bims-mibica Biomed News
on Mitochondrial bioenergetics in cancer
Issue of 2021‒10‒24
sixty papers selected by
Kelsey Fisher-Wellman
East Carolina University

  1. Blood Cancer Discov. 2021 May;2(3): 198-200
      In this issue of Blood Cancer Discovery, Yan and colleagues discovered that mitochondrial deacylase, SIRT5, is required in AML cells to support mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation, maintain redox homeostasis, and drive glutaminolysis. The new SIRT5 inhibitor, NRD167, can efficiently target SIRT5 in AMLs at micromolar range and may constitute a novel therapeutic approach to improve clinical outcomes of patients with AML. See related article by Yan et al., p. 266.
  2. Nature. 2021 Oct 20.
      Dietary interventions can change metabolite levels in the tumour microenvironment, which might then affect cancer cell metabolism to alter tumour growth1-5. Although caloric restriction (CR) and a ketogenic diet (KD) are often thought to limit tumour progression by lowering blood glucose and insulin levels6-8, we found that only CR inhibits the growth of select tumour allografts in mice, suggesting that other mechanisms contribute to tumour growth inhibition. A change in nutrient availability observed with CR, but not with KD, is lower lipid levels in the plasma and tumours. Upregulation of stearoyl-CoA desaturase (SCD), which synthesises monounsaturated fatty acids, is required for cancer cells to proliferate in a lipid-depleted environment, and CR also impairs tumour SCD activity to cause an imbalance between unsaturated and saturated fatty acids to slow tumour growth. Enforcing cancer cell SCD expression or raising circulating lipid levels through a higher-fat CR diet confers resistance to the effects of CR. By contrast, although KD also impairs tumour SCD activity, KD-driven increases in lipid availability maintain the unsaturated to saturated fatty acid ratios in tumours, and changing the KD fat composition to increase tumour saturated fatty acid levels cooperates with decreased tumour SCD activity to slow tumour growth. These data suggest that diet-induced mismatches between tumour fatty acid desaturation activity and the availability of specific fatty acid species determine whether low glycaemic diets impair tumour growth.
  3. Antioxidants (Basel). 2021 Oct 14. pii: 1618. [Epub ahead of print]10(10):
      Since breast cancer (BC) cells are dependent on mitochondrial bioenergetics for promoting proliferation, survival, and metastasis, mitochondria highlight as an important target for anticancer drug discovery. FRI-1, methyl 1, 3-dimethyl-5, 8-dioxo-5, 8-dihydro-4-isoquinolinecarboxylate, was previously described as a selective cytotoxic compound on cancer cell lines, however, details on the mechanism of action remain unknown. In this work, we describe that FRI-1 inhibits mitochondrial bioenergetics, producing apoptosis in MCF7 and MDA-MB-231 BC cell lines. FRI-1 decreases the maximal oxygen consumption rate (OCR), Δψm, NADH, and ATP levels, with a notable increase of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, promoting AMPK activation with pro-survival effects. Moreover, FRI-1 inhibits the metabolic remodeling to glycolysis induced by oligomycin. In isolated tumoral mitochondria, FRI-1 increases Complex I and III-dependent OCR state 2, and this is sensitive to rotenone and antimycin A inhibitor additions, suggesting a redox cycling event. Remarkably, α-ketoglutarate and lipoic acid supplementation reversed and promoted, respectively, the FRI-1-induced apoptosis, suggesting that mitochondrial redox disruption affects 2-oxoglutarate dehydrogenase (OGDH) activity, and this is involved in their anticancer mechanism. Consistent with this, the combination of FRI-1 and CPI-613, a dual inhibitor of redox-sensible tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle enzymes PDH and OGDH, produced extensive BC cell death. Taken together, our results suggest that FRI-1 exhibits anticancer effects through inhibition of mitochondrial bioenergetics by redox disruption in BC cells.
    Keywords:  2-oxoglutarate dehydrogenase (OGDH); AMP-activated kinase (AMPK) signaling; CPI-613; devimistat; mitocans; mitochondria; tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle
  4. Front Physiol. 2021 ;12 742839
      Most anionic metabolites including respiratory substrates, glycolytic adenosine triphosphate (ATP), and small cations that enter mitochondria, and mitochondrial ATP moving to the cytosol, cross the outer mitochondrial membrane (OMM) through voltage dependent anion channels (VDAC). The closed states of VDAC block the passage of anionic metabolites, and increase the flux of small cations, including calcium. Consequently, physiological or pharmacological regulation of VDAC opening, by conditioning the magnitude of both anion and cation fluxes, is a major contributor to mitochondrial metabolism. Tumor cells display a pro-proliferative Warburg phenotype characterized by enhanced aerobic glycolysis in the presence of partial suppression of mitochondrial metabolism. The heterogeneous and flexible metabolic traits of most human tumors render cells able to adapt to the constantly changing energetic and biosynthetic demands by switching between predominantly glycolytic or oxidative phenotypes. Here, we describe the biological consequences of changes in the conformational state of VDAC for cancer metabolism, the mechanisms by which VDAC-openers promote cancer cell death, and the advantages of VDAC opening as a valuable pharmacological target. Particular emphasis is given to the endogenous regulation of VDAC by free tubulin and the effects of VDAC-tubulin antagonists in cancer cells. Because of its function and location, VDAC operates as a switch to turn-off mitochondrial metabolism (closed state) and increase aerobic glycolysis (pro-Warburg), or to turn-on mitochondrial metabolism (open state) and decrease glycolysis (anti-Warburg). A better understanding of the role of VDAC regulation in tumor progression is relevant both for cancer biology and for developing novel cancer chemotherapies.
    Keywords:  Warburg; cancer; glycolysis; metabolic flexibility; metabolic reprogramming; metabolism; mitochondria; voltage dependent anion channels
  5. Oncogene. 2021 Oct 19.
      Calcineurin is a calcium- and calmodulin-dependent serine/threonine protein phosphatase that connects the Ca2+-dependent signalling to multiple cellular responses. Calcineurin inhibitors (CNIs) have been widely used to suppress immune response in allograft patients. However, CNIs significantly increase cancer incidence in transplant recipients compared with the general population. Accumulating evidence suggests that CNIs may promote the malignant transformation of cancer cells in addition to its role in immunosuppression, but the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. Here, we show that calcineurin interacts with pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDC), a mitochondrial gatekeeper enzyme that connects two key metabolic pathways of cells, glycolysis and the tricarboxylic acid cycle. Mitochondrial-localized calcineurin dephosphorylates PDHA1 at Ser232, Ser293 and Ser300, and thus enhances PDC enzymatic activity, remodels cellular glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation, and suppresses cancer cell proliferation. Hypoxia attenuates mitochondrial translocation of calcineurin to promote PDC inactivation. Moreover, CNIs promote metabolic remodelling and the Warburg effect by blocking calcineurin-mediated PDC activation in cancer cells. Our findings indicate that calcineurin is a critical regulator of mitochondrial metabolism and suggest that CNIs may promote tumorigenesis through inhibition of the calcineurin-PDC pathway.
  6. Biology (Basel). 2021 Oct 15. pii: 1050. [Epub ahead of print]10(10):
      Human mitochondria are highly dynamic organelles, fusing and budding to maintain reticular networks throughout many cell types. Although extending to the extremities of the cell, the majority of the network is concentrated around the nucleus in most of the commonly cultured cell lines. This organelle harbours its own genome, mtDNA, with a different gene content to the nucleus, but the expression of which is critical for maintaining oxidative phosphorylation. Recent advances in click chemistry have allowed us to visualise sites of mitochondrial protein synthesis in intact cultured cells. We show that the majority of translation occurs in the peri-nuclear region of the network. Further analysis reveals that whilst there is a slight peri-nuclear enrichment in the levels of mitoribosomal protein and mitochondrial rRNA, it is not sufficient to explain this substantial heterogeneity in the distribution of translation. Finally, we also show that in contrast, a mitochondrial mRNA does not show such a distinct gradient in distribution. These data suggest that the relative lack of translation in the peripheral mitochondrial network is not due to an absence of mitoribosomes or an insufficient supply of the mt-mRNA transcripts.
    Keywords:  co-localisation; heterogeneity; mammalian; mitochondria; peri-nuclear; peripheral; protein synthesis
  7. Biomedicines. 2021 Oct 13. pii: 1457. [Epub ahead of print]9(10):
      Primary mitochondrial diseases are caused by mutations in mitochondrial or nuclear genes, leading to the abnormal function of specific mitochondrial pathways. Mitochondrial dysfunction is also a secondary event in more common pathophysiological conditions, such as obesity and metabolic syndrome. In both cases, the improvement and management of mitochondrial homeostasis remain challenging. Here, we show that beta-resorcylic acid (β-RA), which is a natural phenolic compound, competed in vivo with 4-hydroxybenzoic acid, which is the natural precursor of coenzyme Q biosynthesis. This led to a decrease in demethoxyubiquinone, which is an intermediate metabolite of CoQ biosynthesis that is abnormally accumulated in Coq9R239X mice. As a consequence, β-RA rescued the phenotype of Coq9R239X mice, which is a model of primary mitochondrial encephalopathy. Moreover, we observed that long-term treatment with β-RA also reduced the size and content of the white adipose tissue (WAT) that is normally accumulated during aging in wild-type mice, leading to the prevention of hepatic steatosis and an increase in survival at the elderly stage of life. The reduction in WAT content was due to a decrease in adipogenesis, an adaptation of the mitochondrial proteome in the kidneys, and stimulation of glycolysis and acetyl-CoA metabolism. Therefore, our results demonstrate that β-RA acted through different cellular mechanisms, with effects on mitochondrial metabolism; as such, it may be used for the treatment of primary coenzyme Q deficiency, overweight, and hepatic steatosis.
