bims-mibica Biomed News
on Mitochondrial bioenergetics in cancer
Issue of 2020‒11‒22
forty-eight papers selected by
Kelsey Fisher-Wellman
East Carolina University

  1. FASEB J. 2020 Nov 16.
      Mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm) is a global indicator of mitochondrial function. Previous reports on heterogeneity of ΔΨm were qualitative or semiquantitative. Here, we quantified intercellular differences in ΔΨm in unsynchronized human cancer cells, cells synchronized in G1, S, and G2, and human fibroblasts. We assessed ΔΨm using a two-pronged microscopy approach to measure relative fluorescence of tetramethylrhodamine methyl ester (TMRM) and absolute values of ΔΨm. We showed that ΔΨm is more heterogeneous in cancer cells compared to fibroblasts, and it is maintained throughout the cell cycle. The effect of chemical inhibition of the respiratory chain and ATP synthesis differed between basal, low and high ΔΨm cells. Overall, our results showed that intercellular heterogeneity of ΔΨm is mainly modulated by intramitochondrial factors, it is independent of the ΔΨm indicator and it is not correlated with intercellular heterogeneity of plasma membrane potential or the phases of the cell cycle.
    Keywords:  HepG2 cells; TMRM; cancer; cell cycle; fibroblasts; heterogeneity; mitochondria; mitochondrial membrane potential; plasma membrane potential
  2. Oncotarget. 2020 Oct 27. 11(43): 3863-3885
      Inhibitors of mitochondrial respiration and ATP synthesis may promote the selective killing of respiration-competent cancer cells that are critical for tumor progression. We previously reported that CADD522, a small molecule inhibitor of the RUNX2 transcription factor, has potential for breast cancer treatment. In the current study, we show that CADD522 inhibits mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation by decreasing the mitochondrial oxygen consumption rate (OCR) and ATP production in human breast cancer cells in a RUNX2-independent manner. The enzyme activity of mitochondrial ATP synthase was inhibited by CADD522 treatment. Importantly, results from cellular thermal shift assays that detect drug-induced protein stabilization revealed that CADD522 interacts with both α and β subunits of the F1-ATP synthase complex. Differential scanning fluorimetry also demonstrated interaction of α subunits of the F1-ATP synthase to CADD522. These results suggest that CADD522 might target the enzymatic F1 subunits in the ATP synthase complex. CADD522 increased the levels of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS), which was prevented by MitoQ, a mitochondria-targeted antioxidant, suggesting that cancer cells exposed to CADD522 may elevate ROS from mitochondria. CADD522-increased mitochondrial ROS levels were enhanced by exogenously added pro-oxidants such as hydrogen peroxide or tert-butyl hydroperoxide. Conversely, CADD522-mediated cell growth inhibition was blocked by N-acetyl-l-cysteine, a general ROS scavenger. Therefore, CADD522 may exert its antitumor activity by increasing mitochondrial driven cellular ROS levels. Collectively, our data suggest in vitro proof-of-concept that supports inhibition of mitochondrial ATP synthase and ROS generation as contributors to the effectiveness of CADD522 in suppression of tumor growth.
    Keywords:  ; ATP synthesis; mitochondrial ATP synthase; oxygen consumption rate; reactive oxygen species
  3. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2020 ;2020 6212935
      Redox-active substances and their combinations, such as of quinone/ascorbate and in particular menadione/ascorbate (M/A; also named Apatone®), attract attention with their unusual ability to kill cancer cells without affecting the viability of normal cells as well as with the synergistic anticancer effect of both molecules. So far, the primary mechanism of M/A-mediated anticancer effects has not been linked to the mitochondria. The aim of our study was to clarify whether this "combination drug" affects mitochondrial functionality specifically in cancer cells. Studies were conducted on cancer cells (Jurkat, Colon26, and MCF7) and normal cells (normal lymphocytes, FHC, and MCF10A), treated with different concentrations of menadione, ascorbate, and/or their combination (2/200, 3/300, 5/500, 10/1000, and 20/2000 μM/μM of M/A). M/A exhibited highly specific and synergistic suppression on cancer cell growth but without adversely affecting the viability of normal cells at pharmacologically attainable concentrations. In M/A-treated cancer cells, the cytostatic/cytotoxic effect is accompanied by (i) extremely high production of mitochondrial superoxide (up to 15-fold over the control level), (ii) a significant decrease of mitochondrial membrane potential, (iii) a decrease of the steady-state levels of ATP, succinate, NADH, and NAD+, and (iv) a decreased expression of programed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1)-one of the major immune checkpoints. These effects were dose dependent. The inhibition of NQO1 by dicoumarol increased mitochondrial superoxide and sensitized cancer cells to M/A. In normal cells, M/A induced relatively low and dose-independent increase of mitochondrial superoxide and mild oxidative stress, which seems to be well tolerated. These data suggest that all anticancer effects of M/A result from a specific mechanism, tightly connected to the mitochondria of cancer cells. At low/tolerable doses of M/A (1/100-3/300 μM/μM) attainable in cancer by oral and parenteral administration, M/A sensitized cancer cells to conventional anticancer drugs, exhibiting synergistic or additive cytotoxicity accompanied by impressive induction of apoptosis. Combinations of M/A with 13 anticancer drugs were investigated (ABT-737, barasertib, bleomycin, BEZ-235, bortezomib, cisplatin, everolimus, lomustine, lonafarnib, MG-132, MLN-2238, palbociclib, and PI-103). Low/tolerable doses of M/A did not induce irreversible cytotoxicity in cancer cells but did cause irreversible metabolic changes, including: (i) a decrease of succinate and NADH, (ii) depolarization of the mitochondrial membrane, and (iii) overproduction of superoxide in the mitochondria of cancer cells only. In addition, M/A suppressed tumor growth in vivo after oral administration in mice with melanoma and the drug downregulated PD-L1 in melanoma cells. Experimental data suggest a great potential for beneficial anticancer effects of M/A through increasing the sensitivity of cancer cells to conventional anticancer therapy, as well as to the immune system, while sparing normal cells. We hypothesize that M/A-mediated anticancer effects are triggered by redox cycling of both substances, specifically within dysfunctional mitochondria. M/A may also have a beneficial effect on the immune system, making cancer cells "visible" and more vulnerable to the native immune response.
  4. Toxicology. 2020 Nov 11. pii: S0300-483X(20)30269-9. [Epub ahead of print] 152630
      Rotenone, a mitochondrial complex I inhibitor, has been widely used to study the effects of mitochondrial dysfunction on dopaminergic neurons in the context of Parkinson's disease. Although the deleterious effects of rotenone are well documented, we found that young adult Caenorhabditis elegans showed resistance to 24- and 48 -h rotenone exposures. To better understand the response to rotenone in C. elegans, we evaluated mitochondrial bioenergetic parameters after 24- and 48 -h exposures to 1µM or 5 µM rotenone. Results suggested upregulation of mitochondrial complexes II and V following rotenone exposure, without major changes in oxygen consumption or steady-state ATP levels after rotenone treatment at the tested concentrations. We found evidence that the glyoxylate pathway (an alternate pathway not present in higher metazoans) was induced by rotenone exposure; gene expression measurements showed increases in mRNA levels for two complex II subunits and for isocitrate lyase, the key glyoxylate pathway enzyme. Targeted metabolomics analyses showed alterations in the levels of organic acids, amino acids, and acylcarnitines, consistent with the metabolic restructuring of cellular bioenergetics pathways including activation of complex II, the glyoxylate pathway, glycolysis, and fatty acid oxidation. This expanded understanding of how C. elegans responds metabolically to complex I inhibition via multiple bioenergetic adaptations, including the glyoxylate pathway, will be useful in interrogating the effects of mitochondrial and bioenergetic stressors and toxicants.
    Keywords:  Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans); complex I; metabolism; metabolomics; mitochondrial metabolism; rotenone
  5. J Am Heart Assoc. 2020 Nov 19. e017195
      Background The mutated α-B-Crystallin (CryABR120G) mouse model of desmin-related myopathy (DRM) shows an age-dependent onset of pathologic cardiac remodeling and progression of heart failure. CryABR120G expression in cardiomyocytes affects the mitochondrial spatial organization within the myofibrils, but the molecular perturbation within the mitochondria in the relation of the overall course of the proteotoxic disease remains unclear. Methods and Results CryABR120G mice show an accumulation of electron-dense aggregates and myofibrillar degeneration associated with the development of cardiac dysfunction. Though extensive studies demonstrated that these altered ultrastructural changes cause cardiac contractility impairment, the molecular mechanism of cardiomyocyte death remains elusive. Here, we explore early pathological processes within the mitochondria contributing to the contractile dysfunction and determine the pathogenic basis for the heart failure observed in the CryABR120G mice. In the present study, we report that the CryABR120G mice transgenic hearts undergo altered mitochondrial dynamics associated with increased level of dynamin-related protein 1 and decreased level of optic atrophy type 1 as well as mitofusin 1 over the disease process. In association with these changes, an altered level of the components of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation and pyruvate dehydrogenase complex regulatory proteins occurs before the manifestation of pathologic adverse remodeling in the CryABR120G hearts. Mitochondria isolated from CryABR120G transgenic hearts without visible pathology show decreased electron transport chain complex activities and mitochondrial respiration. Taken together, we demonstrated the involvement of mitochondria in the pathologic remodeling and progression of DRM-associated cellular dysfunction. Conclusions Mitochondrial dysfunction in the form of altered mitochondrial dynamics, oxidative phosphorylation and pyruvate dehydrogenase complex proteins level, abnormal electron transport chain complex activities, and mitochondrial respiration are evident on the CryABR120G hearts before the onset of detectable pathologies and development of cardiac contractile dysfunction.
