bims-mibica Biomed News
on Mitochondrial bioenergetics in cancer
Issue of 2021‒05‒16
thirty-one papers selected by
Kelsey Fisher-Wellman
East Carolina University

  1. Nature. 2021 May 12.
      Ferroptosis, a form of regulated cell death that is induced by excessive lipid peroxidation, is a key tumour suppression mechanism1-4. Glutathione peroxidase 4 (GPX4)5,6 and ferroptosis suppressor protein 1 (FSP1)7,8 constitute two major ferroptosis defence systems. Here we show that treatment of cancer cells with GPX4 inhibitors results in acute depletion of N-carbamoyl-L-aspartate, a pyrimidine biosynthesis intermediate, with concomitant accumulation of uridine. Supplementation with dihydroorotate or orotate-the substrate and product of dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHODH)-attenuates or potentiates ferroptosis induced by inhibition of GPX4, respectively, and these effects are particularly pronounced in cancer cells with low expression of GPX4 (GPX4low). Inactivation of DHODH induces extensive mitochondrial lipid peroxidation and ferroptosis in GPX4low cancer cells, and synergizes with ferroptosis inducers to induce these effects in GPX4high cancer cells. Mechanistically, DHODH operates in parallel to mitochondrial GPX4 (but independently of cytosolic GPX4 or FSP1) to inhibit ferroptosis in the mitochondrial inner membrane by reducing ubiquinone to ubiquinol (a radical-trapping antioxidant with anti-ferroptosis activity). The DHODH inhibitor brequinar selectively suppresses GPX4low tumour growth by inducing ferroptosis, whereas combined treatment with brequinar and sulfasalazine, an FDA-approved drug with ferroptosis-inducing activity, synergistically induces ferroptosis and suppresses GPX4high tumour growth. Our results identify a DHODH-mediated ferroptosis defence mechanism in mitochondria and suggest a therapeutic strategy of targeting ferroptosis in cancer treatment.
  2. Nat Commun. 2021 May 14. 12(1): 2804
      Chemotherapy remains the standard of care for most cancers worldwide, however development of chemoresistance due to the presence of the drug-effluxing ATP binding cassette (ABC) transporters remains a significant problem. The development of safe and effective means to overcome chemoresistance is critical for achieving durable remissions in many cancer patients. We have investigated the energetic demands of ABC transporters in the context of the metabolic adaptations of chemoresistant cancer cells. Here we show that ABC transporters use mitochondrial-derived ATP as a source of energy to efflux drugs out of cancer cells. We further demonstrate that the loss of methylation-controlled J protein (MCJ) (also named DnaJC15), an endogenous negative regulator of mitochondrial respiration, in chemoresistant cancer cells boosts their ability to produce ATP from mitochondria and fuel ABC transporters. We have developed MCJ mimetics that can attenuate mitochondrial respiration and safely overcome chemoresistance in vitro and in vivo. Administration of MCJ mimetics in combination with standard chemotherapeutic drugs could therefore become an alternative strategy for treatment of multiple cancers.
  3. Sci Rep. 2021 May 12. 11(1): 10143
      Mitochondrial complex I (NADH:ubiquinone oxidoreductase) is a crucial metabolic enzyme that couples the free energy released from NADH oxidation and ubiquinone reduction to the translocation of four protons across the inner mitochondrial membrane, creating the proton motive force for ATP synthesis. The mechanism by which the energy is captured, and the mechanism and pathways of proton pumping, remain elusive despite recent advances in structural knowledge. Progress has been limited by a lack of model systems able to combine functional and structural analyses with targeted mutagenic interrogation throughout the entire complex. Here, we develop and present the α-proteobacterium Paracoccus denitrificans as a suitable bacterial model system for mitochondrial complex I. First, we develop a robust purification protocol to isolate highly active complex I by introducing a His6-tag on the Nqo5 subunit. Then, we optimize the reconstitution of the enzyme into liposomes, demonstrating its proton pumping activity. Finally, we develop a strain of P. denitrificans that is amenable to complex I mutagenesis and create a catalytically inactive variant of the enzyme. Our model provides new opportunities to disentangle the mechanism of complex I by combining mutagenesis in every subunit with established interrogative biophysical measurements on both the soluble and membrane bound enzymes.
  4. Cell Metab. 2021 May 11. pii: S1550-4131(21)00180-7. [Epub ahead of print]
      The cell-intrinsic nature of tumor metabolism has become increasingly well characterized. The impact that tumors have on systemic metabolism, however, has received less attention. Here, we used adult zebrafish harboring BRAFV600E-driven melanoma to study the effect of cancer on distant tissues. By applying metabolomics and isotope tracing, we found that melanoma consume ~15 times more glucose than other tissues measured. Despite this burden, circulating glucose levels were maintained in disease animals by a tumor-liver alanine cycle. Excretion of glucose-derived alanine from tumors provided a source of carbon for hepatic gluconeogenesis and allowed tumors to remove excess nitrogen from branched-chain amino acid catabolism, which we found to be activated in zebrafish and human melanoma. Pharmacological inhibition of the tumor-liver alanine cycle in zebrafish reduced tumor burden. Our findings underscore the significance of metabolic crosstalk between tumors and distant tissues and establish the adult zebrafish as an attractive model to study such processes.
