bims-mibica Biomed News
on Mitochondrial bioenergetics in cancer
Issue of 2023‒02‒19
33 papers selected by
Kelsey Fisher-Wellman
East Carolina University

  1. bioRxiv. 2023 Feb 07. pii: 2023.02.06.527285. [Epub ahead of print]
      Most kidney cancers display evidence of metabolic dysfunction 1â€"4 but how this relates to cancer progression in humans is unknown. We used a multidisciplinary approach to infuse 13 C-labeled nutrients during surgical tumour resection in over 70 patients with kidney cancer. Labeling from [U- 13 C]glucose varies across cancer subtypes, indicating that the kidney environment alone cannot account for all metabolic reprogramming in these tumours. Compared to the adjacent kidney, clear cell renal cell carcinomas (ccRCC) display suppressed labelling of tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle intermediates in vivo and in organotypic slices cultured ex vivo, indicating that suppressed labeling is tissue intrinsic. Infusions of [1,2- 13 C]acetate and [U- 13 C]glutamine in patients, coupled with respiratory flux of mitochondria isolated from kidney and tumour tissue, reveal primary defects in mitochondrial function in human ccRCC. However, ccRCC metastases unexpectedly have enhanced labeling of TCA cycle intermediates compared to primary ccRCCs, indicating a divergent metabolic program during ccRCC metastasis in patients. In mice, stimulating respiration in ccRCC cells is sufficient to promote metastatic colonization. Altogether, these findings indicate that metabolic properties evolve during human kidney cancer progression, and suggest that mitochondrial respiration may be limiting for ccRCC metastasis but not for ccRCC growth at the site of origin.
  2. bioRxiv. 2023 Feb 09. pii: 2023.02.08.527715. [Epub ahead of print]
      Breast adipose tissue is an important contributor to the obesity-breast cancer link. Dysregulated cell metabolism is now an accepted hallmark of cancer. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are nanosized particles containing selective cargo, such as miRNAs, that act locally or circulate to distant sites to modulate target cell functions. Here, we found that long-term education of breast cancer cells (MCF7, T47D) with EVs from breast adipose tissue of women who are overweight or obese (O-EVs) leads to sustained increased proliferative potential. RNA-Seq of O-EV-educated cells demonstrates increased expression of genes, such as ATP synthase and NADH: ubiquinone oxidoreductase, involved in oxidative phosphorylation. O-EVs increase respiratory complex protein expression, mitochondrial density, and mitochondrial respiration in tumor cells. Mitochondrial complex I inhibitor, metformin, reverses O-EV-induced cell proliferation. Several miRNAs, miR-155-5p, miR-10a-3p, and miR-30a-3p, which promote mitochondrial respiration and proliferation, are enriched in O-EVs relative to EVs from lean women. O-EV-induced proliferation and mitochondrial activity are associated with stimulation of the Akt/mTOR/P70S6K pathway, and are reversed upon silencing of P70S6K. This study reveals a new facet of the obesity-breast cancer link with human breast adipose tissue-derived EVs causing the metabolic reprogramming of ER+ breast cancer cells.
  3. J Mol Med (Berl). 2023 Feb 15.
      Pancreas ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) remains a malignant tumor with very poor prognosis and low 5-year overall survival. Here, we aimed to simultaneously target mitochondria and lysosomes as a new treatment paradigm of malignant pancreas cancer in vitro and in vivo. We demonstrate that the clinically used sphingosine analog FTY-720 together with PAPTP, an inhibitor of mitochondrial Kv1.3, induce death of pancreas cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. The combination of both drugs results in a marked inhibition of the acid sphingomyelinase and accumulation of cellular sphingomyelin in vitro and in vivo in orthotopic and flank pancreas cancers. Mechanistically, PAPTP and FTY-720 cause a disruption of both mitochondria and lysosomes, an alteration of mitochondrial bioenergetics and accumulation of cytoplasmic Ca2+, events that collectively mediate cell death. Our findings point to an unexpected cross-talk between lysosomes and mitochondria mediated by sphingolipid metabolism. We show that the combination of PAPTP and FTY-720 induces massive death of pancreas cancer cells, thereby leading to a substantially delayed and reduced PDAC growth in vivo. KEY MESSAGES: FTY-720 inhibits acid sphingomyelinase in pancreas cancer cells (PDAC). FTY-720 induces sphingomyelin accumulation and lysosomal dysfunction. The mitochondrial Kv1.3 inhibitor PAPTP disrupts mitochondrial functions. PAPTP and FTY-720 synergistically kill PDAC in vitro. The combination of FTY-720 and PAPTP greatly delays PDAC growth in vivo.
    Keywords:  Acid sphingomyelinase; Kv1.3; Lysosomes; Mitochondria; Pancreas cancer; Sphingolipids
  4. Cancer Res. 2023 Feb 14. pii: CAN-22-2525. [Epub ahead of print]
      Understanding functional interactions between cancer mutations is an attractive strategy for discovering unappreciated cancer pathways and developing new combination therapies to improve personalized treatment. However, distinguishing driver gene pairs from passenger pairs remains challenging. Here, we designed an integrated omics approach to identify driver gene pairs by leveraging genetic interaction analyses of top mutated breast cancer genes and the proteomics interactome data of their encoded proteins. This approach identified that PIK3CA oncogenic gain-of-function (GOF) and CBFB loss-of-function (LOF) mutations cooperate to promote breast tumor progression in both mice and humans. The transcription factor CBFB localized to mitochondria and moonlighted in translating the mitochondrial genome. Mechanistically, CBFB enhanced the binding of mitochondrial mRNAs to TUFM, a mitochondrial translation elongation factor. Independent of mutant PI3K, mitochondrial translation defects caused by CBFB LOF led to multiple metabolic reprogramming events, including defective oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS), the Warburg effect, and autophagy/mitophagy addiction. Furthermore, autophagy and PI3K inhibitors synergistically killed breast cancer cells and impaired the growth of breast tumors, including patient-derived xenografts (PDXs) carrying CBFB LOF and PIK3CA GOF mutations. Thus, our study offers mechanistic insights into the functional interaction between mutant PI3K and mitochondrial translation dysregulation in breast cancer progression and provides a strong preclinical rationale for combining autophagy and PI3K inhibitors in precision medicine for breast cancer.
