bims-mibica Biomed News
on Mitochondrial bioenergetics in cancer
Issue of 2021‒05‒09
thirty-two papers selected by
Kelsey Fisher-Wellman
East Carolina University

  1. Nat Protoc. 2021 May 05.
      Several essential components of the electron transport chain, the major producer of ATP in mammalian cells, are encoded in the mitochondrial genome. These 13 proteins are translated within mitochondria by 'mitoribosomes'. Defective mitochondrial translation underlies multiple inborn errors of metabolism and has been implicated in pathologies such as aging, metabolic syndrome and cancer. Here, we provide a detailed ribosome profiling protocol optimized to interrogate mitochondrial translation in mammalian cells (MitoRiboSeq), wherein mitoribosome footprints are generated with micrococcal nuclease and mitoribosomes are separated from cytosolic ribosomes and other RNAs by ultracentrifugation in a single straightforward step. We highlight critical steps during library preparation and provide a step-by-step guide to data analysis accompanied by open-source bioinformatic code. Our method outputs mitoribosome footprints at single-codon resolution. Codons with high footprint densities are sites of mitoribosome stalling. We recently applied this approach to demonstrate that defects in mitochondrial serine catabolism or in mitochondrial tRNA methylation cause stalling of mitoribosomes at specific codons. Our method can be applied to study basic mitochondrial biology or to characterize abnormalities in mitochondrial translation in patients with mitochondrial disorders.
  2. Toxicol Lett. 2021 May 01. pii: S0378-4274(21)00119-3. [Epub ahead of print]
      Aconitine, a highly toxic alkaloid derived from Aconitum L., affects the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system. However, the underlying mechanism of aconitine-induced neurotoxicity remains unclear. This study investigates the effects and mechanism of aconitine on mitochondrial energy metabolism in SH-SY5Y cells. Results demonstrated that aconitine exposure suppressed cell proliferation and led to an increase in reactive oxygen species (ROS) and excessive lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release. Aconitine (400 μmol/L) induced abnormal mitochondrial energy metabolism that quantified by the significant decrease in ATP production, basal respiration, proton leak, maximal respiration, and succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) activity. Phosphorylation of AMPK was significantly reduced in aconitine-treated SH-SY5Y cells. The AMPK activator AIACR pretreatment effectively promoted ATP production to ameliorate mitochondrial energy metabolism disorder caused by aconitine. Mitochondrial biosynthesis was inhibited after treatment with 400 µmol/L aconitine, which was characterized by mitochondria number, TFAM expression, and mtDNA copy number. Moreover, aconitine prompted the down-regulation of mitochondrial fusion proteins OPA1, Mfn1 and Mfn2, and the up-regulation of mitochondrial fission proteins p-Drp1 and p-Mff. These results suggest that aconitine induces mitochondrial energy metabolism dysfunction in SH-SY5Y cells, which may involve the inhibition of AMPK signaling and abnormal mitochondrial dynamics.
    Keywords:  AMPK signaling; aconitine; mitochondrial dynamics; mitochondrial energy metabolism; neurotoxicity
  3. Cell Rep. 2021 May 04. pii: S2211-1247(21)00420-4. [Epub ahead of print]35(5): 109087
      Parvalbumin (PV) is a cytosolic Ca2+-binding protein highly expressed in fast skeletal muscle, contributing to an increased relaxation rate. Moreover, PV is an "atrogene" downregulated in most muscle atrophy conditions. Here, we exploit mice lacking PV to explore the link between the two PV functions. Surprisingly, PV ablation partially counteracts muscle loss after denervation. Furthermore, acute PV downregulation is accompanied by hypertrophy and upregulation by atrophy. PV ablation has a minor impact on sarcoplasmic reticulum but is associated with increased mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake, mitochondrial size and number, and contacts with Ca2+ release sites. Mitochondrial calcium uniporter (MCU) silencing abolishes the hypertrophic effect of PV ablation, suggesting that mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake is required for hypertrophy. In turn, an increase of mitochondrial Ca2+ is required to enhance expression of the pro-hypertrophy gene PGC-1α4, whose silencing blocks hypertrophy due to PV ablation. These results reveal how PV links cytosolic Ca2+ control to mitochondrial adaptations, leading to muscle mass regulation.
    Keywords:  calcium buffer; mitochondria; skeletal muscle
  4. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Apr 30. pii: 4793. [Epub ahead of print]22(9):
      Mitochondria are the major source of intercellular bioenergy in the form of ATP. They are necessary for cell survival and play many essential roles such as maintaining calcium homeostasis, body temperature, regulation of metabolism and apoptosis. Mitochondrial dysfunction has been observed in variety of diseases such as cardiovascular disease, aging, type 2 diabetes, cancer and degenerative brain disease. In other words, the interpretation and regulation of mitochondrial signals has the potential to be applied as a treatment for various diseases caused by mitochondrial disorders. In recent years, mitochondrial transplantation has increasingly been a topic of interest as an innovative strategy for the treatment of mitochondrial diseases by augmentation and replacement of mitochondria. In this review, we focus on diseases that are associated with mitochondrial dysfunction and highlight studies related to the rescue of tissue-specific mitochondrial disorders. We firmly believe that mitochondrial transplantation is an optimistic therapeutic approach in finding a potentially valuable treatment for a variety of mitochondrial diseases.