    Keywords:  alanine cycle; cancer; cancer metabolism; isotope tracing; melanoma; metabolite exchange; metabolomics; zebrafish
  5. J Mol Cell Cardiol. 2021 May 11. pii: S0022-2828(21)00098-5. [Epub ahead of print]
      BACKGROUND: Reduced fatty acid oxidation (FAO) is a hallmark of metabolic remodeling in heart failure. Enhancing mitochondrial long-chain fatty acid uptake by Acetyl-CoA carboxylase 2 (ACC2) deletion increases FAO and prevents cardiac dysfunction during chronic stresses, but therapeutic efficacy of this approach has not been determined.METHODS: Male and female ACC2f/f-MCM (ACC2KO) and their respective littermate controls were subjected to chronic pressure overload by TAC surgery. Tamoxifen injection 3 weeks after TAC induced ACC2 deletion and increased FAO in ACC2KO mice with pathological hypertrophy.
    RESULTS: ACC2 deletion in mice with pre-existing cardiac pathology promoted FAO in female and male hearts, but improved cardiac function only in female mice. In males, pressure overload caused a downregulation in the mitochondrial oxidative function. Stimulating FAO by ACC2 deletion caused unproductive acyl-carnitine accumulation, which failed to improve cardiac energetics. In contrast, mitochondrial oxidative capacity was sustained in female pressure overloaded hearts and ACC2 deletion improved myocardial energetics. Mechanistically, we revealed a sex-dependent regulation of PPARα signaling pathway in heart failure, which accounted for the differential response to ACC2 deletion.
    CONCLUSION: Metabolic remodeling in the failing heart is sex-dependent which could determine the response to metabolic intervention. The findings suggest that both mitochondrial oxidative capacity and substrate preference should be considered for metabolic therapy of heart failure.
    Keywords:  Energy metabolism; Fatty acid oxidation; Heart failure
  6. Dev Cell. 2021 May 11. pii: S1534-5807(21)00357-9. [Epub ahead of print]
      PI5P4Ks are a class of phosphoinositide kinases that phosphorylate PI-5-P to PI-4,5-P2. Distinct localization of phosphoinositides is fundamental for a multitude of cellular functions. Here, we identify a role for peroxisomal PI-4,5-P2 generated by the PI5P4Ks in maintaining energy balance. We demonstrate that PI-4,5-P2 regulates peroxisomal fatty acid oxidation by mediating trafficking of lipid droplets to peroxisomes, which is essential for sustaining mitochondrial metabolism. Using fluorescent-tagged lipids and metabolite tracing, we show that loss of the PI5P4Ks significantly impairs lipid uptake and β-oxidation in the mitochondria. Further, loss of PI5P4Ks results in dramatic alterations in mitochondrial structural and functional integrity, which under nutrient deprivation is further exacerbated, causing cell death. Notably, inhibition of the PI5P4Ks in cancer cells and mouse tumor models leads to decreased cell viability and tumor growth, respectively. Together, these studies reveal an unexplored role for PI5P4Ks in preserving metabolic homeostasis, which is necessary for tumorigenesis.
    Keywords:  PI-4,5-P(2); PI-5-P; PI5P4Ks; cancer; fatty acid; lipid; lipid droplet; metabolism; mitochondria; peroxisome; phosphoinositide; phosphoinositide kinase; sarcoma; β-oxidation
  7. Autophagy. 2021 May 14. 1-2
      Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is one of the deadliest forms of cancer. The elevated macroautophagy/autophagy in these tumors supports growth, promotes immune evasion, and increases therapeutic resistance. Therefore, targeting autophagy is a therapeutic strategy that is being pursued to treat PDAC patients. Whereas autophagy inhibition impairs mitochondrial metabolism in PDAC, the specific metabolite(s) that becomes limiting when autophagy is inhibited has not been identified. We report that loss of autophagy specifically results in intracellular cysteine depletion under nutrient-replete conditions. Mechanistically, we show that PDAC cells utilize the autophagy machinery to regulate the activity and localization of the cystine transporter SLC7A11 at the plasma membrane. Upon inhibition of autophagy, SLC7A11 is localized to lysosomes in an MTORC2-dependent manner. Our findings reveal a novel connection between autophagy and cysteine metabolism in pancreatic cancer.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; SLC7A11; cysteine; lysosome; metabolism; pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma
  8. Sci Rep. 2021 May 10. 11(1): 9854
      We present the design and synthesis of a small library of substituted biguanidium salts and their capacity to inhibit the growth of pancreatic cancer cells. We first present their in vitro and membrane activity, before we address their mechanism of action in living cells and in vivo activity. We show that phenylethynyl biguanidium salts possess higher ability to cross hydrophobic barriers, improve mitochondrial accumulation and anticancer activity. Mechanistically, the most active compound, 1b, like metformin, activated AMPK, decreased the NAD+/NADH ratio and mitochondrial respiration, but at 800-fold lower concentration. In vivo studies show that compound 1b significantly inhibits the growth of pancreatic cancer xenografts in mice, while biguanides currently in clinical trials had little activity.
