bims-mibica Biomed News
on Mitochondrial bioenergetics in cancer
Issue of 2023‒03‒19
29 papers selected by
Kelsey Fisher-Wellman
East Carolina University

  1. Nature. 2023 Mar 15.
      Mitochondria are critical to the governance of metabolism and bioenergetics in cancer cells1. The mitochondria form highly organized networks, in which their outer and inner membrane structures define their bioenergetic capacity2,3. However, in vivo studies delineating the relationship between the structural organization of mitochondrial networks and their bioenergetic activity have been limited. Here we present an in vivo structural and functional analysis of mitochondrial networks and bioenergetic phenotypes in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) using an integrated platform consisting of positron emission tomography imaging, respirometry and three-dimensional scanning block-face electron microscopy. The diverse bioenergetic phenotypes and metabolic dependencies we identified in NSCLC tumours align with distinct structural organization of mitochondrial networks present. Further, we discovered that mitochondrial networks are organized into distinct compartments within tumour cells. In tumours with high rates of oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOSHI) and fatty acid oxidation, we identified peri-droplet mitochondrial networks wherein mitochondria contact and surround lipid droplets. By contrast, we discovered that in tumours with low rates of OXPHOS (OXPHOSLO), high glucose flux regulated perinuclear localization of mitochondria, structural remodelling of cristae and mitochondrial respiratory capacity. Our findings suggest that in NSCLC, mitochondrial networks are compartmentalized into distinct subpopulations that govern the bioenergetic capacity of tumours.
  2. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2023 Mar 09. pii: S0003-9861(23)00058-9. [Epub ahead of print]739 109559
      Glycolytic and respiratory fluxes were analyzed in cancer and non-cancer cells. The steady-state fluxes in energy metabolism were used to estimate the contributions of aerobic glycolytic and oxidative phosphorylation (OxPhos) pathways to the cellular ATP supply. The rate of lactate production - corrected for the fraction generated by glutaminolysis - is proposed as the appropriate way to estimate glycolytic flux. In general, the glycolytic rates estimated for cancer cells are higher than those found in non-cancer cells, as originally observed by Otto Warburg. The rate of basal or endogenous cellular O2 consumption corrected for non-ATP synthesizing O2 consumption, measured after inhibition by oligomycin (a specific, potent and permeable ATP synthase inhibitor), has been proposed as the appropriate way to estimate mitochondrial ATP synthesis-linked O2 flux or net OxPhos flux in living cells. Detecting non-negligible oligomycin-sensitive O2 consumption rates in cancer cells has revealed that the mitochondrial function is not impaired, as claimed by the Warburg effect. Furthermore, when calculating the relative contributions to cellular ATP supply, under a variety of environmental conditions and for different types of cancer cells, it was found that OxPhos pathway was the main ATP provider over glycolysis. Hence, OxPhos pathway targeting can be successfully used to block in cancer cells ATP-dependent processes such as migration. These observations may guide the re-design of novel targeted therapies.
    Keywords:  ATP supply In cancer cells; Glycolysis; Metastasis; Oxidative phosphorylation
  3. EMBO J. 2023 Mar 14. e111901
      Changes in mitochondrial morphology are associated with nutrient utilization, but the precise causalities and the underlying mechanisms remain unknown. Here, using cellular models representing a wide variety of mitochondrial shapes, we show a strong linear correlation between mitochondrial fragmentation and increased fatty acid oxidation (FAO) rates. Forced mitochondrial elongation following MFN2 over-expression or DRP1 depletion diminishes FAO, while forced fragmentation upon knockdown or knockout of MFN2 augments FAO as evident from respirometry and metabolic tracing. Remarkably, the genetic induction of fragmentation phenocopies distinct cell type-specific biological functions of enhanced FAO. These include stimulation of gluconeogenesis in hepatocytes, induction of insulin secretion in islet β-cells exposed to fatty acids, and survival of FAO-dependent lymphoma subtypes. We find that fragmentation increases long-chain but not short-chain FAO, identifying carnitine O-palmitoyltransferase 1 (CPT1) as the downstream effector of mitochondrial morphology in regulation of FAO. Mechanistically, we determined that fragmentation reduces malonyl-CoA inhibition of CPT1, while elongation increases CPT1 sensitivity to malonyl-CoA inhibition. Overall, these findings underscore a physiologic role for fragmentation as a mechanism whereby cellular fuel preference and FAO capacity are determined.