    Keywords:  mitochondria; mitochondrial disease; mitochondrial dysfunction; mitochondrial function; mitochondrial transplantation
  5. Genetics. 2019 Aug 01. 212(4): 1429-1443
      Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations cause severe congenital diseases but may also be associated with healthy aging. mtDNA is stochastically replicated and degraded, and exists within organelles which undergo dynamic fusion and fission. The role of the resulting mitochondrial networks in the time evolution of the cellular proportion of mutated mtDNA molecules (heteroplasmy), and cell-to-cell variability in heteroplasmy (heteroplasmy variance), remains incompletely understood. Heteroplasmy variance is particularly important since it modulates the number of pathological cells in a tissue. Here, we provide the first wide-reaching theoretical framework which bridges mitochondrial network and genetic states. We show that, under a range of conditions, the (genetic) rate of increase in heteroplasmy variance and de novo mutation are proportionally modulated by the (physical) fraction of unfused mitochondria, independently of the absolute fission-fusion rate. In the context of selective fusion, we show that intermediate fusion:fission ratios are optimal for the clearance of mtDNA mutants. Our findings imply that modulating network state, mitophagy rate, and copy number to slow down heteroplasmy dynamics when mean heteroplasmy is low could have therapeutic advantages for mitochondrial disease and healthy aging.
    Keywords:  cellular noise; heteroplasmy variance; mitochondrial DNA; mitochondrial networks
  6. BMC Cancer. 2021 May 06. 21(1): 507
      BACKGROUND: Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) is a pleiotropic cytokine with both anti-tumorigenic and pro-tumorigenic activity, affecting tumor cell biology, the balance between cell survival and death. The final effect of TNFα is dependent on the type of malignant cells, with the potential to arrest cancer progression.METHODS: In order to explain the diverse cellular response to TNFα, we engineered melanoma and colorectal carcinoma cell lines stably overexpressing this cytokine.
    RESULTS: Under the TNFα overexpression, significant upregulation of two genes was observed: proinflammatory cytokine IL6 gene in melanoma cells A375 and gene for pro-apoptotic ligand TRAIL in colorectal carcinoma cells HT29, both mediated by TNFα/TNFR1 signaling. Malignant melanoma line A375 displayed also increased autophagy on day 3, followed by premature senescence on day 6. Both processes seem to be interconnected, following earlier apoptosis induction and deregulation of mitochondrial functions. We documented altered mitochondrial status, lowered ATP production, lowered mitochondrial mass, and changes in mitochondrial morphology (shortened and condensed mitochondria) both in melanoma and colorectal carcinoma cells. Overexpression of TNFα was not linked with significant affection of the subpopulation of cancer stem-like cells in vitro. However, we could demonstrate a decrease in aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) activity up to 50%, which is associated with to the stemness phenotype.
    CONCLUSIONS: Our in vitro study of direct TNFα influence demonstrates two distinct outcomes in tumor cells of different origin, in non-epithelial malignant melanoma cells of neural crest origin, and in colorectal carcinoma cells derived from the epithelium.
    Keywords:  Aldehyde dehydrogenase activity; Autophagy; Cancer stem cell-related markers; Melanoma; Mitochondrial status; Senescence; TNFα
  7. J Biotechnol. 2021 Apr 30. pii: S0168-1656(21)00117-6. [Epub ahead of print]
      MicroRNAs are increasingly being used to enhance relevant pathways of interest during CHO cell line development and to optimise biopharmaceutical production processes. Previous studies have demonstrated that genetic manipulation of microRNAs has led to the development of highly productive phenotypes by increasing cell density through modifying the cell cycle, extending the culture lifespan by delaying apoptotic mechanisms, or improving the energetic flux by targeting mitochondrial metabolism. Re-programming mitochondrial metabolism has arisen as a potential area of interest due to the potential to decrease the Warburg effect and increase cell specific productivity with significant impact on the manufacture of recombinant therapeutic proteins. In this study, we have demonstrated a role for miR-31* to enhance specific productivity in CHO cells by boosting oxidative phosphorylation in the mitochondria. A detailed analysis of the mitochondrial metabolism revealed that miR-31* transfection increases basal oxygen consumption and spare respiratory capacity that leads to an increase in ATP production. Additionally, a proteomic analysis unveiled a number of potential targets involved in fatty acid metabolism and the TCA cycle, both implicated in mitochondrial metabolism. This data demonstrates a potential role for miR-31* to reprogramme the mitochondrial energetic metabolism and increase recombinant protein production in CHO cells.
