bims-mibica Biomed News
on Mitochondrial bioenergetics in cancer
Issue of 2021‒03‒21
forty-three papers selected by
Kelsey Fisher-Wellman
East Carolina University

  1. Blood. 2021 Mar 15. pii: blood.2020008551. [Epub ahead of print]
      Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells have an atypical metabolic phenotype characterized by increased mitochondrial mass as well as a greater reliance on oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) and fatty acid oxidation (FAO) for survival. To exploit this altered metabolism, we assessed publicly available databases to identify FAO enzyme overexpression. VLCAD (ACADVL) was found to be overexpressed and critical to leukemia cell mitochondrial metabolism. Genetic attenuation or pharmacological inhibition of VLCAD hindered mitochondrial respiration and FAO contribution to the TCA cycle, resulting in decreased viability, proliferation, clonogenic growth and AML cell engraftment. Suppression of FAO at VLCAD triggered an increase in PDH activity insufficient to increase glycolysis but resulted in ATP depletion and AML cell death with no effect in normal hematopoietic cells. Together, these results demonstrate the importance of VLCAD in AML cell biology and highlight a novel metabolic vulnerability for this devastating disease.
  2. Biochim Biophys Acta Bioenerg. 2021 Mar 12. pii: S0005-2728(21)00043-8. [Epub ahead of print] 148410
      In post-mitotic cells, mitochondrial ATP/ADP exchange occurs by the adenine nucleotide translocator (ANT). Driven by membrane potential (ΔΨ), ANT catalyzes electrogenic exchange of ATP4- for ADP3-, leading to higher ATP/ADP ratios in the cytosol than mitochondria. In cancer cells, ATP/ADP exchange occurs not by ANT but likely via the non-electrogenic ATP-Mg/phosphate carrier. Consequences of non-electrogenic exchange are: 1) Cytosolic ATP/ADP decreases to stimulate aerobic glycolysis. 2) Without proton utilization for exchange, ATP/O increases by 35% for complete glucose oxidation. 3) Decreased cytosolic ATP/ADP•Pi increases NAD(P)H/NAD(P)+. Increased NADH increases lactate/pyruvate, and increased NADPH promotes anabolic metabolism. Fourth, increased mitochondrial NADH/NAD+ magnifies the redox span across Complexes I and III, which increases ΔΨ, reactive oxygen species generation, and susceptibility to ferroptosis. 5) Increased mitochondrial NADPH/NADP+ favors a reverse isocitrate dehydrogenase-2 reaction with citrate accumulation and export for biomass formation. Consequently, 2-oxoglutarate formation occurs largely via oxidation of glutamine, the preferred respiratory substrate of cancer cells. Overall, non-electrogenic ATP/ADP exchange promotes aerobic glycolysis (Warburg effect) and confers growth advantages to cancer cells.
    Keywords:  ATP/ADP exchange; Aerobic glycolysis; Cancer; Glutamine; Mitochondria; Warburg effect
  3. Cell Rep. 2021 Mar 16. pii: S2211-1247(21)00183-2. [Epub ahead of print]34(11): 108869
      Mitochondrial carriers (MCs) mediate the passage of small molecules across the inner mitochondrial membrane (IMM), enabling regulated crosstalk between compartmentalized reactions. Despite MCs representing the largest family of solute carriers in mammals, most have not been subjected to a comprehensive investigation, limiting our understanding of their metabolic contributions. Here, we functionally characterize SFXN1, a member of the non-canonical, sideroflexin family. We find that SFXN1, an integral IMM protein with an uneven number of transmembrane domains, is a TIM22 complex substrate. SFXN1 deficiency leads to mitochondrial respiratory chain impairments, most detrimental to complex III (CIII) biogenesis, activity, and assembly, compromising coenzyme Q levels. The CIII dysfunction is independent of one-carbon metabolism, the known primary role for SFXN1 as a mitochondrial serine transporter. Instead, SFXN1 supports CIII function by participating in heme and α-ketoglutarate metabolism. Our findings highlight the multiple ways that SFXN1-based amino acid transport impacts mitochondrial and cellular metabolic efficiency.
    Keywords:  Complex III; OXPHOS; SFXN1; TIM22 complex; amino acid; heme; mitochondria; mitochondrial carrier; serine; sideroflexin
  4. Biochim Biophys Acta Bioenerg. 2021 Mar 13. pii: S0005-2728(21)00047-5. [Epub ahead of print] 148414
      The study of the mitochondrial respiratory chain (MRC) function in relation with its structural organization is of great interest due to the central role of this system in eukaryotic cell metabolism. The complexome profiling technique has provided invaluable information for our understanding of the composition and assembly of the individual MRC complexes, and also of their association into larger supercomplexes (SCs) and respirasomes. The formation of the SCs has been highly debated, and their assembly and regulation mechanisms are still unclear. Previous studies demonstrated a prominent role for COX7A2L (SCAFI) as a structural protein bridging the association of individual MRC complexes III and IV in the minor SC III2 + IV, although its relevance for respirasome formation and function remains controversial. In this work, we have used SILAC-based complexome profiling to dissect the structural organization of the human MRC in HEK293T cells depleted of SCAFI (SCAFIKO) by CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing. SCAFI ablation led to a preferential loss of SC III2 + IV and of a minor subset of respirasomes without affecting OXPHOS function. Our data suggest that the loss of SCAFI-dependent respirasomes in SCAFIKO cells is mainly due to alterations on early stages of CI assembly, without impacting the biogenesis of complexes III and IV. Contrary to the idea of SCAFI being the main player in respirasome formation, SILAC-complexome profiling showed that, in wild-type cells, the majority of respirasomes (ca. 70%) contained COX7A2 and that these species were present at roughly the same levels when SCAFI was knocked-out. We thus demonstrate the co-existence of structurally distinct respirasomes defined by the preferential binding of complex IV via COX7A2, rather than SCAFI, in human cultured cells.
    Keywords:  COX7A2; COX7A2L/SCAFI; Mitochondria; oxidative phosphorylation; respiratory chain; respiratory supercomplexes
  5. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2021 Mar 15.
      Dache et al. (2020, FASEB J. 15, e2002338-15) recently reported the presence of respiratory-competent cell-free mitochondria in human blood (up to 3.7 x 106 per mL of blood), providing exciting perspectives on the potential role of these extra-cellular mitochondria. While their evidence for the presence of cell-free mitochondria in human blood is compelling, their conclusion that these cell-free mitochondria are respiratory-competent or functional has to be re-evaluated. To this end, we evaluated the functionality of cell-free mitochondria in human blood using high-resolution respirometry and mitochondria extracted from platelets of the same blood samples as positive controls. While cell-free mitochondria were present in human plasma (i.e. significant MitoTracker Green Fluorescence and complex IV activity), there was no evidence suggesting that their mitochondrial electron transport system (ETS) was functional (i.e. respiration rate not significantly different from 0; no significant responses to ADP, uncoupler or mitochondrial inhibitors oligomycin and antimycin A). Yet, in vitro complex IV activity was detectable and even slightly higher than levels found in mitochondria extracted from platelets, suggesting that cell-free mitochondria in human blood are likely to only retain a non-functional part of the electron transport system. Despite being unlikely to be fully functional in the narrow-sense (i.e. capable of oxidative phosphorylation), circulating cell-free mitochondria may have significant physiological roles that remain to be elucidated.
