bims-mibica Biomed News
on Mitochondrial bioenergetics in cancer
Issue of 2022‒07‒24
forty-nine papers selected by
Kelsey Fisher-Wellman
East Carolina University

  1. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2022 Jul 22.
      Myocardial ischemia has long-lasting negative impacts on cardiomyocyte mitochondrial ATP production. However, the location(s) of damage to the oxidative phosphorylation pathway responsible for altered mitochondrial function is unclear. Mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) production increases following ischemia, but the specific factors controlling this increase are unknown. To determine how ischemia affects the mitochondrial energy conversion cascade and ROS production, mitochondrial driving forces (redox potential and membrane potential (ΔΨ)) were measured at resting, intermediate, and maximal respiration rates in mitochondria isolated from rat hearts after 60 minutes of control flow (Control) or no-flow ischemia (Ischemia). The effective activities of the dehydrogenase enzymes, the electron transport chain (ETC), and ATP synthesis and transport were computed using the driving forces and flux. Ischemia lowered maximal mitochondrial respiration rates and diminished the responsiveness of respiration to both redox potential and ΔΨ. Ischemia decreased the activities of every component of the oxidative phosphorylation pathway: the dehydrogenase enzymes, the ETC, and ATP synthesis and transport. ROS production was linearly related to driving force down the ETC; however, Ischemia mitochondria demonstrated a greater driving force down the ETC and higher ROS production. Overall, results indicate that ischemia ubiquitously damages the oxidative phosphorylation pathway, reduces mitochondrial sensitivity to driving forces, and augments the propensity for electrons to leak from the ETC. These findings underscore that strategies to improve mitochondrial function following ischemia must target the entire mitochondrial energy conversion cascade.
    Keywords:  cardiac ischemia; metabolic control; mitochondria; reactive oxygen species
  2. Mol Cell. 2022 Jul 13. pii: S1097-2765(22)00609-8. [Epub ahead of print]
      NAD+ kinases (NADKs) are metabolite kinases that phosphorylate NAD+ molecules to make NADP+, a limiting substrate for the generation of reducing power NADPH. NADK2 sustains mitochondrial NADPH production that enables proline biosynthesis and antioxidant defense. However, its molecular architecture and mechanistic regulation remain undescribed. Here, we report the crystal structure of human NADK2, revealing a substrate-driven mode of activation. We find that NADK2 presents an unexpected dimeric organization instead of the typical tetrameric assemblage observed for other NADKs. A specific extended segment (aa 325-365) is crucial for NADK2 dimerization and activity. Moreover, we characterize numerous acetylation events, including those on Lys76 and Lys304, which reside near the active site and inhibit NADK2 activity without disrupting dimerization, thereby reducing mitochondrial NADP(H) production, proline synthesis, and cell growth. These findings reveal important molecular insight into the structure and regulation of a vital enzyme in mitochondrial NADPH and proline metabolism.
    Keywords:  NAD kinases; NADK2; NADPH metabolism; crystal structure; mitochondrial metabolism; post-translational modifications; proline metabolism
  3. Mol Oncol. 2022 Jul 17.
      Advancing age is a major risk factor for malignant transformation and the development of cancer. As such, over 50% of neoplasms occur in individuals over the age of 70. The pathologies of both aging and cancer have been characterized by respective groups of molecular hallmarks, and while some features are divergent between the two pathologies, several are shared. Perturbed mitochondrial function is one such common hallmark and this observation therefore suggests that mitochondrial alterations may be of significance in age-related cancer development. There is now considerable evidence documenting the accumulation of somatic mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations in aging human post-mitotic and replicative tissues. Similarly, mutations of the mitochondrial genome have been reported in human cancers for decades. The plethora of functions in which mitochondria partake, such as oxidative phosphorylation, redox balance, apoptosis, and numerous biosynthetic pathways, manifests a variety of ways in which alterations in mtDNA may contribute to tumor growth. However, the specific mechanisms by which mtDNA mutations contribute to tumor progression remain elusive and often contradictory. This review aims to consolidate current knowledge and describe future direction within the field.
    Keywords:  Aging; Cancer; Metabolism; Mitochondria; Mitochondrial DNA; Oxidative Phosphorylation
  4. Nature. 2022 Jul 20.
      Oocytes form before birth and remain viable for several decades before fertilization1. Although poor oocyte quality accounts for most female fertility problems, little is known about how oocytes maintain cellular fitness, or why their quality eventually declines with age2. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) produced as by-products of mitochondrial activity are associated with lower rates of fertilization and embryo survival3-5. Yet, how healthy oocytes balance essential mitochondrial activity with the production of ROS is unknown. Here we show that oocytes evade ROS by remodelling the mitochondrial electron transport chain through elimination of complex I. Combining live-cell imaging and proteomics in human and Xenopus oocytes, we find that early oocytes exhibit greatly reduced levels of complex I. This is accompanied by a highly active mitochondrial unfolded protein response, which is indicative of an imbalanced electron transport chain. Biochemical and functional assays confirm that complex I is neither assembled nor active in early oocytes. Thus, we report a physiological cell type without complex I in animals. Our findings also clarify why patients with complex-I-related hereditary mitochondrial diseases do not experience subfertility. Complex I suppression represents an evolutionarily conserved strategy that allows longevity while maintaining biological activity in long-lived oocytes.
  5. EMBO J. 2022 Jul 20. e110784
      The mitochondrial intermembrane space protein AIFM1 has been reported to mediate the import of MIA40/CHCHD4, which forms the import receptor in the mitochondrial disulfide relay. Here, we demonstrate that AIFM1 and MIA40/CHCHD4 cooperate beyond this MIA40/CHCHD4 import. We show that AIFM1 and MIA40/CHCHD4 form a stable long-lived complex in vitro, in different cell lines, and in tissues. In HEK293 cells lacking AIFM1, levels of MIA40 are unchanged, but the protein is present in the monomeric form. Monomeric MIA40 neither efficiently interacts with nor mediates the import of specific substrates. The import defect is especially severe for NDUFS5, a subunit of complex I of the respiratory chain. As a consequence, NDUFS5 accumulates in the cytosol and undergoes rapid proteasomal degradation. Lack of mitochondrial NDUFS5 in turn results in stalling of complex I assembly. Collectively, we demonstrate that AIFM1 serves two overlapping functions: importing MIA40/CHCHD4 and constituting an integral part of the disulfide relay that ensures efficient interaction of MIA40/CHCHD4 with specific substrates.
    Keywords:  AIFM1; MIA40-CHCHD4; NDUFS5; complex I; mitochondrial disulfide relay
  6. Biochim Biophys Acta Bioenerg. 2022 Jul 16. pii: S0005-2728(22)00063-9. [Epub ahead of print]1863(7): 148594
      6-Ketocholestanol (kCh) is known as a mitochondrial recoupler, i.e. it abolishes uncoupling of mitochondria by such potent agents as carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenyl hydrazone (CCCP) and 3,5-di(tert-butyl)-4-hydroxybenzylidenemalononitril (SF6847) [Starkov et al., 1997]. Here, we report data on the kCh-induced inhibition of both NADH-oxidase and NADH-ubiquinone oxidoreductase activities of the respiratory complex I in bovine heart submitochondrial particles (SMP). Based on the absence of such inhibition with hexaammineruthenium (III) (HAR) as the complex I electron acceptor, the kCh effect could be associated with the ubiquinone-binding centre of this respiratory enzyme. In isolated rat liver mitochondria (RLM), kCh inhibited oxygen consumption with the glutamate/malate, substrates of NAD-linked dehydrogenases, while no inhibition of RLM respiration was observed with succinate, in agreement with the absence of the kCh effect on the succinate oxidase activity in SMP. Three kCh analogs (cholesterol, 6α-hydroxycholesterol, and 5α,6α-epoxycholesterol) exhibited no effect on the NADH oxidase activities in both SMP and RLM. Importantly, the kCh analogs were ineffective in the recoupling of RLM treated with CCCP or SF6847. Therefore, interaction of kCh with the complex I may be involved in the kCh-mediated mitochondrial recoupling.
