bims-mibica Biomed News
on Mitochondrial bioenergetics in cancer
Issue of 2021‒12‒05
thirty-nine papers selected by
Kelsey Fisher-Wellman
East Carolina University

  1. J Cell Sci. 2021 Dec 02. pii: jcs.259254. [Epub ahead of print]
      Endoplasmic reticulum stress (ERS) occurs when cellular demand for protein folding exceeds the capacity of the organelle. Adaptation and cell survival in response to ERS requires a critical contribution by mitochondria and peroxisomes. During ERS response, mitochondrial respiration increases to ameliorate reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulation; we now show in yeast that peroxisome abundance also increases to promote an adaptive response. In pox1▵ cells, defective in peroxisomal ß oxidation of fatty acids, respiratory response to ERS is impaired, and ROS accrues. However, respiratory response to ERS is rescued, and ROS production is mitigated in pox1▵ cells by overexpression of Mpc1, the mitochondrial pyruvate carrier that provides another source of acetyl CoA to fuel the TCA cycle and oxidative phosphorylation. Using proteomics, select mitochondrial proteins were identified that undergo upregulation by ERS to remodel respiratory machinery. Several peroxisome-based proteins were also increased, corroborating the peroxisomal role in ERS adaptation. Finally, ERS stimulates assembly of respiratory complexes into higher order supercomplexes, underlying increased electron transfer efficiency. Our results highlight peroxisomal and mitochondrial support for ERS adaptation to favor cell survival.
    Keywords:  Endoplasmic reticulum; Mitochondria; Stress survival
  2. Cancer Cell Int. 2021 Nov 27. 21(1): 629
      BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: MicroRNA (miRNA) that translocate from the nucleus to mitochondria are referred to as mitochondrial microRNA (mitomiR). Albeit mitomiRs have been shown to modulate gene expression, their functional impact within mitochondria is unknown. The main objective of this study is to investigate whether the mitochondrial genome is regulated by miR present inside the mitochondria.METHODS AND RESULTS: Here, we report mitomiR let-7a regulates mitochondrial transcription in breast cancer cells and reprogram the metabolism accordingly. These effects were mediated through the interaction of let-7a with mtDNA, as studied by RNA pull-down assays, altering the activity of Complex I in a cell line-specific manner. Our study, for the first time, identifies the role of mitomiR (let-7a) in regulating the mitochondrial genome by transcriptional repression and its contribution to regulating mitochondrial metabolism of breast cancer cells.
    CONCLUSION: These findings uncover a novel mechanism by which mitomiR regulates mitochondrial transcription.
    Keywords:  Cancer; Glycolysis; Metabolic reprogramming; Mito-miRs; Mitochondria
  3. Open Biol. 2021 Dec;11(12): 210238
      Mitochondria are complex organelles with two membranes. Their architecture is determined by characteristic folds of the inner membrane, termed cristae. Recent studies in yeast and other organisms led to the identification of four major pathways that cooperate to shape cristae membranes. These include dimer formation of the mitochondrial ATP synthase, assembly of the mitochondrial contact site and cristae organizing system (MICOS), inner membrane remodelling by a dynamin-related GTPase (Mgm1/OPA1), and modulation of the mitochondrial lipid composition. In this review, we describe the function of the evolutionarily conserved machineries involved in mitochondrial cristae biogenesis with a focus on yeast and present current models to explain how their coordinated activities establish mitochondrial membrane architecture.
    Keywords:  ATP synthase; MICOS; Mgm1; Saccharomyces cerevisiae; cristae; mitochondrial lipids
  4. Front Oncol. 2021 ;11 768758
      Electromagnetic fields (EMF) raise intracellular levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) that can be toxic to cancer cells. Because weak magnetic fields influence spin state pairing in redox-active radical electron pairs, we hypothesize that they disrupt electron flow in the mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC). We tested this hypothesis by studying the effects of oscillating magnetic fields (sOMF) produced by a new noninvasive device involving permanent magnets spinning with specific frequency and timing patterns. We studied the effects of sOMF on ETC by measuring the consumption of oxygen (O2) by isolated rat liver mitochondria, normal human astrocytes, and several patient derived brain tumor cells, and O2 generation/consumption by plant cells with an O2 electrode. We also investigated glucose metabolism in tumor cells using 1H and 13C nuclear magnetic resonance and assessed mitochondrial alterations leading to cell death by using fluorescence microscopy with MitoTracker™ and a fluorescent probe for Caspase 3 activation. We show that sOMF of appropriate field strength, frequency, and on/off profiles completely arrest electron transport in isolated, respiring, rat liver mitochondria and patient derived glioblastoma (GBM), meningioma and diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) cells and can induce loss of mitochondrial integrity. These changes correlate with a decrease in mitochondrial carbon flux in cancer cells and with cancer cell death even in the non-dividing phase of the cell cycle. Our findings suggest that rotating magnetic fields could be therapeutically efficacious in brain cancers such as GBM and DIPG through selective disruption of the electron flow in immobile ETC complexes.
    Keywords:  cancer; diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma; electron transport chain; oxygen consumption; radical pair mechanism
  5. Cell Rep. 2021 Nov 30. pii: S2211-1247(21)01555-2. [Epub ahead of print]37(9): 110069
      Cancer cells utilize rapidly elevated cellular antioxidant programs to accommodate chemotherapy-induced oxidative stress; however, the underlying mechanism remains largely unexplored. Here we screen redox-sensitive effectors as potential therapeutic targets for colorectal cancer (CRC) treatment and find that cyclophilin A (CypA) is a compelling candidate. Our results show that CypA forms an intramolecular disulfide bond between Cys115 and Cys161 upon oxidative stress and the oxidized cysteines in CypA are recycled to a reduced state by peroxiredoxin-2 (PRDX2). Furthermore, CypA reduces cellular reactive oxygen species levels and increases CRC cell survival under insults of H2O2 and chemotherapeutics through a CypA-PRDX2-mediated antioxidant apparatus. Notably, CypA is upregulated in chemoresistant CRC samples, which predicts poor prognosis. Moreover, targeting CypA by cyclosporine A exhibits promising efficacy against chemoresistant CRC when combined with chemotherapeutics. Collectively, our findings highlight CypA as a component of cellular noncanonical antioxidant defense and as a potential druggable therapeutic target to ameliorate CRC chemoresistance.
