bims-mibica Biomed News
on Mitochondrial bioenergetics in cancer
Issue of 2022‒11‒27
forty papers selected by
Kelsey Fisher-Wellman
East Carolina University

  1. Cancer Lett. 2022 Nov 17. pii: S0304-3835(22)00497-9. [Epub ahead of print]554 216010
      Alterations in lipid catabolism have been broadly described in cancer cells and show tumor-type specific effects on proliferation and cell survival. The factor(s) responsible for this heterogeneity is currently unknown and represents the main limitation in the development of therapeutic interventions that impair lipid metabolism. In this study, we focused on hexanoic acid, a medium-chain fatty acid, that can quickly boost oxidative metabolism by passively crossing mitochondrial membranes. We demonstrated that the antioxidant adaptation of cancer cells to increased fatty acid oxidation is predictive of the proliferative outcome. By interfering with SOD1 expression and glutathione homeostasis, we verified that mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation has antitumor effects in cancer cells that efficiently buffer ROS. In contrast, increased ROS levels promote proliferation in cells with an imbalanced antioxidant response. In addition, an increase in mitochondrial mass and mitophagy activation were observed, respectively. Overall, these data demonstrate that the capacity to manage ROS from mitochondrial oxidative metabolism determines whether lipid catabolism is advantageous or detrimental for cancer cells.
    Keywords:  Aerobic glycolysis; Antioxidants; Lipid catabolism; Mitochondrial metabolism; ROS
  2. Mitochondrion. 2022 Nov 16. pii: S1567-7249(22)00103-9. [Epub ahead of print]
      Triphenylphosphonium (TPP) derivatives are commonly used to target chemical into mitochondria. We show that alkyl-TPP cause reversible, dose- and hydrophobicity-dependent alterations of mitochondrial morphology and function and a selective decrease of mitochondrial inner membrane proteins including subunits of the respiratory chain complexes, as well as components of the mitochondrial calcium uniporter complex. The treatment with alkyl-TPP resulted in the cleavage of the pro-fusion and cristae organisation regulator Optic atrophy-1. The structural and functional effects of alkyl-TPP were found to be reversible and not merely due to loss of membrane potential. A similar effect was observed with the mitochondria-targeted antioxidant MitoQ.
    Keywords:  MitoQ; inner mitochondrial membrane; lipophilic cations; mitochondria; mitochondrial dynamics; respiratory chain
  3. J Biol Chem. 2022 Nov 18. pii: S0021-9258(22)01163-2. [Epub ahead of print] 102720
      Cancer cells, including those of prostate cancer (PCa), often hijack intrinsic cell signaling to reprogram their metabolism. Part of this reprogramming includes the activation of de novo synthesis of fatty acids that not only serve as building blocks for membrane synthesis but also as energy sources for cell proliferation. However, how de novo fatty acid synthesis contributes to PCa progression is still poorly understood. Herein, by mining public datasets, we discovered that the expression of acetyl-CoA carboxylase alpha (ACACA), which encodes acetyl-CoA carboxylase 1 (ACC1), was highly expressed in human PCa. In addition, patients with high ACACA expression had a short disease-free survival time. We also reported that depletion of ACACA reduced de novo fatty acid synthesis and PI3K/AKT signaling in the human castration-resistant PCa (CRPC) cell lines DU145 and PC3. Furthermore, depletion of ACACA downregulates mitochondrial beta-oxidation, resulting in mitochondrial dysfunction, a reduction in ATP production, an imbalanced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADP+)/NADPhydrogen(H) ratio, increased reactive oxygen species (ROS), and therefore apoptosis. Reduced exogenous fatty acids by depleting lipid or lowering serum supplementation exacerbated both shRNA depletion and pharmacological inhibition of ACACA induced apoptosis in vitro. Collectively, our results suggest that inhibition of ectopic ACACA , together with suppression of exogenous fatty acid uptake, can be a novel strategy for treating currently incurable CRPC.
    Keywords:  Prostate cancer; acetyl-CoA carboxylase 1; apoptosis; de novo fatty acid synthesis; energy stress; prognosis
  4. Hum Mol Genet. 2022 Nov 26. pii: ddac292. [Epub ahead of print]
      The mitochondrial DNA mutation m.9032 T > C was previously identified in patients presenting with NARP (Neuropathy Ataxia Retinitis Pigmentosa). Their clinical features had a maternal transmission and patient's cells showed a reduced oxidative phosphorylation capacity, elevated reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and hyperpolarization of the mitochondrial inner membrane, providing evidence that m.9032 T > C is truly pathogenic. This mutation leads to replacement of a highly conserved leucine residue with proline at position 169 of ATP synthase subunit a (L169P). This protein and a ring of identical c-subunits (c-ring) move protons through the mitochondrial inner membrane coupled to ATP synthesis. We herein investigated the consequences of m.9032 T > C on ATP synthase in a strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae with an equivalent mutation (L186P). The mutant enzyme assembled correctly but was mostly inactive as evidenced by a > 95% drop in the rate of mitochondrial ATP synthesis and absence of significant ATP-driven proton pumping across the mitochondrial membrane. Intragenic suppressors selected from L186P yeast restoring ATP synthase function to varying degrees (30-70%) were identified at the original mutation site (L186S) or in another position of the subunit a (H114Q, I118T). In light of atomic structures of yeast ATP synthase recently described, we conclude from these results that m.9032 T > C disrupts proton conduction between the external side of the membrane and the c-ring, and that H114Q and I118T enable protons to access the c-ring through a modified pathway.
    Keywords:  mitochondrial diseasesNARP syndromemitochondrial DNAATP synthase subunit ayeastsuppressor genetics
  5. J Biosci. 2022 ;pii: 67. [Epub ahead of print]47
      Eukaryotic cells contain multiple copies of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in discrete organelles or as tubular networks throughout the cytoplasm. The mtDNA copy number is dynamically regulated by mitochondrial biogenesis and mitophagy processes. However, the conditions regulating mtDNA replication, an essential component of biogenesis, are unknown. We observed that short-term (2 h) treatment of rat myoblasts with oligomycin, a specific inhibitor of the mitochondrial F1F0 ATP synthase, resulted in stimulation of mtDNA synthesis from the OH replication origin. This effect was abrogated by Compound C, an antagonist of the AMP-dependent protein kinase (AMPK), a universal intracellular energy sensor, and in AMPK-knockdown cells, indicating that mtDNA replication is regulated by AMPK under oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS)- deficient conditions. Using antibody decoration, enzymatically active AMPK, phosphorylated at T172 of the α1 subunit, was found to be located on the mitochondrial surface. Furthermore, oligomycin induced the compartmentalization of several mRNAs encoding OXPHOS components and mtDNA replication factors to mitochondria. Compartmentalization of mRNAs was inhibited by Compound C. We infer that AMPK is locally activated by inhibition of the F1F0 ATP synthase to stimulate association of mtDNA replication factor mRNAs, leading to stimulation of mtDNA synthesis. The findings have implications for the clonal expansion of OXPHOS-deficient mtDNA mutant mitochondria in human patients, with clinical consequences.
