bims-mibica Biomed News
on Mitochondrial bioenergetics in cancer
Issue of 2022‒08‒07
thirty-two papers selected by
Kelsey Fisher-Wellman
East Carolina University

  1. EMBO J. 2022 Aug 01. e110476
      Mitochondria adapt to different energetic demands reshaping their proteome. Mitochondrial proteases are emerging as key regulators of these adaptive processes. Here, we use a multiproteomic approach to demonstrate the regulation of the m-AAA protease AFG3L2 by the mitochondrial proton gradient, coupling mitochondrial protein turnover to the energetic status of mitochondria. We identify TMBIM5 (previously also known as GHITM or MICS1) as a Ca2+ /H+ exchanger in the mitochondrial inner membrane, which binds to and inhibits the m-AAA protease. TMBIM5 ensures cell survival and respiration, allowing Ca2+ efflux from mitochondria and limiting mitochondrial hyperpolarization. Persistent hyperpolarization, however, triggers degradation of TMBIM5 and activation of the m-AAA protease. The m-AAA protease broadly remodels the mitochondrial proteome and mediates the proteolytic breakdown of respiratory complex I to confine ROS production and oxidative damage in hyperpolarized mitochondria. TMBIM5 thus integrates mitochondrial Ca2+ signaling and the energetic status of mitochondria with protein turnover rates to reshape the mitochondrial proteome and adjust the cellular metabolism.
    Keywords:  AFG3L2; TMBIM5; mitochondrial calcium; proton gradient; respiratory chain
  2. Mol Omics. 2022 Aug 05.
      Exercise powerfully increases energy metabolism and substrate flux in tissues, a process reliant on dramatic changes in mitochondrial energetics. Liver mitochondria play a multi-factorial role during exercise to fuel hepatic glucose output. We previously showed acute exercise activates hepatic mitophagy, a pathway to recycle low-functioning/damaged mitochondria, however little is known how individual bouts of exercise alters the hepatic mitochondrial proteome. Here we leveraged proteomics to examine changes in isolated hepatic mitochondria both immediately after and 2 hours post an acute, 1 hour bout of treadmill exercise in female mice. Further, we utilized leupeptin, a lysosomal inhibitor, to capture and measure exercise-induced changes in mitochondrial proteins that would have been unmeasured due to their targeting for lysosomal degradation. Proteomic analysis of enriched hepatic mitochondria identified 3241 total proteins. Functional enrichment analysis revealed robust enrichment for proteins critical to the mitochondria including metabolic pathways, tricarboxylic acid cycle, and electron transport system. Compared to the sedentary condition, exercise elevated processes regulating lipid localization, Il-5 signaling, and protein phosphorylation in isolated mitochondria. t-SNE analysis identified 4 unique expressional clusters driven by time-dependent changes in protein expression. Isolation of proteins significantly altered with exercise from each cluster revealed influences of leupeptin and exercise both independently and cooperatively modulating mitochondrial protein expressional profiles. Overall, we provide evidence that acute exercise rapidly modulates changes in the proteins/pathways of isolated hepatic mitochondria that include fatty acid metabolism/storage, post-translational protein modification, inflammation, and oxidative stress. In conclusion, the hepatic mitochondrial proteome undergoes extensive remodeling with a bout of exercise.
  3. Front Aging. 2022 ;3 924003
      Obesity promotes the onset and progression of metabolic and inflammatory diseases such as type 2 diabetes. The chronic low-grade inflammation that occurs during obesity triggers multiple signaling mechanisms that negatively affect organismal health. One such mechanism is the persistent activation and mitochondrial translocation of STAT3, which is implicated in inflammatory pathologies and many types of cancers. STAT3 in the mitochondria (mitoSTAT3) alters electron transport chain activity, thereby influencing nutrient metabolism and immune response. PBMCs and CD4+ T cells from obese but normal glucose-tolerant (NGT) middle-aged subjects had higher phosphorylation of STAT3 on residue serine 727 and more mitochondrial accumulation of STAT3 than cells from lean subjects. To evaluate if circulating lipid overabundance in obesity is responsible for age- and sex-matched mitoSTAT3, cells from lean subjects were challenged with physiologically relevant doses of the saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids, palmitate and oleate, respectively. Fatty acid treatment caused robust accumulation of mitoSTAT3 in all cell types, which was independent of palmitate-induced impairments in autophagy. Co-treatment of cells with fatty acid and trehalose prevented STAT3 phosphorylation and mitochondrial accumulation in an autophagy-independent but cellular peroxide-dependent mechanism. Pharmacological blockade of mitoSTAT3 either by a mitochondria-targeted STAT3 inhibitor or ROS scavenging prevented obesity and fatty acid-induced production of proinflammatory cytokines IL-17A and IL-6, thus establishing a mechanistic link between mitoSTAT3 and inflammatory cytokine production.