    Keywords:  R120G‐αB‐crystallin; desmin‐related myopathy; mitochondrial dynamics; mitochondrial respiration; oxidative phosphorylation
  6. EMBO J. 2020 Nov 17. e105074
      The connectivity of mitochondria is regulated by a balance between fusion and division. Many human diseases are associated with excessive mitochondrial connectivity due to impaired Drp1, a dynamin-related GTPase that mediates division. Here, we report a mitochondrial stress response, named mitochondrial safeguard, that adjusts the balance of fusion and division in response to increased mitochondrial connectivity. In cells lacking Drp1, mitochondria undergo hyperfusion. However, hyperfusion does not completely connect mitochondria because Opa1 and mitofusin 1, two other dynamin-related GTPases that mediate fusion, become proteolytically inactivated. Pharmacological and genetic experiments show that the activity of Oma1, a metalloprotease that cleaves Opa1, is regulated by short pulses of the membrane depolarization without affecting the overall membrane potential in Drp1-knockout cells. Re-activation of Opa1 and Mitofusin 1 in Drp1-knockout cells further connects mitochondria beyond hyperfusion, termed extreme fusion, leading to bioenergetic deficits. These findings reveal an unforeseen safeguard mechanism that prevents extreme fusion of mitochondria, thereby maintaining mitochondrial function when the balance is shifted to excessive connectivity.
    Keywords:  Drp1; Oma1; Opa1; mitochondrial fusion; mitofusin
  7. Mini Rev Med Chem. 2020 Nov 18.
      The search for mitochondria-targeted drugs has dramatically risen over the last decade. Mitochondria are essential organelles serving not only as a powerhouse of the cell but also as a key player in cell proliferation and cell death. Their central role in the energetic metabolism, calcium homeostasis and apoptosis makes them an intriguing field of interest for cancer pharmacology. In cancer cells, many mitochondrial signaling and metabolic pathways are altered. These changes contribute to cancer development and progression. Due to changes in the mitochondrial metabolism and changes in a membrane potential, cancer cells are more susceptible to mitochondria-targeted therapy and the loss of functional mitochondria leads to arrest of cancer progression and/or a cancer cell death. Identification of mitochondrial changes specific for tumor growth and progression, a rational development of new mitochondria-targeted drugs and research on delivery agents led to the advance of this promising area. This review will highlight the current findings in mitochondrial biology which are important for cancer initiation, progression and resistance and discuss approaches of cancer pharmacology with a special focus to the anti-cancer drugs referred to as 'mitocans'.
    Keywords:  cancer; electron transport chain; hexokinase; inhibitors; metabolism; mitochondria; respiratory chain; targeting; treatment; tricarboxylic acid cycle
  8. J Cell Sci. 2020 Nov 16. pii: jcs.250944. [Epub ahead of print]
      Both functional and dysfunctional mitochondria are known to underlie tumor progression. Here, we establish use of the proto-oncogene Drosophila Homeodomain-interacting protein kinase (Hipk) as a new tool to address this paradox. We find that, in Hipk-overexpressing tumor-like cells, mitochondria accumulate and switch from fragmented to highly fused interconnected morphologies. Moreover, elevated Hipk promotes mitochondrial membrane hyperpolarization. These mitochondrial changes are at least in part driven by the upregulation of Myc. Furthermore, we show that the altered mitochondrial energetics, but not morphology, is required for Hipk tumor-like growth as knockdown of pdsw (NDUFB10 in mammals; a Complex I subunit) abrogates the growth. Knockdown of ATPsynβ (a Complex V subunit), which produces higher levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) than pdsw knockdown, instead synergizes with Hipk to potentiate JNK activation and the downstream induction of Matrix metalloproteinases. Accordingly, ATPsynβ knockdown suppresses Hipk tumor-like growth only when ROS scavengers are co-expressed. Altogether, our work presents an in vivo tumor model featuring the accumulation of hyperfused and hyperpolarized mitochondria, and reveals respiratory Complex subunit-dependent, opposing effects on tumorigenic outcomes.
    Keywords:  Drosophila; Energetics; Hipk; Mitochondria; Myc; ROS
  9. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020 Nov 16. pii: 201920240. [Epub ahead of print]
      Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is typically diagnosed at an advanced stage, which limits surgical options and portends a dismal prognosis. Current oncologic PDAC therapies confer marginal benefit and, thus, a significant unmet clinical need exists for new therapeutic strategies. To identify effective PDAC therapies, we leveraged a syngeneic orthotopic PDAC transplant mouse model to perform a large-scale, in vivo screen of 16 single-agent and 41 two-drug targeted therapy combinations in mice. Among 57 drug conditions screened, combined inhibition of heat shock protein (Hsp)-90 and MEK was found to produce robust suppression of tumor growth, leading to an 80% increase in the survival of PDAC-bearing mice with no significant toxicity. Mechanistically, we observed that single-agent MEK inhibition led to compensatory activation of resistance pathways, including components of the PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling axis, which was overcome with the addition of HSP90 inhibition. The combination of HSP90(i) + MEK(i) was also active in vitro in established human PDAC cell lines and in vivo in patient-derived organoid PDAC transplant models. These findings encourage the clinical development of HSP90(i) + MEK(i) combination therapy and highlight the power of clinically relevant in vivo model systems for identifying cancer therapies.
    Keywords:  HSP90; MEK; PDAC; pancreatic cancer; trametinib
  10. Front Oncol. 2020 ;10 562196
      Background and Purpose: Drug repositioning is a promising strategy for discovering new therapeutic strategies for cancer therapy. We investigated psychotropic drugs for their antitumor activity because of several epidemiological studies reporting lower cancer incidence in individuals receiving long term drug treatment. Experimental Approach: We investigated 27 psychotropic drugs for their cytotoxic activity in colorectal carcinoma, glioblastoma and breast cancer cell lines. Consistent with the cationic amphiphilic structure of the most cytotoxic compounds, we investigated their effect on mitochondrial and lysosomal compartments. Results: Penfluridol, ebastine, pimozide and fluoxetine, fluspirilene and nefazodone showed significant cytotoxicity, in the low micromolar range, in all cell lines tested. In MCF7 cells these drugs caused mitochondrial membrane depolarization, increased the acidic vesicular compartments and induced phospholipidosis. Both penfluridol and spiperone induced AMPK activation and autophagy. Neither caspase nor autophagy inhibitors rescued cells from death induced by ebastine, fluoxetine, fluspirilene and nefazodone. Treatment with 3-methyladenine partially rescued cell death induced by pimozide and spiperone, whereas enhanced the cytotoxic activity of penfluridol. Conversely, inhibition of lysosomal cathepsins significantly reduced cell death induced by ebastin, penfluridol, pimozide, spiperone and mildly in fluoxetine treated cells. Lastly, Spiperone cytotoxicity was restricted to colorectal cancer and breast cancer and caused apoptotic cell death in MCF7 cells. Conclusions: The cytotoxicity of psychotropic drugs with cationic amphiphilic structures relied on simultaneous mitochondrial and lysosomal disruption and induction of cell death that not necessarily requires apoptosis. Since dual targeting of lysosomes and mitochondria constitutes a new promising therapeutic approach for cancer, particularly those in which the apoptotic machinery is defective, these data further support their clinical development for cancer therapy.