    Keywords:  CPT1; fatty acid oxidation; fission; fusion; mitochondrial dynamics
  4. Stem Cell Res Ther. 2023 Mar 16. 14(1): 40
      BACKGROUND: Mitochondrial dysfunction caused by mutations in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) or nuclear DNA, which codes for mitochondrial components, are known to be associated with various genetic and congenital disorders. These mitochondrial disorders not only impair energy production but also affect mitochondrial functions and have no effective treatment. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are known to migrate to damaged sites and carry out mitochondrial transfer. MSCs grown using conventional culture methods exhibit heterogeneous cellular characteristics. In contrast, highly purified MSCs, namely the rapidly expanding clones (RECs) isolated by single-cell sorting, display uniform MSCs functionality. Therefore, we examined the differences between RECs and MSCs to assess the efficacy of mitochondrial transfer.METHODS: We established mitochondria-deficient cell lines (ρ0 A549 and ρ0 HeLa cell lines) using ethidium bromide. Mitochondrial transfer from RECs/MSCs to ρ0 cells was confirmed by PCR and flow cytometry analysis. We examined several mitochondrial functions including ATP, reactive oxygen species, mitochondrial membrane potential, and oxygen consumption rate (OCR). The route of mitochondrial transfer was identified using inhibition assays for microtubules/tunneling nanotubes, gap junctions, or microvesicles using transwell assay and molecular inhibitors.
    RESULTS: Co-culture of ρ0 cells with MSCs or RECs led to restoration of the mtDNA content. RECs transferred more mitochondria to ρ0 cells compared to that by MSCs. The recovery of mitochondrial function, including ATP, OCR, mitochondrial membrane potential, and mitochondrial swelling in ρ0 cells co-cultured with RECs was superior than that in cells co-cultured with MSCs. Inhibition assays for each pathway revealed that RECs were sensitive to endocytosis inhibitor, dynasore.
    CONCLUSIONS: RECs might serve as a potential therapeutic strategy for diseases linked to mitochondrial dysfunction by donating healthy mitochondria.
    Keywords:  Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs); Mitochondrial dysfunction; Mitochondrial transfer; Rapidly expanding clones (RECs)
  5. Chembiochem. 2023 Mar 14. e202200774
      The targeting of bioactive molecules and probes to mitochondria can be achieved by coupling to the lipophilic triphenyl phosphonium (TPP) cation, which accumulates several hundred-fold within mitochondria in response to the mitochondrial membrane potential (Dym). Typically, a simple alkane links the TPP to its "cargo", increasing overall hydrophobicity. As it would be beneficial to enhance the water solubility of mitochondria-targeted compounds we explored the effects of replacing the alkyl linker with a polyethylene glycol (PEG). We found that the use of PEG led to compounds that were readily taken up by isolated mitochondria and by mitochondria inside cells. Within mitochondria the PEG linker greatly decreased adsorption of the TPP constructs to the matrix-facing face of the mitochondrial inner membrane. These findings will allow the distribution of mitochondria-targeted TPP compounds within mitochondria to be fine-tuned.
    Keywords:  biological membrane; lipophilic cation; mitochondria-targeting; polyethylene glycol; triphenylphosphonium
  6. Nature. 2023 Mar 15.
    Keywords:  Cancer; Cell biology; Imaging
  7. EMBO J. 2023 Mar 13. e111699
      The maintenance of cellular function relies on the close regulation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) synthesis and hydrolysis. ATP hydrolysis by mitochondrial ATP Synthase (CV) is induced by loss of proton motive force and inhibited by the mitochondrial protein ATPase inhibitor (ATPIF1). The extent of CV hydrolytic activity and its impact on cellular energetics remains unknown due to the lack of selective hydrolysis inhibitors of CV. We find that CV hydrolytic activity takes place in coupled intact mitochondria and is increased by respiratory chain defects. We identified (+)-Epicatechin as a selective inhibitor of ATP hydrolysis that binds CV while preventing the binding of ATPIF1. In cells with Complex-III deficiency, we show that inhibition of CV hydrolytic activity by (+)-Epichatechin is sufficient to restore ATP content without restoring respiratory function. Inhibition of CV-ATP hydrolysis in a mouse model of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is sufficient to improve muscle force without any increase in mitochondrial content. We conclude that the impact of compromised mitochondrial respiration can be lessened using hydrolysis-selective inhibitors of CV.