    Keywords:  Chinese hamster ovary (CHO); Label-free LC-MS/MS proteomics; Metabolism; Mitochondria; Productivity; miR-31*
  8. Front Nutr. 2021 ;8 588466
      Acetate is one of the main short chain fatty acids produced in the colon when fermentable carbohydrates are digested. It has been shown to affect normal metabolism, modulating mitochondrial function, and fatty acid oxidation. Currently, there is no clear consensus regarding the effects of acetate on tumorigenesis and cancer metabolism. Here, we investigate the metabolic effects of acetate on colon cancer. HT29 and HCT116 colon cancer cell lines were treated with acetate and its effect on mitochondrial proliferation, reactive oxygen species, density, permeability transition pore, cellular bioenergetics, gene expression of acetyl-CoA synthetase 1 (ACSS1) and 2 (ACSS2), and lipid levels were investigated. Acetate was found to reduce proliferation of both cell lines under normoxia as well as reducing glycolysis; it was also found to increase both oxygen consumption and ROS levels. Cell death observed was independent of ACSS1/2 expression. Under hypoxic conditions, reduced proliferation was maintained in the HT29 cell line but no longer observed in the HCT116 cell line. ACSS2 expression together with cellular lipid levels was increased in both cell lines under hypoxia which may partly protect cells from the anti-proliferative effects of reversed Warburg effect caused by acetate. The findings from this study suggest that effect of acetate on proliferation is a consequence of its impact on mitochondrial metabolism and during normoxia is independent of ACCS1/2 expression.
    Keywords:  ROS; Warburg effect; acetate; mitochondria; short chain fatty acid
  9. Cell Rep. 2021 May 04. pii: S2211-1247(21)00407-1. [Epub ahead of print]35(5): 109076
      We lack a mechanistic understanding of aging-mediated changes in mitochondrial bioenergetics and lipid metabolism that affect T cell function. The bioactive sphingolipid ceramide, induced by aging stress, mediates mitophagy and cell death; however, the aging-related roles of ceramide metabolism in regulating T cell function remain unknown. Here, we show that activated T cells isolated from aging mice have elevated C14/C16 ceramide accumulation in mitochondria, generated by ceramide synthase 6, leading to mitophagy/mitochondrial dysfunction. Mechanistically, aging-dependent mitochondrial ceramide inhibits protein kinase A, leading to mitophagy in activated T cells. This aging/ceramide-dependent mitophagy attenuates the antitumor functions of T cells in vitro and in vivo. Also, inhibition of ceramide metabolism or PKA activation by genetic and pharmacologic means prevents mitophagy and restores the central memory phenotype in aging T cells. Thus, these studies help explain the mechanisms behind aging-related dysregulation of T cells' antitumor activity, which can be restored by inhibiting ceramide-dependent mitophagy.
    Keywords:  CerS6; PKA; SS SphK2; T cell; aging; immunotherapy; lipid signaling; melanoma; mitophagy; sphingolipids and ceramide
  10. Cell Death Dis. 2021 May 01. 12(5): 434
      The mitochondrial paralog of the Hsp90 chaperone family TRAP1 is often induced in tumors, but the mechanisms controlling its expression, as well as its physiological functions remain poorly understood. Here, we find that TRAP1 is highly expressed in the early stages of Zebrafish development, and its ablation delays embryogenesis while increasing mitochondrial respiration of fish larvae. TRAP1 expression is enhanced by hypoxic conditions both in developing embryos and in cancer models of Zebrafish and mammals. The TRAP1 promoter contains evolutionary conserved hypoxic responsive elements, and HIF1α stabilization increases TRAP1 levels. TRAP1 inhibition by selective compounds or by genetic knock-out maintains a high level of respiration in Zebrafish embryos after exposure to hypoxia. Our data identify TRAP1 as a primary regulator of mitochondrial bioenergetics in highly proliferating cells following reduction in oxygen tension and HIF1α stabilization.
  11. Nat Commun. 2021 05 05. 12(1): 2538
      Group 2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2s) play a critical role in protection against helminths and in diverse inflammatory diseases by responding to soluble factors such as the alarmin IL-33, that is often overexpressed in cancer. Nonetheless, regulatory factors that dictate ILC2 functions remain poorly studied. Here, we show that peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) is selectively expressed in ILC2s in humans and in mice, acting as a central functional regulator. Pharmacologic inhibition or genetic deletion of PPARγ in ILC2s significantly impair IL-33-induced Type-2 cytokine production and mitochondrial fitness. Further, PPARγ blockade in ILC2s disrupts their pro-tumoral effect induced by IL-33-secreting cancer cells. Lastly, genetic ablation of PPARγ in ILC2s significantly suppresses tumor growth in vivo. Our findings highlight a crucial role for PPARγ in supporting the IL-33 dependent pro-tumorigenic role of ILC2s and suggest that PPARγ can be considered as a druggable pathway in ILC2s to inhibit their effector functions. Hence, PPARγ targeting might be exploited in cancer immunotherapy and in other ILC2-driven mediated disorders, such as asthma and allergy.