  6. EMBO J. 2022 Nov 21. e111268
      Reprogramming of lipid metabolism is emerging as a hallmark of cancer, yet involvement of specific fatty acids (FA) species and related enzymes in tumorigenesis remains unclear. While previous studies have focused on involvement of long-chain fatty acids (LCFAs) including palmitate in cancer, little attention has been paid to the role of very long-chain fatty acids (VLCFAs). Here, we show that depletion of acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC1), a critical enzyme involved in the biosynthesis of fatty acids, inhibits both de novo synthesis and elongation of VLCFAs in human cancer cells. ACC1 depletion markedly reduces cellular VLCFA but only marginally influences LCFA levels, including palmitate that can be nutritionally available. Therefore, tumor growth is specifically susceptible to regulation of VLCFAs. We further demonstrate that VLCFA deficiency results in a significant decrease in ceramides as well as downstream glucosylceramides and sphingomyelins, which impairs mitochondrial morphology and renders cancer cells sensitive to oxidative stress and cell death. Taken together, our study highlights that VLCFAs are selectively required for cancer cell survival and reveals a potential strategy to suppress tumor growth.
    Keywords:  acetyl-CoA carboxylase; fatty acid elongation; fatty acid synthase; mitochondria potential; very long-chain fatty acids
  7. Cancers (Basel). 2022 Nov 14. pii: 5597. [Epub ahead of print]14(22):
      Pancreatic cancer (pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma: PDAC) is one of the most aggressive neoplastic diseases. Metformin use has been associated with reduced pancreatic cancer incidence and better survival in diabetics. Metformin has been shown to inhibit PDAC cells growth and survival, both in vitro and in vivo. However, clinical trials using metformin have failed to reduce pancreatic cancer progression in patients, raising important questions about molecular mechanisms that protect tumor cells from the antineoplastic activities of metformin. We confirmed that metformin acts through inhibition of mitochondrial complex I, decreasing the NAD+/NADH ratio, and that NAD+/NADH homeostasis determines metformin sensitivity in several cancer cell lines. Metabolites that can restore the NAD+/NADH ratio caused PDAC cells to be resistant to metformin. In addition, metformin treatment of PDAC cell lines induced a compensatory NAMPT expression, increasing the pool of cellular NAD+. The NAMPT inhibitor FK866 sensitized PDAC cells to the antiproliferative effects of metformin in vitro and decreased the cellular NAD+ pool. Intriguingly, FK866 combined with metformin increased survival in mice bearing KP4 cell line xenografts, but not in mice with PANC-1 cell line xenografts. Transcriptome analysis revealed that the drug combination reactivated genes in the p53 pathway and oxidative stress, providing new insights about the mechanisms leading to cancer cell death.
    Keywords:  NAD; NAMPT; metabolism; metformin; pancreatic cancer
  8. Brain. 2022 Nov 23. pii: awac444. [Epub ahead of print]
      Pyruvate is an essential metabolite produced by glycolysis in the cytosol and must be transported across the inner mitochondrial membrane (IMM) into the mitochondrial matrix, where it is oxidized to fuel mitochondrial respiration. Pyruvate import is performed by Mitochondrial Pyruvate Carrier (MPC), a hetero-oligomeric complex composed by interdependent subunits MPC1 and MPC2. Pathogenic variants in MPC1 gene disrupt mitochondrial pyruvate uptake and oxidation and cause autosomal-recessive early-onset neurological dysfunction in humans. The present work describes the first pathogenic variants in MPC2 associated with human disease in four patients from two unrelated families. In the first family, patients presented with antenatal developmental abnormalities, harbored a homozygous c.148T > C (p.Trp50Arg) variant. In the second family, patients that presented with infantile encephalopathy carried missense c.2T > G (p.Met1? ) variant disrupting the initiation codon. Patient-derived skin fibroblasts exhibit decreased pyruvate-driven oxygen consumption rates with normal activities of the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex and mitochondrial respiratory chain and no defects in mitochondrial content nor morphology. Re-expression of wild type MPC2 restored pyruvate-dependent respiration rates in patient-derived fibroblasts. The discovery of pathogenic variants in MPC2 therefore broadens the clinical and genetic landscape associated with inborn errors in pyruvate metabolism.
    Keywords:  metabolism; mitochondria; pyruvate carrier
  9. Nat Cancer. 2022 Nov 21.
      The pancreatic tumor microenvironment drives deregulated nutrient availability. Accordingly, pancreatic cancer cells require metabolic adaptations to survive and proliferate. Pancreatic cancer subtypes have been characterized by transcriptional and functional differences, with subtypes reported to exist within the same tumor. However, it remains unclear if this diversity extends to metabolic programming. Here, using metabolomic profiling and functional interrogation of metabolic dependencies, we identify two distinct metabolic subclasses among neoplastic populations within individual human and mouse tumors. Furthermore, these populations are poised for metabolic cross-talk, and in examining this, we find an unexpected role for asparagine supporting proliferation during limited respiration. Constitutive GCN2 activation permits ATF4 signaling in one subtype, driving excess asparagine production. Asparagine release provides resistance during impaired respiration, enabling symbiosis. Functionally, availability of exogenous asparagine during limited respiration indirectly supports maintenance of aspartate pools, a rate-limiting biosynthetic precursor. Conversely, depletion of extracellular asparagine with PEG-asparaginase sensitizes tumors to mitochondrial targeting with phenformin.
  10. Commun Biol. 2022 Nov 19. 5(1): 1269
      The analysis of somatic variation in the mitochondrial genome requires deep sequencing of mitochondrial DNA. This is ordinarily achieved by selective enrichment methods, such as PCR amplification or probe hybridization. These methods can introduce bias and are prone to contamination by nuclear-mitochondrial sequences (NUMTs), elements that can introduce artefacts into heteroplasmy analysis. We isolated intact mitochondria using differential centrifugation and alkaline lysis and subjected purified mitochondrial DNA to a sequence-independent and PCR-free method to obtain ultra-deep (>80,000X) sequencing coverage of the mitochondrial genome. This methodology avoids false-heteroplasmy calls that occur when long-range PCR amplification is used for mitochondrial DNA enrichment. Previously published methods employing mitochondrial DNA purification did not measure mitochondrial DNA enrichment or utilise high coverage short-read sequencing. Here, we describe a protocol that yields mitochondrial DNA and have quantified the increased level of mitochondrial DNA post-enrichment in 7 different mouse tissues. This method will enable researchers to identify changes in low frequency heteroplasmy without introducing PCR biases or NUMT contamination that are incorrectly identified as heteroplasmy when long-range PCR is used.