    Keywords:  ROS; T cells; cytokines; inflammation; mitochondrial STAT3; obesity; peroxide
  4. Cell Death Discov. 2022 Aug 03. 8(1): 347
      RNA polymerase mitochondrial (POLRMT) expression and the potential biological functions in skin squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) were explored. We showed that POLRMT is significantly elevated in skin SCC. Genetic depletion of POLRMT, using shRNA-induced knockdown or CRISPR/Cas9-mediated knockout (KO), resulted in profound anti-skin SCC cell activity. In patient-derived primary skin SCC cells or immortalized lines (A431 and SCC-9), POLRMT shRNA or KO potently suppressed mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) transcription and suppressed cell viability, proliferation and migration. POLRMT shRNA or KO impaired mitochondrial functions in different skin SCC cells, leading to production of ROS (reactive oxygen species), depolarization of mitochondria and depletion of ATP. Moreover, mitochondrial apoptosis cascade was induced in POLRMT-depleted skin SCC cells. IMT1, a POLRMT inhibitor, largely inhibited proliferation and migration, while inducing depolarization of mitochondria and apoptosis in primary skin SCC cells. Contrarily, ectopic overexpression of POLRMT increased mtDNA transcription and augmented skin SCC cell growth. Importantly, POLRMT shRNA adeno-associated virus injection robustly hindered growth of the subcutaneous A431 xenografts in mice. In the POLRMT shRNA virus-treated A431 xenograft tissues, POLRMT depletion, mtDNA transcription inhibition, cell apoptosis, lipid peroxidation and ATP depletion were detected. Together, overexpressed POLRMT increases mtDNA transcription and promotes skin SCC growth.
  5. Sci Rep. 2022 Jul 30. 12(1): 13135
      The imidazolium compound Ym155 was first reported to be a survivin inhibitor. Ym155 potently induces cell death of many types of cancer cells in preclinical studies. However, in phase II clinical trials Ym155 failed to demonstrate a significant benefit. Studies have suggested that the cytotoxic effects of Ym155 in cancer cells are not mediated by the inhibition of survivin. Understanding the mechanism by which Ym155 induces cell death would provide important insight how to improve its efficacy as a cancer therapeutic. We demonstrate a novel mechanism by which Ym155 induces cell death by localizing to the mitochondria causing mitochondrial dysfunction. Our studies suggest that Ym155 binds mitochondrial DNA leading to a decrease in oxidative phosphorylation, decrease in TCA cycle intermediates, and an increase in mitochondrial permeability. Furthermore, we show that mitochondrial stress induced by Ym155 and other mitochondrial inhibitors activates AMP-activated kinase leading to the downregulation to bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling. We provide first evidence that Ym155 initiates cell death by disrupting mitochondrial function.
  6. Nat Commun. 2022 Aug 05. 13(1): 4578
      Resistance to platinum-based chemotherapy represents a major clinical challenge for many tumors, including epithelial ovarian cancer. Patients often experience several response-relapse events, until tumors become resistant and life expectancy drops to 12-15 months. Despite improved knowledge of the molecular determinants of platinum resistance, the lack of clinical applicability limits exploitation of many potential targets, leaving patients with limited options. Serine biosynthesis has been linked to cancer growth and poor prognosis in various cancer types, however its role in platinum-resistant ovarian cancer is not known. Here, we show that a subgroup of resistant tumors decreases phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase (PHGDH) expression at relapse after platinum-based chemotherapy. Mechanistically, we observe that this phenomenon is accompanied by a specific oxidized nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) regenerating phenotype, which helps tumor cells in sustaining Poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) activity under platinum treatment. Our findings reveal metabolic vulnerabilities with clinical implications for a subset of platinum resistant ovarian cancers.
  7. J Vis Exp. 2022 Jul 12.
      The mammalian mitochondrial (mt)DNA is a small, circular, double-stranded, intra-mitochondrial DNA molecule, encoding 13 subunits of the electron transport chain. Unlike the diploid nuclear genome, most cells contain many more copies of mtDNA, ranging from less than 100 to over 200,000 copies depending on cell type. MtDNA copy number is increasingly used as a biomarker for a number of age-related degenerative conditions and diseases, and thus, accurate measurement of the mtDNA copy number is becoming a key tool in both research and diagnostic settings. Mutations in the mtDNA, often occurring as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) or deletions, can either exist in all copies of the mtDNA within the cell (termed homoplasmy) or as a mixture of mutated and WT mtDNA copies (termed heteroplasmy). Heteroplasmic mtDNA mutations are a major cause of clinical mitochondrial pathology, either in rare diseases or in a growing number of common late-onset diseases such as Parkinson's disease. Determining the level of heteroplasmy present in cells is a critical step in the diagnosis of rare mitochondrial diseases and in research aimed at understanding common late-onset disorders where mitochondria may play a role. MtDNA copy number and heteroplasmy have traditionally been measured by quantitative (q)PCR-based assays or deep sequencing. However, the recent introduction of ddPCR technology has provided an alternative method for measuring both parameters. It offers several advantages over existing methods, including the ability to measure absolute mtDNA copy number and sufficient sensitivity to make accurate measurements from single cells even at low copy numbers. Presented here is a detailed protocol describing the measurement of mtDNA copy number in single cells using ddPCR, referred to as droplet generation PCR henceforth, with the option for simultaneous measurement of heteroplasmy in cells with mtDNA deletions. The possibility of expanding this method to measure heteroplasmy in cells with mtDNA SNPs is also discussed.
  8. EMBO J. 2022 Aug 01. e111834
      Recent work identifies TMBIM5 as inner mitochondrial membrane Ca2+ /H+ exchanger, linking hyperpolarisation regulation to proteome control and energy metabolism.
