bims-mibica Biomed News
on Mitochondrial bioenergetics in cancer
Issue of 2022‒04‒24
34 papers selected by
Kelsey Fisher-Wellman, East Carolina University

  1. Mol Metab. 2022 Apr 19. pii: S2212-8778(22)00072-2. [Epub ahead of print] 101503
      OBJECTIVE: Mitochondrial "retrograde" signaling may stimulate organelle biogenesis as a compensatory adaptation to aberrant activity of the oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) system. To maintain energy-consuming processes in OXPHOS deficient cells, alternative metabolic pathways are functionally coupled to the degradation, recycling and redistribution of biomolecules across distinct intracellular compartments. While transcriptional regulation of mitochondrial network expansion has been the focus of many studies, the molecular mechanisms promoting mitochondrial maintenance in energy-deprived cells remain poorly investigated.METHODS: We performed transcriptomics, quantitative proteomics and lifespan assays to identify pathways that are mechanistically linked to mitochondrial network expansion and homeostasis in Caenorhabditis elegans lacking the mitochondrial calcium uptake protein 1 (MICU-1/MICU1). To support our findings, we carried out biochemical and image analyses in mammalian cells and mouse-derived tissues.
    RESULTS: We report that micu-1(null) mutations impair the OXPHOS system and promote C. elegans longevity through a transcriptional program that is independent of the mitochondrial calcium uniporter MCU-1/MCU and the essential MCU regulator EMRE-1/EMRE. We identify sphingosine phosphate lyase SPL-1/SGPL1 and the ATFS-1-target HOPS complex subunit VPS-39/VPS39 as critical lifespan modulators of micu-1(null) mutant animals. Cross-species investigation indicates that SGPL1 upregulation stimulates VPS39 recruitment to the mitochondria, thereby enhancing mitochondria-lysosome contacts. Consistently, VPS39 downregulation compromises mitochondrial network maintenance and basal autophagic flux in MICU1 deficient cells. In mouse-derived muscles, we show that VPS39 recruitment to the mitochondria may represent a common signature associated with altered OXPHOS system.
    CONCLUSIONS: Our findings reveal a previously unrecognized SGPL1/VPS39 axis that stimulates intracellular organelle interactions and sustains autophagy and mitochondrial homeostasis in OXPHOS deficient cells.
    Keywords:  Caenorhabditis elegans; MICU1; VPS39; autophagy; longevity; mitochondria; sphingosine signaling
  2. Nat Commun. 2022 Apr 19. 13(1): 2013
      Metabolic programs can differ substantially across genetically distinct subtypes of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). These programs are not static entities but can change swiftly as a consequence of extracellular changes or in response to pathway-inhibiting drugs. Here, we uncover that AML patients with FLT3 internal tandem duplications (FLT3-ITD+) are characterized by a high expression of succinate-CoA ligases and high activity of mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC) complex II, thereby driving high mitochondrial respiration activity linked to the Krebs cycle. While inhibition of ETC complex II enhances apoptosis in FLT3-ITD+ AML, cells also quickly adapt by importing lactate from the extracellular microenvironment. 13C3-labelled lactate metabolic flux analyses reveal that AML cells use lactate as a fuel for mitochondrial respiration. Inhibition of lactate transport by blocking Monocarboxylic Acid Transporter 1 (MCT1) strongly enhances sensitivity to ETC complex II inhibition in vitro as well as in vivo. Our study highlights a metabolic adaptability of cancer cells that can be exploited therapeutically.
  3. Mol Cell Biochem. 2022 Apr 22.
      DNA fragmentation factor 40 (DFF40), or the caspase-activated DNase (CAD), is an endonuclease specific for double-stranded DNA. Alterations in its function and expression have been linked to apoptosis resistance, a mechanism likely used by cancer cells. However, how the DFF40-related apoptosis resistance pathway occurs remains unclear. Here, we sought to determine if DFF40 expression could be linked to cell metabolism through the regulation of mitochondrial integrity and function. We demonstrated that DFF40-deficient cells are more resistant to staurosporine and tributyltin (TBT)-induced apoptosis, and express higher levels of Mcl-1 at basal state. Treatment with TBT induces higher Bcl-2 and caspase-9 mRNA transcripts in DFF40 KO Jurkat cells, as well as enhanced Bcl-2 phosphorylation. A loss of DFF40 expression induces a higher mitochondrial mass, mtDNA copy number, mitochondrial membrane potential, and glycolysis rates in resting T cells. DFF40-deficient cells exhibit the Warburg effect phenotype, where they rely significantly more on glycolysis than oxidative phosphorylation and have a higher proliferative state, demonstrated by a higher Ki-67 transcription factor expression and AKT phosphorylation. Finally, we demonstrated with cell fractioning that DFF40 can translocate to the mitochondria following apoptosis induction. Our study reveals that DFF40 may act as a regulator of mitochondria during cell death and its loss could compromise mitochondrial integrity and cause an energetic reprogramming in pathologies such as cancer.
    Keywords:  Apoptosis; Cancer; Cell proliferation; DFF40; DNA; Energetic metabolism; Mitochondria; Reprogramming; Warburg effect
  4. Cell Metab. 2022 Apr 18. pii: S1550-4131(22)00127-9. [Epub ahead of print]
      Glycolysis, including both lactate fermentation and pyruvate oxidation, orchestrates CD8+ T cell differentiation. However, how mitochondrial pyruvate metabolism and uptake controlled by the mitochondrial pyruvate carrier (MPC) impact T cell function and fate remains elusive. We found that genetic deletion of MPC drives CD8+ T cell differentiation toward a memory phenotype. Metabolic flexibility induced by MPC inhibition facilitated acetyl-coenzyme-A production by glutamine and fatty acid oxidation that results in enhanced histone acetylation and chromatin accessibility on pro-memory genes. However, in the tumor microenvironment, MPC is essential for sustaining lactate oxidation to support CD8+ T cell antitumor function. We further revealed that chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell manufacturing with an MPC inhibitor imprinted a memory phenotype and demonstrated that infusing MPC inhibitor-conditioned CAR T cells resulted in superior and long-lasting antitumor activity. Altogether, we uncover that mitochondrial pyruvate uptake instructs metabolic flexibility for guiding T cell differentiation and antitumor responses.