  11. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Nov 29. 119(48): e2119824119
      Fatty acids are vital for the survival of eukaryotes, but when present in excess can have deleterious consequences. The AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is an important regulator of multiple branches of metabolism. Studies in purified enzyme preparations and cultured cells have shown that AMPK is allosterically activated by small molecules as well as fatty acyl-CoAs through a mechanism involving Ser108 within the regulatory AMPK β1 isoform. However, the in vivo physiological significance of this residue has not been evaluated. In the current study, we generated mice with a targeted germline knock-in (KI) mutation of AMPKβ1 Ser108 to Ala (S108A-KI), which renders the site phospho-deficient. S108A-KI mice had reduced AMPK activity (50 to 75%) in the liver but not in the skeletal muscle. On a chow diet, S108A-KI mice had impairments in exogenous lipid-induced fatty acid oxidation. Studies in mice fed a high-fat diet found that S108A-KI mice had a tendency for greater glucose intolerance and elevated liver triglycerides. Consistent with increased liver triglycerides, livers of S108A-KI mice had reductions in mitochondrial content and respiration that were accompanied by enlarged mitochondria, suggestive of impairments in mitophagy. Subsequent studies in primary hepatocytes found that S108A-KI mice had reductions in palmitate- stimulated Cpt1a and Ppargc1a mRNA, ULK1 phosphorylation and autophagic/mitophagic flux. These data demonstrate an important physiological role of AMPKβ1 Ser108 phosphorylation in promoting fatty acid oxidation, mitochondrial biogenesis and autophagy under conditions of high lipid availability. As both ketogenic diets and intermittent fasting increase circulating free fatty acid levels, AMPK activity, mitochondrial biogenesis, and mitophagy, these data suggest a potential unifying mechanism which may be important in mediating these effects.
    Keywords:  AMPK; NAFLD; autophagy; fat oxidation; mitochondria
  12. Cell Death Dis. 2022 Nov 23. 13(11): 988
      COX7A1, a subunit of cytochrome c oxidase, holds an important position in the super-assembly which integrates into multi-unit heteromeric complexes peripherally in the mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC). Recently, some studies indicated the significant potential of COX7A1 in cancer metabolism and therapy. However, the underlying metabolic process and therapy mechanism remain unclear. In this study, COX7A1-overexpressed cell line was established via lentivirus transduction. The relationship between COX7A1 and ferroptosis, a novel form of cell death driven by iron-dependent lipid peroxidation, was further analyzed in different human non-small-cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) cells respectively. Our results showed that COX7A1 increased the sensitivity of NSCLC cells to the ferroptosis induced by cysteine deprivation via enhancing the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle and the activity of complex IV in mitochondrial ETC. Meanwhile, COX7A1 suppressed mitochondrial dynamics as well as mitochondrial biogenesis and mitophagy through blocking autophagic flux. The autophagy activator, rapamycin, relieved the autophagic blockage and further strengthened the sensitivity to cysteine deprivation-induced ferroptosis of NSCLC cells in vitro and in vivo. Taken together, our data indicate the close association of COX7A1 with cysteine deprivation-induced ferroptosis, and provide a novel insight into the therapy mode against human NSCLC.
  13. Front Immunol. 2022 ;13 1061448
      Background: Mitochondria are mainly involved in ATP production to meet the energy demands of cells. Researchers are increasingly recognizing the important role of mitochondria in the differentiation and activation of hematopoietic cells, but research on how mitochondrial metabolism influence different subsets of lymphocyte at different stages of differentiation and activation are yet to be carried out. In this work, the mitochondrial functions of lymphocytes were compared at different differentiation and activation stages and included CD8+ T lymphocytes, CD4+ T lymphocytes, B lymphocytes, NK cells as well as their subsets. For this purpose, a complete set of methods was used to comprehensively analyze mitophagy levels, mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS), mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) and the mitochondrial mass (MM) of subsets of lymphocytes. It is expected that this will provide a complete set of standards, and drawing the mitochondrial metabolic map of lymphocyte subsets at different stages of differentiation and activation.Results and discussion: Of all lymphocytes, B cells had a relatively high mitochondrial metabolic activity which was evident from the higher levels of mitophagy, ROS, MMP and MM, and this reflected the highly heterogeneous nature of the mitochondrial metabolism in lymphocytes. Among the B cell subsets, pro-B cells had relatively higher levels of MM and MMP, while the mitochondrial metabolism level of mature B cells was relatively low. Similarly, among the subsets of CD4+ T cell, a relatively higher level of mitochondrial metabolism was noted for naive CD4+ T cells. Finally, from the CD8+ T cell subsets, CD8+ Tcm had relatively high levels of MM and MMP but relatively low ones for mitophagy, with effector T cells displaying the opposite characteristics. Meanwhile, the autophagy-related genes of lymphoid hematopoietic cells including hematopoietic stem cells, hematopoietic progenitor cells and lymphocyte subsets were analyzed, which preliminarily showed that these cells were heterogeneous in the selection of mitophagy related Pink1/Park2, BNIP3/NIX and FUNDC1 pathways. The results showed that compared with CD4+ T, CD8+ T and NK cells, B cells were more similar to long-term hematopoietic stem cell (LT-HSC) and short-term hematopoietic stem cell (ST-HSC) in terms of their participation in the Pink1/Park2 pathway, as well as the degree to which the characteristics of autophagy pathway were inherited from HSC. Compared with CLP and B cells, HSC are less involved in BNIP3/NIX pathway. Among the B cell subsets, pro-B cells inherited the least characteristics of HSC in participating in Pink1/Park2 pathway compared with pre-B, immature B and immature B cells. Among CD4+ T cell subsets, nTreg cells inherited the least characteristics of HSC in participating in Pink1/Park2 pathway compared with naive CD4+ T and memory CD4+ T cells. Among the CD8+ T cell subsets, compared with CLP and effector CD8+ T cells, CD8+ Tcm inherit the least characteristics of HSC in participating in Pink1/Park2 pathway. Meanwhile, CLP, naive CD4+ T and effector CD8+ T were more involved in BNIP3/NIX pathway than other lymphoid hematopoietic cells.
    Conclusion: This study is expected to provide a complete set of methods and basic reference values for future studies on the mitochondrial functions of lymphocyte subsets at different stages of differentiation and activation in physiological state, and also provides a standard and reference for the study of infection and immunity based on mitochondrial metabolism.
    Keywords:  hematopoietic stem cell; lymphocyte subsets; metabolic map; mitochondrial functions; mitophagy
  14. Carcinogenesis. 2022 Nov 25. pii: bgac071. [Epub ahead of print]
      Acquired chemoresistance to proteasome inhibitors (PIs), such as bortezomib (BTZ), becomes an intractable obstacle in management of multiple myeloma (MM) in the clinic, but the underlying mechanisms are still not well elucidated. In the current study, we established bortezomib-resistant (BR) myeloma cells and performed stable isotope labeling by amino acids in cell culture (SILAC) assay to screen profiled protein expression. The level of deoxyuridine triphosphatase (DUT), an important enzyme of nucleotide metabolism, increased in the BR MM cells. Retrospective analysis indicated patients with higher DUT expression had poorer response to PI-based treatment and clinical outcome. DUT knockdown by RNAi effectively minimized BTZ resistance in MM cells. Moreover, DUT knockdown was accompanied with the downregulation of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), contributing to decelerating cell growth, as well as augmented apoptosis due to bortezomib treatment. In contrast, DUT overexpression in parental MM.1S and LP-1 cells enhanced BTZ resistance. Furthermore, acquired resistance to BTZ could trigger the modulation of mitochondrial metabolism and function, as evidenced by elevated expression of genes associated with mitochondrial metabolism, as well as altered oxygen consumption rate and ATP production in BR MM cells. DUT inhibition partially attenuated mitochondrial modulation, instead favored an early impairment of mitochondrial integrity upon BTZ exposure so as to restrict MM progression and overcome drug resistance to BTZ treatment both in vitro and in vivo. In conclusion, we unveiled previously unrecognized effects of DUT on acquired drug resistance of MM, thus manipulating DUT may be efficacious for sensitizing MM cells to PIs.