  12. Free Radic Res. 2021 May 07. 1-12
      Araucaria angustifolia is classified as a critically endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. This threat is worsened by the inefficiency of methods for ex-situ conservation and propagation. In conifers, somatic embryogenesis (SE) associated with cryopreservation is an efficient method to achieve germplasm conservation and mass clonal propagation. However, the efficiency of SE is highly dependent on genotype responsivity to the artificial stimulus used in vitro during cell line proliferation and later during somatic embryo development. In this study, we evaluated the activity of antioxidant enzymes and characterized mitochondrial functions during the proliferation of embryogenic cells of A. angustifolia responsive (SE1) and non-responsive (SE6) to the development of somatic embryos. The activities of the antioxidant enzymes GR (EC, MDHAR (EC, and POX (EC were increased in SE1 culture, while in SE6 culture, only the activity of DHAR (EC was significantly higher. Additionally, SE6 culture presented a higher number of mitochondria, which agreed with the increased rate of oxygen consumption compared to responsive SE1 culture; however, the mitochondrial volume was lower. Although the ATP levels did not differ, the NAD(P)H levels were higher in SE1 cells. NDs, AOX, and UCP were less active in responsive SE1 than in non-responsive cells. Our results show significant differences between SE1 and SE6 embryogenic cells regarding mitochondrial functions and antioxidant enzyme activities, which may be intrinsic to the in vitro proliferation phase of both cell lines, possessing a crucial role for the induction of in vitro maturation process.
    Keywords:  Mitochondria; ROS; bioenergetics; embryogenesis; gymnosperm
  13. EMBO Rep. 2021 May 05. e52122
      Metabolic regulation is critical for the maintenance of pluripotency and the survival of embryonic stem cells (ESCs). The transcription factor Tfcp2l1 has emerged as a key factor for the naïve pluripotency of ESCs. Here, we report an unexpected role of Tfcp2l1 in metabolic regulation in ESCs-promoting the survival of ESCs through regulating fatty acid oxidation (FAO) under metabolic stress. Tfcp2l1 directly activates many metabolic genes in ESCs. Deletion of Tfcp2l1 leads to an FAO defect associated with upregulation of glucose uptake, the TCA cycle, and glutamine catabolism. Mechanistically, Tfcp2l1 activates FAO by inducing Cpt1a, a rate-limiting enzyme transporting free fatty acids into the mitochondria. ESCs with defective FAO are sensitive to cell death induced by glycolysis inhibition and glutamine deprivation. Moreover, the Tfcp2l1-Cpt1a-FAO axis promotes the survival of quiescent ESCs and diapause-like blastocysts induced by mTOR inhibition. Thus, our results reveal how ESCs orchestrate pluripotent and metabolic programs to ensure their survival in response to metabolic stress.
    Keywords:  Tfcp2l1; diapause; embryonic stem cell; fatty acid oxidation; metabolism
  14. Elife. 2021 May 04. pii: e66865. [Epub ahead of print]10
      Importing necessary metabolites into the mitochondrial matrix is a crucial step of fuel choice during stress adaptation. Branched chain-amino acids (BCAA) are essential amino acids needed for anabolic processes, but they are also imported into the mitochondria for catabolic reactions. What controls the distinct subcellular BCAA utilization during stress adaptation is insufficiently understood. The present study reports the role of SLC25A44, a recently identified mitochondrial BCAA carrier (MBC), in the regulation of mitochondrial BCAA catabolism and adaptive response to fever in rodents. We found that mitochondrial BCAA oxidation in brown adipose tissue (BAT) is significantly enhanced during fever in response to the pyrogenic mediator prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and psychological stress in mice and rats. Genetic deletion of MBC in a BAT-specific manner blunts mitochondrial BCAA oxidation and non-shivering thermogenesis following intracerebroventricular PGE2 administration. At a cellular level, MBC is required for mitochondrial BCAA deamination as well as the synthesis of mitochondrial amino acids and TCA intermediates. Together, these results illuminate the role of MBC as a determinant of metabolic flexibility to mitochondrial BCAA catabolism and optimal febrile responses. This study also offers an opportunity to control fever by rewiring the subcellular BCAA fate.
    Keywords:  cell biology; mouse
  15. Nat Nanotechnol. 2021 May 06.
      Nanoparticulate albumin bound paclitaxel (nab-paclitaxel, nab-PTX) is among the most widely prescribed nanomedicines in clinical use, yet it remains unclear how nanoformulation affects nab-PTX behaviour in the tumour microenvironment. Here, we quantified the biodistribution of the albumin carrier and its chemotherapeutic payload in optically cleared tumours of genetically engineered mouse models, and compared the behaviour of nab-PTX with other clinically relevant nanoparticles. We found that nab-PTX uptake is profoundly and distinctly affected by cancer-cell autonomous RAS signalling, and RAS/RAF/MEK/ERK inhibition blocked its selective delivery and efficacy. In contrast, a targeted screen revealed that IGF1R kinase inhibitors enhance uptake and efficacy of nab-PTX by mimicking glucose deprivation and promoting macropinocytosis via AMPK, a nutrient sensor in cells. This study thus shows how nanoparticulate albumin bound drug efficacy can be therapeutically improved by reprogramming nutrient signalling and enhancing macropinocytosis in cancer cells.
  16. Aging (Albany NY). 2021 May 05. 13
      Abnormal cancer metabolism occurs throughout the development of tumors. Recent studies have shown that abnormal nucleotide metabolism not only accelerates the development of tumors but also inhibits the normal immune response in the tumor microenvironment. Although few relevant experiments and reports are available, study of the interaction between nucleotide metabolism and cancer development is rapidly developing. The intervention, alteration or regulation of molecular mechanisms related to abnormal nucleotide metabolism in tumor cells has become a new idea and strategy for the treatment of tumors and prevention of recurrence and metastasis. Determining how nucleotide metabolism regulates the occurrence and progression of tumors still needs long-term and extensive research and exploration.