    Keywords:  CRC; CypA; PRDX2; ROS; antioxidant system; colorectal cancer; disulfide bond; drug resistance; oxidative stress; reactive oxygen species; redox modification; redox signaling
  6. Cell Chem Biol. 2021 Nov 23. pii: S2451-9456(21)00479-7. [Epub ahead of print]
      SMIP004-7 is a small molecule inhibitor of mitochondrial respiration with selective in vivo anti-cancer activity through an as-yet unknown molecular target. We demonstrate here that SMIP004-7 targets drug-resistant cancer cells with stem-like features by inhibiting mitochondrial respiration complex I (NADH:ubiquinone oxidoreductase, complex I [CI]). Instead of affecting the quinone-binding site targeted by most CI inhibitors, SMIP004-7 and its cytochrome P450-dependent activated metabolite(s) have an uncompetitive mechanism of inhibition involving a distinct N-terminal region of catalytic subunit NDUFS2 that leads to rapid disassembly of CI. SMIP004-7 and an improved chemical analog selectively engage NDUFS2 in vivo to inhibit the growth of triple-negative breast cancer transplants, a response mediated at least in part by boosting CD4+ and CD8+ T cell-mediated immune surveillance. Thus, SMIP004-7 defines an emerging class of ubiquinone uncompetitive CI inhibitors for cell autonomous and microenvironmental metabolic targeting of mitochondrial respiration in cancer.
    Keywords:  NADH:ubiquinone oxidoreductase; NDUFS2; SMIP004-7; cancer metabolic targeting; cancer stem cells; drug-resistant cancer; immunometabolism; uncompetitive inhibition
  7. Mol Cell. 2021 Nov 19. pii: S1097-2765(21)00954-0. [Epub ahead of print]
      Most mitochondrial proteins are translated in the cytosol and imported into mitochondria. Mutations in the mitochondrial protein import machinery cause human pathologies. However, a lack of suitable tools to measure protein uptake across the mitochondrial proteome has prevented the identification of specific proteins affected by import perturbation. Here, we introduce mePRODmt, a pulsed-SILAC based proteomics approach that includes a booster signal to increase the sensitivity for mitochondrial proteins selectively, enabling global dynamic analysis of endogenous mitochondrial protein uptake in cells. We applied mePRODmt to determine protein uptake kinetics and examined how inhibitors of mitochondrial import machineries affect protein uptake. Monitoring changes in translation and uptake upon mitochondrial membrane depolarization revealed that protein uptake was extensively modulated by the import and translation machineries via activation of the integrated stress response. Strikingly, uptake changes were not uniform, with subsets of proteins being unaffected or decreased due to changes in translation or import capacity.
    Keywords:  SILAC; TMT; disease; integrated stress response; mitochondria; protein translocation; proteomics; proteostasis; respiratory chain complexes; translation
  8. J Physiol. 2021 Nov 27.
      KEY POINTS: Least shrews were studied to explore the relationship between metabolic function, mitochondrial morphology and protein content in different tissues. Liver and kidney mitochondrial content and enzymatic activity approaches the heart indicating similar metabolic demand among tissues that contribute to basal and maximum metabolism. This allows examination of mitochondrial structure and composition in tissues with similar maximum metabolic demands. Mitochondrial networks only occur in striated muscle. In contrast, the liver and kidney maintain individual mitochondria with limited reticulation. Muscle mitochondrial reticulation is the result of dense ATPase activity and cell-spanning myofibrils which require networking for adequate metabolic support. In contrast, liver and kidney ATPase activity is localized to the endoplasmic reticulum and basolateral membrane respectively, generating a locally balanced energy conversion and utilization Mitochondrial morphology is not driven by maximum metabolic demand, but by the cytosolic distribution of energy utilizing systems set by the functions of the tissue.ABSTRACT: Mitochondrial adaptations are fundamental to differentiated function and energetic homeostasis in mammalian cells. But the mechanisms that underlie these relationships remain poorly understood. Here, we investigated organ-specific mitochondrial morphology, connectivity and protein composition in a model of extreme mammalian metabolism, the Least shrew (Cryptotis parva). This was achieved through a combination of high-resolution 3D focused-ion-beam EM imaging and tandem-mass-tag MS proteomics. We demonstrate that liver and kidney mitochondrial content are equivalent to the heart permitting assessment of mitochondrial adaptations in different organs with similar metabolic demand. Muscle mitochondrial networks (cardiac and skeletal) are extensive, with a high incidence of nanotunnels - which collectively support the metabolism of large muscle cells. Mitochondrial networks were not detected in the liver and kidney as individual mitochondria are localized with sites of ATP consumption. This configuration is not observed in striated muscle, likely due to a homogenous ATPase distribution and the structural requirements of contraction. These results demonstrate distinct, fundamental mitochondrial structural adaptations for similar metabolic demand that are dependent on the topology of energy utilization process in a mammalian model of extreme metabolism. Abstract figure. This study investigates the role of mitochondrial morphology and protein composition in setting the extreme metabolic rates of one of the smallest extant mammals - the North American least shrew (Cryptotis parva). To do this, mitochondrial characteristics from liver, kidney, skeletal muscle and heart tissues were compared as these tissues are major contributors to basal and maximum metabolic states. Liver and kidney mitochondrial volume density and protein content approach levels observed in the heart - indicating that these former tissues are major contributors to the high basal metabolic rates of small mammals. Despite this high mitochondrial content, the liver and kidney do not exhibit mitochondrial networking - structures that are proposed to conduct mitochondrial proton motive force at the scale of the cell. Shrew skeletal muscle and cardiac mitochondrial network organization is consistent with networks observed in larger mammals while also exhibiting increased connectivity at the nm-scale. Instead of forming networks, kidney and liver mitochondria are directly associated with sites of ATP utilization. These results identify conditions that dictate the formation of mitochondrial networks and processes that drive mammalian allometric scaling of metabolic rates. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
  9. Cell Metab. 2021 Nov 24. pii: S1550-4131(21)00531-3. [Epub ahead of print]
      Uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) is a major regulator of brown and beige adipocyte energy expenditure and metabolic homeostasis. However, the widely employed UCP1 loss-of-function model has recently been shown to have a severe deficiency in the entire electron transport chain of thermogenic fat. As such, the role of UCP1 in metabolic regulation in vivo remains unclear. We recently identified cysteine-253 as a regulatory site on UCP1 that elevates protein activity upon covalent modification. Here, we examine the physiological importance of this site through the generation of a UCP1 cysteine-253-null (UCP1 C253A) mouse, a precise genetic model for selective disruption of UCP1 in vivo. UCP1 C253A mice exhibit significantly compromised thermogenic responses in both males and females but display no measurable effect on fat accumulation in an obesogenic environment. Unexpectedly, we find that a lack of C253 results in adipose tissue redox stress, which drives substantial immune cell infiltration and systemic inflammatory pathology in adipose tissues and liver of male, but not female, mice. Elevation of systemic estrogen reverses this male-specific pathology, providing a basis for protection from inflammation due to loss of UCP1 C253 in females. Together, our results establish the UCP1 C253 activation site as a regulator of acute thermogenesis and sex-dependent tissue inflammation.