    Keywords:  T cell memory; chimeric antigen receptor T cell therapy; immunometabolism; mitochondrial pyruvate carrier; tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte metabolism
  5. Sci Rep. 2022 Apr 22. 12(1): 6660
      Advances in multiplex immunofluorescence (mIF) and digital image analysis has enabled simultaneous assessment of protein defects in electron transport chain components. However, current manual methodology is time consuming and labour intensive. Therefore, we developed an automated high-throughput mIF workflow for quantitative single-cell level assessment of formalin fixed paraffin embedded tissue (FFPE), leveraging tyramide signal amplification on a Ventana Ultra platform coupled with automated multispectral imaging on a Vectra 3 platform. Utilising this protocol, we assessed the mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) protein alterations in a cohort of benign and malignant prostate samples. Mitochondrial OXPHOS plays a critical role in cell metabolism, and OXPHOS perturbation is implicated in carcinogenesis. Marked inter-patient, intra-patient and spatial cellular heterogeneity in OXPHOS protein abundance was observed. We noted frequent Complex IV loss in benign prostate tissue and Complex I loss in age matched prostate cancer tissues. Malignant regions within prostate cancer samples more frequently contained cells with low Complex I & IV and high mitochondrial mass in comparison to benign-adjacent regions. This methodology can now be applied more widely to study the frequency and distribution of OXPHOS alterations in formalin-fixed tissues, and their impact on long-term clinical outcomes.
  6. EMBO J. 2022 Apr 22. e110324
      The mechanisms underlying cancer metastasis remain poorly understood. Here, we report that TFAM deficiency rapidly and stably induced spontaneous lung metastasis in mice with liver cancer. Interestingly, unexpected polymerization of nuclear actin was observed in TFAM-knockdown HCC cells when cytoskeleton was examined. Polymerization of nuclear actin is causally linked to the high-metastatic ability of HCC cells by modulating chromatin accessibility and coordinating the expression of genes associated with extracellular matrix remodeling, angiogenesis, and cell migration. Mechanistically, TFAM deficiency blocked the TCA cycle and increased the intracellular malonyl-CoA levels. Malonylation of mDia2, which drives actin assembly, promotes its nuclear translocation. Importantly, inhibition of malonyl-CoA production or nuclear actin polymerization significantly impeded the spread of HCC cells in mice. Moreover, TFAM was significantly downregulated in metastatic HCC tissues and was associated with overall survival and time to tumor recurrence of HCC patients. Taken together, our study connects mitochondria to the metastasis of human cancer via uncovered mitochondria-to-nucleus retrograde signaling, indicating that TFAM may serve as an effective target to block HCC metastasis.
    Keywords:  HCC; metastasis; mitochondrial transcription factor A; nuclear F-actin
  7. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Apr 13. pii: 4316. [Epub ahead of print]23(8):
      The balance between oxidative phosphorylation and glycolysis is important for cancer cell growth and survival, and changes in energy metabolism are an emerging therapeutic target. Adenylate kinase (AK) regulates adenine nucleotide metabolism, maintaining intracellular nucleotide metabolic homeostasis. In this study, we focused on AK3, the isozyme localized in the mitochondrial matrix that reversibly mediates the following reaction: Mg2+ GTP + AMP ⇌ Mg2+ GDP + ADP. Additionally, we analyzed AK3-knockout (KO) HeLa cells, which showed reduced proliferation and were detected at an increased number in the G1 phase. A metabolomic analysis showed decreased ATP; increased glycolytic metabolites such as glucose 6 phosphate (G6P), fructose 6 phosphate (F6P), and phosphoenolpyruvate (PEP); and decreased levels of tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle metabolites in AK3KO cells. An intracellular ATP evaluation of AK3KO HeLa cells transfected with ATeam plasmid, an ATP sensor, showed decreased whole cell levels. Levels of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), a complementary response to mitochondrial failure, were increased in AK3KO HeLa cells. Oxidative stress levels increased with changes in gene expression, evidenced as an increase in related enzymes such as superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2) and SOD3. Phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase 2 (PCK2) expression and PEP levels increased, whereas PCK2 inhibition affected AK3KO HeLa cells more than wild-type (WT) cells. Therefore, we concluded that increased PCK2 expression may be complementary to increased GDP, which was found to be deficient through AK3KO. This study demonstrated the importance of AK3 in mitochondrial matrix energy metabolism.
    Keywords:  GTP metabolism; adenylate kinase 3; nucleotide metabolism; phosphoenolpyruvate
  8. Acta Naturae. 2022 Jan-Mar;14(1):14(1): 4-13
      Protonophores are compounds capable of electrogenic transport of protons across membranes. Protonophores have been intensively studied over the past 50 years owing to their ability to uncouple oxidation and phosphorylation in mitochondria and chloroplasts. The action mechanism of classical uncouplers, such as DNP and CCCP, in mitochondria is believed to be related to their protonophoric activity; i.e., their ability to transfer protons across the lipid part of the mitochondrial membrane. Given the recently revealed deviations in the correlation between the protonophoric activity of some uncouplers and their ability to stimulate mitochondrial respiration, this review addresses the involvement of some proteins of the inner mitochondrial membrane, such as the ATP/ADP antiporter, dicarboxylate carrier, and ATPase, in the uncoupling process. However, these deviations do not contradict the Mitchell theory but point to a more complex nature of the interaction of DNP, CCCP, and other uncouplers with mitochondrial membranes. Therefore, a detailed investigation of the action mechanism of uncouplers is required for a more successful pharmacological use, including their antibacterial, antiviral, anticancer, as well as cardio-, neuro-, and nephroprotective effects.