  5. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2023 Feb 21. 120(8): e2213272120
      Macropinocytosis is an actin-dependent mode of nonselective endocytosis that mediates the uptake of extracellular fluid-phase cargoes. It is now well recognized that tumor cells exploit macropinocytosis to internalize macromolecules that can be catabolized and used to support cell growth and proliferation under nutrient-limiting conditions. Therefore, the identification of molecular mechanisms that control macropinocytosis is fundamental to the understanding of the metabolic adaptive landscape of tumor cells. Here, we report that the acetyl-CoA-producing enzyme, ATP citrate lyase (ACLY), is a key regulator of macropinocytosis and describes a heretofore-unappreciated association of ACLY with the actin cytoskeleton. The cytoskeletal tethering of ACLY is required for the spatially defined acetylation of heterodimeric actin capping protein, which we identify as an essential mediator of the actin remodeling events that drive membrane ruffling and macropinocytosis. Furthermore, we identify a requirement for mitochondrial-derived citrate, an ACLY substrate, for macropinocytosis, and show that mitochondria traffic to cell periphery regions juxtaposed to plasma membrane ruffles. Collectively, these findings establish a mode of metabolite compartmentalization that supports the spatiotemporal modulation of membrane-cytoskeletal interactions required for macropinocytosis by coupling regional acetyl-CoA availability with dynamic protein acetylation.
    Keywords:  actin cytoskeleton; macropinocytosis; membrane ruffling
  6. Biochim Biophys Acta Gen Subj. 2023 Feb 13. pii: S0304-4165(23)00026-0. [Epub ahead of print] 130328
      Human MPV17, an evolutionarily conserved mitochondrial inner-membrane channel protein, accounts for the tissue-specific mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome. However, the precise molecular function of the MPV17 protein is still elusive. Previous studies showed that the mitochondrial morphology and cristae organization are severely disrupted in the MPV17 knockout cells from yeast, zebrafish, and mammalian tissues. As mitochondrial cristae morphology is strictly regulated by the membrane phospholipids composition, we measured mitochondrial membrane phospholipids (PLs) levels in yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae MPV17 ortholog, SYM1 (Stress-inducible Yeast MPV17) deleted cells. We found that Sym1 knockout decreases the mitochondrial membrane PLs, phosphatidyl ethanolamine (PE), and inhibits respiratory growth at 37 ̊C on rich media. Both the oxygen consumption rate and the steady state expressions of mitochondrial complex II and super-complexes are compromised. Apart from mitochondrial PE defect a significant depletion of mitochondrial phosphatidyl-choline (PC) was noticed in the sym1∆ cells grown on synthetic media at both 30 ̊C and 37 ̊C temperatures. Surprisingly, exogenous supplementation of methylglyoxal (MG), an intrinsic side product of glycolysis, rescues the respiratory growth of Sym1 deficient yeast cells. Using a combination of molecular biology and lipid biochemistry, we uncovered that MG simultaneously restores both the mitochondrial PE/PC levels and the respiration by enhancing cytosolic NAD-dependent glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase 1 (Gpd1) enzymatic activity. Further, MG is incapable to restore respiratory growth of the sym1∆gpd1∆ double knockout cells. Thus, our work provides Gpd1 activation as a novel strategy for combating Sym1 deficiency and PC/PE defects.
    Keywords:  Glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase 1; Methylglyoxal; Mitochondrial respiratory chain; Phospholipids; SYM1
  7. Lab Invest. 2022 01;pii: S0023-6837(22)00107-6. [Epub ahead of print]102(1): 69-79
      Mitochondrial homeostasis is crucial for the function of pancreatic β-cells. ATP synthase inhibitory factor subunit 1 (IF1) is a mitochondrial protein interacting with ATP synthase to inhibit its enzyme activity. IF1 may also play a role in maintaining ATP synthase oligomerization and mitochondrial inner membrane formation. A recent study confirmed IF1 expresses in β-cells. IF1 knockdown in cultured INS-1E β-cells enhances glucose-induced insulin release. However, the role of IF1 in islet β-cells remains little known. The present study investigates islets freshly isolated from mouse lines with global IF1 knockout (IF1-/-) and overexpression (OE). The glucose-stimulated insulin secretion was increased in islets from IF1-/- mice but decreased in islets from IF1 OE mice. Transmitted Electronic Microscopic assessment of isolated islets revealed that the number of matured insulin granules (with dense core) was relatively higher in IF1-/-, but fewer in IF1 OE islets than those of controlled islets. The mitochondrial ultrastructure within β-cells of IF1 overexpressed islets was comparable with those of wild-type mice, whereas those in IF1-/- β-cells showed increased mitochondrial mass. Mitochondrial network analysis in cultured INS-1 β-cells showed a similar pattern with an increased mitochondrial network in IF1 knockdown cells. IF1 overexpressed INS-1 β-cells showed a compromised rate of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation with attenuated cellular ATP content. In contrast, INS-1 cells with IF1 knockdown showed markedly increased cellular respiration with improved ATP production. These results support that IF1 is a negative regulator of insulin production and secretion via inhibiting mitochondrial mass and respiration in β-cells. Therefore, inhibiting IF1 to improve β-cell function in patients can be a novel therapeutic strategy to treat diabetes.