    Keywords:  UCP1; cysteine; inflammation; metabolism; reactive oxygen species; sex differences
  10. Mol Cell Oncol. 2021 ;8(5): 1984162
      Autophagy is a central recycling process, and it plays a complex role in cancer. We discovered that when autophagy is blocked, cancer cells compensate by increasing mitochondrial-derived vesicles. However, there are many unanswered questions remaining, particularly in the context of the dual roles of autophagy in cancer.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; cancer; mitochondria; mitochondrial derived vesicles; mitophagy
  11. Nat Chem Biol. 2021 Dec 02.
      Cancer cells have long been recognized to exhibit unique bioenergetic requirements. The apoptolidin family of glycomacrolides are distinguished by their selective cytotoxicity towards oncogene-transformed cells, yet their molecular mechanism remains uncertain. We used photoaffinity analogs of the apoptolidins to identify the F1 subcomplex of mitochondrial ATP synthase as the target of apoptolidin A. Cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM) of apoptolidin and ammocidin-ATP synthase complexes revealed a novel shared mode of inhibition that was confirmed by deep mutational scanning of the binding interface to reveal resistance mutations which were confirmed using CRISPR-Cas9. Ammocidin A was found to suppress leukemia progression in vivo at doses that were tolerated with minimal toxicity. The combination of cellular, structural, mutagenesis, and in vivo evidence defines the mechanism of action of apoptolidin family glycomacrolides and establishes a path to address oxidative phosphorylation-dependent cancers.
  12. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2021 Dec 01.
      Mitochondrial function in cells declines with aging and with neurodegeneration, due in large part to accumulated mutations in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) that arise from deficient DNA repair. However, measuring this repair activity is challenging. Here we employ a molecular approach for visualizing mitochondrial base excision repair (BER) activity in situ by use of a fluorescent probe ( UBER ) that reacts rapidly with AP sites resulting from BER activity. Administering the probe to cultured cells revealed signals that were localized to mitochondria, enabling selective observation of mtDNA BER intermediates. The probe showed elevated DNA repair activity under oxidative stress, and responded to suppression of glycosylase activity. Furthermore, the probe illuminated the time lag between the initiation of oxidative stress and the initial step of BER. Absence of MTH1 in cells resulted in elevated demand for BER activity upon extended oxidative stress, while the absence of OGG1 activity limited glycosylation capacity.
    Keywords:  DNA damage and repair; dynamics; fluorescence probes; mitochondrial DNA
  13. Nat Rev Genet. 2021 Dec 02.
      Mitochondria are subject to unique genetic control by both nuclear DNA and their own genome, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), of which each mitochondrion contains multiple copies. In humans, mutations in mtDNA can lead to devastating, heritable, multi-system diseases that display different tissue-specific presentation at any stage of life. Despite rapid advances in nuclear genome engineering, for years, mammalian mtDNA has remained resistant to genetic manipulation, hampering our ability to understand the mechanisms that underpin mitochondrial disease. Recent developments in the genetic modification of mammalian mtDNA raise the possibility of using genome editing technologies, such as programmable nucleases and base editors, for the treatment of hereditary mitochondrial disease.
  14. Cell Death Dis. 2021 Nov 27. 12(12): 1108
      Abnormal lipid metabolism has been commonly observed in various human cancers, including colorectal cancer (CRC). The mitochondrial citrate carrier SLC25A1 (also known as mitochondrial citrate/isocitrate carrier, CIC), has been shown to play an important role in lipid metabolism regulation. Our bioinformatics analysis indicated that SLC25A1 was markedly upregulated in CRC. However, the role of SLC25A1 in the pathogenesis and aberrant lipid metabolism in CRC remain unexplored. Here, we found that SLC25A1 expression was significantly increased in tumor samples of CRC as compared with paired normal samples, which is associated with poor survival in patients with CRC. Knockdown of SLC25A1 significantly inhibited the growth of CRC cells by suppressing the progression of the G1/S cell cycle and inducing cell apoptosis both in vitro and in vivo, whereas SLC25A1 overexpression suppressed the malignant phenotype. Additionally, we demonstrated that SLC25A1 reprogrammed energy metabolism to promote CRC progression through two mechanisms. Under normal conditions, SLC25A1 increased de novo lipid synthesis to promote CRC growth. During metabolic stress, SLC25A1 increased oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) to protect protects CRC cells from energy stress-induced cell apoptosis. Collectively, SLC25A1 plays a pivotal role in the promotion of CRC growth and survival by reprogramming energy metabolism. It could be exploited as a novel diagnostic marker and therapeutic target in CRC.