    Keywords:  autophagy; cancer; cationic amphiphilic drugs (CADs); lysosomotropism; psychotropic drug; repositioning
  11. Theranostics. 2020 ;10(26): 12044-12059
      Objectives: Integrins, the coordinator of extracellular and intracellular signaling, are often found to be aberrant in tumors and can reshape the tumor microenvironment. Although previous studies showed that integrin beta 2 (ITGB2) is important for host defense, its expression profile and role in tumors, especially in cancer associated fibroblasts (CAFs) are still unknown. Methods: Immunofluorescence stain and fluorescence activated cell sorting were used to analyze the ITGB2 expression profile in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). RT-PCR and western blot were used to compare ITGB2 expression in normal fibroblasts (NFs) and cancer associated fibroblasts (CAFs). Clinical data and function-based experiments were used to investigate the promoting tumor growth ability of ITGB2 expressing CAFs. Enhanced glycolysis activity was identified by using bioinformatics analyses and GC/MS assays. MCT1 knockdown OSCC cell lines were constructed to explore the pro-proliferative mechanisms of ITGB2 expressing CAFs in multiple in vitro and in vivo assays. Results: We found that CAFs exhibited significantly higher ITGB2 expression than the matched NFs. In addition, higher ITGB2 expression in CAFs was correlated with higher TNM stages and more Ki67+ tumor cells, indicating its ability to promote OSCC proliferation. Further, co-culture assay demonstrated that ITGB2-mediated lactate release in CAFs promoted OSCC cell proliferation. Mechanically, ITGB2 regulated PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathways to enhance glycolysis activity in CAFs. Accordingly, lactate derived from ITGB2-expressing CAFs was absorbed and metabolized in OSCC to generate NADH, which was then oxidized in the mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation system (OXPHOS) to produce ATP. Notably, inhibiting the OXPHOS system with metformin delayed the proliferative capacity of OSCC cells cultured in the ITGB2-expressing CAFs medium. Conclusions: Our study uncovered the ITGB2high pro-tumoral CAFs that activated the PI3K/AKT/mTOR axis to promote tumor proliferation in OSCC by NADH oxidation in the mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation system.
    Keywords:  ITGB2; NADH; cancer associated fibroblasts; lactate; oral squamous cell carcinoma; oxidative phosphorylation system
  12. Cancer Cell. 2020 Nov 18. pii: S1535-6108(20)30541-9. [Epub ahead of print]
      Acquired resistance to BH3 mimetic antagonists of BCL-2 and MCL-1 is an important clinical problem. Using acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models of acquired resistance to BCL-2 (venetoclax) and MCL-1 (S63845) antagonists, we identify common principles of resistance and persistent vulnerabilities to overcome resistance. BH3 mimetic resistance is characterized by decreased mitochondrial apoptotic priming as measured by BH3 profiling, both in PDX models and human clinical samples, due to alterations in BCL-2 family proteins that vary among cases, but not to acquired mutations in leukemia genes. BCL-2 inhibition drives sequestered pro-apoptotic proteins to MCL-1 and vice versa, explaining why in vivo combinations of BCL-2 and MCL-1 antagonists are more effective when concurrent rather than sequential. Finally, drug-induced mitochondrial priming measured by dynamic BH3 profiling (DBP) identifies drugs that are persistently active in BH3 mimetic-resistant myeloblasts, including FLT-3 inhibitors and SMAC mimetics.
    Keywords:  BCL-2; BH3 mimetics; BH3 profiling; FLT-3; MCL-1; SMAC; leukemia; mitochondria; precision cancer medicine; venetoclax
  13. Cell Signal. 2020 Nov 16. pii: S0898-6568(20)30315-6. [Epub ahead of print] 109838
      Sphingolipids are a unique class of lipids owing to their non-glycerol-containing backbone, ceramide, that is constructed from a long-chain aliphatic amino alcohol, sphinganine, to which a fatty acid is attached via an amide bond. Ceramide plays a star role in the initiation of apoptosis by virtue of its interactions with mitochondria, a control point for a downstream array of signaling cascades culminating in apoptosis. Many pathways converge on mitochondria to elicit mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization (MOMP), a step that corrupts bioenergetic service. Although much is known regarding ceramides interaction with mitochondria and the ensuing cell signal transduction cascades, how ceramide impacts the elements of mitochondrial bioenergetic function is poorly understood. The objective of this review is to introduce the reader to sphingolipid metabolism, present a snapshot of mitochondrial respiration, elaborate on ceramides convergence on mitochondria and the upstream players that collaborate to elicit MOMP, and introduce a mitochondrial phenotyping platform that can be of utility in dissecting the fine-points of ceramide impact on cellular bioenergetics.
    Keywords:  Bioenergetics; Cancer; Ceramide; Mitochondria; Sphingolipids
  14. iScience. 2020 Nov 20. 23(11): 101684
      Cancer cells alter their nutrition metabolism to cope the stressful environment. One important metabolism adjustment is that cancer cells activate glutaminolysis in response to the reduced carbon from glucose entering into the TCA cycle due to inactivation of several enzymes in glycolysis. An important question is how the cancer cells coordinate the changes of glycolysis and glutaminolysis. In this report, we demonstrate that the pyruvate kinase inactive dimer PKM2 facilitates activation of glutaminolysis. Our experiments show that growth stimulations promote PKM2 dimer. The dimer PKM2 plays a role in regulation of glutaminolysis by upregulation of mitochondrial glutaminase I (GLS-1). PKM2 dimer regulates the GLS-1 expression by controlling internal ribosome entry site (IRES)-dependent c-myc translation. Growth stimulations promote PKM2 interacting with c-myc IRES-RNA, thus facilitating c-myc IRES-dependent translation. Our study reveals an important linker that coordinates the metabolism adjustment in cancer cells.
    Keywords:  Biological Sciences; Cancer; Cell Biology
  15. Biochem Biophys Rep. 2020 Dec;24 100824
      Mitochondria oscillate along a morphological continuum from fragmented individual units to hyperfused tubular networks. Their position at the junction of catabolic and anabolic metabolism couples this morphological plasticity, called mitochondrial dynamics, to larger cellular metabolic programs, which in turn implicate mitochondria in a number of disease states. In many cancers, fragmented mitochondria engage the cell with the biosynthetic capacity of aerobic glycolysis in service of proliferation and progression. Chemo-resistant cancers, however, favor remodeling dynamics that yield fused mitochondrial assemblies utilizing oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) through the electron transport chain (ETC). In this study, expression of Mitofusin-2 (MFN-2), a GTPase protein mediator of mitochondrial fusion, was found to closely correlate to Jurkat leukemia cell survival post doxorubicin (DxR) assault. Moreover, this was accompanied by dramatically increased expression of OXPHOS respiratory complexes and ATP Synthase, as well as a commensurate escalation of state III respiration and respiratory control ratio (RCR). Importantly, CRISPR knockout of MFN-2 resulted in a considerable decrease of doxorubicin (DxR) median lethal dose compared to a treated wildtype control, suggesting an important role of mitochondrial fusion in chemotherapy sensitivity and acute resistance.
    Keywords:  Doxorubicin; MFN-2; Mitochondrial fusion; OXPHOS; Sensitivity
  16. Cell Death Dis. 2020 Nov 17. 11(11): 991
      Pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 4 (PDK4) is an important mitochondrial matrix enzyme in cellular energy regulation. Previous studies suggested that PDK4 is increased in the calcified vessels of patients with atherosclerosis and is closely associated with mitochondrial function, but the precise regulatory mechanisms remain largely unknown. This study aims to investigate the role of PDK4 in vascular calcification and the molecular mechanisms involved. Using a variety of complementary techniques, we found impaired autophagic activity in the process of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) calcification, whereas knocking down PDK4 had the opposite effect. PDK4 drives the metabolic reprogramming of VSMCs towards a Warburg effect, and the inhibition of PDK4 abrogates VSMCs calcification. Mechanistically, PDK4 disturbs the integrity of the mitochondria-associated endoplasmic reticulum membrane, concomitantly impairing mitochondrial respiratory capacity, which contributes to a decrease in lysosomal degradation by inhibiting the V-ATPase and lactate dehydrogenase B interaction. PDK4 also inhibits the nuclear translocation of the transcription factor EB, thus inhibiting lysosomal function. These changes result in the interruption of autophagic flux, which accelerates calcium deposition in VSMCs. In addition, glycolysis serves as a metabolic adaptation to improve VSMCs oxidative stress resistance, whereas inhibition of glycolysis by 2-deoxy-D-glucose induces the apoptosis of VSMCs and increases the calcium deposition in VSMCs. Our results suggest that PDK4 plays a key role in vascular calcification through autophagy inhibition and metabolic reprogramming.
