bims-mibica Biomed News
on Mitochondrial bioenergetics in cancer
Issue of 2023‒02‒26
28 papers selected by
Kelsey Fisher-Wellman
East Carolina University

  1. Mitochondrion. 2023 Feb 22. pii: S1567-7249(23)00020-X. [Epub ahead of print]
      Understanding cancer cell metabolism always provides information on hidden dimensions of tumor adaptations. Warburg's theory that cancer cells opt for aerobic glycolysis over the mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) system is widely accepted. However, the hypothesis does not explain the mitochondrion's role in these cells. Here, we demonstrate that intact mitochondria are used for anaplerotic functions and ATP production by utilizing glutamine with the help of mitochondrial chaperone TRAP-1 (Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor-associated Protein 1). TRAP-1 otherwise promotes aerobic glycolysis by lowering the mitochondrial OXPHOS in the presence of glucose. Here, we show that TRAP-1 maintains mitochondrial integrity and augments glutamine metabolism upon glucose deprivation to meet the cellular energy demand. The enhanced PER and ECAR correlating with increased ATP production suggest that glutamine fuels mitochondria in the presence of TRAP-1. We also found that TRAP1-dependent glutamine utilization involves the HIF2α-SLC1A5-GLS axis and is independent of hypoxia. Subsequently, we found that the metastatic potential of tumor cells is linked with glucose utilization, whereas the proliferative potential is linked with both glucose and glutamine utilization. Our findings establish that TRAP-1 contributes to enhanced glutamine utilization through the HIF2α-SLC1A5-GLS axis. Our results endow that TRAP-1 inhibitors can be potential drug candidates to combat tumor metabolism. Therefore, their use, either alone or in combination with existing chemotherapeutic agents, may target tumor metabolism and improve anticancer treatment response.
    Keywords:  TRAP-1; cancer; glutamine; metabolism; mitochondria
  2. Methods Mol Biol. 2023 ;2615 219-228
      Mitochondria are eukaryotic organelles of endosymbiotic origin that contain their own genetic material, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), and dedicated systems for mtDNA maintenance and expression. MtDNA molecules encode a limited number of proteins that are nevertheless all essential subunits of the mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation system. Here, we describe protocols to monitor DNA and RNA synthesis in intact, isolated mitochondria. These in organello synthesis protocols are valuable techniques for studying the mechanisms and regulation of mtDNA maintenance and expression.
    Keywords:  Mitochondria; Radioactive labeling of nucleic acids; in organello replication and transcription; mtDNA; mtDNA maintenance and expression
  3. Cell. 2023 Feb 17. pii: S0092-8674(23)00093-4. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitochondrial activity differs markedly between organs, but it is not known how and when this arises. Here we show that cell lineage-specific expression profiles involving essential mitochondrial genes emerge at an early stage in mouse development, including tissue-specific isoforms present before organ formation. However, the nuclear transcriptional signatures were not independent of organelle function. Genetically disrupting intra-mitochondrial protein synthesis with two different mtDNA mutations induced cell lineage-specific compensatory responses, including molecular pathways not previously implicated in organellar maintenance. We saw downregulation of genes whose expression is known to exacerbate the effects of exogenous mitochondrial toxins, indicating a transcriptional adaptation to mitochondrial dysfunction during embryonic development. The compensatory pathways were both tissue and mutation specific and under the control of transcription factors which promote organelle resilience. These are likely to contribute to the tissue specificity which characterizes human mitochondrial diseases and are potential targets for organ-directed treatments.
    Keywords:  OXPHOS; RNA-seq; SCENIC; mitochondria; mt-Ta; mtDNA; organogenesis; single-cell
  4. Cells. 2023 Feb 13. pii: 611. [Epub ahead of print]12(4):
      Ferroptosis induced by erastin (an inhibitor of cystine transport) and butionine sulfoximine (an inhibitor of glutathione biosynthesis) was prevented by the mitochondria-targeted antioxidants SkQ1 and MitoTEMPO. These effects correlate with the prevention of mitochondrial lipid peroxidation, which precedes cell death. Methylene blue, a redox agent that inhibits the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in complex I of the mitochondrial electron transport chain, also inhibits ferroptosis and mitochondrial lipid peroxidation. Activation of ROS production in complex I with rotenone in the presence of ferrous iron stimulates lipid peroxidation in isolated mitochondria, while ROS produced by complex III are ineffective. SkQ1 and methylene blue inhibit lipid peroxidation. We suggest that ROS formed in complex I promote mitochondrial lipid peroxidation and ferroptosis.