  15. J Cell Sci. 2021 Dec 03. pii: jcs.253591. [Epub ahead of print]
      Smaug is a conserved translational regulator that binds numerous mRNAs, including nuclear transcripts that encode mitochondrial enzymes. Smaug orthologs form cytosolic membrane-less organelles (MLOs) in several organisms and cell types. We have performed single-molecule FISH assays that revealed that SDHB and UQCRC1 mRNAs associate with Smaug1 bodies in U2OS cells. Loss of function of Smaug1 and Smaug2 affected both mitochondrial respiration and morphology of the mitochondrial network. Phenotype rescue by Smaug1 transfection depends on the presence of its RNA binding domain. Moreover, we identified specific Smaug1 domains involved in MLO formation, and found that impaired Smaug1 MLO condensation correlates with mitochondrial defects. Mitochondrial Complex I inhibition by rotenone -but not strong mitochondrial uncoupling by CCCP- rapidly induced Smaug1 MLOs dissolution. Metformin and rapamycin elicited similar effects, which were blocked by pharmacological inhibition of AMPK. Finally, we found that Smaug1 MLO dissolution weakens the interaction with target mRNAs, thus enabling their release. We propose that mitochondrial respiration and the AMPK/mTOR balance controls the condensation and dissolution of Smaug1 MLOs, thus regulating nuclear mRNAs that encode key mitochondrial proteins.
    Keywords:  AMPK; Membrane-less organelles; Metformin; Mitochondria; Processing bodies; Smaug; Uqcrc1
  16. Oncogene. 2021 Dec 03.
      The oncogenic potential of the latent transcription factor signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT)3 in many human cancers, including lung cancer, has been largely attributed to its nuclear activity as a tyrosine-phosphorylated (pY705 site) transcription factor. By contrast, an alternate mitochondrial pool of serine phosphorylated (pS727 site) STAT3 has been shown to promote tumourigenesis by regulating metabolic processes, although this has been reported in only a restricted number of mutant RAS-addicted neoplasms. Therefore, the involvement of STAT3 serine phosphorylation in the pathogenesis of most cancer types, including mutant KRAS lung adenocarcinoma (LAC), is unknown. Here, we demonstrate that LAC is suppressed in oncogenic KrasG12D-driven mouse models engineered for pS727-STAT3 deficiency. The proliferative potential of the transformed KrasG12D lung epithelium, and mutant KRAS human LAC cells, was significantly reduced upon pS727-STAT3 deficiency. Notably, we uncover the multifaceted capacity of constitutive pS727-STAT3 to metabolically reprogramme LAC cells towards a hyper-proliferative state by regulating nuclear and mitochondrial (mt) gene transcription, the latter via the mtDNA transcription factor, TFAM. Collectively, our findings reveal an obligate requirement for the transcriptional activity of pS727-STAT3 in mutant KRAS-driven LAC with potential to guide future therapeutic targeting approaches.
  17. J Am Chem Soc. 2021 Nov 30.
      The membrane-bound hydrogenase (Mbh) is a redox-driven Na+/H+ transporter that employs the energy from hydrogen gas (H2) production to catalyze proton pumping and Na+/H+ exchange across cytoplasmic membranes of archaea. Despite a recently resolved structure of this ancient energy-transducing enzyme [Yu et al. Cell 2018, 173, 1636-1649], the molecular principles of its redox-driven ion-transport mechanism remain puzzling and of major interest for understanding bioenergetic principles of early cells. Here we use atomistic molecular dynamics (MD) simulations in combination with data clustering methods and quantum chemical calculations to probe principles underlying proton reduction as well as proton and sodium transport in Mbh from the hyperthermophilic archaeon Pyrococcus furiosus. We identify putative Na+ binding sites and proton pathways leading across the membrane and to the NiFe-active center as well as conformational changes that regulate ion uptake. We suggest that Na+ binding and protonation changes at a putative ion-binding site couple to proton transfer across the antiporter-like MbhH subunit by modulating the conformational state of a conserved ion pair at the subunit interface. Our findings illustrate conserved coupling principles within the complex I superfamily and provide functional insight into archaeal energy transduction mechanisms.
  18. Hum Genet. 2021 Dec 02.
      Mitochondrial DNA copy number (mtDNA-CN) measured from blood specimens is a minimally invasive marker of mitochondrial function that exhibits both inter-individual and intercellular variation. To identify genes involved in regulating mitochondrial function, we performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) in 465,809 White individuals from the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology (CHARGE) consortium and the UK Biobank (UKB). We identified 133 SNPs with statistically significant, independent effects associated with mtDNA-CN across 100 loci. A combination of fine-mapping, variant annotation, and co-localization analyses was used to prioritize genes within each of the 133 independent sites. Putative causal genes were enriched for known mitochondrial DNA depletion syndromes (p = 3.09 × 10-15) and the gene ontology (GO) terms for mtDNA metabolism (p = 1.43 × 10-8) and mtDNA replication (p = 1.2 × 10-7). A clustering approach leveraged pleiotropy between mtDNA-CN associated SNPs and 41 mtDNA-CN associated phenotypes to identify functional domains, revealing three distinct groups, including platelet activation, megakaryocyte proliferation, and mtDNA metabolism. Finally, using mitochondrial SNPs, we establish causal relationships between mitochondrial function and a variety of blood cell-related traits, kidney function, liver function and overall (p = 0.044) and non-cancer mortality (p = 6.56 × 10-4).
  19. Nat Commun. 2021 Dec 03. 12(1): 7056
      Mitochondrial defects are implicated in multiple diseases and aging. Exercise training is an accessible, inexpensive therapeutic intervention that can improve mitochondrial bioenergetics and quality of life. By combining multiple omics techniques with biochemical and in silico normalisation, we removed the bias arising from the training-induced increase in mitochondrial content to unearth an intricate and previously undemonstrated network of differentially prioritised mitochondrial adaptations. We show that changes in hundreds of transcripts, proteins, and lipids are not stoichiometrically linked to the overall increase in mitochondrial content. Our findings suggest enhancing electron flow to oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) is more important to improve ATP generation than increasing the abundance of the OXPHOS machinery, and do not support the hypothesis that training-induced supercomplex formation enhances mitochondrial bioenergetics. Our study provides an analytical approach allowing unbiased and in-depth investigations of training-induced mitochondrial adaptations, challenging our current understanding, and calling for careful reinterpretation of previous findings.