    Keywords:  3T3-L1; astrogliosis; encephalopathy; hepatic steatosis; mitochondrial disease; mitochondrial proteome; mouse model; obesity; spongiosis; white adipose tissue
  8. Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2021 Oct 14. pii: 1045. [Epub ahead of print]14(10):
      Pioglitazone (PIO) is an insulin-sensitizing antidiabetic drug, which normalizes glucose and lipid metabolism but may provoke heart and liver failure and chronic kidney diseases. Both therapeutic and adverse effects of PIO can be accomplished through mitochondrial targets. Here, we explored the capability of PIO to modulate the mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm) and the permeability transition pore (mPTP) opening in different models in vitro. ΔΨm was measured using tetraphenylphosphonium and the fluorescent dye rhodamine 123. The coupling of oxidative phosphorylation was estimated polarographically. The transport of ions and solutes across membranes was registered by potentiometric and spectral techniques. We found that PIO decreased ΔΨm in isolated mitochondria and intact thymocytes and the efficiency of ADP phosphorylation, particularly after the addition of Ca2+. The presence of the cytosolic fraction mitigated mitochondrial depolarization but made it sustained. Carboxyatractyloside diminished the PIO-dependent depolarization. PIO activated proton transport in deenergized mitochondria but not in artificial phospholipid vesicles. PIO had no effect on K+ and Ca2+ inward transport but drastically decreased the mitochondrial Ca2+-retention capacity and protective effects of adenine nucleotides against mPTP opening. Thus, PIO is a mild, partly ATP/ADP-translocase-dependent, uncoupler and a modulator of ATP production and mPTP sensitivity to Ca2+ and adenine nucleotides. These properties contribute to both therapeutic and adverse effects of PIO.
    Keywords:  ATP production; adenine nucleotide translocase; permeability transition pore; uncoupling protein; unilamellar vesicles
  9. Free Radic Biol Med. 2021 Oct 14. pii: S0891-5849(21)00764-4. [Epub ahead of print]
      Permeable cell models have contributed much to the progress in mitochondrial research. Optimization of permeabilization is required to make the cell's plasma membrane permeable to small molecules while keeping the intracellular organelles and their membranes intact and fully functional. Here we report our assessment and optimization of commonly used permeabilizing agents including different saponin preparations, digitonin, and recombinant perfringolysin O employing a new electron flow based mitochondrial assay technology that utilizes a colorimetric redox dye. The results of this study provide guidance in optimizing the conditions for mitochondrial function assays with permeabilized cells using the novel redox dye-based format.
    Keywords:  Cell permeabilization; Mitochondrial assay; Mitochondrial function; Mitochondrial inhibitors; Mitochondrial metabolism; Mitochondrial substrates
  10. Cell Rep. 2021 Oct 19. pii: S2211-1247(21)01310-3. [Epub ahead of print]37(3): 109846
      Optical methods for measuring intracellular ions including Ca2+ revolutionized our understanding of signal transduction. However, these methods are not extensively applied to intact organs due to issues including inner filter effects, motion, and available probes. Mitochondrial Ca2+ is postulated to regulate cell energetics and death pathways that are best studied in an intact organ. Here, we develop a method to optically measure mitochondrial Ca2+ and demonstrate its validity for mitochondrial Ca2+ and metabolism using hearts from wild-type mice and mice with germline knockout of the mitochondria calcium uniporter (MCU-KO). We previously reported that germline MCU-KO hearts do not show an impaired response to adrenergic stimulation. We find that these MCU-KO hearts do not take up Ca2+, consistent with no alternative Ca2+ uptake mechanisms in the absence of MCU. This approach can address the role of mitochondrial Ca2+ to the myriad of functions attributed to alterations in mitochondrial Ca2+.
    Keywords:  calcium; heart; isoproterenol; mitochondria; spectroscopy
  11. Metabolites. 2021 Sep 28. pii: 658. [Epub ahead of print]11(10):
      Direct injury of mitochondrial respiratory chain (RC) complex I by Ndufs4 subunit mutations results in complex I deficiency (CID) and a progressive encephalomyopathy, known as Leigh syndrome. While mitochondrial, cytosolic and multi-organelle pathways are known to be involved in the neuromuscular LS pathogenesis, compartment-specific metabolomics has, to date, not been applied to murine models of CID. We thus hypothesized that sub-cellular metabolomics would be able to contribute organelle-specific insights to known Ndufs4 metabolic perturbations. To that end, whole brains and skeletal muscle from late-stage Ndufs4 mice and age/sex-matched controls were harvested for mitochondrial and cytosolic isolation. Untargeted 1H-NMR and semi-targeted LC-MS/MS metabolomics was applied to the resulting cell fractions, whereafter important variables (VIPs) were selected by univariate statistics. A predominant increase in multiple targeted amino acids was observed in whole-brain samples, with a more prominent effect at the mitochondrial level. Similar pathways were implicated in the muscle tissue, showing a greater depletion of core metabolites with a compartment-specific distribution, however. The altered metabolites expectedly implicate altered redox homeostasis, alternate RC fueling, one-carbon metabolism, urea cycling and dysregulated proteostasis to different degrees in the analyzed tissues. A first application of EDTA-chelated magnesium and calcium measurement by NMR also revealed tissue- and compartment-specific alterations, implicating stress response-related calcium redistribution between neural cell compartments, as well as whole-cell muscle magnesium depletion. Altogether, these results confirm the ability of compartment-specific metabolomics to capture known alterations related to Ndufs4 KO and CID while proving its worth in elucidating metabolic compartmentalization in said pathways that went undetected in the diluted whole-cell samples previously studied.
    Keywords:  1H-NMR; LC-MS/MS; Ndufs4; complex I deficiency; cytosol; metabolomics; mitochondria; mitochondrial disease; sub-cellular metabolomics
  12. Cell Death Dis. 2021 Oct 21. 12(11): 977
      Inhibitors of the lipogenic enzyme fatty acid synthase (FASN) have attracted much attention in the last decade as potential targeted cancer therapies. However, little is known about the molecular determinants of cancer cell sensitivity to FASN inhibitors (FASNis), which is a major roadblock to their therapeutic application. Here, we find that pharmacological starvation of endogenously produced FAs is a previously unrecognized metabolic stress that heightens mitochondrial apoptotic priming and favors cell death induction by BH3 mimetic inhibitors. Evaluation of the death decision circuits controlled by the BCL-2 family of proteins revealed that FASN inhibition is accompanied by the upregulation of the pro-death BH3-only proteins BIM, PUMA, and NOXA. Cell death triggered by FASN inhibition, which causally involves a palmitate/NADPH-related redox imbalance, is markedly diminished by concurrent loss of BIM or PUMA, suggesting that FASN activity controls cancer cell survival by fine-tuning the BH3 only proteins-dependent mitochondrial threshold for apoptosis. FASN inhibition results in a heightened mitochondrial apoptosis priming, shifting cells toward a primed-for-death state "addicted" to the anti-apoptotic protein BCL-2. Accordingly, co-administration of a FASNi synergistically augments the apoptosis-inducing activity of the dual BCL-XL/BCL-2 inhibitor ABT-263 (navitoclax) and the BCL-2 specific BH3-mimetic ABT-199 (venetoclax). FASN inhibition, however, fails to sensitize breast cancer cells to MCL-1- and BCL-XL-selective inhibitors such as S63845 and A1331852. A human breast cancer xenograft model evidenced that oral administration of the only clinically available FASNi drastically sensitizes FASN-addicted breast tumors to ineffective single-agents navitoclax and venetoclax in vivo. In summary, a novel FASN-driven facet of the mitochondrial priming mechanistically links the redox-buffering mechanism of FASN activity to the intrinsic apoptotic threshold in breast cancer cells. Combining next-generation FASNis with BCL-2-specific BH3 mimetics that directly activate the apoptotic machinery might generate more potent and longer-lasting antitumor responses in a clinical setting.
  13. Redox Biol. 2021 Oct 12. pii: S2213-2317(21)00324-4. [Epub ahead of print]47 102164
      Iron-sulfur (Fe-S) clusters are essential cofactors most commonly known for their role mediating electron transfer within the mitochondrial respiratory chain. The Fe-S cluster pathways that function within the respiratory complexes are highly conserved between bacteria and the mitochondria of eukaryotic cells. Within the electron transport chain, Fe-S clusters play a critical role in transporting electrons through Complexes I, II and III to cytochrome c, before subsequent transfer to molecular oxygen. Fe-S clusters are also among the binding sites of classical mitochondrial inhibitors, such as rotenone, and play an important role in the production of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS). Mitochondrial Fe-S clusters also play a critical role in the pathogenesis of disease. High levels of ROS produced at these sites can cause cell injury or death, however, when produced at low levels can serve as signaling molecules. For example, Ndufs2, a Complex I subunit containing an Fe-S center, N2, has recently been identified as a redox-sensitive oxygen sensor, mediating homeostatic oxygen-sensing in the pulmonary vasculature and carotid body. Fe-S clusters are emerging as transcriptionally-regulated mediators in disease and play a crucial role in normal physiology, offering potential new therapeutic targets for diseases including malaria, diabetes, and cancer.
    Keywords:  Drug target; Electron transport chain; Epigenetics; Fe-S cluster; Mitochondria; Oxygen-sensing
  14. Cells. 2021 Sep 30. pii: 2603. [Epub ahead of print]10(10):
      Nucleotides are essential to cell growth and survival, providing cells with building blocks for DNA and RNA, energy carriers, and cofactors. Mitochondria have a critical role in the production of intracellular ATP and participate in the generation of intermediates necessary for biosynthesis of macromolecules such as purines and pyrimidines. In this review, we highlight the role of purine and mitochondrial metabolism in cancer and how their intersection influences cancer progression, especially in ovarian cancer. Additionally, we address the importance of metabolic rewiring in cancer and how the evolving landscape of purine synthesis and mitochondria inhibitors can be potentially exploited for cancer treatment.
    Keywords:  amino acids; cancers; metabolic reprogramming; mitochondrial metabolism; purines
  15. Biochem Cell Biol. 2021 Oct 20.
      Sterol O-acyltransferase 1 (SOAT1) is a key enzyme in lipid metabolism, which mediates cholesterol esterification metabolism and is closely associated with many cancers. However, the role of SOAT1 in lung cancer invasion remains unclear. We found that SOAT1 expression was positively correlated with lung cancer invasion. Downregulation of SOAT1 inhibited invasion, mitochondrial fragmentation, AKT phosphorylation, and phospho-Drp (Ser616) in lung cancer cells and promoted intracellular free cholesterol accumulation. Mechanistically, AKT phosphorylation inhibitor MK-2206 alleviated both SOAT1 overexpression or high expression-induced mitochondrial fragmentation and lung cancer cell invasion. Furthermore, intracellular free cholesterol accumulation reduced AKT phosphorylation, SREBP1 mRNA expression, cell invasion, and mitochondrial fragmentation in lung cancer cells with high SOAT1 expression. In summary, our findings suggest that SOAT1 promotes lung cancer invasion activates the PI3K/AKT signaling pathway by downregulating intracellular free cholesterol levels, thereby affecting the regulation of mitochondrial fragmentation.