    Keywords:  bioenergetics; blood cells; extra-cellular mitochondria; mitochondrial function; platelet
  6. Physiol Rev. 2021 Mar 18.
      The design of the energy metabolism system in striated muscle remains a major area of investigation. Here, we review our current understanding and emerging hypotheses regarding the metabolic support of muscle contraction. Maintenance of ATP free energy, so called energy homeostasis, via mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation is critical to sustained contractile activity and this major design criterion is the focus of this review. Cell volume invested in mitochondria reduces the space available for generating contractile force, and this spatial balance between mitochondria and contractile elements to meet the varying sustained power demands across muscle types is another important design criterion. This is accomplished with remarkably similar mass-specific mitochondrial protein composition across muscle types, implying that it is the organization of mitochondria within the muscle cell that is critical to supporting sustained muscle function. Beyond the production of ATP, ubiquitous distribution of ATPases throughout the muscle requires rapid distribution of potential energy across these large cells. Distribution of potential energy has long been thought to occur primarily through facilitated metabolite diffusion but recent analysis has questioned the importance of this process under normal physiological conditions. Recent structural and functional studies have supported the hypothesis that the mitochondrial reticulum provides a rapid energy distribution system via the conduction of the mitochondrial membrane potential to maintain metabolic homeostasis during contractile activity. We extensively review this aspect of the energy metabolism design contrasting it with metabolite diffusion models and how mitochondrial structure can play a role in the delivery of energy in the striated muscle.
    Keywords:  cellular energy distribution; mitochondria; mitochondrial networks; mitochondrial reticulum; oxidative phosphorylation
  7. Cell Death Differ. 2021 Mar 15.
      Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the US. Understanding the mechanisms of CRC progression is essential to improve treatment. Mitochondria is the powerhouse for healthy cells. However, in tumor cells, less energy is produced by the mitochondria and metabolic reprogramming is an early hallmark of cancer. The metabolic differences between normal and cancer cells are being interrogated to uncover new therapeutic approaches. Mitochondria targeting PTEN-induced kinase 1 (PINK1) is a key regulator of mitophagy, the selective elimination of damaged mitochondria by autophagy. Defective mitophagy is increasingly associated with various diseases including CRC. However, a significant gap exists in our understanding of how PINK1-dependent mitophagy participates in the metabolic regulation of CRC. By mining Oncomine, we found that PINK1 expression was downregulated in human CRC tissues compared to normal colons. Moreover, disruption of PINK1 increased colon tumorigenesis in two colitis-associated CRC mouse models, suggesting that PINK1 functions as a tumor suppressor in CRC. PINK1 overexpression in murine colon tumor cells promoted mitophagy, decreased glycolysis and increased mitochondrial respiration potentially via activation of p53 signaling pathways. In contrast, PINK1 deletion decreased apoptosis, increased glycolysis, and reduced mitochondrial respiration and p53 signaling. Interestingly, PINK1 overexpression in vivo increased apoptotic cell death and suppressed colon tumor xenograft growth. Metabolomic analysis revealed that acetyl-CoA was significantly reduced in tumors with PINK1 overexpression, which was partly due to activation of the HIF-1α-pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) kinase 1 (PDHK1)-PDHE1α axis. Strikingly, treating mice with acetate increased acetyl-CoA levels and rescued PINK1-suppressed tumor growth. Importantly, PINK1 disruption simultaneously increased xenografted tumor growth and acetyl-CoA production. In conclusion, mitophagy protein PINK1 suppresses colon tumor growth by metabolic reprogramming and reducing acetyl-CoA production.
  8. Curr Oncol Rep. 2021 Mar 17. 23(4): 49
      PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Mitochondria have a major impact on virtually all processes linked to oncogenesis. Thus, mitochondrial metabolism inhibition has emerged as a promising anticancer strategy. In this review, we discuss the anticancer potential of mitochondrial inhibitors, with particular focus on metformin, in the context of more effective, targeted therapeutic modalities, and diagnostic strategies for cancer patients.RECENT FINDINGS: Metformin has gained interest as an antitumor agent. However, promising results have not been translated into remarkable advances in the clinical practice. Recent findings emphasize the need of providing a metabolic context in which mitochondrial inhibitors may elicit its anticancerous effects. In addition, mitochondria are critical regulators in orchestrating immune responses. Thus, the immunomodulatory effect of mitochondrial inhibitors should also be taken into account to optimize its clinical use. Targeting mitochondrial metabolic network represents a promising therapeutic strategy in cancer. However, there is a need to define the metabolic context in which mitochondrial inhibitors are more effective, as well as how the cross-talk between many immunological functions and mitochondrial functionality may be exploited for a therapeutic benefit in cancer patients.
    Keywords:  Cancer therapy; Metabolic context; Mitochondrial inhibitors; Mitochondrial metabolism; immunotherapy
  9. FEBS Open Bio. 2021 Mar 19.
      Inhibitors of ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM), such as KU-55933 (Ku), represent a promising class of novel anticancer drugs. In addition, the biguanide derivative phenformin exhibits antitumor activity superior to that of the AMPK activator metformin. Herein, we assessed the potential combinatorial therapeutic efficacy of phenformin and Ku when used to inhibit the growth of liver cancer cells, and we assessed the mechanisms underlying such efficacy. The Hep-G2 and SMMC-7721 liver cancer cell lines were treated with phenformin and Ku either alone or in combination, after which the impact of these drugs on cellular proliferation was assessed via MTT and colony formation assays, whereas Transwell assays were used to gauge cell migratory activity. The potential synergy between these two drugs was assessed using the CompuSyn software, while flow cytometry was employed to evaluate cellular apoptosis. In addition, western blotting was utilized to measure p-ATM, p-AMPK, p-mTOR, and p-p70s6k expression, while mitochondrial functionality was monitored via morphological analyses, JC-1 staining, and measurements of ATP levels. Phenformin and Ku synergistically impacted the proliferation, migration, and apoptotic death of liver cancer cells. Together, these compounds were able to enhance AMPK phosphorylation while inhibiting the phosphorylation of mTOR and p70s6k. These data also revealed that phenformin and Ku induced mitochondrial dysfunction as evidenced by impaired ATP synthesis, mitochondrial membrane potential, and abnormal mitochondrial morphology. These findings suggest that combination treatment with phenformin and Ku may be an effective approach to treating liver cancer via damaging mitochondria within these tumor cells.
    Keywords:  KU-55933; Phenformin; liver cancer; mitochondria; p-AMPK
  10. Front Oncol. 2020 ;10 592130
      Background: Mitochondria are highly dynamic organelles which remain in a continuous state of fission/ fusion dynamics to meet the metabolic needs of a cell. However, this fission/fusion dynamism has been reported to be dysregulated in most cancers. Such enhanced mitochondrial fission is demonstrated to be positively regulated by some activating oncogenic mutations; such as those of KRAS (Kristen rat sarcoma viral oncogene homologue) or BRAF (B- rapidly accelerated fibrosarcoma), thereby increasing tumor progression/ chemotherapeutic resistance and metabolic deregulation. However, the underlying mechanism(s) are still not clear, thus highlighting the need to further explore possible mechanism(s) of intervention. We sought to investigate how BRAFV600E driven CRC (colorectal cancer) progression is linked to mitochondrial fission/fusion dynamics and whether this window could be exploited to target CRC progression.Methods: Western blotting was employed to study the differences in expression levels of key proteins regulating mitochondrial dynamics, which was further confirmed by confocal microscopy imaging of mitochondria in endogenously expressing BRAFWT and BRAFV600E CRC cells. Proliferation assays, soft agar clonogenic assays, glucose uptake/lactate production, ATP/ NADPH measurement assays were employed to study the extent of carcinogenesis and metabolic reprograming in BRAFV600E CRC cells. Genetic knockdown (shRNA/ siRNA) and/or pharmacologic inhibition of Dynamin related protein1/Pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase1 (DRP1/PDK1) and/or BRAFV600E were employed to study the involvement and possible mechanism of these proteins in BRAFV600E driven CRC. Statistical analyses were carried out using Graph Pad Prism v 5.0, data was analyzed by unpaired t-test and two-way ANOVA with appropriate post hoc tests.