  9. Cancer Lett. 2021 May 05. pii: S0304-3835(21)00192-0. [Epub ahead of print]512 1-14
      The effects of DNA damage repair (DDR) and mitochondrial dysfunction associated with HCC have been investigated, but the functional role of mitochondrial DDR in HCC remains elusive. We studied the DDR genes and identified XRCC2 as a potential prognostic marker for HCC. XRCC2 overexpression was detected in HCC cells and shown to promote the malignant behavior of cancer cells. XRCC2 depletion in HCC cells led to DNA damage accumulation at the replication site in the nucleus. Additionally, XRCC2-depleted HCC cells exhibited impaired mitochondrial respiration and reduced complex I (CI) activity as XRCC2 was responsible for elimination of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) damage and maintenance of mtDNA-encoded CI-related genes' transcription in a RAD51-dependent manner. We showed that tunicamycin (Tm)-activated sXBP1 bound to the TGTCAT domain and suppressed XRCC2 expression. In HCC patients, we observed a negative correlation between XBP1 and XRCC2 expression. Moreover, XRCC2 inhibition by Tm led to genomic and mtDNA damage, which impaired the transcription of mtDNA-encoded CI-related genes and prevented tumor proliferation in vivo. We described the role of XRCC2 in mtDNA damage repair and HCC progression while unveiling the potential anti-tumor effect of Tm.
    Keywords:  Complex I activity; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Mitochondrial DNA damage Repair; Spliced XBP1; XRCC2
  10. Immunity. 2021 May 11. pii: S1074-7613(21)00170-9. [Epub ahead of print]54(5): 976-987.e7
      Aerobic glycolysis-the Warburg effect-converts glucose to lactate via the enzyme lactate dehydrogenase A (LDHA) and is a metabolic feature of effector T cells. Cells generate ATP through various mechanisms and Warburg metabolism is comparatively an energy-inefficient glucose catabolism pathway. Here, we examined the effect of ATP generated via aerobic glycolysis in antigen-driven T cell responses. Cd4CreLdhafl/fl mice were resistant to Th17-cell-mediated experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis and exhibited defective T cell activation, migration, proliferation, and differentiation. LDHA deficiency crippled cellular redox balance and inhibited ATP production, diminishing PI3K-dependent activation of Akt kinase and thereby phosphorylation-mediated inhibition of Foxo1, a transcriptional repressor of T cell activation programs. Th17-cell-specific expression of an Akt-insensitive Foxo1 recapitulated the defects seen in Cd4CreLdhafl/fl mice. Induction of LDHA required PI3K signaling and LDHA deficiency impaired PI3K-catalyzed PIP3 generation. Thus, Warburg metabolism augments glycolytic ATP production, fueling a PI3K-centered positive feedback regulatory circuit that drives effector T cell responses.
    Keywords:  ATP; LDHA; PI3K; Th17 cell; autoimmunity; glycolysis; redox balance
  11. Cancer Metab. 2021 May 10. 9(1): 22
      Human dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHODH) is a flavin-dependent mitochondrial enzyme catalyzing the fourth step in the de novo pyrimidine synthesis pathway. It is originally a target for the treatment of the non-neoplastic diseases involving in rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis, and is re-emerging as a validated therapeutic target for cancer therapy. In this review, we mainly unravel the biological function of DHODH in tumor progression, including its crucial role in de novo pyrimidine synthesis and mitochondrial respiratory chain in cancer cells. Moreover, various DHODH inhibitors developing in the past decades are also been displayed, and the specific mechanism between DHODH and its additional effects are illustrated. Collectively, we detailly discuss the association between DHODH and tumors in recent years here, and believe it will provide significant evidences and potential strategies for utilizing DHODH as a potential target in preclinical and clinical cancer therapies.
    Keywords:  Cancer metabolism; DHODH inhibitors; De novo pyrimidine biosynthesis; Dihydroorotate dehydrogenase; Mitochondria
  12. J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2021 May 12.
      BACKGROUND: Increased aerobic glycolysis has been well-known as a hallmark of cancer, which is closely related to mitochondrial dysfunction. TFB2M (mitochondrial transcription factor B2) is a core mitochondrial transcription factor, which has been shown by us to play an oncogenic role in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, whether TFB2M contributes to the aerobic glycolysis in HCC cells remains unexplored.METHODS: The role and underlying molecular mechanisms of TFB2M in the regulation of aerobic glycolysis in HCC cells were systematically investigated by in vitro cell glucose metabolism and metabolomics analyses. Besides, the effects of TFB2M-regulated aerobic glycolysis in the growth and metastasis of HCC cells were also explored.