    Keywords:  Chemoresistance; Deoxyuridine Triphosphatase; Mitochondrial Function; Multiple Myeloma; Proteasome Inhibitor
  15. Elife. 2022 Nov 21. pii: e82860. [Epub ahead of print]11
      The tumor suppressor gene PTEN is the second most commonly deleted gene in cancer. Such deletions often include portions of the chromosome 10q23 locus beyond the bounds of PTEN itself, which frequently disrupts adjacent genes. Coincidental loss of PTEN-adjacent genes might impose vulnerabilities that could either affect patient outcome basally or be exploited therapeutically. Here we describe how the loss of ATAD1, which is adjacent to and frequently co-deleted with PTEN, predisposes cancer cells to apoptosis triggered by proteasome dysfunction and correlates with improved survival in cancer patients. ATAD1 directly and specifically extracts the pro-apoptotic protein BIM from mitochondria to inactivate it. Cultured cells and mouse xenografts lacking ATAD1 are hypersensitive to clinically used proteasome inhibitors, which activate BIM and trigger apoptosis. This work furthers our understanding of mitochondrial protein homeostasis and could lead to new therapeutic options for the hundreds of thousands of cancer patients who have tumors with chromosome 10q23 deletion.
    Keywords:  biochemistry; cancer biology; chemical biology; human; mouse
  16. Cell Rep. 2022 Nov 22. pii: S2211-1247(22)01565-0. [Epub ahead of print]41(8): 111691
      Branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) catabolism is related to tumorigenesis. However, the underlying mechanism and specific contexts in which BCAAs affect tumor progression remain unclear. Here, we demonstrate that BCAA catabolism is activated in liver cancer cells without glutamine. Enhanced BCAA catabolism leads to BCAA-derived carbon and nitrogen flow toward nucleotide synthesis, stimulating cell-cycle progression and promoting cell survival. Mechanistically, O-GlcNAcylation increases under glutamine-deprivation conditions and stabilizes the PPM1K protein, leading to dephosphorylation of BCKDHA and enhanced decomposition of BCAAs. Dephosphorylation of BCKDHA and high expression of PPM1K promote tumorigenesis in vitro and in vivo and are closely related to the poor prognosis of clinical patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Inhibition of BCAA and glutamine metabolism can further retard HCC growth in vivo. These results not only elucidate a mechanism by which BCAA catabolism affects tumorigenesis but also identify pBCKDHA and PPM1K as potential therapeutic targets and predictive biomarkers.
    Keywords:  CP: Cancer; CP: Metabolism; HCC progression; O-GlcNAcylation; branch-chain amino acid; glutamine-depravation
  17. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Nov 17. pii: 14241. [Epub ahead of print]23(22):
      Protein biosynthesis in mitochondria is tightly coupled with assembly of inner membrane complexes and therefore must be coordinated with cytosolic translation of the mRNAs corresponding to the subunits which are encoded in the nucleus. Molecular mechanisms underlying the regulation of mitochondrial translation remain unclear despite recent advances in structural biology. Until now, only one translational regulator of protein biosynthesis in mammalian mitochondria is known-protein TACO1, which regulates translation of COI mRNA. Here we describe the function of pentatricopeptide-containing protein PTCD2 as a translational regulator of another mitochondrially encoded subunit of cytochrome c oxidase-COIII in the HeLa cell line. Deletion of the PTCD2 gene leads to significant decrease in COIII translation efficiency and impairment in CIV activity. Additionally, we show that PTCD2 protein is partially co-sedimentates with associated mitochondrial ribosome and associates with mitochondrial ribosome proteins in pull-down assays. These data allow concluding that PTCD2 is a specific translational regulator of COIII which attracts the mRNA to the mitochondrial ribosome.
    Keywords:  mitochondria; translation; translation regulation
  18. Dev Cell. 2022 Nov 21. pii: S1534-5807(22)00760-2. [Epub ahead of print]57(22): 2584-2598.e11
      Autophagy is an essential catabolic process that promotes the clearance of surplus or damaged intracellular components. Loss of autophagy in age-related human pathologies contributes to tissue degeneration through a poorly understood mechanism. Here, we identify an evolutionarily conserved role of autophagy from yeast to humans in the preservation of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) levels, which are critical for cell survival. In respiring mouse fibroblasts with autophagy deficiency, loss of mitochondrial quality control was found to trigger hyperactivation of stress responses mediated by NADases of PARP and Sirtuin families. Uncontrolled depletion of the NAD(H) pool by these enzymes ultimately contributed to mitochondrial membrane depolarization and cell death. Pharmacological and genetic interventions targeting several key elements of this cascade improved the survival of autophagy-deficient yeast, mouse fibroblasts, and human neurons. Our study provides a mechanistic link between autophagy and NAD metabolism and identifies targets for interventions in human diseases associated with autophagic, lysosomal, and mitochondrial dysfunction.
    Keywords:  DNA damage; NAD; PARP; Sirtuins; ageing; autophagy; metabolism; mitochondria; mitophagy
  19. EMBO Rep. 2022 Nov 23. e54006
      While previous studies have identified cancer stem-like cells (CSCs) as a crucial driver for chemoresistance and tumor recurrence, the underlying mechanisms for populating the CSC pool remain unclear. Here, we identify hypermitophagy as a feature of human lung CSCs, promoting metabolic adaption via the Notch1-AMPK axis to drive CSC expansion. Specifically, mitophagy is highly active in CSCs, resulting in increased mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) content in the lysosome. Lysosomal mtDNA acts as an endogenous ligand for Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) that promotes Notch1 activity. Notch1 interacts with AMPK to drive lysosomal AMPK activation by inducing metabolic stress and LKB1 phosphorylation. This TLR9-Notch1-AMPK axis supports mitochondrial metabolism to fuel CSC expansion. In patient-derived xenograft chimeras, targeting mitophagy and TLR9-dependent Notch1-AMPK pathway restricts tumor growth and CSC expansion. Taken together, mitochondrial hemostasis is interlinked with innate immune sensing and Notch1-AMPK activity to increase the CSC pool of human lung cancer.