  20. Brain. 2021 Nov 29. pii: awab426. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitochondria are small cellular constituents that generate cellular energy (ATP) by oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS). Dysfunction of these organelles is linked to a heterogeneous group of multisystemic disorders, including diabetes, cancer, ageing-related pathologies and rare mitochondrial diseases (MDs). With respect to the latter, mutations in subunit-encoding genes and assembly factors of the first OXPHOS complex (CI) induce isolated CI deficiency and Leigh syndrome (LS). This syndrome is an early-onset, often fatal, encephalopathy with a variable clinical presentation and poor prognosis due to the lack of effective intervention strategies. Mutations in the nuclear DNA (nDNA)-encoded NDUFS4 gene, encoding the NADH: Ubiquinone oxidoreductase subunit S4 (NDUFS4) of CI induce "mitochondrial complex I deficiency, nuclear type 1" (MC1DN1) and LS in pediatric patients. A variety of (tissue-specific) Ndufs4 knockout mouse models were developed to study the LS pathomechanism and intervention testing. Here, we review and discuss the role of CI and NDUFS4 mutations in human MD, and review how the analysis of Ndufs4 knockout mouse models has generated new insights into the MC1ND1/LS pathomechanism and its therapeutic targeting.
    Keywords:  Leigh syndrome; intervention; mouse model; pathomechanism
  21. Genome Biol. 2021 Dec 02. 22(1): 328
      BACKGROUND: Mitochondria are ancient endosymbiotic organelles crucial to eukaryotic growth and metabolism. The mammalian mitochondrial genome encodes for 13 mitochondrial proteins, and the remaining mitochondrial proteins are encoded by the nuclear genome. Little is known about how coordination between the expression of the two sets of genes is achieved.RESULTS: Correlation analysis of RNA-seq expression data from large publicly available datasets is a common method to leverage genetic diversity to infer gene co-expression modules. Here we use this method to investigate nuclear-mitochondrial gene expression coordination. We identify a pitfall in correlation analysis that results from the large variation in the proportion of transcripts from the mitochondrial genome in RNA-seq data. Commonly used normalisation techniques based on total read counts, such as FPKM or TPM, produce artefactual negative correlations between mitochondrial- and nuclear-encoded transcripts. This also results in artefactual correlations between pairs of nuclear-encoded genes, with important consequences for inferring co-expression modules beyond mitochondria. We show that these effects can be overcome by normalizing using the median-ratio normalisation (MRN) or trimmed mean of M values (TMM) methods. Using these normalisations, we find only weak and inconsistent correlations between mitochondrial and nuclear-encoded mitochondrial genes in the majority of healthy human tissues from the GTEx database.
    CONCLUSIONS: We show that a subset of healthy tissues with high expression of NF-κB show significant coordination, suggesting a role for NF-κB in ensuring balanced expression between mitochondrial and nuclear genes. Contrastingly, most cancer types show robust coordination of nuclear and mitochondrial OXPHOS gene expression, identifying this as a feature of gene regulation in cancer.
  22. Development. 2022 Apr 15. pii: dev199550. [Epub ahead of print]149(8):
      The role of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in myeloid development is well established. However, its aberrant generation alters hematopoiesis. Thus, a comprehensive understanding of events controlling ROS homeostasis forms the central focus of this study. We show that, in homeostasis, myeloid-like blood progenitor cells of the Drosophila larvae, which reside in a specialized hematopoietic organ termed the lymph gland, use TCA to generate ROS. However, excessive ROS production leads to lymph gland growth retardation. Therefore, to moderate blood progenitor ROS, Drosophila larvae rely on olfaction and its downstream systemic GABA. GABA internalization and its breakdown into succinate by progenitor cells activates pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase (PDK), which controls inhibitory phosphorylation of pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH). PDH is the rate-limiting enzyme that connects pyruvate to the TCA cycle and to oxidative phosphorylation. Thus, GABA metabolism via PDK activation maintains TCA activity and blood progenitor ROS homeostasis, and supports normal lymph gland growth. Consequently, animals that fail to smell also fail to sustain TCA activity and ROS homeostasis, which leads to lymph gland growth retardation. Overall, this study describes the requirement of animal odor-sensing and GABA in myeloid ROS regulation and hematopoietic growth control.
    Keywords:  GABA metabolism; Myeloid-progenitor; OXPHOS; Redox-homeostasis; Succinate; TCA
  23. ChemMedChem. 2021 Nov 30.
      Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is one of the most aggressive subtypes of breast cancer with the worst prognosis after chemo or radiation therapy. This is mainly due to the development of cancer chemoresistance accompanied by tumor recurrence. In this work, we investigated a new mechanism of acquired chemoresistance of TNBC cells. We showed that extracellular vehicles (EVs) of chemoresistant TNBC cells can transfer mitochondria to sensitive cancer cells, thus increasing their chemoresistance. Such transfer, but with less efficiency, can be carried out over short distances using tunneling nanotubes. In addition, we showed that exosome fractions carrying mitochondria from resistant TNBC cells contribute to acquired chemoresistance by increasing mtDNA levels with mutations in the mtND4 gene responsible for tumorigenesis. Blocking mitochondrial transport by exosome inhibitors, including GW4869, reduced acquired TNBC chemoresistance. These results could lead to the identification of new molecular targets necessary for more effective treatment of this type of cancer.
    Keywords:  acquired chemoresistance; exosomes; extracellular vesicles; mitochondrial horizontal transfer; tunnelling nanotubes
  24. Nat Metab. 2021 Nov 29.
      Carbohydrate can be converted into fat by de novo lipogenesis, a process upregulated in fatty liver disease. Chemically, de novo lipogenesis involves polymerization and reduction of acetyl-CoA, using NADPH as the electron donor. The feedstocks used to generate acetyl-CoA and NADPH in lipogenic tissues remain, however, unclear. Here we show using stable isotope tracing in mice that de novo lipogenesis in adipose is supported by glucose and its catabolism via the pentose phosphate pathway to make NADPH. The liver, in contrast, derives acetyl-CoA for lipogenesis from acetate and lactate, and NADPH from folate-mediated serine catabolism. Such NADPH generation involves the cytosolic serine pathway in liver running in the opposite direction to that observed in most tissues and tumours, with NADPH made by the SHMT1-MTHFD1-ALDH1L1 reaction sequence. SHMT inhibition decreases hepatic lipogenesis. Thus, liver folate metabolism is distinctively wired to support cytosolic NADPH production and lipogenesis. More generally, while the same enzymes are involved in fat synthesis in liver and adipose, different substrates are used, opening the door to tissue-specific pharmacological interventions.