    Keywords:  bioenergetics; mitochondria; proton transport; uncouplers of oxidative phosphorylation
  9. Mol Ther. 2022 Apr 21. pii: S1525-0016(22)00241-6. [Epub ahead of print]
      The roles of micropeptides in cell cycle regulation and cancer development remain largely unknown. Here we found that a micropeptide STMP1 (small transmembrane protein 1) was up-regulated in multiple malignancies including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and its high level was associated with short recurrence-free survival of HCC patients. Gain- and loss-of-function analyses revealed that STMP1 accelerated cell proliferation and clonogenicity in vitro and tumor growth in vivo, and silencing STMP1 blocked G1/S transition. Mechanistically, STMP1 promoted the mRNA and protein levels of CCNE2, CDK2 and E2F1. STMP1 was localized in the inner membrane of mitochondria and interacted with mitochondrial complex IV and then enhanced its activity. Moreover, treatment with the mitochondrial complex IV inhibitor tetrathiomolybdate dramatically abrogated the promoting effect of STMP1 on cell proliferation and the expression of cyclin E2, CDK2 and E2F1. These results suggest that STMP1 may promote G1/S transition and cell proliferation by enhancing mitochondrial complex IV activity, which highlight STMP1 as a new regulator of the cell cycle and a potential target for anti-cancer therapy.
  10. Cell Chem Biol. 2022 Apr 13. pii: S2451-9456(22)00127-1. [Epub ahead of print]
      Environmental stresses, including hypoxia or detachment for anchorage independence, or attenuation of mitochondrial respiration through inhibition of electron transport chain induce reductive carboxylation in cells with an enhanced fraction of citrate arising through reductive metabolism of glutamine. This metabolic process contributes to redox homeostasis and sustains biosynthesis of lipids. Reductive carboxylation is often dependent on cytosolic isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 (IDH1). However, whether diverse cellular signals induce reductive carboxylation differentially or through a common signaling converging node remains unclear. We found that induction of reductive carboxylation commonly requires enhanced tyrosine phosphorylation and activation of IDH1, which, surprisingly, is achieved by attenuation of a cytosolic protein tyrosine phosphatase, Src homology region 2 domain-containing phosphatase-2 (SHP-2). Mechanistically, diverse signals induce reductive carboxylation by converging at upregulation of NADPH oxidase 2, leading to elevated cytosolic reactive oxygen species that consequently inhibit SHP-2. Together, our work elucidates the signaling basis underlying reductive carboxylation in cancer cells.
    Keywords:  NADPH oxidase 2 (NOX2); Src homology region 2 domain-containing phosphatase-2 (SHP-2); cytosolic reactive oxygen species (ROS); isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 (IDH1); reductive carboxylation; tyrosine phosphorylation
  11. Cancers (Basel). 2022 Apr 07. pii: 1862. [Epub ahead of print]14(8):
      Mitochondrial DNA, the genetic material in mitochondria, encodes essential oxidative phosphorylation proteins and plays an important role in mitochondrial respiration and energy transfer. With the development of genome sequencing and the emergence of novel in vivo modeling techniques, the role of mtDNA in cancer biology is gaining more attention. Abnormalities of mtDNA result in not only mitochondrial dysfunction of the the cancer cells and malignant behaviors, but regulation of the tumor microenvironment, which becomes more aggressive. Here, we review the recent progress in the regulation of cancer metastasis using mtDNA and the underlying mechanisms, which may identify opportunities for finding novel cancer prediction and therapeutic targets.
    Keywords:  immune escape; metastasis; mitochondrial DNA; tumor progression
  12. Biomedicines. 2022 Mar 23. pii: 751. [Epub ahead of print]10(4):
      Glioblastoma (GBM) is a lethal brain cancer exhibiting high levels of drug resistance, a feature partially imparted by tumor cell stemness. Recent work shows that homozygous MTAP deletion, a genetic alteration occurring in about half of all GBMs, promotes stemness in GBM cells. Exploiting MTAP loss-conferred deficiency in purine salvage, we demonstrate that purine blockade via treatment with L-Alanosine (ALA), an inhibitor of de novo purine synthesis, attenuates stemness of MTAP-deficient GBM cells. This ALA-induced reduction in stemness is mediated in part by compromised mitochondrial function, highlighted by ALA-induced elimination of mitochondrial spare respiratory capacity. Notably, these effects of ALA are apparent even when the treatment was transient and with a low dose. Finally, in agreement with diminished stemness and compromised mitochondrial function, we show that ALA sensitizes GBM cells to temozolomide (TMZ) in vitro and in an orthotopic GBM model. Collectively, these results identify purine supply as an essential component in maintaining mitochondrial function in GBM cells and highlight a critical role of mitochondrial function in sustaining GBM stemness. We propose that purine synthesis inhibition can be beneficial in combination with the standard of care for MTAP-deficient GBMs, and that it may be feasible to achieve this benefit without inflicting major toxicity.