    Keywords:  complex I; ferroptosis; mitochondria; mitochondria targeted antioxidants; mtROS
  5. Oncogene. 2023 Feb 22.
      Neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT) used for triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) eradicates tumors in ~45% of patients. Unfortunately, TNBC patients with substantial residual cancer burden have poor metastasis free and overall survival rates. We previously demonstrated mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) was elevated and was a unique therapeutic dependency of residual TNBC cells surviving NACT. We sought to investigate the mechanism underlying this enhanced reliance on mitochondrial metabolism. Mitochondria are morphologically plastic organelles that cycle between fission and fusion to maintain mitochondrial integrity and metabolic homeostasis. The functional impact of mitochondrial structure on metabolic output is highly context dependent. Several chemotherapy agents are conventionally used for neoadjuvant treatment of TNBC patients. Upon comparing mitochondrial effects of conventional chemotherapies, we found that DNA-damaging agents increased mitochondrial elongation, mitochondrial content, flux of glucose through the TCA cycle, and OXPHOS, whereas taxanes instead decreased mitochondrial elongation and OXPHOS. The mitochondrial effects of DNA-damaging chemotherapies were dependent on the mitochondrial inner membrane fusion protein optic atrophy 1 (OPA1). Further, we observed heightened OXPHOS, OPA1 protein levels, and mitochondrial elongation in an orthotopic patient-derived xenograft (PDX) model of residual TNBC. Pharmacologic or genetic disruption of mitochondrial fusion and fission resulted in decreased or increased OXPHOS, respectively, revealing longer mitochondria favor oxphos in TNBC cells. Using TNBC cell lines and an in vivo PDX model of residual TNBC, we found that sequential treatment with DNA-damaging chemotherapy, thus inducing mitochondrial fusion and OXPHOS, followed by MYLS22, a specific inhibitor of OPA1, was able to suppress mitochondrial fusion and OXPHOS and significantly inhibit regrowth of residual tumor cells. Our data suggest that TNBC mitochondria can optimize OXPHOS through OPA1-mediated mitochondrial fusion. These findings may provide an opportunity to overcome mitochondrial adaptations of chemoresistant TNBC.
  6. Methods Mol Biol. 2023 ;2615 17-30
      Mitochondria are double membrane-bound eukaryotic organelles with roles in a range of cellular activities including energy conversion, apoptosis, cell signalling, and the biosynthesis of enzyme cofactors. Mitochondria contain their own genome, called mtDNA, which encodes subunits of the oxidative phosphorylation machinery as well as the rRNA and tRNA molecules required for their translation within mitochondria. The ability to isolate highly purified mitochondria from cells has been instrumental in a number of studies of mitochondrial function. Differential centrifugation is a long-established method for the isolation of mitochondria. Cells are subjected to osmotic swelling and disruption, followed by centrifugation in isotonic sucrose solutions to separate mitochondria from other cellular components. We present a method using this principle for the isolation of mitochondria from cultured mammalian cell lines. Mitochondria purified by this method can be further fractionated to investigate protein localization, or act as a starting point to purify mtDNA.
    Keywords:  DNA extraction; Mitochondria; Mitochondrial DNA; Mitochondrial isolation; Protein localization
  7. Cancers (Basel). 2023 Feb 13. pii: 1192. [Epub ahead of print]15(4):
      Prostate cancer (PCa) is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among men in Western countries. Mitochondria, the "powerhouse" of cells, undergo distinctive metabolic and structural dynamics in different types of cancer. PCa cells experience peculiar metabolic changes during their progression from normal epithelial cells to early-stage and, progressively, to late-stage cancer cells. Specifically, healthy cells display a truncated tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle and inefficient oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) due to the high accumulation of zinc that impairs the activity of m-aconitase, the enzyme of the TCA cycle responsible for the oxidation of citrate. During the early phase of cancer development, intracellular zinc levels decrease leading to the reactivation of m-aconitase, TCA cycle and OXPHOS. PCa cells change their metabolic features again when progressing to the late stage of cancer. In particular, the Warburg effect was consistently shown to be the main metabolic feature of late-stage PCa cells. However, accumulating evidence sustains that both the TCA cycle and the OXPHOS pathway are still present and active in these cells. The androgen receptor axis as well as mutations in mitochondrial genes involved in metabolic rewiring were shown to play a key role in PCa cell metabolic reprogramming. Mitochondrial structural dynamics, such as biogenesis, fusion/fission and mitophagy, were also observed in PCa cells. In this review, we focus on the mitochondrial metabolic and structural dynamics occurring in PCa during tumor development and progression; their role as effective molecular targets for novel therapeutic strategies in PCa patients is also discussed.
    Keywords:  OXPHOS; Warburg effect; mitochondrial dynamics; mitochondrial metabolism; prostate cancer
  8. Methods Mol Biol. 2023 ;2615 3-16
      Detailed analysis of mitochondrial function cannot be achieved without good quality preparations of isolated mitochondria. Ideally, the isolation protocol should be quick, while producing a reasonably pure pool of mitochondria that are still intact and coupled. Here, we describe a fast and simple method for the purification of mammalian mitochondria relying on isopycnic density gradient centrifugation. We describe specific steps that should be taken into consideration when functional mitochondria from different tissues should be isolated. This protocol is suitable for the analysis of many aspects of the organelle's structure and function.
