bims-mibica Biomed News
on Mitochondrial bioenergetics in cancer
Issue of 2022‒05‒01
35 papers selected by
Kelsey Fisher-Wellman
East Carolina University

  1. Nat Immunol. 2022 Apr 28.
      The NLRP3 inflammasome is linked to sterile and pathogen-dependent inflammation, and its dysregulation underlies many chronic diseases. Mitochondria have been implicated as regulators of the NLRP3 inflammasome through several mechanisms including generation of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS). Here, we report that mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC) complex I, II, III and V inhibitors all prevent NLRP3 inflammasome activation. Ectopic expression of Saccharomyces cerevisiae NADH dehydrogenase (NDI1) or Ciona intestinalis alternative oxidase, which can complement the functional loss of mitochondrial complex I or III, respectively, without generation of ROS, rescued NLRP3 inflammasome activation in the absence of endogenous mitochondrial complex I or complex III function. Metabolomics revealed phosphocreatine (PCr), which can sustain ATP levels, as a common metabolite that is diminished by mitochondrial ETC inhibitors. PCr depletion decreased ATP levels and NLRP3 inflammasome activation. Thus, the mitochondrial ETC sustains NLRP3 inflammasome activation through PCr-dependent generation of ATP, but via a ROS-independent mechanism.
  2. Elife. 2022 Apr 25. pii: e75143. [Epub ahead of print]11
      How environmental cues influence peroxisome proliferation, particularly through organelles, remains largely unknown. Yeast peroxisomes metabolize fatty acids (FA), and methylotrophic yeasts also metabolize methanol. NADH and acetyl-CoA, produced by these pathways enter mitochondria for ATP production and for anabolic reactions. During the metabolism of FA and/or methanol, the mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) pathway accepts NADH for ATP production and maintains cellular redox balance. Remarkably, peroxisome proliferation in Pichia pastoris was abolished in NADH shuttling- and OXPHOS mutants affecting complex I or III, or by the mitochondrial uncoupler, 2,4-dinitrophenol (DNP), indicating ATP depletion causes the phenotype. We show that mitochondrial OXPHOS deficiency inhibits expression of several peroxisomal proteins implicated in FA and methanol metabolism, as well as in peroxisome division and proliferation. These genes are regulated by the Snf1 complex (SNF1), a pathway generally activated by a high AMP/ATP ratio. In OXPHOS mutants, Snf1 is activated by phosphorylation, but Gal83, its interacting subunit, fails to translocate to the nucleus. Phenotypic defects in peroxisome proliferation observed in the OXPHOS mutants, and phenocopied by the Dgal83 mutant, were rescued by deletion of three transcriptional repressor genes (MIG1, MIG2 and NRG1) controlled by SNF1 signaling. Our results are interpreted in terms of a mechanism by which peroxisomal and mitochondrial proteins and/or metabolites influence redox and energy metabolism, while also influencing peroxisome biogenesis and proliferation, thereby exemplifying interorganellar communication and interplay involving peroxisomes, mitochondria, cytosol and the nucleus. We discuss the physiological relevance of this work in the context of human OXPHOS deficiencies.
    Keywords:  cell biology
  3. Nat Chem Biol. 2022 May;18(5): 461-469
      Metabolites once considered solely in catabolism or anabolism turn out to have key regulatory functions. Among these, the citric acid cycle intermediate succinate stands out owing to its multiple roles in disparate pathways, its dramatic concentration changes and its selective cell release. Here we propose that succinate has evolved as a signaling modality because its concentration reflects the coenzyme Q (CoQ) pool redox state, a central redox couple confined to the mitochondrial inner membrane. This connection is of general importance because CoQ redox state integrates three bioenergetic parameters: mitochondrial electron supply, oxygen tension and ATP demand. Succinate, by equilibrating with the CoQ pool, enables the status of this central bioenergetic parameter to be communicated from mitochondria to the rest of the cell, into the circulation and to other cells. The logic of this form of regulation explains many emerging roles of succinate in biology, and suggests future research questions.
  4. Cell Stress. 2022 Apr;6(4): 45-60
      Glioblastoma (GBM) is a fatal disease with recurrences often associated with radioresistance. Although often effective at treating newly diagnosed GBM, increasing evidence suggests that radiotherapy-induced alterations in tumor metabolism promote GBM recurrence and aggressiveness. Using isogenic radiosensitive and radioresistant GBM cell lines and patient-derived xenolines, we found that acquired radioresistance is associated with a shift from a glycolytic metabolism to a more oxidative metabolism marked by a substantial increase in the activity of the mitochondrial respiratory chain complex cytochrome c oxidase (CcO). This elevated CcO activity was associated with a switch in the isoform expression of the CcO regulatory subunit COX4, from COX4-2 to COX4-1, assembly of CcO-containing mitochondrial supercomplexes (SCs), and reduced superoxide (O2 •-) production. Overexpression of COX4-1 in the radiosensitive cells was sufficient to promote the switch from glycolytic to oxidative metabolism and the incorporation of CcO into SCs, with a concomitant reduction in O2 •- production. Conversely, silencing of COX4-1 expression in normally radioresistant cells reduced CcO activity, promoted the disassembly of mitochondrial SCs, and increased O2 •- production. Additionally, gain or loss of COX4-1 expression was sufficient to induce the radioresistant or radiosensitive phenotype, respectively. Our results demonstrate that COX4-1 promotes SC assembly in GBM cells, and SC assembly may in turn regulate the production of reactive oxygen species and thus the acquisition of radioresistance in GBM.