    Keywords:  MTAP; adenine; alanosine; drug resistance; glioma stem cells; mitochondria; purine
  13. Eur J Cell Biol. 2022 Apr 13. pii: S0171-9335(22)00028-0. [Epub ahead of print]101(3): 151225
      Metabolic alterations have been observed in many cancer types. The deregulated metabolism has thus become an emerging hallmark of the disease, where the metabolism is frequently rewired to aerobic glycolysis. This has led to the concept of "metabolic reprogramming", which has therefore been extensively studied. Over the years, it has been characterized the enhancement of aerobic glycolysis, where key mutations in some of the enzymes of the TCA cycle, and the increased glucose uptake, are used by cancer cells to achieve a "metabolic phenotype" useful to gain a proliferation advantage. Many studies have highlighted in detail the signaling pathways and the molecular mechanisms responsible for the glycolytic switch. However, glycolysis is not the only metabolic process that cancer cells rely on. Oxidative Phosphorylation (OXPHOS), gluconeogenesis or the beta-oxidation of fatty acids (FAO) may be involved in the development and progression of several tumors. In some cases, these metabolisms are even more crucial than aerobic glycolysis for the tumor survival. This review will focus on the contribution of these alterations of metabolism to the development and survival of cancers. We will also analyze the molecular mechanisms by which the balance between these metabolic processes may be regulated, as well as some of the therapeutical approaches that can derive from their study.
    Keywords:  Amino acids; Cancer; Fatty acids; Metabolism; Mitochondria; OXPHOS
  14. Antioxidants (Basel). 2022 Mar 31. pii: 685. [Epub ahead of print]11(4):
      Inorganic polyphosphate (polyP) is an ancient biopolymer that is well preserved throughout evolution and present in all studied organisms. In mammals, it shows a high co-localization with mitochondria, and it has been demonstrated to be involved in the homeostasis of key processes within the organelle, including mitochondrial bioenergetics. However, the exact extent of the effects of polyP on the regulation of cellular bioenergetics, as well as the mechanisms explaining these effects, still remain poorly understood. Here, using HEK293 mammalian cells under Wild-type (Wt) and MitoPPX (cells enzymatically depleted of mitochondrial polyP) conditions, we show that depletion of polyP within mitochondria increased oxidative stress conditions. This is characterized by enhanced mitochondrial O2- and intracellular H2O2 levels, which may be a consequence of the dysregulation of oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) that we have demonstrated in MitoPPX cells in our previous work. These findings were associated with an increase in basal peroxiredoxin-1 (Prx1), superoxide dismutase-2 (SOD2), and thioredoxin (Trx) antioxidant protein levels. Using 13C-NMR and immunoblotting, we assayed the status of glycolysis and the pentose phosphate pathway (PPP) in Wt and MitoPPX cells. Our results show that MitoPPX cells display a significant increase in the activity of the PPP and an increase in the protein levels of transaldolase (TAL), which is a crucial component of the non-oxidative phase of the PPP and is involved in the regulation of oxidative stress. In addition, we observed a trend towards increased glycolysis in MitoPPX cells, which corroborates our prior work. Here, for the first time, we show the crucial role played by mitochondrial polyP in the regulation of mammalian redox homeostasis. Moreover, we demonstrate a significant effect of mitochondrial polyP on the regulation of global cellular bioenergetics in these cells.
    Keywords:  ROS; antioxidants; mammalian bioenergetics; mitochondria; mitochondrial inorganic polyphosphate; pentose phosphate pathway; polyP
  15. Nat Cell Biol. 2022 Apr 21.
      Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) replication and transcription are of paramount importance to cellular energy metabolism. Mitochondrial RNA polymerase is thought to be the primase for mtDNA replication. However, it is unclear how this enzyme, which normally transcribes long polycistronic RNAs, can produce short RNA oligonucleotides to initiate mtDNA replication. We show that the PPR domain of Drosophila mitochondrial RNA polymerase (PolrMT) has 3'-to-5' exoribonuclease activity, which is indispensable for PolrMT to synthesize short RNA oligonucleotides and prime DNA replication in vitro. An exoribonuclease-deficient mutant, PolrMTE423P, partially restores mitochondrial transcription but fails to support mtDNA replication when expressed in PolrMT-mutant flies, indicating that the exoribonuclease activity is necessary for mtDNA replication. In addition, overexpression of PolrMTE423P in adult flies leads to severe neuromuscular defects and a marked increase in mtDNA transcript errors, suggesting that exoribonuclease activity may contribute to the proofreading of mtDNA transcription.
  16. Cell Death Dis. 2022 Apr 22. 13(4): 398
      Cisplatin (CDDP) is commonly used to treat a multitude of tumors including sarcomas, ovarian and cervical cancers. Despite recent investigations allowed to improve chemotherapy effectiveness, the molecular mechanisms underlying the development of CDDP resistance remain a major goal in cancer research. Here, we show that mitochondrial morphology and autophagy are altered in different CDDP resistant cancer cell lines. In CDDP resistant osteosarcoma and ovarian carcinoma, mitochondria are fragmented and closely juxtaposed to the endoplasmic reticulum; rates of mitophagy are also increased. Specifically, levels of the mitophagy receptor BNIP3 are higher both in resistant cells and in ovarian cancer patient samples resistant to platinum-based treatments. Genetic BNIP3 silencing or pharmacological inhibition of autophagosome formation re-sensitizes these cells to CDDP. Our study identifies inhibition of BNIP3-driven mitophagy as a potential therapeutic strategy to counteract CDDP resistance in ovarian carcinoma and osteosarcoma.