    Keywords:  Blue native PAGE; Electron transport chain; Isopycnic density gradient centrifugation; Mitochondria; Organelle isolation; Oxidative phosphorylation; Respirometry
  9. Sci Adv. 2023 Feb 24. 9(8): eade7864
      Thermogenesis by uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) is one of the primary mechanisms by which brown adipose tissue (BAT) increases energy expenditure. UCP1 resides in the inner mitochondrial membrane (IMM), where it dissipates membrane potential independent of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) synthase. Here, we provide evidence that phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) modulates UCP1-dependent proton conductance across the IMM to modulate thermogenesis. Mitochondrial lipidomic analyses revealed PE as a signature molecule whose abundance bidirectionally responds to changes in thermogenic burden. Reduction in mitochondrial PE by deletion of phosphatidylserine decarboxylase (PSD) made mice cold intolerant and insensitive to β3 adrenergic receptor agonist-induced increase in whole-body oxygen consumption. High-resolution respirometry and fluorometry of BAT mitochondria showed that loss of mitochondrial PE specifically lowers UCP1-dependent respiration without compromising electron transfer efficiency or ATP synthesis. These findings were confirmed by a reduction in UCP1 proton current in PE-deficient mitoplasts. Thus, PE performs a previously unknown role as a temperature-responsive rheostat that regulates UCP1-dependent thermogenesis.
  10. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2023 Feb 28. 120(9): e2216810120
      Mitochondria provide essential metabolites and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) for the regulation of energy homeostasis. For instance, liver mitochondria are a vital source of gluconeogenic precursors under a fasted state. However, the regulatory mechanisms at the level of mitochondrial membrane transport are not fully understood. Here, we report that a liver-specific mitochondrial inner-membrane carrier SLC25A47 is required for hepatic gluconeogenesis and energy homeostasis. Genome-wide association studies found significant associations between SLC25A47 and fasting glucose, HbA1c, and cholesterol levels in humans. In mice, we demonstrated that liver-specific depletion of SLC25A47 impaired hepatic gluconeogenesis selectively from lactate, while significantly enhancing whole-body energy expenditure and the hepatic expression of FGF21. These metabolic changes were not a consequence of general liver dysfunction because acute SLC25A47 depletion in adult mice was sufficient to enhance hepatic FGF21 production, pyruvate tolerance, and insulin tolerance independent of liver damage and mitochondrial dysfunction. Mechanistically, SLC25A47 depletion leads to impaired hepatic pyruvate flux and malate accumulation in the mitochondria, thereby restricting hepatic gluconeogenesis. Together, the present study identified a crucial node in the liver mitochondria that regulates fasting-induced gluconeogenesis and energy homeostasis.
    Keywords:  bioenergetics; metabolism; mitochondria; obesity; type 2 diabetes
  11. Autophagy. 2023 Feb 20.
      Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is prone to the accumulation of mutations. To prevent harmful mtDNA mutations from being passed on to the next generation, the female germline, through which mtDNA is exclusively inherited, has evolved extensive mtDNA quality control. To dissect the molecular underpinnings of this process, we recently performed a large RNAi screen in Drosophila and uncovered a programmed germline mitophagy (PGM) that is essential for mtDNA quality control. We found that PGM begins as germ cells enter meiosis, induced, at least in part, by the inhibition of the mTor (mechanistic Target of rapamycin) complex 1 (mTorC1). Interestingly, PGM requires the general macroautophagy/autophagy machinery and the mitophagy adaptor BNIP3, but not the canonical mitophagy genes Pink1 and park (parkin), even though they are critical for germline mtDNA quality control. We also identified the RNA-binding protein Atx2 as a major regulator of PGM. This work is the first to identify and implicate a programmed mitophagy event in germline mtDNA quality control, and it highlights the utility of the Drosophila ovary for studying developmentally regulated mitophagy and autophagy in vivo.
    Keywords:  Drosophila; autophagy; germline; mitochondria; mitochondrial DNA; mitophagy; mtDNA; purifying selection
  12. bioRxiv. 2023 Feb 15. pii: 2023.02.09.527880. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitochondria play critical roles in cellular metabolism, primarily by serving as the site of assembly and function of the oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) machinery. The OXPHOS proteins are encoded by mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and nuclear DNA, which reside and are regulated within separate compartments. To unravel how the two gene expression systems collaborate to produce the OXPHOS complexes, the regulatory principles controlling the production of mtDNA-encoded proteins need to be elucidated. In this study, we performed a quantitative analysis of the mitochondrial messenger RNA (mt-mRNA) life cycle to determine which steps of gene expression experience strong regulatory control. Our analysis revealed that the high accumulation of mt-mRNA despite their rapid turnover was made possible by a 700-fold higher transcriptional output than nuclear-encoded OXPHOS genes. In addition, we observed that mt-mRNA processing and its association with the mitochondrial ribosome occur rapidly and that these processes are linked mechanistically. Based on these data, we developed a model of mtDNA expression that is predictive across human cell lines, revealing that differences in turnover and translation efficiency are the major contributors to mitochondrial-encoded protein synthesis. Applying this framework to a disease model of Leigh syndrome, French-Canadian type, we found that the disease-associated nuclear-encoded gene, LRPPRC , acts predominantly by stabilizing mt-mRNA. Our findings provide a comprehensive view of the intricate regulatory mechanisms governing mtDNA-encoded protein synthesis, highlighting the importance of quantitatively analyzing the mitochondrial RNA life cycle in order to decode the regulatory principles of mtDNA expression.