    Keywords:  6-Ketocholestanol; Mitochondria; Recoupling; Respiratory complex I; Submitochondrial particles; Uncoupler
  7. Redox Biol. 2022 Jul 16. pii: S2213-2317(22)00182-3. [Epub ahead of print]55 102410
      Some aquaporins (AQPs) can transport H2O2 across membranes, allowing redox signals to proceed in and between cells. Unlike other peroxiporins, human AQP11 is an endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-resident that can conduit H2O2 to the cytosol. Here, we show that silencing Ero1α, an ER flavoenzyme that generates abundant H2O2 during oxidative folding, causes a paradoxical increase in luminal H2O2 levels. The simultaneous AQP11 downregulation prevents this increase, implying that H2O2 reaches the ER from an external source(s). Pharmacological inhibition of the electron transport chain reveals that Ero1α downregulation activates superoxide production by complex III. In the intermembrane space, superoxide dismutase 1 generates H2O2 that enters the ER channeled by AQP11. Meanwhile, the number of ER-mitochondria contact sites increases as well, irrespective of AQP11 expression. Taken together, our findings identify a novel interorganellar redox response that is activated upon Ero1α downregulation and transfers H2O2 from mitochondria to the ER via AQP11.
    Keywords:  Complex III; Hydrogen peroxide; Interorganellar crosstalk/ peroxiporin; Mitochondrial-associated membranes; Redox homeostasis
  8. Semin Cancer Biol. 2022 Jul 19. pii: S1044-579X(22)00176-6. [Epub ahead of print]
      Several metabolic pathways for the supply of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) have been proposed; however, the major source of reducing power for ADP in cancer remains unclear. Although glycolysis is the source of ATP in tumors according to the Warburg effect, ATP levels do not differ between cancer cells grown in the presence and absence of glucose. Several theories have been proposed to explain the supply of ATP in cancer, including metabolic reprograming in the tumor microenvironment. However, these theories are based on the production of ATP by the TCA-OxPhos pathway, which is inconsistent with the Warburg effect. We found that blocking fatty acid oxidation (FAO) in the presence of glucose significantly decreased ATP production in various cancer cells. This suggests that cancer cells depend on fatty acids to produce ATP through FAO instead of glycolysis. We observed that cancer cell growth mainly relies on metabolic nutrients and oxygen systemically supplied through the bloodstream instead of metabolic reprogramming. In a spontaneous mouse tumor model (KrasG12D; Pdx1-cre), tumor growth was 2-fold higher in mice fed a high-fat diet (low-carbo diet) that caused obesity, whereas a calorie-balanced, low-fat diet (high-carbo diet) inhibited tumor growth by 3-fold compared with that in mice fed a control/normal diet. This 5-fold difference in tumor growth between mice fed low-fat and high-fat diets suggests that fat-induced obesity promotes cancer growth, and tumor growth depends on fatty acids as the primary source of energy.
    Keywords:  ATP production; cancer energy metabolism; fatty acid oxidation; obesity
  9. J Biol Chem. 2022 Jul 18. pii: S0021-9258(22)00717-7. [Epub ahead of print] 102275
      The Chloride Intracellular Channel-4 (CLIC4) is one of six highly conserved proteins in the CLIC family that share high structural homology with glutathione-S-transferase (GST)-omega in the GST superfamily. While CLIC4 is a multifunctional protein that resides in multiple cellular compartments, the discovery of its enzymatic glutaredoxin-like activity in vitro suggested that it could function as an antioxidant. Here, we found that deleting CLIC4 from murine 6DT1 breast tumor cells using CRISPR enhanced the accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and sensitized cells to apoptosis in response to H2O2 as a ROS-inducing agent. In intact cells, H2O2 increased the expression of both CLIC4 mRNA and protein. In addition, increased superoxide production in 6DT1 cells lacking CLIC4 was associated with mitochondrial hyperactivity including increased mitochondrial membrane potential and mitochondrial organelle enlargement. In the absence of CLIC4, however, H2O2-induced apoptosis was associated with low expression and degradation of the anti-apoptotic mitochondrial protein Bcl2 and the negative regulator of mitochondrial ROS, UCP2. Furthermore, transcriptomic profiling of H2O2-treated control and CLIC4-null cells revealed up-regulation of genes associated with ROS-induced apoptosis and down-regulation of genes that sustain mitochondrial functions. Accordingly, tumors that formed from transplantation of CLIC4 deficient 6DT1 cells were highly necrotic. These results highlight a critical role for CLIC4 in maintaining redox-homeostasis and mitochondrial functions in 6DT1 cells. Our findings also raise the possibility of targeting CLIC4 to increase cancer cell sensitivity to chemotherapeutic drugs that are based on elevating ROS in cancer cells.
    Keywords:  Antioxidant; CLIC4; Cancer cells; Cancer redox; H(2)O(2)-induced apoptosis; Mitochondrial ROS
  10. J Biol Chem. 2022 Jul 19. pii: S0021-9258(22)00728-1. [Epub ahead of print] 102286
      In the mammalian retina, a metabolic ecosystem exists in which photoreceptors acquire glucose from the choriocapillaris with the help of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). While the photoreceptor cells are primarily glycolytic, exhibiting Warburg-like metabolism, the RPE is reliant on mitochondrial respiration. However, the ways in which mitochondrial metabolism affect RPE cellular functions are not clear. We first used the human RPE cell line, ARPE-19, to examine mitochondrial metabolism in the context of cellular differentiation. We show that nicotinamide induced rapid differentiation of ARPE-19 cells, which was reversed by removal of supplemental nicotinamide. During the nicotinamide-induced differentiation, we observed using quantitative PCR, western blotting, electron microscopy, and metabolic respiration and tracing assays that (1) mitochondrial gene and protein expression increased, (2) mitochondria became larger with more tightly-folded cristae, and (3) mitochondrial metabolism was enhanced. Additionally, we show primary cultures of human fetal RPE cells responded similarly in the presence of nicotinamide. Furthermore, disruption of mitochondrial oxidation of pyruvate attenuated the nicotinamide-induced differentiation of the RPE cells. Together, our results demonstrate a remarkable effect of nicotinamide on RPE metabolism. We also identify mitochondrial respiration as a key contributor to the differentiated state of the RPE, and thus to many of the RPE functions that are essential for retinal health and photoreception.
    Keywords:  RPE; differentiation; mitochondria; nicotinamide; retina
  11. Eur J Med Chem. 2022 Jul 14. pii: S0223-5234(22)00507-4. [Epub ahead of print]240 114605
      Most cancer cells switch their metabolism from mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation to aerobic glycolysis to generate ATP and precursors for the biosynthesis of key macromolecules. The aerobic conversion of pyruvate to lactate, coupled to oxidation of the nicotinamide cofactor, is a primary hallmark of cancer and is catalyzed by lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), a central effector of this pathological reprogrammed metabolism. Hence, inhibition of LDH is a potential new promising therapeutic approach for cancer. In the search for new LDH inhibitors, we carried out a structure-based virtual screening campaign. Here, we report the identification of a novel specific LDH inhibitor, the pyridazine derivative 18 (RS6212), that exhibits potent anticancer activity within the micromolar range in multiple cancer cell lines and synergizes with complex I inhibition in the suppression of tumor growth. Altogether, our data support the conclusion that compound 18 deserves to be further investigated as a starting point for the development of LDH inhibitors and for novel anticancer strategies based on the targeting of key metabolic steps.
    Keywords:  Cancer; Glycolysis; Inhibition; Lactate dehydrogenase; Virtual screening
  12. J Hematol Oncol. 2022 Jul 21. 15(1): 98
      Mitochondria are essential for tumor growth and progression. However, the heavy demand for mitochondrial activity in cancer leads to increased production of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (mtROS), accumulation of mutations in mitochondrial DNA, and development of mitochondrial dysfunction. If left unchecked, excessive mtROS can damage and unfold proteins in the mitochondria to an extent that becomes lethal to the tumor. Cellular systems have evolved to combat mtROS and alleviate mitochondrial stress through a quality control mechanism called the mitochondrial unfolded protein response (UPRmt). The UPRmt system is composed of chaperones and proteases, which promote protein folding or eliminate mitochondrial proteins damaged by mtROS, respectively. UPRmt is conserved and activated in cancer in response to mitochondrial stress to maintain mitochondrial integrity and support tumor growth. In this review, we discuss how mitochondria become dysfunctional in cancer and highlight the tumor-promoting functions of key components of the UPRmt.