  25. Nat Biotechnol. 2021 Dec 02.
      Protein phosphorylation dynamically integrates environmental and cellular information to control biological processes. Identifying functional phosphorylation amongst the thousands of phosphosites regulated by a perturbation at a global scale is a major challenge. Here we introduce 'personalized phosphoproteomics', a combination of experimental and computational analyses to link signaling with biological function by utilizing human phenotypic variance. We measure individual subject phosphoproteome responses to interventions with corresponding phenotypes measured in parallel. Applying this approach to investigate how exercise potentiates insulin signaling in human skeletal muscle, we identify both known and previously unidentified phosphosites on proteins involved in glucose metabolism. This includes a cooperative relationship between mTOR and AMPK whereby the former directly phosphorylates the latter on S377, for which we find a role in metabolic regulation. These results establish personalized phosphoproteomics as a general approach for investigating the signal transduction underlying complex biology.
  26. Cancer Discov. 2021 Nov 30. pii: candisc.1077.2021. [Epub ahead of print]
      Isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 mutations (mIDH1) are common in cholangiocarcinoma. (R)-2-hydroxyglutarate generated by the mIDH1 enzyme inhibits multiple a-ketoglutarate-dependent enzymes, altering epigenetics and metabolism. Here, by developing mIDH1-driven genetically engineered mouse models, we show that mIDH1 supports cholangiocarcinoma tumor maintenance through an immunoevasion program centered on dual (R)-2-hydroxyglutarate-mediated mechanisms - suppression of CD8+ T cell activity and tumor cell-autonomous inactivation of TET2 DNA demethylase. Pharmacological mIDH1 inhibition stimulates CD8+ T cell recruitment and IFN-y expression and promotes TET2-dependent induction of IFN-y response genes in tumor cells. CD8+ T cell depletion or tumor cell-specific ablation of TET2 or Interferon-gamma receptor 1 causes treatment resistance. Whereas immune checkpoint activation limits mIDH1 inhibitor efficacy, CTLA4 blockade overcomes immunosuppression, providing therapeutic synergy. The findings in this mouse model of cholangiocarcinoma demonstrate that immune function and the IFN-y-TET2 axis are essential for response to mIDH1 inhibition and suggest a novel strategy for harnessing these inhibitors therapeutically.
  27. Elife. 2021 11 30. pii: e62644. [Epub ahead of print]10
      Tumors frequently exhibit aberrant glycosylation, which can impact cancer progression and therapeutic responses. The hexosamine biosynthesis pathway (HBP) produces uridine diphosphate N-acetylglucosamine (UDP-GlcNAc), a major substrate for glycosylation in the cell. Prior studies have identified the HBP as a promising therapeutic target in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA). The HBP requires both glucose and glutamine for its initiation. The PDA tumor microenvironment is nutrient poor, however, prompting us to investigate how nutrient limitation impacts hexosamine synthesis. Here, we identify that glutamine limitation in PDA cells suppresses de novo hexosamine synthesis but results in increased free GlcNAc abundance. GlcNAc salvage via N-acetylglucosamine kinase (NAGK) is engaged to feed UDP-GlcNAc pools. NAGK expression is elevated in human PDA, and NAGK deletion from PDA cells impairs tumor growth in mice. Together, these data identify an important role for NAGK-dependent hexosamine salvage in supporting PDA tumor growth.
    Keywords:  N-acetylglucosamine kinase; cancer biology; glutamine; hexosamine; human; mouse; pancreatic cancer
  28. Cancer Discov. 2021 Dec 03. pii: candisc.0522.2021. [Epub ahead of print]
      Cancer cell metabolism is increasingly recognised as providing an exciting therapeutic opportunity. However, a drug that directly couples targeting of a metabolic dependency with the induction of cell death in cancer cells has largely remained elusive. Here we report that the drug-like small molecule ironomycin (AM5) reduces the mitochondrial iron load, resulting in the potent disruption of mitochondrial metabolism. Ironomycin promotes the recruitment and activation of BAX/BAK but the resulting mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization (MOMP) does not lead to potent activation of the apoptotic caspases, nor is the ensuing cell death prevented by inhibiting the previously established pathways of programmed cell death. Consistent with the fact that ironomycin and BH3 mimetics induce MOMP through independent non-redundant pathways, we find that ironomycin exhibits marked in vitro and in vivo synergy with venetoclax and overcomes venetoclax resistance in primary patient samples.
  29. Signal Transduct Target Ther. 2021 Dec 01. 6(1): 401
      Met tyrosine kinase, a receptor for a hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), plays a critical role in tumor growth, metastasis, and drug resistance. Mitochondria are highly dynamic and undergo fission and fusion to maintain a functional mitochondrial network. Dysregulated mitochondrial dynamics are responsible for the progression and metastasis of many cancers. Here, using structured illumination microscopy (SIM) and high spatial and temporal resolution live cell imaging, we identified mitochondrial trafficking of receptor tyrosine kinase Met. The contacts between activated Met kinase and mitochondria formed dramatically, and an intact HGF/Met axis was necessary for dysregulated mitochondrial fission and cancer cell movements. Mechanically, we found that Met directly phosphorylated outer mitochondrial membrane protein Fis1 at Tyr38 (Fis1 pY38). Fis1 pY38 promoted mitochondrial fission by recruiting the mitochondrial fission GTPase dynamin-related protein-1 (Drp1) to mitochondria. Fragmented mitochondria fueled actin filament remodeling and lamellipodia or invadopodia formation to facilitate cell metastasis in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells both in vitro and in vivo. These findings reveal a novel and noncanonical pathway of Met receptor tyrosine kinase in the regulation of mitochondrial activities, which may provide a therapeutic target for metastatic HCC.