  13. Biomedicines. 2023 Feb 07. pii: 475. [Epub ahead of print]11(2):
      Mitochondrial isocitrate dehydrogenase 2 (IDH2) is an important metabolic enzyme in the tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA) cycle. Our previous study showed that high expression of wild-type IDH2 promotes the proliferation of lung cancer cells. This study aims to test the potential of targeting IDH2 as a therapeutic strategy to inhibit lung cancer in vitro and in vivo. First, we analyzed the available data from the databases gene expression omnibus (GEO) database to evaluate the clinical relevance of IDH2 expression in affecting lung cancer patient survival. We then generated a stable IDH2-knockdown lung cancer cell line using a lentivirus-based method for in vitro and in vivo study. Cell growth, apoptosis, cell viability, and colony formation assays were conducted to test the sensitivity of lung cancer cells with different IDH2 expression status to cisplatin or radiation treatment in vitro. For mechanistic study, Cellular oxygen consumption and extracellular acidification rates were measured using a Seahorse metabolic analyzer, and reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation was analyzed using flow cytometry. An animal study using a xenograft tumor model was performed to further evaluate the in vivo therapeutic effect on tumor growth. We found that high IDH2 expression was associated with poor survival in lung cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Inhibition of IDH2 significantly enhanced the anticancer activity of cisplatin and also increased the effect of radiation against lung cancer cells. IDH2 was upregulated in cisplatin-resistant lung cancer cells, which could be sensitized by targeted inhibition of IDH2. Mechanistic study showed that abrogation of IDH2 caused only minimal changes in oxygen consumption rate (OCR) and extracellular acidification rate (ECAR) in lung cancer cells, but induced a significant increase in ROS, which rendered the cancer cells more sensitive to cisplatin. Pretreatment of lung cancer cells with the ROS scavenger N-acetyl-cysteine could partially rescue cells from the cytotoxic effect of cisplatin and IDH2 inhibition. Importantly, abrogation of IDH2 significantly increased the sensitivity of lung cancer cells to cisplatin in vivo.
    Keywords:  cell death; cisplatin; isocitrate dehydrogenase 2; lung cancer; reactive oxygen species; redox metabolism
  14. Methods Mol Biol. 2023 ;2615 427-441
      Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) encodes components essential for cellular respiration. Low levels of point mutations and deletions accumulate in mtDNA during normal aging. However, improper maintenance of mtDNA results in mitochondrial diseases, stemming from progressive loss of mitochondrial function through the accelerated formation of deletions and mutations in mtDNA. To better understand the molecular mechanisms underlying the creation and propagation of mtDNA deletions, we developed the LostArc next-generation DNA sequencing pipeline to detect and quantify rare mtDNA species in small tissue samples. LostArc procedures are designed to minimize PCR amplification of mtDNA and instead achieve enrichment of mtDNA by selective destruction of nuclear DNA. This approach leads to cost-effective, high-depth sequencing of mtDNA with a sensitivity sufficient to identify one mtDNA deletion per million mtDNA circles. Here, we describe detailed protocols for isolation of genomic DNA from mouse tissues, enrichment of mtDNA through enzymatic destruction of linear nuclear DNA, and preparation of libraries for unbiased next-generation sequencing of mtDNA.
    Keywords:  DNA deletions; Mitochondrial DNA; Mitochondrial DNA Replication; Mitochondrial disease; Next-Generation Sequencing; POLG
  15. Cell Chem Biol. 2023 Feb 17. pii: S2451-9456(23)00033-8. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitochondrial fission is critical for mitochondrial dynamics and homeostasis. The dynamin superfamily GTPase DRP1 is recruited by three functionally redundant receptors, MFF, MiD49, and MiD51, to mitochondria to drive fission. Here, we exploit high-content live-cell imaging to screen for mitochondrial fission inhibitors and have developed a covalent compound, mitochondrial division inhibitor (MIDI). MIDI treatment potently blocks mitochondrial fragmentation induced by mitochondrial toxins and restores mitochondrial morphology in fusion-defective cells carrying pathogenic mitofusin and OPA1 mutations. Mechanistically, MIDI does not affect DRP1 tetramerization nor DRP1 GTPase activity but does block DRP1 recruitment to mitochondria. Subsequent biochemical and cellular characterizations reveal an unexpected mechanism that MIDI targets DRP1 interaction with multiple receptors via covalent interaction with DRP1-C367. Taken together, beyond developing a potent mitochondrial fission inhibitor that profoundly impacts mitochondrial morphogenesis, our study establishes proof of concept for developing protein-protein interaction inhibitors targeting DRP1.