  17. Cell Death Dis. 2022 Apr 20. 13(4): 384
      Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) are initiated and sustained by self-renewing malignant CD34+ stem cells. Extensive efforts have been made to reveal the metabolic signature of the leukemia stem/progenitor cells in genomic, transcriptomic, and metabolomic studies. However, very little proteomic investigation has been conducted and the mechanism regarding at what level the metabolic program was rewired remains poorly understood. Here, using label-free quantitative proteomic profiling, we compared the signature of CD34+ stem/progenitor cells collected from CML individuals with that of healthy donors and observed significant changes in the abundance of enzymes associated with aerobic central carbonate metabolic pathways. Specifically, CML stem/progenitor cells expressed increased tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA) with decreased glycolytic proteins, accompanying by increased oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) and decreased glycolysis activity. Administration of the well-known OXPHOS inhibitor metformin eradicated CML stem/progenitor cells and re-sensitized CD34+ CML cells to imatinib in vitro and in patient-derived tumor xenograft murine model. However, different from normal CD34+ cells, the abundance and activity of OXPHOS protein were both unexpectedly elevated with endoplasmic reticulum stress induced by metformin in CML CD34+ cells. The four major aberrantly expressed protein sets, in contrast, were downregulated by metformin in CML CD34+ cells. These data challenged the dependency of OXPHOS for CML CD34+ cell survival and underlined the novel mechanism of metformin. More importantly, it suggested a strong rationale for the use of tyrosine kinase inhibitors in combination with metformin in treating CML.
  18. Cancers (Basel). 2022 Apr 13. pii: 1955. [Epub ahead of print]14(8):
      Despite several new developments in the treatment of multiple myeloma, all available therapies are only palliative without curative potential and all patients ultimately relapse. Thus, novel therapeutic options are urgently required to prolong survival of or to even cure myeloma. Here, we show that multiple myeloma cells express the potassium channel Kv1.3 in their mitochondria. The mitochondrial Kv1.3 inhibitors PAPTP and PCARBTP are efficient against two tested human multiple myeloma cell lines (L-363 and RPMI-8226) and against ex vivo cultured, patient-derived myeloma cells, while healthy bone marrow cells are spared from toxicity. Cell death after treatment with PAPTP and PCARBTP occurs via the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway. In addition, we identify up-regulation of the multidrug resistance pump MDR-1 as the main potential resistance mechanism. Combination with ABT-199 (venetoclax), an inhibitor of Bcl2, has a synergistic effect, suggesting that mitochondrial Kv1.3 inhibitors could potentially be used as combination partner to venetoclax, even in the treatment of t(11;14) negative multiple myeloma, which represent the major part of cases and are rather resistant to venetoclax alone. We thus identify mitochondrial Kv1.3 channels as druggable targets against multiple myeloma.
    Keywords:  ABT-199; Kv1.3; mitochondria; multiple myeloma; venetoclax
  19. Chem Sci. 2022 Mar 30. 13(13): 3706-3712
      To reveal the delicate function of mitochondria, spatiotemporally precise detection tools remain highly desirable. However, current probes with positively charged warheads for targeting mitochondria diffuse out of the mitochondria as the potential of the mitochondrial membrane changes, which directly influences the accuracy of the detection. Herein, we assembled carbonylpyridinium and chromene to afford the probe CM-Mit. Following the ultrafast response to thiol and the dissociation of carbonylpyridinium, the formation of o-quinone methide from CM-Mit was proposed to label proteins, thus avoiding diffusion out of the mitochondria. Therefore, the accurate spatiotemporal detection of thiol in mitochondria was realized. With this excellent probe, ferroptosis inducers were proved to stimulate thiol starvation in mitochondria for the first time in cancer cells. Moreover, CM-Mit was used to screen a compound library developed in-house and the stemona alkaloid analog SA-11 was shown to induce ferroptosis in various cancer cell lines, including a drug-resistant one.
  20. Antioxidants (Basel). 2022 Apr 11. pii: 762. [Epub ahead of print]11(4):
      BACKGROUND: The redox stress caused by Hodgkin's lymphoma (HL) also involves the peripheral blood mononucleated cells (PBMCs) even before chemotherapy. Here, we tested whether lymphocytes and monocytes show a different response to the increased mitochondrial generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS).METHODS: PBMCs, isolated from the blood of treatment-naïve HL patients and control subjects, underwent assessment of malondialdehyde content and enzymatic activity of both hexose- and glucose-6P dehydrogenase (H6PD and G6PD) as well as flow cytometric analysis of mitochondrial ROS content. These data were complemented by evaluating the uptake of the fluorescent glucose analogue 2-NBDG that is selectively stored within the endoplasmic reticulum (ER).
    RESULTS: Malondialdehyde content was increased in the whole population of HL PBMCs. The oxidative damage matched an increased activity of G6PD, and even more of H6PD, that trigger the cytosolic and ER pentose phosphate pathways, respectively. At flow cytometry, the number of recovered viable cells was selectively decreased in HL lymphocytes that also showed a more pronounced increase in mitochondrial ROS generation and 2-NBDG uptake, with respect to monocytes.
    CONCLUSIONS: PBMCs of HL patients display a selective mitochondrial and ER redox stress most evident in lymphocytes already before the exposure to chemotherapy toxicity.
    Keywords:  2-NBDG; cancer; endoplasmic reticulum; lymphoma; mitochondria; pentose phosphate pathway; redox stress
  21. Biomed Pharmacother. 2022 Apr 18. pii: S0753-3322(22)00317-1. [Epub ahead of print]150 112928
      Voltage dependent anion channels (VDAC) control the flux of most anionic respiratory substrates, ATP, ADP, and small cations, crossing the outer mitochondrial membrane. VDAC closure contributes to the partial suppression of mitochondrial metabolism that favors the Warburg phenotype of cancer cells. Recently, it has been shown that NADH binds to a specific pocket in the inner surface of VDAC1, also conserved in VDAC2 and 3, closing the channel. We hypothesized that binding of small molecules to the NADH pocket, maintain VDAC in an open configuration by preventing closure induced by NADH and possible other endogenous regulators. We screened in silico, the South Carolina Compound Collection SC3 (~100,000 proprietary molecules), using shape-based queries of the NADH binding region of VDAC. After molecular docking of selected compounds, we physically screened candidates using mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm), as an overall readout of mitochondrial metabolism. We identified SC18, as the most potent compound. SC18 bound to VDAC1, as assessed by a thermal shift assay. Short-term treatment with SC18 decreased ΔΨm in SNU-449 and HepG2 human hepatocarcinoma cells. Mitochondrial depolarization was similar in wild type, VDAC1/2, 1/3, and 2/3 double KO HepG2 cells indicating that the effect of SC18 was not VDAC isoform-dependent. In addition, SC18 decreased mitochondrial NADH and cellular ATP production; and increased basal respiration. Long-term exposure to SC18, decreased cell proliferation as determined by wound-healing and cell viability assays. In summary, SC18 is a novel VDAC-targeting small molecule that induces mitochondrial dysfunction and inhibits cell proliferation.