    Results: Our results demonstrate that BRAFV600E CRC cells have higher protein levels of mitochondrial fission factor- DRP1/pDRP1S616 leading to a more fragmented mitochondrial state compared to those harboring BRAFWT . This fragmented mitochondrial state was found to confer glycolytic phenotype, clonogenic potential and metastatic advantage to cells harboring BRAFV600E . Interestingly, such fragmented mitochondrial state seemed positively regulated by mitochondrial PDK1 as observed through pharmacologic as well as genetic inhibition of PDK1.
    Conclusion: In conclusion, our data suggest that BRAFV600E driven colorectal cancers have fragmented mitochondria which confers glycolytic phenotype and growth advantage to these tumors, and such phenotype is dependent at least in part on PDK1- thus highlighting a potential therapeutic target.
    Keywords:  BRAFV600E; DRP1; colorectal cancer; metabolic reprogramming; mitochondrial dynamics
  11. Aging Cell. 2021 Mar 16. e13342
      One of the most fundamental challenges for all living organisms is to sense and respond to alternating nutritional conditions in order to adapt their metabolism and physiology to promote survival and achieve balanced growth. Here, we applied metabolomics and lipidomics to examine temporal regulation of metabolism during starvation in wild-type Caenorhabditis elegans and in animals lacking the transcription factor HLH-30. Our findings show for the first time that starvation alters the abundance of hundreds of metabolites and lipid species in a temporal- and HLH-30-dependent manner. We demonstrate that premature death of hlh-30 animals under starvation can be prevented by supplementation of exogenous fatty acids, and that HLH-30 is required for complete oxidation of long-chain fatty acids. We further show that RNAi-mediated knockdown of the gene encoding carnitine palmitoyl transferase I (cpt-1) only impairs survival of wild-type animals and not of hlh-30 animals. Strikingly, we also find that compromised generation of peroxisomes by prx-5 knockdown renders hlh-30 animals hypersensitive to starvation, which cannot be rescued by supplementation of exogenous fatty acids. Collectively, our observations show that mitochondrial functions are compromised in hlh-30 animals and that hlh-30 animals rewire their metabolism to largely depend on functional peroxisomes during starvation, underlining the importance of metabolic plasticity to maintain survival.
    Keywords:  Caenorhabditis elegans; aging; lipidomics; metabolomics; mitochondria; peroxisome; starvation; β-oxidation
  12. Redox Biol. 2021 Mar 05. pii: S2213-2317(21)00076-8. [Epub ahead of print] 101928
      Pharmacologic inhibition of PARP is the primary therapeutic strategy for BRCA mutant ovarian cancer. However, most of patients carry wild-type BRCA1/2 with no significant clinical benefits from PARP inhibitors, calling for the needs to further understanding and developing new strategy when employing PARP inhibitors to treat ovarian cancer. Here, we show that ferroptosis, a form of regulated cell death driven by iron-dependent phospholipid peroxidation, is partly responsible for the efficacy of PARP inhibitor olaparib. Mechanistically, pharmacological inhibition or genetic deletion of PARP downregulates the expression of cystine transporter SLC7A11 in a p53-dependent manner. Consequently, decreased glutathione biosynthesis caused by SLC7A11 repression promotes lipid peroxidation and ferroptosis. Furthermore, ferroptosis perturbation results in significant resistance to olaparib without affecting DNA damage response, while boosting ferroptosis by ferroptosis inducers (FINs) synergistically sensitizes BRCA-proficient ovarian cancer cells and xenografts to PARP inhibitor. Together, our results reveal a previously unappreciated mechanism coupling ferroptosis to PARP inhibition and suggest the combination of PARP inhibitor and FINs in the treatment of BRCA-proficient ovarian cancer.
    Keywords:  Ferroptosis; Lipid peroxidation; Ovarian cancer; PARP; SLC7A11
  13. Cell Death Dis. 2021 Mar 15. 12(3): 271
      Cancers, including glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), undergo coordinated reprogramming of metabolic pathways that control glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) to promote tumor growth in diverse tumor microenvironments. Adaptation to limited nutrient availability in the microenvironment is associated with remodeling of mitochondrial morphology and bioenergetic capacity. We recently demonstrated that NF-κB-inducing kinase (NIK) regulates mitochondrial morphology to promote GBM cell invasion. Here, we show that NIK is recruited to the outer membrane of dividing mitochondria with the master fission regulator, Dynamin-related protein1 (DRP1). Moreover, glucose deprivation-mediated metabolic shift to OXPHOS increases fission and mitochondrial localization of both NIK and DRP1. NIK deficiency results in decreased mitochondrial respiration, ATP production, and spare respiratory capacity (SRC), a critical measure of mitochondrial fitness. Although IκB kinase α and β (IKKα/β) and NIK are required for OXPHOS in high glucose media, only NIK is required to increase SRC under glucose deprivation. Consistent with an IKK-independent role for NIK in regulating metabolism, we show that NIK phosphorylates DRP1-S616 in vitro and in vivo. Notably, a constitutively active DRP1-S616E mutant rescues oxidative metabolism, invasiveness, and tumorigenic potential in NIK-/- cells without inducing IKK. Thus, we establish that NIK is critical for bioenergetic stress responses to promote GBM cell pathogenesis independently of IKK. Our data suggest that targeting NIK may be used to exploit metabolic vulnerabilities and improve therapeutic strategies for GBM.
  14. Biochim Biophys Acta Bioenerg. 2021 Mar 10. pii: S0005-2728(21)00042-6. [Epub ahead of print] 148409
      The ratio of ADP and ATP is a natural indicator of cellular bioenergetic state and thus a prominent analyte in metabolism research. Beyond adenylate interconversion via oxidative phosphorylation and ATPase activities, ADP and ATP act as steric regulators of enzymes, e.g. cytochrome C oxidase, and are major factors in mitochondrial calcium storage potential. Consideration of all routes of adenylate conversion is critical to successfully predict their abundance in an experimental system and to correctly interpret many aspects of mitochondrial function. We showcase here how adenylate kinases elicit considerable impact on the outcome of a variety of mitochondrial assays through their drastic manipulation of the adenylate profile. Parameters affected include cytochrome c oxidase activity, P/O ratio, and mitochondrial calcium dynamics. Study of the latter revealed that the presence of ATP is required for mitochondrial calcium to be shaped into a particularly dense form of mitochondrial amorphous calcium phosphate.