    Keywords:  DRP1 inhibitor; MFF; MIDI; MiD49/51; OPA1; mitochondrial dynamics; mitochondrial fission; mitofusin
  16. Methods Mol Biol. 2023 ;2615 329-344
      Mouse models of mitochondrial DNA mutations hold promise in the development and optimization of mitochondrial gene therapy technology and for gathering pre-clinical data prior to human trials. Their suitability for this purpose stems from the high similarity of human and murine mitochondrial genomes and the increasing availability of rationally designed AAV vectors capable of selectively transducing murine tissues. Our laboratory routinely optimizes mitochondrially targeted zinc finger nucleases (mtZFNs), the compactness of which makes them highly suitable for downstream AAV-based in vivo mitochondrial gene therapy. This chapter discusses the necessary precautions for the robust and precise genotyping of the murine mitochondrial genome as well as the optimization of mtZFNs intended for subsequent use in vivo.
    Keywords:  Gene therapy; Heteroplasmy; MEF; Mitochondria; Mouse; Zinc Finger nuclease; mtDNA; mtZFN
  17. Nat Chem Biol. 2023 Feb 23.
      Creatine kinases (CKs) provide local ATP production in periods of elevated energetic demand, such as during rapid anabolism and growth. Thus, creatine energetics has emerged as a major metabolic liability in many rapidly proliferating cancers. Whether CKs can be targeted therapeutically is unknown because no potent or selective CK inhibitors have been developed. Here we leverage an active site cysteine present in all CK isoforms to develop a selective covalent inhibitor of creatine phosphagen energetics, CKi. Using deep chemoproteomics, we discover that CKi selectively engages the active site cysteine of CKs in cells. A co-crystal structure of CKi with creatine kinase B indicates active site inhibition that prevents bidirectional phosphotransfer. In cells, CKi and its analogs rapidly and selectively deplete creatine phosphate, and drive toxicity selectively in CK-dependent acute myeloid leukemia. Finally, we use CKi to uncover an essential role for CKs in the regulation of proinflammatory cytokine production in macrophages.
  18. Cancers (Basel). 2023 Feb 11. pii: 1158. [Epub ahead of print]15(4):
      Cancer cells utilize variable metabolic programs in order to maintain homeostasis in response to environmental challenges. To interrogate cancer cell reliance on glycolytic programs under different nutrient availabilities, we analyzed a gene panel containing all glycolytic genes as well as pathways associated with glycolysis. Using this gene panel, we analyzed the impact of an siRNA library on cellular viability in cells containing only glucose or only pyruvate as the major bioenergetic nutrient source. From these panels, we aimed to identify genes that elicited conserved and glycolysis-dependent changes in cellular bioenergetics across glycolysis-promoting and OXPHOS-promoting conditions. To further characterize gene sets within this panel and identify similarities and differences amongst glycolytic tumor RNA-seq profiles across a pan-cancer cohort, we then used unsupervised statistical classification of RNA-seq profiles for glycolytic cancers and non-glycolytic cancer types. Here, Kidney renal clear cell carcinoma (KIRC); Head and Neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSC); and Lung squamous cell carcinoma (LUSC) defined the glycolytic cancer group, while Prostate adenocarcinoma (PRAD), Thyroid carcinoma (THCA), and Thymoma (THYM) defined the non-glycolytic cancer group. These groups were defined based on glycolysis scoring from previous studies, where KIRC, HNSC, and LUSC had the highest glycolysis scores, meanwhile, PRAD, THCA, and THYM had the lowest. Collectively, these results aimed to identify multi-omic profiles across cancer types with demonstrated variably glycolytic rates. Our analyses provide further support for strategies aiming to classify tumors by metabolic phenotypes in order to therapeutically target tumor-specific vulnerabilities.
    Keywords:  cancer metabolism; glycolysis; glycolytic tumors; mTOR signaling; oxidative phosphorylation; pentose phosphate pathway
  19. Antioxidants (Basel). 2023 Jan 18. pii: 221. [Epub ahead of print]12(2):
      In mammals during aging, reactive oxygen species (ROS), produced by the mitochondrial respiratory chain, cause oxidative damage of macromolecules leading to respiratory chain dysfunction, which in turn increases ROS mitochondrial production. Many efforts have been made to understand the role of oxidative stress in aging and age-related diseases. The complex I of the mitochondrial respiratory chain is the major source of ROS production and its dysfunctions have been associated with several forms of neurodegeneration, other common human diseases and aging. Complex I-ROS production and complex I content have been proposed as the major determinants for longevity. The cAMP signal has a role in the regulation of complex I activity and the decrease of ROS production. In the last years, an increasing number of studies have attempted to activate cAMP signaling to treat age-related diseases associated with mitochondrial dysfunctions and ROS production. This idea comes from a long-line of studies showing a main role of cAMP signal in the memory consolidation mechanism and in the regulation of mitochondrial functions. Here, we discuss several evidences on the possible connection between complex I and cAMP pathway in the aging process.