    Keywords:  COX4; GBM; cytochrome c oxidase; mitochondria; radioresistance; supercomplexes; superoxide
  5. Life Sci. 2022 Apr 22. pii: S0024-3205(22)00271-5. [Epub ahead of print] 120571
      Mitochondrial complex I (CI), the first multiprotein enzyme complex of the oxidative phosphorylation system, plays a crucial role in cellular energy production. CI deficiency is associated with a variety of clinical phenotypes, including Leigh syndrome. At the cellular level, an increased NAD(P)H concentration is one of the hallmarks in CI-deficiency.AIMS: Here, we aimed to attenuate increased NAD(P)H levels by stimulation of ATP-dependent cassette (ABC)A1 and ABCG1-mediated cellular cholesterol efflux with various PPARα and LXRα agonists.
    MAIN METHODS: Mitochondrial CI-deficient fibroblasts and chemically-induced CI-deficient HeLa cells were used to study the dose-dependent effects of various PPARα and LXRα on cellular NAD(P)H levels and cholesterol efflux.
    KEY FINDINGS: In patient-derived mitochondrial CI-deficient fibroblasts, GW590735, astaxanthin, oleoylethanolamide, and GW3965 significantly reduced the enhanced NAD(P)H levels in CI-deficient fibroblasts. Similar effects were observed in chemically-induced CI-impaired HeLa cells, in which BMS-687453, Wy14643, GW7647, T0901317, DMHCA also demonstrated a beneficial effect. Surprisingly, no effect on ABCA1- and ABCG1-mediated cholesterol efflux in HeLa cells and fibroblasts was found after treatment with these compounds. The reduction in NAD(P)H levels by GW590735 could be partially reversed by inhibition of fatty acid synthase and β-oxidation, which suggests that its beneficial effects are possibly mediated via stimulation of fatty acid metabolism rather than cholesterol efflux.
    SIGNIFICANCE: Collectively, PPARα and LXRα stimulation resulted in attenuated cellular NAD(P)H levels in CI-impaired HeLa cells and patient-derived fibroblasts and could eventually have a therapeutic potential in CI deficiency.
    Keywords:  Liver X receptor α; Mitochondrial complex I deficiency; Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (phosphate); Peroxisome proliferator activated receptor α; Redox state
  6. Mol Biol Evol. 2022 Apr 28. pii: msac090. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitochondria are essential organelles in eukaryotic cells that provide critical support for energetic and metabolic homeostasis. Although the elimination of pathogenic mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations in somatic cells has been observed, the mechanisms for somatic cells to maintain proper functions despite their mtDNA mutation load are poorly understood. In this study, we analyzed somatic mtDNA mutations in more than 30,000 single human peripheral and bone marrow mononuclear cells. We observed a significant overrepresentation of homoplasmic mtDNA mutations in B, T and NK lymphocytes. Intriguingly, their overall mutational burden was lower than that in hematopoietic progenitors and myeloid cells. This characteristic mtDNA mutational landscape indicates a genetic bottleneck during lymphoid development, as confirmed with single cell datasets from multiple platforms and individuals. We further demonstrated that mtDNA replication lags behind cell proliferation in both pro-B and pre-B progenitor cells, thus likely causing the genetic bottleneck by diluting mtDNA copies per cell. Through computational simulations and approximate Bayesian computation (ABC), we recapitulated this lymphocyte-specific mutational landscape and estimated the minimal mtDNA copies as <30 in T, B, and NK lineages. Our integrative analysis revealed a novel discovery of a lymphoid-specific mtDNA genetic bottleneck, thus illuminating a potential mechanism used by highly metabolically active immune cells to limit their mtDNA mutation load.
  7. Cell Rep Methods. 2021 May 24. 1(1): 100002
      Mitochondria sustain the energy demand of the cell. The composition and functional state of the mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation system are informative indicators of organelle bioenergetic capacity. Here, we describe a highly sensitive and reproducible method for a single-cell quantification of mitochondrial CI- and CIV-containing respiratory supercomplexes (CI∗CIV-SCs) as an alternative means of assessing mitochondrial respiratory chain integrity. We apply a proximity ligation assay (PLA) and stain CI∗CIV-SCs in fixed human and mouse brains, tumorigenic cells, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and iPSC-derived neural precursor cells (NPCs), and neurons. Spatial visualization of CI∗CIV-SCs enables the detection of mitochondrial lesions in various experimental models, including complex tissues undergoing degenerative processes. We report that comparative assessments of CI∗CIV-SCs facilitate the quantitative profiling of even subtle mitochondrial variations by overcoming the confounding effects that mixed cell populations have on other measurements. Together, our PLA-based analysis of CI∗CIV-SCs is a sensitive and complementary technique for detecting cell-type-specific mitochondrial perturbations in fixed materials.
    Keywords:  brain; in-situ imaging analysis; mitochondria; mitochondrial diseases; mitochondrial dysfunction; mitochondrial respiratory supercomplexes; proximity ligation assay
  8. Front Physiol. 2022 ;13 772313
      Mitochondrial malfunction is a hallmark of many diseases, including neurodegenerative disorders, cardiovascular and lung diseases, and cancers. We previously found that alveolar progenitor cells, which are more resistant to cigarette smoke-induced injury than the other cells of the lung parenchyma, upregulate the mtDNA-encoded small non-coding RNA mito-ncR-805 after exposure to smoke. The mito-ncR-805 acts as a retrograde signal between the mitochondria and the nucleus. Here, we identified a region of mito-ncR-805 that is conserved in the mammalian mitochondrial genomes and generated shorter versions of mouse and human transcripts (mmu-CR805 and hsa-LDL1, respectively), which differ in a few nucleotides and which we refer to as the "functional bit". Overexpression of mouse and human functional bits in either the mouse or the human lung epithelial cells led to an increase in the activity of the Krebs cycle and oxidative phosphorylation, stabilized the mitochondrial potential, conferred faster cell division, and lowered the levels of proapoptotic pseudokinase, TRIB3. Both oligos, mmu-CR805 and hsa-LDL1 conferred cross-species beneficial effects. Our data indicate a high degree of evolutionary conservation of retrograde signaling via a functional bit of the D-loop transcript, mito-ncR-805, in the mammals. This emphasizes the importance of the pathway and suggests a potential to develop this functional bit into a therapeutic agent that enhances mitochondrial bioenergetics.
