the latter in the context of tumor adaptive strategies, cancer stem cell selection, metabolic zonation of tumors and the tumor microenvironment. This may provide a more critical point of view and, to some extent, may help to shed light on some of the controversial evidence for metformin's anticancer action.
    Keywords:  ETC; NFkB; OXPHOS; STAT3; autophagy; cancer stem cells; metabolic heterogeneity; metformin; mitochondria; therapeutic target
  22. Nucleic Acids Res. 2020 Nov 11. pii: gkaa1011. [Epub ahead of print]
      The mammalian mitochondrial proteome is under dual genomic control, with 99% of proteins encoded by the nuclear genome and 13 originating from the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). We previously developed MitoCarta, a catalogue of over 1000 genes encoding the mammalian mitochondrial proteome. This catalogue was compiled using a Bayesian integration of multiple sequence features and experimental datasets, notably protein mass spectrometry of mitochondria isolated from fourteen murine tissues. Here, we introduce MitoCarta3.0. Beginning with the MitoCarta2.0 inventory, we performed manual review to remove 100 genes and introduce 78 additional genes, arriving at an updated inventory of 1136 human genes. We now include manually curated annotations of sub-mitochondrial localization (matrix, inner membrane, intermembrane space, outer membrane) as well as assignment to 149 hierarchical 'MitoPathways' spanning seven broad functional categories relevant to mitochondria. MitoCarta3.0, including sub-mitochondrial localization and MitoPathway annotations, is freely available at and should serve as a continued community resource for mitochondrial biology and medicine.
  23. Front Immunol. 2020 ;11 573326
      The role of mitochondria in cancer formation and progression has been studied extensively, but much remains to be understood about this complex relationship. Mitochondria regulate many processes that are known to be altered in cancer cells, from metabolism to oxidative stress to apoptosis. Here, we review the evolving understanding of the role of mitochondria in cancer cells, and highlight key evidence supporting the role of mitochondria in cancer immune evasion and the effects of mitochondria-targeted antitumor therapy. Also considered is how knowledge of the role of mitochondria in cancer can be used to design and improve cancer therapies, particularly immunotherapy and radiation therapy. We further offer critical insights into the mechanisms by which mitochondria influence tumor immune responses, not only in cancer cells but also in immune cells. Given the central role of mitochondria in the complex interactions between cancer and the immune system, high priority should be placed on developing rational strategies to address mitochondria as potential targets in future preclinical and clinical studies. We believe that targeting mitochondria may provide additional opportunities in the development of novel antitumor therapeutics.
    Keywords:  cancer; immune function; immunotherapy; metabolism; mitochondria; radiation therapy
  24. Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Nov 11. pii: E8483. [Epub ahead of print]21(22):
      Mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cell, whilst their malfunction is related to several human pathologies, including neurodegenerative diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and various types of cancer. In mitochondrial metabolism, cytochrome c is a small soluble heme protein that acts as an essential redox carrier in the respiratory electron transport chain. However, cytochrome c is likewise an essential protein in the cytoplasm acting as an activator of programmed cell death. Such a dual role of cytochrome c in cell life and death is indeed fine-regulated by a wide variety of protein post-translational modifications. In this work, we show how these modifications can alter cytochrome c structure and functionality, thus emerging as a control mechanism of cell metabolism but also as a key element in development and prevention of pathologies.
    Keywords:  cytochrome c; mitochondrial diseases; post-translational modifications
  25. Cell Rep. 2020 Nov 10. pii: S2211-1247(20)31363-2. [Epub ahead of print]33(6): 108374
      To assess the effects of acylcarnitine accumulation on muscle insulin sensitivity, a model of muscle acylcarnitine accumulation was generated by deleting carnitine palmitoyltransferase 2 (CPT2) specifically from skeletal muscle (Cpt2Sk-/- mice). CPT2 is an irreplaceable enzyme for mitochondrial long-chain fatty acid oxidation, converting matrix acylcarnitines to acyl-CoAs. Compared with controls, Cpt2Sk-/- muscles do not accumulate anabolic lipids but do accumulate ∼22-fold more long-chain acylcarnitines. High-fat-fed Cpt2Sk-/- mice resist weight gain, adiposity, glucose intolerance, insulin resistance, and impairments in insulin-induced Akt phosphorylation. Obesity resistance of Cpt2Sk-/- mice could be attributed to increases in lipid excretion via feces, GFD15 production, and energy expenditure. L-carnitine supplement intervention lowers acylcarnitines and improves insulin sensitivity independent of muscle mitochondrial fatty acid oxidative capacity. The loss of muscle CPT2 results in a high degree of long-chain acylcarnitine accumulation, simultaneously protecting against diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance.