    Keywords:  aging; cAMP; complex I; mitochondria; signaling
  20. Methods Mol Biol. 2023 ;2615 31-40
      Direct analysis of mtDNA using PCR-free methods is limited by the presence of persistent, contaminating nucleic acids originating from the nuclear genome, even following stringent mitochondrial isolations. Here we describe a method developed in our laboratory that couples existing, commercially available mtDNA isolation protocols with exonuclease treatment and size exclusion chromatography (DIFSEC). This protocol produces highly enriched mtDNA extracts from small-scale cell culture, with near-undetectable nuclear DNA contamination.
    Keywords:  DNA; Gel filtration; Purification; Size exclusion chromatography; mtDNA
  21. Mol Metab. 2023 Feb 18. pii: S2212-8778(23)00028-5. [Epub ahead of print] 101694
      OBJECTIVE: The mitochondrial pyruvate carrier (MPC) has emerged as a therapeutic target for treating insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). We evaluated whether MPC inhibitors (MPCi) might correct impairments in branched chain amino acid (BCAA) catabolism, which are predictive of developing diabetes and NASH.METHODS: Circulating BCAA concentrations were measured in people with NASH and type 2 diabetes, who participated in a recent randomized, placebo-controlled Phase IIB clinical trial to test the efficacy and safety of the MPCi MSDC-0602 K (EMMINENCE; NCT02784444). In this 52-week trial, patients were randomly assigned to placebo (n = 94) or 250 mg MSDC-0602 K (n = 101). Human hepatoma cell lines and mouse primary hepatocytes were used to test the direct effects of various MPCi on BCAA catabolism in vitro. Lastly, we investigated how hepatocyte-specific deletion of MPC2 affects BCAA metabolism in the liver of obese mice and MSDC-0602 K treatment of Zucker diabetic fatty (ZDF) rats.
    RESULTS: In patients with NASH, MSDC-0602 K treatment, which led to marked improvements in insulin sensitivity and diabetes, had decreased plasma concentrations of BCAAs compared to baseline while placebo had no effect. The rate-limiting enzyme in BCAA catabolism is the mitochondrial branched chain ketoacid dehydrogenase (BCKDH), which is deactivated by phosphorylation. In multiple human hepatoma cell lines, MPCi markedly reduced BCKDH phosphorylation and stimulated branched chain keto acid catabolism; an effect that required the BCKDH phosphatase PPM1K. Mechanistically, the effects of MPCi were linked to activation of the energy sensing AMP-dependent protein kinase (AMPK) and mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) kinase signaling cascades in vitro. BCKDH phosphorylation was reduced in liver of obese, hepatocyte-specific MPC2 knockout (LS-Mpc2-/-) mice compared to wild-type controls concomitant with activation of mTOR signaling in vivo. Finally, while MSDC-0602 K treatment improved glucose homeostasis and increased the concentrations of some BCAA metabolites in ZDF rats, it did not lower plasma BCAA concentrations.
    CONCLUSIONS: These data demonstrate novel cross talk between mitochondrial pyruvate and BCAA metabolism and suggest that MPC inhibition leads to lower plasma BCAA concentrations and BCKDH phosphorylation by activating the mTOR axis. However, the effects of MPCi on glucose homeostasis may be separable from its effects on BCAA concentrations.
    Keywords:  Branched chain amino acids; Diabetes; Liver; Mitochondria; Pyruvate
  22. J Hepatol. 2023 Feb 21. pii: S0168-8278(23)00098-3. [Epub ahead of print]
      BACKGROUND & AIMS: The consumption of sugar and high-fat diet (HFD) promotes the development of obesity and metabolic dysfunction. Despite their well-known synergy, the mechanisms by which sugar worsens the outcomes associated with a HFD intake is largely elusive.METHODS: Six week-old, male, C57 B l/6 J mice were fed either chow or HFD provided with regular, fructose- or glucose-sweetened water. Moreover, cultured AML12 hepatocytes were engineered to overexpress ketohexokinase C (KHK-C) using lentivirus or to knockdown CPT1α using CRISPR-Cas9. The cell culture experiments were complimented with in-vivo studies using mice with hepatic overexpression of KHK-C and in mice with liver-specific CPT1α knockout. We used comprehensive metabolomics, electron microscopy, mitochondrial substrate phenotyping, proteomics and acetylome analysis to investigate the underlying mechanism.
    RESULTS: Fructose supplementation of mice on normal chow, and fructose or glucose supplementation of mice on HFD increase KHK-C, an enzyme that catalyzes the first step of fructolysis. Elevated KHK-C is associated with an increase in lipogenic proteins, such as ACLY, without affecting their mRNA expression. An increase in KHK-C also correlates with acetylation of CPT1α at K508, and lower CPT1α protein in vivo. In vitro, KHK-C overexpression lowers CPT1α and increases triglyceride accumulation. The effects of KHK-C are, in part, replicated by a knockdown of CPT1α. An increase in KHK-C correlates negatively with CPT1α protein in mice fed sugar and HFD, but also in genetically obese db/db and lipodystrophic FIRKO mice. Mechanistically, overexpression of KHK-C in vitro increases global protein acetylation and decreases the major cytoplasmic deacetylase, SIRT2.