  9. Curr Genet. 2022 Aug 03.
      Numerous biological processes involve proteins capable of transiently assembling into subcellular compartments necessary for cellular functions. One process is the RNA polymerase II transcription cycle which involves initiation, elongation, co-transcriptional modification of nascent RNA, and termination. The essential yeast transcription termination factor Nab3 is required for termination of small non-coding RNAs and accumulates into a compact nuclear granule upon glucose removal. Nab3 nuclear granule accumulation varies in penetrance across yeast strains and a higher Nab3 granule accumulation phenotype is associated with petite strains, suggesting a possible ATP-dependent mechanism for granule disassembly. Here, we demonstrate the uncoupling of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation by drug treatment or deletions of nuclear-encoded ATP synthase subunit genes were sufficient to increase Nab3 granule accumulation and led to an inability to proliferate during prolonged glucose deprivation, which requires respiration. Additionally, by enriching for respiration competent cells from a petite-prone strain, we generated a low granule-accumulating strain from a relatively high one, providing another link between respiratory competency and Nab3 granules. Consistent with the resulting idea that ATP is involved in granule accumulation, the addition of extracellular ATP to semi-permeabilized cells was sufficient to reduce Nab3 granule accumulation. Deleting the SKY1 gene, which encodes a kinase that phosphorylates nuclear SR repeat-containing proteins and is involved in efficient stress granule disassembly, also resulted in increased granule accumulation. This observation implicates Sky1 in Nab3 granule biogenesis. Taken together, these findings suggest there is normally an equilibrium between termination factor granule assembly and disassembly mediated by ATP-requiring nuclear machinery.
    Keywords:  Granule; Low complexity domain; Mitochondria; Nab3; Yeast
  10. Nat Commun. 2022 Aug 05. 13(1): 4554
      Increased glycolysis is considered as a hallmark of cancer. Yet, cancer cell metabolic reprograming during therapeutic resistance development is under-studied. Here, through high-throughput stimulated Raman scattering imaging and single cell analysis, we find that cisplatin-resistant cells exhibit increased fatty acids (FA) uptake, accompanied by decreased glucose uptake and lipogenesis, indicating reprogramming from glucose to FA dependent anabolic and energy metabolism. A metabolic index incorporating glucose derived anabolism and FA uptake correlates linearly to the level of cisplatin resistance in ovarian cancer (OC) cell lines and primary cells. The increased FA uptake facilitates cancer cell survival under cisplatin-induced oxidative stress by enhancing beta-oxidation. Consequently, blocking beta-oxidation by a small molecule inhibitor combined with cisplatin or carboplatin synergistically suppresses OC proliferation in vitro and growth of patient-derived xenografts in vivo. Collectively, these findings support a rapid detection method of cisplatin-resistance at single cell level and a strategy for treating cisplatin-resistant tumors.
  11. J Biol Chem. 2022 Jul 31. pii: S0021-9258(22)00763-3. [Epub ahead of print] 102321
      The intramembrane protease PARL acts as a crucial mitochondrial safeguard by cleaving the mitophagy regulators PINK1 and PGAM5. Depending on the stress level, PGAM5 can either stimulate cell survival or cell death. In contrast to PINK1, which is constantly cleaved in healthy mitochondria and only active when the inner mitochondrial membrane is depolarized, PGAM5 processing is inversely regulated. However, determinants of PGAM5 that indicate it as a conditional substrate for PARL have not been rigorously investigated, and it is unclear how uncoupling the mitochondrial membrane potential affects its processing compared to that of PINK1. Here, we show that several polar transmembrane residues in PGAM5 distant from the cleavage site serve as key determinants for its PARL-catalyzed cleavage. Our NMR analysis indicates that a short N-terminal amphipathic helix, followed by a kink and a C-terminal transmembrane helix harboring the scissile peptide bond, are key for a productive interaction with PARL. Furthermore, we also show that PGAM5 is stably inserted into the inner mitochondrial membrane until uncoupling the membrane potential triggers its disassembly into monomers, which are then cleaved by PARL. In conclusion, we propose a model in which PGAM5 is slowly processed by PARL-catalyzed cleavage that is influenced by multiple hierarchical substrate features, including a membrane potential-dependent oligomeric switch.
    Keywords:  PGAM5; helix dynamics; intramembrane proteolysis; oligomeric state; rhomboid serine protease
  12. Elife. 2022 08 01. pii: e75531. [Epub ahead of print]11
      Mitochondria play a central role in metabolic homeostasis, and dysfunction of this organelle underpins the etiology of many heritable and aging-related diseases. Tetrapeptides with alternating cationic and aromatic residues such as SS-31 (elamipretide) show promise as therapeutic compounds for mitochondrial disorders. In this study, we conducted a quantitative structure-activity analysis of three alternative tetrapeptide analogs, benchmarked against SS-31, that differ with respect to aromatic side chain composition and sequence register. We present the first structural models for this class of compounds, obtained with Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) and molecular dynamics approaches, showing that all analogs except for SS-31 form compact reverse turn conformations in the membrane-bound state. All peptide analogs bound cardiolipin-containing membranes, yet they had significant differences in equilibrium binding behavior and membrane interactions. Notably, analogs had markedly different effects on membrane surface charge, supporting a mechanism in which modulation of membrane electrostatics is a key feature of their mechanism of action. The peptides had no strict requirement for side chain composition or sequence register to permeate cells and target mitochondria in mammalian cell culture assays. All four peptides were pharmacologically active in serum withdrawal cell stress models yet showed significant differences in their abilities to restore mitochondrial membrane potential, preserve ATP content, and promote cell survival. Within our peptide set, the analog containing tryptophan side chains, SPN10, had the strongest impact on most membrane properties and showed greatest efficacy in cell culture studies. Taken together, these results show that side chain composition and register influence the activity of these mitochondria-targeted peptides, helping provide a framework for the rational design of next-generation therapeutics with enhanced potency.