    Keywords:  AMPK; Notch1; TLR9; cancer stem-like cell; mitophagy
  20. Heliyon. 2022 Nov;8(11): e11487
      Epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) is a gynecologic malignancy with a poor prognosis due to resistance to first-line chemotherapeutic agents. Some cancer cells are primarily dependent on glycolysis, but others favor mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) over glycolysis. Changes in metabolic reprogramming have been reported to be involved in cancer cell survival. In this review, we summarize the metabolic profiles (e.g., metabolic heterogeneity, plasticity, and reprogramming) and adaptation to the dynamic tumor microenvironment and discuss potential novel therapeutic strategies. A literature search was performed between January 2000 and March 2022 in the PubMed and Google Scholar databases using a combination of specific terms. Ovarian cancer cells, including cancer stem cells, depend on glycolysis, OXPHOS, or both for survival. Several environmental stresses, such as nutrient starvation or glucose deprivation, hypoxic stress, acidification, and excessive reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, reprogram the metabolic pathways to adapt. The interaction between tumors and adjacent stromal cells allows cancer cells to enhance mitochondrial energy metabolism. The metabolic reprogramming varies depending on genomic and epigenetic alterations of metabolism-related genes and the metabolic environment. Developing accurate and non-invasive methods for early identification of metabolic alterations could facilitate optimal cancer diagnosis and treatment. Cancer metabolism research has entered an exciting era where novel strategies targeting metabolic profiling will become more innovative.
    Keywords:  Glycolysis; Metabolic plasticity; Metabolic reprogramming; Ovarian cancer; Oxidative phosphorylation; Stem cells; Warburg effect
  21. Mitochondrion. 2022 Nov 22. pii: S1567-7249(22)00102-7. [Epub ahead of print]
      A greater capacity of endogenous matrix antioxidants has recently been hypothesized to characterize mitochondria of long-lived species, curbing bursts of reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated in this organelle. Evidence for this has been obtained from studies comparing the long-lived naked mole rat to laboratory mice. We tested this hypothesis by comparing the longest-lived metazoan, the marine bivalve Arctica islandica (MLSP=507 y), with shorter-lived and evolutionarily related species. We used a recently developed fluorescent technique to assess mantle and gill tissue mitochondria's capacity to consume hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) in multiple physiological states ex vivo. Depending on the type of respiratory substrate provided, mitochondria of Arctica islandica could consume between 3-14 times more H2O2 than shorter-lived species. These findings support the contention that a greater capacity for the elimination of ROS characterizes long-lived species, a novel property of mitochondria thus far demonstrated in two key biogerontological models from distant evolutionary lineages.
    Keywords:  Arctica islandica; bivalves; hydrogen peroxide; longevity; mitochondria; reactive oxygen species (ROS)
  22. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Nov 10. pii: 13880. [Epub ahead of print]23(22):
      Mitochondrial oxidative phospho rylation, the center of cellular metabolism, is pivotal for the energy production in eukaryotes. Mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation relies on the mitochondrial respiratory chain, which consists of four main enzyme complexes and two mobile electron carriers. Mitochondrial enzyme complexes also assemble into respiratory chain supercomplexes (SCs) through specific interactions. The SCs not only have respiratory functions but also improve the efficiency of electron transfer and reduce the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Impaired assembly of SCs is closely related to various diseases, especially neurodegenerative diseases. Therefore, SCs play important roles in improving the efficiency of the mitochondrial respiratory chain, as well as maintaining the homeostasis of cellular metabolism. Here, we review the structure, assembly, and functions of SCs, as well as the relationship between mitochondrial SCs and diseases.
    Keywords:  assembly; cytochrome c; mitochondria; respiratory chain; supercomplexes
  23. Sci Rep. 2022 Nov 19. 12(1): 19936
      DNA damaging agents are a mainstay of standard chemotherapy for ovarian cancer. Unfortunately, resistance to such DNA damaging agents frequently develops, often due to increased activity of DNA repair pathways. Sideroflexin 4 (SFXN4) is a little-studied inner mitochondrial membrane protein. Here we demonstrate that SFXN4 plays a role in synthesis of iron sulfur clusters (Fe-S) in ovarian cancer cells and ovarian cancer tumor-initiating cells, and that knockdown of SFXN4 inhibits Fe-S biogenesis in ovarian cancer cells. We demonstrate that this has two important consequences that may be useful in anti-cancer therapy. First, inhibition of Fe-S biogenesis triggers the accumulation of excess iron, leading to oxidative stress. Second, because enzymes critical to multiple DNA repair pathways require Fe-S clusters for their function, DNA repair enzymes and DNA repair itself are inhibited by reduction of SFXN4. Through this dual mechanism, SFXN4 inhibition heightens ovarian cancer cell sensitivity to DNA-damaging drugs and DNA repair inhibitors used in ovarian cancer therapy, such as cisplatin and PARP inhibitors. Sensitization is achieved even in drug resistant ovarian cancer cells. Further, knockout of SFXN4 decreases DNA repair and profoundly inhibits tumor growth in a mouse model of ovarian cancer metastasis. Collectively, these results suggest that SFXN4 may represent a new target in ovarian cancer therapy.
  24. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Nov 08. pii: 13694. [Epub ahead of print]23(22):
      Mitochondrial i-AAA proteinase Yme1 is a multifunctional protein that plays important roles in maintaining mitochondrial protein homeostasis and regulating biogenesis and function of mitochondrial proteins. However, due to the complex interplay of mitochondria and the multifunctional nature of Yme1, how Yme1 affects mitochondrial function and protein homeostasis is still poorly understood. In this study, we investigated how YME1 deletion affects yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae growth, chronological life span, mitochondrial protein homeostasis and function, with a focus on the mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) complexes. Our results show that whilst the YME1 deleted cells grow poorly under respiratory conditions, they grow similar to wild-type yeast under fermentative conditions. However, the chronological life span is impaired, indicating that Yme1 plays a key role in longevity. Using highly enriched mitochondrial extract and proteomic analysis, we show that the abundances of many mitochondrial proteins are altered by YME1 deletion. Several components of the respiratory chain complexes II, III, IV and V were significantly decreased, suggesting that Yme1 plays an important role in maintaining the level and function of complexes II-V. This result was confirmed using blue native-PAGE and in-solution-based enzyme activity assays. Taken together, this study shows that Yme1 plays an important role in the chronological life span and mitochondrial protein homeostasis and has deciphered its function in maintaining the activity of mitochondrial OXPHOS complexes.
    Keywords:  AAA proteinase; OXPHOS complex; mitochondrial function; mitochondrial proteomics
  25. JCI Insight. 2022 Nov 22. pii: e163855. [Epub ahead of print]
      BACKGROUND: At the onset of exercise, the speed at which PCr decreases towards a new steady state (PCr on-kinetics), reflects the readiness to activate mitochondrial ATP synthesis, which is secondary to Acetyl-CoA availability in skeletal muscle. We hypothesized that PCr on-kinetics are slower in metabolically compromised and older individuals, and associated with low carnitine acetyl-transferase (CrAT) protein activity and compromised physical function.METHODS: We applied 31P-Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS) to assess PCr on-kinetics in two cohorts of human volunteers. Cohort 1: patients with type 2 diabetes, obese, lean trained and untrained individuals. Cohort 2: young and older individuals with normal physical activity and older trained. Previous results of CrAT protein activity and acetylcarnitine content in muscle tissue were used to explore the underlying mechanisms of PCr on-kinetics, along with various markers of physical function.