  30. Front Mol Biosci. 2021 ;8 767088
      Mitochondria are essential organelles involved in cellular energy production. The inner mitochondrial membrane protein stomatin-like protein 2 (SLP-2) is a member of the SPFH (stomatin, prohibitin, flotilin, and HflK/C) superfamily and binds to the mitochondrial glycerophospholipid cardiolipin, forming cardiolipin-enriched membrane domains to promote the assembly and/or stabilization of protein complexes involved in oxidative phosphorylation. In addition, human SLP-2 anchors a mitochondrial processing complex required for proteolytic regulation of proteins involved in mitochondrial dynamics and quality control. We now show that deletion of the gene encoding the Trypanosoma brucei homolog TbSlp2 has no effect on respiratory protein complex stability and mitochondrial functions under normal culture conditions and is dispensable for growth of T. brucei parasites. In addition, we demonstrate that TbSlp2 binds to the metalloprotease TbYme1 and together they form a large mitochondrial protein complex. The two proteins negatively regulate each other's expression levels by accelerating protein turnover. Furthermore, we show that TbYme1 plays a role in heat-stress resistance, as TbYme1 knock-out parasites displayed mitochondrial fragmentation and loss of viability when cultured at elevated temperatures. Unbiased interaction studies uncovered putative TbYme1 substrates, some of which were differentially affected by the absence of TbYme1. Our results support emerging evidence for the presence of mitochondrial quality control pathways in this ancient eukaryote.
    Keywords:  Yme1; cardiolipin; membrane proteins; mitochondria; mitochondrial stress response; prohibitin; stomatin-like protein 2; trypanosoma
  31. Commun Biol. 2021 Dec 02. 4(1): 1350
      Proteostasis is a challenge for cellular organisms, as all known protein synthesis machineries are error-prone. Here we show by cell fractionation and microscopy studies that misfolded proteins formed in the endoplasmic reticulum can become associated with and partly transported into mitochondria, resulting in impaired mitochondrial function. Blocking the endoplasmic reticulum-mitochondria encounter structure (ERMES), but not the mitochondrial sorting and assembly machinery (SAM) or the mitochondrial surveillance pathway components Msp1 and Vms1, abrogated mitochondrial sequestration of ER-misfolded proteins. We term this mitochondria-associated proteostatic mechanism for ER-misfolded proteins ERAMS (ER-associated mitochondrial sequestration). We testify to the relevance of this pathway by using mutant α-1-antitrypsin as an example of a human disease-related misfolded ER protein, and we hypothesize that ERAMS plays a role in pathological features such as mitochondrial dysfunction.
  32. Mol Oncol. 2021 Dec 03.
      Most patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) initially respond to targeted therapies, but eventually relapse and develop resistance. Novel treatment strategies are therefore needed to improve patient outcomes. Here, we performed direct drug testing on primary CLL cells and identified synergy between eight different mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK) inhibitors and the B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2) antagonist venetoclax. Drug sensitivity was independent of immunoglobulin heavy-chain gene variable region (IGVH) and tumor protein p53 (TP53) mutational status, and CLL cells from idelalisib-resistant patients remained sensitive to the treatment. This suggests that combined MEK/Bcl-2 inhibition may be an option for high-risk CLL. To test if sensitivity could be detected in other B cell malignancies, we performed drug testing on cell line models of CLL (n=4), multiple myeloma (MM) (n=8) and mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) (n=7). Like CLL, MM cells were sensitive to the MEK inhibitor trametinib, and synergy was observed with venetoclax. In contrast, MCL cells were unresponsive to MEK inhibition. To investigate the underlying mechanisms of the disease-specific drug sensitivities, we performed flow cytometry based high-throughput profiling of 31 signaling proteins and regulators of apoptosis in the 19 cell lines. We found that high expression of the anti-apoptotic proteins myeloid cell leukemia-1 (Mcl-1) or B-cell lymphoma-extra large (Bcl-xL) predicted low sensitivity to trametinib + venetoclax. The low sensitivity could be overcome by combined treatment with an Mcl-1 or Bcl-xL inhibitor. Our findings suggest that MEK/Bcl-2 inhibition has therapeutic potential in leukemia and myeloma, and demonstrate that protein expression levels can serve as predictive biomarkers for treatment sensitivities.
    Keywords:  Cell signaling; MEK inhibitors; chronic lymphocytic leukemia; drug sensitivity; mantle cell lymphoma; multiple myeloma; phospho flow; synergy; venetoclax
  33. Cell Metab. 2021 Nov 20. pii: S1550-4131(21)00532-5. [Epub ahead of print]
      Hexokinases (HK) catalyze the first step of glycolysis limiting its pace. HK2 is highly expressed in gut epithelium, contributes to immune responses, and is upregulated during inflammation. We examined the microbial regulation of HK2 and its impact on inflammation using mice lacking HK2 in intestinal epithelial cells (Hk2ΔIEC). Hk2ΔIEC mice were less susceptible to acute colitis. Analyzing the epithelial transcriptome from Hk2ΔIEC mice during colitis and using HK2-deficient intestinal organoids and Caco-2 cells revealed reduced mitochondrial respiration and epithelial cell death in the absence of HK2. The microbiota strongly regulated HK2 expression and activity. The microbially derived short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) butyrate repressed HK2 expression via histone deacetylase 8 (HDAC8) and reduced mitochondrial respiration in wild-type but not in HK2-deficient Caco-2 cells. Butyrate supplementation protected wild-type but not Hk2ΔIEC mice from colitis. Our findings define a mechanism how butyrate promotes intestinal homeostasis and suggest targeted HK2-inhibition as therapeutic avenue for inflammation.
    Keywords:  HK2; butyrate; hexokinase; immunometabolism; inflammation; intestinal epithelial cell; microbiota
  34. Nat Commun. 2021 Dec 02. 12(1): 7031
      Intestinal surface changes in size and function, but what propels these alterations and what are their metabolic consequences is unknown. Here we report that the food amount is a positive determinant of the gut surface area contributing to an increased absorptive function, reversible by reducing daily food. While several upregulated intestinal energetic pathways are dispensable, the intestinal PPARα is instead necessary for the genetic and environment overeating-induced increase of the gut absorptive capacity. In presence of dietary lipids, intestinal PPARα knock-out or its pharmacological antagonism suppress intestinal crypt expansion and shorten villi in mice and in human intestinal biopsies, diminishing the postprandial triglyceride transport and nutrient uptake. Intestinal PPARα ablation limits systemic lipid absorption and restricts lipid droplet expansion and PLIN2 levels, critical for droplet formation. This improves the lipid metabolism, and reduces body adiposity and liver steatosis, suggesting an alternative target for treating obesity.