    Keywords:  Adenylate kinase; P/O ratio; amorphous calcium phosphate; calcium capacity; cytochrome C oxidase; mitochondria
  15. Aging (Albany NY). 2021 Mar 18. 13
      Declines in mitochondrial mass are thought to be a hallmark of mammalian aging, and a ketogenic diet (KD) may prevent the age-related decreases in mitochondrial content. The objective of this study was to investigate the impact of a KD on markers of mitochondrial mass. Mice were fed an isocaloric control diet (CD) or KD from 12 months of age. Tissues were collected after 1 month and 14 months of intervention, and a panel of commonly used markers of mitochondrial mass (mitochondrial enzyme activities and levels, mitochondrial to nuclear DNA ratio, and cardiolipin content) were measured. Our results showed that a KD stimulated activities of marker mitochondrial enzymes including citrate synthase, Complex I, and Complex IV in hindlimb muscle in aged mice. KD also increased the activity of citrate synthase and prevented an age-related decrease in Complex IV activity in aged brain. No other markers were increased in these tissues. Furthermore, the impacts of a KD on liver and kidney were mixed with no pattern indicative of a change in mitochondrial mass. In conclusion, results of the present study suggest that a KD induces tissue-specific changes in mitochondrial enzyme activities, or structure, rather than global changes in mitochondrial mass across tissues.
    Keywords:  brain; diet; kidney; liver; skeletal muscle
  16. Dev Cell. 2021 Mar 09. pii: S1534-5807(21)00162-3. [Epub ahead of print]
      Neuronal activity increases energy consumption and requires balanced production to maintain neuronal function. How activity is coupled to energy production remains incompletely understood. Here, we report that Rheb regulates mitochondrial tricarboxylic acid cycle flux of acetyl-CoA by activating pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) to increase ATP production. Rheb is induced by synaptic activity and lactate and dynamically trafficked to the mitochondrial matrix through its interaction with Tom20. Mitochondria-localized Rheb protein is required for activity-induced PDH activation and ATP production. Cell-type-specific gain- and loss-of-function genetic models for Rheb reveal reciprocal changes in PDH phosphorylation/activity, acetyl-CoA, and ATP that are not evident with genetic or pharmacological manipulations of mTORC1. Mechanistically, Rheb physically associates with PDH phosphatase (PDP), enhancing its activity and association with the catalytic E1α-subunit of PDH to reduce PDH phosphorylation and increase its activity. Findings identify Rheb as a nodal point that balances neuronal activity and neuroenergetics via Rheb-PDH axis.
    Keywords:  Rheb; mTORC1; mitochondria; neuroenergetics; neuronal activity; pyruvate dehydrogenase
  17. J Biol Chem. 2021 Mar 12. pii: S0021-9258(21)00317-3. [Epub ahead of print] 100539
      Phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) is essential for mitochondrial respiration in yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, whereas the most abundant mitochondrial phospholipid, phosphatidylcholine (PC), is largely dispensable. Surprisingly, choline (Cho), which is a biosynthetic precursor of PC, has been shown to rescue the respiratory growth of mitochondrial PE deficient yeast; however, the mechanism underlying this rescue has remained unknown. Using a combination of yeast genetics, lipid biochemistry, and cell biological approaches, we uncover the mechanism by showing that Cho rescues mitochondrial respiration by partially replenishing mitochondrial PE levels in yeast cells lacking the mitochondrial PE-biosynthetic enzyme Psd1. This rescue is dependent on the conversion of Cho to PC via the Kennedy pathway as well as on Psd2, an enzyme catalyzing PE biosynthesis in the endosome. Metabolic labeling experiments reveal that in the absence of exogenously supplied Cho, PE biosynthesized via Psd2 is mostly directed to the methylation pathway for PC biosynthesis and is unavailable for replenishing mitochondrial PE in Psd1-deleted cells. In this setting, stimulating the Kennedy pathway for PC biosynthesis by Cho spares Psd2-synthesized PE from the methylation pathway and redirects it to the mitochondria. Cho-mediated elevation in mitochondrial PE is dependent on Vps39, which has been recently implicated in PE trafficking to the mitochondria. Accordingly, epistasis experiments placed Vps39 downstream of Psd2 in choline-based rescue. Our work, thus, provides a mechanism of choline-based rescue of mitochondrial PE deficiency and uncovers an intricate inter-organelle phospholipid regulatory network that maintains mitochondrial PE homeostasis.
    Keywords:  Phospholipid; Psd1; Psd2; Vps39; choline; ethanolamine; mitochondria; phosphatidylethanolamine; yeast
  18. Nat Chem Biol. 2021 Mar 15.
      The protein complexes of the mitochondrial electron transport chain exist in isolation and in higher order assemblies termed supercomplexes (SCs) or respirasomes (SC I+III2+IV). The association of complexes I, III and IV into the respirasome is regulated by unknown mechanisms. Here, we designed a nanoluciferase complementation reporter for complex III and IV proximity to determine in vivo respirasome levels. In a chemical screen, we found that inhibitors of the de novo pyrimidine synthesis enzyme dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHODH) potently increased respirasome assembly and activity. By-passing DHODH inhibition via uridine supplementation decreases SC assembly by altering mitochondrial phospholipid composition, specifically elevated peroxisomal-derived ether phospholipids. Cell growth rates upon DHODH inhibition depend on ether lipid synthesis and SC assembly. These data reveal that nucleotide pools signal to peroxisomes to modulate synthesis and transport of ether phospholipids to mitochondria for SC assembly, which are necessary for optimal cell growth in conditions of nucleotide limitation.
  19. Crit Rev Biochem Mol Biol. 2021 Mar 15. 1-15
      Overproduction of reactive oxygen species and compromised antioxidant defenses perturb intracellular redox homeostasis and is associated with a myriad of human diseases as well as with the natural process of aging. Hydrogen sulfide (H2S), which is biosynthesized by organisms ranging from bacteria to man, influences a broad range of physiological functions. A highly touted molecular mechanism by which H2S exerts its cellular effects is via post-translational modification of the thiol redox proteome, converting cysteine thiols to persulfides, in a process referred to as protein persulfidation. The physiological relevance of this modification in the context of specific signal transmission pathways remains to be rigorously established, while a general protective role for protein persulfidation against hyper-oxidation of the cysteine proteome is better supported. A second mechanism by which H2S modulates redox homeostasis is via remodeling the redox metabolome, targeting the electron transfer chain and perturbing the major redox nodes i.e. CoQ/CoQH2, NAD+/NADH and FAD/FADH2. The metabolic changes that result from H2S-induced redox changes fan out from the mitochondrion to other compartments. In this review, we discuss recent developments in elucidating the roles of H2S and its oxidation products on redox homeostasis and its role in protecting the thiol proteome.
    Keywords:  Sulfide oxidation pathway; mitochondrial bioenergetics; persulfidation; reactive sulfur species; redox metabolome; redox proteome; sulfide quinone oxidoreductase
  20. Front Immunol. 2021 ;12 617508
      Diet has been associated with several metabolic diseases and may impact immunity. Increased consumption of meals with high oxalate content may stimulate urinary calcium oxalate (CaOx) crystals, which are precursors to CaOx kidney stones. We previously reported that CaOx stone formers have decreased monocyte cellular bioenergetics compared to healthy participants and oxalate reduces monocyte metabolism and redox status in vitro. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether dietary oxalate loading impacts monocyte cellular bioenergetics, mitochondrial complex activity, and inflammatory signaling in humans. Healthy participants (n = 40; 31.1 ± 1.3 years) with a BMI of 24.9 ± 0.6 kg/m2 consumed a controlled low oxalate diet for 3 days before drinking a blended preparation of fruits and vegetables containing a large amount of oxalate. Blood and urine were collected before (pre-oxalate) and for 5 h after the oxalate load to assess urinary oxalate levels, monocyte cellular bioenergetics and mitochondrial complex activity, and plasma cytokine/chemokine levels. Urinary oxalate levels significantly increased in post-oxalate samples compared to pre-oxalate samples. Monocyte cellular bioenergetics, mitochondrial complex I activity, and plasma cytokine and chemokine levels were altered to varying degrees within the study cohort. We demonstrate for the first time that dietary oxalate loading may impact monocyte metabolism and immune response in a cohort of healthy adults, but these response are variable. Further studies are warranted to understand oxalate mediated mechanisms on circulating monocytes and how this potentially influences CaOx kidney stone formation.Clinical Trial Registration:, identifier NCT03877276.