    Keywords:  Cancer; Mitochondrial chaperonins; Mitochondrial proteases; Mitochondrial proteostasis; Mitochondrial unfolded protein response
  13. Proc Biol Sci. 2022 Jul 13. 289(1978): 20220719
      Intra-specific variation in both the basal metabolic rate (BMR) and mitochondrial efficiency (the amount of ATP produced per unit of oxygen consumed) has profound evolutionary and ecological consequences. However, the functional mechanisms responsible for this variation are not fully understood. Mitochondrial efficiency is negatively correlated with BMR at the interspecific level but it is positively correlated with performance capacity at the intra-specific level. This discrepancy is surprising, as theories explaining the evolution of endothermy assume a positive correlation between BMR and performance capacity. Here, we quantified mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation activity and efficiency in two lines of laboratory mice divergently selected for either high (H-BMR) or low (L-BMR) levels of BMR. H-BMR mice had larger livers and kidneys (organs that are important predictors of BMR). H-BMR mice also showed higher oxidative phosphorylation activity in liver mitochondria but this difference can be hypothesized to be a direct effect of selection only if the heritability of this trait is low. However, mitochondrial efficiency in all studied organs did not differ between the two lines. We conclude that the rapid evolution of BMR can reflect changes in organ size rather than mitochondrial properties, and does not need to be accompanied obligatorily by changes in mitochondrial efficiency.
    Keywords:  artificial selection; basal metabolic rate; endothermy; laboratory mice; mitochondria; mitochondrial efficiency
  14. Front Oncol. 2022 ;12 900444
      Background: Papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) is the most common thyroid malignancy, but little is known regarding PTC metabolic phenotypes and the effects of mitochondrial activity on PTC progression. The great potential of mitochondria-targeting therapy in cancer treatment promoted us to use tool compounds from a family of Mito-Fu derivatives to investigate how the regulation of mitochondrial respiration affected tumor progression characteristics and molecular changes in PTC.Methods: Mito-Fu L20, a representative of 12 synthetic derivatives, was chosen for mitochondrial inhibition experiments. Sample sections from PTC patients were collected and processed to explore potential molecular alterations in tumor lymph node metastasis (LNM). In vitro analyses were performed using human PTC cell lines (K1 and TPC-1), with the human normal thyroid follicular cell line (Nthy) as a control. K1 cells were injected into nude mice to generate an animal model. The mice were injected with normal saline or Mito-Fu L20 at 20 or 50 mg/kg every other day; their body weights and tumor volumes were also measured over time. To elucidate the resulting metabolic phenotype, we measured oxygen consumption rate (OCR) and extracellular acidification rate (ECAR), cellular adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, and mitochondrial membrane potential. Wound healing and Transwell assays, cell cycle assays, real-time fluorescence quantitative PCR, Western blotting, and immunohistochemical staining were performed to explore glycolysis-dominant metabolism in PTC.
    Results: Cyclin D1 and mitochondrial complex IV were detected in tumor samples from PTC patients with LNM. Mito-Fu L20 showed dose-independent and reversible modulation of mitochondrial respiration in PTC. In addition to mitochondrial dysfunction and early apoptosis, G1/S phase arrest. Notably, reversible mitochondrial inhibition yielded durable suppression of tumor proliferation, migration, and invasion via the PI3K/Akt/FoxO1/Cyclin D1 pathway. In vivo experiments demonstrated that Mito-Fu L20 has a good safety profile and specific restorative effect on mitochondrial activity in the liver. In addition, Mito-Fu L20 showed antitumor effects, alleviated tumor angiogenesis, and improved thyroid function.
    Conclusion: Reversible inhibition of ATP production and durable suppression of PTC growth indicates that the downregulation of mitochondrial function has a negative impact on tumor progression and LNM via the PI3K/Akt/FoxO1/Cyclin D1 pathway. The results provide new insights into the antitumor potential and clinical translation of mitochondrial inhibitors.
    Keywords:  Cyclin D1; PI3K; mitochondria inhibition; papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC); respiratory chain
  15. Front Oncol. 2022 ;12 924567
      Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is a highly proliferative cancer characterised by infiltration of immature haematopoietic cells in the bone marrow (BM). AML predominantly affects older people and outcomes, particularly in this difficult to treat population remain poor, in part due to inadequate response to therapy, and treatment toxicity. Normal haematopoiesis is supported by numerous support cells within the BM microenvironment or niche, including adipocytes, stromal cells and endothelial cells. In steady state haematopoiesis, haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) primarily acquire ATP through glycolysis. However, during stress-responses HSCs rapidly transition to oxidative phosphorylation, enabled by mitochondrial plasticity. Historically it was thought that cancer cells preferentially used glycolysis for ATP production, however recently it has become evident that many cancers, including AML primarily use the TCA cycle and oxidative phosphorylation for rapid proliferation. AML cells hijack the stress-response pathways of their non-malignant counterparts, utilising mitochondrial changes to drive expansion. In addition, amino acids are also utilised by leukaemic stem cells to aid their metabolic output. Together, these processes allow AML cells to maximise their ATP production, using multiple metabolites and fuelling rapid cell turnover which is a hallmark of the disease. This review of AML derived changes in the BM niche, which enable enhanced metabolism, will consider the important pathways and discuss future challenges with a view to understanding how AML cells are able to hijack metabolic pathways and how we may elucidate new targets for potential therapies.
    Keywords:  acute myeloid leukaemia; adipocytes; bone marrow niche; free fattty acids; metabolism
  16. EMBO Mol Med. 2022 Jul 21. e15855
      FBXW7 is one of the most frequently mutated tumor suppressors, deficiency of which has been associated with resistance to some anticancer therapies. Through bioinformatics and genome-wide CRISPR screens, we here reveal that FBXW7 deficiency leads to multidrug resistance (MDR). Proteomic analyses found an upregulation of mitochondrial factors as a hallmark of FBXW7 deficiency, which has been previously linked to chemotherapy resistance. Despite this increased expression of mitochondrial factors, functional analyses revealed that mitochondria are under stress, and genetic or chemical targeting of mitochondria is preferentially toxic for FBXW7-deficient cells. Mechanistically, the toxicity of therapies targeting mitochondrial translation such as the antibiotic tigecycline relates to the activation of the integrated stress response (ISR) in a GCN2 kinase-dependent manner. Furthermore, the discovery of additional drugs that are toxic for FBXW7-deficient cells showed that all of them unexpectedly activate a GCN2-dependent ISR regardless of their accepted mechanism of action. Our study reveals that while one of the most frequent mutations in cancer reduces the sensitivity to the vast majority of available therapies, it renders cells vulnerable to ISR-activating drugs.
    Keywords:  FBXW7; GCN2; ISR; drug resistance; mitochondria
  17. Biochim Biophys Acta Bioenerg. 2022 Jul 15. pii: S0005-2728(22)00064-0. [Epub ahead of print] 148595
      The cytochrome c oxidase complex, complex VI (CIV), catalyzes the terminal step of the mitochondrial electron transport chain where the reduction of oxygen to water by cytochrome c is coupled to the generation of a protonmotive force that drive the synthesis of ATP. CIV evolution was greatly accelerated in humans and other anthropoid primates and appears to be driven by adaptive selection. However, it is not known if there are significant functional differences between the anthropoid primates CIV, and other mammals. Comparison of the high-resolution structures of bovine CIV, mouse CIV and human CIV shows structural differences that are associated with anthropoid-specific substitutions. Here I examine the possible effects of these substitutions in four CIV peptides that are known to affect proton pumping: the mtDNA-coded subunits I, II and III, and the nuclear-encoded subunit VIa2. I conclude that many of the anthropoid-specific substitutions could be expected to modulate the rate and/or the efficiency of proton pumping. These results are compatible with the previously proposed hypothesis that the accelerated evolution of CIV in anthropoid primates is driven by selection pressure to lower the mitochondrial protonmotive force and thus decrease the rate of superoxide generation by mitochondria.
    Keywords:  Anthropoid primates; Cytochrome c oxidase; Human; Proton pumping; Protonmotive force
  18. ACS Chem Biol. 2022 Jul 19.
      Targeting the cancer cell mitochondrion is a promising approach for developing novel anticancer agents. The experimental anticancer agent N,N'-bis(3,5-dichlorophenyl)urea (SR4) induces apoptotic cell death in several cancer cell lines by uncoupling mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OxPhos) using a protein-free mechanism. However, the precise mechanism by which SR4 depolarizes mitochondria is unclear because SR4 lacks an acidic functional group typically found in protein-independent uncouplers. Recently, it was shown that structurally related thioureas can facilitate proton transport across lipid bilayers by a fatty acid-activated mechanism, in which the fatty acid acts as the site of protonation/deprotonation and the thiourea acts as an anion transporter that shuttles deprotonated fatty acids across the phospholipid bilayer to enable proton leak. In this paper, we show that SR4-mediated proton transport is enhanced by the presence of free fatty acids in the lipid bilayer, indicating that SR4 uncouples mitochondria through the fatty acid-activated mechanism. This mechanistic insight was used to develop a library of substituted bisaryl ureas for structure-activity relationship studies and subsequent cell testing. It was found that lipophilic electron-withdrawing groups on bisaryl ureas enhanced electrogenic proton transport via the fatty acid-activated mechanism and had the capacity to depolarize mitochondria and reduce the viability of MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. The most active compound in the series reduced cell viability with greater potency than SR4 and was more effective at inhibiting adenosine triphosphate production.