    Keywords:  D-loop transcripts; Krebs cycle; OxPhos; mitochondria; mitochondria-to-nucleus retrograde signaling; small ncRNA
  9. Nat Commun. 2022 Apr 29. 13(1): 2340
      The dynamin-like GTPases Mitofusin 1 and 2 (Mfn1 and Mfn2) are essential for mitochondrial function, which has been principally attributed to their regulation of fission/fusion dynamics. Here, we report that Mfn1 and 2 are critical for glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS) primarily through control of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) content. Whereas Mfn1 and Mfn2 individually were dispensable for glucose homeostasis, combined Mfn1/2 deletion in β-cells reduced mtDNA content, impaired mitochondrial morphology and networking, and decreased respiratory function, ultimately resulting in severe glucose intolerance. Importantly, gene dosage studies unexpectedly revealed that Mfn1/2 control of glucose homeostasis was dependent on maintenance of mtDNA content, rather than mitochondrial structure. Mfn1/2 maintain mtDNA content by regulating the expression of the crucial mitochondrial transcription factor Tfam, as Tfam overexpression ameliorated the reduction in mtDNA content and GSIS in Mfn1/2-deficient β-cells. Thus, the primary physiologic role of Mfn1 and 2 in β-cells is coupled to the preservation of mtDNA content rather than mitochondrial architecture, and Mfn1 and 2 may be promising targets to overcome mitochondrial dysfunction and restore glucose control in diabetes.
  10. MethodsX. 2022 ;9 101685
      Mitochondria are important organelles responsible for energy production. Mitochondrial dysfunction relates to various pathological diseases. The investigation of mitochondrial heath is critical to evaluate the cellular status. Herein, we demonstrated an approach for determining the status of mitochondrial health by observing mitochondrial H2O2 (one type of ROS), membrane potential, and morphology (fragmentation and length) in live primary fibroblast cells. The cells were co-stained with fluorescent dyes (Hoechst 33342 and MITO-ID® Red/MitoPY1/JC-10) and continuously processed by the High Content Imaging System. We employed the Operetta CLSTM to take fluorescent images with its given quickness and high resolution. The CellProfiler image analysis software was further used to identify cell and mitochondrial phenotypes in the thousand fluorescent images.•We could quantitatively analyze fluorescent images with high-throughput and high-speed detection to track the alteration of mitochondrial status.•The MMP assay is sensitive to FCCP even at the concentration of 0.01 µM.•The fibroblast cells treated with stress inducers (H2O2, FCCP, and phenanthroline) revealed a significant change in mitochondrial health parameters, with more ROS accumulation, depolarized MMP, increased fragmentation, and reduced length of mitochondria.
    Keywords:  High content fluorescent imaging; Mitochondrial ROS; Mitochondrial function; Mitochondrial membrane potential; Mitochondrial morphology
  11. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 May 03. 119(18): e2200549119
      SignificancePrimary mitochondrial diseases (PMDs) are the most prevalent inborn metabolic disorders, affecting an estimated 1 in 4,200 individuals. Endurance exercise is generally known to improve mitochondrial function, but its indication in the heterogeneous group of PMDs is unclear. We determined the relationship between mitochondrial mutations, endurance exercise response, and the underlying molecular pathways in mice with distinct mitochondrial mutations. This revealed that mitochondria are crucial regulators of exercise capacity and exercise response. Endurance exercise proved to be mostly beneficial across the different mitochondrial mutant mice with the exception of a worsened dilated cardiomyopathy in ANT1-deficient mice. Thus, therapeutic exercises, especially in patients with PMDs, should take into account the physical and mitochondrial genetic status of the patient.
    Keywords:  endurance exercise; mitochondrial disease; skeletal muscle adaption
  12. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2022 ;2022 9982449
      Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations have been identified in various human cancers, including thyroid cancer. However, the relationship between mtDNA and thyroid cancer remains unclear. Previous studies by others and us strongly suggested that mtDNA mutations in complex I may participate in thyroid cancer processes according to sequencing results of thyroid cancer tissue, although the associated pathogenic processes remain unknown. Here, to investigate whether mtDNA mutations contribute to thyroid cancer, we reanalyzed our sequencing results and characterized thyroid cancer-associated mutations in the mitochondrial complex. The results identified the highest mutation frequencies in nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide hydride (NADH) dehydrogenase subunit 4 gene (ND4) and cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 gene (COI), which also harbored the highest rates of G > A substitutions, with most of the mutations resulting in changes in the polarity of amino acids. We then established cybrids containing the G3842A mutation identified in papillary thyroid carcinoma, which revealed it as a mutation in NADH dehydrogenase subunit 1 gene (ND1) and is previously reported in follicular thyroid carcinoma, thereby suggesting a possibly pathogenic role in thyroid carcinoma. Additionally, we found that the G3842A mutation accelerates tumorigenicity and decreases the abundance and activity of mitochondrial complex I, the oxygen consumption rate, and adenosine triphosphate levels. By contrast, the levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) were increased to activate extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK1/2) signaling, which contributed to tumorigenicity. These findings suggest for the first time that mtDNA mutations help drive tumor development and that G3842A may represent a new risk factor for thyroid cancer. Furthermore, our findings indicate that drugs targeting ROS and ERK1/2 may serve as a viable therapeutic strategy for thyroid cancer.