    Keywords:  NMR structure; S. cerevisiae; biochemistry; cardiolipin; chemical biology; human; medicine; membrane interactions; mitochondria; peptide therapeutics; structure-activity relationship
  13. Trends Cancer. 2022 Jul 29. pii: S2405-8033(22)00157-1. [Epub ahead of print]
      The contributions of mitochondria to cancer have been recognized for decades. However, the focus on the metabolic role of mitochondria and the diminutive size of the mitochondrial genome compared to the nuclear genome have hindered discovery of the roles of mitochondrial genetics in cancer. This review summarizes recent data demonstrating the contributions of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) copy-number variants (CNVs), somatic mutations, and germline polymorphisms to cancer initiation, progression, and metastasis. The goal is to summarize accumulating data to establish a framework for exploring the contributions of mtDNA to neoplasia and metastasis.
    Keywords:  metabolism; metastasis; mitochondrial genetics; polymorphism; tumor progression
  14. J Biol Chem. 2022 Aug 02. pii: S0021-9258(22)00778-5. [Epub ahead of print] 102336
      Mitochondrial chelatable iron contributes to the severity of several injury processes, including ischemia/reperfusion, oxidative stress, and drug toxicity. However, methods to measure this species in living cells are lacking. To measure mitochondrial chelatable iron in living cells, here we synthesized a new fluorescent indicator, mitoferrofluor (MFF). We designed cationic MFF to accumulate electrophoretically in polarized mitochondria, where a reactive group then forms covalent adducts with mitochondrial proteins to retain MFF even after subsequent depolarization. We also show in cell-free medium that Fe2+ (and Cu2+), but not Fe3+, Ca2+, or other biologically relevant divalent cations, strongly quenched MFF fluorescence. Using confocal microscopy, we demonstrate in hepatocytes that red MFF fluorescence co-localized with the green fluorescence of the mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm) indicator, rhodamine 123 (Rh123), indicating selective accumulation into mitochondria. Unlike Rh123, mitochondria retained MFF after ΔΨm collapse. Furthermore, intracellular delivery of iron with membrane-permeant Fe3+/8-hydroxyquinoline (FeHQ) quenched MFF fluorescence by ∼80% in hepatocytes and other cell lines, which was substantially restored by the membrane-permeant transition metal chelator pyridoxal isonicotinoyl hydrazone. We also show FeHQ quenched the fluorescence of cytosolically co-loaded calcein, another Fe2+ indicator, confirming that Fe3+ in FeHQ undergoes intracellular reduction to Fe2+. Finally, MFF fluorescence did not change after addition of the calcium mobilizer thapsigargin, which shows MFF is insensitive to physiologically relevant increases of mitochondrial Ca2+. In conclusion, the new sensor reagent MFF fluorescence is an indicator of mitochondrial chelatable Fe2+ in normal hepatocytes with polarized mitochondria as well as in cells undergoing loss of ΔΨm.
    Keywords:  iron sensor; ischemia/reperfusion; membrane potential; mitochondria
  15. Nat Commun. 2022 Aug 01. 13(1): 4462
      Defects in cellular proteostasis and mitochondrial function drive many aspects of infertility, cancer, and other age-related diseases. All of these conditions rely on quiescent cells, such as oocytes and adult stem cells, that reduce their activity and remain dormant as part of their roles in tissue homeostasis, reproduction, and even cancer recurrence. Using a multi-organism approach, we show that dynamic shifts in the ubiquitin proteasome system drive mitochondrial remodeling during cellular quiescence. In contrast to the commonly held view that the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) is primarily regulated by substrate ubiquitination, we find that increasing proteasome number and their recruitment to mitochondria support mitochondrial respiratory quiescence (MRQ). GSK3 triggers proteasome recruitment to the mitochondria by phosphorylating outer membrane proteins, such as VDAC, and suppressing mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation. This work defines a process that couples dynamic regulation of UPS activity to coordinated shifts in mitochondrial metabolism in fungi, Drosophila, and mammals during quiescence.
  16. Mol Cell. 2022 Aug 04. pii: S1097-2765(22)00662-1. [Epub ahead of print]82(15): 2735-2737
      Rensvold, Shishkova, et al. (2022) apply an integrated systems biology approach spanning proteomics, lipidomics, and metabolomics to a collection of CRISPR knockout cells targeting 116 distinct human mitochondrial proteins, revealing new mitochondrial biology and guiding orphan disease diagnosis.
  17. Biochem Pharmacol. 2022 Aug 01. pii: S0006-2952(22)00295-7. [Epub ahead of print] 115201
      Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths. There is an urgent need for new targets to treat HCC due to limited treatment options and drug resistance. Many cancer cells are known to have high amount of glycogen than their tissue of origin and inhibition of glycogen catabolism induces cancer cell death by apoptosis. To further understand the role of glycogen in HCC and target it for pharmacotherapy, we studied metabolic adaptations and mitochondrial function in HepG2 cells after pharmacological inhibition of glycogen phosphorylase (GP) by CP-91149 (CP). GP inhibition increased the glycogen levels in HepG2 cells without affecting overall glucose uptake. Glycolytic capacity and importantly glycolytic reserve decreased significantly. Electron microscopy revealed that CP treatment altered mitochondrial morphology leading to mitochondrial swelling with less defined cristae. A concomitant decrease in mitochondrial oxygen consumption and mitochondria-linked ATP generation was observed. Metabolomics and enzyme activity / expression studies showed a decrease in the pentose phosphate pathway. In addition, CP treatment decreased the growth of HepG2 3D tumor spheroids in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Taken together, our study provides insights into metabolic alterations and mitochondrial dysfunction accompanying apoptosis in HepG2 cells upon GP inhibition. Our study can aid in the understanding of the mechanism and development of metabolic inhibitors to treat HCC.