    Keywords:  ATP hydrolysis; ATPase Inhibitor (ATPIF1); Complex V; epicatechin; muscular dystrophy
  8. Mol Cell. 2023 Mar 16. pii: S1097-2765(23)00152-1. [Epub ahead of print]83(6): 824-826
      We highlight papers by Diaz-Cuadros et al.1 and Iwata et al.2 that demonstrate the role of mitochondrial metabolism in setting developmental pace through their control over cellular bioenergetics and redox homeostasis in mice and humans.
  9. EMBO Rep. 2023 Mar 17. e56114
      Vesicular transport is a means of communication. While cells can communicate with each other via secretion of extracellular vesicles, less is known regarding organelle-to organelle communication, particularly in the case of mitochondria. Mitochondria are responsible for the production of energy and for essential metabolic pathways in the cell, as well as fundamental processes such as apoptosis and aging. Here, we show that functional mitochondria isolated from Saccharomyces cerevisiae release vesicles, independent of the fission machinery. We isolate these mitochondrial-derived vesicles (MDVs) and find that they are relatively uniform in size, of about 100 nm, and carry selective protein cargo enriched for ATP synthase subunits. Remarkably, we further find that these MDVs harbor a functional ATP synthase complex. We demonstrate that these vesicles have a membrane potential, produce ATP, and seem to fuse with naive mitochondria. Our findings reveal a possible delivery mechanism of ATP-producing vesicles, which can potentially regenerate ATP-deficient mitochondria and may participate in organelle-to-organelle communication.
    Keywords:  ATP synthase; membrane potential; mitochondria; mitochondrial-derived vesicles; protein distribution
  10. Mol Cell. 2023 Mar 16. pii: S1097-2765(23)00028-X. [Epub ahead of print]83(6): 1012-1012.e1
      Mitochondria have emerged as signaling organelles with roles beyond their well-established function in generating ATP and metabolites for macromolecule synthesis. Healthy mitochondria integrate various physiologic inputs and communicate signals that control cell function or fate as well as adaptation to stress. Dysregulation of these mitochondrial signaling networks are linked to pathology. Here we outline a few modes of signaling between the mitochondrion and the cytoplasm. To view this SnapShot, open or download the PDF.
  11. Mol Cell. 2023 Mar 16. pii: S1097-2765(23)00123-5. [Epub ahead of print]83(6): 890-910
      Biogenesis of mitochondria requires the import of approximately 1,000 different precursor proteins into and across the mitochondrial membranes. Mitochondria exhibit a wide variety of mechanisms and machineries for the translocation and sorting of precursor proteins. Five major import pathways that transport proteins to their functional intramitochondrial destination have been elucidated; these pathways range from the classical amino-terminal presequence-directed pathway to pathways using internal or even carboxy-terminal targeting signals in the precursors. Recent studies have provided important insights into the structural organization of membrane-embedded preprotein translocases of mitochondria. A comparison of the different translocases reveals the existence of at least three fundamentally different mechanisms: two-pore-translocase, β-barrel switching, and transport cavities open to the lipid bilayer. In addition, translocases are physically engaged in dynamic interactions with respiratory chain complexes, metabolite transporters, quality control factors, and machineries controlling membrane morphology. Thus, mitochondrial preprotein translocases are integrated into multi-functional networks of mitochondrial and cellular machineries.