  8. bioRxiv. 2023 Feb 11. pii: 2023.02.11.528118. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) complexes are assembled from proteins encoded by both nuclear and mitochondrial DNA. These dual-origin enzymes pose a complex gene regulatory challenge for cells, in which gene expression must be coordinated across organelles using distinct pools of ribosomes. How cells produce and maintain the accurate subunit stoichiometries for these OXPHOS complexes remains largely unknown. To identify genes involved in dual-origin protein complex synthesis, we performed FACS-based genome-wide screens analyzing mutant cells with unbalanced levels of mitochondrial- and nuclear-encoded subunits of cytochrome c oxidase (Complex IV). We identified novel genes involved in OXPHOS biogenesis, including two uncharacterized genes: PREPL and NME6 . We found that PREPL specifically regulates Complex IV biogenesis by interacting with mitochondrial protein synthesis machinery, while NME6, an uncharacterized nucleoside diphosphate kinase (NDPK), controls OXPHOS complex biogenesis through multiple mechanisms reliant on its NDPK domain. First, NME6 maintains local mitochondrial pyrimidine triphosphate levels essential for mitochondrial RNA abundance. Second, through stabilizing interactions with RCC1L, NME6 modulates the activity of mitoribosome regulatory complexes, leading to disruptions in mitoribosome assembly and mitochondrial RNA pseudouridylation. Taken together, we propose that NME6 acts as a link between compartmentalized mitochondrial metabolites and mitochondrial gene expression. Finally, we present these screens as a resource, providing a catalog of genes involved in mitonuclear gene regulation and OXPHOS biogenesis.
  9. Int J Biol Sci. 2023 ;19(3): 897-915
      Mitochondria are intracellular organelles involved in energy production, cell metabolism and cell signaling. They are essential not only in the process of ATP synthesis, lipid metabolism and nucleic acid metabolism, but also in tumor development and metastasis. Mutations in mtDNA are commonly found in cancer cells to promote the rewiring of bioenergetics and biosynthesis, various metabolites especially oncometabolites in mitochondria regulate tumor metabolism and progression. And mutation of enzymes in the TCA cycle leads to the unusual accumulation of certain metabolites and oncometabolites. Mitochondria have been demonstrated as the target for cancer treatment. Cancer cells rely on two main energy resources: oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) and glycolysis. By manipulating OXPHOS genes or adjusting the metabolites production in mitochondria, tumor growth can be restrained. For example, enhanced complex I activity increases NAD+/NADH to prevent metastasis and progression of cancers. In this review, we discussed mitochondrial function in cancer cell metabolism and specially explored the unique role of mitochondria in cancer stem cells and the tumor microenvironment. Targeting the OXPHOS pathway and mitochondria-related metabolism emerging as a potential therapeutic strategy for various cancers.
    Keywords:  cancer; mitochondria; tumor metabolism; tumor metastasis
  10. Autophagy. 2023 Feb 13.
      Mitophagy regulates cancer stem cell (CSC) populations affecting tumorigenicity and malignancy in various cancer types. Here, we report that cisplatin treatment led to the activation of higher mitophagy through regulating CLU (clusterin) levels in oral CSCs. Moreover, both the gain-of-function and loss-of-function of CLU indicated its mitophagy-specific role in clearing damaged mitochondria. CLU also regulates mitochondrial fission by activating the Ser/Thr kinase AKT, which triggered phosphorylation of DNM1L/DRP1 at the serine 616 residue initiating mitochondrial fission. More importantly, we also demonstrated that CLU-mediated mitophagy positively regulates oral CSCs through mitophagic degradation of MSX2 (msh homeobox 2), preventing its nuclear translocation from suppressing SOX2 activity and subsequent inhibition of cancer stemness and self-renewal ability. However, CLU knockdown disturbed mitochondrial metabolism generating excessive mitochondrial superoxide, which improves the sensitivity to cisplatin in oral CSCs. Notably, our results showed that CLU-mediated cytoprotection relies on SOX2 expression. SOX2 inhibition through genetic (shSOX2) and pharmacological (KRX-0401) strategies reverses CLU-mediated cytoprotection, sensitizing oral CSCs towards cisplatin-mediated cell death.
    Keywords:  Cancer stem cells; MSX2; SOX2; clusterin; mitophagy
  11. J Cell Biol. 2023 Apr 03. pii: e202204021. [Epub ahead of print]222(4):
      Mitochondria play critical roles in cellular metabolism and to maintain their integrity, they are regulated by several quality control pathways, including mitophagy. During BNIP3/BNIP3L-dependent receptor-mediated mitophagy, mitochondria are selectively targeted for degradation by the direct recruitment of the autophagy protein LC3. BNIP3 and/or BNIP3L are upregulated situationally, for example during hypoxia and developmentally during erythrocyte maturation. However, it is not well understood how they are spatially regulated within the mitochondrial network to locally trigger mitophagy. Here, we find that the poorly characterized mitochondrial protein TMEM11 forms a complex with BNIP3 and BNIP3L and co-enriches at sites of mitophagosome formation. We find that mitophagy is hyper-active in the absence of TMEM11 during both normoxia and hypoxia-mimetic conditions due to an increase in BNIP3/BNIP3L mitophagy sites, supporting a model that TMEM11 spatially restricts mitophagosome formation.