    Keywords:  key metabolic enzyme; nucleotide metabolism; oncogene-induced senescence; signaling pathway; tumor immunity
  17. Mol Metab. 2021 Apr 28. pii: S2212-8778(21)00084-3. [Epub ahead of print] 101239
      OBJECTIVE: Transport of Ca2+ into pancreatic β-cell mitochondria facilitates nutrient-mediated insulin secretion. The underlying mechanism, however, is unclear. Recent establishment of the molecular identity of the mitochondrial Ca2+ uniporter (MCU) and associated proteins allows modification of mitochondrial Ca2+ transport in intact cells. We examined the consequences of deficiency of the accessory protein, MICU2, in rat and human insulin-secreting cells and mouse islets.METHODS: siRNA-silencing of Micu2 in INS1-832/13 and EndoC-βH1 cell lines was performed; Micu2-/- mice were also studied. Insulin secretion and mechanistic analyses, utilizing live confocal imaging to assess mitochondrial function and intracellular Ca2+ dynamics, were performed.
    RESULTS: Silencing of Micu2 abrogated GSIS in INS1 832/13 and EndoC-βH1 cells. Micu2-/- mice also displayed attenuated GSIS. Mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake declined in MICU2-deficient INS1 832/13 and EndoC-βH1 cells in response to high glucose and high K+. Furthermore, MICU2 silencing in INS1 832/13 cells, presumably through its effects on mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake, perturbed mitochondrial function illustrated by absent mitochondrial membrane hyperpolarization and lowering of the ATP/ADP ratio in response to an elevation of glucose. Despite the loss of mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake, cytosolic Ca2+ was lower in siMICU2-treated INS1 832/13 cells in response to high K+. It was hypothesized that Ca2+ was accumulating in the submembrane compartment in MICU2-deficient cells, resulting in desensitization of voltage-dependent Ca2+ channels, thereby lowering total cytosolic Ca2+. Indeed, upon high K+ stimulation, MICU2-silenced cells showed higher and prolongated rises in submembrane Ca2+ levels.
    CONCLUSIONS: MICU2 plays a critical role in β-cell mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake. β-cell mitochondria sequester Ca2+ from the submembrane compartment preventing desensitization of voltage-dependent Ca2+ channels, thereby facilitating GSIS.
    Keywords:  bioenergetics; knock out mice; mitochondrial calcium uniporter; stimulus-secretion coupling; voltage-dependent calcium channels
  18. Aging Cell. 2021 May 03. e13359
      Mitochondrial prohibitins (PHB) are highly conserved proteins with a peculiar effect on lifespan. While PHB depletion shortens lifespan of wild-type animals, it enhances longevity of a plethora of metabolically compromised mutants, including target of rapamycin complex 2 (TORC2) mutants sgk-1 and rict-1. Here, we show that sgk-1 mutants have impaired mitochondrial homeostasis, lipogenesis and yolk formation, plausibly due to alterations in membrane lipid and sterol homeostasis. Remarkably, all these features are suppressed by PHB depletion. Our analysis shows the requirement of SRBP1/SBP-1 for the lifespan extension of sgk-1 mutants and the further extension conferred by PHB depletion. Moreover, although the mitochondrial unfolded protein response (UPRmt ) and autophagy are induced in sgk-1 mutants and upon PHB depletion, they are dispensable for lifespan. However, the enhanced longevity caused by PHB depletion in sgk-1 mutants requires both, the UPRmt and autophagy, but not mitophagy. We hypothesize that UPRmt induction upon PHB depletion extends lifespan of sgk-1 mutants through autophagy and probably modulation of lipid metabolism.
    Keywords:  SGK-1; UPRmt; autophagy; lipogenesis; mitochondria; prohibitin
  19. Nucleic Acids Res. 2021 May 06. pii: gkab282. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mutations in POLG, encoding POLγA, the catalytic subunit of the mitochondrial DNA polymerase, cause a spectrum of disorders characterized by mtDNA instability. However, the molecular pathogenesis of POLG-related diseases is poorly understood and efficient treatments are missing. Here, we generate the PolgA449T/A449T mouse model, which reproduces the A467T change, the most common human recessive mutation of POLG. We show that the mouse A449T mutation impairs DNA binding and mtDNA synthesis activities of POLγ, leading to a stalling phenotype. Most importantly, the A449T mutation also strongly impairs interactions with POLγB, the accessory subunit of the POLγ holoenzyme. This allows the free POLγA to become a substrate for LONP1 protease degradation, leading to dramatically reduced levels of POLγA in A449T mouse tissues. Therefore, in addition to its role as a processivity factor, POLγB acts to stabilize POLγA and to prevent LONP1-dependent degradation. Notably, we validated this mechanism for other disease-associated mutations affecting the interaction between the two POLγ subunits. We suggest that targeting POLγA turnover can be exploited as a target for the development of future therapies.