  16. Genes (Basel). 2021 Oct 12. pii: 1604. [Epub ahead of print]12(10):
      Mitochondrial disease originates from genetic changes that impact human bodily functions by disrupting the mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation system. MitoCarta is a curated and published inventory that sheds light on the mitochondrial proteome, but the function of some mitochondrially-localised proteins remains poorly characterised. Consequently, various gene editing systems have been employed to uncover the involvement of these proteins in mitochondrial biology and disease. CRISPR/Cas9 is an efficient, versatile, and highly accurate genome editing tool that was first introduced over a decade ago and has since become an indispensable tool for targeted genetic manipulation in biological research. The broad spectrum of CRISPR/Cas9 applications serves as an attractive and tractable system to study genes and pathways that are essential for the regulation and maintenance of mitochondrial health. It has opened possibilities of generating reliable cell and animal models of human disease, and with further exploitation of the technology, large-scale genomic screenings have uncovered a wealth of fundamental mechanistic insights. In this review, we describe the applications of CRISPR/Cas9 system as a genome editing tool to uncover new insights into pathomechanisms of mitochondrial diseases and/or biological processes involved in mitochondrial function.
    Keywords:  CRISPR/Cas9; cell and animal models; genome editing; genome-wide CRISPR libraries screening; mitochondrial biology; mitochondrial disease
  17. Circulation. 2021 Oct 21.
      Background: The catalytic subunit of telomerase, Telomerase Reverse Transcriptase (TERT) has protective functions in the cardiovascular system. TERT is not only present in the nucleus, but also in mitochondria. However, it is unclear whether nuclear or mitochondrial TERT is responsible for the observed protection and appropriate tools are missing to dissect this. Methods: We generated new mouse models containing TERT exclusively in the mitochondria (mitoTERT mice) or the nucleus (nucTERT mice) to finally distinguish between the functions of nuclear and mitochondrial TERT. Outcome after ischemia/reperfusion, mitochondrial respiration in the heart as well as cellular functions of cardiomyocytes, fibroblasts, and endothelial cells were determined. Results: All mice were phenotypically normal. While respiration was reduced in cardiac mitochondria from TERT-deficient and nucTERT mice, it was increased in mitoTERT animals. The latter also had smaller infarcts than wildtype mice, whereas nucTERT animals had larger infarcts. The decrease in ejection fraction after one, two and four weeks of reperfusion was attenuated in mitoTERT mice. Scar size was also reduced and vascularization increased. Mitochondrial TERT protected a cardiomyocyte cell line from apoptosis. Myofibroblast differentiation, which depends on complex I activity, was abrogated in TERT-deficient and nucTERT cardiac fibroblasts and completely restored in mitoTERT cells. In endothelial cells, mitochondrial TERT enhanced migratory capacity and activation of endothelial NO synthase. Mechanistically, mitochondrial TERT improved the ratio between complex I matrix arm and membrane subunits explaining the enhanced complex I activity. In human right atrial appendages, TERT was localized in mitochondria and there increased by remote ischemic preconditioning. The Telomerase activator, TA-65 evoked a similar effect in endothelial cells, thereby increasing their migratory capacity, and enhanced myofibroblast differentiation. Conclusions: Mitochondrial, but not nuclear TERT, is critical for mitochondrial respiration and during ischemia/reperfusion injury. Mitochondrial TERT improves complex I subunit composition. TERT is present in human heart mitochondria, and remote ischemic preconditioning increases its level in those organelles. TA-65 has comparable effects ex vivo and improves migratory capacity of endothelial cells and myofibroblast differentiation. We conclude that mitochondrial TERT is responsible for cardioprotection and its increase could serve as a therapeutic strategy.
  18. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Oct 09. pii: 5058. [Epub ahead of print]13(20):
      Rewiring glucose metabolism toward aerobic glycolysis provides cancer cells with a rapid generation of pyruvate, ATP, and NADH, while pyruvate oxidation to lactate guarantees refueling of oxidized NAD+ to sustain glycolysis. CtPB2, an NADH-dependent transcriptional co-regulator, has been proposed to work as an NADH sensor, linking metabolism to epigenetic transcriptional reprogramming. By integrating metabolomics and transcriptomics in a triple-negative human breast cancer cell line, we show that genetic and pharmacological down-regulation of CtBP2 strongly reduces cell proliferation by modulating the redox balance, nucleotide synthesis, ROS generation, and scavenging. Our data highlight the critical role of NADH in controlling the oncogene-dependent crosstalk between metabolism and the epigenetically mediated transcriptional program that sustains energetic and anabolic demands in cancer cells.
    Keywords:  CtBP2; cancer metabolic rewiring; epigenetics; metabolomics integration; transcriptomics
  19. Nat Immunol. 2021 Oct 22.
      Intestinal epithelial cell (IEC) damage by T cells contributes to graft-versus-host disease, inflammatory bowel disease and immune checkpoint blockade-mediated colitis. But little is known about the target cell-intrinsic features that affect disease severity. Here we identified disruption of oxidative phosphorylation and an increase in succinate levels in the IECs from several distinct in vivo models of T cell-mediated colitis. Metabolic flux studies, complemented by imaging and protein analyses, identified disruption of IEC-intrinsic succinate dehydrogenase A (SDHA), a component of mitochondrial complex II, in causing these metabolic alterations. The relevance of IEC-intrinsic SDHA in mediating disease severity was confirmed by complementary chemical and genetic experimental approaches and validated in human clinical samples. These data identify a critical role for the alteration of the IEC-specific mitochondrial complex II component SDHA in the regulation of the severity of T cell-mediated intestinal diseases.
  20. Protein Cell. 2021 Oct 23.
      Zn2+ is required for the activity of many mitochondrial proteins, which regulate mitochondrial dynamics, apoptosis and mitophagy. However, it is not understood how the proper mitochondrial Zn2+ level is achieved to maintain mitochondrial homeostasis. Using Caenorhabditis elegans, we reveal here that a pair of mitochondrion-localized transporters controls the mitochondrial level of Zn2+. We demonstrate that SLC-30A9/ZnT9 is a mitochondrial Zn2+ exporter. Loss of SLC-30A9 leads to mitochondrial Zn2+ accumulation, which damages mitochondria, impairs animal development and shortens the life span. We further identify SLC-25A25/SCaMC-2 as an important regulator of mitochondrial Zn2+ import. Loss of SLC-25A25 suppresses the abnormal mitochondrial Zn2+ accumulation and defective mitochondrial structure and functions caused by loss of SLC-30A9. Moreover, we reveal that the endoplasmic reticulum contains the Zn2+ pool from which mitochondrial Zn2+ is imported. These findings establish the molecular basis for controlling the correct mitochondrial Zn2+ levels for normal mitochondrial structure and functions.
    Keywords:  C. elegans; ER-mitochondrial contact; Zn2+ transporter; development; mitochondria
  21. Oncogene. 2021 Oct 20.
      Aberrant regulation of ubiquitination often leads to metabolic reprogramming in tumor cells. However, the underlying mechanisms are not fully understood. Here we demonstrate that OTUB2, an OTU deubiquitinase, is upregulated in colorectal cancer (CRC) and exacerbates the progression of CRC through modulating the aerobic glycolysis. Mechanistically, OTUB2 directly interacts with pyruvate kinase M2 (PKM2) and inhibits its ubiquitination by blocking the interaction between PKM2 and its ubiquitin E3 ligase Parkin, thereby enhancing PKM2 activity and promoting glycolysis. In response to glucose starvation stress, the effect of OTUB2 on PKM2 is enhanced, which confers metabolic advantage to CRC cells. Moreover, OTUB2 depletion reduces glucose consumption, lactate production, and cellular ATP production. OTUB2-knockout CRC cells exhibit attenuated proliferation and migration, as well as an elevated level of apoptosis and increased sensitivity to chemotherapy drugs. Furthermore, in vivo assays show that knockout of OTUB2 inhibits tumor growth in mice. Taken together, these findings reveal the critical role of OTUB2 in the regulation of glycolysis and illustrate the molecular mechanism underlying its role as a negative regulator of PKM2 ubiquitination in CRC, establishing a bridge between OTUB2-regulated PKM2 ubiquitination and altered metabolic patterns in CRC and suggesting that OTUB2 is a promising target for CRC treatment.
  22. Life Sci. 2021 Oct 16. pii: S0024-3205(21)01038-9. [Epub ahead of print]286 120051
      AIMS: To overcome radioresistant cancer cells, clinically relevant radioresistant (CRR) cells were established. To maintain their radioresistance, CRR cells were exposed 2 Gy/day of X-rays daily (maintenance irradiation: MI). To understand whether the radioresistance induced by X-rays was reversible or irreversible, the difference between CRR cells and those without MI for a year (CRR-NoIR cells) was investigated by the mitochondrial function as an index.MAIN METHODS: Radiation sensitivity was determined by modified high density survival assay. Mitochondrial membrane potential (Δψm) was determined by 5,5',6,6'-tetrachloro-1,1', tetraethylbenzimidazolocarbo-cyanine iodide (JC-1) staining. Rapid Glucose-Galactose assay was performed to determine the shift in their energy metabolism from aerobic glycolysis to oxidative phosphorylation in CRR cells. Involvement of prohibitin-1 (PHB1) in Δψm was evaluated by knockdown of PHB1 gene followed by real-time PCR.
    KEY FINDINGS: CRR cells that exhibited resistant to 2 Gy/day X-ray lost their radioresistance after more than one year of culture without MI for a year. In addition, CRR cells lost their radioresistance when the mitochondria were activated by galactose. Furthermore, Δψm were increased and PHB1 expression was down-regulated, in the process of losing their radioresistance.
    SIGNIFICANCE: Our finding reveled that tune regulation of mitochondrial function is implicated in radioresistance phenotype of cancer cells. Moreover, as our findings indicate, though further studies are required to clarify the precise mechanisms underlying cancer cell radioresistance, radioresistant cells induced by irradiation and cancer stem cells that are originally radioresistant should be considered separately, the radioresistance of CRR cells is reversible.