  13. Nat Commun. 2022 Apr 25. 13(1): 2232
      ATP synthases are macromolecular machines consisting of an ATP-hydrolysis-driven F1 motor and a proton-translocation-driven FO motor. The F1 and FO motors oppose each other's action on a shared rotor subcomplex and are held stationary relative to each other by a peripheral stalk. Structures of resting mitochondrial ATP synthases revealed a left-handed curvature of the peripheral stalk even though rotation of the rotor, driven by either ATP hydrolysis in F1 or proton translocation through FO, would apply a right-handed bending force to the stalk. We used cryoEM to image yeast mitochondrial ATP synthase under strain during ATP-hydrolysis-driven rotary catalysis, revealing a large deformation of the peripheral stalk. The structures show how the peripheral stalk opposes the bending force and suggests that during ATP synthesis proton translocation causes accumulation of strain in the stalk, which relaxes by driving the relative rotation of the rotor through six sub-steps within F1, leading to catalysis.
  14. Cell Rep. 2022 Apr 26. pii: S2211-1247(22)00516-2. [Epub ahead of print]39(4): 110752
      High-risk forms of B-acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) remain a therapeutic challenge. Leukemia-initiating cells (LICs) self-renew and spark relapse and therefore have been the subject of intensive investigation; however, the properties of LICs in high-risk B-ALL are not well understood. Here, we use single-cell transcriptomics and quantitative xenotransplantation to understand LICs in MLL-rearranged (MLL-r) B-ALL. Compared with reported LIC frequencies in acute myeloid leukemia (AML), engraftable LICs in MLL-r B-ALL are abundant. Although we find that multipotent, self-renewing LICs are enriched among phenotypically undifferentiated B-ALL cells, LICs with the capacity to replenish the leukemic cellular diversity can emerge from more mature fractions. While inhibiting oxidative phosphorylation blunts blast proliferation, this intervention promotes LIC emergence. Conversely, inhibiting hypoxia and glycolysis impairs MLL-r B-ALL LICs, providing a therapeutic benefit in xenotransplantation systems. These findings provide insight into the aggressive nature of MLL-r B-ALL and provide a rationale for therapeutic targeting of hypoxia and glycolysis.
    Keywords:  CP: Cancer; CP: Metabolism; leukemia; metabolism; stem cell
  15. Cell Rep Methods. 2021 Jun 21. 1(2): 100016
      Quantitative information about the levels and dynamics of post-translational modifications (PTMs) is critical for an understanding of cellular functions. Protein arginine methylation (ArgMet) is an important subclass of PTMs and is involved in a plethora of (patho)physiological processes. However, because of the lack of methods for global analysis of ArgMet, the link between ArgMet levels, dynamics, and (patho)physiology remains largely unknown. We utilized the high sensitivity and robustness of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy to develop a general method for the quantification of global protein ArgMet. Our NMR-based approach enables the detection of protein ArgMet in purified proteins, cells, organoids, and mouse tissues. We demonstrate that the process of ArgMet is a highly prevalent PTM and can be modulated by small-molecule inhibitors and metabolites and changes in cancer and during aging. Thus, our approach enables us to address a wide range of biological questions related to ArgMet in health and disease.
    Keywords:  NMR spectroscopy; aging; arginine methylation; cancer; cell differentiation; mouse models; one carbon metabolism; organoids; protein arginine methyltransferases; yeast
  16. Am J Hematol. 2022 Apr 28.
      Altered energy metabolism and changes in glycolytic and oxidative phosphorylation pathways are hallmarks of all cancer cells. The expression of select genes associated in the production of various enzymes and proteins involved in glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation were assessed in the clonal plasma cells derived from patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma (NDMM) enrolled in the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) CoMMpass dataset. A scoring system consisting of assigning a point for every gene where their fragments per kilobase of transcript per million (FPKM) was above the median yielded a minimum of 0 and a maximum of 12 for the set of genes in the glycolytic and oxidative phosphorylation pathways to create a total energy metabolism molecular signature (EMMS) score. This EMMS score was independently associated with worse progression free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) outcomes of patients with NDMM. A higher EMMS score was more likely to be present in clonal plasma cells derived from MM patients than those from patients with monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS). This was functionally confirmed by the clonal plasma cells from MM patients having a higher rate of mitochondrial and glycolysis-derived ATP formation than clonal plasma cells from MGUS patients. Thus, this study provides evidence for the effect of energy metabolism within clonal plasma cells on pathogenesis and outcomes of patients with MM. Exploiting the energy producing metabolic pathways within clonal plasma cells for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes in MM should be explored in the future. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
  17. Nat Cancer. 2022 Apr;3(4): 471-485
      Aberrant expression of MYC transcription factor family members predicts poor clinical outcome in many human cancers. Oncogenic MYC profoundly alters metabolism and mediates an antioxidant response to maintain redox balance. Here we show that MYCN induces massive lipid peroxidation on depletion of cysteine, the rate-limiting amino acid for glutathione (GSH) biosynthesis, and sensitizes cells to ferroptosis, an oxidative, non-apoptotic and iron-dependent type of cell death. The high cysteine demand of MYCN-amplified childhood neuroblastoma is met by uptake and transsulfuration. When uptake is limited, cysteine usage for protein synthesis is maintained at the expense of GSH triggering ferroptosis and potentially contributing to spontaneous tumor regression in low-risk neuroblastomas. Pharmacological inhibition of both cystine uptake and transsulfuration combined with GPX4 inactivation resulted in tumor remission in an orthotopic MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma model. These findings provide a proof of concept of combining multiple ferroptosis targets as a promising therapeutic strategy for aggressive MYCN-amplified tumors.