  12. Cell Rep. 2023 Feb 15. pii: S2211-1247(23)00126-2. [Epub ahead of print]42(2): 112115
      Mitochondria are vital organelles that require sophisticated homeostatic mechanisms for maintenance. Intercellular transfer of damaged mitochondria is a recently identified strategy broadly used to improve cellular health and viability. Here, we investigate mitochondrial homeostasis in the vertebrate cone photoreceptor, the specialized neuron that initiates our daytime and color vision. We find a generalizable response to mitochondrial stress that leads to loss of cristae, displacement of damaged mitochondria from their normal cellular location, initiation of degradation, and transfer to Müller glia cells, a key non-neuronal support cell in the retina. Our findings show transmitophagy from cones to Müller glia as a response to mitochondrial damage. Intercellular transfer of damaged mitochondria represents an outsourcing mechanism that photoreceptors use to support their specialized function.
    Keywords:  CP: Neuroscience; Müller glia; mitochondria; mitophagy; photoreceptor; retina; zebrafish
  13. Front Oncol. 2023 ;13 1081253
      Mitochondria, the organelle critical for cell survival and metabolism, are exploited by cancer cells and provide an important therapeutic target in cancers. Mitochondria dynamically undergo fission and fusion to maintain their diverse functions. Proteins controlling mitochondrial fission and fusion have been recognized as essential regulators of mitochondrial functions, mitochondrial quality control, and cell survival. In a recent proteomic study, we identified the key mitochondrial fission factor, MFF, as a new interacting protein of TRAF3, a known tumor suppressor of multiple myeloma and other B cell malignancies. This interaction recruits the majority of cytoplasmic TRAF3 to mitochondria, allowing TRAF3 to regulate mitochondrial morphology, mitochondrial functions, and mitochondria-dependent apoptosis in resting B lymphocytes. Interestingly, recent transcriptomic, metabolic and lipidomic studies have revealed that TRAF3 also vitally regulates multiple metabolic pathways in B cells, including phospholipid metabolism, glucose metabolism, and ribonucleotide metabolism. Thus, TRAF3 emerges as a novel regulator of mitochondrial physiology and metabolic pathways in B lymphocytes and B cell malignancies. Here we review current knowledge in this area and discuss relevant clinical implications.
    Keywords:  B lymphocytes; TRAF3; lymphomas; metabolism; mitochondria
  14. J Cell Biol. 2023 Mar 06. pii: e202211044. [Epub ahead of print]222(3):
      Mammalian genes were long thought to be constrained within somatic cells in most cell types. This concept was challenged recently when cellular organelles including mitochondria were shown to move between mammalian cells in culture via cytoplasmic bridges. Recent research in animals indicates transfer of mitochondria in cancer and during lung injury in vivo, with considerable functional consequences. Since these pioneering discoveries, many studies have confirmed horizontal mitochondrial transfer (HMT) in vivo, and its functional characteristics and consequences have been described. Additional support for this phenomenon has come from phylogenetic studies. Apparently, mitochondrial trafficking between cells occurs more frequently than previously thought and contributes to diverse processes including bioenergetic crosstalk and homeostasis, disease treatment and recovery, and development of resistance to cancer therapy. Here we highlight current knowledge of HMT between cells, focusing primarily on in vivo systems, and contend that this process is not only (patho)physiologically relevant, but also can be exploited for the design of novel therapeutic approaches.
  15. ACS Med Chem Lett. 2023 Feb 09. 14(2): 211-216
      Mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) is an essential cellular metabolic process that generates ATP. The enzymes involved in OXPHOS are considered to be promising druggable targets. Through screening of an in-house synthetic library with bovine heart submitochondrial particles, we identified a unique symmetric bis-sulfonamide, KPYC01112 (1) as an inhibitor targeting NADH-quinone oxidoreductase (complex I). Structural modifications of KPYC01112 (1) led to the discovery of the more potent inhibitors 32 and 35 possessing long alkyl chains (IC50 = 0.017 and 0.014 μM, respectively). A photoaffinity labeling experiment using a newly synthesized photoreactive bis-sulfonamide ([125I]-43) revealed that it binds to the 49-kDa, PSST, and ND1 subunits which make up the quinone-accessing cavity of complex I.
  16. Cell Prolif. 2023 Feb 15. e13388
      Metabolic changes of malignant plasma cells (PCs) and adaptation to tumour microenvironment represent one of the hallmarks of multiple myeloma (MM). We previously showed that MM mesenchymal stromal cells are more glycolytic and produce more lactate than healthy counterpart. Hence, we aimed to explore the impact of high lactate concentration on metabolism of tumour PCs and its impact on the efficacy of proteasome inhibitors (PIs). Lactate concentration was performed by colorimetric assay on MM patient's sera. The metabolism of MM cell treated with lactate was assessed by seahorse and real time Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). Cytometry was used to evaluate mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (mROS), apoptosis and mitochondrial depolarization. Lactate concentration resulted increased in MM patient's sera. Therefore, PCs were treated with lactate and we observed an increase of oxidative phosphorylation-related genes, mROS and oxygen consumption rate. Lactate supplementation exhibited a significant reduction in cell proliferation and less responsive to PIs. These data were confirmed by pharmacological inhibition of monocarboxylate transporter 1 (MCT1) by AZD3965 which was able to overcame metabolic protective effect of lactate against PIs. Consistently, high levels of circulating lactate caused expansion of Treg and monocytic myeloid derived suppressor cells and such effect was significantly reduced by AZD3965. Overall, these findings showed that targeting lactate trafficking in TME inhibits metabolic rewiring of tumour PCs, lactate-dependent immune evasion and thus improving therapy efficacy.