  17. Front Oncol. 2020 ;10 1776
      Elevated mitochondrial biogenesis and metabolism represent key features of breast cancer stem cells (CSCs), whose propagation is conducive to disease onset and progression. Therefore, interfering with mitochondria biology and function may be regarded as a useful approach to eradicate CSCs. Here, we used the breast cancer cell line MCF7 as a model system to interrogate how mitochondrial fission contributes to the development of mitochondrial dysfunction toward the inhibition of metabolic flux and stemness. We generated an isogenic MCF7 cell line transduced with Mitochondrial Fission Factor (MCF7-MFF), which is primarily involved in mitochondrial fission. We evaluated the biochemical, molecular and functional properties of MCF7-MFF cells, as compared to control MCF7 cells transduced with the empty vector (MCF7-Control). We observed that MFF over-expression reduces both mitochondrial mass and activity, as evaluated using the mitochondrial probes MitroTracker Red and MitoTracker Orange, respectively. The analysis of metabolic flux using the Seahorse XFe96 revealed the inhibition of OXPHOS and glycolysis in MCF7-MFF cells, suggesting that increased mitochondrial fission may impair the biochemical properties of these organelles. Notably, CSCs activity, assessed by 3D-tumorsphere assays, was reduced in MCF7-MFF cells. A similar trend was observed for the activity of ALDH, a well-established marker of stemness. We conclude that enhanced mitochondrial fission may compromise CSCs propagation, through the impairment of mitochondrial function, possibly leading to a quiescent cell phenotype. Unbiased proteomic analysis revealed that proteins involved in mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress-response, fatty acid metabolism and hypoxia signaling are among the most highly up-regulated in MCF7-MFF cells. Of note, integrated analysis of top regulatory networks obtained from unbiased proteomics in MCF7-MFF cells predicts that this cell phenotype activates signaling systems and effectors involved in the inhibition of cell survival and adhesion, together with the activation of specific breast cancer cell death programs. Overall, our study shows that unbalanced and abnormal activation of mitochondrial fission may drive the impairment of mitochondrial metabolic function, leading to inhibition of CSC propagation, and the activation of quiescence programs. Exploiting the potential of mitochondria to control pivotal events in tumor biology may, therefore, represent a useful tool to prevent disease progression.
    Keywords:  CSCs; breast cancer; metabo-stemness; mitochondrial dynamics; mitochondrial fission factor; mitochondrial mass; mitochondrial metabolism; oxidative metabolism
  18. Br J Cancer. 2020 Nov 18.
      The Warburg effect in tumour cells is associated with the upregulation of glycolysis to generate ATP, even under normoxic conditions and the presence of fully functioning mitochondria. However, scientific advances made over the past 15 years have reformed this perspective, demonstrating the importance of oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) as well as glycolysis in malignant cells. The metabolic phenotypes in melanoma display heterogeneic dynamism (metabolic plasticity) between glycolysis and OXPHOS, conferring a survival advantage to adapt to harsh conditions and pathways of chemoresistance. Furthermore, the simultaneous upregulation of both OXPHOS and glycolysis (metabolic symbiosis) has been shown to be vital for melanoma progression. The tumour microenvironment (TME) has an essential supporting role in promoting progression, invasion and metastasis of melanoma. Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) in the TME show a symbiotic relationship with melanoma, protecting tumour cells from apoptosis and conferring chemoresistance. With the significant role of OXPHOS in metabolic plasticity and symbiosis, our review outlines how mitochondrial transfer from MSCs to melanoma tumour cells plays a key role in melanoma progression and is the mechanism by which melanoma cells regain OXPHOS capacity even in the presence of mitochondrial mutations. The studies outlined in this review indicate that targeting mitochondrial trafficking is a potential novel therapeutic approach for this highly refractory disease.
  19. Mol Cancer Ther. 2020 Nov 17. pii: molcanther.0480.2020. [Epub ahead of print]
      Metabolic rewiring is a hallmark of cancer that supports tumor growth, survival and chemotherapy resistance. While normal cells often rely on extracellular serine and glycine supply, a significant subset of cancers becomes addicted to intracellular serine/glycine synthesis, offering an attractive drug target. Previously developed inhibitors of serine/glycine synthesis enzymes did not reach clinical trials due to unfavorable pharmacokinetic profiles, implying that further efforts to identify clinically applicable drugs targeting this pathway are required. In this study, we aimed to develop therapies that can rapidly enter the clinical practice by focusing on drug repurposing, as their safety and cost-effectiveness have been optimized before. Using a yeast model system, we repurposed two compounds, sertraline and thimerosal, for their selective toxicity against serine/glycine synthesis addicted breast cancer and T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia cell lines. Isotope tracer metabolomics, computational docking, enzymatic assays and drug-target interaction studies revealed that sertraline and thimerosal inhibit serine/glycine synthesis enzymes serine hydroxymethyltransferase and phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase, respectively. In addition, we demonstrated that sertraline's anti-proliferative activity was further aggravated by mitochondrial inhibitors, such as the antimalarial artemether, by causing G1-S cell cycle arrest. Most notably, this combination also resulted in serine-selective antitumor activity in breast cancer mouse xenografts. Collectively, this study provides molecular insights into the repurposed mode-of-action of the antidepressant sertraline and allows to delineate a hitherto unidentified group of cancers being particularly sensitive to treatment with sertraline. Furthermore, we highlight the simultaneous inhibition of serine/glycine synthesis and mitochondrial metabolism as a novel treatment strategy for serine/glycine synthesis addicted cancers.
  20. J Cancer. 2020 ;11(24): 7253-7263
      Recently, ambient air particulate matter (PM) has been shown to increase the risk of oral cancer. The most common malignant tumor in the oral cavity is oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). Recent studies have revealed that surfactin, a cyclic lipopeptide generated by Bacillus subtilis, has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. However, the exact anti-cancer effects of surfactin on human OSCC and underlying molecular mechanisms remain largely unknown. In the present study, we found that treatment of SCC4 and SCC25 cells (human OSCC cell lines) with surfactin reduced the viability of SCC4 and SCC25 cells by induction of apoptosis. Surfactin-induced apoptosis was associated with caspase activation and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) cleavage and was regulated by the mitochondrial pathway, exemplified by mitochondrial depolarization, mitochondrial-derived reactive oxidative species (ROS) production, cytochrome c release, up-regulation of Bad and Bax, and down-regulation of Bcl-2. Surfactin induced NADPH oxidase-dependent ROS generation, which appeared essential for the activation of the mitochondrial pathway. Surfactin-induced mitochondrial-derived ROS generation was associated with JNK1/2 activation. After treatment with surfactin, ROS caused JNK1/2-dependent cell death of SCC4 and SCC25 cells. Taken together, our findings suggest that surfactin induces mitochondria associated apoptosis of human OSCC cell lines, and surfactin may be a potential chemotherapeutic agent for future OSCC treatment.
    Keywords:  apoptosis; oral squamous cell carcinoma; particulate matter; reactive oxidative species; surfactin
  21. Cancers (Basel). 2020 Nov 18. pii: E3431. [Epub ahead of print]12(11):
      Cancers reprogram their metabolism to adapt to environmental changes. In this study, we examined the consequences of altered expression of the mitochondrial enzyme carnitine palmitoyl transferase I (CPT1A) in prostate cancer (PCa) cell models. Using transcriptomic and metabolomic analyses, we compared LNCaP-C4-2 cell lines with depleted (knockdown (KD)) or increased (overexpression (OE)) CPT1A expression. Mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) were also measured. Transcriptomic analysis identified ER stress, serine biosynthesis and lipid catabolism as significantly upregulated pathways in the OE versus KD cells. On the other hand, androgen response was significantly downregulated in OE cells. These changes associated with increased acyl-carnitines, serine synthesis and glutathione precursors in OE cells. Unexpectedly, OE cells showed increased mitochondrial ROS but when challenged with fatty acids and no androgens, the Superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2) enzyme increased in the OE cells, suggesting better antioxidant defenses with excess CPT1A expression. Public databases also showed decreased androgen response correlation with increased serine-related metabolism in advanced PCa. Lastly, worse progression free survival was observed with increased lipid catabolism and decreased androgen response. Excess CPT1A is associated with a ROS-mediated stress phenotype that can support PCa disease progression. This study provides a rationale for targeting lipid catabolic pathways for therapy in hormonal cancers.
    Keywords:  CPT1A; ROS; androgen response; fatty acids; oxidative stress; prostate cancer; serine
  22. Cancers (Basel). 2020 Nov 17. pii: E3399. [Epub ahead of print]12(11):
      Saponins or their aglycone form, sapogenin, have recently gained interest as bioactive agents due to their biological activities, their antitumoral effects being among them. Metabolic reprogramming has been recognized as a hallmark of cancer and, together with the increased aerobic glycolysis and glutaminolysis, the altered lipid metabolism is considered crucial to support cancer initiation and progression. The purpose of this study was to assess and compare the inhibitory effects on colorectal cancer cell lines of saponin-rich extracts from fenugreek and quinoa (FE and QE, respectively) and their hydrolyzed extracts as sapogenin-rich extracts (HFE and HQE, respectively). By mean of the latest technology in the analysis of cell bioenergetics, we demonstrate that FE and HFE diminished mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation and aerobic glycolysis; meanwhile, quinoa extracts did not show relevant activities. Distinct molecular mechanisms were identified for fenugreek: FE inhibited the expression of TYMS1 and TK1, synergizing with the chemotherapeutic drug 5-fluorouracil (5-FU); meanwhile, HFE inhibited lipid metabolism targets, leading to diminished intracellular lipid content. The relevance of considering the coexisting compounds of the extracts or their hydrolysis transformation as innovative strategies to augment the therapeutic potential of the extracts, and the specific subgroup of patients where each extract would be more beneficial, are discussed in the frame of precision nutrition.