    Keywords:  inflammation; kidney stones; metabolism; mitochondria; monocytes; oxalate
  21. Redox Biol. 2021 Mar 02. pii: S2213-2317(21)00071-9. [Epub ahead of print]41 101923
      Mutations in nuclear genes encoding for mitochondrial proteins very long-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (VLCAD) and trifunctional protein (TFP) cause rare autosomal recessive disorders. Studies in fibroblasts derived from patients with mutations in VLCAD and TFP exhibit mitochondrial defects. To gain insights on pathological changes that account for the mitochondrial deficits we performed quantitative proteomic, biochemical, and morphometric analyses in fibroblasts derived from subjects with three different VLCAD and three different TFP mutations. Proteomic data that was corroborated by antibody-based detection, indicated reduced levels of VLCAD and TFP protein in cells with VLCAD and TFP mutations respectively, which in part accounted for the diminished fatty acid oxidation capacity. Decreased mitochondrial respiratory capacity in cells with VLCAD and TFP mutations was quantified after glucose removal and cells with TFP mutations had lower levels of glycogen. Despite these energetic deficiencies, the cells with VLCAD and TFP mutations did not exhibit changes in mitochondria morphology, distribution, fusion and fission, quantified by either confocal or transmission electron microscopy and corroborated by proteomic and antibody-based protein analysis. Fibroblasts with VLCAD and to a lesser extend cells with TFP mutations had increased levels of mitochondrial respiratory chain proteins and proteins that facilitate the assembly of respiratory complexes. With the exception of reduced levels of catalase and glutathione S-transferase theta-1 in cells with TFP mutations, the levels of 45 proteins across all major intracellular antioxidant networks were similar between cells with VLCAD and TFP mutations and non-disease controls. Collectively the data indicate that despite the metabolic deficits, cells with VLCAD and TFP mutations maintain their proteomic integrity to preserve cellular and mitochondria architecture, support energy production and protect against oxidative stress.
    Keywords:  Beta-oxidation; Long-chain fatty acids (LCFA); Mitochondria; Proteomics; Trifunctional protein (TFP); Very long-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (VLCAD)
  22. Exp Ther Med. 2021 Apr;21(4): 357
      Endometriosis is a common gynecological disease defined as the growth of endometrial tissues outside the uterus. Although the mechanism underlying the progression of endometriosis has not been fully elucidated, cancer-like aerobic glycolysis is considered to mediate the elevated growth and resistance to apoptosis of endometriotic cells. The heartwood of Caesalpinia sappan L. (family Leguminosae) is a herbal medicinal product used to treat gynecological symptoms, including algomenorrhea and amenorrhea. The results of the present study revealed that endometriotic 12Z cells exhibited more rapid growth than normal endometrial cells (THES). The expression levels of pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase (PDK)1 and 3 and lactate production were higher in 12Z cells than in THES cells. In addition, the 12Z cells were more sensitive to the cytotoxicity of the aqueous extract of C. sappan heartwood (CS) than the THES cells. CS inhibited lactate production and phosphorylation of pyruvate dehydrogenase A by reducing the expression of PDK1. CS also increased mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels, decreased mitochondrial membrane potential and consequently stimulated the apoptosis of 12Z cells. CS-induced cell death was substantially inhibited by exogenous PDK1 expression. In conclusion, CS may be a novel drug candidate for treating endometriosis by inhibiting aerobic glycolysis and inducing ROS-mitochondria-mediated apoptotic cell death.
    Keywords:  Caesalpinia sappan; PDK1; ROS; apoptosis; endometriosis
  23. Cell Metab. 2021 Mar 13. pii: S1550-4131(21)00102-9. [Epub ahead of print]
      Exercise training positively affects metabolic health through increased mitochondrial oxidative capacity and improved glucose regulation and is the first line of treatment in several metabolic diseases. However, the upper limit of the amount of exercise associated with beneficial therapeutic effects has not been clearly identified. Here, we used a training model with a progressively increasing exercise load during an intervention over 4 weeks. We closely followed changes in glucose tolerance, mitochondrial function and dynamics, physical exercise capacity, and whole-body metabolism. Following the week with the highest exercise load, we found a striking reduction in intrinsic mitochondrial function that coincided with a disturbance in glucose tolerance and insulin secretion. We also assessed continuous blood glucose profiles in world-class endurance athletes and found that they had impaired glucose control compared with a matched control group.
    Keywords:  athletes; continuous glucose monitoring; exercise; exercise adaptations; glucose tolerance; high-intensity interval training; insulin resistance; metabolic dysfunction; mitochondria; mitochondrial dynamics; mitochondrial dysfunction
  24. Cell Biosci. 2021 Mar 17. 11(1): 55
      Mitochondria are the powerhouse of a cell. The structure and function of mitochondria are precisely regulated by multiple signaling pathways. Neddylation, a post-translational modification, plays a crucial role in various cellular processes including cellular metabolism via modulating the activity, function and subcellular localization of its substrates. Recently, accumulated data demonstrated that neddylation is involved in regulation of morphology, trafficking and function of mitochondria. Mechanistic elucidation of how mitochondria is modulated by neddylation would further our understanding of mitochondrial regulation to a new level. In this review, we first briefly introduce mitochondria, then neddylation cascade, and known protein substrates subjected to neddylation modification. Next, we summarize current available data of how neddylation enzymes, its substrates (including cullins/Cullin-RING E3 ligases and non-cullins) and its inhibitor MLN4924 regulate the structure and function of mitochondria. Finally, we propose the future perspectives on this emerging and exciting field of mitochondrial research.
    Keywords:  Cullin-RING ligases; Energy metabolism; MLN4924; Mitochondria; Neddylation
  25. Front Oncol. 2021 ;11 616079
      Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), one of the most aggressive solid malignancies, is characterized by the presence of oncogenic KRAS mutations, poor response to current therapies, prone to metastasis, and a low 5-year overall survival rate. Macroautophagy (herein referred to as autophagy) is a lysosome-dependent degradation system that forms a series of dynamic membrane structures to engulf, degrade, and recycle various cargoes, such as unused proteins, damaged organelles, and invading pathogens. Autophagy is usually upregulated in established cancers, but it plays a dual role in the regulation of the initiation and progression of PDAC. As a type of selective autophagy, mitophagy is a mitochondrial quality control mechanism that uses ubiquitin-dependent (e.g., the PINK1-PRKN pathway) and -independent (e.g., BNIP3L/NIX, FUNDC1, and BNIP3) pathways to regulate mitochondrial turnover and participate in the modulation of metabolism and cell death. Genetically engineered mouse models indicate that the loss of PINK1 or PRKN promotes, whereas the depletion of BNIP3L inhibits oncogenic KRAS-driven pancreatic tumorigenesis. Mitophagy also play a dual role in the regulation of the anticancer activity of certain cytotoxic agents (e.g., rocaglamide A, dichloroacetate, fisetin, and P. suffruticosa extracts) in PDAC cells or xenograft models. In this min-review, we summarize the latest advances in understanding the complex role of mitophagy in the occurrence and treatment of PDAC.