    Keywords:  3D tumor spheroids; CP-91149; HCC treatment; cancer metabolism; glycogen; glycogen phosphorylase; glycolysis; metabolomics; pentose phosphate pathway
  18. Front Oncol. 2022 ;12 938749
      Beyond the role of mitochondria in apoptosis initiation/execution, some mitochondrial adaptations support the metastasis and chemoresistance of cancer cells. This highlights mitochondria as a promising target for new anticancer strategies. Emergent evidence suggests that some snake venom toxins, both proteins with enzymatic and non-enzymatic activities, act on the mitochondrial metabolism of cancer cells, exhibiting unique and novel mechanisms that are not yet fully understood. Currently, six toxin classes (L-amino acid oxidases, thrombin-like enzymes, secreted phospholipases A2, three-finger toxins, cysteine-rich secreted proteins, and snake C-type lectin) that alter the mitochondrial bioenergetics have been described. These toxins act through Complex IV activity inhibition, OXPHOS uncoupling, ROS-mediated permeabilization of inner mitochondrial membrane (IMM), IMM reorganization by cardiolipin interaction, and mitochondrial fragmentation with selective migrastatic and cytotoxic effects on cancer cells. Notably, selective internalization and direct action of snake venom toxins on tumor mitochondria can be mediated by cell surface proteins overexpressed in cancer cells (e.g. nucleolin and heparan sulfate proteoglycans) or facilitated by the elevated Δψm of cancer cells compared to that non-tumor cells. In this latter case, selective mitochondrial accumulation, in a Δψm-dependent manner, of compounds linked to cationic snake peptides may be explored as a new anti-cancer drug delivery system. This review analyzes the effect of snake venom toxins on mitochondrial bioenergetics of cancer cells, whose mechanisms of action may offer the opportunity to develop new anticancer drugs based on toxin scaffolds.
    Keywords:  OXPHOS (oxidative phosphorylation); anticancer compounds; cardiolipin; electron transport chain; migrastatics; mitochondrial dysfunction; snake venom
  19. J Am Chem Soc. 2022 Aug 04.
      The voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC) is a β-barrel channel of the mitochondrial outer membrane (MOM) that passively transports ions, metabolites, polypeptides, and single-stranded DNA. VDAC responds to a transmembrane potential by "gating," i.e. transitioning to one of a variety of low-conducting states of unknown structure. The gated state results in nearly complete suppression of multivalent mitochondrial metabolite (such as ATP and ADP) transport, while enhancing calcium transport. Voltage gating is a universal property of β-barrel channels, but VDAC gating is anomalously sensitive to transmembrane potential. Here, we show that a single residue in the pore interior, K12, is responsible for most of VDAC's voltage sensitivity. Using the analysis of over 40 μs of atomistic molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, we explore correlations between motions of charged residues inside the VDAC pore and geometric deformations of the β-barrel. Residue K12 is bistable; its motions between two widely separated positions along the pore axis enhance the fluctuations of the β-barrel and augment the likelihood of gating. Single channel electrophysiology of various K12 mutants reveals a dramatic reduction of the voltage-induced gating transitions. The crystal structure of the K12E mutant at a resolution of 2.6 Å indicates a similar architecture of the K12E mutant to the wild type; however, 60 μs of atomistic MD simulations using the K12E mutant show restricted motion of residue 12, due to enhanced connectivity with neighboring residues, and diminished amplitude of barrel motions. We conclude that β-barrel fluctuations, governed particularly by residue K12, drive VDAC gating transitions.
  20. Cancer Lett. 2022 Jul 31. pii: S0304-3835(22)00321-4. [Epub ahead of print] 215837
      Metabolic reprogramming is a hallmark in multiple types of malignancies. Fast-growing cancer cells require facilitated synthesis of essential metabolites and excessive energy production. However, whether they are internally coordinated remains largely unknown. Herein, we found that de novo pyrimidine synthesis enhanced aerobic glycolysis in cancer cells. Mechanistically, pyrimidine biosynthesis augmented Notch signaling and transcriptionally increased c-Myc expression, leading to up-regulation of critical glycolytic enzymes. Further studies revealed that pyrimidine synthesis could stabilize γ-secretase subunit Nicastrin at post-translational N-linked glycosylation level, thereby inducing the cleavage and activation of Notch. Besides, we found that up-regulation of the key enzymes for de novo pyrimidine synthesis CAD and DHODH conferred the chemotherapeutic resistance of gastric cancer via accelerating glycolysis, and pharmacologic inhibition of pyrimidine biosynthetic pathway sensitized cancer cells to chemotherapy in vitro and in vivo. Collectively, our findings provide more insights into the regulation of aerobic glycolysis and a metabolic vulnerability that can be exploited to enhance chemotherapy efficacy in gastric cancer.
    Keywords:  C-Myc; Chemotherapy; N-linked glycosylation; Nicastrin; Notch1
  21. J Biol Chem. 2022 Aug 02. pii: S0021-9258(22)00781-5. [Epub ahead of print] 102339
      Family with sequence similarity 83 A (FAM83A) is a newly discovered proto-oncogene that has been shown to play key roles in various cancers. However, the function of FAM83A in other physiological processes is not well known. Here, we report a novel function of FAM83A in adipocyte differentiation. We used an adipocyte-targeting fusion-oligopeptide (FITC-ATS-9R) to deliver a FAM83A-sgRNA/Cas9 plasmid to knock down Fam83a (ATS/sg-FAM83A) in white adipose tissue (WAT) in mice, which resulted in reduced WAT mass, smaller adipocytes, and mitochondrial damage that was aggravated by a high-fat diet (HFD). In cultured 3T3-L1 adipocytes, we found loss or knockdown of Fam83a significantly repressed lipid droplet formation and downregulated the expression of lipogenic genes and proteins. Furthermore, inhibition of Fam83a decreased mitochondrial ATP production through blockage of the electron transport chain, associated with enhanced apoptosis. Mechanistically, we demonstrate FAM83A interacts with casein kinase 1 (CK1) and promots the permeability of the mitochondrial outer membrane. Furthermore, loss of Fam83a in adipocytes hampered the formation of the TOM40 complex and impeded CK1-driven lipogenesis. Taken together, these results establish FAM83A as a critical regulator of mitochondria maintenance during adipogenesis.