    Keywords:  cell bioenergetics; colorectal cancer; fenugreek; metabolic reprogramming; precision nutrition; quinoa; sapogenins; saponins
  23. Support Care Cancer. 2020 Nov 14.
      Dietary interventions have a significant impact on body metabolism. The sensitivity of cancer cells to nutrient and energy deficiency is an evolving characteristic of cancer biology. Preclinical studies provided robust evidence that energy and caloric restrictions could hinder both cancer growth and progression, besides enhancing the efficacy of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Moreover, several, albeit low-powered, clinical trials have demonstrated clinical benefits in cancer patients. Future research will inform and firmly establish the potential efficacy and safety of these dietary interventions. Here, we review the current evidence and ongoing research investigating the relationship between various dietary restriction approaches and cancer outcomes.
    Keywords:  Caloric restriction; Cancer; Energy restriction; Fasting
  24. Mol Pharm. 2020 Nov 18.
      Mitochondrial malfunction plays a crucial role in cancer development and progression. Cancer cells show a substantially higher mitochondrial activity and greater mitochondrial transmembrane potential than normal cells. This concept can be exploited for targeting cytotoxic drugs to the mitochondria of cancer cells using mitochondrial-targeting compounds. In this study, a polyamidoamine dendrimer-based mitochondrial delivery system was prepared for curcumin using triphenylphosphonium ligands to improve the anticancer efficacy of the drug in vitro and in vivo. For the in vitro evaluations, various methods, such as viability assay, confocal microscopy, flow cytometry, reactive oxygen species (ROS), and real-time polymerase chain reaction analyses, were applied. Our findings showed that the targeted-dendrimeric curcumin (TDC) could successfully deliver and colocalize the drug to the mitochondria of the cancer cells, and selectively induce a potent apoptosis and cell cycle arrest at G2/M. Moreover, at a low curcumin dose of less than 25 μM, TDC significantly reduced adenosine triphosphate and glutathione, and increased the ROS level of the isolated rat hepatocyte mitochondria. The in vivo studies on the Hepa1-6 tumor-bearing mice also indicated a significant tumor suppression effect and the highest median survival days (Kaplan-Meier survival estimation and log-rank test) after treatment with the TDC construct compared to the free curcumin and untargeted construct. Besides its targeted nature and safety, the expected improved solubility and stability represent the prepared targeted-dendrimeric construct as an up-and-coming candidate for cancer treatment. The results of this study emphasize the promising route of mitochondrial targeting as a practical approach for cancer therapy, which can be achieved by optimizing the delivery method.
    Keywords:  cancer targeting; curcumin; in vivo; mitochondria targeting; oxidative stress; polyamidoamine dendrimer
  25. Nat Metab. 2020 Nov;2(11): 1284-1304
      Decreased NAD+ levels have been shown to contribute to metabolic dysfunction during aging. NAD+ decline can be partially prevented by knockout of the enzyme CD38. However, it is not known how CD38 is regulated during aging, and how its ecto-enzymatic activity impacts NAD+ homeostasis. Here we show that an increase in CD38 in white adipose tissue (WAT) and the liver during aging is mediated by accumulation of CD38+ immune cells. Inflammation increases CD38 and decreases NAD+. In addition, senescent cells and their secreted signals promote accumulation of CD38+ cells in WAT, and ablation of senescent cells or their secretory phenotype decreases CD38, partially reversing NAD+ decline. Finally, blocking the ecto-enzymatic activity of CD38 can increase NAD+ through a nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN)-dependent process. Our findings demonstrate that senescence-induced inflammation promotes accumulation of CD38 in immune cells that, through its ecto-enzymatic activity, decreases levels of NMN and NAD+.
  26. Cancer Res. 2020 Nov 17. pii: canres.1517.2020. [Epub ahead of print]
      Alteration in lipid composition is an important metabolic adaptation by cancer cells to support tumorigenesis and metastasis. Fatty acid 2-hydroxylase (FA2H) introduces a chiral hydroxyl group at the second carbon of FA backbones and influences lipid structures and metabolic signaling. However, the underlying mechanisms through which FA 2-hydroxylation is coupled to metabolic adaptation and tumor growth remain elusive. Here we show that FA2H regulates specific metabolic reprogramming and oncogenic signaling in the development of colorectal cancer (CRC). FA2H was highly expressed in normal colorectal tissues. Assessments through deciphering both published high-throughput data and curated human CRC samples revealed significant suppression of FA2H in tumors, which is correlated with unfavorable prognosis. Experiments with multiple models of genetic manipulation or treatment with an enzymatic product of FA2H, (R)-2-hydroxy palmitic acid ((R)-2-OHPA), demonstrated that FA 2-hydroxylation inhibits CRC cell proliferation, migration, epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) progression and tumor growth. Bioinformatics analysis suggested that FA2H functions through AMP-activated protein kinase/Yes-associated protein (AMPK/YAP) pathway, which was confirmed in CRC cells as well as in tumors. Lipidomics analysis revealed an accumulation of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) in cells with FA2H overexpression, which may contribute to the observed nutrient deficiency and AMPK activation. Collectively, these data demonstrate that FA 2-hydroxylation initiates a metabolic signaling cascade to suppress colorectal tumor growth and metastasis via the YAP transcriptional axis and provides a strategy to improve CRC treatment.
  27. Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Nov 16. pii: E8622. [Epub ahead of print]21(22):
      Mitochondrial [Ca2+] plays an important role in the regulation of mitochondrial function, controlling ATP production and apoptosis triggered by mitochondrial Ca2+ overload. This regulation depends on Ca2+ entry into the mitochondria during cell activation processes, which is thought to occur through the mitochondrial Ca2+ uniporter (MCU). Here, we have studied the mitochondrial Ca2+ dynamics in control and MCU-defective C. elegans worms in vivo, by using worms expressing mitochondrially-targeted YC3.60 yellow cameleon in pharynx muscle. Our data show that the small mitochondrial Ca2+ oscillations that occur during normal physiological activity of the pharynx were very similar in both control and MCU-defective worms, except for some kinetic differences that could mostly be explained by changes in neuronal stimulation of the pharynx. However, direct pharynx muscle stimulation with carbachol triggered a large and prolonged increase in mitochondrial [Ca2+] that was much larger in control worms than in MCU-defective worms. This suggests that MCU is necessary for the fast mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake induced by large cell stimulations. However, low-amplitude mitochondrial Ca2+ oscillations occurring under more physiological conditions are independent of the MCU and use a different Ca2+ pathway.
    Keywords:  C. elegans; MCU; calcium dynamics; knockout; mitochondria; mitochondrial calcium uniporter
  28. Oncogene. 2020 Nov 17.
      Polyamines are critical elements in mammals, but it remains unknown whether adenosyl methionine decarboxylase (AMD1), a rate-limiting enzyme in polyamine synthesis, is required for myeloid leukemia. Here, we found that leukemic stem cells (LSCs) were highly differentiated, and leukemia progression was severely impaired in the absence of AMD1 in vivo. AMD1 was highly upregulated as chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) progressed from the chronic phase to the blast crisis phase, and was associated with the poor prognosis of CML patients. In addition, the pharmacological inhibition of AMD1 by AO476 treatment resulted in a robust reduction of the progression of leukemic cells both in vitro and in vivo. Mechanistically, AMD1 depletion induced loss of mitochondrial membrane potential and accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), resulting in the differentiation of LSCs via oxidative stress and aberrant activation of unfolded protein response (UPR) pathway, which was partially rescued by the addition of polyamine. These results indicate that AMD1 is an essential element in the progression of myeloid leukemia and could be an attractive target for the treatment of the disease.
  29. J Mol Biol. 2020 Nov 13. pii: S0022-2836(20)30631-8. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitochondria are essential cellular organelles that import the majority of proteins to sustain their function in cellular metabolism and homeostasis. Due to their role in oxidative phosphorylation, mitochondria are constantly affected by oxidative stress. Stability of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is essential for mitochondrial physiology and cellular well-being and for this reasons mtDNA lesions have to be rapidly recognized and repaired. Base excision repair (BER) is the main pathway responsible for repair non-helix distorting base lesions both into the nucleus and in mitochondria. Apurinic/Apyrimidinic Endonuclease 1 (APE1) is a key component of BER pathway and the only protein that can recognize and process an abasic (AP) site. Comprehensions of the mechanisms regulating APE1 intracellular trafficking are still fragmentary. In this study we focused our attention on the mitochondrial form of APE1 protein and how oxidative stress induce its translocation to maintain mtDNA integrity. Our data proved that: (i) the rise of mitochondrial ROS determines a very rapid translocation of APE1 from the intermembrane space (IMS) into the matrix; and (ii) TIM23/PAM machinery complex is responsible for the matrix translocation of APE1. Moreover, our data support the hypothesis that the IMS, were the majority of APE1 resides, could represent a sort of storage site for the protein.