  17. bioRxiv. 2023 Feb 03. pii: 2023.02.01.525989. [Epub ahead of print]
      Aging muscle experiences functional decline in part mediated by impaired mitochondrial ADP sensitivity. Elamipretide (ELAM) rapidly improves physiological and mitochondrial function in aging and binds directly to the mitochondrial ADP transporter ANT. We hypothesized that ELAM improves ADP sensitivity in aging leading to rescued physiological function. We measured the response to ADP stimulation in young and old muscle mitochondria with ELAM treatment, in vivo heart and muscle function, and compared protein abundance, phosphorylation, and S-glutathionylation of ADP/ATP pathway proteins. ELAM treatment increased ADP sensitivity in old muscle mitochondria by increasing uptake of ADP through the ANT and rescued muscle force and heart systolic function. Protein abundance in the ADP/ATP transport and synthesis pathway was unchanged, but ELAM treatment decreased protein s-glutathionylation incuding of ANT. Mitochondrial ADP sensitivity is rapidly modifiable. This research supports the hypothesis that ELAM improves ANT function in aging and links mitochondrial ADP sensitivity to physiological function.Abstract Figure:
  18. Redox Biol. 2023 Apr;pii: S2213-2317(23)00029-0. [Epub ahead of print]60 102628
      Mitochondrial methionyl-tRNA synthetase (MARS2) canonically mediates the formation of fMet-tRNAifMet for mitochondrial translation initiation. Mitochondrial calcium uniporter (MCU) is a major gate of Ca2+ flux from cytosol into the mitochondrial matrix. We found that MARS2 interacts with MCU and stimulates mitochondrial Ca2+ influx. Methionine binding to MARS2 would act as a molecular switch that regulates MARS2-MCU interaction. Endogenous knockdown of MARS2 attenuates mitochondrial Ca2+ influx and induces p53 upregulation through the Ca2+-dependent CaMKII/CREB signaling. Subsequently, metabolic rewiring from glycolysis into pentose phosphate pathway is triggered and cellular reactive oxygen species level decreases. This metabolic switch induces inhibition of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) via cellular redox regulation. Expression of MARS2 is regulated by ZEB1 transcription factor in response to Wnt signaling. Our results suggest the mechanisms of mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake and metabolic control of cancer that are exerted by the key factors of the mitochondrial translational machinery and Ca2+ homeostasis.
    Keywords:  Cancer metabolism; Epithelial-mesenchymal transition; Mitochondrial calcium uniporter; Mitochondrial methionyl-tRNA synthetase; Reactive oxygen species; p53
  19. Mol Cancer Ther. 2023 Feb 10. pii: MCT-22-0490. [Epub ahead of print]
      The poor prognosis and limited therapeutic options for human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common form of liver cancer, highlight the urgent need to identify novel therapeutic modalities. Here we describe the antitumor activity and underlying molecular mechanisms of a novel Na+/K+-ATPase inhibitor RX108 in human HCC cells and its xenograft model. RX108 dose-dependently inhibited HCC cell proliferation in vitro and tumor growth in a xenograft mouse model, and that the inhibition was associated with induction of apoptosis. Mechanistically, RX108 significantly downregulated alanine serine cysteine transporter 2 (ASCT2) protein expression and reduced glutamine and glutamate concentration in HCC cells and tumors. Additionally, RX108 exposure led to a significant decrease in cell energy metabolism in Huh7 and Hep3B cells, including decreased levels of glutathione, NADH, NADPH, and mitochondrial respiration oxygen consumption rate (OCR). Furthermore, HCC cells exhibited evidence of glutamine addiction; the antiproliferative effect of RX108 was dependent on glutamine transport. Clinically, elevated ASCT2 mRNA expression in HCCs was associated with unfavorable survival. Taken together, these findings reveal a novel approach to target glutamine metabolism through inhibiting Na+/K+-ATPase and provide a rationale for using RX108 to treat HCC in patients whose tumors express ASCT2 at high levels. RX108 is currently under clinical development.
  20. J Biol Chem. 2023 Feb 14. pii: S0021-9258(23)00150-3. [Epub ahead of print] 103018
      The endosymbiotic theory posits that ancient eukaryotic cells engulfed O2-consuming prokaryotes, which protected them against O2 toxicity. Previous studies have shown that cells lacking cytochrome c oxidase (COX), required for respiration, have increased DNA damage and reduced proliferation, which could be improved by reducing O2 exposure. With recently developed fluorescence lifetime microscopy (FLIM)-based probes demonstrating that the mitochondrial compartment has lower [O2] than the cytosol, we hypothesized that the perinuclear distribution of mitochondria in cells may create a barrier for O2 to access the nuclear core, potentially affecting cellular physiology and maintaining genomic integrity. To test this hypothesis, we utilized myoglobin (MB)-mCherry FLIM O2 sensors without subcellular targeting ("cytosol") or with targeting to the mitochondrion or nucleus for measuring their localized O2 homeostasis. Our results showed that, similar to the mitochondria, the nuclear [O2] was reduced by ∼20-40% compared to the cytosol under imposed O2 levels of ∼0.5-18.6%. Pharmacologic inhibition of respiration increased nuclear O2 levels, and reconstituting O2 consumption by COX reversed this increase. Similarly, genetic disruption of respiration by deleting SCO2, a gene essential for COX assembly, or restoring COX activity in SCO2-/- cells by transducing with SCO2 cDNA also replicated these changes in nuclear O2 levels. The results were further supported by the expression of genes known to be affected by cellular O2 availability. Our study reveals the potential for dynamic regulation of nuclear O2 levels by mitochondrial respiratory activity, which in turn could affect oxidative stress and cellular processes such as neurodegeneration and aging.