    Keywords:  CK1; FAM83A; adipose; energy metabolism; mitochondria
  22. Mol Med. 2022 Aug 03. 28(1): 90
      BACKGROUND: Myoclonus, Epilepsy and Ragged-Red-Fibers (MERRF) is a mitochondrial encephalomyopathy due to heteroplasmic mutations in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) most frequently affecting the tRNALys gene at position m.8344A > G. Defective tRNALys severely impairs mitochondrial protein synthesis and respiratory chain when a high percentage of mutant heteroplasmy crosses the threshold for full-blown clinical phenotype. Therapy is currently limited to symptomatic management of myoclonic epilepsy, and supportive measures to counteract muscle weakness with co-factors/supplements.METHODS: We tested two therapeutic strategies to rescue mitochondrial function in cybrids and fibroblasts carrying different loads of the m.8344A > G mutation. The first strategy was aimed at inducing mitochondrial biogenesis directly, over-expressing the master regulator PGC-1α, or indirectly, through the treatment with nicotinic acid, a NAD+ precursor. The second was aimed at stimulating the removal of damaged mitochondria through prolonged rapamycin treatment.
    RESULTS: The first approach slightly increased mitochondrial protein expression and respiration in the wild type and intermediate-mutation load cells, but was ineffective in high-mutation load cell lines. This suggests that induction of mitochondrial biogenesis may not be sufficient to rescue mitochondrial dysfunction in MERRF cells with high-mutation load. The second approach, when administered chronically (4 weeks), induced a slight increase of mitochondrial respiration in fibroblasts with high-mutation load, and a significant improvement in fibroblasts with intermediate-mutation load, rescuing completely the bioenergetics defect. This effect was mediated by increased mitochondrial biogenesis, possibly related to the rapamycin-induced inhibition of the Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1 (mTORC1) and the consequent activation of the Transcription Factor EB (TFEB).
    CONCLUSIONS: Overall, our results point to rapamycin-based therapy as a promising therapeutic option for MERRF.
    Keywords:  MERRF; Mitochondrial DNA; Mitochondrial biogenesis; Mitochondrial dysfunction; Niacin; PGC-1α; Rapamycin; mTORC1
  23. Pharmacol Res Perspect. 2022 Aug;10(4): e00993
      We recently described the identification of a new class of small-molecule activators of the mitochondrial protease ClpP. These compounds synthesized by Madera Therapeutics showed increased potency of cancer growth inhibition over the related compound ONC201. In this study, we describe chemical optimization and characterization of the next generation of highly potent and selective small-molecule ClpP activators (TR compounds) and demonstrate their efficacy against breast cancer models in vitro and in vivo. We selected one compound (TR-107) with excellent potency, specificity, and drug-like properties for further evaluation. TR-107 showed ClpP-dependent growth inhibition in the low nanomolar range that was equipotent to paclitaxel in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) cell models. TR-107 also reduced specific mitochondrial proteins, including OXPHOS and TCA cycle components, in a time-, dose-, and ClpP-dependent manner. Seahorse XF analysis and glucose deprivation experiments confirmed the inactivation of OXPHOS and increased dependence on glycolysis following TR-107 exposure. The pharmacokinetic properties of TR-107 were compared with other known ClpP activators including ONC201 and ONC212. TR-107 displayed excellent exposure and serum t1/2 after oral administration. Using human TNBC MDA-MB-231 xenografts, the antitumor response to TR-107 was investigated. Oral administration of TR-107 resulted in a reduction in tumor volume and extension of survival in the treated compared with vehicle control mice. ClpP activation in vivo was validated by immunoblotting for TFAM and other mitochondrial proteins. In summary, we describe the identification of highly potent new ClpP agonists with improved efficacy against TNBC, through targeted inactivation of OXPHOS and disruption of mitochondrial metabolism.
    Keywords:  agonist; cell proliferation; mitochondria; oxidative phosphorylation; protease; small molecule; triple-negative breast cancer
  24. Cancer Res. 2022 Aug 02. pii: CAN-22-0408. [Epub ahead of print]
      High-dose ascorbate (vitamin C) has shown promising anti-cancer activity. Two redox mechanisms have been proposed: hydrogen peroxide generation by ascorbate itself or glutathione depletion by dehydroascorbate (formed by ascorbate oxidation). Here we show that the metabolic effects and cytotoxicity of high-dose ascorbate in vitro result from hydrogen peroxide independently of dehydroascorbate. These effects were suppressed by selenium through antioxidant selenoenzymes including glutathione peroxidase 1 (GPX1) but not the classic ferroptosis-inhibiting selenoenzyme GPX4. Selenium-mediated protection from ascorbate was powered by NADPH from the pentose phosphate pathway. In vivo, dietary selenium deficiency resulted in significant enhancement of ascorbate activity against glioblastoma xenografts. These data establish selenoproteins as key mediators of cancer redox homeostasis. Cancer sensitivity to free radical-inducing therapies, including ascorbate, may depend on selenium, providing a dietary approach for improving their anticancer efficacy.