    RESULTS: Here, we show that TFB2M markedly enhanced the reprogramming of glucose metabolism from oxidative phosphorylation to aerobic glycolysis mainly through two mechanisms. On the one hand, TFB2M increased the expressions of glycolytic genes GAPDH, LDHA, GLUT1 and HK2. On the other hand, TFB2M decreased the expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1 alpha (PGC-1α), a critical regulator of mitochondrial respiration. Mechanistically, TFB2M regulates the up-regulation of glycolytic genes and down-regulation of PGC-1α mainly through NAD+ /SIRT3/HIF-1α signaling. Additionally, we found that TFBM2 promoted the progression of HCC cells through HIF-1α-regulated reprogramming of glucose metabolism.
    CONCLUSIONS: Our findings indicate that TFB2M serves as a critical glucose metabolic reprogramming mechanism in tumorigenesis, which could be used as potential therapeutic target in HCC.
    Keywords:  HIF-1α; glycolysis; hepatocellular carcinoma; mitochondrial transcription factor B2; sirtuin 3
  13. Cell Rep. 2021 May 11. pii: S2211-1247(21)00445-9. [Epub ahead of print]35(6): 109111
      The f subunit is localized at the base of the ATP synthase peripheral stalk. Its function in the human enzyme is poorly characterized. Because full disruption of its ATP5J2 gene with the CRISPR-Cas9 strategy in the HAP1 human model has been shown to cause alterations in the amounts of other ATP synthase subunits, here we investigated the role of the f subunit in HeLa cells by regulating its levels through RNA interference. We confirm the role of the f subunit in ATP synthase dimer stability and observe that its downregulation per se does not alter the amounts of the other enzyme subunits or ATP synthase synthetic/hydrolytic activity. We show that downregulation of the f subunit causes abnormal crista organization and decreases permeability transition pore (PTP) size, whereas its re-expression in f subunit knockdown cells rescues mitochondrial morphology and PTP-dependent swelling.
    Keywords:  ATP synthase; f subunit; mitochondrial morphology; permeability transition pore, PTP
  14. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 May 18. pii: e2026245118. [Epub ahead of print]118(20):
      In mammalian cells, cyanide is viewed as a cytotoxic agent, which exerts its effects through inhibition of mitochondrial Complex IV (Cytochrome C oxidase [CCOx]). However, the current report demonstrates that cyanide's effect on CCOx is biphasic; low (nanomolar to low-micromolar) concentrations stimulate CCOx activity, while higher (high-micromolar) concentrations produce the "classic" inhibitory effect. Low concentrations of cyanide stimulated mitochondrial electron transport and elevated intracellular adenosine triphosphate (ATP), resulting in the stimulation of cell proliferation. The stimulatory effect of cyanide on CCOx was associated with the removal of the constitutive, inhibitory glutathionylation on its catalytic 30- and 57-kDa subunits. Transfer of diluted Pseudomonas aeruginosa (a cyanide-producing bacterium) supernatants to mammalian cells stimulated cellular bioenergetics, while concentrated supernatants were inhibitory. These effects were absent with supernatants from mutant Pseudomonas lacking its cyanide-producing enzyme. These results raise the possibility that cyanide at low, endogenous levels serves regulatory purposes in mammals. Indeed, the expression of six putative mammalian cyanide-producing and/or -metabolizing enzymes was confirmed in HepG2 cells; one of them (myeloperoxidase) showed a biphasic regulation after cyanide exposure. Cyanide shares features with "classical" mammalian gasotransmitters NO, CO, and H2S and may be considered the fourth mammalian gasotransmitter.
    Keywords:  bioenergetics; gasotransmitters; mitochondria
  15. Cell Cycle. 2021 May 12. 1-13
      Doxorubicin induces both DNA damage and metabolic interference. How these effects interact to modulate cellular toxicity is not completely understood but important given the widespread use of doxorubicin in cancer treatment. This study tests the hypothesis that cell cycle arrest and survival are affected by distinct mitochondrial activities during doxorubicin exposure.Parental and mutant S. cerevisiae strains deficient in selected genes with mitochondrial function were treated with doxorubicin and assayed for changes in proliferation rates, cell survival and cell cycle arrest kinetics. Mitochondrial DNA content was estimated using quantitative PCR. Mitochondrial function was assessed by measuring oxygen consumption with and without an uncoupler.Parental cells growing in a non-fermentable carbon source medium and mutants lacking mitochondria and grown in glucose medium both show abrupt cell cycle and proliferation arrest during doxorubicin exposure compared to parental cells grown in glucose. Mitochondrial DNA increases during doxorubicin exposure in S. cerevisiae and in human breast cancer cells. Yeast strains deficient in TCA cycle activity or electron transport both show more abrupt cell cycle arrest than parental cells when exposed to doxorubicin. Concurrent treatment with the mitochondrial uncoupler dinitrophenol facilitates cell cycle progression and proliferation during doxorubicin exposure.Doxorubicin exposure induces mitochondrial DNA synthesis with TCA cycle and oxidative phosphorylation activity having opposing effects on cell proliferation, survival and cell cycle kinetics. TCA cycle activity provides biosynthetic substrates to support cell cycle progression and cell proliferation while electron transport and oxidative phosphorylation facilitate cell cycle arrest and possibly increased cytotoxicity.