    Keywords:  acylcarnitine; beta-oxidation; carnitine palmitoyltransferase 2; carnitine supplementation; fatty acid oxidation; insulin resistance; long-chain fatty acids; mitochondria; muscle; obesity resistance
  26. Front Physiol. 2020 ;11 567796
      Key tissues are dysfunctional in obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, fatty liver and other metabolic diseases. Focus has centered on individual organs as though each was isolated. Attention has been paid to insulin resistance as the key relevant pathosis, particularly insulin receptor signaling. However, many tissues play important roles in synergistically regulating metabolic homeostasis and should be considered part of a network. Our approach identifies redox as an acute regulator of the greater metabolic network. Redox reactions involve the transfer of electrons between two molecules and in this work refer to commonly shared molecules, reflective of energy state, that can readily lose electrons to increase or gain electrons to decrease the oxidation state of molecules including NAD(P), NAD(P)H, and thiols. Metabolism alters such redox molecules to impact metabolic function in many tissues, thus, responding to anabolic and catabolic stimuli appropriately and synergistically. It is also important to consider environmental factors that have arisen or increased in recent decades as putative modifiers of redox and reactive oxygen species (ROS) and thus metabolic state. ROS are highly reactive, controlled by the thiol redox state and influence the function of thousands of proteins. Lactate (L) and pyruvate (P) in cells are present in a ratio of about 10 reflective of the cytosolic NADH to NAD ratio. Equilibrium is maintained in cells because lactate dehydrogenase is highly expressed and near equilibrium. The major source of circulating lactate and pyruvate is muscle, although other tissues also contribute. Acetoacetate (A) is produced primarily by liver mitochondria where β-hydroxybutyrate dehydrogenase is highly expressed, and maintains a ratio of β-hydroxybutyrate (β) to A of about 2, reflective of the mitochondrial NADH to NAD ratio. All four metabolites as well as the thiols, cysteine and glutathione, are transported into and out of cells, due to high expression of relevant transporters. Our model supports regulation of all collaborating metabolic organs through changes in circulating redox metabolites, regardless of whether change was initiated exogenously or by a single organ. Validation of these predictions suggests novel ways to understand function by monitoring and impacting redox state.
    Keywords:  ROS; adipocytes; energy metabolism; hepatocytes; metabolic regulation; network; redox; β-cells
  27. Int J Oncol. 2020 Dec;57(6): 1293-1306
      Accumulating evidence suggests that inflammation is present in solid tumors. However, it is poorly understood whether inflammation exists in glioma and how it affects the metabolic signature of glioma. By analyzing immunohistochemical data and gene expression data downloaded from bioinformatic datasets, the present study revealed an accumulation of inflammatory cells in glioma, activation of microglia, upregulation of proinflammatory factors (including IL‑6, IL‑8, hypoxia‑inducible factor‑1α, STAT3, NF‑κB1 and NF‑κB2), destruction of mitochondrial structure and altered expression levels of electron transfer chain complexes and metabolic enzymes. By monitoring glioma cells following proinflammatory stimulation, the current study observed a remodeling of their mitochondrial network via mitochondrial fission. More than half of the mitochondria presented ring‑shaped or spherical morphologies. Transmission electron microscopic analyses revealed mitochondrial swelling with partial or total cristolysis. Furthermore, proinflammatory stimuli resulted in increased generation of reactive oxygen species, decreased mitochondrial membrane potential and reprogrammed metabolism. The defective mitochondria were not eliminated via mitophagy. However, cell viability was not affected, and apoptosis was decreased in glioma cells after proinflammatory stimuli. Overall, the present findings suggested that inflammation may be present in glioma and that glioma cells may be resistant to inflammation‑induced mitochondrial dysfunction.
  28. Cancer Manag Res. 2020 ;12 11085-11093
      Purpose: Platinum resistance is a primary barrier to improving the survival rate of ovarian cancer. The relationship between mtDNA somatic mutations and response to platinum-based chemotherapy in ovarian cancer has not been well clarified.Patients and Methods: Here, we employed the next-generation sequencing (NGS) platform to identify mtDNA mutations of the unrelated high-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC) patients.