  25. Cancer Lett. 2022 Aug 01. pii: S0304-3835(22)00334-2. [Epub ahead of print] 215850
      Oncogenic stress-induced senescence initially inhibits tumor initiation by blocking proliferation and by attracting immune cells to clear potentially harmful cells. If these cells are not eliminated they may resume proliferation upon loss-of-tumor suppressors, and be at risk of transformation. During tumor formation, depending on the sequence of events of gain-of-oncogenes and/or loss-of-tumor suppressors, cancer cells may emerge from senescent cells. Here, we show that these transformed cells after senescence (TS) display more aggressive tumorigenic features, with a greater capacity to migrate and a higher resistance to anti-tumoral drugs than cells having undergone transformation without senescence. Bulk transcriptomic analysis and single cell RNA sequencing revealed a signature unique to TS cells. A score of this signature was then generated and a high score was correlated with decreased survival of patients with lung adenocarcinoma, head-neck squamous cell carcinoma, adrenocortical carcinoma, liver hepatocellular carcinoma, skin cutaneous melanoma and low-grade glioma. Together, these findings strongly support that cancer cells arising from senescent cells are more dangerous, and that a molecular signature of these cells may be of prognostic value for some human cancers. It also raises questions about modeling human tumors, using cells or mice, without regards to the sequence of events leading to transformation.
    Keywords:  Cellular senescence; RAS oncogene; Tumor aggressiveness; p53 tumor suppressor
  26. Nat Cell Biol. 2022 Aug 04.
      Nucleotide metabolism supports RNA synthesis and DNA replication to enable cell growth and division. Nucleotide depletion can inhibit cell growth and proliferation, but how cells sense and respond to changes in the relative levels of individual nucleotides is unclear. Moreover, the nucleotide requirement for biomass production changes over the course of the cell cycle, and how cells coordinate differential nucleotide demands with cell cycle progression is not well understood. Here we find that excess levels of individual nucleotides can inhibit proliferation by disrupting the relative levels of nucleotide bases needed for DNA replication and impeding DNA replication. The resulting purine and pyrimidine imbalances are not sensed by canonical growth regulatory pathways like mTORC1, Akt and AMPK signalling cascades, causing excessive cell growth despite inhibited proliferation. Instead, cells rely on replication stress signalling to survive during, and recover from, nucleotide imbalance during S phase. We find that ATR-dependent replication stress signalling is activated during unperturbed S phases and promotes nucleotide availability to support DNA replication. Together, these data reveal that imbalanced nucleotide levels are not detected until S phase, rendering cells reliant on replication stress signalling to cope with this metabolic problem and disrupting the coordination of cell growth and division.
  27. Trends Cancer. 2022 Jul 28. pii: S2405-8033(22)00156-X. [Epub ahead of print]
      Metastasis is responsible for 90% of deaths in patients with cancer. Understanding the role of metabolism during metastasis has been limited by the development of robust and sensitive technologies that capture metabolic processes in metastasizing cancer cells. We discuss the current technologies available to study (i) metabolism in primary and metastatic cancer cells and (ii) metabolic interactions between cancer cells and the tumor microenvironment (TME) at different stages of the metastatic cascade. We identify advantages and disadvantages of each method and discuss how these tools and technologies will further improve our understanding of metastasis. Studies investigating the complex metabolic rewiring of different cells using state-of-the-art metabolomic technologies have the potential to reveal novel biological processes and therapeutic interventions for human cancers.
    Keywords:  analytical techniques; cancer metabolism; cancer metastasis; metabolomics
  28. Mol Cell Proteomics. 2022 Aug 03. pii: S1535-9476(22)00084-6. [Epub ahead of print] 100276
      Lysine acetylation is a reversible and dynamic post-translational modification that play vital roles in regulating multiple cellular processes including aging. However, acetylome-wide analysis in the aging process remains poorly studied in mammalian tissues. Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), a hub metabolite, benefits healthspan at least in part due to the activation of Sirtuins, a family of NAD+-consuming deacetylases, indicating changes in acetylome. Here, we combine two antibodies for the enrichment of acetylated peptides and perform label-free quantitative acetylomic analysis of mouse livers during natural aging and upon the treatment of beta-nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN), a NAD+ booster. Our study describes previously unknown acetylation sites and reveals the acetylome-wide dynamics with age as well as upon the treatment of NMN. We discover protein acetylation events as potential aging biomarkers. We demonstrate that the life-beneficial effect of NMN could be partially reflected by the changes in age-related protein acetylation. Our quantitative assessment indicates that NMN has mild effects on acetylation sites previously reported as substrates of Sirtuins. Collectively, our data analyzes protein acetylation with age, laying critical foundation for the functional study of protein post-translational modification essential for healthy aging and perhaps disease conditions.