    Keywords:  Cell cycle arrest; DNA damage; doxorubicin toxicity; metabolism; mitochondria
  16. Nat Metab. 2021 May 10.
      Metabolism negotiates cell-endogenous requirements of energy, nutrients and building blocks with the immediate environment to enable various processes, including growth and differentiation. While there is an increasing number of examples of crosstalk between metabolism and chromatin, few involve uptake of exogenous metabolites. Solute carriers (SLCs) represent the largest group of transporters in the human genome and are responsible for the transport of a wide variety of substrates, including nutrients and metabolites. We aimed to investigate the possible involvement of SLC-mediated solutes uptake and cellular metabolism in regulating cellular epigenetic states. Here, we perform a CRISPR-Cas9 transporter-focused genetic screen and a metabolic compound library screen for the regulation of BRD4-dependent chromatin states in human myeloid leukaemia cells. Intersection of the two orthogonal approaches reveal that loss of transporters involved with purine transport or inhibition of de novo purine synthesis lead to dysfunction of BRD4-dependent transcriptional regulation. Through mechanistic characterization of the metabolic circuitry, we elucidate the convergence of SLC-mediated purine uptake and de novo purine synthesis on BRD4-chromatin occupancy. Moreover, adenine-related metabolite supplementation effectively restores BRD4 functionality on purine impairment. Our study highlights the specific role of purine/adenine metabolism in modulating BRD4-dependent epigenetic states.
  17. Cell Death Differ. 2021 May 13.
      Here, we provide evidence that high ATP production by the mitochondrial ATP-synthase is a new therapeutic target for anticancer therapy, especially for preventing tumor progression. More specifically, we isolated a subpopulation of ATP-high cancer cells which are phenotypically aggressive and demonstrate increases in proliferation, stemness, anchorage-independence, cell migration, invasion and multi-drug resistance, as well as high antioxidant capacity. Clinically, these findings have important implications for understanding treatment failure and cancer cell dormancy. Using bioinformatic analysis of patient samples, we defined a mitochondrial-related gene signature for metastasis, which features the gamma-subunit of the mitochondrial ATP-synthase (ATP5F1C). The relationship between ATP5F1C protein expression and metastasis was indeed confirmed by immunohistochemistry. Next, we used MDA-MB-231 cells as a model system to functionally validate these findings. Importantly, ATP-high MDA-MB-231 cells showed a nearly fivefold increase in metastatic capacity in vivo. Consistent with these observations, ATP-high cells overexpressed (i) components of mitochondrial complexes I-V, including ATP5F1C, and (ii) markers associated with circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and metastasis, such as EpCAM and VCAM1. Knockdown of ATP5F1C expression significantly reduced ATP-production, anchorage-independent growth, and cell migration, as predicted. Similarly, therapeutic administration of the FDA-approved drug, Bedaquiline, downregulated ATP5F1C expression in vitro and prevented spontaneous metastasis in vivo. In contrast, Bedaquiline had no effect on the growth of non-tumorigenic mammary epithelial cells (MCF10A) or primary tumors in vivo. Taken together, our results suggest that mitochondrial ATP depletion is a new therapeutic strategy for metastasis prophylaxis, to avoid treatment failure. In summary, we conclude that mitochondrial ATP5F1C is a promising new biomarker and molecular target for future drug development, for the prevention of metastatic disease progression.
  18. Science. 2021 May 14. 372(6543): 716-721
      Transcription and metabolism both influence cell function, but dedicated transcriptional control of metabolic pathways that regulate cell fate has rarely been defined. We discovered, using a chemical suppressor screen, that inhibition of the pyrimidine biosynthesis enzyme dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHODH) rescues erythroid differentiation in bloodless zebrafish moonshine (mon) mutant embryos defective for transcriptional intermediary factor 1 gamma (tif1γ). This rescue depends on the functional link of DHODH to mitochondrial respiration. The transcription elongation factor TIF1γ directly controls coenzyme Q (CoQ) synthesis gene expression. Upon tif1γ loss, CoQ levels are reduced, and a high succinate/α-ketoglutarate ratio leads to increased histone methylation. A CoQ analog rescues mon's bloodless phenotype. These results demonstrate that mitochondrial metabolism is a key output of a lineage transcription factor that drives cell fate decisions in the early blood lineage.