    Keywords:  PDAC - pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma; autophagy; mitophagy; therapy; tumorigenesis
  26. Nat Commun. 2021 Mar 19. 12(1): 1718
      Chromodomain helicase DNA binding protein 4 (CHD4) is an ATPase subunit of the Nucleosome Remodelling and Deacetylation (NuRD) complex that regulates gene expression. CHD4 is essential for growth of multiple patient derived melanoma xenografts and for breast cancer. Here we show that CHD4 regulates expression of PADI1 (Protein Arginine Deiminase 1) and PADI3 in multiple cancer cell types modulating citrullination of arginine residues of the allosterically-regulated glycolytic enzyme pyruvate kinase M2 (PKM2). Citrullination of PKM2 R106 reprogrammes cross-talk between PKM2 ligands lowering its sensitivity to the inhibitors Tryptophan, Alanine and Phenylalanine and promoting activation by Serine. Citrullination thus bypasses normal physiological regulation by low Serine levels to promote excessive glycolysis and reduced cell proliferation. We further show that PADI1 and PADI3 expression is up-regulated by hypoxia where PKM2 citrullination contributes to increased glycolysis. We provide insight as to how conversion of arginines to citrulline impacts key interactions within PKM2 that act in concert to reprogramme its activity as an additional mechanism regulating this important enzyme.
  27. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2021 Mar 16. pii: S0006-291X(21)00400-9. [Epub ahead of print]552 23-29
      Pancreatic cancer remains one of the most lethal diseases with dismal five-year survival rates. Although mutant KRas protein-driven activation of downstream MAPK Raf/MEK/ERK and PI3K/Akt signaling pathways represent major oncogenic alterations, signaling blockade with MEK and PI3K inhibitors has shown that intrinsic resistance may hamper the effectiveness of this targeted approach. However, there have been no mass spectrometry-based proteomic studies for in-depth comparison of protein expression differences between pancreatic cancer cells with sensitivity and resistance to MEK and PI3K kinase inhibitors. In this work, we compared PANC-1 and MIA PaCa-2 pancreatic cancer cells which are, respectively, resistant and sensitive to MEK- and PI3K-targeted therapy. We conducted a label-free data-independent acquisition mass spectrometry (SWATH-MS) study with extensive peptide fractionation to quantitate 4808 proteins and analyze differential expression of 743 proteins between resistant and sensitive cells. This allowed identification of the tumor suppressor protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) and proteins from mitochondrial respiratory complex I implicated in oxidative phosphorylation as alternative candidate drug targets for cells resistant to MEK and PI3K inhibition. PP2A activator DT-061 decreased viability of PANC-1 cells and this was accompanied by reduced expression of c-Myc. PANC-1 cells also showed response to metformin and the novel complex I inhibitor IACS-010759. These findings provide insights into the distinct cellular proteomes and point out alternative pharmacological targets for MEK and PI3K inhibition-resistant pancreatic cancer cells.
    Keywords:  Drug targets; MEK inhibition; Mass spectrometry; PI3K inhibition; Pancreatic cancer; Proteomics
  28. Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2021 Mar 11. pii: S1471-4892(21)00009-6. [Epub ahead of print]57 117-124
      Intracellular metabolic adaptations help define the function and homeostasis of memory CD8+ T cells. These cells, which promote protection against infections or cancer, undergo consecutive metabolic shifts, ultimately relying on mitochondrial-related pathways. Past CD8+ T cell metabolism studies focused on circulating memory cells, which are exclusive to secondary lymphoid organs or recirculate between lymphoid and non-lymphoid organs. Yet, now there is unequivocal evidence that memory CD8+ T cells reside in many non-lymphoid organs and mediate protective immunity in barrier tissues. The metabolic adaptations occurring in forming and established tissue-resident memory CD8+ T cells are currently subject of intense research. In this review, we discuss the latest breakthroughs on the transcriptional and protein control of tissue-resident memory CD8+ T cell metabolism.
    Keywords:  Bhlhe40; Memory CD8(+) T cells; Memory precursor; Mitochondria; P2RX7; T(RM) cells
  29. Open Biol. 2021 Mar;11(3): 210002
      The mitochondrial intermembrane space (IMS) is the most constricted sub-mitochondrial compartment, housing only about 5% of the mitochondrial proteome, and yet is endowed with the largest variability of protein import mechanisms. In this review, we summarize our current knowledge of the major IMS import pathway based on the oxidative protein folding pathway and discuss the stunning variability of other IMS protein import pathways. As IMS-localized proteins only have to cross the outer mitochondrial membrane, they do not require energy sources like ATP hydrolysis in the mitochondrial matrix or the inner membrane electrochemical potential which are critical for import into the matrix or insertion into the inner membrane. We also explore several atypical IMS import pathways that are still not very well understood and are guided by poorly defined or completely unknown targeting peptides. Importantly, many of the IMS proteins are linked to several human diseases, and it is therefore crucial to understand how they reach their normal site of function in the IMS. In the final part of this review, we discuss current understanding of how such IMS protein underpin a large spectrum of human disorders.
    Keywords:  intermembrane space; mitochondria; oxidative protein folding; protein import
  30. Cancer Cell. 2021 Mar 10. pii: S1535-6108(21)00118-5. [Epub ahead of print]
      Many cancers, including pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), depend on autophagy-mediated scavenging and recycling of intracellular macromolecules, suggesting that autophagy blockade should cause tumor starvation and regression. However, until now autophagy-inhibiting monotherapies have not demonstrated potent anti-cancer activity. We now show that autophagy blockade prompts established PDAC to upregulate and utilize an alternative nutrient procurement pathway: macropinocytosis (MP) that allows tumor cells to extract nutrients from extracellular sources and use them for energy generation. The autophagy to MP switch, which may be evolutionarily conserved and not cancer cell restricted, depends on activation of transcription factor NRF2 by the autophagy adaptor p62/SQSTM1. NRF2 activation by oncogenic mutations, hypoxia, and oxidative stress also results in MP upregulation. Inhibition of MP in autophagy-compromised PDAC elicits dramatic metabolic decline and regression of transplanted and autochthonous tumors, suggesting the therapeutic promise of combining autophagy and MP inhibitors in the clinic.
    Keywords:  NRF2; RAS-driven cancer; autophagy; macropinocytosis; p62/SQSTM1
  31. Cancer Lett. 2021 Mar 16. pii: S0304-3835(21)00118-X. [Epub ahead of print]
      Cancer cells evolve to survive as 'persister cells' resistant to various chemotherapeutic agents. Persister cancer cells retain mesenchymal traits that are vulnerable to ferroptosis by iron-dependent accumulation of lethal lipid peroxidation. Regulation of the KDM5A-MPC1 axis might shift cancer cells to have mesenchymal traits via epithelial-mesenchymal transition process. Therefore, we examined the therapeutic potentiality of KDM5A-MPC1 axis regulation in promoting ferroptosis in erlotinib-tolerant persister head and neck cancer cells (erPCC). ErPCC acquired mesenchymal traits and disabled antioxidant program that were more vulnerable to ferroptosis inducers of RSL3, ML210, sulfasalazine, and erastin. GPX4 and xCT suppression caused increased sensitivity to ferroptosis in vivo models of GPX4 genetic silencing. KDM5A expression increased and MPC1 expression decreased in erPCC. KDM5A inhibition increased MPC1 expression and decreased sensitivity to ferroptosis inducers in erPCC. MPC1 suppression increased vulnerability to ferroptosis in vitro and in vivo by retaining mesenchymal traits and glutaminolysis. Low expression of MPC1 was associated with low overall survival from the TCGA data. Our data suggest that regulation of the KDM5A-MPC1 axis contributes to promoting cancer ferroptosis susceptibility.