  18. Redox Biol. 2022 Apr 21. pii: S2213-2317(22)00089-1. [Epub ahead of print]52 102317
      Chemotherapy is still one of the principal treatments for gastric cancer, but the clinical application of 5-FU is limited by drug resistance. Here, we demonstrate that ferroptosis triggered by STAT3 inhibition may provide a novel opportunity to explore a new effective therapeutic strategy for gastric cancer and chemotherapy resistance. We find that ferroptosis negative regulation (FNR) signatures are closely correlated with the progression and chemoresistance of gastric cancer. FNR associated genes (GPX4, SLC7A11, and FTH1) and STAT3 are upregulated in 5-FU resistant cells and xenografts. Further evidence demonstrates that STAT3 binds to consensus DNA response elements in the promoters of the FNR associated genes (GPX4, SLC7A11, and FTH1) and regulates their expression, thereby establishing a negative STAT3-ferroptosis regulatory axis in gastric cancer. Genetic inhibition of STAT3 activity triggers ferroptosis through lipid peroxidation and Fe2+ accumulation in gastric cancer cells. We further develop a potent and selective STAT3 inhibitor, W1131, which demonstrates significant anti-tumor effects in gastric cancer cell xenograft model, organoids model, and patient-derived xenografts (PDX) model partly by inducing ferroptosis, thus providing a new candidate compound for advanced gastric cancer. Moreover, targeting the STAT3-ferroptosis circuit promotes ferroptosis and restores sensitivity to chemotherapy. Our finding reveals that STAT3 acts as a key negative regulator of ferroptosis in gastric cancer through a multi-pronged mechanism and provides a new therapeutic strategy for advanced gastric cancer and chemotherapy resistance.
    Keywords:  Chemotherapy resistance; Ferroptosis; Gastric cancer; STAT3 inhibitor
  19. Immunometabolism. 2022 ;pii: e220008. [Epub ahead of print]4(2):
      Hematopoietic homeostasis depends on the close regulation of hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) activity in the bone marrow. Quiescence and activation in response to stress, among other changes in state, are mediated by shifts in HSC metabolic activity. Although HSC steady-state metabolism is well established, the mechanisms driving HSC activation, proliferation, and differentiation in response to stress remain poorly understood. Here we discuss a study by Mistry et al. that describes a novel metabolic mechanism that fuels HSC activation and expansion. The authors show that to meet their metabolic needs in response to infection, hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells uptake free fatty acids from their microenvironment via CD36 to fuel fatty acid oxidation. These exciting findings suggest that in the context of infection, HSCs undergo a metabolic shift toward fatty acid metabolism that drives emergency hematopoiesis and raise questions about the role of the microenvironment in this process.
    Keywords:  CD36; fatty-acid oxidation; hematopoiesis; hematopoietic stem cells; infection; oxidative phosphorylation
  20. Cell Rep Methods. 2021 Aug 23. 1(4): 100052
      Engineered synthetic biomolecular devices that integrate elaborate information processing and precisely regulate living cell behavior have potential in various applications. Although devices that directly regulate key biomolecules constituting inherent biological systems exist, no devices have been developed to control intracellular membrane architecture, contributing to the spatiotemporal functions of these biomolecules. This study developed a synthetic biomolecular device, termed inducible counter mitochondrial morphology (iCMM), to manipulate mitochondrial morphology, an emerging informative property for understanding physiopathological cellular behaviors, on a minute timescale by using a chemically inducible dimerization system. Using iCMM, we determined cellular changes by altering mitochondrial morphology in an unprecedented manner. This approach serves as a platform for developing more sophisticated synthetic biomolecular devices to regulate biological systems by extending manipulation targets from conventional biomolecules to mitochondria. Furthermore, iCMM might serve as a tool for uncovering the biological significance of mitochondrial morphology in various physiopathological cellular processes.
    Keywords:  Boolean logic gate; mitochondria; mitochondrial morphology; synthetic biocomputing device; synthetic biology
  21. Bioorg Med Chem. 2022 Apr 20. pii: S0968-0896(22)00151-1. [Epub ahead of print]64 116759
      Mitochondrion emerged as an important therapeutic target for anti-cancer strategy due to its involvement in cancer progression and development. However, progress of novel small molecules for selective targeting of mitochondria in cancer cells remained a major challenge. To address this, herein, through a concise synthetic strategy, we have synthesized a small molecule library of indomethacin and ibuprofen (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, NSAIDs) derivatives having triarylphosphonium moiety for mitochondria localization. Two of the library members were identified to induce mitochondrial damage through outer membrane permeabilization (MOMP) followed by generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) leading to the remarkable MCF7 breast cancer cell death through apoptosis. These novel mitochondria targeted NSAID derivatives could open a new direction in understanding mitochondrial biology towards anti-cancer therapeutics in future.