  19. Sci Adv. 2021 May;pii: eabg4000. [Epub ahead of print]7(20):
      Mitochondrial complex I (NADH:ubiquinone oxidoreductase), a major contributor of free energy for oxidative phosphorylation, is increasingly recognized as a promising drug target for ischemia-reperfusion injury, metabolic disorders, and various cancers. Several pharmacologically relevant but structurally unrelated small molecules have been identified as specific complex I inhibitors, but their modes of action remain unclear. Here, we present a 3.0-Å resolution cryo-electron microscopy structure of mammalian complex I inhibited by a derivative of IACS-010759, which is currently in clinical development against cancers reliant on oxidative phosphorylation, revealing its unique cork-in-bottle mechanism of inhibition. We combine structural and kinetic analyses to deconvolute cross-species differences in inhibition and identify the structural motif of a "chain" of aromatic rings as a characteristic that promotes inhibition. Our findings provide insights into the importance of π-stacking residues for inhibitor binding in the long substrate-binding channel in complex I and a guide for future biorational drug design.
  20. Nat Commun. 2021 May 11. 12(1): 2665
      With age, hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) undergo changes in function, including reduced regenerative potential and loss of quiescence, which is accompanied by a significant expansion of the stem cell pool that can lead to haematological disorders. Elevated metabolic activity has been implicated in driving the HSC ageing phenotype. Here we show that nicotinamide riboside (NR), a form of vitamin B3, restores youthful metabolic capacity by modifying mitochondrial function in multiple ways including reduced expression of nuclear encoded metabolic pathway genes, damping of mitochondrial stress and a decrease in mitochondrial mass and network-size. Metabolic restoration is dependent on continuous NR supplementation and accompanied by a shift of the aged transcriptome towards the young HSC state, more youthful bone marrow cellular composition and an improved regenerative capacity in a transplant setting. Consequently, NR administration could support healthy ageing by re-establishing a more youthful hematopoietic system.
  21. Nature. 2021 May 12.
      Adaptive thermogenesis has attracted much attention because of its ability to increase systemic energy expenditure and to counter obesity and diabetes1-3. Recent data have indicated that thermogenic fat cells use creatine to stimulate futile substrate cycling, dissipating chemical energy as heat4,5. This model was based on the super-stoichiometric relationship between the amount of creatine added to mitochondria and the quantity of oxygen consumed. Here we provide direct evidence for the molecular basis of this futile creatine cycling activity in mice. Thermogenic fat cells have robust phosphocreatine phosphatase activity, which is attributed to tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP). TNAP hydrolyses phosphocreatine to initiate a futile cycle of creatine dephosphorylation and phosphorylation. Unlike in other cells, TNAP in thermogenic fat cells is localized to the mitochondria, where futile creatine cycling occurs. TNAP expression is powerfully induced when mice are exposed to cold conditions, and its inhibition in isolated mitochondria leads to a loss of futile creatine cycling. In addition, genetic ablation of TNAP in adipocytes reduces whole-body energy expenditure and leads to rapid-onset obesity in mice, with no change in movement or feeding behaviour. These data illustrate the critical role of TNAP as a phosphocreatine phosphatase in the futile creatine cycle.
  22. Cancer Cell. 2020 12 14. pii: S1535-6108(20)30549-3. [Epub ahead of print]38(6): 776-778
      Venetoclax has changed the clinical outlook for elderly and unfit patients with acute myeloid leukemia, but development of resistance is a challenge. In this issue of Cancer Cell, Bhatt et al. provide a general mechanism for how resistance emerges but also indications for how venetoclax-resistant cases may be treated.
  23. Nature. 2021 May 12.
      Ageing of the immune system, or immunosenescence, contributes to the morbidity and mortality of the elderly1,2. To define the contribution of immune system ageing to organism ageing, here we selectively deleted Ercc1, which encodes a crucial DNA repair protein3,4, in mouse haematopoietic cells to increase the burden of endogenous DNA damage and thereby senescence5-7 in the immune system only. We show that Vav-iCre+/-;Ercc1-/fl mice were healthy into adulthood, then displayed premature onset of immunosenescence characterized by attrition and senescence of specific immune cell populations and impaired immune function, similar to changes that occur during ageing in wild-type mice8-10. Notably, non-lymphoid organs also showed increased senescence and damage, which suggests that senescent, aged immune cells can promote systemic ageing. The transplantation of splenocytes from Vav-iCre+/-;Ercc1-/fl or aged wild-type mice into young mice induced senescence in trans, whereas the transplantation of young immune cells attenuated senescence. The treatment of Vav-iCre+/-;Ercc1-/fl mice with rapamycin reduced markers of senescence in immune cells and improved immune function11,12. These data demonstrate that an aged, senescent immune system has a causal role in driving systemic ageing and therefore represents a key therapeutic target to extend healthy ageing.