    RESULTS: PCr on-kinetics were significantly slower in metabolically compromised and older individuals (indicating mitochondrial inertia) as compared to young and older trained volunteers, regardless of in vivo skeletal muscle oxidative capacity (P<0.001). Mitochondrial inertia correlated with reduced CrAT protein activity, low acetylcarnitine content and also with functional outcomes (P<0.001).
    CONCLUSION: PCr on-kinetics are significantly slower in metabolically compromised and older individuals with normal physical activity compared to young and older trained, regardless of in vivo skeletal muscle oxidative capacity, indicating greater mitochondrial inertia. Thus, PCr on-kinetics are a currently unexplored signature of skeletal muscle mitochondrial metabolism, tightly linked to functional outcomes. Skeletal muscle mitochondrial inertia might emerge as a target of intervention to improve physical function.
    CLINICALTRIALS: gov: NCT01298375 and NCT03666013.
    FUNDING: R.M and M.H were granted with an EFSD/Lilly grant from the European Foundation for the Study of Diabetes (EFSD). V.S was supported by an ERC staring grant (Grant no. 759161) "MRS in Diabetes".
    Keywords:  Aging; Diabetes; Metabolism; Mitochondria; Skeletal muscle
  26. Biomolecules. 2022 Nov 14. pii: 1684. [Epub ahead of print]12(11):
      Standard cell culture is routinely performed at supraphysiological oxygen levels (~18% O2). Conversely, O2 levels in most mammalian tissues range from 1-6% (physioxia). Such hyperoxic conditions in cell culture can alter reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, metabolism, mitochondrial networks, and response to drugs and hormones. The aim of this study was to investigate the transcriptional response to different O2 levels and determine whether it is similar across cell lines, or cell line-specific. Using RNA-seq, we performed differential gene expression and functional enrichment analyses in four human cancer cell lines, LNCaP, Huh-7, PC-3, and SH-SY5Y cultured at either 5% or 18% O2 for 14 days. We found that O2 levels affected transcript abundance of thousands of genes, with the affected genes having little overlap between cell lines. Functional enrichment analysis also revealed different processes and pathways being affected by O2 in each cell line. Interestingly, most of the top differentially expressed genes are involved in cancer biology, which highlights the importance of O2 levels in cancer cell research. Further, we observed several hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) targets, HIF-2α targets particularly, upregulated at 5% O2, consistent with a role for HIFs in physioxia. O2 levels also differentially induced the transcription of mitochondria-encoded genes in most cell lines. Finally, by comparing our transcriptomic data from LNCaP and PC-3 with datasets from the Prostate Cancer Transcriptome Atlas, a correlation between genes upregulated at 5% O2 in LNCaP cells and the in vivo prostate cancer transcriptome was found. We conclude that the transcriptional response to O2 over the range from 5-18% is robust and highly cell-type specific. This latter finding indicates that the effects of O2 levels are difficult to predict and thus highlights the importance of regulating O2 in cell culture.
    Keywords:  HIF-2α; cancer cells; cell culture; differential gene expression; hyperoxia; hypoxia-inducible factor; mtDNA-encoded genes; oxygen; physioxia; transcriptomics
  27. Cancers (Basel). 2022 Nov 08. pii: 5478. [Epub ahead of print]14(22):
      BACKGROUND: Prostate cancer is the most common cancer affecting men often resulting in aggressive tumors with poor prognosis. Even with new treatment strategies, drug resistance often occurs in advanced prostate cancers. The use of lysosomotropic agents offers a new treatment possibility since they disrupt lysosomal membranes and can trigger a series of events leading to cell death. In addition, combining lysosomotropic agents with targeted inhibitors can induce increased cell death in different cancer types, but prostate cancer cells have not been investigated.METHODS: We treated prostate cancer cells with lysosomotropic agents and determine their cytotoxicity, lysosome membrane permeabilization (LMP), reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels, and mitochondrial dysfunction. In addition, we treated cells with lysosomotropic agent in combination with tyrosine kinase inhibitor, lapatinib, and determined cell death, and the role of ROS in this cell death.
    RESULTS: Herein, we found that siramesine was the most effective lysosomotropic agent at inducing LMP, increasing ROS, and inducing cell death in three different prostate cancer cell lines. Siramesine was also effective at increasing cell death in combination with the tyrosine kinase inhibitor, lapatinib. This increase in cell death was mediated by lysosome membrane permeabilization, an increased in ROS levels, loss of mitochondrial membrane potential and increase in mitochondrial ROS levels. The combination of siramesine and lapatinib induced apoptosis, cleavage of PARP and decreased expression of Bcl-2 family member Mcl-1. Furthermore, lipid peroxidation occurred with siramesine treatment alone or in combination with lapatinib. Treating cells with the lipid peroxidation inhibitor alpha-tocopherol resulted in reduced siramesine induced cell death alone or in combination with lapatinib. The combination of siramesine and lapatinib failed to increase cell death responses in normal prostate epithelial cells.
    CONCLUSIONS: This suggests that lysomotropic agents such as siramesine in combination with tyrosine kinase inhibitors induces cell death mediated by ROS and could be an effective treatment strategy in advanced prostate cancer.
    Keywords:  apoptosis; lipid peroxidation; lysosomotrophic drug; siramesine reactive oxygen species
  28. Cell Rep. 2022 Nov 22. pii: S2211-1247(22)01564-9. [Epub ahead of print]41(8): 111690
      The age-related loss of protein homeostasis (proteostasis) is at the heart of numerous neurodegenerative diseases. Therefore, finding ways to preserve proteome integrity in aged cells may be a powerful way to promote long-term health. Here, we show that reducing the activity of a highly conserved mitochondrial outer membrane protein, MTCH-1/MTCH2, suppresses age-related proteostasis collapse in Caenorhabditis elegans without disrupting development, growth, or reproduction. Loss of MTCH-1 does not influence proteostasis capacity in aged tissues through previously described pathways but instead operates by reducing CED-4 levels. This results in the sequestration of HSP-90 by inactive CED-3, which in turn leads to an increase in HSF-1 activity, transcriptional remodeling of the proteostasis network, and maintenance of proteostasis capacity with age. Together, our findings reveal a role for programmed cell death factors in determining proteome health and suggest that inhibiting MTCH-1 activity in adulthood may safeguard the aging proteome and suppress age-related diseases.