  19. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Jul 26. 119(30): e2205228119
      The mitochondrial electron transport chain maintains the proton motive force that powers adenosine triphosphate (ATP) synthesis. The energy for this process comes from oxidation of reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) and succinate, with the electrons from this oxidation passed via intermediate carriers to oxygen. Complex IV (CIV), the terminal oxidase, transfers electrons from the intermediate electron carrier cytochrome c to oxygen, contributing to the proton motive force in the process. Within CIV, protons move through the K and D pathways during turnover. The former is responsible for transferring two protons to the enzyme's catalytic site upon its reduction, where they eventually combine with oxygen and electrons to form water. CIV is the main site for respiratory regulation, and although previous studies showed that steroid binding can regulate CIV activity, little is known about how this regulation occurs. Here, we characterize the interaction between CIV and steroids using a combination of kinetic experiments, structure determination, and molecular simulations. We show that molecules with a sterol moiety, such as glyco-diosgenin and cholesteryl hemisuccinate, reversibly inhibit CIV. Flash photolysis experiments probing the rapid equilibration of electrons within CIV demonstrate that binding of these molecules inhibits proton uptake through the K pathway. Single particle cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM) of CIV with glyco-diosgenin reveals a previously undescribed steroid binding site adjacent to the K pathway, and molecular simulations suggest that the steroid binding modulates the conformational dynamics of key residues and proton transfer kinetics within this pathway. The binding pose of the sterol group sheds light on possible structural gating mechanisms in the CIV catalytic cycle.
    Keywords:  complex IV; cryo-EM; electron transport chain; kinetics; molecular simulations
  20. J Hematol Oncol. 2022 Jul 18. 15(1): 97
      Drug resistance represents a major obstacle in cancer management, and the mechanisms underlying stress adaptation of cancer cells in response to therapy-induced hostile environment are largely unknown. As the central organelle for cellular energy supply, mitochondria can rapidly undergo dynamic changes and integrate cellular signaling pathways to provide bioenergetic and biosynthetic flexibility for cancer cells, which contributes to multiple aspects of tumor characteristics, including drug resistance. Therefore, targeting mitochondria for cancer therapy and overcoming drug resistance has attracted increasing attention for various types of cancer. Multiple mitochondrial adaptation processes, including mitochondrial dynamics, mitochondrial metabolism, and mitochondrial apoptotic regulatory machinery, have been demonstrated to be potential targets. However, recent increasing insights into mitochondria have revealed the complexity of mitochondrial structure and functions, the elusive functions of mitochondria in tumor biology, and the targeting inaccessibility of mitochondria, which have posed challenges for the clinical application of mitochondrial-based cancer therapeutic strategies. Therefore, discovery of both novel mitochondria-targeting agents and innovative mitochondria-targeting approaches is urgently required. Here, we review the most recent literature to summarize the molecular mechanisms underlying mitochondrial stress adaptation and their intricate connection with cancer drug resistance. In addition, an overview of the emerging strategies to target mitochondria for effectively overcoming chemoresistance is highlighted, with an emphasis on drug repositioning and mitochondrial drug delivery approaches, which may accelerate the application of mitochondria-targeting compounds for cancer therapy.
    Keywords:  Cancer drug resistance; Drug repurposing; Mitochondrial adaptation; Mitochondrial dynamics; Mitochondrial transplantation; Mitochondrial-targeted drug delivery
  21. Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 2022 Jul 19.
      Aberrant upregulation of mitochondrial biogenesis is observed in breast cancer and holds potential therapeutic option. In our work, we showed that inhibition of mitochondrial function by anisomycin is effective against triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). Anisomycin inhibits growth and induces caspase-dependent apoptosis in a panel of TNBC cell lines. Of note, anisomycin at a tolerable dose remarkably suppresses growth of TNBC in mice. In addition, anisomycin effectively targets breast cancer angiogenesis through inhibiting capillary network formation, migration, proliferation, and survival. Mechanistic studies show that although anisomycin activates p38 and JNK, their activations are not required for anisomycin's action. In contrast, anisomycin inhibits mitochondrial respiration, and decreases mitochondrial membrane potential and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) level. The inhibitory effect of anisomycin is significantly reversed in mitochondria respiration-deficient ρ0 cells. As a consequence, anisomycin activates AMPK and inhibits mammalian target-of-rapamycin signaling pathways. Our work demonstrated that anisomycin is a useful addition to the treatment armamentarium for TNBC.
    Keywords:  AMPK/mTOR; TNBC; angiogenesis; angiogenèse; anisomycin; anisomycine; mitochondrial respiration; respiration mitochondriale
  22. Sci Adv. 2022 Jul 22. 8(29): eabo0404
      Metastasizing cancer cells are able to withstand high levels of oxidative stress through mechanisms that are poorly understood. Here, we show that under various oxidative stress conditions, pancreatic cancer cells markedly expand NADPH and NADP+ pools. This expansion is due to up-regulation of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD), which stimulates the cytoplasmic nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide kinase (NADK1) to produce NADP+ while converting NADP+ to NADPH. G6PD is activated by the transcription factor TAp73, which is, in turn, regulated by two pathways. Nuclear factor-erythroid 2 p45-related factor-2 suppresses expression of the ubiquitin ligase PIRH2, stabilizing the TAp73 protein. Checkpoint kinases 1/2 and E2F1 induce expression of the TAp73 gene. Levels of G6PD and its upstream activators are elevated in metastatic pancreatic cancer. Knocking down G6PD impedes pancreatic cancer metastasis, whereas forced G6PD expression promotes it. These findings reveal an intracellular network that maintains redox homeostasis through G6PD-mediated increase in de novo NADP+ biosynthesis, which may be co-opted by tumor cells to enable metastasis.
  23. Nat Metab. 2022 Jul 21.
      Successful elimination of bacteria in phagocytes occurs in the phago-lysosomal system, but also depends on mitochondrial pathways. Yet, how these two organelle systems communicate is largely unknown. Here we identify the lysosomal biogenesis factor transcription factor EB (TFEB) as regulator for phago-lysosome-mitochondria crosstalk in macrophages. By combining cellular imaging and metabolic profiling, we find that TFEB activation, in response to bacterial stimuli, promotes the transcription of aconitate decarboxylase (Acod1, Irg1) and synthesis of its product itaconate, a mitochondrial metabolite with antimicrobial activity. Activation of the TFEB-Irg1-itaconate signalling axis reduces the survival of the intravacuolar pathogen Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. TFEB-driven itaconate is subsequently transferred via the Irg1-Rab32-BLOC3 system into the Salmonella-containing vacuole, thereby exposing the pathogen to elevated itaconate levels. By activating itaconate production, TFEB selectively restricts proliferating Salmonella, a bacterial subpopulation that normally escapes macrophage control, which contrasts TFEB's role in autophagy-mediated pathogen degradation. Together, our data define a TFEB-driven metabolic pathway between phago-lysosomes and mitochondria that restrains Salmonella Typhimurium burden in macrophages in vitro and in vivo.
  24. Open Life Sci. 2022 ;17(1): 710-725
      Bladder cancer (BC) is one of the most common malignancies involving the urinary system. Our previous study demonstrated that cobra venom membrane toxin 12 (MT-12) could effectively inhibit BC cell growth and metastasis and induce apoptosis. However, the specific molecular mechanism remains unknown. In this study, we explored whether MT-12 inhibits BC cell proliferation by inducing autophagy cell death through mitochondrial dysfunction. As a result, MT-12 inhibited proliferation and colony formation in RT4 and T24 cells. In the BC xenograft mouse model, autophagy inhibitor 3-MA alleviated the inhibitory effect of MT-12 on tumor growth. In addition, immunostaining revealed downregulated autophagy in MT-12-treated RT4 and T24 cells. We also found that MT-12 led to dysfunctional mitochondria with decreased mitochondrial membrane potential, mtDNA abundance, and increased ROS production, ultimately inducing autophagic apoptosis via the ROS/JNK/P53 pathway. MT-12 inhibits BC proliferation in vitro and in vivo by enhancing autophagy. MT-12 induces mitochondrial dysfunction and decreases autophagy, leading to increased ROS production, which in turn activates the JNK/p53 pathway, leading to BC apoptosis.