    Keywords:  Glycolysis; Hydrogen peroxide; Membrane potential; Mitochondria; Prohibitin; Radioresistance
  23. J Chem Inf Model. 2021 Oct 19.
      Pyruvate metabolism requires the mitochondrial pyruvate carrier (MPC) proteins to transport pyruvate from the intermembrane space through the inner mitochondrial membrane to the mitochondrial matrix. The lack of the atomic structures of MPC hampers the understanding of the functional states of MPC and molecular interactions with the substrate or inhibitor. Here, we develop the de novo models of human MPC complexes and characterize the conformational dynamics of the MPC heterodimer formed by MPC1 and MPC2 (MPC1/2) by computational simulations. Our results reveal that functional MPC1/2 prefers to adopt an inward-open conformation, with the carrier open to the matrix side, whereas the outward-open states are less populated. The energy barrier for pyruvate transport in MPC1/2 is low enough, and the inhibitor UK5099 blocks the pyruvate transport by stably binding to MPC1/2. Notably, consistent with experimental results, the MPC1 L79H mutation significantly alters the conformations of MPC1/2 and thus fails for substrate transport. However, the MPC1 R97W mutation seems to retain the transport activity. The present de novo models of MPC complexes provide structural insights into the conformational states of MPC complexes and mechanistic understanding of interactions between the substrate/inhibitor and MPC proteins.
  24. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Oct 15. pii: 11122. [Epub ahead of print]22(20):
      In this paper, we examined the effects of melittin, a bee venom membrane-active peptide, on mitochondrial respiration and cell viability of healthy human lymphocytes (HHL) and Jurkat cells, as well as on lymphoblasts from acute human T cell leukemia. The viability of melittin-treated cells was related to changes in O2 consumption and in the respiratory control index (RCI) of mitochondria isolated from melittin-pretreated cells as well as of mitochondria first isolated from cells and then directly treated with melittin. It was shown that melittin is three times more cytotoxic to Jurkat cells than to HHL, but O2 consumption and RCI values of mitochondria from both cell types were equally affected by melittin when melittin was directly added to mitochondria. To elucidate the molecular mechanism of melittin's cytotoxicity to healthy and cancer cells, the effects of melittin on lipid-packing and on the dynamics in model plasma membranes of healthy and cancer cells, as well as of the inner mitochondrial membrane, were studied by EPR spin probes. The affinity of melittin binding to phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylserine, phosphatidic acid and cardiolipin, and binding sites of phospholipids on the surface of melittin were studied by 31P-NMR, native PAGE and AutoDock modeling. It is suggested that the melittin-induced decline of mitochondrial bioenergetics contributes primarily to cell death; the higher cytotoxicity of melittin to cancer cells is attributed to its increased permeability through the plasma membrane.
    Keywords:  31P-NMR; AutoDock modeling; EPR; T cell leukemia; cytotoxicity; inner mitochondrial membranes; melittin; mitochondrial bioenergetics; native PAGE; respiratory control index
  25. PLoS Genet. 2021 Oct 19. 17(10): e1009808
      Faithful inheritance of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is crucial for cellular respiration/oxidative phosphorylation and mitochondrial membrane potential. However, how mtDNA is transmitted to progeny is not fully understood. We utilized hypersuppressive mtDNA, a class of respiratory deficient Saccharomyces cerevisiae mtDNA that is preferentially inherited over wild-type mtDNA (rho+), to uncover the factors governing mtDNA inheritance. We found that some regions of rho+ mtDNA persisted while others were lost after a specific hypersuppressive takeover indicating that hypersuppressive preferential inheritance may partially be due to active destruction of rho+ mtDNA. From a multicopy suppression screen, we found that overexpression of putative mitochondrial RNA exonuclease PET127 reduced biased inheritance of a subset of hypersuppressive genomes. This suppression required PET127 binding to the mitochondrial RNA polymerase RPO41 but not PET127 exonuclease activity. A temperature-sensitive allele of RPO41 improved rho+ mtDNA inheritance over a specific hypersuppressive mtDNA at semi-permissive temperatures revealing a previously unknown role for rho+ transcription in promoting hypersuppressive mtDNA inheritance.
  26. Trends Microbiol. 2021 Oct 13. pii: S0966-842X(21)00237-7. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitochondria control various processes that are integral to cellular and organismal homeostasis, including Ca2+ fluxes, bioenergetic metabolism, and cell death. Perhaps not surprisingly, multiple pathogenic bacteria have evolved strategies to subvert mitochondrial functions in support of their survival and dissemination. Here, we discuss nonimmunological pathogenic mechanisms that converge on the ability of bacteria to control the mitochondrial compartment of host cells.
    Keywords:  Listeria monocytogenes; Mycobacterium tuberculosis; autophagy; mitochondria-associated ER membranes; oxidative phosphorylation; regulated cell death
  27. Cell. 2021 Oct 11. pii: S0092-8674(21)01116-8. [Epub ahead of print]
      The human mitochondrial genome encodes thirteen core subunits of the oxidative phosphorylation system, and defects in mitochondrial gene expression lead to severe neuromuscular disorders. However, the mechanisms of mitochondrial gene expression remain poorly understood due to a lack of experimental approaches to analyze these processes. Here, we present an in vitro system to silence translation in purified mitochondria. In vitro import of chemically synthesized precursor-morpholino hybrids allows us to target translation of individual mitochondrial mRNAs. By applying this approach, we conclude that the bicistronic, overlapping ATP8/ATP6 transcript is translated through a single ribosome/mRNA engagement. We show that recruitment of COX1 assembly factors to translating ribosomes depends on nascent chain formation. By defining mRNA-specific interactomes for COX1 and COX2, we reveal an unexpected function of the cytosolic oncofetal IGF2BP1, an RNA-binding protein, in mitochondrial translation. Our data provide insight into mitochondrial translation and innovative strategies to investigate mitochondrial gene expression.
    Keywords:  IGF2BP1; antisense; mitochondria; mitochondrial ribosome; morpholino; oxidative phosphorylation; translation
  28. Nat Metab. 2021 Oct;3(10): 1357-1371
      The multifunctional roles of metabolic enzymes allow for the integration of multiple signals to precisely transduce external stimuli into cell fate decisions. Elevation of 3-phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase (PHGDH), the rate-limiting enzyme for de novo serine biosynthesis, is broadly associated with human cancer development; although how PHGDH activity is regulated and its implication in tumorigenesis remains unclear. Here we show that glucose restriction induces the phosphorylation of PHGDH by p38 at Ser371, which promotes the translocation of PHGDH from the cytosol into the nucleus. Concurrently, AMPK phosphorylates PHGDH-Ser55, selectively increasing PHGDH oxidation of malate into oxaloacetate, thus generating NADH. In the nucleus, the altered PHGDH activity restricts NAD+ level and compartmentally repressed NAD+-dependent PARP1 activity for poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation of c-Jun, thereby leading to impaired c-Jun transcriptional activity linked to cell growth inhibition. Physiologically, nuclear PHGDH sustains tumour growth under nutrient stress, and the levels of PHGDH-Ser371 and PHGDH-Ser55 phosphorylation correlate with p38 and AMPK activity, respectively, in clinical human pancreatic cancer specimens. These findings illustrate a previously unidentified nutrient-sensing mechanism with the critical involvement of a non-canonical metabolic effect of PHGDH and underscore the functional importance of alternative PHGDH activity in tumorigenesis.
  29. J Cell Sci. 2021 Oct 22. pii: jcs.258653. [Epub ahead of print]
      Diverse genes associated with familial Parkinson's disease (familial Parkinsonism) have been implicated in mitochondrial quality control. One such gene, PARK7 encodes the protein DJ-1, pathogenic mutations of which trigger its translocation from the cytosol to the mitochondrial matrix. The translocation of steady-state cytosolic proteins like DJ-1 to the mitochondrial matrix by missense mutations is rare and the underlying mechanism remains to be elucidated. Here, we show that the protein unfolding associated with various DJ-1 mutations drives its import into the mitochondrial matrix. Increasing the structural stability of these DJ-1 mutants restores cytosolic localization. Mechanistically, we show that a reduction in the structural stability of DJ-1 exposes a cryptic N-terminal mitochondrial targeting signal (MTS) including Leu10 that promotes DJ-1 import into the mitochondrial matrix for subsequent degradation. Our work describes a novel cellular mechanism for targeting a destabilized cytosolic protein to the mitochondria for degradation.
    Keywords:  DJ-1; Import; Mitochondria; Parkinson's disease
  30. Cells. 2021 Oct 16. pii: 2775. [Epub ahead of print]10(10):
      Mitochondria are ubiquitous organelles of eukaryotic organisms with a number of essential functions, including synthesis of iron-sulfur clusters, amino acids, lipids, and adenosine triphosphate (ATP). During aging of the fungal aging model Podospora anserina, the inner mitochondrial membrane (IMM) undergoes prominent morphological alterations, ultimately resulting in functional impairments. Since phospholipids (PLs) are key components of biological membranes, maintenance of membrane plasticity and integrity via regulation of PL biosynthesis is indispensable. Here, we report results from a lipidomic analysis of isolated mitochondria from P. anserina that revealed an age-related reorganization of the mitochondrial PL profile and the involvement of the i-AAA protease PaIAP in proteolytic regulation of PL metabolism. The absence of PaIAP enhances biosynthesis of characteristic mitochondrial PLs, leads to significant alterations in the acyl composition of the mitochondrial signature PL cardiolipin (CL), and induces mitophagy. These alterations presumably cause the lifespan increase of the PaIap deletion mutant under standard growth conditions. However, PaIAP is required at elevated temperatures and for degradation of superfluous CL synthase PaCRD1 during glycolytic growth. Overall, our study uncovers a prominent role of PaIAP in the regulation of PL homeostasis in order to adapt membrane plasticity to fluctuating environmental conditions as they occur in nature.