    Keywords:  CP: Cell biology; Caenorhabditis elegans; HSF-1; HSP90; MTCH-1; aging; mitochondria; molecular chaperones; programmed cell death; protein homeostasis
  29. Leukemia. 2022 Nov 23.
      How bone marrow niches regulate leukemogenic activities of leukemia-initiating cells (LICs) is unclear. The present study revealed that the metabolic niche component, ATP, efficiently induced ion influx in LICs through its ligand-gated ion channel, P2X1. P2X1 deletion impaired LIC self-renewal capacities and resulted in an approximately 8-fold decrease in functional LIC numbers in a murine acute myeloid leukemia (AML) model without affecting normal hematopoiesis. P2X1 phosphorylation at specific sites of S387 and T389 was essential for sustaining its promoting effects on leukemia development. ATP-P2X1-mediated signaling upregulated the PBX3 level to transactivate BCAT1 to maintain LIC fates. P2X1 knockdown inhibited the proliferation of both human AML cell lines and primary cells. The P2X1 antagonist sufficiently suppressed AML cell proliferation. These results provided a unique perspective on how metabolic niche factor ATP fine-tunes LIC activities, which may benefit the development of strategies for targeting LICs or other cancer stem cells.
  30. Cancers (Basel). 2022 Nov 09. pii: 5508. [Epub ahead of print]14(22):
      Fumarate hydratase (FH) is an evolutionary conserved TCA cycle enzyme that reversibly catalyzes the hydration of fumarate to L-malate and has a moonlight function in the DNA damage response (DDR). Interestingly, FH has a contradictory cellular function, as it is pro-survival through its role in the TCA cycle, yet its loss can drive tumorigenesis. Here, we found that in both non-cancerous (HEK-293T) and cancerous cell lines (HepG2), the cell response to FH loss is separated into two distinct time frames based on cell proliferation and DNA damage repair. During the early stages of FH loss, cell proliferation rate and DNA damage repair are inhibited. However, over time the cells overcome the FH loss and form knockout clones, indistinguishable from WT cells with respect to their proliferation rate. Due to the FH loss effect on DNA damage repair, we assumed that the recovered cells bear adaptive mutations. Therefore, we applied whole-exome sequencing to identify such mutated genes systematically. Indeed, we identified recurring mutations in genes belonging to central oncogenic signaling pathways, such as JAK/STAT3, which we validated in impaired FH-KO clones. Intriguingly, we demonstrate that these adaptive mutations are responsible for FH-KO cell proliferation under TCA cycle malfunction.
    Keywords:  DNA damage; TCA cycle; cancer metabolism; fumarate hydratase
  31. Appl Biochem Biotechnol. 2022 Nov 21.
      Specific targeting of anti-cancer drugs to mitochondria is an emerging strategy to enhance cancer cell killing whilst simultaneously overcoming the problem of drug resistance, low bioavailability and limited clinical success of natural products. We have synthesized a mitochondria targeted derivative of Ethyl Ferulate (EF, a naturally occurring ester of ferulic acid), by conjugating it with triphenylphosphonium ion and compared its cytotoxicity with the parent molecule. Mito-Ethyl Ferulate (M-EF) was found to be more potent than EF (~ 400-fold) in inhibiting the growth of A549 and MCF-7 cells and suppressing the clonogenic potential of A549 cells. Notably, M-EF did not induce any cytotoxicity in normal cells (mouse normal fibroblast cells) up to a concentration of 25 μM. Furthermore, M-EF treatment induced significantly higher cell death in MCF-7 and A549 cells, as compared to EF via induction of apoptosis. M-EF treatment increased mitochondrial superoxide production and induced mitochondrial DNA damage and phosphorylation of JNK and AKT in A549 cells. Furthermore, M-EF induced increase in mitochondrial superoxide production and cytotoxicity was attenuated on pre-treatment with mitochondria-targeted antioxidant (mitoTEMPO) indicating the involvement of mitochondrial ROS in the cytotoxic effects of M-EF. Finally, in silico prediction revealed putative mitochondrial targets of M-EF which are known to regulate mitochondrial ROS and cell viability. In conclusion, the improved cytotoxic efficacy of M-EF exemplifies the use of mitochondria-specific drug delivery in future development of natural product based mitochondrial pharmacology.
    Keywords:  Apoptosis; In silico; JNK; Mitochondrial DNA damage; Mitochondrial superoxide
  32. Nat Commun. 2022 Nov 25. 13(1): 7246
      Single cell proteomics is a powerful tool with potential for markedly enhancing understanding of cellular processes. Here we report the development and application of multiplexed single cell proteomics using trapped ion mobility time-of-flight mass spectrometry. When employing a carrier channel to improve peptide signal, this method allows over 40,000 tandem mass spectra to be acquired in 30 min. Using a KRASG12C model human-derived cell line, we demonstrate the quantification of over 1200 proteins per cell with high relative sequence coverage permitting the detection of multiple classes of post-translational modifications in single cells. When cells were treated with a KRASG12C covalent inhibitor, this approach revealed cell-to-cell variability in the impact of the drug, providing insight missed by traditional proteomics. We provide multiple resources necessary for the application of single cell proteomics to drug treatment studies including tools to reduce cell cycle linked proteomic effects from masking pharmacological phenotypes.
  33. Genes (Basel). 2022 Nov 14. pii: 2111. [Epub ahead of print]13(11):
      Colon cancer is a major malignant neoplasm with a low survival rate for late-stage patients. Therefore, the investigation of molecules regulating colon cancer progression and the discovery of novel therapeutic targets is critical. Mitochondria play a vital role in maintaining the homeostasis of cells. Abnormal mitochondrial metabolism alterations and the induction of glycolysis can facilitate tumor growth; therefore, targeting mitochondrial molecules is suggested to be a promising strategy for cancer treatment. In this study, we investigated the role of this largely unknown mitochondrial factor, chromosome 20 open reading frame 7 (C20orf7), in colon cancer progression. Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) technology was utilized for C20orf7 depletion, and functional assays were performed to examine the regulation of C20orf7 in colon cancer cells. We demonstrated that C20orf7 facilitates epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT)-mediated cell migration and promotes the proliferation of colon cancer. The anti-cancer drug 5-fluorouracil (5FU) was also applied, and C20orf7 was targeted with a combination of 5FU treatment, which could further enhance the anti-cancer effect in the colon cancer cell line and the xenograft mice model. In summary, this study demonstrated, for the first time, that C20orf7 plays a promotional role in cancer tumorigenesis and could be a promising therapeutic target in colon cancer treatment.
    Keywords:  5-fluorouracil (5FU); C20orf7; colon cancer progression; epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT); mitochondrial factor; therapeutic target
  34. Biochim Biophys Acta Rev Cancer. 2022 Nov 17. pii: S0304-419X(22)00162-7. [Epub ahead of print]1878(1): 188837
      Acetyl-CoA, as an important molecule, not only participates in multiple intracellular metabolic reactions, but also affects the post-translational modification of proteins, playing a key role in the metabolic activity and epigenetic inheritance of cells. Cancer cells require extensive lipid metabolism to fuel for their growth, while also require histone acetylation modifications to increase the expression of cancer-promoting genes. As a raw material for de novo lipid synthesis and histone acetylation, acetyl-CoA has a major impact on lipid metabolism and histone acetylation in cancer. More importantly, in cancer, acetyl-CoA connects lipid metabolism with histone acetylation, forming a more complex regulatory mechanism that influences cancer growth, proliferation, metastasis.