    Results: We identified 569 germline variants and 28 mtDNA somatic mutations, and found the platinum-sensitive relapsed HGSOC patients had more synonymous mutations while the platinum-resistant relapsed HGSOC patients had more missense mutations in the mtDNA somatic mutations. Meanwhile, we found that the HGSOC patients who harbored heteroplasmic pathogenic mtDNA somatic mutations had significantly higher prevalence of both platinum-resistance and relapse than those without (80.0% versus 16.7%, p=0.035). Additionally, we observed that the tumor tissues had significantly higher lactate-to-pyruvate (L/P) ratio than the paired nontumor tissues (p<0.001), and L/P ratio of tumors with any heteroplasmic pathogenic mtDNA mutations was significantly higher than that of the tumors free of pathogenic mtDNA mutations (p=0.025).
    Conclusion: Our findings indicate that these heteroplasmic pathogenic mtDNA somatic mutations may cause decreased respiratory chain activity and lead to the metabolism remodeling that seem to be beneficial for progression of both platinum-based chemotherapy resistance and relapse.
    Keywords:  chemotherapy; heteroplasmy; high-grade serous ovarian cancer; mitochondrial DNA mutation
  29. Cancers (Basel). 2020 Nov 11. pii: E3338. [Epub ahead of print]12(11):
      Exogenous administration of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is emerging as an alternative anticancer treatment. H2S-releasing compounds have been shown to exert a strong anticancer effect by suppressing proliferation and/or inducing apoptosis in several cancer cell types, including colorectal carcinoma (CRC). The mechanism whereby exogenous H2S affects CRC cell proliferation is yet to be clearly elucidated, but it could involve an increase in intracellular Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]i). Herein, we sought to assess for the first time whether (and how) sodium hydrosulfide (NaHS), one of the most widely employed H2S donors, induced intracellular Ca2+ signals in primary cultures of human metastatic CRC (mCRC) cells. We provided the evidence that NaHS induced extracellular Ca2+ entry in mCRC cells by activating the Ca2+-permeable channel Transient Receptor Potential Vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) followed by the Na+-dependent recruitment of the reverse-mode of the Na+/Ca2+ (NCX) exchanger. In agreement with these observations, TRPV1 protein was expressed and capsaicin, a selective TRPV1 agonist, induced Ca2+ influx by engaging both TRPV1 and NCX in mCRC cells. Finally, NaHS reduced mCRC cell proliferation, but did not promote apoptosis or aberrant mitochondrial depolarization. These data support the notion that exogenous administration of H2S may prevent mCRC cell proliferation through an increase in [Ca2+]i, which is triggered by TRPV1.
    Keywords:  H2S; NCX; TRPV1; cancer; metastatic colorectal carcinoma; proliferation
  30. Nat Chem Biol. 2020 Nov 09.
      Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations are the major cause of mitochondrial diseases. Cells harboring disease-related mtDNA mutations exhibit various phenotypic abnormalities, such as reduced respiration and elevated lactic acid production. Induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines derived from patients with mitochondrial disease, with high proportions of mutated mtDNA, exhibit defects in maturation into neurons or cardiomyocytes. In this study, we have discovered a small-molecule compound, which we name tryptolinamide (TLAM), that activates mitochondrial respiration in cybrids generated from patient-derived mitochondria and fibroblasts from patient-derived iPSCs. We found that TLAM inhibits phosphofructokinase-1 (PFK1), which in turn activates AMPK-mediated fatty-acid oxidation to promote oxidative phosphorylation, and redirects carbon flow from glycolysis toward the pentose phosphate pathway to reinforce anti-oxidative potential. Finally, we found that TLAM rescued the defect in neuronal differentiation of iPSCs carrying a high ratio of mutant mtDNA, suggesting that PFK1 represents a potential therapeutic target for mitochondrial diseases.
  31. Cancer Cell. 2020 Oct 26. pii: S1535-6108(20)30543-2. [Epub ahead of print]
      Metastases account for most cancer-related deaths, yet the mechanisms underlying metastatic spread remain poorly understood. Recent evidence demonstrates that senescent cells, while initially restricting tumorigenesis, can induce tumor progression. Here, we identify the metalloproteinase inhibitor TIMP1 as a molecular switch that determines the effects of senescence in prostate cancer. Senescence driven either by PTEN deficiency or chemotherapy limits the progression of prostate cancer in mice. TIMP1 deletion allows senescence to promote metastasis, and elimination of senescent cells with a senolytic BCL-2 inhibitor impairs metastasis. Mechanistically, TIMP1 loss reprograms the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP) of senescent tumor cells through activation of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). Loss of PTEN and TIMP1 in prostate cancer is frequent and correlates with resistance to docetaxel and worst clinical outcomes in patients treated in an adjuvant setting. Altogether, these findings provide insights into the dual roles of tumor-associated senescence and can potentially impact the treatment of prostate cancer.