    Keywords:  P. anserina; PaCRD1; PaIAP; aging; lipid metabolism; mitochondria
  31. PLoS One. 2021 ;16(10): e0258831
      Cancer causes mitochondrial alterations in skeletal muscle, which may progress to muscle wasting and, ultimately, to cancer cachexia. Understanding how exercise adaptations are altered by cancer and cancer treatment is important for the effective design of exercise interventions aimed at improving cancer outcomes. We conducted an exploratory study to investigate how tumor burden and cancer immunotherapy treatment (anti-PD-1) modify the skeletal muscle mitochondrial response to exercise training in mice with transplantable tumors (B16-F10 melanoma and EO771 breast cancer). Mice remained sedentary or were provided with running wheels for ~19 days immediately following tumor implant while receiving no treatment (Untreated), isotype control antibody (IgG2a) or anti-PD-1. Exercise and anti-PD-1 did not alter the growth rate of either tumor type, either alone or in combination therapy. Untreated mice with B16-F10 tumors showed increases in most measured markers of skeletal muscle mitochondrial content following exercise training, as did anti-PD-1-treated mice, suggesting increased mitochondrial content following exercise training in these groups. However, mice with B16-F10 tumors receiving the isotype control antibody did not exhibit increased skeletal muscle mitochondrial content following exercise. In untreated mice with EO771 tumors, only citrate synthase activity and complex IV activity were increased following exercise. In contrast, IgG2a and anti-PD-1-treated groups both showed robust increases in most measured markers following exercise. These results indicate that in mice with B16-F10 tumors, IgG2a administration prevents exercise adaptation of skeletal muscle mitochondria, but adaptation remains intact in mice receiving anti-PD-1. In mice with EO771 tumors, both IgG2a and anti-PD-1-treated mice show robust skeletal muscle mitochondrial exercise responses, while untreated mice do not. Taken together, we postulate that immune modulation may enhance skeletal muscle mitochondrial response to exercise in tumor-bearing mice, and suggest this as an exciting new avenue for future research in exercise oncology.
  32. EMBO J. 2021 Oct 18. e108428
      Mitochondrial cristae are extraordinarily crowded with proteins, which puts stress on the bilayer organization of lipids. We tested the hypothesis that the high concentration of proteins drives the tafazzin-catalyzed remodeling of fatty acids in cardiolipin, thereby reducing bilayer stress in the membrane. Specifically, we tested whether protein crowding induces cardiolipin remodeling and whether the lack of cardiolipin remodeling prevents the membrane from accumulating proteins. In vitro, the incorporation of large amounts of proteins into liposomes altered the outcome of the remodeling reaction. In yeast, the concentration of proteins involved in oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) correlated with the cardiolipin composition. Genetic ablation of either remodeling or biosynthesis of cardiolipin caused a substantial drop in the surface density of OXPHOS proteins in the inner membrane of the mouse heart and Drosophila flight muscle mitochondria. Our data suggest that OXPHOS protein crowding induces cardiolipin remodelling and that remodeled cardiolipin supports the high concentration of these proteins in the inner mitochondrial membrane.
    Keywords:  Barth syndrome; lipid-protein interaction; macromolecular crowding; mitochondria; oxidative phosphorylation
  33. Exp Cell Res. 2021 Oct 13. pii: S0014-4827(21)00420-1. [Epub ahead of print] 112866
      The occurrence of liver diseases is attributed to mitochondrial damage. Mitophagy selectively removes dysfunctional mitochondria, thereby preserving mitochondrial function. Augmenter of liver regeneration (ALR) protects the mitochondria from injury. However, whether ALR protection is associated with mitophagy remains unclear. In this study, mitochondrial damage was induced by carbonyl cyanide 3-chlorophenylhydrazone (CCCP), and long form ALR (lfRNA) -mediated protection against this damage was investigated. Treatment of HepG2 cells with CCCP elevated the level of intracellular ROS, inhibited ATP production, and increased the mitochondrial membrane potential and cell apoptotic rate. However, in lfALR-transfected cells, CCCP-induced cell injury was clearly alleviated, the apoptosis and ROS levels clearly declined, and the ATP production was significantly enhanced as compared with that in vector-Tx cells. Furthermore, lfALR overexpression promoted autophagy and mitophagy via a PINK1/Parkin-dependent pathway, whereas knockdown of ALR suppressed mitophagy. In lfALR-transfected cells, the phosphorylation of AKT was decreased, thus, downregulating the phosphorylation of the transcription factor FOXO3a at Ser315. In contrast, the phosphorylation of AMPK was enhanced, thereby upregulating the phosphorylation of FOXO3a at Ser413. Consequently, FOXO3a's nuclear translocation and binding to the promoter region of PINK1 was enhanced, and the accumulation of PINK1/Parkin in mitochondria increased. Meanwhile, short form ALR (sfALR) also increased PINK1 expression through FOXO3a with the similar pathway to lfALR. In conclusion, our data suggest a novel mechanism through which both lfALR and sfALR protect mitochondria by promoting PINK1/Parkin-dependent mitophagy through FOXO3a activation.
    Keywords:  Augmenter of liver regeneration; FOXO3a; Mitophagy; PINK1/Parkin
  34. Gene. 2021 Oct 13. pii: S0378-1119(21)00607-7. [Epub ahead of print] 146012
      Cancer cells rewire metabolic pathways as they demand more ATP and building blocks for proliferation. Glucose is the most consumed nutrient by cancer cells and metabolized to lactate even in the presence of oxygen. This phenomenon is called 'aerobic glycolysis'. Also, glucose level is found lower in tumor environment. Leukemia is characterized by abnormal proliferation of hematopoietic cells. STAT3 a transcription factor and an oncogene is upregulated in many tumor types. Despite its well-defined functions, STAT3 has also been proposed as a metabolic regulator. In this study, we aimed to determine the role STAT3 activation in glucose limitation, in leukemia cell lines. K562, NB-4 and HL-60 cells were found sensitive to glucose limitation. In low glucose conditions, total and nuclear STAT3 protein was decreased in all cells. In mitochondria, S727 phosphorylated STAT3 (mitochondrial form) was determined slightly increased in K562 and NB-4 cells. On the other side, ectopically STAT3 expressing cells had increased glucose consumption and less proliferated in low glucose medium. This data suggests that aerobic glycolysis might be upregulated upon STAT3 expression in leukemia cells, in glucose limitation. Furthermore, in this study, it was found that GLUT3 expressing cells did not reduce STAT3 expression in low glucose medium. GLUT3 was previously determined as a molecular marker for cell sensitivity to glucose limitation, therefore, it could be hypothesized as GLUT3 expressing cells might not need to alter STAT3 expression in low glucose level. Overall, our data suggest that leukemia cells rewire glucose metabolism via STAT3 expression in glucose limitation. Elucidating pathways that cause differential phosphorylation of STAT3 and its interaction with other energy regulating pathways in cellular response to glucose limitation might be beneficial to design new drug targets such as STAT3 inhibitors for leukemia treatment.
    Keywords:  GLUT3; Leukemia; STAT3 pS727; STAT3 pY705; glucose metabolism
  35. Antioxidants (Basel). 2021 Oct 12. pii: 1603. [Epub ahead of print]10(10):
      GATA-1 is a key regulator of hematopoiesis. A balanced ratio of its two isoforms, GATA-1FL and GATA-1S, contributes to normal hematopoiesis, whereas aberrant expression of GATA-1S alters the differentiation/proliferation potential of hematopoietic precursors and represents a poor prognostic factor in myeloid leukemia. We previously reported that GATA-1S over-expression correlates with high levels of the succinate dehydrogenase subunit C (SDHC). Alternative splicing variants of the SDHC transcript are over-expressed in several tumors and act as potent dominant negative inhibitors of SDH activity. With this in mind, we investigated the levels of SDHC variants and the oxidative mitochondrial metabolism in myeloid leukemia K562 cells over-expressing GATA-1 isoforms. Over-expression of SDHC variants accompanied by decreased SDH complex II activity and oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) efficiency was found associated only with GATA-1S. Given the tumor suppressor role of SDH and the effects of OXPHOS limitations in leukemogenesis, identification of a link between GATA-1S and impaired complex II activity unveils novel pro-leukemic mechanisms triggered by GATA-1S. Abnormal levels of GATA-1S and SDHC variants were also found in an acute myeloid leukemia patient, thus supporting in vitro results. A better understanding of these mechanisms can contribute to identify novel promising therapeutic targets in myeloid leukemia.
    Keywords:  GATA-1 isoforms; SDHC; alternative splicing; leukemogenesis; myeloid leukemia; oxidative phosphorylation; oxidative stress; respiratory chain complex II
  36. Mitochondrion. 2021 Oct 14. pii: S1567-7249(21)00142-2. [Epub ahead of print]
      Leigh syndrome (LS) is one of the most common mitochondrial diseases in children, for which at least 90 causative genes have been identified. However, many LS patients have no genetic diagnosis, indicating that more disease-related genes remain to be identified. In this study, we identified a novel variant, m.3955G>A, in mitochondrially encoded NADH:ubiquinone oxidoreductase core subunit 1 (MT-ND1) in two unrelated LS patients, manifesting as infancy-onset frequent seizures, neurodegeneration, elevated lactate levels, and bilateral symmetrical lesions in the brainstem, basal ganglia, and thalamus. Transfer of the mutant mtDNA with m.3955G>A into cybrids disturbed the MT-ND1 expression and CI assembly, followed by remarkable mitochondrial dysfunction, reactive oxygen species production, and mitochondrial membrane potential reduction. Our findings demonstrated the pathogenicity of the novel m.3955G>A variant, and extend the spectrum of pathogenic mtDNA variants.
    Keywords:  Leigh syndrome; MT-ND1; Novel mitochondrial DNA variant; cybrid cells
  37. J Cancer. 2021 ;12(21): 6310-6319
      Mitochondria are involved in various biological processes including intracellular homeostasis, proliferation, senescence, and death, and mitochondrial mitophagy is closely related to the development and regression of malignant tumors. Recent studies confirmed that the hypoglycemic drug metformin (Met) exerted various antitumor effects, protected neural cells, and improved immunity, while arsenic trioxide (ATO) is an effective chemotherapeutic agent for the clinical treatment of leukemia and various solid tumors. However, the possible combined antitumor effects of Met and ATO and their cellular molecular mechanisms are unclear. We investigated the role of Parkin-mediated mitochondrial mitophagy in the anti-tumor mechanism of Met and ATO by studying the effects of Met and/or ATO on the proliferation and apoptosis of cervical cancer HeLa cells. Both Met and ATO effectively inhibited the proliferative activity of HeLa cells and induced apoptosis by activating Bax and inhibiting Bcl-2. Met and ATO treatment alone or in combination stimulated mitophagosome accumulation in HeLa cells, increased the conversion of microtubule-associated protein light chain 3 (LC3)-I to LC3-II, and decreased levels of the mitophagic lysosomal substrate protein P62. The mitochondrial membrane potential of HeLa cells also decreased, accompanied by activation of the mitochondrial translocase TOM system and the Pink1/Parkin signaling pathway. These results suggested that Met and/or ATO could induce mitophagy in HeLa cells via the Pink1/Parkin signaling pathway, leading to mitophagic apoptosis and inhibition of tumor cell proliferation. The combination of Met and ATO thus has enhanced antitumor effects, suggesting that this combination has potential clinical applications for the treatment of cervical cancer and other tumors.