    Keywords:  Cancer; Ibuprofen; Indomethacin; Mitochondria
  22. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Apr 26. 119(17): e2107189119
      SignificanceThe current study reveals the functions of FAF1 in protecting cells from ferroptosis, a novel cell death pathway triggered by PUFA peroxidation. In the absence of FAF1, cultured cells and mice are extremely sensitive to ferroptosis when exposed to physiological levels of PUFAs. Mechanistically, FAF1 sequesters PUFAs into the hydrophobic core of a global structure that limits their access to positively charged Fe2+, which catalyzes the peroxidation reaction. These observations suggest that FAF1-mediated protection of PUFA peroxidation plays a critical role in preventing initiation of ferroptosis.
    Keywords:  FAF1; ferroptosis; polyunsaturated fatty acids
  23. Sci Immunol. 2022 Apr 29. 7(70): eabm8161
      Effective T cell-mediated immune responses require the proper allocation of metabolic resources to sustain growth, proliferation, and cytokine production. Epigenetic control of the genome also governs T cell transcriptome and T cell lineage commitment and maintenance. Cellular metabolic programs interact with epigenetic regulation by providing substrates for covalent modifications of chromatin. By using complementary genetic, epigenetic, and metabolic approaches, we revealed that tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle flux fueled biosynthetic processes while controlling the ratio of succinate/α-ketoglutarate (α-KG) to modulate the activities of dioxygenases that are critical for driving T cell inflammation. In contrast to cancer cells, where succinate dehydrogenase (SDH)/complex II inactivation drives cell transformation and growth, SDH/complex II deficiency in T cells caused proliferation and survival defects when the TCA cycle was truncated, blocking carbon flux to support nucleoside biosynthesis. Replenishing the intracellular nucleoside pool partially relieved the dependence of T cells on SDH/complex II for proliferation and survival. SDH deficiency induced a proinflammatory gene signature in T cells and promoted T helper 1 and T helper 17 lineage differentiation. An increasing succinate/α-KG ratio in SDH-deficient T cells promoted inflammation by changing the pattern of the transcriptional and chromatin accessibility signatures and consequentially increasing the expression of the transcription factor, PR domain zinc finger protein 1. Collectively, our studies revealed a role of SDH/complex II in allocating carbon resources for anabolic processes and epigenetic regulation in T cell proliferation and inflammation.
  24. Nat Cancer. 2022 Apr;3(4): 453-470
      Phagocytosis is required for the optimal efficacy of many approved and promising therapeutic antibodies for various malignancies. However, the factors that determine the response to therapies that rely on phagocytosis remain largely elusive. Here, we demonstrate that mitochondrial fission in macrophages induced by multiple antibodies is essential for phagocytosis of live tumor cells. Tumor cells resistant to phagocytosis inhibit mitochondrial fission of macrophages by overexpressing glutamine-fructose-6-phosphate transaminase 2 (GFPT2), which can be targeted to improve antibody efficacy. Mechanistically, increased cytosolic calcium by mitochondrial fission abrogates the phase transition of the Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (WASP)-Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome interacting protein (WIP) complex and enables protein kinase C-θ (PKC-θ) to phosphorylate WIP during phagocytosis. GFPT2-mediated excessive use of glutamine by tumor cells impairs mitochondrial fission and prevents access of PKC-θ to compartmentalized WIP in macrophages. Our data suggest that mitochondrial dynamics dictate the phase transition of the phagocytic machinery and identify GFPT2 as a potential target to improve antibody therapy.
  25. Leukemia. 2022 Apr 26.
      By querying metabolic pathways associated with leukemic stemness and survival in multiple AML datasets, we nominated SLC7A11 encoding the xCT cystine importer as a putative AML dependency. Genetic and chemical inhibition of SLC7A11 impaired the viability and clonogenic capacity of AML cell lines in a cysteine-dependent manner. Sulfasalazine, a broadly available drug with xCT inhibitory activity, had anti-leukemic activity against primary AML samples in ex vivo cultures. Multiple metabolic pathways were impacted upon xCT inhibition, resulting in depletion of glutathione pools in leukemic cells and oxidative stress-dependent cell death, only in part through ferroptosis. Higher expression of cysteine metabolism genes and greater cystine dependency was noted in NPM1-mutated AMLs. Among eight anti-leukemic drugs, the anthracycline daunorubicin was identified as the top synergistic agent in combination with sulfasalazine in vitro. Addition of sulfasalazine at a clinically relevant concentration significantly augmented the anti-leukemic activity of a daunorubicin-cytarabine combination in a panel of 45 primary samples enriched in NPM1-mutated AML. These results were confirmed in vivo in a patient-derived xenograft model. Collectively, our results nominate cystine import as a druggable target in AML and raise the possibility to repurpose sulfasalazine for the treatment of AML, notably in combination with chemotherapy.
  26. Front Physiol. 2022 ;13 871586
    Keywords:  bioenergetics; biogenesis; cancer biology; evolution; mitochondria; outer membrane (OM); oxidative stress; voltage dependence
  27. J Biol Chem. 2022 Apr 26. pii: S0021-9258(22)00424-0. [Epub ahead of print] 101984
      A major challenge in eukaryotic cells is the proper distribution of nuclear-encoded proteins to the correct organelles. For a subset of mitochondrial proteins, a signal sequence at the N-terminus (MTS) is recognized by protein complexes to ensure their proper translocation into the organelle. However, the early steps of mitochondrial protein targeting remain undeciphered. The cytosolic chaperone NAC, that in yeast is represented as the two different heterodimers αβ- and αβ'-NAC, has been proposed to be involved during the early steps of mitochondrial protein targeting. We have previously described that the mitochondrial outer membrane protein Sam37 interacts with αβ'-NAC and together promote the import of specific mitochondrial precursor proteins. In this work, we aimed to detect the region in the MTS of mitochondrial precursors relevant for their recognition by αβ'-NAC during their sorting to the mitochondria. We used targeting signals of different mitochondrial proteins (αβ'-NAC-dependent Oxa1 and αβ'-NAC-independent Mdm38) and fused them to green-fluorescent protein (GFP) to study their intracellular localization by biochemical and microscopy methods, and additionally followed their import kinetics in vivo. Our results reveal the presence of a positively charged amino acid cluster in the MTS of select mitochondrial precursors, such as Oxa1 and Fum1, which are crucial for their recognition by αβ'-NAC. Furthermore, we explored the presence of this cluster at the N-terminus of the mitochondrial proteome and propose a set of precursors whose proper localization depends on both αβ'-NAC and Sam37.