    Keywords:  Acetyl-coenzyme A (acetyl-CoA); Cancer; Histone acetylation; Lipid metabolism
  35. Redox Biol. 2022 Nov 15. pii: S2213-2317(22)00316-0. [Epub ahead of print]58 102544
      Anoikis resistance was a prominent hallmark of cancer metastasis, and lipo-genic characteristics have been identified as another metabolic alteration during tumorigenesis. However, their crosstalk has not been fully elucidated, especially in advanced esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). In this study, we showed, for the first time, that the key enzyme carnitine O-palmitoyl transferase 1 (CPT1A), which is involved in fatty acid oxidation (FAO), was markedly upregulated in ESCC cells upon detached culture via a metabolism PCR array. Overexpression of CPT1A was associated with poor survival of ESCC patients and could protect ESCC cells from apoptosis via maintaining redox homeostasis through supply of GSH and NADPH. Mechanistically, detached culture conditions enhanced the expression of the transcription factor ETV4 and suppressed the expression of the ubiquitin enzyme RNF2, which were responsible for the elevated expression of CPT1A at the mRNA and protein levels, respectively. Moreover, genetic or pharmacologic disruption of CPT1A switched off the NADPH supply and therefore prevented the anchorage-independent growth of ESCC cells in vitro and lung metastases of xenografted tumor models in vivo. Collectively, our results provide novel insights into how ESCC cancer cells exploit metabolic switching to form distant metastases and some evidence for the link between anoikis and FAO.
    Keywords:  Anoikis resistance; CPT1A; Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma; Fatty acid oxidation
  36. Nat Commun. 2022 Nov 19. 13(1): 7113
      NRAS-mutated melanoma lacks a specific line of treatment. Metabolic reprogramming is considered a novel target to control cancer; however, NRAS-oncogene contribution to this cancer hallmark is mostly unknown. Here, we show that NRASQ61-mutated melanomas specific metabolic settings mediate cell sensitivity to sorafenib upon metabolic stress. Mechanistically, these cells are dependent on glucose metabolism, in which glucose deprivation promotes a switch from CRAF to BRAF signaling. This scenario contributes to cell survival and sustains glucose metabolism through BRAF-mediated phosphorylation of 6-phosphofructo-2-kinase/fructose-2,6-bisphosphatase-2/3 (PFKFB2/PFKFB3). In turn, this favors the allosteric activation of phosphofructokinase-1 (PFK1), generating a feedback loop that couples glycolytic flux and the RAS signaling pathway. An in vivo treatment of NRASQ61 mutant melanomas, including patient-derived xenografts, with 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG) and sorafenib effectively inhibits tumor growth. Thus, we provide evidence for NRAS-oncogene contributions to metabolic rewiring and a proof-of-principle for the treatment of NRASQ61-mutated melanoma combining metabolic stress (glycolysis inhibitors) and previously approved drugs, such as sorafenib.
  37. Cell Chem Biol. 2022 Nov 20. pii: S2451-9456(22)00387-7. [Epub ahead of print]
      Encouraged by the dependence of drug-resistant, metastatic cancers on GPX4, we examined biophysical mechanisms of GPX4 inhibition, which revealed an unexpected allosteric site. We found that this site was involved in native regeneration of GPX4 under low glutathione conditions. Covalent binding of inhibitors to this allosteric site caused a conformational change, inhibition of activity, and subsequent cellular GPX4 protein degradation. To verify this site in an unbiased manner, we screened a library of compounds and identified and validated that an additional compound can covalently bind in this allosteric site, inhibiting and degrading GPX4. We determined co-crystal structures of six different inhibitors bound in this site. We have thus identified an allosteric mechanism for small molecules targeting aggressive cancers dependent on GPX4.
    Keywords:  GPX4; allosteric; cancer; cysteine; drug discovery; enzyme; glutathione; inhibitor; peroxidase; small molecule
  38. ACS Pharmacol Transl Sci. 2022 Nov 11. 5(11): 1070-1078
      Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma is characterized by increased generation of reactive oxygen species that can cause lethal oxidative stress. Here, we evaluated the combined inhibition of the glutathione and thioredoxin antioxidant systems in preclinical models of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, using buthionine sulfoximine (BSO) that targets glutathione synthesis, and auranofin that targets thioredoxin recycling. BSO potentiated the cytotoxicity of auranofin and induced lethal oxidative stress in primary pancreatic cancer cells. As assessed by the cellular thermal shift assay, auranofin engaged with thioredoxin reductase 1 in primary cells at concentrations known to induce cell death. Moreover, we used imaging mass cytometry to map the biodistribution of atomic gold in patient-derived xenografts treated with auranofin, and the drug was readily detectable throughout the epithelial and stromal compartments after treatment with a clinically relevant dose. In conclusion, combinatorial treatment with BSO and auranofin could serve as a potential therapeutic strategy in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma.
  39. Nat Commun. 2022 Nov 19. 13(1): 7100
      It has been recently shown that electron transfer between mitochondrial cytochrome c and the cytochrome c1 subunit of the cytochrome bc1 can proceed at long-distance through the aqueous solution. Cytochrome c is thought to adjust its activity by changing the affinity for its partners via Tyr48 phosphorylation, but it is unknown how it impacts the nanoscopic environment, interaction forces, and long-range electron transfer. Here, we constrain the orientation and separation between cytochrome c1 and cytochrome c or the phosphomimetic Y48pCMF cytochrome c, and deploy an array of single-molecule, bulk, and computational methods to investigate the molecular mechanism of electron transfer regulation by cytochrome c phosphorylation. We demonstrate that phosphorylation impairs long-range electron transfer, shortens the long-distance charge conduit between the partners, strengthens their interaction, and departs it from equilibrium. These results unveil a nanoscopic view of the interaction between redox protein partners in electron transport chains and its mechanisms of regulation.
  40. Cells. 2022 Nov 13. pii: 3587. [Epub ahead of print]11(22):
      Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the world. In particular, non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) represents the majority of the lung cancer population. Advances in DNA sequencing technologies have significantly contributed to revealing the roles, functions and mechanisms of gene mutations. However, the driver mutations that cause cancers and their pathologies remain to be explored. Here, we performed next-generation sequencing (NGS) on tumor tissues isolated from 314 Chinese NSCLC patients and established the mutational landscape in NSCLC. Among 656 mutations, we identified TP53-p.Glu358Val as a driver mutation in lung cancer and found that it activates mitophagy to sustain cancer cell growth. In support of this finding, mice subcutaneously implanted with NSCLC cells expressing TP53-p.Glu358Val developed larger tumors compared to wild-type cells. The pharmaceutical inhibition of autophagy/mitophagy selectively suppresses the cell proliferation of TP53-null or TP53-p.Glu358Val-expressing lung cancer cells. Together, our study characterizes a new TP53 mutation identified from Chinese lung cancer patients and uncovers its roles in regulating mitophagy, providing a new insight into NSCLC treatment.
    Keywords:  NSCLC; TP53; lung cancer; mitophagy