  20. Cell Metab. 2021 May 04. pii: S1550-4131(21)00174-1. [Epub ahead of print]33(5): 847-848
      Health benefits of aerobic exercise are indisputable and are closely related to the maintenance of mitochondrial energy homeostasis and insulin sensitivity. Flockhart et al. (2021) demonstrate, however, that a high volume of high-intensity aerobic exercise adversely affects mitochondrial function and may cause impaired glucose tolerance.
  21. Nature. 2021 May 05.
      Mitochondrial fission is a highly regulated process that, when disrupted, can alter metabolism, proliferation and apoptosis1-3. Dysregulation has been linked to neurodegeneration3,4, cardiovascular disease3 and cancer5. Key components of the fission machinery include the endoplasmic reticulum6 and actin7, which initiate constriction before dynamin-related protein 1 (DRP1)8 binds to the outer mitochondrial membrane via adaptor proteins9-11, to drive scission12. In the mitochondrial life cycle, fission enables both biogenesis of new mitochondria and clearance of dysfunctional mitochondria through mitophagy1,13. Current models of fission regulation cannot explain how those dual fates are decided. However, uncovering fate determinants is challenging, as fission is unpredictable, and mitochondrial morphology is heterogeneous, with ultrastructural features that are below the diffraction limit. Here, we used live-cell structured illumination microscopy to capture mitochondrial dynamics. By analysing hundreds of fissions in African green monkey Cos-7 cells and mouse cardiomyocytes, we discovered two functionally and mechanistically distinct types of fission. Division at the periphery enables damaged material to be shed into smaller mitochondria destined for mitophagy, whereas division at the midzone leads to the proliferation of mitochondria. Both types are mediated by DRP1, but endoplasmic reticulum- and actin-mediated pre-constriction and the adaptor MFF govern only midzone fission. Peripheral fission is preceded by lysosomal contact and is regulated by the mitochondrial outer membrane protein FIS1. These distinct molecular mechanisms explain how cells independently regulate fission, leading to distinct mitochondrial fates.
  22. Mol Cancer. 2021 May 04. 20(1): 74
      Loss of apical-basal polarity and downregulation of cell-cell contacts is a critical step during the pathogenesis of cancer. Both processes are regulated by the scaffolding protein Pals1, however, it is unclear whether the expression of Pals1 is affected in cancer cells and whether Pals1 is implicated in the pathogenesis of the disease.Using mRNA expression data and immunostainings of cancer specimen, we show that Pals1 is frequently downregulated in colorectal cancer, correlating with poorer survival of patients. We further found that Pals1 prevents cancer cell metastasis by controlling Rac1-dependent cell migration through inhibition of Arf6, which is independent of the canonical binding partners of Pals1. Loss of Pals1 in colorectal cancer cells results in increased Arf6 and Rac1 activity, enhanced cell migration and invasion in vitro and increased metastasis of transplanted tumor cells in mice. Thus, our data reveal a new function of Pals1 as a key inhibitor of cell migration and metastasis of colorectal cancer cells. Notably, this new function is independent of the known role of Pals1 in tight junction formation and apical-basal polarity.
    Keywords:  Arf6; Cell migration; Colorectal cancer; Cytoskeleton; Metastasis; Pals1; Rac1
  23. Front Oncol. 2021 ;11 676077
      The mitochondrial sirtuin SIRT3 plays key roles in cellular metabolism and energy production, which makes it an obvious target for the management of cancer, including melanoma. Previously, we have demonstrated that SIRT3 was constitutively upregulated in human melanoma and its inhibition resulted in anti-proliferative effects in vitro in human melanoma cells and in vivo in human melanoma xenografts. In this study, we expanded our data employing knockdown and overexpression strategies in cell culture and mouse xenografts to further validate and establish the pro-proliferative function of SIRT3 in melanocytic cells, and its associated potential mechanisms, especially focusing on the metabolic regulation. We found that short-hairpin RNA (shRNA) mediated SIRT3 knockdown in G361 melanoma cells showed diminished tumorigenesis in immunodeficient Nu/Nu mice. Conversely, SIRT3 overexpressing Hs294T melanoma cells showed increased tumor growth. These effects were consistent with changes in markers of proliferation (PCNA), survival (Survivin) and angiogenesis (VEGF) in xenografted tissues. Further, in in vitro culture system, we determined the effect of SIRT3 knockdown on glucose metabolism in SK-MEL-2 cells, using a PCR array. SIRT3 knockdown caused alterations in a total of 37 genes involved in the regulation and enzymatic pathways of glucose (32 genes) and glycogen (5 genes) metabolism. Functions annotation of these identified genes, using the ingenuity pathway analysis (IPA), predicted cumulative actions of decreased cell viability/proliferation, tumor growth and reactive oxygen species (ROS), and increased apoptosis in response to SIRT3 knockdown. Further, IPA gene network analysis of SIRT3 modulated genes revealed the interactions among these genes in addition to several melanoma-associated genes. Sirtuin pathway was identified as one of the top canonical pathways showing the interaction of SIRT3 with metabolic regulatory genes along with other sirtuins. IPA analysis also predicted the inhibition of HIF1α, PKM, KDM8, PPARGC1A, mTOR, and activation of P53 and CLPP; the genes involved in major cancer/melanoma-associated signaling events. Collectively, these results suggest that SIRT3 inhibition affects cellular metabolism, to impart an anti-proliferative response against melanoma.