  28. Oncoimmunology. 2022 ;11(1): 2063225
      While regulatory T cells (Tregs) and macrophages have been recognized as key orchestrators of cancer-associated immunosuppression, their cellular crosstalk within tumors has been poorly characterized. Here, using spontaneous models for breast cancer, we demonstrate that tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) contribute to the intratumoral accumulation of Tregs by promoting the conversion of conventional CD4+ T cells (Tconvs) into Tregs. Mechanistically, two processes were identified that independently contribute to this process. While TAM-derived TGF-β directly promotes the conversion of CD4+ Tconvs into Tregs in vitro, we additionally show that TAMs enhance PD-1 expression on CD4+ T cells. This indirectly contributes to the intratumoral accumulation of Tregs, as loss of PD-1 on CD4+ Tconvs abrogates intratumoral conversion of adoptively transferred CD4+ Tconvs into Tregs. Combined, this study provides insights into the complex immune cell crosstalk between CD4+ T cells and TAMs in the tumor microenvironment of breast cancer, and further highlights that therapeutic exploitation of macrophages may be an attractive immune intervention to limit the accumulation of Tregs in breast tumors.
    Keywords:  Breast cancer immunology; T cell plasticity; regulatory T cells; tumor-associated macrophages
  29. Science. 2022 Apr 29. 376(6592): 476-483
      Genotoxic therapy such as radiation serves as a frontline cancer treatment, yet acquired resistance that leads to tumor reoccurrence is frequent. We found that cancer cells maintain viability during irradiation by reversibly increasing genome-wide DNA breaks, thereby limiting premature mitotic progression. We identify caspase-activated DNase (CAD) as the nuclease inflicting these de novo DNA lesions at defined loci, which are in proximity to chromatin-modifying CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF) sites. CAD nuclease activity is governed through phosphorylation by DNA damage response kinases, independent of caspase activity. In turn, loss of CAD activity impairs cell fate decisions, rendering cancer cells vulnerable to radiation-induced DNA double-strand breaks. Our observations highlight a cancer-selective survival adaptation, whereby tumor cells deploy regulated DNA breaks to delimit the detrimental effects of therapy-evoked DNA damage.
  30. Front Genet. 2022 ;13 832331
      Purpose: Mitochondrial dysfunction refers to cancer immune evasion. A novel 7-gene prognostic signature related to the mitochondrial DNA copy number was utilized to evaluate the immunocyte infiltration in colon cancer according to the risk scores and to predict the survival for colon cancer. Experimental design: We performed an integrated bioinformatic analysis to analyze transcriptome profiling of the EB-treated mitochondrial DNA-defected NCM460 cell line with differentially expressed genes between tumor and normal tissues of COAD in TCGA. The LASSO analysis was utilized to establish a prognostic signature. ESTIMATE and CIBERSORT validated the differences of immunocyte infiltration between colon cancer patients with high- and low-risk scores. Results: Our study identified a 7-gene prognostic signature (LRRN2, ANKLE1, GPRASP1, PRAME, TCF7L1, RAB6B, and CALB2). Patients with colon cancer were split into the high- and low-risk group by the risk scores in TCGA (training cohort: HR = 2.50 p < 0.0001) and GSE39582 (validation cohort: HR = 1.43 p < 0.05). ESTIMATE and CIBERSORT revealed diverseness of immune infiltration in the two groups, especially downregulated T-cell infiltration in the patients with high-risk scores. Finally, we validated the colon patients with a low expression of the mitochondrial number biomarker TFAM had less CD3+ and CD8+ T-cell infiltration in clinical specimens. Conclusion: An mtDNA copy number-related 7-gene prognostic signature was investigated and evaluated, which may help to predict the prognosis of colon cancer patients and to guide clinical immunotherapy via immunocyte infiltration evaluation.
    Keywords:  Bioinformatic analysis; Colon Cancer; Gene signature; Immunocyte infiltration; mitochondiral DNA
  31. Anal Chim Acta. 2022 May 08. pii: S0003-2670(22)00332-4. [Epub ahead of print]1206 339761
      Irinotecan (Iri) is a key drug to treat metastatic colorectal cancer, but its clinical activity is often limited by de novo and acquired drug resistance. Studying the underlying mechanisms of drug resistance is necessary for developing novel therapeutic strategies. In this study, we used both regular and irinotecan-resistant (Iri-resistant) colorectal cell lines as models, and performed single cell mass spectrometry (SCMS) metabolomics studies combined with analyses from cytotoxicity assay, western blot, flow cytometry, quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), and reactive oxygen species (ROS). Our SCMS results indicate that Iri-resistant cancer cells possess higher levels of unsaturated lipids compared with the regular cancer cells. In addition, multiple protein biomarkers and their corresponding mRNAs of colon cancer stem cells are overexpressed in Iri-resistance cells. Particularly, stearoyl-CoA desaturase 1 (SCD1) is upregulated with the development of drug resistance in Iri-resistant cells, whereas inhibiting the activity of SCD1 efficiently increase their sensitivity to Iri treatment. In addition, we demonstrated that SCD1 directly regulates the expression of ALDH1A1, which contributes to the cancer stemness and ROS level in Iri-resistant cell lines.