    CONCLUSIONS: KHK-C-induced acetylation is a novel mechanism by which dietary fructose augments lipogenesis and decreases fatty acid oxidation to support the development of metabolic complications.
    IMPACT AND IMPLICATIONS: Fructose is a highly lipogenic nutrient whose negative consequences have been largely attributed to increased de novo lipogenesis. Here we show that fructose upregulates ketohexokinase, which in turn modifies global protein acetylation, including acetylation of CPT1a, to decrease fatty acid oxidation. Our findings broaden the impact of dietary sugar beyond its lipogenic role and have implications on drug development aimed at reducing the harmful effects attributed to sugar metabolism.
    Keywords:  Carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1a; Fatty acid oxidation; Fructose; Ketohexokinase; Mass spectrometry; Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease; SIRT2
  23. Cancer Gene Ther. 2023 Feb 17.
      Hypoxia, one of the key features of solid tumors, induces autophagy, which acts as an important adaptive mechanism for tumor progression under hypoxic environment. Cellular metabolic reprogramming has been correlated with hypoxia, but the molecular connection to the induction of autophagy remains obscure. Here, we show that suppression of fatty acid oxidation (FAO) by hypoxia induces autophagy in human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) cells that is required for their growth and survival. Reduced cellular acetyl-CoA levels caused by FAO inhibition decreases LC3 acetylation, resulting in autophagosome formation. Importantly, PDAC cells are significantly dependent on this metabolic reprogramming, as improving FAO leads to a reduction in hypoxia-induced autophagy and an increase in cell death after chemotherapy. Thus, our study supports that suppression of FAO is an important metabolic response to hypoxia and indicates that targeting this pathway in PDAC may be an effective therapeutic approach.
  24. Cancer Metab. 2023 Feb 20. 11(1): 4
      Gene expression signatures associated with breast cancer metastases suggest that metabolic re-wiring is important for metastatic growth in lungs, bones, and other organs. However, since pathway fluxes depend on additional factors such as ATP demand, allosteric effects, and post-translational modification, flux analysis is necessary to conclusively establish phenotypes. In this study, the metabolic phenotypes of breast cancer cell lines with low (T47D) or high (MDA-MB-231) metastatic potential, as well as lung (LM)- and bone (BoM)-homing lines derived from MDA-MB-231 cells, were assessed by 13C metabolite labeling from [1,2-13C] glucose or [5-13C] glutamine and the rates of nutrient and oxygen consumption and lactate production. MDA-MB-231 and T47D cells produced 55 and 63%, respectively, of ATP from oxidative phosphorylation, whereas LM and BoM cells were more glycolytic, deriving only 20-25% of their ATP from mitochondria. ATP demand by BoM and LM cells was approximately half the rate of the parent cells. Of the anabolic fluxes assessed, nucleotide synthesis was the major ATP consumer for all cell lines. Glycolytic NADH production by LM cells exceeded the rate at which it could be oxidized by mitochondria, suggesting that the malate-aspartate shuttle was not involved in re-oxidation of these reducing equivalents. Serine synthesis was undetectable in MDA-MB-231 cells, whereas 3-5% of glucose was shunted to serine by LM and BoM lines. Proliferation rates of T47D, BoM, and LM lines tightly correlated with their respiration-normalized NADPH production rates. In contrast, MDA-MB-231 cells produced NADPH and GSH at higher rates, suggesting this line is more oxidatively stressed. Approximately half to two-thirds of NADPH produced by T47D, MDA-MB-231, and BoM cells was from the oxidative PPP, whereas the majority in LM cells was from the folate cycle. All four cell lines used the non-oxidative PPP to produce pentose phosphates, although this was most prominent for LM cells. Taken together, the metabolic phenotypes of LM and BoM lines differed from the parent line and from each other, supporting the metabolic re-wiring hypothesis as a feature of metastasis to lung and bone.
  25. JCI Insight. 2023 Feb 21. pii: e158429. [Epub ahead of print]
      Cancer stem-like cells (CSCs) are critically involved in cancer metastasis and chemoresistance, acting as one major obstacle in clinical practice. While accumulating studies have implicated the metabolic reprogramming of CSCs, mitochondrial dynamics in such cells remain poorly understood. Here we pinpointed OPA1high with mitochondrial fusion as a metabolic feature of human lung CSCs, licensing their stem-like properties. Specifically, human lung CSCs exerted enhanced lipogenesis, inducing OPA1 expression via transcription factor SPDEF. In consequence, OPA1high promoted mitochondrial fusion and stemness of CSCs. Such lipogenesishigh, SPDEFhigh, and OPA1high metabolic adaptions were verified with primary CSCs from lung cancer patients. Accordingly, blocking lipogenesis and mitochondrial fusion efficiently impeded CSC expansion and growth of lung cancer patient-derived organoids. Together, lipogenesis regulates mitochondrial dynamics via OPA1 for controlling CSCs in human lung cancer.