  24. Oncogene. 2021 May 14.
      5-Fluorouracil (5-FU)-based chemotherapy is the first-line treatment for colorectal cancer (CRC) but is hampered by chemoresistance. Despite its impact on patient survival, the mechanism underlying chemoresistance against 5-FU remains poorly understood. Here, we identified serine hydroxymethyltransferase-2 (SHMT2) as a critical regulator of 5-FU chemoresistance in CRC. SHMT2 inhibits autophagy by binding cytosolic p53 instead of metabolism. SHMT2 prevents cytosolic p53 degradation by inhibiting the binding of p53 and HDM2. Under 5-FU treatment, SHMT2 depletion promotes autophagy and inhibits apoptosis. Autophagy inhibitors decrease low SHMT2-induced 5-FU resistance in vitro and in vivo. Finally, the lethality of 5-FU treatment to CRC cells was enhanced by treatment with the autophagy inhibitor chloroquine in patient-derived and CRC cell xenograft models. Taken together, our findings indicate that autophagy induced by low SHMT2 levels mediates 5-FU resistance in CRC. These results reveal the SHMT2-p53 interaction as a novel therapeutic target and provide a potential opportunity to reduce chemoresistance.
  25. PLoS Biol. 2021 May 13. 19(5): e3001252
      The mitochondrial ATP synthase emerges as key hub of cellular functions controlling the production of ATP, cellular signaling, and fate. It is regulated by the ATPase inhibitory factor 1 (IF1), which is highly abundant in neurons. Herein, we ablated or overexpressed IF1 in mouse neurons to show that IF1 dose defines the fraction of active/inactive enzyme in vivo, thereby controlling mitochondrial function and the production of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (mtROS). Transcriptomic, proteomic, and metabolomic analyses indicate that IF1 dose regulates mitochondrial metabolism, synaptic function, and cognition. Ablation of IF1 impairs memory, whereas synaptic transmission and learning are enhanced by IF1 overexpression. Mechanistically, quenching the IF1-mediated increase in mtROS production in mice overexpressing IF1 reduces the increased synaptic transmission and obliterates the learning advantage afforded by the higher IF1 content. Overall, IF1 plays a key role in neuronal function by regulating the fraction of ATP synthase responsible for mitohormetic mtROS signaling.
  26. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2021 May 07. pii: S0006-291X(21)00724-5. [Epub ahead of print]560 52-58
      Cisplatin is one of the most effective anti-cancer drugs, but its efficacy is limited by the development of resistance. Previous studies have shown that mitochondria play critical roles in cisplatin cytotoxicity, however, the exact mechanism of mitochondria involved in cisplatin sensitivity has not been clarified. In this study, cisplatin triggered mitochondrial oxidative stress and the decrease of mitochondria membrane potential in human cervical cancer cells. Then we screened a series of mitochondrial relevant inhibitors, including mitochondrial mPTP inhibitors DIDS and CsA, and mitochondrial respiratory complex inhibitors Rot and TTFA. Among these, only DIDS, as the inhibitor of mitochondrial outer membrane protein VDAC1, showed strong antagonism against cisplatin toxicity. DIDS mitigated cisplatin-induced MFN1-dependent mitochondrial fusion, mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative damage. These findings demonstrated that VDAC1 may serve as a potential therapeutic target in the increase sensitivity of cisplatin, which provides an attractive pharmacological therapy to improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy.
    Keywords:  Cisplatin; DIDS; Mitochondria oxidative damage; Mitochondrial fusion; VDAC1
  27. Curr Cardiol Rep. 2021 May 10. 23(6): 70
      PURPOSE OF REVIEW: To present a method enabling in vivo quantification of tissue membrane potential (ΔΨT), a proxy of mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm), to review the origin and role of ΔΨm, and to highlight potential applications of myocardial ΔΨT imaging.RECENT FINDINGS: Radiolabelled lipophilic cations have been used for decades to measure ΔΨm in vitro. Using similar compounds labeled with positron emitters and appropriate compartment modeling, this technique now allows in vivo quantification of ΔΨT with positron emission tomography. Studies have confirmed the feasibility of measuring myocardial ΔΨT in both animals and humans. In addition, ΔΨT showed very low variability among healthy subjects, suggesting that this method could allow detection of relatively small pathological changes. In vivo assessment of myocardial ΔΨT provides a new tool to study the pathophysiology of cardiovascular diseases and has the potential to serve as a new biomarker to assess disease stage, prognosis, and response to therapy.