    Keywords:  Arsenic Trioxide; HeLa; Metformin; Mitophagy; Pink1/Parkin
  38. Free Radic Biol Med. 2021 Oct 14. pii: S0891-5849(21)00761-9. [Epub ahead of print]
      Increasing evidence suggests the significant contribution of high levels of thioredoxin reductase (TrxR) in various stages of tumorigenesis and resistance to tumor chemotherapy. Thus, inhibition of TrxR with small molecules is an attractive strategy for cancer therapy. Eriocalyxin B (EriB), a naturally occurring diterpenoid extracted from Isodon eriocalyx, has reflected potential anticancer activities through numerous pathways. Here, we describe that EriB covalently modifies GSH and selectively inhibits TrxR activity by targeting the Sec residue of the enzyme. Pharmacological inhibition of TrxR by EriB results in elevated ROS levels, reduced total GSH and thiols content, which ultimately induced potent RKO cell apoptosis mediated by oxidative stress. Importantly, EriB indicates potent synthetic lethality with GSH inhibitors, BSO, in RKO cells. In summary, our results highlight that targeting TrxR by EriB explores a novel mechanism for the biological action of EriB. This opened up a new therapeutic indication for using EriB to combat cancers.
    Keywords:  Apoptosis; Colorectal cancer; Eriocalyxin B; Oxidative stress; Redox homeostasis; Thioredoxin reductase
  39. Cell Biol Toxicol. 2021 Oct 18.
      Regardless of the recent advances in therapeutic developments, cancer is still among the primary causes of death globally, indicating the need for alternative therapeutic strategies. Mitochondria, a dynamic organelle, continuously undergo the fusion and fission processes to meet cell requirements. The balanced fission and fusion processes, referred to as mitochondrial dynamics, coordinate mitochondrial shape, size, number, energy metabolism, cell cycle, mitophagy, and apoptosis. An imbalance between these opposing events alters mitochondWangrial dynamics, affects the overall mitochondrial shape, and deregulates mitochondrial function. Emerging evidence indicates that alteration of mitochondrial dynamics contributes to various aspects of tumorigenesis and cancer progression. Therefore, targeting the mitochondrial dynamics regulator could be a potential therapeutic approach for cancer treatment. This review will address the role of imbalanced mitochondrial dynamics in mitochondrial dysfunction during cancer progression. We will outline the clinical significance of mitochondrial dynamics regulators in various cancer types with recent updates in cancer stemness and chemoresistance and its therapeutic potential and clinical utility as a predictive biomarker.
    Keywords:  Cancer; Cancer stem cells; Chemoresistance; Mitochondrial dynamics; Mitochondrial dysfunction; Mitophagy
  40. Antioxidants (Basel). 2021 Oct 11. pii: 1591. [Epub ahead of print]10(10):
      Anticancer activities of plant polyphenols have been demonstrated in various models of neoplasia. However, evidence obtained in numerous in vitro studies indicates that proliferation arrest and/or killing of cancer cells require quite high micromolar concentrations of polyphenols that are difficult to reach in vivo and can also be (geno)toxic to at least some types of normal cells. The ability of certain polyphenols to synergize with one another at low concentrations can be used as a promising strategy to effectively treat human malignancies. We have recently reported that curcumin and carnosic acid applied at non-cytotoxic concentrations synergistically cooperate to induce massive apoptosis in acute myeloid leukemia cells, but not in normal hematopoietic and non-hematopoietic cells, via sustained cytosolic calcium overload. Here, we show that the two polyphenols can also synergistically suppress the growth of DU145 and PC-3 metastatic prostate cancer cell cultures. However, instead of cell killing, the combined treatment induced a marked inhibition of cell proliferation associated with G0/G1 cell cycle arrest. This was preceded by transient elevation of cytosolic calcium levels and prolonged dissipation of the mitochondrial membrane potential, without generating oxidative stress, and was associated with defective oxidative phosphorylation encompassing mitochondrial dysfunction. The above effects were concomitant with a significant downregulation of mRNA and protein expression of the oncogenic kinase SGK1, the mitochondria-hosted mTOR component. In addition, a moderate decrease in SGK1 phosphorylation at Ser422 was observed in polyphenol-treated cells. The mTOR inhibitor rapamycin produced a similar reduction in SGK1 mRNA and protein levels as well as phosphorylation. Collectively, our findings suggest that the combination of curcumin and carnosic acid at potentially bioavailable concentrations may effectively target different types of cancer cells by distinct modes of action. This and similar combinations merit further exploration as an anticancer modality.
    Keywords:  OxPhos; SGK1; carnosic acid; cell cycle; curcumin; prostate cancer
  41. Circulation. 2021 Oct 21.
      Background: Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a complex disease partly explained by the effects of individual gene variants on sarcomeric protein biomechanics. At the cellular level, HCM mutations most commonly enhance force production, leading to higher energy demands. Despite significant advances in elucidating sarcomeric structure-function relationships, there is still much to be learned about the mechanisms that link altered cardiac energetics to HCM phenotypes. In this work, we test the hypothesis that changes in cardiac energetics represent a common pathophysiologic pathway in HCM. Methods: We performed a comprehensive multi-omics profile of the molecular (transcripts, metabolites, and complex lipids), ultrastructural, and functional components of HCM energetics using myocardial samples from 27 HCM patients and 13 normal controls (donor hearts). Results: Integrated omics analysis revealed alterations in a wide array of biochemical pathways with major dysregulation in fatty acid metabolism, reduction of acylcarnitines, and accumulation of free fatty acids. HCM hearts showed evidence of global energetic decompensation manifested by a decrease in high energy phosphate metabolites [ATP, ADP, and phosphocreatine (PCr)] and a reduction in mitochondrial genes involved in creatine kinase and ATP synthesis. Accompanying these metabolic derangements, electron microscopy showed an increased fraction of severely damaged mitochondria with reduced cristae density, coinciding with reduced citrate synthase (CS) activity and mitochondrial oxidative respiration. These mitochondrial abnormalities were associated with elevated reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reduced antioxidant defenses. However, despite significant mitochondrial injury, HCM hearts failed to upregulate mitophagic clearance. Conclusions: Overall, our findings suggest that perturbed metabolic signaling and mitochondrial dysfunction are common pathogenic mechanisms in patients with HCM. These results highlight potential new drug targets for attenuation of the clinical disease through improving metabolic function and reducing mitochondrial injury.
  42. JCI Insight. 2021 Oct 22. pii: e142464. [Epub ahead of print]6(20):
      Monocarboxylates, such as lactate and pyruvate, are precursors for biosynthetic pathways, including those for glucose, lipids, and amino acids via the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle and adjacent metabolic networks. The transportation of monocarboxylates across the cellular membrane is performed primarily by monocarboxylate transporters (MCTs), the membrane localization and stabilization of which are facilitated by the transmembrane protein basigin (BSG). Here, we demonstrate that the MCT/BSG axis sits at a crucial intersection of cellular metabolism. Abolishment of MCT1 in the plasma membrane was achieved by Bsg depletion, which led to gluconeogenesis impairment via preventing the influx of lactate and pyruvate into the cell, consequently suppressing the TCA cycle. This net anaplerosis suppression was compensated in part by the increased utilization of glycogenic amino acids (e.g., alanine and glutamine) into the TCA cycle and by activated ketogenesis through fatty acid β-oxidation. Complementary to these observations, hyperglycemia and hepatic steatosis induced by a high-fat diet were ameliorated in Bsg-deficient mice. Furthermore, Bsg deficiency significantly improved insulin resistance induced by a high-fat diet. Taken together, the plasma membrane-selective modulation of lactate and pyruvate transport through BSG inhibition could potentiate metabolic flexibility to treat metabolic diseases.
    Keywords:  Diabetes; Gluconeogenesis; Hepatology; Metabolism
  43. Mol Cell. 2021 Oct 21. pii: S1097-2765(21)00798-X. [Epub ahead of print]81(20): 4191-4208.e8
      To survive, mammalian cells must adapt to environmental challenges. While the cellular response to mild stress has been widely studied, how cells respond to severe stress remains unclear. We show here that under severe hyperosmotic stress, cells enter a transient hibernation-like state in anticipation of recovery. We demonstrate this adaptive pausing response (APR) is a coordinated cellular response that limits ATP supply and consumption through mitochondrial fragmentation and widespread pausing of mRNA translation. This pausing is accomplished by ribosome stalling at translation initiation codons, which keeps mRNAs poised to resume translation upon recovery. We further show that recovery from severe stress involves ISR (integrated stress response) signaling that permits cell cycle progression, resumption of growth, and reversal of mitochondria fragmentation. Our findings indicate that cells can respond to severe stress via a hibernation-like mechanism that preserves vital elements of cellular function under harsh environmental conditions.
    Keywords:  ATF4; ISR; hypertonic; mTOR; mitochondria; neMito mRNAs; ribosome stalling; stress; translation
  44. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Oct 09. pii: 5054. [Epub ahead of print]13(20):
      Epithelial cancer cells often have unusually higher mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm) than their normal counterparts, which has been associated with increased invasiveness in vitro and higher metastatic potential in vivo. However, the mechanisms by which ΔΨm in cancer cells is regulated in tumor microenvironment (TME) remain unclear. In this study, we used an in vitro micropatterning platform to recapitulate biophysical confinement cues in the TME and investigated the mechanisms by which these regulate cancer cell ΔΨm. We found that micropatterning resulted in a spatial distribution of ΔΨm, which correlated with the level of E-cadherin mediated intercellular adhesion. There was a stark contrast in the spatial distribution of ΔΨm in the micropattern of E-cadherin-negative breast cancer cells (MDA-MB-231) compared to that of the high E-cadherin expressing (MCF-7) cancer cells. Disruption and knockout of E-cadherin adhesions rescued the low ΔΨm found at the center of MCF-7 micropatterns with high E-cadherin expression, while E-cadherin overexpression in MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 cells lowered their ΔΨm at the micropattern center. These results show that E-cadherin plays an important role in regulating the ΔΨm of cancer cells in the context of biophysical cues in TME.