    Keywords:  Epithelial-mesenchymal transition; Erlotinib tolerance; Ferroptosis; Glutaminolysis; MPC1
  32. J Biol Chem. 2021 Mar 10. pii: S0021-9258(21)00309-4. [Epub ahead of print] 100531
      We previously showed that vitamin D receptor (VDR) plays a crucial role in acute inflammatory bowel disease and that intestinal fibrosis is a common complication of Crohn's disease (CD). Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is an important hallmark of fibrogenesis through which epithelial cells lose their epithelial phenotype and transform into mesenchymal cells. It is known that VDR plays an essential role in epithelial integrity and mitochondrial function, but its role in intestinal fibrosis remains unknown. Here, we investigated whether VDR is involved in epithelial mitochondrial dysfunction that results in EMT in intestinal fibrosis. Using human CD samples, intestinal-specific VDR-knockout (VDRIEC-KO) mice, and fibroblast cellular models, we showed that the expression of VDR was significantly lower in intestinal stenotic areas than in nonstenotic areas in patients with chronic Crohn's disease. Genetic deletion of VDR in the intestinal epithelium exacerbated intestinal fibrosis in mice administered with DSS or TNBS, two experimental colitis inducers. Additionally, we found that vitamin D dietary intervention regulated intestinal fibrosis by modulating the intestinal expression of VDR. Mechanistically, knocking down VDR in both CCD-18Co cells and human primary colonic fibroblasts promoted fibroblast activation, while VDR overexpression or VDR agonist administration inhibited fibroblast activation. Further analysis illustrated that VDR inhibited EMT in the HT29 cell model and that mitochondrial dysfunction mediated epithelial integrity and barrier function in VDR-deficient epithelial cells. Together, our data for the first time demonstrate that VDR activation alleviates intestinal fibrosis by inhibiting fibroblast activation and epithelial mitochondria-mediated EMT.
    Keywords:  Crohn’s disease; Vitamin D receptor(VDR); epithelial-mesenchymal transition(EMT); fibroblast; intestinal fibrosis; mitochondrial dysfunction
  33. Anal Chem. 2021 Mar 17.
      Temperature in mitochondria can be a critical indicator of cell metabolism. Given the highly dynamic and inhomogeneous nature of mitochondria, it remains a big challenge to quantitatively monitor the local temperature changes during different cellular processes. To implement this task, we extend our strategy on mitochondria-anchored thermometers from "on-off" probe Mito-TEM to a ratiometric probe Mito-TEM 2.0 based on the Förster resonance energy transfer mechanism. Mito-TEM 2.0 exhibits not only a sensitive response to temperature through the ratiometric changes of dual emissions but also the specific immobilization in mitochondria via covalent bonds. Both characters support accurate and reliable detection of local temperature for a long time, even in malfunctioning mitochondria. By applying Mito-TEM 2.0 in fluorescence ratiometric imaging of cells and zebrafishes, we make a breakthrough in the quantitative visualization of mitochondrial temperature rises in different inflammation states.
  34. Sci Rep. 2021 Mar 18. 11(1): 6381
      Glioma is the most general primary and lethal intracranial malignant tumor. Pterostilbene (PTE), an analog of stilbene and resveratrol, has attracted attention in recent years due to its significant antitumor activity in multiple solid tumors; however, its effect on drug-resistant glioma cells and the underlying mechanism have not yet been reported. In this study, we found that pterostilbene inhibited proliferation, induced intrinsic mitochondria-mediated apoptosis and caused S phase arrest, inhibited migration and excessive invasion in glioma cells. Pretreatment with the pan-caspase-inhibitor Z-VAD-FMK attenuated the PTE-induced apoptosis of glioma cells. Moreover, PTE significantly increased the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reduce the mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP). Inhibition of ROS with N-acetyl-L-cysteine not only rescued PTE-induced reduction of cellular viability but also prevented glioma cell apoptosis. We also discovered ERK 1/2 and JNK signaling pathways were activated by PTE and contributed to induce glioma cell apoptosis. In addition, specific inhibitors of ERK 1/2 and JNK attenuated PTE-induced apoptosis. Besides, PTE significantly reduced tumor volume and prolonged median survival of tumor-bearing rats in vivo. In summary, the results of this study indicate that the anti-tumor effect of PTE on glioma cells may provide a new treatment option for glioma patients.
  35. Commun Biol. 2021 Mar 19. 4(1): 371
      Metabolic plasticity enables cancer cells to switch between glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation to adapt to changing conditions during cancer progression, whereas metabolic dependencies limit plasticity. To understand a role for the architectural environment in these processes we examined metabolic dependencies of cancer cells cultured in flat (2D) and organotypic (3D) environments. Here we show that cancer cells in flat cultures exist in a high energy state (oxidative phosphorylation), are glycolytic, and depend on glucose and glutamine for growth. In contrast, cells in organotypic culture exhibit lower energy and glycolysis, with extensive metabolic plasticity to maintain growth during glucose or amino acid deprivation. Expression of KRASG12V in organotypic cells drives glucose dependence, however cells retain metabolic plasticity to glutamine deprivation. Finally, our data reveal that mechanical properties control metabolic plasticity, which correlates with canonical Wnt signaling. In summary, our work highlights that the architectural and mechanical properties influence cells to permit or restrict metabolic plasticity.
  36. Aging Cell. 2021 Mar 18. e13329
      Senescence phenotypes and mitochondrial dysfunction are implicated in aging and in premature aging diseases, including ataxia telangiectasia (A-T). Loss of mitochondrial function can drive age-related decline in the brain, but little is known about whether improving mitochondrial homeostasis alleviates senescence phenotypes. We demonstrate here that mitochondrial dysfunction and cellular senescence with a senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP) occur in A-T patient fibroblasts, and in ATM-deficient cells and mice. Senescence is mediated by stimulator of interferon genes (STING) and involves ectopic cytoplasmic DNA. We further show that boosting intracellular NAD+ levels with nicotinamide riboside (NR) prevents senescence and SASP by promoting mitophagy in a PINK1-dependent manner. NR treatment also prevents neurodegeneration, suppresses senescence and neuroinflammation, and improves motor function in Atm-/- mice. Our findings suggest a central role for mitochondrial dysfunction-induced senescence in A-T pathogenesis, and that enhancing mitophagy as a potential therapeutic intervention.
    Keywords:  Ataxia Telangiectasia; Nicotinamide riboside; SASP; mitophagy; senescence
  37. Free Radic Biol Med. 2021 Mar 12. pii: S0891-5849(21)00162-3. [Epub ahead of print]
      Electron transfer between respiratory complexes is an essential step for the efficiency of the mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation. Until recently, it was stablished that ubiquinone and cytochrome c formed homogenous single pools in the inner mitochondrial membrane which were not influenced by the presence of respiratory supercomplexes. However, this idea was challenged by the fact that bottlenecks in electron transfer appeared after disruption of supercomplexes into their individual complexes. The postulation of the plasticity model embraced all these observations and concluded that complexes and supercomplexes co-exist and are dedicated to a spectrum of metabolic requirements. Here, we review the involvement of superassembly in complex I stability, the role of supercomplexes in ROS production and the segmentation of the CoQ and cyt c pools, together with their involvement in signaling and disease. Taking apparently conflicting literature we have built up a comprehensive model for the segmentation of CoQ and cyt c mediated by supercomplexes, discuss the current limitations and provide a prospect of the current knowledge in the field.