    Keywords:  Classification: Cell Biology; Metabolism; hypoxia; mitochondria; nucleus; oxygen; respiration
  21. bioRxiv. 2023 Feb 11. pii: 2023.02.11.528139. [Epub ahead of print]
      Chlorinated gymnastatin and dankastatin alkaloids derived from the fungal strain Gymnascella dankaliensis have been reported to possess significant anti-cancer activity but their mode of action is unknown. These members possess electrophilic functional groups that may undergo covalent bond formation with specific proteins to exert their biological activity. To better understand the mechanism of action of this class of natural products, we mapped the proteome-wide cysteine-reactivity of the most potent of these alkaloids, dankastatin B, using activitybased protein profiling chemoproteomic approaches. We identified a primary target of dankastatin B in breast cancer cells as cysteine C65 of the voltage-dependent anion selective channel on the outer mitochondrial membrane VDAC3. We demonstrated direct and covalent interaction of dankastatin B with VDAC3. VDAC3 knockdown conferred hyper-sensitivity to dankastatin B-mediated anti-proliferative effects in breast cancer cells indicating that VDAC3 was at least partially involved in the anti-cancer effects of this natural product. Our study reveals a potential mode of action of dankastatin B through covalent targeting of VDAC3 and highlight the utility of chemoproteomic approaches in gaining mechanistic understanding of electrophilic natural products.
  22. Elife. 2023 Feb 17. pii: e83395. [Epub ahead of print]12
      Accumulation of somatic mutations in the mitochondrial genome (mtDNA) has long been proposed as a possible mechanism of mitochondrial and tissue dysfunction that occurs during aging. A thorough characterization of age-associated mtDNA somatic mutations has been hampered by the limited ability to detect low frequency mutations. Here, we used Duplex Sequencing on eight tissues of an aged mouse cohort to detect >89,000 independent somatic mtDNA mutations and show significant tissue-specific increases during aging across all tissues examined which did not correlate with mitochondrial content and tissue function. G→A/C→T substitutions, indicative of replication errors and/or cytidine deamination, were the predominant mutation type across all tissues and increased with age, whereas G→T/C→A substitutions, indicative of oxidative damage, were the second most common mutation type, but did not increase with age regardless of tissue. We also show that clonal expansions of mtDNA mutations with age is tissue and mutation type dependent. Unexpectedly, mutations associated with oxidative damage rarely formed clones in any tissue and were significantly reduced in the hearts and kidneys of aged mice treated at late age with Elamipretide or nicotinamide mononucleotide. Thus, the lack of accumulation of oxidative damage-linked mutations with age suggests a life-long dynamic clearance of either the oxidative lesions or mtDNA genomes harboring oxidative damage.
    Keywords:  genetics; genomics; mouse
  23. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2023 Feb 15.
      Metabolic and molecular interactions between branched chain amino acid (BCAA) and lipid metabolism are evident in insulin resistant tissues. However, it remains unclear whether insulin resistance is a prerequisite for these relationships and whether BCAAs or their metabolic intermediates can modulate hepatic lipid oxidation and synthesis. We hypothesized that BCAAs can alter hepatic oxidative function and de novo lipogenesis, independent of them being anaplerotic substrates for the mitochondria. Mice (C57BL/6NJ) were reared on a low-fat (LF), LF diet plus 1.5X BCAAs (LB), high-fat (HF) or HF diet plus 1.5X BCAAs (HB) for 12-wks. Hepatic metabolism was profiled utilizing stable isotopes coupled to mass-spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance, together with fed-to-fasted changes in gene and protein expression. A greater induction of lipid oxidation and ketogenesis upon fasting was evident in the BCAA supplemented, insulin sensitive livers from LB mice, while their rates of hepatic de novo lipogenesis remained lower than their LF counterparts. Onset of insulin resistance in HF and HB mice livers blunted these responses. Whole-body turnover of BCAAs and their ketoacids, their serum concentrations, and the ketogenic flux from BCAA catabolism, all remained similar between fasted LF and LB mice. This suggested that the impact of BCAAs on lipid metabolism can occur independent of them or their degradation products fueling anaplerosis through the liver mitochondria. Further, the greater induction of lipid oxidation in the LB livers accompanied higher mitochondrial NADH/NAD+ ratio and higher fed-to-fasting phosphorylation of AMPKα and ACC. Taken together, our results provide evidence that BCAA supplementation, under conditions of insulin sensitivity, improved the feeding-to-fasting induction of hepatic lipid oxidation through changes in cellular redox, thus providing a favorable biochemical environment for flux through β-oxidation and lower de novo lipogenesis.