    Keywords:  CRISPR/Cas9; E-cadherin; MCF-7; MDA-MB-231; adherens junction; breast cancer; mitochondrial membrane potential; tumor microenvironment
  45. Cell Death Dis. 2021 Oct 20. 12(11): 975
      Tumors can use metabolic reprogramming to survive nutrient stress. Epigenetic regulators play a critical role in metabolic adaptation. Here we screened a sgRNA library to identify epigenetic regulators responsible for the vulnerability of colorectal cancer (CRC) cells to glucose deprivation and found that more EZH2-knockout cells survived glucose deprivation. Then, we showed that EZH2 expression was significantly downregulated in response to glucose deprivation in a glucose-sensitive CRC cell line, and EZH2-knockdown cells were more resistant to glucose deprivation. Mechanistically, EZH2 deficiency upregulated the expression of glutaminase (GLS) and promoted the production of glutamate, which in turn led to increased synthesis of intracellular glutathione (GSH) and eventually attenuated the reactive oxygen species (ROS)-mediated cell death induced by glucose deprivation. Although EZH2 functioned as an oncogene in cancer progression and EZH2 knockout abolished colorectal cancer development in a mouse model, here we revealed a mechanistic link between EZH2 and metabolic reprogramming via the direct regulation of GLS expression and observed a negative correlation between EZH2 and GLS expression in colorectal cancer tissues. These findings further confirmed the importance of heterogeneity, provided an explanation for the clinical tolerance of cancer cells to EZH2 inhibitors from the perspective of metabolism, and proposed the possibility of combining EZH2 inhibitors and glutamine metabolism inhibitors for the treatment of cancer.
  46. Biomedicines. 2021 Oct 11. pii: 1440. [Epub ahead of print]9(10):
      Although the prevalence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) continues to increase, there is no effective treatment approved for this condition. We previously showed, in high-fat diet (HFD)-fed mice, that the supplementation of combined metabolic activators (CMA), including nicotinamide riboside (NAD+ precursor) and the potent glutathione precursors serine and N-acetyl-l-cysteine (NAC), significantly decreased fatty liver by promoting fat oxidation in mitochondria. Afterwards, in a one-day proof-of-concept human supplementation study, we observed that this CMA, including also L-carnitine tartrate (LCT), resulted in increased fatty acid oxidation and de novo glutathione synthesis. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms associated with supplementation of CMA have not been fully elucidated. Here, we demonstrated in hamsters that the chronic supplementation of this CMA (changing serine for betaine) at two doses significantly decreased hepatic steatosis. We further generated liver transcriptomics data and integrated these data using a liver-specific genome-scale metabolic model of liver tissue. We systemically determined the molecular changes after the supplementation of CMA and found that it activates mitochondria in the liver tissue by modulating global lipid, amino acid, antioxidant and folate metabolism. Our findings provide extra evidence about the beneficial effects of a treatment based on this CMA against NAFLD.
    Keywords:  NAFLD; combined metabolic activators; mitochondrial metabolism; transcriptomics
  47. Cell Rep. 2021 Oct 19. pii: S2211-1247(21)01312-7. [Epub ahead of print]37(3): 109848
      During tumor progression, lysosome function is often maladaptively upregulated to match the high energy demand required for cancer cell hyper-proliferation and invasion. Here, we report that mucolipin TRP channel 1 (TRPML1), a lysosomal Ca2+ and Zn2+ release channel that regulates multiple aspects of lysosome function, is dramatically upregulated in metastatic melanoma cells compared with normal cells. TRPML-specific synthetic agonists (ML-SAs) are sufficient to induce rapid (within hours) lysosomal Zn2+-dependent necrotic cell death in metastatic melanoma cells while completely sparing normal cells. ML-SA-caused mitochondria swelling and dysfunction lead to cellular ATP depletion. While pharmacological inhibition or genetic silencing of TRPML1 in metastatic melanoma cells prevents such cell death, overexpression of TRPML1 in normal cells confers ML-SA vulnerability. In the melanoma mouse models, ML-SAs exhibit potent in vivo efficacy of suppressing tumor progression. Hence, targeting maladaptively upregulated lysosome machinery can selectively eradicate metastatic tumor cells in vitro and in vivo.
    Keywords:  ML-SAs; ML-SIs; TRPML1; Zn(2+); cell death; lysosome; metastatic melanoma; mitochondria; small molecule
  48. Cell. 2021 Oct 18. pii: S0092-8674(21)01175-2. [Epub ahead of print]
      Glucose consumption is generally increased in tumor cells to support tumor growth. Interestingly, we report that glycogen accumulation is a key initiating oncogenic event during liver malignant transformation. We found that glucose-6-phosphatase (G6PC) catalyzing the last step of glycogenolysis is frequently downregulated to augment glucose storage in pre-malignant cells. Accumulated glycogen undergoes liquid-liquid phase separation, which results in the assembly of the Laforin-Mst1/2 complex and consequently sequesters Hippo kinases Mst1/2 in glycogen liquid droplets to relieve their inhibition on Yap. Moreover, G6PC or another glycogenolysis enzyme-liver glycogen phosphorylase (PYGL) deficiency in both human and mice results in glycogen storage disease along with liver enlargement and tumorigenesis in a Yap-dependent manner. Consistently, elimination of glycogen accumulation abrogates liver growth and cancer incidence, whereas increasing glycogen storage accelerates tumorigenesis. Thus, we concluded that cancer-initiating cells adapt a glycogen storing mode, which blocks Hippo signaling through glycogen phase separation to augment tumor incidence.
    Keywords:  Hippo signaling; Mst1; Mst2; cancer initiation; glycogen storage; liver cancer; phase separation
  49. Cell Chem Biol. 2021 Oct 20. pii: S2451-9456(21)00434-7. [Epub ahead of print]
      Compounds that modulate H2O2 reaction networks have applications as targeted cancer therapeutics, as a subset of cancers exhibit sensitivity to this redox signal. Previous studies to identify therapeutics that induce oxidants have relied upon probes that respond to many different oxidants in cells, and thus do not report on only H2O2, a redox signal that selectively oxidizes proteins. Here we use a genetically encoded fluorescent probe for human peroxiredoxin-2 (Prx2) oxidation in screens for small-molecule compounds that modulate H2O2 pathways. We further characterize cellular responses to several compounds selected from the screen. Our results reveal that some, but not all, of the compounds enact H2O2-mediated toxicity in cells. Among them, SMER3, an antifungal, has not been reported as an oxidant-inducing drug. Several drugs, including cisplatin, that previously have been shown to induce reactive oxygen species (ROS) do not appear to oxidize Prx2, suggesting H2O2 is not among the ROS induced by those drugs.
    Keywords:  biosensor; cancer; genetically encoded H(2)O(2) specific sensor; high-throughput drug screening; oxidative stress; peroxiredoxin; reactive oxygen species; redox metabolism; redox therapeutics
  50. PLoS One. 2021 ;16(10): e0254966
      OBJECTIVE: The oxygen concentration within cancer tissue is known to be low, but is expected to increase rapidly when oxygen is supplied by angiogenesis and hematogenous metastasis, suggesting that rapid increases in oxygen levels might influence cancer cell physiology. Therefore, we investigated the effects of oxygen concentration fluctuations on the glucose metabolism of cancer cells.METHODS: The glucose metabolism of oral squamous cell carcinoma (HSC-2 and HSC-3) and normal epithelial (HaCaT) cells cultured under normoxic (21% oxygen) or hypoxic (1% oxygen) conditions was measured using a pH-stat system under normoxic or hypoxic conditions. The acidic end-products and reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated by glucose metabolism were also measured.
    RESULTS: Under normoxic conditions, the metabolic activity of hypoxically cultured cancer cells was significantly increased, and the production of acids other than lactate was upregulated, while the normal cells did not respond to rapid increases in oxygen levels. ROS production was higher in normoxic conditions in all cells, especially the hypoxically cultured HSC-3 cells.
    CONCLUSIONS: Rapid increases in oxygen levels might enhance the glucose metabolism of hypoxically cultured cancer cells by mainly activating the TCA cycle and electron transport system, which might activate cancer cells through the ATP and ROS generation.
  51. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 Oct 26. pii: e2025347118. [Epub ahead of print]118(43):
      Energy production via the mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC) and mitophagy are two important processes affected in Parkinson's disease (PD). Interestingly, PINK1, mutations of which cause early-onset PD, plays a key role in both processes, suggesting that these two mechanisms are connected. However, the converging link of both pathways currently remains enigmatic. Recent findings demonstrated that lipid aggregation, along with defective mitochondria, is present in postmortem brains of PD patients. In addition, an increasing body of evidence shows that sphingolipids, including ceramide, are altered in PD, supporting the importance of lipids in the pathophysiology of PD. Here, we identified ceramide to play a crucial role in PINK1-related PD that was previously linked almost exclusively to mitochondrial dysfunction. We found ceramide to accumulate in mitochondria and to negatively affect mitochondrial function, most notably the ETC. Lowering ceramide levels improved mitochondrial phenotypes in pink1-mutant flies and PINK1-deficient patient-derived fibroblasts, showing that the effects of ceramide are evolutionarily conserved. In addition, ceramide accumulation provoked ceramide-induced mitophagy upon PINK1 deficiency. As a result of the ceramide accumulation, β-oxidation in PINK1 mutants was decreased, which was rescued by lowering ceramide levels. Furthermore, stimulation of β-oxidation was sufficient to rescue PINK1-deficient phenotypes. In conclusion, we discovered a cellular mechanism resulting from PD-causing loss of PINK1 and found a protective role of β-oxidation in ETC dysfunction, thus linking lipids and mitochondria in the pathophysiology of PINK1-related PD. Furthermore, our data nominate β-oxidation and ceramide as therapeutic targets for PD.