  35. Clin Transl Med. 2021 11;11(11): e577
      Drug resistance is a major hurdle for the effectiveness of tamoxifen (TAM) to provide clinical benefit. Therefore, it is essential to identify a sensitizer that could be used to improve TAM efficacy in treating TAM-resistant breast cancer. Here, we investigated the ability of baicalein to reverse TAM resistance. We found that baicalein increased the efficacy of TAM in inhibiting proliferation and inducing apoptosis of TAM-resistant cells. It also enhanced the TAM-induced growth reduction of resistant cells from NOD/SCID mouse mammary fat pads, without causing obvious systemic toxicity. Analyses using the CellMiner tool and the Kaplan-Meier plotter database showed that HIF-1α expression was inversely correlated with TAM therapeutic response in NCI-60 cancer cells and breast cancer patients. HIF-1α expression was increased in TAM-resistant cells due to an increase in mRNA levels and reduced ubiquitin-mediated degradation. Baicalein reduced HIF-1α expression by promoting its interaction with PHD2 and pVHL, thus facilitating ubiquitin ligase-mediated proteasomal degradation and thereby suppressing the nuclear translocation, binding to the hypoxia-response element, and transcriptional activity of HIF-1α. As a result, baicalein downregulated aerobic glycolysis by restricting glucose uptake, lactate production, ATP generation, lactate/pyruvate ratio and expression of HIF-1α-targeted glycolytic genes, thereby enhancing the antiproliferative efficacy of TAM. Furthermore, baicalein interfered with HIF-1α inhibition of mitochondrial biosynthesis, which increased mitochondrial DNA content and mitochondrial numbers, restored the generation of reactive oxygen species in mitochondria, and thus enhanced the TAM-induced mitochondrial apoptotic pathway. The HIF-1α stabilizer dimethyloxallyl glycine prevented the baicalein-induced downregulation of glycolysis and mitochondrial biosynthesis and reduced the effects of baicalein on reversing TAM resistance. Our results indicate that baicalein is a promising candidate to help overcome TAM resistance by sensitizing resistant cells to TAM-induced growth inhibition and apoptosis. The mechanism underlying the effects of baicalein consists of inhibition of HIF-1α-mediated aerobic glycolysis and mitochondrial dysfunction.
    Keywords:  aerobic glycolysis; baicalein; hypoxia-inducible factor-1α; mitochondrial dysfunction; resistance; tamoxifen
  36. Nucleic Acids Res. 2021 Nov 29. pii: gkab1179. [Epub ahead of print]
      Methylation on CpG residues is one of the most important epigenetic modifications of nuclear DNA, regulating gene expression. Methylation of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) has been studied using whole genome bisulfite sequencing (WGBS), but recent evidence has uncovered technical issues which introduce a potential bias during methylation quantification. Here, we validate the technical concerns of WGBS, and develop and assess the accuracy of a new protocol for mtDNA nucleotide variant-specific methylation using single-molecule Oxford Nanopore Sequencing (ONS). Our approach circumvents confounders by enriching for full-length molecules over nuclear DNA. Variant calling analysis against showed that 99.5% of homoplasmic mtDNA variants can be reliably identified providing there is adequate sequencing depth. We show that some of the mtDNA methylation signal detected by ONS is due to sequence-specific false positives introduced by the technique. The residual signal was observed across several human primary and cancer cell lines and multiple human tissues, but was always below the error threshold modelled using negative controls. We conclude that there is no evidence for CpG methylation in human mtDNA, thus resolving previous controversies. Additionally, we developed a reliable protocol to study epigenetic modifications of mtDNA at single-molecule and single-base resolution, with potential applications beyond CpG methylation.
  37. Biosens Bioelectron. 2021 Nov 23. pii: S0956-5663(21)00864-2. [Epub ahead of print]198 113827
      Visualizing the dynamics of ATP in living cells is key to understanding cellular energy metabolism and related diseases. However, the live-cell applications of current methods are still limited due to challenges in biological compatibility and sensitivity to pH. Herein, a novel label-free fluorescent " turn-on " biosensor for monitoring ATP in living bacterias and mammalian cells was developed. This biosensor (Broc-ATP) employed heterobifunctional aptamers to detect ATP with high sensitivity in vitro. In our system, a very useful tandem method was established by combining four Broc-ATPs with 3 × F30 three-way junction scaffold to construct an intracellular biosensor that achieves sufficient fluorescence to respond to intracellular ATP. This intracellular biosensor can be used for sensitive and specific dynamic imaging of ATP in mammalian cells. Hence, this genetically encoded biosensor provides a robust and efficient tool for the detection of intracellular ATP dynamics and 3 × F30 tandem method expands the application of heterobifunctional aptamers in mammalian cells.
    Keywords:  3×F30 tandem method; Fluorescent light-up aptamer; Heterobifunctional aptamers; Intracellular ATP detection
  38. Mol Cell. 2021 Nov 22. pii: S1097-2765(21)00956-4. [Epub ahead of print]
      Quantitative subcellular metabolomic measurements can explain the roles of metabolites in cellular processes but are subject to multiple confounding factors. We developed stable isotope labeling of essential nutrients in cell culture-subcellular fractionation (SILEC-SF), which uses isotope-labeled internal standard controls that are present throughout fractionation and processing to quantify acyl-coenzyme A (acyl-CoA) thioesters in subcellular compartments by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. We tested SILEC-SF in a range of sample types and examined the compartmentalized responses to oxygen tension, cellular differentiation, and nutrient availability. Application of SILEC-SF to the challenging analysis of the nuclear compartment revealed a nuclear acyl-CoA profile distinct from that of the cytosol, with notable nuclear enrichment of propionyl-CoA. Using isotope tracing, we identified the branched chain amino acid isoleucine as a major metabolic source of nuclear propionyl-CoA and histone propionylation, thus revealing a new mechanism of crosstalk between metabolism and the epigenome.
    Keywords:  acyl-CoA; branched chain amino acids; histone; internal standard; isoleucine; matrix effects; metabolomics; mitochondria; nucleus; propionylation; subcellular