    Keywords:  branched chain amino acids; fatty acid oxidation; lipogenesis; liver metabolism; mitochondria
  24. Nat Protoc. 2023 Feb 15.
      Natural sequence variation within mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) contributes to human phenotypes and may serve as natural genetic markers in human cells for clonal and lineage tracing. We recently developed a single-cell multi-omic approach, called 'mitochondrial single-cell assay for transposase-accessible chromatin with sequencing' (mtscATAC-seq), enabling concomitant high-throughput mtDNA genotyping and accessible chromatin profiling. Specifically, our technique allows the mitochondrial genome-wide inference of mtDNA variant heteroplasmy along with information on cell state and accessible chromatin variation in individual cells. Leveraging somatic mtDNA mutations, our method further enables inference of clonal relationships among native ex vivo-derived human cells not amenable to genetic engineering-based clonal tracing approaches. Here, we provide a step-by-step protocol for the use of mtscATAC-seq, including various cell-processing and flow cytometry workflows, by using primary hematopoietic cells, subsequent single-cell genomic library preparation and sequencing that collectively take ~3-4 days to complete. We discuss experimental and computational data quality control metrics and considerations for the extension to other mammalian tissues. Overall, mtscATAC-seq provides a broadly applicable platform to map clonal relationships between cells in human tissues, investigate fundamental aspects of mitochondrial genetics and enable additional modes of multi-omic discovery.
  25. EMBO Rep. 2023 Feb 16. e55548
      Mechanisms underlying the depletion of NAD+ and accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in aging and age-related disorders remain poorly defined. We show that reverse electron transfer (RET) at mitochondrial complex I, which causes increased ROS production and NAD+ to NADH conversion and thus lowered NAD+ /NADH ratio, is active during aging. Genetic or pharmacological inhibition of RET decreases ROS production and increases NAD+ /NADH ratio, extending the lifespan of normal flies. The lifespan-extending effect of RET inhibition is dependent on NAD+ -dependent Sirtuin, highlighting the importance of NAD+ /NADH rebalance, and on longevity-associated Foxo and autophagy pathways. RET and RET-induced ROS and NAD+ /NADH ratio changes are prominent in human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) model and fly models of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Genetic or pharmacological inhibition of RET prevents the accumulation of faulty translation products resulting from inadequate ribosome-mediated quality control, rescues relevant disease phenotypes, and extends the lifespan of Drosophila and mouse AD models. Deregulated RET is therefore a conserved feature of aging, and inhibition of RET may open new therapeutic opportunities in the context of aging and age-related diseases including AD.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer's disease; NAD+/NADH ratio; lifespan; mitochondrial complex I; reverse electron transport
  26. Eur J Med Chem. 2023 Jan 31. pii: S0223-5234(23)00085-5. [Epub ahead of print]250 115170
      Cancer cells are highly dependent on Nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (NAMPT) activity for proliferation, therefore NAMPT represents an interesting target for the development of anti-cancer drugs. Several compounds, such as FK866 and CHS828, were identified as potent NAMPT inhibitors with strong anti-cancer activity, although none of them reached the late stages of clinical trials. We present herein the preparation of three libraries of new inhibitors containing (pyridin-3-yl)triazole, (pyridin-3-yl)thiourea and (pyridin-3/4-yl)cyanoguanidine as cap/connecting unit and a furyl group at the tail position of the compound. Antiproliferative activity in vitro was evaluated on a panel of solid and haematological cancer cell lines and most of the synthesized compounds showed nanomolar or sub-nanomolar cytotoxic activity in MiaPaCa-2 (pancreatic cancer), ML2 (acute myeloid leukemia), JRKT (acute lymphobalistic leukemia), NMLW (Burkitt lymphoma), RPMI8226 (multiple myeloma) and NB4 (acute myeloid leukemia), with lower IC50 values than those reported for FK866. Notably, compounds 35a, 39a and 47 showed cytotoxic activity against ML2 with IC50 = 18, 46 and 49 pM, and IC50 towards MiaPaCa-2 of 0.005, 0.455 and 2.81 nM, respectively. Moreover, their role on the NAD+ synthetic pathway was demonstrated by the NAMPT inhibition assay. Finally, the intracellular NAD+ depletion was confirmed in vitro to induced ROS accumulation that cause a time-dependent mitochondrial membrane depolarization, leading to ATP loss and cell death.
    Keywords:  Cancer; Cyanoguanidines; Cytotoxic agents; Furan; NAD(+); NAMPT inhibitors
  27. bioRxiv. 2023 Feb 01. pii: 2023.01.30.526207. [Epub ahead of print]
      Increased utilization of glucose is a hallmark of cancer. Several studies are investigating the efficacy of glucose restriction by glucose transporter blockade or glycolysis inhibition. However, the adaptations of cancer cells to glucose restriction are unknown. Here, we report the discovery that glucose restriction in lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD) induces cancer cell de-differentiation, leading to a more aggressive phenotype. Glucose deprivation causes a reduction in alpha-ketoglutarate (αKG), leading to attenuated activity of αKG-dependent histone demethylases and histone hypermethylation. We further show that this de-differentiated phenotype depends on unbalanced EZH2 activity, causing inhibition of prolyl-hydroxylase PHD3 and increased expression of hypoxia inducible factor 1α (HIF1α), triggering epithelial to mesenchymal transition. Finally, we identified an HIF1α-dependent transcriptional signature with prognostic significance in human LUAD. Our studies further current knowledge of the relationship between glucose metabolism and cell differentiation in cancer, characterizing the epigenetic adaptation of cancer cells to glucose deprivation and identifying novel targets to prevent the development of resistance to therapies targeting glucose metabolism.