    Keywords:  FGF1; GDF-15; MMPs; PTEN; TIMP1; docetaxel; prostate cancer metastasis; senescence; senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP); senolytic therapy
  32. Cancer Res. 2020 Nov 09. pii: canres.2379.2020. [Epub ahead of print]
      Overexpression of the MYC oncoprotein is an initiating step in the formation of several cancers. MYC frequently recruits chromatin-modifying complexes to DNA to amplify the expression of cancer-promoting genes including those regulating cell cycle, proliferation, and metabolism, yet the roles of specific modifiers in different cancer types are not well defined. Here we show that GCN5 is an essential coactivator of cell cycle gene expression driven by MYC overexpression and that deletion of Gcn5 delays or abrogates tumorigenesis in the Eμ-Myc mouse model of B cell lymphoma. Our results demonstrate that Gcn5 loss impacts both expression and downstream functions of MYC.
  33. Am J Cancer Res. 2020 ;10(10): 3212-3229
      The precise molecular mechanism of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remains ambiguous. Isocitrate dehydrogenase 3A (IDH3A) is known as a subunit of the IDH3 heterotetramer. To the best of our knowledge, the biological effect of IDH3A in malignant tumors is unclear. Here, we report that IDH3A is significantly upregulated in HCC tissues; moreover, high expression of IDH3A is strongly associated with tumor size and the clinicopathologic stage of HCC. RNA-seq revealed that depletion of IDH3A affects the expression of metastasis associated 1 (MTA1), an oncogene which is related to the progression of numerous cancer types to the metastasis stage. Cell transfection was used to upregulate and downregulate the expression of IDH3A in HCC cells. The migration activity of HCC cells was assessed using wound healing assays. While transwell assays were carried out to detect the invasion of HCC cells. RNA-seq, RT-qPCR and western blot were used to validate MTA1 as a potential target gene. The present study suggested that IDH3A can upregulate MTA1 expression and promote epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in HCC by inducing MTA1 expression, thereby facilitating cell migration and invasion of HCC cells. Here, we demonstrated the importance of IDH3A in HCC progression. The identification of the IDH3A axis provides novel insight into the pathogenesis of HCC, and the IDH3A axis might represent a novel target for the treatment of HCC.
    Keywords:  EMT; IDH3A; MTA1; invasion; migration
  34. Cancer Lett. 2020 Nov 10. pii: S0304-3835(20)30571-1. [Epub ahead of print]
      Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are distinct subpopulations of cancer cells with stem cell-like abilities and are more resilient to chemotherapy, causing tumor relapse. Mitophagy, a selective form of autophagy, removes damaged unwanted mitochondria from cells through a lysosome-based degradation pathway to maintain cellular homeostasis. CSCs use mitophagy as a chief survival response mechanism for their growth, propagation, and tumorigenic ability. Mitochondrial biogenesis is a crucial cellular event replacing damaged mitochondria through the coordinated regulation of several transcription factors to achieve the bioenergetic demands of the cell. Because of the high mitochondrial content in CSCs, mitochondrial biogenesis is an interesting target to address the resistance mechanisms of anti-CSC therapy. However, to what extent both mitophagy and mitochondrial biogenesis are vital in promoting stemness, metabolic reprogramming, and drug resistance in CSCs has yet to be established. Therefore, in this review, we focus on understanding the interesting aspects of mitochondrial rewiring that involve mitophagy and mitochondrial biogenesis in CSCs. We also discuss their coordinated regulation in the elimination of CSCs, with respect to stemness and differentiation of the CSC phenotype, and the different aspects of tumorigenesis such as cancer initiation, progression, resistance, and tumor relapse. Finally, we address several other unanswered questions relating to targeted anti-CSC cancer therapy, which improves patient survival.
    Keywords:  Anti-CSC cancer Therapy; Cancer stem cell; Metabolic reprograming; Mitochondrial biogenesis; Mitophagy