    Keywords:  Lung cancer; Mitochondria; Oncology
  26. Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2023 Feb 25.
      The metabolic stress present in the tumor microenvironment of many cancers can attenuate T cell antitumor activity, which is intrinsically controlled by the mitochondrial plasticity, dynamics, metabolism, and biogenesis within these T cells. Previous studies have reported that the complement C1q binding protein (C1QBP), a mitochondrial protein, is responsible for maintenance of mitochondrial fitness in tumor cells; however, its role in T cell mitochondrial function, particularly in the context of an antitumor response, remains unclear. Here, we show that C1QBP is indispensable for T cell antitumor immunity by maintaining mitochondrial integrity and homeostasis. This effect holds even when only one allele of C1qbp is functional. Further analysis of C1QBP in the context of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy against the murine B16 melanoma model confirmed the cell-intrinsic role of C1QBP in regulating the antitumor functions of CAR T cells. Mechanistically, we found that C1qbp knocking down impacted mitochondrial biogenesis via the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK)/peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1-alpha signaling pathway, as well as mitochondrial morphology via the phosphorylation of mitochondrial dynamics protein dynamin-related protein 1. In summary, our study provides a novel mitochondrial target to potentiate the plasticity and metabolic fitness of mitochondria within T cells, thus improving the immunotherapeutic potential of these T cells against tumors.
    Keywords:  Antitumor immunity; C1QBP; Mitochondrial biogenesis; Mitochondrial dynamics; Mitochondrial metabolism; Mitochondrial plasticity
  27. J Biol Chem. 2023 Feb 17. pii: S0021-9258(23)00171-0. [Epub ahead of print] 103039
      The small molecule erastin inhibits the cystine-glutamate antiporter, system xc-, which leads to intracellular cysteine and glutathione depletion. This can cause ferroptosis, which is an oxidative cell death process characterized by uncontrolled lipid peroxidation. Erastin and other ferroptosis inducers have been shown to affect metabolism but the metabolic effects of these drugs have not been systematically studied. To this end, we investigated how erastin impacts global metabolism in cultured cells and compared this metabolic profile to that caused by the ferroptosis inducer RSL3 or in-vivo cysteine deprivation. Common among the metabolic profiles were alterations in nucleotide and central carbon metabolism. Supplementing nucleosides to cysteine-deprived cells rescued cell proliferation in certain contexts, showing that these alterations to nucleotide metabolism can affect cellular fitness. While inhibition of the glutathione peroxidase GPX4 caused a similar metabolic profile as cysteine deprivation, nucleoside treatment did not rescue cell viability or proliferation under RSL3 treatment, suggesting that these metabolic changes have varying importance in different scenarios of ferroptosis. Together, our study shows how global metabolism is affected during ferroptosis, and points to nucleotide metabolism as an important target of cysteine deprivation.
  28. Curr Protoc. 2023 Feb;3(2): e679
      To cope with DNA damage, mitochondria have developed a pathway whereby severely damaged or unrepairable mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) molecules can be discarded and degraded, after which new molecules are synthesized using intact templates. In this unit, we describe a method that harnesses this pathway to eliminate mtDNA from mammalian cells by transiently overexpressing the Y147A mutant of human uracil-N-glycosylase (mUNG1) in mitochondria. We also provide alternate protocols for mtDNA elimination using either combined treatment with ethidium bromide (EtBr) and dideoxycytidine (ddC) or clustered regulatory interspersed short palindromic repeat (CRISPR)-Cas9-mediated knockout of TFAM or other genes essential for mtDNA replication. Support protocols detail approaches for several processes: (1) genotyping ρ0 cells of human, mouse, and rat origin by polymerase chain reaction (PCR); (2) quantification of mtDNA by quantitative PCR (qPCR); (3) preparation of calibrator plasmids for mtDNA quantification; and (4) quantification of mtDNA by direct droplet digital PCR (dddPCR). © 2023 Wiley Periodicals LLC. Basic Protocol: Inducing mtDNA loss with mUNG1 Alternate Protocol 1: Generation of ρ0 cells by mtDNA depletion with EtBr and ddC Alternate Protocol 2: Generation of ρ0 cells by knocking out genes critical for mtDNA replication Support Protocol 1: Genotyping ρ0 cells by DirectPCR Support Protocol 2: Determination of mtDNA copy number by qPCR Support Protocol 3: Preparation of calibrator plasmid for qPCR Support Protocol 4: Determination of mtCN by direct droplet digital PCR (dddPCR).
    Keywords:  cybrids; mtDNA; mtDNA copy number; mtDNA damage; ρ0 cells