    Keywords:  CoQ; cyt c; pools; respirasomes; supercomplexes
  38. Mol Cancer Ther. 2021 Mar 15. pii: molcanther.0603.2020. [Epub ahead of print]
      Medulloblastoma (MB) is the most common malignant pediatric brain tumor. MYC-driven MBs, commonly found in the Group 3 MB, are aggressive and metastatic with the worst prognosis. Modeling MYC-driven MB is the foundation of therapeutic development. Here, we applied a synthetic mRNA-driven strategy to generate neuronal precursors from human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). These neuronal precursors were transformed by the MYC oncogene combined with p53 loss-of-function to establish a MYC-driven MB model recapitulating the histological and transcriptomic hallmarks of Group 3 MB. We further show that the marine compound Frondoside A (FA) effectively inhibits this MYC-driven MB model without affecting isogenic neuronal precursors with undetectable MYC expression. Consistent results from a panel of MB models support that MYC levels are positively correlated with FA's anti-tumor potency. Next, we show that FA suppresses MYC expression and its downstream gene targets in MB cells, suggesting a potential mechanism underlying FA's inhibitory effects on MYC-driven cancers. In orthotopic xenografts of MYC-driven MB, intratumoral FA administration potently induces cytotoxicity in tumor xenografts, significantly extends the survival of tumor-bearing animals, and enhances the recruitment of microglia/macrophages and cytotoxic T lymphocytes to tumors. Moreover, we show that MYC levels also predict FA potency in glioblastoma and non-small-cell lung cancer cells. Taken together, this study provides an efficient human iPSC-based strategy for personalizable cancer modeling, widely applicable to mechanistic studies (e.g. genetic predisposition to cancer) and drug discovery. Our preclinical results justify the clinical translation of FA in treating MYC-driven MB and other human cancers.
  39. Wellcome Open Res. 2020 ;5 226
      Mitochondrial vitality is critical to cellular function, with mitochondrial dysfunction linked to a growing number of human diseases. Tissue and cellular heterogeneity, in terms of genetics, dynamics and function means that increasingly mitochondrial research is conducted at the single cell level. Whilst there are several technologies that are currently available for single-cell analysis, each with their advantages, they cannot be easily adapted to study mitochondria with subcellular resolution. Here we review the current techniques and strategies for mitochondrial isolation, critically discussing each technology's limitations for future mitochondrial research. Finally, we highlight and discuss the recent breakthroughs in sub-cellular isolation techniques, with a particular focus on nanotechnologies that enable the isolation of mitochondria from subcellular compartments. This allows isolation of mitochondria with unprecedented spatial precision with minimal disruption to mitochondria and their immediate cellular environment.
    Keywords:  Mitochondria; heterogeneity; mitochondrial isolation; mtDNA; nanobiopsy; nanoprobes; nanotweezers.; subcellular
  40. FASEB J. 2021 Apr;35(4): e21456
      Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+ ) homeostasis is constantly compromised due to degradation by NAD+ -dependent enzymes. NAD+ replenishment by supplementation with the NAD+ precursors nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) and nicotinamide riboside (NR) can alleviate this imbalance. However, NMN and NR are limited by their mild effect on the cellular NAD+ pool and the need of high doses. Here, we report a synthesis method of a reduced form of NMN (NMNH), and identify this molecule as a new NAD+ precursor for the first time. We show that NMNH increases NAD+ levels to a much higher extent and faster than NMN or NR, and that it is metabolized through a different, NRK and NAMPT-independent, pathway. We also demonstrate that NMNH reduces damage and accelerates repair in renal tubular epithelial cells upon hypoxia/reoxygenation injury. Finally, we find that NMNH administration in mice causes a rapid and sustained NAD+ surge in whole blood, which is accompanied by increased NAD+ levels in liver, kidney, muscle, brain, brown adipose tissue, and heart, but not in white adipose tissue. Together, our data highlight NMNH as a new NAD+ precursor with therapeutic potential for acute kidney injury, confirm the existence of a novel pathway for the recycling of reduced NAD+ precursors and establish NMNH as a member of the new family of reduced NAD+ precursors.
    Keywords:  NAD+; NMNH; metabolism; nicotinamide mononucleotide
  41. Nat Commun. 2021 03 15. 12(1): 1680
      Branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) and their cognate α-ketoacids (BCKA) are elevated in an array of cardiometabolic diseases. Here we demonstrate that the major metabolic fate of uniformly-13C-labeled α-ketoisovalerate ([U-13C]KIV) in the heart is reamination to valine. Activation of cardiac branched-chain α-ketoacid dehydrogenase (BCKDH) by treatment with the BCKDH kinase inhibitor, BT2, does not impede the strong flux of [U-13C]KIV to valine. Sequestration of BCAA and BCKA away from mitochondrial oxidation is likely due to low levels of expression of the mitochondrial BCAA transporter SLC25A44 in the heart, as its overexpression significantly lowers accumulation of [13C]-labeled valine from [U-13C]KIV. Finally, exposure of perfused hearts to levels of BCKA found in obese rats increases phosphorylation of the translational repressor 4E-BP1 as well as multiple proteins in the MEK-ERK pathway, leading to a doubling of total protein synthesis. These data suggest that elevated BCKA levels found in obesity may contribute to pathologic cardiac hypertrophy via chronic activation of protein synthesis.
  42. J Cell Biol. 2021 Apr 05. pii: e201909139. [Epub ahead of print]220(4):
      Acute heat stress (aHS) can induce strong developmental defects in Caenorhabditis elegans larva but not lethality or sterility. This stress results in transitory fragmentation of mitochondria, formation of aggregates in the matrix, and decrease of mitochondrial respiration. Moreover, active autophagic flux associated with mitophagy events enables the rebuilding of the mitochondrial network and developmental recovery, showing that the autophagic response is protective. This adaptation to aHS does not require Pink1/Parkin or the mitophagy receptors DCT-1/NIX and FUNDC1. We also find that mitochondria are a major site for autophagosome biogenesis in the epidermis in both standard and heat stress conditions. In addition, we report that the depletion of the dynamin-related protein 1 (DRP-1) affects autophagic processes and the adaptation to aHS. In drp-1 animals, the abnormal mitochondria tend to modify their shape upon aHS but are unable to achieve fragmentation. Autophagy is induced, but autophagosomes are abnormally elongated and clustered on mitochondria. Our data support a role for DRP-1 in coordinating mitochondrial fission and autophagosome biogenesis in stress conditions.
  43. Biochimie. 2021 Mar 13. pii: S0300-9084(21)00074-2. [Epub ahead of print]
      Small-molecule inhibitors of enzyme function are critical tools for the study of cell biological processes and for treatment of human disease. Identifying inhibitors with suitable specificity and selectivity for single enzymes, however, remains a challenge. In this study we describe our serendipitous discovery that NMS-873, a compound that was previously identified as a highly selective allosteric inhibitor of the ATPase valosin-containing protein (VCP/p97), rapidly induces aerobic fermentation in cultured human and mouse cells. Our further investigation uncovered an unexpected off-target effect of NMS-873 on mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation, specifically as a dual inhibitor of Complex I and ATP synthase. This work points to the need for caution regarding the interpretation of cell survival data associated with NMS-873 treatment and indicates that cellular toxicity associated with its use may be caused by both VCP/p97-dependent and VCP/p97-independent mechanisms.
    Keywords:  ATP synthase; Aerobic fermentation; Complex I; Oxidative phosphorylation; Small-molecule inhibitor; VCP/p97