    Keywords:  SIRT3; cellular metabolism; melanoma; shRNA; sirtuins
  24. FASEB J. 2021 Jun;35(6): e21538
      Two chaperones, Atp23p and Atp10p, were previously shown to regulate the assembly of yeast mitochondrial ATP synthase, and extra expression of ATP23 was found to partially rescue an atp10 deletion mutant, by an unknown mechanism. Here, we identified that the residues 112-115 (LRDK) of Atp23p were required for its function in assisting assembly of the synthase, and demonstrated both functions of Atp23p, processing subunit 6 precursor and assisting assembly of the synthase, were required for the partial rescue of atp10 deletion mutant. By chasing labeling with isotope 35 S-methionine, we found the stability of subunit 6 of the synthase increased in atp10 null strain upon overexpression of ATP23. Further co-immunoprecipitation (Co-IP) and blue native PAGE experiments showed that Atp23p and Atp10p were physically associated with each other in wild type. Moreover, we revealed the expression level of Atp23p increased in atp10 null mutant compared with the wild type. Furthermore, we found that, after 72 hours growth, atp10 null mutant showed leaky growth on respiratory substrates, presence of low level of subunit 6 and partial recovery of oligomycin sensitivity of mitochondrial ATPase activity. Further characterization revealed the expression of Atp23p increased after 24 hours growth in the mutant. These results indicated, in atp10 null mutant, ATP10 deficiency could be partially complemented with increased expression of Atp23p by stabilizing some subunit 6 of the synthase. Taken together, this study revealed the two chaperones Atp23p and Atp10p coordinated to regulate the assembly of mitochondrial ATP synthase, which advanced our understanding of mechanism of assembly of yeast mitochondrial ATP synthase.
    Keywords:  Atp10p; Atp23p; assembly; coordinate; mitochondrial ATP synthase
  25. Nat Commun. 2021 05 05. 12(1): 2539
      Phosphoproteomics can provide insights into cellular signaling dynamics. To achieve deep and robust quantitative phosphoproteomics profiling for minute amounts of sample, we here develop a global phosphoproteomics strategy based on data-independent acquisition (DIA) mass spectrometry and hybrid spectral libraries derived from data-dependent acquisition (DDA) and DIA data. Benchmarking the method using 166 synthetic phosphopeptides shows high sensitivity (<0.1 ng), accurate site localization and reproducible quantification (~5% median coefficient of variation). As a proof-of-concept, we use lung cancer cell lines and patient-derived tissue to construct a hybrid phosphoproteome spectral library covering 159,524 phosphopeptides (88,107 phosphosites). Based on this library, our single-shot streamlined DIA workflow quantifies 36,350 phosphosites (19,755 class 1) in cell line samples within two hours. Application to drug-resistant cells and patient-derived lung cancer tissues delineates site-specific phosphorylation events associated with resistance and tumor progression, showing that our workflow enables the characterization of phosphorylation signaling with deep coverage, high sensitivity and low between-run missing values.
  26. Sci Adv. 2021 May;pii: eabf7114. [Epub ahead of print]7(19):
      There is an urgent need to identify vulnerabilities in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). PDAC cells acquire metabolic changes that augment NADPH production and cytosolic redox homeostasis. Here, we show that high NADPH levels drive activity of NADPH oxidase 4 (NOX4) expressed in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane. NOX4 produces H2O2 metabolized by peroxiredoxin 4 (PRDX4) in the ER lumen. Using functional genomics and subsequent in vitro and in vivo validations, we find that PDAC cell lines with high NADPH levels are dependent on PRDX4 for their growth and survival. PRDX4 addiction is associated with increased reactive oxygen species, a DNA-PKcs-governed DNA damage response and radiosensitivity, which can be rescued by depletion of NOX4 or NADPH. Hence, this study has identified NOX4 as a protein that paradoxically converts the reducing power of the cytosol to an ER-specific oxidative stress vulnerability in PDAC that may be therapeutically exploited by targeting PRDX4.
  27. Nat Commun. 2021 05 03. 12(1): 2498
      Cancers of unknown primary (CUPs), featuring metastatic dissemination in the absence of a primary tumor, are a biological enigma and a fatal disease. We propose that CUPs are a distinct, yet unrecognized, pathological entity originating from stem-like cells endowed with peculiar and shared properties. These cells can be isolated in vitro (agnospheres) and propagated in vivo by serial transplantation, displaying high tumorigenicity. After subcutaneous engraftment, agnospheres recapitulate the CUP phenotype, by spontaneously and quickly disseminating, and forming widespread established metastases. Regardless of different genetic backgrounds, agnospheres invariably display cell-autonomous proliferation and self-renewal, mostly relying on unrestrained activation of the MAP kinase/MYC axis, which confers sensitivity to MEK inhibitors in vitro and in vivo. Such sensitivity is associated with a transcriptomic signature predicting that more than 70% of CUP patients could be eligible to MEK inhibition. These data shed light on CUP biology and unveil an opportunity for therapeutic intervention.