    Keywords:  Cancer; Mitochondrial dysfunction; Mitochondrial metabolism; NADH-binding pocket; VDAC
  22. Front Oncol. 2022 ;12 868351
      Objectives: Developing novel therapeutic approaches to defeat chemoresistance is the major goal of ovarian cancer research. Induction of ferroptosis has shown promising antitumor effects in ovarian cancer cells, but the existence of still undefined genetic and metabolic determinants of susceptibility has so far limited the application of ferroptosis inducers in vivo.Methods: Erastin and/or the iron compound ferlixit were used to trigger ferroptosis in HEY, COV318, PEO4, and A2780CP ovarian cancer cell lines. Cell viability and cell death were measured by MTT and PI flow cytometry assay, respectively. The "ballooning" phenotype was tested as ferroptosis specific morphological feature. Mitochondrial dysfunction was evaluated based on ultrastructural changes, mitochondrial ROS, and mitochondrial membrane polarization. Lipid peroxidation was tested through both C11-BODIPY and malondialdehyde assays. VDAC2 and GPX4 protein levels were quantified as additional putative indicators of mitochondrial dysfunction or lipid peroxidation, respectively. The effect of erastin/ferlixit treatments on iron metabolism was analyzed by measuring intracellular labile iron pool and ROS. FtH and NCOA4 were measured as biomarkers of ferritinophagy.
    Results: Here, we provide evidence that erastin is unable to induce ferroptosis in a series of ovarian cancer cell lines. In HEY cells, provided with a high intracellular labile iron pool, erastin treatment is accompanied by NCOA4-mediated ferritinophagy and mitochondrial dysfunction, thus triggering ferroptosis. In agreement, iron chelation counteracts erastin-induced ferroptosis in these cells. COV318 cells, with low baseline intracellular labile iron pool, appear resistant to erastin treatment. Notably, the use of ferlixit sensitizes COV318 cells to erastin through a NCOA4-independent intracellular iron accumulation and mitochondrial dysfunction. Ferlixit alone mimics erastin effects and promotes ferroptosis in HEY cells.
    Conclusion: This study proposes both the baseline and the induced intracellular free iron level as a significant determinant of ferroptosis sensitivity and discusses the potential use of ferlixit in combination with erastin to overcome ferroptosis chemoresistance in ovarian cancer.
    Keywords:  chemoresistance; erastin; ferroptosis; iron; mitochondrial dysfunction; ovarian cancer
  23. Cancers (Basel). 2022 Apr 07. pii: 1865. [Epub ahead of print]14(8):
      Altered metabolism is a defining hallmark of cancer. Metabolic adaptations are often linked to a reprogramming of the mitochondria due to the importance of these organelles in energy production and biosynthesis. Cancer cells present heterogeneous metabolic phenotypes that can be modulated by signals originating from the tumor microenvironment. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are recognized as key players in intercellular communications and mediate many of the hallmarks of cancer via the delivery of their diverse biological cargo molecules. Firstly, this review introduces the most characteristic changes that the EV-biogenesis machinery and mitochondria undergo in the context of cancer. Then, it focuses on the EV-driven processes which alter mitochondrial structure, composition, and function to provide a survival advantage to cancer cells in the context of the hallmarks of cancers, such as altered metabolic strategies, migration and invasiveness, immune surveillance escape, and evasion of apoptosis. Finally, it explores the as yet untapped potential of targeting mitochondria using EVs as delivery vectors as a promising cancer therapeutic strategy.
    Keywords:  metabolism; miRNA; mitochondrial dynamics; tumor microenvironment (TME); tumor-derived EVs (TEVs)
  24. Nat Commun. 2022 Apr 22. 13(1): 2206
      Targeting ferroptosis, a unique cell death modality triggered by unrestricted lipid peroxidation, in cancer therapy is hindered by our incomplete understanding of ferroptosis mechanisms under specific cancer genetic contexts. KEAP1 (kelch-like ECH associated protein 1) is frequently mutated or inactivated in lung cancers, and KEAP1 mutant lung cancers are refractory to most therapies, including radiotherapy. In this study, we identify ferroptosis suppressor protein 1 (FSP1, also known as AIFM2) as a transcriptional target of nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (NRF2) and reveal that the ubiquinone (CoQ)-FSP1 axis mediates ferroptosis- and radiation- resistance in KEAP1 deficient lung cancer cells. We further show that pharmacological inhibition of the CoQ-FSP1 axis sensitizes KEAP1 deficient lung cancer cells or patient-derived xenograft tumors to radiation through inducing ferroptosis. Together, our study identifies CoQ-FSP1 as a key downstream effector of KEAP1-NRF2 pathway and as a potential therapeutic target for treating KEAP1 mutant lung cancers.