    Keywords:  Apurinic/apyrimidinic endonuclease 1; mitochondria; mitochondrial DNA; oxidative stress; translocase of the inner membrane
  30. Cancer Manag Res. 2020 ;12 11573-11583
      Purpose: The five-year survival rate of patients with oral cancer is approximately 50%; thus, alternative drugs with higher efficacy are urgently required. Azoxystrobin (AZOX), a natural, novel methoxyacrylate fungicide isolated from mushrooms, has a broad-spectrum, with highly efficient bactericidal effect. However, studies on AZOX have focused on antifungal effects. Here, we explore the potential cancer-preventive effects of AZOX and the underlying mechanisms.Materials and Methods: The effects of AZOX on oral carcinogenesis induced by 4-nitroquinoline-1-oxide (4NQO) were investigated in C57BL/6 mice. Cell proliferation and apoptosis were examined by Ki67 immunohistochemistry and TUNEL staining, respectively. The main organ coefficients of each group were calculated to evaluate the biosafety of AZOX. CCK8 and flow cytometry were used to detect the effects of AZOX on cell viability and apoptosis in oral cancer cell line CAL27 and SCC15 cells in vitro. Cell cycle, mitochondrial complex III activity, intercellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) level, mitochondrial ROS level, and mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) were detected by flow cytometry in AZOX-treated CAL27 cells.
    Results: AZOX significantly inhibited the occurrence of 4NQO-induced tongue cancer and delayed the progression of tongue precancerous lesions in mice. High-dose AZOX obviously inhibited cell viability and induced apoptosis in epithelial dysplastic and oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) lesions in mouse tongue mucosa. AZOX was confirmed to have high biosafety. Similarly, in vitro cell viability was suppressed, and apoptosis was induced in AZOX-treated CAL27 and SCC15 cells. AZOX induced cell cycle arrest at the S phase. AZOX inhibited mitochondrial complex III activity, increased intracellular and mitochondrial ROS levels, and decreased MMP in CAL27 cells.
    Conclusion: AZOX inhibited the development of oral cancer through specific inhibition of the activity of mitochondrial complex III, which led to ROS accumulation, and MMP decrease, ultimately inducing apoptosis. AZOX may be a novel agent for the prevention and treatment of OSCC.
    Keywords:  apoptosis; azoxystrobin; mitochondrial complex III; oral cancer
  31. J Biol Chem. 2020 Nov 16. pii: jbc.RA120.013997. [Epub ahead of print]
      The poor and nonselective penetration of current chemotherapeutics across the plasma membranes of cancer cells, which is necessary for the targeted disruption of the intracellular machinery, remains a major pharmaceutical challenge. In several cell types, including mast cells and macrophages, exposure to extracellular ATP is known to stimulate passive entry of large and otherwise membrane impermeable cationic dyes, which is usually attributed to conduction through ionotropic P2X receptors. Here, we report that elevations in cytosolic Ca2+ stimulate the rapid uptake and nuclear accumulation of a DNA-binding fluorescent cation, Hoechst 33258 (H33258), in cervical cancer cells. The H33258 uptake was dependent on activation of intermediate conductance Ca2+-activated K+ channels (KCa3.1), and direct stimulation of the channel with the activators SKA 31 and DCEBIO was sufficient to induce cellular uptake of H33258 directly. In contrast to the results from cancerous cervical cells, KCa3.1-dependent H33258 uptake was rarely observed in epithelial cells derived from the ectocervix and transformation zone of healthy cervical tissue. Furthermore, whole-cell patch clamp experiments and assessment of membrane potential using the slow voltage-sensitive dye DiSBAC2(3) revealed a significant difference in functional KCa3.1 activity between cancerous and healthy cervical epithelial cells, which correlated strongly with the incidence of KCa3.1-dependent H33258 uptake. Finally, we show that activation of KCa3.1 channels caused a modest but significant sensitization of cancer cells to the growth suppressant effects of H33258, lending plausibility to the idea of using KCa3.1 channel activators to enhance cell penetration of small cationic toxins into cancer cells expressing these channels.
    Keywords:  ATP; Hoechst 33258; KCa3.1; calcium; cancer; drug delivery; ion channel; plasma membrane; potassium channel
  32. Cancer Discov. 2020 Nov 17. pii: CD-19-1500. [Epub ahead of print]
      Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are shed by cancer into the bloodstream, where a viable subset overcomes oxidative stress to initiate metastasis. We show that single CTCs from melanoma patients coordinately upregulate lipogenesis and iron homeostasis pathways. These are correlated with both intrinsic and acquired resistance to BRAF inhibitors across clonal cultures of BRAF-mutant CTCs. The lipogenesis regulator SREBF2 directly induces transcription of the iron carrier Transferrin (TF), reducing intracellular iron pools, reactive oxygen species (ROS) and lipid peroxidation, thereby conferring resistance to inducers of ferroptosis. Knockdown of endogenous TF impairs tumor formation by melanoma CTCs, and their tumorigenic defects are partially rescued by the lipophilic anti-oxidants Ferrostatin-1 and Vitamin E. In a prospective melanoma cohort, presence of CTCs with high lipogenic and iron metabolic RNA signatures is correlated with adverse clinical outcome, irrespective of treatment regimen. Thus, SREBF2-driven iron homeostatic pathways contribute to cancer progression, drug resistance and metastasis.
  33. Redox Biol. 2020 Nov 05. pii: S2213-2317(20)30996-4. [Epub ahead of print]38 101791
      Ferroptosis is an iron-dependent cell death caused by impaired glutathione metabolism, lipid peroxidation and mitochondrial failure. Emerging evidences report a role for ferroptosis in Friedreich's Ataxia (FRDA), a neurodegenerative disease caused by the decreased expression of the mitochondrial protein frataxin. Nrf2 signalling is implicated in many molecular aspects of ferroptosis, by upstream regulating glutathione homeostasis, mitochondrial function and lipid metabolism. As Nrf2 is down-regulated in FRDA, targeting Nrf2-mediated ferroptosis in FRDA may be an attractive option to counteract neurodegeneration in such disease, thus paving the way to new therapeutic opportunities. In this study, we evaluated ferroptosis hallmarks in frataxin-silenced mouse myoblasts, in hearts of a frataxin Knockin/Knockout (KIKO) mouse model, in skin fibroblasts and blood of patients, particularly focusing on ferroptosis-driven gene expression, mitochondrial impairment and lipid peroxidation. The efficacy of Nrf2 inducers to neutralize ferroptosis has been also evaluated.
    Keywords:  EPI-743; Ferroptosis; Friedreich ataxia; Lipid peroxides; Mitochondria; Nrf2; Redox imbalance; Sulforaphane
  34. Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Nov 18. pii: E8684. [Epub ahead of print]21(22):
      Interest in tumor cell mitochondria as a pharmacological target has been rekindled in recent years. This attention is due in part to new publications documenting heterogenous characteristics of solid tumors, including anoxic and hypoxic zones that foster cellular populations with differentiating metabolic characteristics. These populations include tumor-initiating or cancer stem cells, which have a strong capacity to adapt to reduced oxygen availability, switching rapidly between glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation as sources of energy and metabolites. Additionally, this cell subpopulation shows high chemo- and radioresistance and a high capacity for tumor repopulation. Interestingly, it has been shown that inhibiting mitochondrial function in tumor cells affects glycolysis pathways, cell bioenergy, and cell viability. Therefore, mitochondrial inhibition may be a viable strategy for eradicating cancer stem cells. In this context, medicinal chemistry research over the last decade has synthesized and characterized "vehicles" capable of transporting novel or existing pharmacophores to mitochondrial tumor cells, based on mechanisms that exploit the physicochemical properties of the vehicles and the inherent properties of the mitochondria. The pharmacophores, some of which have been isolated from plants and others, which were synthesized in the lab, are diverse in chemical nature. Some of these molecules are active, while others are prodrugs that have been evaluated alone or linked to mitochondria-targeted agents. Finally, researchers have recently described drugs with well-proven safety and efficacy that may exert a mitochondria-specific inhibitory effect in tumor cells through noncanonical mechanisms. The effectiveness of these molecules may be improved by linking them to mitochondrial carrier molecules. These promising pharmacological agents should be evaluated alone and in combination with classic chemotherapeutic drugs in clinical studies.