  29. Sci Rep. 2022 Aug 02. 12(1): 13255
      Mitochondrial dysfunction promotes cancer aggressiveness, metastasis, and resistance to therapy. Similar traits are associated with epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT). We questioned whether mitochondrial dysfunction induces EMT in head and neck cancer (HNC) cell lines. We induced mitochondrial dysfunction in four HNC cell lines with carbonyl cyanide-4(trifluoromethoxy)phenylhydrazone (FCCP), a mitochondrial electron transport chain uncoupling agent, and oligomycin, a mitochondrial ATP synthase inhibitor. Extracellular flux analyses and expression of the cystine/glutamate antiporter system xc (xCT) served to confirm mitochondrial dysfunction. Expression of the EMT-related transcription factor SNAI2, the mesenchymal marker vimentin and vimentin/cytokeratin double positivity served to detect EMT. In addition, holotomographic microscopy was used to search for morphological features of EMT. Extracellular flux analysis and xCT expression confirmed that FCCP/oligomycin induced mitochondrial dysfunction in all cell lines. Across the four cell lines, mitochondrial dysfunction resulted in an increase in relative SNAI2 expression from 8.5 ± 0.8 to 12.0 ± 1.1 (mean ± SEM; p = 0.007). This effect was predominantly caused by the CAL 27 cell line (increase from 2.2 ± 0.4 to 5.5 ± 1.0; p < 0.001). Similarly, only in CAL 27 cells vimentin expression increased from 2.2 ± 0.5 × 10-3 to 33.2 ± 10.2 × 10-3 (p = 0.002) and vimentin/cytokeratin double positive cells increased from 34.7 ± 5.1 to 67.5 ± 9.8% (p = 0.003), while the other 3 cell lines did not respond with EMT (all p > 0.1). Across all cell lines, FCCP/oligomycin had no effect on EMT characteristics in holotomographic microscopy. Mitochondrial dysfunction induced EMT in 1 of 4 HNC cell lines. Given the heterogeneity of HNC, mitochondrial dysfunction may be sporadically induced by EMT, but EMT does not explain the tumor promoting effects of mitochondrial dysfunction in general.
  30. Physiol Rep. 2022 Aug;10(15): e15415
      Left ventricular diastolic dysfunction is a structural and functional condition that precedes the development of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF). The etiology of diastolic dysfunction includes alterations in fuel substrate metabolism that negatively impact cardiac bioenergetics, and may precipitate the eventual transition to heart failure. To date, the molecular mechanisms that regulate early changes in fuel metabolism leading to diastolic dysfunction remain unclear. In this report, we use a diet-induced obesity model in aged mice to show that inhibitory lysine acetylation of the pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) complex promotes energetic deficits that may contribute to the development of diastolic dysfunction in mouse hearts. Cardiomyocyte-specific deletion of the mitochondrial lysine acetylation regulatory protein GCN5L1 prevented hyperacetylation of the PDH complex subunit PDHA1, allowing aged obese mice to continue using pyruvate as a bioenergetic substrate in the heart. Our findings suggest that changes in mitochondrial protein lysine acetylation represent a key metabolic component of diastolic dysfunction that precedes the development of heart failure.
    Keywords:  acetylation; diastolic dysfunction; heart failure; mitochondria; pyruvate dehydrogenase
  31. Hepatology. 2022 Aug 03.
      BACKGROUND & AIMS: The NADPH oxidase NOX4 plays a tumor suppressor function in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Silencing NOX4 confers higher proliferative and migratory capacity to HCC cells and increases their in vivo tumorigenic potential in xenografts in mice. NOX4 gene deletions are frequent in HCC, correlating with higher tumor grade and worse recurrence-free and overall survival rates. However, despite of the accumulating evidence of a protective regulatory role in HCC, the cellular processes governed by NOX4 are not yet understood. Accordingly, the aim of this work was to better understand the molecular mechanisms regulated by NOX4 in HCC in order to explain its tumor suppressor action.APPROACH & RESULTS: Cell-based loss- or gain-of- NOX4 function experiments, in vivo hepatocarcinogenesis induced by diethylnitrosamine (DEN) in Nox4 deficient mice, and analyses in human HCC samples. Methods include cellular and molecular biology analyses, proteomics, transcriptomics, and metabolomics, as well as histological and immunohistochemical analyses in tissues. Results identified MYC as being negatively regulated by NOX4. MYC mediated mitochondrial dynamics and a transcriptional program leading to increased oxidative metabolism, enhanced use of both glucose and fatty acids and an overall higher energetic capacity and ATP level. NOX4 deletion induced a redox imbalance that augmented Nrf2 activity and was responsible for MYC up-regulation.
    CONCLUSIONS: Loss of NOX4 in HCC tumor cells induces metabolic reprogramming in a Nrf2/MYC-dependent manner to promote HCC progression.
  32. Proteome Sci. 2022 Aug 05. 20(1): 12
      BACKGROUND: Aging is a complex biological process accompanied by a time-dependent functional decline that affects most living organisms. Omics studies help to comprehensively understand the mechanism of aging and discover potential intervention methods. Old mice are frequently obese with a fatty liver.METHODS: We applied mass spectrometry-based phosphoproteomics to obtain a global phosphorylation profile of the liver in mice aged 2 or 18 months. MaxQuant was used for quantitative analysis and PCA was used for unsupervised clustering.
    RESULTS: Through phosphoproteome analysis, a total of 5,685 phosphosites in 2,335 proteins were filtered for quantitative analysis. PCA analysis of both the phosphoproteome and transcriptome data could distinguish young and old mice. However, from kinase prediction, kinase-substrate interaction analysis, and KEGG functional enrichment analysis done with phosphoproteome data, we observed high phosphorylation of fatty acid biosynthesis, β-oxidation, and potential secretory processes, together with low phosphorylation of the Egfr-Sos1-Araf/Braf-Map2k1-Mapk1 pathway and Ctnnb1 during aging. Proteins with differentially expressed phosphosites seemed more directly related to the aging-associated fatty liver phenotype than the differentially expressed transcripts. The phosphoproteome may reveal distinctive biological functions that are lost in the transcriptome.
    CONCLUSIONS: In summary, we constructed a phosphorylation-associated network in the mouse liver during normal aging, which may help to discover novel antiaging strategies.
    Keywords:  Label free; Liver; Mouse; Normal aging; Phosphoproteome