    Keywords:  Heart failure; Mitochondria; Mitochondrial membrane potential; Positron emission tomography; Tissue membrane potential; Triphenylphosphonium
  28. Nat Rev Immunol. 2021 May 12.
      Cytotoxic CD8+ T cells play a key role in the elimination of intracellular infections and malignant cells and can provide long-term protective immunity. In the response to infection, CD8+ T cell metabolism is coupled to transcriptional, translational and epigenetic changes that are driven by extracellular metabolites and immunological signals. These programmes facilitate the adaptation of CD8+ T cells to the diverse and dynamic metabolic environments encountered in the circulation and in the tissues. In the setting of disease, both cell-intrinsic and cell-extrinsic metabolic cues contribute to CD8+ T cell dysfunction. In addition, changes in whole-body metabolism, whether through voluntary or disease-induced dietary alterations, can influence CD8+ T cell-mediated immunity. Defining the metabolic adaptations of CD8+ T cells in specific tissue environments informs our understanding of how these cells protect against pathogens and tumours and maintain tissue health at barrier sites. Here, we highlight recent findings revealing how metabolic networks enforce specific CD8+ T cell programmes and discuss how metabolism is integrated with CD8+ T cell differentiation and function and determined by environmental cues.
  29. Oral Dis. 2021 May 09.
      OBJECTIVES: Peroxiredoxins (Prxs) are antioxidant enzymes that can coordinate cell signal transduction via reactive species scavenging or by acting as redox sensors. The mechanism by which Prxs promote cancer invasion and progression is not yet fully understood. This study aims to elucidate the precise mechanism through which Prx type 5 (Prx5) promotes cancer invasion and tumor growth.MATERIAL AND METHODS: We analyzed the Prx5 expression in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) by using microarray analysis for gene expression profiling. To identify Prx5 function in cancer, lentiviral short hairpin RNA was used for Prx5 depletion, and invasion assay and mouse xenograft were performed.
    RESULTS: In microarray data obtained from OSCC patients, Prx5 showed higher expression at the tumor margin (TM) compared to the tumor center (TC) of the collective invasion. The depletion of Prx5 in OSCC cells (Prx5dep ) led to decreased invasion activity. In orthotopic xenograft models, Prx5dep cells harbored delimited tumorigenicity compared to wild-type cells as well as the suppression of lymph node metastasis. Prx5dep cells showed growth retardation and increased cellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels. The growth retardation of Prx5dep cells resulted in G1 phase arrest.
    CONCLUSIONS: This study provides evidence that Prx5 removes excess ROS, especially in the TM, contributing to cancer invasion and tumor progression.
    Keywords:  Cancer invasion; Cell cycle; Oxidative stress; Peroxiredoxin 5; Tumor growth
  30. BMC Biol. 2021 May 10. 19(1): 98
      BACKGROUND: Mitochondrial respiration is organized in a series of enzyme complexes in turn forming dynamic supercomplexes. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae (baker's yeast), Cox13 (CoxVIa in mammals) is a conserved peripheral subunit of Complex IV (cytochrome c oxidase, CytcO), localized at the interface of dimeric bovine CytcO, which has been implicated in the regulation of the complex.RESULTS: Here, we report the solution NMR structure of Cox13, which forms a dimer in detergent micelles. Each Cox13 monomer has three short helices (SH), corresponding to disordered regions in X-ray or cryo-EM structures of homologous proteins. Dimer formation is mainly induced by hydrophobic interactions between the transmembrane (TM) helix of each monomer. Furthermore, an analysis of chemical shift changes upon addition of ATP revealed that ATP binds at a conserved region of the C terminus with considerable conformational flexibility.
    CONCLUSIONS: Together with functional analysis of purified CytcO, we suggest that this ATP interaction is inhibitory of catalytic activity. Our results shed light on the structural flexibility of an important subunit of yeast CytcO and provide structure-based insight into how ATP could regulate mitochondrial respiration.
    Keywords:  ATP; Membrane protein; NMR; Solution structure
  31. Nat Commun. 2021 May 14. 12(1): 2814
      Determining divergent metabolic requirements of T cells, and the viruses and tumours they fail to combat, could provide new therapeutic checkpoints. Inhibition of acyl-CoA:cholesterol acyltransferase (ACAT) has direct anti-carcinogenic activity. Here, we show that ACAT inhibition has antiviral activity against hepatitis B (HBV), as well as boosting protective anti-HBV and anti-hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) T cells. ACAT inhibition reduces CD8+ T cell neutral lipid droplets and promotes lipid microdomains, enhancing TCR signalling and TCR-independent bioenergetics. Dysfunctional HBV- and HCC-specific T cells are rescued by ACAT inhibitors directly ex vivo from human liver and tumour tissue respectively, including tissue-resident responses. ACAT inhibition enhances in vitro responsiveness of HBV-specific CD8+ T cells to PD-1 blockade and increases the functional avidity of TCR-gene-modified T cells. Finally, ACAT regulates HBV particle genesis in vitro, with inhibitors reducing both virions and subviral particles. Thus, ACAT inhibition provides a paradigm of a metabolic checkpoint able to constrain tumours and viruses but rescue exhausted T cells, rendering it an attractive therapeutic target for the functional cure of HBV and HBV-related HCC.