  28. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2021 ;2021 5512322
      Ketogenic diet (KD) is popular in diabetic patients but its cardiac safety and efficiency on the heart are unknown. The aim of the present study is to determine the effects and the underlined mechanisms of KD on cardiac function in diabetic cardiomyopathy (DCM). We used db/db mice to model DCM, and different diets (regular or KD) were used. Cardiac function and interstitial fibrosis were determined. T-regulatory cell (Treg) number and functions were evaluated. The effects of ketone body (KB) on fatty acid (FA) and glucose metabolism, mitochondria-associated endoplasmic reticulum membranes (MAMs), and mitochondrial respiration were assessed. The mechanisms via which KB regulated MAMs and Tregs were addressed. KD improved metabolic indices in db/db mice. However, KD impaired cardiac diastolic function and exacerbated ventricular fibrosis. Proportions of circulatory CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ cells in whole blood cells and serum levels of IL-4 and IL-10 were reduced in mice fed with KD. KB suppressed the differentiation to Tregs from naive CD4+ T cells. Cultured medium from KB-treated Tregs synergically activated cardiac fibroblasts. Meanwhile, KB inhibited Treg proliferation and productions of IL-4 and IL-10. Treg MAMs, mitochondrial respiration and respiratory complexes, and FA synthesis and oxidation were all suppressed by KB while glycolytic levels were increased. L-carnitine reversed Treg proliferation and function inhibited by KB. Proportions of ST2L+ cells in Tregs were reduced by KB, as well as the production of ST2L ligand, IL-33. Reinforcement expressions of ST2L in Tregs counteracted the reductions in MAMs, mitochondrial respiration, and Treg proliferations and productions of Treg cytokines IL-4 and IL-10. Therefore, despite the improvement of metabolic indices, KD impaired Treg expansion and function and promoted cardiac fibroblast activation and interstitial fibrosis. This could be mainly mediated by the suppression of MAMs and fatty acid metabolism inhibition via blunting IL-33/ST2L signaling.
  29. Cell Metab. 2021 May 04. pii: S1550-4131(21)00176-5. [Epub ahead of print]33(5): 851-852
      Glycolysis supports effector T cell function but is detrimental to the immunosuppressive activity of regulatory T cells. In a recent issue of Nature, two papers address a role for glucose and lactate availability within the tumor microenvironment for the balance of pro- and anti-tumoral effects of T cells and the efficacy of neoadjuvant cancer immunotherapy.
  30. Chem Commun (Camb). 2021 May 06.
      Mitochondrial voltage dynamics plays a crucial role in cell healthy and disease. Here, a new fluorescent probe to monitor mitochondrial early voltage variations is described. The slowly permeant probe is retained in mitochondria during measurements to avoid interferences from natural membrane potential by incorporating an hydrolizable ester function. Voltage, local polarity, pH parameters and transmembrane dynamics were found to be deeply correlated opening a approach in mitochondrial sensing.
  31. Cancer Sci. 2021 May 08.
      The metabolism in tumors is reprogrammed to meet its energetic and substrate demands. However, this metabolic reprogramming creates the metabolic vulnerabilities, providing new opportunities for cancer therapy. Metabolic vulnerability as a therapeutic target in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) has not been adequately clarified. Here, we identified pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) component X (PDHX) as a metabolically essential gene for the cell growth of ESCC. PDHX expression was required for the maintenance of PDH activity and the production of ATP, and its knockdown inhibited the proliferation of cancer stem cells (CSCs) and in vivo tumor growth. PDHX was concurrently upregulated with the CD44 gene, a marker of CSCs, by co-amplification at 11p13 in ESCC tumors and these genes coordinately functioned in cancer stemness. Furthermore, CPI-613, a PDH inhibitor, inhibited the proliferation of CSCs in vitro and the growth of ESCC xenograft tumors in vivo. Thus, our study provides new insights related to the development of novel therapeutic strategies for ESCC by targeting the PDH complex-associated metabolic vulnerability.
    Keywords:  CPI-613; Cancer stemness; ESCC; Metabolic vulnerability; Pyruvate dehydrogenase
  32. J Biol Chem. 2021 May 03. pii: S0021-9258(21)00529-9. [Epub ahead of print] 100740
      The modern-day respiratory complex I shares a common ancestor with the membrane-bound hydrogenase (MBH) and membrane-bound sulfane sulfur reductase (MBS). MBH and MBS use protons and sulfur as their respective electron sinks, which helped to conserve energy during early life in the Proterozoic era when the Earth's atmosphere was low in oxygen. MBH and MBS likely evolved from an integration of an ancestral, membrane-embedded, multiple resistance and pH (Mrp) antiporter and a soluble redox-active module encompassing a [NiFe] hydrogenase. In this review, we discuss how the structures of MBH, MBS, Mrp, NDH (photosynthetic NADH dehydrogenase-like complex type-1), and complex I, which have been determined recently thanks to the advent of high-resolution cryo-EM, have significantly improved our understanding of the catalytic reaction mechanisms and the evolutionary relationships of the respiratory complexes.
    Keywords:  Respiratory complex I; bioenergetics; energy conservation; molecular evolution; structural biology