  25. Nat Rev Genet. 2022 Apr 22.
      The mitochondrial genome encodes core subunits of the respiratory chain that drives oxidative phosphorylation and is, therefore, essential for energy conversion. Advances in high-throughput sequencing technologies and cryoelectron microscopy have shed light on the structure and organization of the mitochondrial genome and revealed unique mechanisms of mitochondrial gene regulation. New animal models of impaired mitochondrial protein synthesis have shown how the coordinated regulation of the cytoplasmic and mitochondrial translation machineries ensures the correct assembly of the respiratory chain complexes. These new technologies and disease models are providing a deeper understanding of mitochondrial genome organization and expression and of the diseases caused by impaired energy conversion, including mitochondrial, neurodegenerative, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. They also provide avenues for the development of treatments for these conditions.
  26. Antioxidants (Basel). 2022 Apr 08. pii: 741. [Epub ahead of print]11(4):
      The quantification of mitochondrial respiratory chain (MRC) enzymatic activities is essential for diagnosis of a wide range of mitochondrial diseases, ranging from inherited defects to secondary dysfunctions. MRC lesion is frequently linked to extended cell damage through the generation of proton leak or oxidative stress, threatening organ viability and patient health. However, the intrinsic challenge of a methodological setup and the high variability in measuring MRC enzymatic activities represents a major obstacle for comparative analysis amongst institutions. To improve experimental and statistical robustness, seven Spanish centers with extensive experience in mitochondrial research and diagnosis joined to standardize common protocols for spectrophotometric MRC enzymatic measurements using minimum amounts of sample. Herein, we present the detailed protocols, reference ranges, tips and troubleshooting methods for experimental and analytical setups in different sample preparations and tissues that will allow an international standardization of common protocols for the diagnosis of MRC defects. Methodological standardization is a crucial step to obtain comparable reference ranges and international standards for laboratory assays to set the path for further diagnosis and research in the field of mitochondrial diseases.
    Keywords:  diagnosis; enzyme activity; mitochondrial disease; mitochondrial respiratory chain; standardization
  27. Nat Commun. 2022 Apr 21. 13(1): 2177
      Cells subjected to treatment with anti-cancer therapies can evade apoptosis through cellular senescence. Persistent senescent tumor cells remain metabolically active, possess a secretory phenotype, and can promote tumor proliferation and metastatic dissemination. Removal of senescent tumor cells (senolytic therapy) has therefore emerged as a promising therapeutic strategy. Here, using single-cell RNA-sequencing, we find that senescent tumor cells rely on the anti-apoptotic gene Mcl-1 for their survival. Mcl-1 is upregulated in senescent tumor cells, including cells expressing low levels of Bcl-2, an established target for senolytic therapy. While treatment with the Bcl-2 inhibitor Navitoclax results in the reduction of metastases in tumor bearing mice, treatment with the Mcl-1 inhibitor S63845 leads to complete elimination of senescent tumor cells and metastases. These findings provide insights on the mechanism by which senescent tumor cells survive and reveal a vulnerability that can be exploited for cancer therapy.
  28. Mol Metab. 2022 Apr 19. pii: S2212-8778(22)00067-9. [Epub ahead of print] 101498
      Type 2 diabetes and obesity increase the risk of developing colorectal cancer (CRC). The first-line type 2 diabetes medication metformin may reduce colorectal cancer, but the mechanisms mediating this effect remain unclear. In mice and humans, a high-fat diet (HFD), obesity and metformin are known to alter the gut microbiome but whether this is important for influencing tumor growth is not known. We find that compared to chow-fed controls, syngeneic CRC tumor growth is increased when mice are fed HFD and that this acceleration of tumor growth can be partially recapitulated through transfer of the fecal microbiome or in vitro treatment of cells with fecal filtrates from HFD-fed animals. Treatment of HFD-fed mice with orally ingested, but not intraperitoneally injected, metformin suppresses tumor growth and increases the expression of short-chain fatty acid (SCFA)-producing microbes Alistipes, Lachnospiraceae and Ruminococcaceae. The transfer of the gut microbiome from mice treated orally with metformin to drug naïve, conventionalized HFD-fed mice increases circulating propionate and butyrate, reduces tumor proliferation, and suppresses the expression of sterol response element binding protein (SREBP) gene targets in the tumor. These data suggest a potential novel mechanism for the chemo-preventative effects of metformin in people with type 2 diabetes.
  29. Nat Cancer. 2022 Apr 21.
      Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) lacks effective treatments to overcome chemoresistance. Here we established multiple human chemoresistant xenograft models through long-term intermittent chemotherapy, mimicking clinically relevant therapeutic settings. We show that chemoresistant SCLC undergoes metabolic reprogramming relying on the mevalonate (MVA)-geranylgeranyl diphosphate (GGPP) pathway, which can be targeted using clinically approved statins. Mechanistically, statins induce oxidative stress accumulation and apoptosis through the GGPP synthase 1 (GGPS1)-RAB7A-autophagy axis. Statin treatment overcomes both intrinsic and acquired SCLC chemoresistance in vivo across different SCLC PDX models bearing high GGPS1 levels. Moreover, we show that GGPS1 expression is negatively associated with survival in patients with SCLC. Finally, we demonstrate that combined statin and chemotherapy treatment resulted in durable responses in three patients with SCLC who relapsed from first-line chemotherapy. Collectively, these data uncover the MVA-GGPP pathway as a metabolic vulnerability in SCLC and identify statins as a potentially effective treatment to overcome chemoresistance.