  32. Blood. 2022 Apr 29. pii: blood.2021013990. [Epub ahead of print]
      Altered metabolism is one of the hallmarks of cell division and of cancer. CLL cells circulate between peripheral blood (PB) and lymph nodes (LN), where they receive proliferative and pro-survival signals from surrounding cells. Yet insight into the metabolism of LN CLL and how this may relate to therapeutic responses is lacking. To obtain insight into CLL LN metabolism, we applied a two-tiered strategy. First, we sampled PB from 8 patients at baseline, and after 3-month ibrutinib (IBR) treatment, which forces egress of CLL cells from LNs. Second, we applied in vitro B-cell receptor (BCR) or CD40 stimulation to mimic the LN microenvironment, and performed metabolomics and transcriptomics. The combined analyses indicated prominent changes in purine, glucose and glutamate metabolism occurring in the LN. CD40 signaling mostly regulated amino acid metabolism, tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA) and energy production. BCR signaling preferably engaged glucose and glycerol metabolism, and several biosynthesis routes. Pathway analyses demonstrated opposite effects of in vitro stimulation versus IBR treatment. In agreement, the metabolic regulator MYC and its target genes were induced after BCR/CD40 stimulation and suppressed by IBR. Next, 13C-fluxomics performed on CD40/BCR-stimulated cells confirmed a strong contribution of glutamine as fuel for the TCA cycle while glucose was mainly converted into lactate and ribose-5-phosphate. Finally, inhibition of glutamine import with V9302 attenuated CD40/BCR-induced resistance to venetoclax. Altogether, these data provide insight into crucial metabolic changes driven by CLL LN microenvironment. The prominent use of amino acids as fuel for the TCA cycle suggests new therapeutic vulnerabilities.
  33. Free Radic Biol Med. 2022 Apr 24. pii: S0891-5849(22)00158-7. [Epub ahead of print]
      Radiotherapy is an important treatment modality for glioblastoma (GBM), yet the initial effectiveness of radiotherapy is eventually lost due to the development of adaptive radioresistance during fractionated radiation therapy. Defining the molecular mechanism(s) responsible for the adaptive radioresistance in GBM is necessary for the development of effective treatment options. The cellular labile iron pool (LIP) is very important for determining the cellular response to radiation, as it contributes to radiation-induced production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) such as lipid radicals through Fenton reactions. Recently, cytochrome c oxidase (CcO), a mitochondrial heme-containing enzyme also involved in regulating ROS production, was found to be involved in GBM chemoresistance. However, the role of LIP and CcO in GBM radioresistance is not known. Herein, we tested the hypothesis that CcO-mediated alterations in the level of labile iron contribute to adaptive radioresistance. Using an in vitro model of GBM adaptive radioresistance, we found an increase in CcO activity in radioresistant cells that associated with a decrease in the cellular LIP, decrease in lipid peroxidation, and a switch in the CcO subunit 4 (COX4) isoform expressed, from COX4-2 to COX4-1. Furthermore, knockdown of COX4-1 in radioresistant GBM cells decreased CcO activity and restored radiosensitivity, whereas overexpression of COX4-1 in radiosensitive cells increased CcO activity and rendered the cells radioresistant. Overexpression of COX4-1 in radiosensitive cells also significantly reduced the cellular LIP and lipid peroxidation. Pharmacological manipulation of the cellular labile iron level using iron chelators altered CcO activity and the radiation response. Overall, these results demonstrate a mechanistic link between CcO activity and LIP in GBM radioresistance and identify the CcO subunit isoform switch from COX4-2 to COX4-1 as a novel biochemical node for adaptive radioresistance of GBM. Manipulation of CcO and the LIP may restore the sensitivity to radiation in radioresistant GBM cells and thereby provide a strategy to improve therapeutic outcome in patients with GBM.
    Keywords:  COX4-1; Cytochrome c oxidase; Glioblastoma; Iron; Mitochondria; Radioresistance
  34. iScience. 2022 May 20. 25(5): 104202
      We performed massive single-cell sequencing in the aging mouse colonic epithelium and immune cells. We identified novel compartment-specific markers as well as dramatic aging-associated changes in cell composition and signaling pathways, including a shift from absorptive to secretory epithelial cells, depletion of naive lymphocytes, and induction of eIF2 signaling. Colon cancer is one of the leading causes of death within the western world, incidence of which increases with age. The colonic epithelium is a rapidly renewing tissue, tasked with water and nutrient absorption, as well as hosting intestinal microbes. The colonic submucosa is populated with immune cells interacting with and regulating the epithelial cells. However, it is unknown whether compartment-specific changes occur during aging and what impact this would cause. We show that both epithelial and immune cells differ significantly between colonic compartments and experience significant age-related changes in mice. We found a shift in the absorptive-secretory cell balance, possibly linked to age-associated intestinal disturbances, such as malabsorption. We demonstrate marked changes in aging immune cells: population shifts and interactions with epithelial cells, linking cytokines (Ifn-γ, Il1B) with the aging of colonic epithelium. Our results provide new insights into the normal and age-associated states of the colon.
    Keywords:  Cell biology; Immunology; Omics; Transcriptomics