    Keywords:  cancer bioenergy; cancer metabolism; cancer stem cells; delocalized lipophilic cations; drugs; mitocans; pharmacophores groups; targeting mitochondria
  35. J Hematol Oncol. 2020 Nov 19. 13(1): 156
      BACKGROUND: Mounting evidence has demonstrated the vital importance of tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) and exosomes in the formation of the premetastatic niche. However, the molecular mechanisms by which tumor-derived exosomal miRNAs interact with TAMs underlying premetastatic niche formation and colorectal cancer liver metastasis (CRLM) remain largely unknown.METHODS: Transmission electron microscopy and differential ultracentrifugation were used to verify the existence of exosomes. In vivo and in vitro assays were used to identify roles of exosomal miR-934. RNA pull-down assay, dual-luciferase reporter assay, etc. were applied to clarify the mechanism of exosomal miR-934 regulated the crosstalk between CRC cells and M2 macrophages.
    RESULTS: In the present study, we first demonstrated the aberrant overexpression of miR-934 in colorectal cancer (CRC), especially in CRLM, and its correlation with the poor prognosis of CRC patients. Then, we verified that CRC cell-derived exosomal miR-934 induced M2 macrophage polarization by downregulating PTEN expression and activating the PI3K/AKT signaling pathway. Moreover, we revealed that hnRNPA2B1 mediated miR-934 packaging into exosomes of CRC cells and then transferred exosomal miR-934 into macrophages. Interestingly, polarized M2 macrophages could induce premetastatic niche formation and promote CRLM by secreting CXCL13, which activated a CXCL13/CXCR5/NFκB/p65/miR-934 positive feedback loop in CRC cells.
    CONCLUSIONS: These findings indicate that tumor-derived exosomal miR-934 can promote CRLM by regulating the crosstalk between CRC cells and TAMs. These findings reveal a tumor and TAM interaction in the metastatic microenvironment mediated by tumor-derived exosomes that affects CRLM. The present study also provides a theoretical basis for secondary liver cancer.
    Keywords:  Colorectal cancer liver metastasis; Exosome; M2 macrophage polarization; Premetastatic niche; miR-934
  36. J Neurochem. 2020 Nov 15.
      Brain is not homogenous and neurons from various brain regions are known to have different vulnerability to mitochondrial mutations and mitochondrial toxins. However, it is not clear if this vulnerability is connected to different energy metabolism in specific brain regions. Here, using live cell imaging we compared mitochondrial membrane potential and NADH redox balance in acute rat brain slices in different brain regions and further detailed the mitochondrial metabolism in primary neurons and astrocytes from rat cortex, midbrain and cerebellum. We have found that mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm) is higher in brain slices from hippocampus and brain stem. In primary co-cultures, ΔΨm in astrocytes was lower than in neurons, while in midbrain cells it was higher than in cortex and cerebellum. The rate of NADH production and mitochondrial NADH pool were highest in acute slices from midbrain and midbrain primary neurons and astrocytes. Although the level of ATP was similar among primary neurons and astrocytes from cortex, midbrain and cerebellum, the rate of ATP consumption was highest in midbrain cells that lead to faster neuronal and astrocytic collapse in response to inhibitors of ATP production. Thus, midbrain neurons and astrocytes have a higher metabolic rate and ATP consumption that makes them more vulnerable to energy deprivation.
  37. PLoS One. 2020 ;15(11): e0242700
      Mitochondrial fusion and fission are dynamic processes regulated by the cellular microenvironment. Under nutrient starvation conditions, mitochondrial fusion is strengthened for energy conservation. We have previously shown that newborns of Ubl4A-deficient mice were more sensitive to starvation stress with a higher rate of mortality than their wild-type littermates. Ubl4A binds with the actin-related protein Arp2/3 complex to synergize the actin branching process. Here, we showed that deficiency in Ubl4A resulted in mitochondrial fragmentation and apoptosis. A defect in the fusion process was the main cause of the mitochondrial fragmentation and resulted from a shortage of primed Arp2/3 complex pool around the mitochondria in the Ubl4A-deficient cells compared to the wild-type cells. As a result, the mitochondrial fusion process was not undertaken quickly enough to sustain starvation stress-induced cell death. Consequently, fragmented mitochondria lost their membrane integrity and ROS was accumulated to trigger caspase 9-dependent apoptosis before autophagic rescue. Furthermore, the wild-type Ubl4A, but not the Arp2/3-binding deficient mutant, could rescue the starvation-induced mitochondrial fragmentation phenotype. These results suggest that Ubl4A promotes the mitochondrial fusion process via Arp2/3 complex during the initial response to nutrient deprivation for cell survival.
  38. Cells. 2020 Nov 16. pii: E2491. [Epub ahead of print]9(11):
      Liver cancer is one of the most common cancer worldwide with a high mortality. Methionine is an essential amino acid required for normal development and cell growth, is mainly metabolized in the liver, and its role as an anti-cancer supplement is still controversial. Here, we evaluate the effects of methionine supplementation in liver cancer cells. An integrative proteomic and metabolomic analysis indicates a rewiring of the central carbon metabolism, with an upregulation of the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle and mitochondrial adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production in the presence of high methionine and AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) inhibition. Methionine supplementation also reduces growth rate in liver cancer cells and induces the activation of both the AMPK and mTOR pathways. Interestingly, in high methionine concentration, inhibition of AMPK strongly impairs cell growth, cell migration, and colony formation, indicating the main role of AMPK in the control of liver cancer phenotypes. Therefore, regulation of methionine in the diet combined with AMPK inhibition could reduce liver cancer progression.
    Keywords:  AMPK; HCC; TCA cycle; growth; metabolomics; migration; proteomics
  39. J Biol Chem. 2020 Nov 20. pii: jbc.RA120.014682. [Epub ahead of print]
      ABHD5 is an essential coactivator of ATGL, the rate-limiting triglyceride (TG) lipase in many cell types. Importantly, ABHD5 also functions as a tumor suppressor, and ABHD5 mRNA expression levels correlate with patient survival for several cancers. Nevertheless, the mechanisms involved in ABHD5-dependent tumor suppression are not known. We found that overexpression of ABHD5 induces cell-cycle arrest at the G1 phase and causes growth retardation in a panel of prostate cancer cells. Transcriptomic profiling and biochemical analysis revealed that genetic or pharmacological activation of lipolysis by ABHD5 potently inhibits mTORC1 signaling, leading to a significant downregulation of protein synthesis. Mechanistically, we found that ABHD5 elevates intracellular AMP content, which activates AMPK, leading to inhibition of mTORC1. Interestingly, ABHD5-dependent suppression of mTORC1 was abrogated by pharmacological inhibition of DGAT1 or DGAT2, isoenzymes that re-esterify fatty acids in a process that consumes ATP. Collectively, this study maps out a novel molecular pathway crucial for limiting cancer cell proliferation, in which ABHD5-mediated lipolysis creates an energy-consuming futile cycle between TG hydrolysis and resynthesis, leading to inhibition of mTORC1 and cancer cell growth arrest.
    Keywords:  lipid signaling; lipolysis; metabolic regulation; tumor cell biology; tumor metabolism
  40. Nat Chem Biol. 2020 Nov 16.
      Secreted polypeptides are a fundamental axis of intercellular and endocrine communication. However, a global understanding of the composition and dynamics of cellular secretomes in intact mammalian organisms has been lacking. Here, we introduce a proximity biotinylation strategy that enables labeling, detection and enrichment of secreted polypeptides in a cell type-selective manner in mice. We generate a proteomic atlas of hepatocyte, myocyte, pericyte and myeloid cell secretomes by direct purification of biotinylated secreted proteins from blood plasma. Our secretome dataset validates known cell type-protein pairs, reveals secreted polypeptides that distinguish between cell types and identifies new cellular sources for classical plasma proteins. Lastly, we uncover a dynamic and previously undescribed nutrient-dependent reprogramming of the hepatocyte secretome characterized by the increased unconventional secretion of the cytosolic enzyme betaine-homocysteine S-methyltransferase (BHMT). This secretome profiling strategy enables dynamic and cell type-specific dissection of the plasma proteome and the secreted polypeptides that mediate intercellular signaling.