  30. Blood Adv. 2022 Apr 20. pii: bloodadvances.2021005910. [Epub ahead of print]
      Autophagy is a self-degradation pathway that is essential for erythropoiesis. During erythroid differentiation, autophagy facilitates the degradation of macromolecules and the programmed clearance of mitochondria. Impaired mitochondrial clearance results in anemia and alters the lifespan of red blood cells in vivo. While several essential autophagy genes contribute to autophagy in erythropoiesis, little is known about erythroid-specific mediators of this pathway. Genetic analysis of primary human erythroid and non-erythroid cells revealed the selective upregulation of the core autophagy gene ATG4A in maturing human erythroid cells. Since the function of ATG4A in erythropoiesis is unknown, we evaluated its role using an ex vivo model of human erythropoiesis. Depletion of ATG4A in primary human hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells selectively impaired erythroid but not myeloid lineage differentiation, resulting in reduced red cell production, delayed terminal differentiation, and impaired enucleation. Loss of ATG4A impaired autophagy and mitochondrial clearance, giving rise to reticulocytes with retained mitochondria and autophagic vesicles. In summary, our study identifies ATG4A as a cell type-specific regulator of autophagy in erythroid development.
  31. Cell Death Discov. 2022 Apr 20. 8(1): 212
      Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) such as imatinib (IM) are key drugs for treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). Development of drug resistance to TKIs due to BCR-ABL mutation, especially T315I mutation, poses a major challenge in the clinical treatment of CML. The purpose of this study was to test metabolic modulation as a potential strategy to overcome imatinib resistance based on the possible crosstalk between BCR-ABL signaling and metabolic changes in CML. 2-deoxy-d-glucose (2-DG) was used to modulate the glucose metabolism in CML cells sensitive to IM (KBM5 cell line) and resistant to imatinib with BCR-ABL T315I mutation (KBM5-T315I cell line). Seahorse XFe24 extracellular flux analyzer to quantify oxygen consumption rate (OCR) and extracellular acidification rate (ECAR) was used to measure cellular energy metabolism. Cell proliferation was analyzed by CCK-8 assay and MTS assay. Annexin V/PI staining was used to evaluate cell apoptosis. Autophagy-related proteins and enzyme/proteins were detected by Western blotting. Cellular ATP concentration was detected using an ATP-based Cell Titer Kit. The combined action of 2-DG and IM was evaluated by calculating the drug combination index. Our results found that inhibition of glucose metabolism by 2-DG significantly impaired the viability of CML cells and co-treatment with 2-DG and imatinib induced a synergistic inhibition of KBM5 and KBM5-T315I cells. 2-DG induced cell death by autophagy, not by apoptosis, as evidenced by increased expression of Beclin1 and LC3AII and lack of annexin V/PI-positive cells. At the biochemical level, 2-DG inhibited glycolysis and mitochondrial oxygen consumption manifested by a significant decrease in ECAR and OCR, and a depletion of ATP. The severe metabolic stress induced by 2-DG in CML cells led to autophagic cell death. Our results suggested a metabolic vulnerability of CML cells that could be targeted by a combination of 2-DG and imatinib as an alternative treatment for imatinib-resistant CML.
  32. Cancers (Basel). 2022 Apr 08. pii: 1883. [Epub ahead of print]14(8):
      Human colon carcinomas, including HCT116 cells, often exhibit high autophagic flux under nutrient deprivation or hypoxic conditions. Mitochondrial ROS (mROS) is known as a 'molecular switch' for regulating the autophagic pathway, which is critical for directing cancer cell survival or death. In early tumorigenesis, autophagy plays important roles in maintaining cellular homeostasis and contributes to tumor growth. However, the relationships between mROS and the autophagic capacities of HCT116 cells are poorly understood. Ubiquinol cytochrome c reductase binding protein (UQCRB) has been reported as a biomarker of colorectal cancer, but its role in tumor growth has not been clarified. Here, we showed that UQCRB is overexpressed in HCT116 cells compared to CCD18co cells, a normal colon fibroblast cell line. Pharmacological inhibition of UQCRB reduced mROS levels, autophagic flux, and the growth of HCT116 tumors in a xenograft mouse model. We further investigated mutant UQCRB-overexpressing cell lines to identify functional links in UQCRB-mROS-autophagy. Notably, an increasing level of mROS caused by UQCRB overexpression released Ca2+ by the activation of lysosomal transient receptor potential mucolipin 1 (TRPML1) channels. This activation induced transcription factor EB (TFEB) nuclear translocation and lysosome biogenesis, leading to autophagy flux. Collectively, our study showed that increasing levels of mROS caused by the overexpression of UQCRB in human colon carcinoma HCT116 cells could be linked to autophagy for cell survival.
    Keywords:  UQCRB; autophagy; colorectal cancer; lysosome; mROS
  33. Sci Adv. 2022 Apr 22. 8(16): eabm9987
      Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) arises when leukemia-initiating cells, defined by a primary genetic lesion, acquire subsequent molecular changes whose cumulative effects bypass tumor suppression. The changes that underlie AML pathogenesis not only provide insights into the biology of transformation but also reveal novel therapeutic opportunities. However, backtracking these events in transformed human AML samples is challenging, if at all possible. Here, we approached this question using a murine in vivo model with an MLL-ENL fusion protein as a primary molecular event. Upon clonal transformation, we identified and extensively verified a recurrent codon-changing mutation (Arg295Cys) in the ERM protein moesin that markedly accelerated leukemogenesis. Human cancer-associated moesin mutations at the conserved arginine-295 residue similarly enhanced MLL-ENL-driven leukemogenesis. Mechanistically, the mutation interrupted the stability of moesin and conferred a neomorphic activity to the protein, which converged on enhanced extracellular signal-regulated kinase activity. Thereby, our studies demonstrate a critical role of ERM proteins in AML, with implications also for human cancer.
  34. Sci Signal. 2022 Apr 19. 15(730): eabo0059
      Mutations in multiple cancers may synergize to alter the cellular epigenetic and transcriptional state and corrupt key signaling pathways. In this issue of Science Signaling, Pedicona et al. illustrate how the two processes intersect to regulate cellular differentiation in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and show how inhibition of epigenetic regulators promotes sensitivity to kinase inhibitors.