    Keywords:  Cobra venom membrane toxin 12; ROS; autophagy; bladder cancer; mitochondrial dysfunction
  25. Sci Adv. 2022 Jul 08. 8(27): eabn6491
      Depletion of circulating asparagine with l-asparaginase (ASNase) is a mainstay of leukemia treatment and is under investigation in many cancers. Expression levels of asparagine synthetase (ASNS), which catalyzes asparagine synthesis, were considered predictive of cancer cell sensitivity to ASNase treatment, a notion recently challenged. Using [U-13C5]-l-glutamine in vitro and in vivo in a mouse model of B cell lymphomas (BCLs), we demonstrated that supraphysiological or physiological concentrations of asparagine prevent de novo asparagine biosynthesis, regardless of ASNS expression levels. Overexpressing ASNS in ASNase-sensitive BCL was insufficient to confer resistance to ASNase treatment in vivo. Moreover, we showed that ASNase's glutaminase activity enables its maximal anticancer effect. Together, our results indicate that baseline ASNS expression (low or high) cannot dictate BCL dependence on de novo asparagine biosynthesis and predict BCL sensitivity to dual ASNase activity. Thus, except for ASNS-deficient cancer cells, ASNase's glutaminase activity should be considered in the clinic.
  26. Cancer Lett. 2022 Jul 19. pii: S0304-3835(22)00315-9. [Epub ahead of print] 215831
      Low-dose carbon monoxide (CO) is under investigation in clinical trials to treat non-cancerous diseases and has excellent safety profiles. Due to the early detection and cancer awareness, increasing cancer patients are diagnosed at early stages and potentially curative surgical resection can be done. However, many patients ultimately experience recurrence. Here, we evaluate the therapeutic effect of CO on cancer metastatic progression. We show that 250 ppm CO inhibits migration of multiple types of cancer cell lines including breast, pancreatic, colon, prostate, liver, and lung cancer and reduces the ability to adhere to fibronectin. We demonstrate that in mouse models, 250 ppm inhaled CO inhibits lung metastasis of breast cancer and liver metastasis of pancreatic cancer. Moreover, low-dose CO suppresses recurrence and increases survival after surgical removal of primary pancreatic cancer in mice. Mechanistically, low-dose CO blocks transcription of heme importers, leading to diminished intracellular heme levels and a heme-regulated enzyme, cytochrome P4501B1 (CYP1B1). Either supplementing heme or overexpressing CYP1B1 reverses the anti-migration effect of low-dose CO. Taken together, low-dose CO therapy inhibits cell migration, reduces adhesion to fibronectin, prevents disseminated cancer cells from expanding into gross metastases, and improves survival in pre-clinical mouse models of metastasis.
    Keywords:  CO; CYP1B1; Heme; Metastasis; Mouse models
  27. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Jul 12. 119(28): e2122840119
      Chromophobe (Ch) renal cell carcinoma (RCC) arises from the intercalated cell in the distal nephron. There are no proven treatments for metastatic ChRCC. A distinguishing characteristic of ChRCC is strikingly high levels of reduced (GSH) and oxidized (GSSG) glutathione. Here, we demonstrate that ChRCC-derived cells exhibit higher sensitivity to ferroptotic inducers compared with clear-cell RCC. ChRCC-derived cells are critically dependent on cystine via the cystine/glutamate antiporter xCT to maintain high levels of glutathione, making them sensitive to inhibitors of cystine uptake and cyst(e)inase. Gamma-glutamyl transferase 1 (GGT1), a key enzyme in glutathione homeostasis, is markedly suppressed in ChRCC relative to normal kidney. Importantly, GGT1 overexpression inhibits the proliferation of ChRCC cells in vitro and in vivo, suppresses cystine uptake, and decreases levels of GSH and GSSG. Collectively, these data identify ferroptosis as a metabolic vulnerability in ChRCC, providing a potential avenue for targeted therapy for these distinctive tumors.
    Keywords:  chromophobe renal cell carcinoma; ferroptosis; gamma-glutamyl transferase 1; solute carrier family 7 member 11
  28. Redox Biol. 2022 Jul 15. pii: S2213-2317(22)00175-6. [Epub ahead of print]55 102403
      Defects in Coenzyme Q (CoQ) metabolism have been associated with primary mitochondrial disorders, neurodegenerative diseases and metabolic conditions. The consequences of CoQ deficiency have not been fully addressed, and effective treatment remains challenging. Here, we use mice with primary CoQ deficiency (Coq9R239X), and we demonstrate that CoQ deficiency profoundly alters the Q-junction, leading to extensive changes in the mitochondrial proteome and metabolism in the kidneys and, to a lesser extent, in the brain. CoQ deficiency also induces reactive gliosis, which mediates a neuroinflammatory response, both of which lead to an encephalopathic phenotype. Importantly, treatment with either vanillic acid (VA) or β-resorcylic acid (β-RA), two analogs of the natural precursor for CoQ biosynthesis, partially restores CoQ metabolism, particularly in the kidneys, and induces profound normalization of the mitochondrial proteome and metabolism, ultimately leading to reductions in gliosis, neuroinflammation and spongiosis and, consequently, reversing the phenotype. Together, these results provide key mechanistic insights into defects in CoQ metabolism and identify potential disease biomarkers. Furthermore, our findings clearly indicate that the use of analogs of the CoQ biosynthetic precursor is a promising alternative therapy for primary CoQ deficiency and has potential for use in the treatment of more common neurodegenerative and metabolic diseases that are associated with secondary CoQ deficiency.
    Keywords:  Coenzyme Q; Mitochondrial disease; Omics; Phenolic compound; Therapy
  29. Front Microbiol. 2022 ;13 919424
      Energy and anabolic metabolism are essential for normal cellular homeostasis but also play an important role in regulating immune responses and cancer development as active immune and cancer cells show an altered metabolic profile. Mitochondria take a prominent position in these metabolic reactions. First, most key energetic reactions take place within or in conjunction with mitochondria. Second, mitochondria react to internal cues from within the cell but also to external cues originating from the microbiota, a vast diversity of associated microorganisms. The impact of the microbiota on host physiology has been largely investigated in the last decade revealing that the microbiota contributes to the extraction of calories from the diet, energy metabolism, maturation of the immune system and cellular differentiation. Thus, changes in the microbiota termed dysbiosis have been associated with disease development including metabolic diseases, inflammation and cancer. Targeting the microbiota to modulate interactions with the mitochondria and cellular metabolism to delay or inhibit disease development and pathogenesis appears an attractive therapeutic approach. Here, we summarize recent advances in developing the therapeutic potential of microbiota-mitochondria interactions for inflammation and cancer.
    Keywords:  cancer; inflammation; metabolites; microbiota; mitochondria
  30. Cancer Metab. 2022 Jul 18. 10(1): 12
      BACKGROUND: Growing evidence supports the use of low-carbohydrate/high-fat ketogenic diets as an adjunctive cancer therapy. However, it is unclear which genetic, metabolic, or immunological factors contribute to the beneficial effect of ketogenic diets. Therefore, we investigated the effect of ketogenic diets on the progression and metabolism of genetically and metabolically heterogeneous melanoma xenografts, as well as on the development of melanoma metastases in mice with a functional immune system.METHODS: Mice bearing BRAF mutant, NRAS mutant, and wild-type melanoma xenografts as well as mice bearing highly metastatic melanoma allografts were fed with a control diet or ketogenic diets, differing in their triglyceride composition, to evaluate the effect of ketogenic diets on tumor growth and metastasis. We performed an in-depth targeted metabolomics analysis in plasma and xenografts to elucidate potential antitumor mechanisms in vivo.
    RESULTS: We show that ketogenic diets effectively reduced tumor growth in immunocompromised mice bearing genetically and metabolically heterogeneous human melanoma xenografts. Furthermore, the ketogenic diets exerted a metastasis-reducing effect in the immunocompetent syngeneic melanoma mouse model. Targeted analysis of plasma and tumor metabolomes revealed that ketogenic diets induced distinct changes in amino acid metabolism. Interestingly, ketogenic diets reduced the levels of alpha-amino adipic acid, a biomarker of cancer, in circulation to levels observed in tumor-free mice. Additionally, alpha-amino adipic acid was reduced in xenografts by ketogenic diets. Moreover, the ketogenic diets increased sphingomyelin levels in plasma and the hydroxylation of sphingomyelins and acylcarnitines in tumors.
    CONCLUSIONS: Ketogenic diets induced antitumor effects toward melanoma regardless of the tumors´ genetic background, its metabolic signature, and the host immune status. Moreover, ketogenic diets simultaneously affected multiple metabolic pathways to create an unfavorable environment for melanoma cell proliferation, supporting their potential as a complementary nutritional approach to melanoma therapy.