  28. Clin Transl Med. 2023 Feb;13(2): e1179
      BACKGROUND: The biguanide drug metformin is a safe and widely prescribed drug for type 2 diabetes. Interestingly, hundreds of clinical trials have been set to evaluate the potential role of metformin in the prevention and treatment of cancer including colorectal cancer (CRC). However, the "metformin signaling" remains controversial.AIMS AND METHODS: To interrogate cell signaling induced by metformin in CRC and explore the druggability of the metformin-rewired phosphorylation network, we performed integrative analysis of phosphoproteomics, bioinformatics, and cell proliferation assays on a panel of 12 molecularly heterogeneous CRC cell lines. Using the high-resolute data-independent analysis mass spectrometry (DIA-MS), we monitored a total of 10,142 proteins and 56,080 phosphosites (P-sites) in CRC cells upon a short- and a long-term metformin treatment.
    RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: We found that metformin tended to primarily remodel cell signaling in the long-term and only minimally regulated the total proteome expression levels. Strikingly, the phosphorylation signaling response to metformin was highly heterogeneous in the CRC panel, based on a network analysis inferring kinase/phosphatase activities and cell signaling reconstruction. A "MetScore" was determined to assign the metformin relevance of each P-site, revealing new and robust phosphorylation nodes and pathways in metformin signaling. Finally, we leveraged the metformin P-site signature to identify pharmacodynamic interactions and confirmed a number of candidate metformin-interacting drugs, including navitoclax, a BCL-2/BCL-xL inhibitor. Together, we provide a comprehensive phosphoproteomic resource to explore the metformin-induced cell signaling for potential cancer therapeutics. This resource can be accessed at
    Keywords:  DIA mass spectrometry; colorectal cancer; drug synergy; kinase activity analysis; metformin; network analysis; phosphoproteomics; phosphorylation signature; proteomics
  29. Elife. 2023 Feb 17. pii: e84379. [Epub ahead of print]12
      Cycling of co-substrates, whereby a metabolite is converted among alternate forms via different reactions, is ubiquitous in metabolism. Several cycled co-substrates are well known as energy and electron carriers (e.g. ATP and NAD(P)H), but there are also other metabolites that act as cycled co-substrates in different parts of central metabolism. Here, we develop a mathematical framework to analyse the effect of co-substrate cycling on metabolic flux. In the cases of a single reaction and linear pathways, we find that co-substrate cycling imposes an additional flux limit on a reaction, distinct to the limit imposed by the kinetics of the primary enzyme catalysing that reaction. Using analytical methods, we show that this additional limit is a function of the total pool size and turnover rate of the cycled co-substrate. Expanding from this insight and using simulations, we show that regulation of these two parameters can allow regulation of flux dynamics in branched and coupled pathways. To support these theoretical insights, we analysed existing flux measurements and enzyme levels from the central carbon metabolism and identified several reactions that could be limited by the dynamics of co-substrate cycling. We discuss how the limitations imposed by co-substrate cycling provide experimentally testable hypotheses on specific metabolic phenotypes. We conclude that measuring and controlling co-substrate dynamics is crucial for understanding and engineering metabolic fluxes in cells.
    Keywords:  E. coli; computational biology; systems biology
  30. Elife. 2023 Feb 17. pii: e75825. [Epub ahead of print]12
      Mitochondrial dysfunction caused by aberrant Complex I assembly and reduced activity of the electron transport chain is pathogenic in many genetic and age-related diseases. Mice missing the Complex I subunit NADH dehydrogenase [ubiquinone] iron-sulfur protein 4 (NDUFS4) are a leading mammalian model of severe mitochondrial disease that exhibit many characteristic symptoms of Leigh Syndrome including oxidative stress, neuroinflammation, brain lesions, and premature death. NDUFS4 knockout mice have decreased expression of nearly every Complex I subunit. As Complex I normally contains at least 8 iron-sulfur clusters and more than 25 iron atoms, we asked whether a deficiency of Complex I may lead to iron perturbations thereby accelerating disease progression. Consistent with this, iron supplementation accelerates symptoms of brain degeneration in these mice while iron restriction delays the onset of these symptoms, reduces neuroinflammation, and increases survival. NDUFS4 knockout mice display signs of iron overload in the liver including increased expression of hepcidin, and show changes in iron responsive element-regulated proteins consistent with increased cellular iron that were prevented by iron restriction. These results suggest that perturbed iron homeostasis may contribute to pathology in Leigh Syndrome and possibly other mitochondrial disorders.
    Keywords:  biochemistry; chemical biology; medicine; mouse
  31. Nat Immunol. 2023 Feb 16.
      Blocking pyrimidine de novo synthesis by inhibiting dihydroorotate dehydrogenase is used to treat autoimmunity and prevent expansion of rapidly dividing cell populations including activated T cells. Here we show memory T cell precursors are resistant to pyrimidine starvation. Although the treatment effectively blocked effector T cells, the number, function and transcriptional profile of memory T cells and their precursors were unaffected. This effect occurred in a narrow time window in the early T cell expansion phase when developing effector, but not memory precursor, T cells are vulnerable to pyrimidine starvation. This vulnerability stems from a higher proliferative rate of early effector T cells as well as lower pyrimidine synthesis capacity when compared with memory precursors. This differential sensitivity is a drug-targetable checkpoint that efficiently diminishes effector T cells without affecting the memory compartment. This cell fate checkpoint might therefore lead to new methods to safely manipulate effector T cell responses.