    Keywords:  PINK1; Parkinson’s disease; ceramide; mitochondria; β-oxidation
  52. Cell Death Dis. 2021 Oct 18. 12(11): 961
      Mitochondrial transcriptional factor A (TFAM) acts as a key regulatory to control mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA); the impact of TFAM and mtDNA in modulating carcinogenesis is controversial. Current study aims to define TFAM mediated regulations in head and neck cancer (HNC). Multifaceted analyses in HNC cells genetically manipulated for TFAM were performed. Clinical associations of TFAM and mtDNA encoded Electron Transport Chain (ETC) genes in regulating HNC tumourigenesis were also examined in HNC specimens. At cellular level, TFAM silencing led to an enhanced cell growth, motility and chemoresistance whereas enforced TFAM expression significantly reversed these phenotypic changes. These TFAM mediated cellular changes resulted from (1) metabolic reprogramming by directing metabolism towards aerobic glycolysis, based on the detection of less respiratory capacity in accompany with greater lactate production; and/or (2) enhanced ERK1/2-Akt-mTORC-S6 signalling activity in response to TFAM induced mtDNA perturbance. Clinical impacts of TFAM and mtDNA were further defined in carcinogen-induced mouse tongue cancer and clinical human HNC tissues; as the results showed that TFAM and mtDNA expression were significantly dropped in tumour compared with their normal counterparts and negatively correlated with disease progression. Collectively, our data uncovered a tumour-suppressing role of TFAM and mtDNA in determining HNC oncogenicity and potentially paved the way for development of TFAM/mtDNA based scheme for HNC diagnosis.
  53. BMC Biol. 2021 Oct 21. 19(1): 228
      BACKGROUND: Mitochondrial nucleoside diphosphate kinase (NDPK-D, NME4, NM23-H4) is a multifunctional enzyme mainly localized in the intermembrane space, bound to the inner membrane.RESULTS: We constructed loss-of-function mutants of NDPK-D, lacking either NDP kinase activity or membrane interaction and expressed mutants or wild-type protein in cancer cells. In a complementary approach, we performed depletion of NDPK-D by RNA interference. Both loss-of-function mutations and NDPK-D depletion promoted epithelial-mesenchymal transition and increased migratory and invasive potential. Immunocompromised mice developed more metastases when injected with cells expressing mutant NDPK-D as compared to wild-type. This metastatic reprogramming is a consequence of mitochondrial alterations, including fragmentation and loss of mitochondria, a metabolic switch from respiration to glycolysis, increased ROS generation, and further metabolic changes in mitochondria, all of which can trigger pro-metastatic protein expression and signaling cascades. In human cancer, NME4 expression is negatively associated with markers of epithelial-mesenchymal transition and tumor aggressiveness and a good prognosis factor for beneficial clinical outcome.
    CONCLUSIONS: These data demonstrate NME4 as a novel metastasis suppressor gene, the first localizing to mitochondria, pointing to a role of mitochondria in metastatic dissemination.
    Keywords:  Invasion; Metabolic reprogramming; Metastasis; Mitochondrial dynamics; NME4; Nucleoside diphosphate kinase; Prognosis biomarker; Retrograde signaling
  54. Nat Metab. 2021 Oct;3(10): 1327-1341
      Calorie restriction (CR) promotes healthy ageing in diverse species. Recently, it has been shown that fasting for a portion of each day has metabolic benefits and promotes lifespan. These findings complicate the interpretation of rodent CR studies, in which animals typically eat only once per day and rapidly consume their food, which collaterally imposes fasting. Here we show that a prolonged fast is necessary for key metabolic, molecular and geroprotective effects of a CR diet. Using a series of feeding regimens, we dissect the effects of calories and fasting, and proceed to demonstrate that fasting alone recapitulates many of the physiological and molecular effects of CR. Our results shed new light on how both when and how much we eat regulate metabolic health and longevity, and demonstrate that daily prolonged fasting, and not solely reduced caloric intake, is likely responsible for the metabolic and geroprotective benefits of a CR diet.
  55. Blood. 2021 Oct 18. pii: blood.2021013832. [Epub ahead of print]
      Adipocytes occupy 70% of the cellular volume within the bone marrow (BM), wherein multiple myeloma (MM) originates and resides. However, the nature of the interaction between MM cells and adipocytes remains unclear. Cancer-associated adipocytes support tumor cells through various mechanisms, including metabolic reprogramming of cancer cells. We hypothesized that metabolic interactions mediate the dependence of MM cells on BM adipocytes. Here, we show that BM aspirates from precursor states of MM, including monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) and smoldering MM (SMM), demonstrate significant upregulation of adipogenic commitment when compared to healthy donors (HD). In-vitro co-culture assays revealed an adipocyte-induced increase in MM cell proliferation in MGUS/SMM compared with newly diagnosed MM (NDMM). Using murine MM cell/ BM adipocyte co-culture assays, we demonstrate MM-induced lipolysis in adipocytes via activation of the lipolysis pathway. Upregulation of fatty acid transporters 1 and 4 on MM cells mediated the uptake of secreted free fatty acids (FFA) by adjacent MM cells. The effect of FFA on MM cells was dose dependant and revealed increased proliferation at lower concentrations versus induction of lipotoxicity at higher concentrations. Lipotoxicity occurred via the ferroptosis pathway. Exogenous treatment with arachidonic acid, a very long chain FFA, in a murine plasmacytoma model showed a reduction in tumor burden. Taken together, our data reveal a novel pathway involving MM cell-induced lipolysis in BM adipocytes and suggest prevention of FFA uptake by MM cells as a potential target for myeloma therapeutics.
  56. Nat Commun. 2021 Oct 21. 12(1): 6116
      Critical cancer pathways often cannot be targeted because of limited efficiency crossing cell membranes. Here we report the development of a Salmonella-based intracellular delivery system to address this challenge. We engineer genetic circuits that (1) activate the regulator flhDC to drive invasion and (2) induce lysis to release proteins into tumor cells. Released protein drugs diffuse from Salmonella containing vacuoles into the cellular cytoplasm where they interact with their therapeutic targets. Control of invasion with flhDC increases delivery over 500 times. The autonomous triggering of lysis after invasion makes the platform self-limiting and prevents drug release in healthy organs. Bacterial delivery of constitutively active caspase-3 blocks the growth of hepatocellular carcinoma and lung metastases, and increases survival in mice. This success in targeted killing of cancer cells provides critical evidence that this approach will be applicable to a wide range of protein drugs for the treatment of solid tumors.
  57. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Oct 19. pii: 5251. [Epub ahead of print]13(20):
      High-grade serous ovarian carcinoma (HGSOC) is an epithelial cancer that accounts for most ovarian cancer deaths. Metabolic abnormalities such as extensive aerobic glycolysis and aberrant lipid metabolism are well-known characteristics of cancer cells. Indeed, accumulation of lipid droplets (LDs) in certain types of malignant tumors has been known for more than 50 years. Here, we investigated the correlation between LD accumulation and clinical prognosis. In 96 HGSOC patients, we found that high expression of the LD marker adipophilin was associated with poor progression-free and overall survival (p = 0.0022 and p = 0.014, respectively). OVCAR-3 ovarian carcinoma cells accumulated LDs in a glucose-dependent manner, which suggested the involvement of aerobic glycolysis and subsequently enhanced lipogenesis, with a result being LD accumulation. The acyl-CoA: cholesterol acyltransferase 1 inhibitor K604 and the hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA reductase inhibitor pitavastatin blocked LD accumulation in OVCAR-3 cells and reduced phosphorylation of the survival-related kinases Akt and ERK1/2, both of which have been implicated in malignancy. Our cell-based assays thus suggested that enhanced aerobic glycolysis resulted in LD accumulation and activation of survival-related kinases. Overall, our results support the idea that cancers with lipogenic phenotypes are associated with poor clinical prognosis, and we suggest that adipophilin may serve as an independent indicator of a poor prognosis in HGSOC.
    Keywords:  adipophilin; high-grade serous ovarian carcinoma; lipid droplet; ovarian cancer
  58. Nat Commun. 2021 Oct 20. 12(1): 6101
      The mechanisms involved in programmed or damage-induced removal of mitochondria by mitophagy remains elusive. Here, we have screened for regulators of PRKN-independent mitophagy using an siRNA library targeting 197 proteins containing lipid interacting domains. We identify Cyclin G-associated kinase (GAK) and Protein Kinase C Delta (PRKCD) as regulators of PRKN-independent mitophagy, with both being dispensable for PRKN-dependent mitophagy and starvation-induced autophagy. We demonstrate that the kinase activity of both GAK and PRKCD are required for efficient mitophagy in vitro, that PRKCD is present on mitochondria, and that PRKCD facilitates recruitment of ULK1/ATG13 to early autophagic structures. Importantly, we demonstrate in vivo relevance for both kinases in the regulation of basal mitophagy. Knockdown of GAK homologue (gakh-1) in C. elegans or knockout of PRKCD homologues in zebrafish led to significant inhibition of basal mitophagy, highlighting the evolutionary relevance of these kinases in mitophagy regulation.
  59. Function (Oxf). 2021 ;2(6): zqab045
      Alzheimer's Disease (ad) associates with insulin resistance and low aerobic capacity, suggestive of impaired skeletal muscle mitochondrial function. However, this has not been directly measured in AD. This study ( n  = 50) compared muscle mitochondrial respiratory function and gene expression profiling in cognitively healthy older adults (CH; n = 24) to 26 individuals in the earliest phase of ad-related cognitive decline, mild cognitive impairment (MCI; n  = 11) or MCI taking the ad medication donepezil (MCI + med; n  = 15). Mitochondrial respiratory kinetics were measured in permeabilized muscle fibers from muscle biopsies of the vastus lateralis. Untreated MCI exhibited lower lipid-stimulated skeletal muscle mitochondrial respiration (State 3, ADP-stimulated) than both CH ( P = .043) and MCI + med (P = .007) groups. MCI also exhibited poorer mitochondrial coupling control compared to CH (P = .014). RNA sequencing of skeletal muscle revealed unique differences in mitochondrial function and metabolism genes based on both MCI status (CH vs MCI) and medication treatment (MCI vs MCI + med). MCI + med modified over 600 skeletal muscle genes compared to MCI suggesting donepezil powerfully impacts the transcriptional profile of muscle. Overall, skeletal muscle mitochondrial respiration is altered in untreated MCI but normalized in donepezil-treated MCI participants while leak control is impaired regardless of medication status. These results provide evidence that mitochondrial changes occur in the early stages of AD, but are influenced by a common ad medicine. Further study of mitochondrial bioenergetics and the influence of transcriptional regulation in early ad is warranted.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer's disease; RNA sequencing; donepezil; mild cognitive impairment; mitochondria; respiration; skeletal muscle