    Keywords:  Cancer metabolism; Ketogenic diet; Melanoma; Metabolomics
  31. Bioorg Chem. 2022 Jul 08. pii: S0045-2068(22)00406-0. [Epub ahead of print]127 106000
      In the last decade, emerging evidence has shown that low molecular weight protein tyrosine phosphatase (LMWPTP) not only contributes to the progression of cancer but is associated with prostate low survival rate and colorectal cancer metastasis. We report that LMWPTP favors the glycolytic profile in some tumors. Therefore, the focus of the present study was to identify metabolic enzymes that correlate with LMWPTP expression in patient samples. Exploratory data analysis from RNA-seq, proteomics, and histology staining, confirmed the higher expression of LMWPTP in CRC. Our descriptive statistical analyses indicate a positive expression correlation between LMWPTP and energy metabolism enzymes such as acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC) and fatty acid synthase (FASN). In addition, we examine the potential of violacein to reprogram energetic metabolism and LMWPTP activity. Violacein treatment induced a shift of glycolytic to oxidative metabolism associated with alteration in mitochondrial efficiency, as indicated by higher oxygen consumption rate. Particularly, violacein treated cells displayed higher proton leak and ATP-linked oxygen consumption rate (OCR) as an indicator of the OXPHOS preference. Notably, violacein is able to bind and inhibit LMWPTP. Since the LMWPTP acts as a hub of signaling pathways that offer tumor cells invasive advantages, such as survival and the ability to migrate, our findings highlight an unexplored potential of violacein in circumventing the metabolic plasticity of tumor cells.
    Keywords:  ACP1; Colorectal cancer; Energetic metabolism; LMWPTP; Mitochondria; Violacein
  32. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2022 ;10 904728
      MUL1 is a multifunctional E3 ubiquitin ligase that is involved in various pathophysiological processes including apoptosis, mitophagy, mitochondrial dynamics, and innate immune response. We uncovered a new function for MUL1 in the regulation of mitochondrial metabolism. We characterized the metabolic phenotype of MUL1(-/-) cells using metabolomic, lipidomic, gene expression profiling, metabolic flux, and mitochondrial respiration analyses. In addition, the mechanism by which MUL1 regulates metabolism was investigated, and the transcription factor HIF-1α, as well as the serine/threonine kinase Akt2, were identified as the mediators of the MUL1 function. MUL1 ligase, through K48-specific polyubiquitination, regulates both Akt2 and HIF-1α protein level, and the absence of MUL1 leads to the accumulation and activation of both substrates. We used specific chemical inhibitors and activators of HIF-1α and Akt2 proteins, as well as Akt2(-/-) cells, to investigate the individual contribution of HIF-1α and Akt2 proteins to the MUL1-specific phenotype. This study describes a new function of MUL1 in the regulation of mitochondrial metabolism and reveals how its downregulation/inactivation can affect mitochondrial respiration and cause a shift to a new metabolic and lipidomic state.
    Keywords:  Akt2; HIF-1α; MUL1; metabolic flux; mitochondrial metabolism
  33. Cell Chem Biol. 2022 Jul 21. pii: S2451-9456(22)00161-1. [Epub ahead of print]29(7): 1232-1244.e5
      During metabolism, carboxylic acids are often activated by conjugation to the thiol of coenzyme A (CoA). The resulting acyl-CoAs comprise a group of ∼100 thioester-containing metabolites that could modify protein behavior through non-enzymatic N-acylation of lysine residues. However, the importance of many potential acyl modifications remains unclear because antibody-based methods to detect them are unavailable and the in vivo concentrations of their respective acyl-CoAs are poorly characterized. Here, we develop cysteine-triphenylphosphonium (CysTPP), a mass spectrometry probe that uses "native chemical ligation" to sensitively detect the major acyl-CoAs present in vivo through irreversible modification of its amine via a thioester intermediate. Using CysTPP, we show that longer-chain (C13-C22) acyl-CoAs often constitute ∼60% of the acyl-CoA pool in rat tissues. These hydrophobic longer-chain fatty acyl-CoAs have the potential to non-enzymatically modify protein residues.
    Keywords:  acyl-CoA; acylation; coenzyme A; cysteine; native chemical ligation; thioester; thiol; triphenylphosphonium
  34. Cell Death Differ. 2022 Jul 22.
      Despite being frequently observed in cancer cells, chromosomal instability (CIN) and its immediate consequence, aneuploidy, trigger adverse effects on cellular homeostasis that need to be overcome by anti-stress mechanisms. As such, these safeguard responses represent a tumor-specific Achilles heel, since CIN and aneuploidy are rarely observed in normal cells. Recent data have revealed that epitranscriptomic marks catalyzed by RNA-modifying enzymes change under various stress insults. However, whether aneuploidy is associated with such RNA modifying pathways remains to be determined. Through an in silico search for aneuploidy biomarkers in cancer cells, we found TRMT61B, a mitochondrial RNA methyltransferase enzyme, to be associated with high levels of aneuploidy. Accordingly, TRMT61B protein levels are increased in tumor cell lines with an imbalanced karyotype as well as in different tumor types when compared to control tissues. Interestingly, while TRMT61B depletion induces senescence in melanoma cell lines with low levels of aneuploidy, it leads to apoptosis in cells with high levels. The therapeutic potential of these results was further validated by targeting TRMT61B in transwell and xenografts assays. We show that TRM61B depletion reduces the expression of several mitochondrial encoded proteins and limits mitochondrial function. Taken together, these results identify a new biomarker of aneuploidy in cancer cells that could potentially be used to selectively target highly aneuploid tumors.
  35. Cell Death Dis. 2022 Jul 22. 13(7): 641
      Oncogenic mutations in metabolic genes and associated oncometabolite accumulation support cancer progression but can also restrict cellular functions needed to cope with DNA damage. For example, gain-of-function mutations in isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) and the resulting accumulation of the oncometabolite D-2-hydroxyglutarate (D-2-HG) enhanced the sensitivity of cancer cells to inhibition of poly(ADP-ribose)-polymerase (PARP)1 and radiotherapy (RT). In our hand, inhibition of the mitochondrial citrate transport protein (SLC25A1) enhanced radiosensitivity of cancer cells and this was associated with increased levels of D-2-HG and a delayed repair of radiation-induced DNA damage. Here we aimed to explore the suggested contribution of D-2-HG-accumulation to disturbance of DNA repair, presumably homologous recombination (HR) repair, and enhanced radiosensitivity of cancer cells with impaired SLC25A1 function. Genetic and pharmacologic inhibition of SLC25A1 (SLC25A1i) increased D-2-HG-levels and sensitized lung cancer and glioblastoma cells to the cytotoxic action of ionizing radiation (IR). SLC25A1i-mediated radiosensitization was abrogated in MEFs with a HR-defect. D-2-HG-accumulation was associated with increased DNA damage and delayed resolution of IR-induced γH2AX and Rad51 foci. Combining SLC25A1i with PARP- or the catalytic subunit of DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PKcs)-inhibitors further potentiated IR-induced DNA damage, delayed DNA repair kinetics resulting in radiosensitization of cancer cells. Importantly, proof of concept experiments revealed that combining SLC25A1i with IR without and with PARPi also reduced tumor growth in the chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) model in vivo. Thereby SLC25A1i offers an innovative strategy for metabolic induction of context-dependent lethality approaches in combination with RT and clinically relevant inhibitors of complementary DNA repair pathways.
  36. Front Immunol. 2022 ;13 864225
      Metformin (Met), a first-line drug for type 2 diabetes, lowers blood glucose levels by suppressing gluconeogenesis in the liver, presumably through the liver kinase B1-dependent activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) after inhibiting respiratory chain complex I. Met is also implicated as a drug to be repurposed for cancers; its mechanism is believed identical to that of gluconeogenesis inhibition. However, AMPK activation requires high Met concentrations at more than 1 mM, which are unachievable in vivo. The immune-mediated antitumor response might be the case in a low dose Met. Thus, we proposed activating or expanding tumor-infiltrating CD8+ T cells (CD8TILs) in a mouse model by orally administering Met in free drinking water. Here we showed that Met, at around 10 μM and a physiologically relevant concentration, enhanced production of IFNγ,TNFα and expression of CD25 of CD8+ T cells upon TCR stimulation. Under a glucose-rich condition, glycolysis was exclusively involved in enhancing IFNγ production. Under a low-glucose condition, fatty acid oxidation or autophagy-dependent glutaminolysis, or both, was also involved. Moreover, phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase 1 (PCK1), converting oxaloacetate to phosphoenolpyruvate, became essential. Importantly, the enhanced IFNγ production was blocked by a mitochondrial ROS scavenger and not by an inhibitor of AMPK. In addition, IFNγ production by CD8TILs relied on pyruvate translocation to the mitochondria and PCK1. Our results revealed a direct effect of Met on IFNγ production of CD8+ T cells that was dependent on differential metabolic pathways and determined by nutrient conditions in the microenvironment.