  41. Sci Rep. 2020 Nov 18. 10(1): 20044
      MYC oncoprotein is a multifunctional transcription factor that regulates the expression of a large number of genes involved in cellular growth, proliferation and metabolism. Altered MYC protein level lead to cellular transformation and tumorigenesis. MYC is deregulated in > 50% of human cancers, rendering it an attractive drug target. However, direct inhibition of this class of proteins using conventional small molecules is challenging due to their intrinsically disordered state. To discover novel posttranslational regulators of MYC protein stability and turnover, we established a genetic screen in mammalian cells by combining a fluorescent protein-based MYC abundance sensor, CRISPR/Cas9-based gene knockouts and next-generation sequencing. Our screen identifies UBR5, an E3 ligase of the HECT-type family, as a novel regulator of MYC degradation. Even in the presence of the well-described and functional MYC ligase, FBXW7, UBR5 depletion leads to accumulation of MYC in cells. We demonstrate interaction of UBR5 with MYC and reduced K48-linked ubiquitination of MYC upon loss of UBR5 in cells. Interestingly, in cancer cell lines with amplified MYC expression, depletion of UBR5 resulted in reduced cell survival, as a consequence of MYC stabilization. Finally, we show that MYC and UBR5 are co-amplified in more than 40% of cancer cells and that MYC copy number amplification correlates with enhanced transcriptional output of UBR5. This suggests that UBR5 acts as a buffer in MYC amplified settings and protects these cells from apoptosis.
  42. Nat Commun. 2020 11 16. 11(1): 5799
      The extent and importance of functional heterogeneity and crosstalk between tumor cells is poorly understood. Here, we describe the generation of clonal populations from a patient-derived ovarian clear cell carcinoma model which forms malignant ascites and solid peritoneal tumors upon intraperitoneal transplantation in mice. The clonal populations are engineered with secreted Gaussia luciferase to monitor tumor growth dynamics and tagged with a unique DNA barcode to track their fate in multiclonal mixtures during tumor progression. Only one clone, CL31, grows robustly, generating exclusively malignant ascites. However, multiclonal mixtures form large solid peritoneal metastases, populated almost entirely by CL31, suggesting that transient cooperative interclonal interactions are sufficient to promote metastasis of CL31. CL31 uniquely harbors ERBB2 amplification, and its acquired metastatic activity in clonal mixtures is dependent on transient exposure to amphiregulin, which is exclusively secreted by non-tumorigenic clones. Amphiregulin enhances CL31 mesothelial clearance, a prerequisite for metastasis. These findings demonstrate that transient, ostensibly innocuous tumor subpopulations can promote metastases via "hit-and-run" commensal interactions.
  43. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2020 Nov 17. pii: S0006-291X(20)32055-6. [Epub ahead of print]
      Cu/Zn Superoxide Dismutase (Sod1) catalyzes the disproportionation of cytotoxic superoxide radicals (O2•-) into oxygen (O2) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), a key signaling molecule. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, we previously discovered that Sod1 participates in an H2O2-mediated redox signaling circuit that links nutrient availability to the control of energy metabolism. In response to glucose and O2, Sod1-derived H2O2 stabilizes a pair of conserved plasma membrane kinases - yeast casein kinase 1 and 2 (Yck1/2) - that signal glycolytic growth and the repression of respiration. The Yck1/2 homolog in humans, casein kinase 1-γ (CK1γ), is an integral component of the Wingless and Int-1 (Wnt) signaling pathway, which is essential for regulating cell fate and proliferation in early development and adult tissue and is dysregulated in many cancers. Herein, we establish the conservation of the SOD1/YCK1 redox signaling axis in humans by finding that SOD1 regulates CK1γ expression in human embryonic kidney 293 (HEK293) cells and is required for canonical Wnt signaling and Wnt-dependent cell proliferation.
    Keywords:  Cancer; Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase; Hydrogen peroxide; Reactive oxygen species; Redox signaling; Superoxide; Wnt signaling
  44. Autophagy. 2020 Nov 20.
      Mitochondrial quality control, which is crucial for maintaining cellular homeostasis, has been considered to be achieved exclusively through mitophagy. Here we report an alternative mitochondrial quality control pathway mediated by extracellular mitochondria release. By performing time-lapse confocal imaging on a stable cell line with fluorescent-labeled mitochondria, we observed release of mitochondria from cells into the extracellular space. Correlative light-electron microscopy revealed that majority of the extracellular mitochondria are in free form and, on rare occasions, some are enclosed in membrane-surrounded vesicles. Rotenone- and carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenylhydrazone-induced mitochondrial quality impairment promotes the extracellular release of depolarized mitochondria. Overexpression of PRKN (parkin RBR E3 ubiquitin protein ligase), which has a pivotal role in mitophagy regulation, suppresses the extracellular mitochondria release under basal and stress condition, whereas its knockdown exacerbates it. Correspondingly, overexpression of PRKN-independent mitophagy regulators, BNIP3 (BCL2 interacting protein 3) and BNIP3L/NIX (BCL2 interacting protein 3 like), suppress extracellular mitochondria release. Autophagy-deficient cell lines show elevated extracellular mitochondria release. These results imply that perturbation of mitophagy pathway prompts mitochondria expulsion. Presence of mitochondrial protein can also be detected in mouse sera. Sera of PRKN-deficient mice contain higher level of mitochondrial protein compared to that of wild-type mice. More importantly, fibroblasts and cerebrospinal fluid samples from Parkinson disease patients carrying loss-of-function PRKN mutations show increased extracellular mitochondria compared to control subjects, providing evidence in a clinical context. Taken together, our findings suggest that extracellular mitochondria release is a comparable yet distinct quality control pathway from conventional mitophagy.
    Keywords:  Mitochondria; Parkinson disease; mitochondrial quality control; mitophagy; parkin
  45. Front Oncol. 2020 ;10 572954
      Studies have suggested a potential role of somatic mitochondrial mutations in cancer development. To analyze the landscape of somatic mitochondrial mutation in breast cancer and to determine whether mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutational burden is correlated with overall survival (OS), we sequenced whole mtDNA from 92 matched-paired primary breast tumors and peripheral blood. A total of 324 germline variants and 173 somatic mutations were found in the tumors. The most common germline allele was 663G (12S), showing lower heteroplasmy levels in peripheral blood lymphocytes than in their matched tumors, even reaching homoplasmic status in several cases. The heteroplasmy load was higher in tumors than in their paired normal tissues. Somatic mtDNA mutations were found in 73.9% of breast tumors; 59% of these mutations were located in the coding region (66.7% non-synonymous and 33.3% synonymous). Although the CO1 gene presented the highest number of mutations, tRNA genes (T,C, and W), rRNA 12S, and CO1 and ATP6 exhibited the highest mutation rates. No specific mtDNA mutational profile was associated with molecular subtypes of breast cancer, and we found no correlation between mtDNA mutational burden and OS. Future investigations will provide insight into the molecular mechanisms through which mtDNA mutations and heteroplasmy shifting contribute to breast cancer development.
    Keywords:  breast cancer; haplogroups; heteroplasmy; mitochondrial DNA; molecular subtypes; mutations
  46. Cancer Res. 2020 Nov 17. pii: canres.2129.2020. [Epub ahead of print]
      Aberrant Wnt signaling drives a number of cancers through regulation of diverse downstream pathways. Wnt/β-catenin signaling achieves this in part by increasing the expression of proto-oncogenes such as MYC and cyclins. However, global assessment of the Wnt-regulated transcriptome in vivo in genetically distinct cancers demonstrates that Wnt signaling suppresses the expression of as many genes as it activates. In this study, we examined the set of genes that are upregulated upon inhibition of Wnt signaling in Wnt-addicted pancreatic and colorectal cancer models. Decreasing Wnt signaling led to a marked increase in gene expression by activating ERK and JNK; these changes in gene expression could be mitigated in part by concurrent inhibition of MEK. These findings demonstrate that increased Wnt signaling in cancer represses MAPK activity, preventing RAS-mediated senescence while allowing cancer cells to proliferate. These results shift the paradigm from Wnt/β-catenin primarily as an activator of transcription to a more nuanced view where Wnt/β-catenin signaling drives both widespread gene repression and activation.
  47. Aging (Albany NY). 2020 Nov 13. 12(21): 20931-20933
    Keywords:  OPA1; angiogenesis; cancer; mitochondria
  48. Nat Metab. 2020 Nov;2(11): 1265-1283
      Declining tissue nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) levels are linked to ageing and its associated diseases. However, the mechanism for this decline is unclear. Here, we show that pro-inflammatory M1-like macrophages, but not naive or M2 macrophages, accumulate in metabolic tissues, including visceral white adipose tissue and liver, during ageing and acute responses to inflammation. These M1-like macrophages express high levels of the NAD-consuming enzyme CD38 and have enhanced CD38-dependent NADase activity, thereby reducing tissue NAD levels. We also find that senescent cells progressively accumulate in visceral white adipose tissue and liver during ageing and that inflammatory cytokines secreted by senescent cells (the senescence-associated secretory phenotype, SASP) induce macrophages to proliferate and express CD38. These results uncover a new causal link among resident tissue macrophages, cellular senescence and tissue NAD decline during ageing and offer novel therapeutic opportunities to maintain NAD levels during ageing.