    Keywords:  CD8+ T lymphocytes; FAO; IFNg; autophagy +T; glutaminolysis; glycolysis; metformin
  37. Int J Biol Sci. 2022 ;18(11): 4452-4465
      Inhibiting cancer metabolism via glutaminase (GAC) is a promising strategy to disrupt tumor progression. However, mechanism regarding GAC acetylation remains mostly unknown. In this study, we demonstrate that lysine acetylation is a vital post-translational modification that inhibits GAC activity in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). We identify that Lys311 is the key acetylation site on GAC, which is deacetylated by HDAC4, a class II deacetylase. Lys311 acetylation stimulates the interaction between GAC and TRIM21, an E3 ubiquitin ligase of the tripartite motif (TRIM) family, therefore promoting GAC K63-linked ubiquitination and inhibiting GAC activity. Furthermore, GACK311Q mutation in A549 cells decreases cell proliferation and alleviates tumor malignancy. Our findings reveal a novel mechanism of GAC regulation by acetylation and ubiquitination that participates in non-small cell lung cancer tumorigenesis.
    Keywords:  HDAC4; TRIM21; acetylation; glutaminase; non-small cell lung cancer
  38. Cell Chem Biol. 2022 Jul 14. pii: S2451-9456(22)00242-2. [Epub ahead of print]
      Proteasome inhibitor (PI) resistance remains a central challenge in multiple myeloma. To identify pathways mediating resistance, we first mapped proteasome-associated genetic co-dependencies. We identified heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) chaperones as potential targets, consistent with proposed mechanisms of myeloma cells overcoming PI-induced stress. We therefore explored allosteric HSP70 inhibitors (JG compounds) as myeloma therapeutics. JG compounds exhibited increased efficacy against acquired and intrinsic PI-resistant myeloma models, unlike HSP90 inhibition. Shotgun and pulsed SILAC mass spectrometry demonstrated that JGs unexpectedly impact myeloma proteostasis by destabilizing the 55S mitoribosome. Our data suggest JGs have the most pronounced anti-myeloma effect not through inhibiting cytosolic HSP70 proteins but instead through mitochondrial-localized HSP70, HSPA9/mortalin. Analysis of myeloma patient data further supports strong effects of global proteostasis capacity, and particularly HSPA9 expression, on PI response. Our results characterize myeloma proteostasis networks under therapeutic pressure while motivating further investigation of HSPA9 as a specific vulnerability in PI-resistant disease.
    Keywords:  HSP70; bortezomib; mitochondria; mitoribosome; myeloma; proteasome inhibitor; proteomics; proteostasis; resistance
  39. Aging Dis. 2022 Jul 11. 13(4): 1063-1091
      Recently, there has been an increase in the incidence of malignant tumors among the older population. Moreover, there is an association between aging and cancer. During the process of senescence, the human body suffers from a series of imbalances, which have been shown to further accelerate aging, trigger tumorigenesis, and facilitate cancer progression. Therefore, exploring the junctions of aging and cancer and searching for novel methods to restore the junctions is of great importance to intervene against aging-related cancers. In this review, we have identified the underlying pathogenetic mechanisms of aging-related cancers by comparing alterations in the human body caused by aging and the factors that trigger cancers. We found that the common mechanisms of aging and cancer include cellular senescence, alterations in proteostasis, microbiota disorders (decreased probiotics and increased pernicious bacteria), persistent chronic inflammation, extensive immunosenescence, inordinate energy metabolism, altered material metabolism, endocrine disorders, altered genetic expression, and epigenetic modification. Furthermore, we have proposed that aging and cancer have common means of intervention, including novel uses of common medicine (metformin, resveratrol, and rapamycin), dietary restriction, and artificial microbiota intervention or selectively replenishing scarce metabolites. In addition, we have summarized the research progress of each intervention and revealed their bidirectional effects on cancer progression to compare their reliability and feasibility. Therefore, the study findings provide vital information for advanced research studies on age-related cancers. However, there is a need for further optimization of the described methods and more suitable methods for complicated clinical practices. In conclusion, targeting aging may have potential therapeutic effects on aging-related cancers.
    Keywords:  aging; cancer; interventions; pathogenetic mechanisms; similarities
  40. J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2022 Jul 21. 41(1): 227
      CD8+ T cells play a central role in anti-tumor immunity. Naïve CD8+ T cells are active upon tumor antigen stimulation, and then differentiate into functional cells and migrate towards the tumor sites. Activated CD8+ T cells can directly destroy tumor cells by releasing perforin and granzymes and inducing apoptosis mediated by the death ligand/death receptor. They also secrete cytokines to regulate the immune system against tumor cells. Mitochondria are the central hub of metabolism and signaling, required for polarization, and migration of CD8+ T cells. Many studies have demonstrated that mitochondrial dysfunction impairs the anti-tumor activity of CD8+ T cells through various pathways. Mitochondrial energy metabolism maladjustment will cause a cellular energy crisis in CD8+ T cells. Abnormally high levels of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species will damage the integrity and architecture of biofilms of CD8+ T cells. Disordered mitochondrial dynamics will affect the mitochondrial number and localization within cells, further affecting the function of CD8+ T cells. Increased mitochondria-mediated intrinsic apoptosis will decrease the lifespan and quantity of CD8+ T cells. Excessively low mitochondrial membrane potential will cause the release of cytochrome c and apoptosis of CD8+ T cells, while excessively high will exacerbate oxidative stress. Dysregulation of mitochondrial Ca2+ signaling will affect various physiological pathways in CD8+ T cells. To some extent, mitochondrial abnormality in CD8+ T cells contributes to cancer development. So far, targeting mitochondrial energy metabolism, mitochondrial dynamics, mitochondria-mediated cell apoptosis, and other mitochondrial physiological processes to rebuild the anti-tumor function of CD8+ T cells has proved effective in some cancer models. Thus, mitochondria in CD8+ T cells may be a potential and powerful target for cancer treatment in the future.
    Keywords:  Anti-tumor immunity; CD8+ T cells; Mitochondria; cancer development; cancer treatment
  41. Antioxid Redox Signal. 2022 Jul 19.
      AIMS: Emerging evidence suggests that modulating redox homeostasis through targeting mitochondrial functions may be a useful strategy for suppressing triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) activities. However, whether there are specific microRNAs (miRNAs) involved in regulating oxidative stress-associated mitochondrial functions that can act as therapeutic targets to suppress TNBC activities remains unclear. Here, we aimed to identify the role of redox-associated miRNAs in TNBC and investigated their potential as therapeutic targets.RESULTS: We identified oxidative stress-responsive differentially expressed miRNAs (DEMs) regulated by phytosesquiterpene lactone deoxyelephantopin (DET) and its novel derivative DETD-35, which are known to inhibit TNBC growth and metastasis in vitro and in vivo, using comparative miRNA microarray analysis and ROS scavenging approaches. Mitochondrial dysfunction was identified as a major biological function regulated by a few specific DEMs. In particular, miR-4284 was identified to play a role in DET- and DETD-35-mediated ROS production, mitochondrial basal proton leak and anti-proliferation activity in TNBC cells. Moreover, DET- and DETD-35-induced mitochondrial DNA damage was observed in TNBC cells and xenograft tumors. miR-4284 was also identified to play a role in oxidative DNA damage in TNBC tumors.
    INNOVATION: We identified a novel role for miR-4284 in regulating mitochondrial basal proton leak in TNBC cells and highlight its significance in TNBC tumor oxidative DNA damage, and its direct correlation with TNBC patient survival.
    CONCLUSION: We used DET and DETD-35 as proof of concept to demonstrate that activities of anti-cancer agents can involve regulation of multiple miRNAs playing different roles in cancer progression.
  42. Hum Mol Genet. 2022 Jul 15. pii: ddac149. [Epub ahead of print]
      The A-to-G point mutation at position 3243 in the human mitochondrial genome (m.3243A > G) is the most common pathogenic mtDNA variant responsible for disease in humans. It is widely accepted that m.3243A > G levels decrease in blood with age, and an age correction representing ~ 2% annual decline is often applied to account for this change in mutation level. Here we report that recent data indicate that the dynamics of m.3243A > G are more complex and depend on the mutation level in blood in a bi-phasic way. Consequently, the traditional 2% correction, which is adequate 'on average', creates opposite predictive biases at high and low mutation levels. Unbiased age correction is needed to circumvent these drawbacks of the standard model. We propose to eliminate both biases by using an approach where age correction depends on mutation level in a biphasic way to account for the dynamics of m.3243A > G in blood. The utility of this approach was further tested in estimating germline selection of m.3243A > G. The biphasic approach permitted us to uncover patterns consistent with the possibility of positive selection for m.3243A > G. Germline selection of m.3243A > G shows an 'arching' profile by which selection is positive at intermediate mutant fractions and declines at high and low mutant fractions. We conclude that use of this biphasic approach will greatly improve the accuracy of modelling changes in mtDNA mutation frequencies in the germline and in somatic cells during aging.
  43. J Oncol. 2022 ;2022 5498743
      Protein posttranslational modification regulates several biological mechanisms, including tumor progression. In this study, we show that the mitochondrial Sirtuin 4 (SIRT4), which has ADP-ribosylation activity, plays a role in prostate cancer (PCa) progression. Firstly, SIRT4 expression was verified in PCa tissues and cell lines by quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) and western blotting. Subsequently, we established stable PC-3 and 22rv1 cells that overexpressed SIRT4 and knocked down SIRT4, respectively. The functions of SIRT4 in PCa were explored through various phenotype experiments. The mechanism underlying the functions of SIRT4 was investigated through western blotting, immunoprecipitation, immunofluorescence, and nuclear and cytoplasmic extraction assays. We revealed that SIRT4 inhibited cell progression both in vivo and in vitro. Mechanistically, on the one hand, SIRT4 promoted the ADP-ribosylation of glutamate dehydrogenase 1 to inhibit the glutamine metabolism pathways. On the other hand, SIRT4 inhibited the phosphorylation of AKT, thereby affecting p21 phosphorylation and its cellular localization for cell cycle arrest. In conclusion, our study indicates that SIRT4 is directly associated with PCa progression and could be a novel target for PCa therapy.
  44. Methods Mol Biol. 2022 ;2501 311-324
      While optogenetic approaches have been widely used for remote control of cell membrane excitability and intracellular signaling pathways, their application in mitochondrial study has been limited, largely due to the challenge of effectively and specifically expressing heterologous light-gated rhodopsin channels in the mitochondria. Here, we describe the methods for expressing functional channelrhodopsin 2 (ChR2) proteins in the mitochondrial inner membrane with an unusually long mitochondrial leading sequence and characterizing optogenetic-mediated mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm) depolarization. We then illustrate how this next-generation optogenetic approach can be used to study the effect of ΔΨm on mitochondrial functions such as mitophagy, programed cell death, and preconditioning-mediated cytoprotection. We anticipate that this innovative technology will enable new insights into the mechanisms by which changes in ΔΨm differentially impacts mitochondrial and cellular functions.
    Keywords:  Apoptosis; Mitochondria; Mitochondrial protein import; Mitophagy; Optogenetics; Preconditioning
  45. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Jul 26. 119(30): e2201168119
      Mitochondrial remodeling during the peri-implantation stage is the hallmark event essential for normal embryogenesis. Among the changes, enhanced oxidative phosphorylation is critical for supporting high energy demands of postimplantation embryos, but increases mitochondrial oxidative stress, which in turn threatens mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) stability. However, how mitochondria protect their own histone-lacking mtDNA, during this stage remains unclear. Concurrently, the mitochondrial genome gain DNA methylation by this stage. Its spatiotemporal coincidence with enhanced mitochondrial stress led us to ask if mtDNA methylation has a role in maintaining mitochondrial genome stability. Herein, we report that mitochondrial genome undergoes de novo mtDNA methylation that can protect mtDNA against enhanced oxidative damage during the peri-implantation window. Mitochondrial genome gains extensive mtDNA methylation during transition from blastocysts to postimplantation embryos, thus establishing relatively hypermethylated mtDNA from hypomethylated state in blastocysts. Mechanistic study revealed that DNA methyltransferase 3A (DNMT3A) and DNMT3B enter mitochondria during this process and bind to mtDNA, via their unique mitochondrial targeting sequences. Importantly, loss- and gain-of-function analyses indicated that DNMT3A and DNMT3B are responsible for catalyzing de novo mtDNA methylation, in a synergistic manner. Finally, we proved, in vivo and in vitro, that increased mtDNA methylation functions to protect mitochondrial genome against mtDNA damage induced by increased mitochondrial oxidative stress. Together, we reveal mtDNA methylation dynamics and its underlying mechanism during the critical developmental window. We also provide the functional link between mitochondrial epigenetic remodeling and metabolic changes, which reveals a role for nuclear-mitochondrial crosstalk in establishing mitoepigenetics and maintaining mitochondrial homeostasis.
    Keywords:  DNMT3A/3B; de novo DNA methylation; mitochondrial DNA; mitochondrial oxidative damage; peri-implantation
  46. Cell Rep. 2022 Jul 19. pii: S2211-1247(22)00921-4. [Epub ahead of print]40(3): 111115
      The existence of "leukemia-initiating cells" (LICs) in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) remains controversial due to the difficulty in isolating and identifying the tumor-initiating cells. Here, we demonstrate a microchannel electroporation (MEP) microarray that injects RNA-detecting probes into single live cells, allowing the imaging and characterization of heterogeneous LICs by intracellular RNA expression. Using limited-cell FACS sequencing (LC-FACSeq), we can detect and monitor rare live LICs during leukemogenesis and characterize their differential drug sensitivity. Disease-associated mutation accumulation in developing B lymphoid but not myeloid lineage in CLL patient hematopoietic stem cells (CLL-HSCs), and development of independent clonal CLL-like cells in murine patient-derived xenograft models, suggests the existence of CLL LICs. Furthermore, we identify differential protein ubiquitination and unfolding response signatures in GATA2high CLL-HSCs that exhibit increased sensitivity to lenalidomide and resistance to fludarabine compared to GATA2lowCLL-HSCs. These results highlight the existence of therapeutically targetable disease precursors in CLL.
    Keywords:  CP: Cancer; GATA2; IKZF1; LC-FACSeq; chronic lymphocytic leukemia; fludarabine; lenalidomide; leukemia initiating cells; single-cell analysis; stem cells
  47. RSC Chem Biol. 2022 Jul 06. 3(7): 941-954
      Cardiolipin, the mitochondria marker lipid, is crucially involved in stabilizing the inner mitochondrial membrane and is vital for the activity of mitochondrial proteins and protein complexes. Directly targeting cardiolipin by a chemical-biology approach and thereby altering the cellular concentration of "available" cardiolipin eventually allows to systematically study the dependence of cellular processes on cardiolipin availability. In the present study, physics-based coarse-grained free energy calculations allowed us to identify the physical and chemical properties indicative of cardiolipin selectivity and to apply these to screen a compound database for putative cardiolipin-binders. The membrane binding properties of the 22 most promising molecules identified in the in silico approach were screened in vitro, using model membrane systems finally resulting in the identification of a single molecule, CLiB (CardioLipin-Binder). CLiB clearly affects respiration of cardiolipin-containing intact bacterial cells as well as of isolated mitochondria. Thus, the structure and function of mitochondrial membranes and membrane proteins might be (indirectly) targeted and controlled by CLiB for basic research and, potentially, also for therapeutic purposes.
  48. Oncogene. 2022 Jul 18.
      Glutamine is a conditionally essential nutrient for many cancer cells, but it remains unclear how consuming glutamine in excess of growth requirements confers greater fitness to glutamine-addicted cancers. By contrasting two breast cancer subtypes with distinct glutamine dependencies, we show that glutamine-indispensable triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) cells rely on a non-canonical glutamine-to-glutamate overflow, with glutamine carbon routed once through the TCA cycle. Importantly, this single-pass glutaminolysis increases TCA cycle fluxes and replenishes TCA cycle intermediates in TNBC cells, a process that achieves net oxidation of glucose but not glutamine. The coupling of glucose and glutamine catabolism appears hard-wired via a distinct TNBC gene expression profile biased to strip and then sequester glutamine nitrogen, but hampers the ability of TNBC cells to oxidise glucose when glutamine is limiting. Our results provide a new understanding of how metabolically rigid TNBC cells are sensitive to glutamine deprivation and a way to select vulnerable TNBC subtypes that may be responsive to metabolic-targeted therapies.