  12. Life Sci Alliance. 2023 Apr;pii: e202201628. [Epub ahead of print]6(4):
      Mitochondrial depolarization can initiate reversal activity of ATP synthase, depleting ATP by its hydrolysis. We have recently shown that increased ATP hydrolysis contributes to ATP depletion leading to a maladaptation in mitochondrial disorders, where maximal hydrolytic capacity per CV content is increasing. However, despite its importance, ATP hydrolysis is not a commonly studied parameter because of the limitations of the currently available methods. Methods that measure CV hydrolytic activity indirectly require the isolation of mitochondria and involve the introduction of detergents, preventing their utilization in clinical studies or any high-throughput analyses. Here, we describe a novel approach to assess maximal ATP hydrolytic capacity and maximal respiratory capacity in a single assay in cell lysates, PBMCs, and tissue homogenates that were previously frozen. The methodology described here has the potential to be used in clinical samples to determine adaptive and maladaptive adjustments of CV function in diseases, with the added benefit of being able to use frozen samples in a high-throughput manner and to explore ATP hydrolysis as a drug target for disease treatment.
  13. Nat Commun. 2023 Mar 14. 14(1): 1399
      During apoptosis, mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization (MOMP) enables certain mitochondrial matrix macromolecules to escape into the cytosol. However, the fate of mitochondrial RNA (mtRNA) during apoptosis is unknown. Here, we demonstrate that MOMP results in the cytoplasmic release of mtRNA and that executioner caspases-3 and -7 (casp3/7) prevent cytoplasmic mtRNA from triggering inflammatory signaling. In the setting of genetic or pharmacological casp3/7 inhibition, apoptotic insults result in mtRNA activation of the MDA5/MAVS/IRF3 pathway to drive Type I interferon (IFN) signaling. This pathway is sufficient to activate tumor-intrinsic Type I IFN signaling in immunologically cold cancer models that lack an intact cGAS/STING signaling pathway, promote CD8+ T-cell-dependent anti-tumor immunity, and overcome anti-PD1 refractoriness in vivo. Thus, a key function of casp3/7 is to inhibit inflammation caused by the cytoplasmic release of mtRNA, and pharmacological modulation of this pathway increases the immunogenicity of chemotherapy-induced apoptosis.
  14. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2023 Mar 08. pii: S0006-291X(23)00292-9. [Epub ahead of print]655 25-34
      Cathepsin D (CTSD) is a major lysosomal protease harboring an N-terminal signal peptide (amino acids 1-20) to enable vesicular transport from endoplasmic reticulum to lysosomes. Here, we report the possibility of a mitochondrial targeting sequence and mitochondrial localization of CTSD in cells. Live-cell imaging analysis with C-terminal enhanced green fluorescent protein-tagged CTSD (EGFP-CTSD) indicated that CTSD localizes to mitochondria. CTSD amino acids 21-35 are responsible for its mitochondrial localization, which exhibit typical features of mitochondrial targeting sequences, and are evolutionarily conserved. A proteinase K protection assay and sucrose gradient analysis showed that a small population of endogenous CTSD molecules exists in mitochondria. These results suggest that CTSD is a dual-targeted protein that may localize in both lysosomes and mitochondria.
    Keywords:  Cathepsin D; Dual targeting protein; Live-cell imaging; Mitochondrial localization; Mitochondrial targeting sequence
  15. bioRxiv. 2023 Feb 27. pii: 2023.02.25.529972. [Epub ahead of print]
      A challenge for screening new candidate drugs to treat cancer is that efficacy in cell culture models is not always predictive of efficacy in patients. One limitation of standard cell culture is a reliance on non-physiological nutrient levels to propagate cells. Which nutrients are available can influence how cancer cells use metabolism to proliferate and impact sensitivity to some drugs, but a general assessment of how physiological nutrients affect cancer cell response to small molecule therapies is lacking. To enable screening of compounds to determine how the nutrient environment impacts drug efficacy, we developed a serum-derived culture medium that supports the proliferation of diverse cancer cell lines and is amenable to high-throughput screening. We used this system to screen several small molecule libraries and found that compounds targeting metabolic enzymes were enriched as having differential efficacy in standard compared to serum-derived medium. We exploited the differences in nutrient levels between each medium to understand why medium conditions affected the response of cells to some compounds, illustrating how this approach can be used to screen potential therapeutics and understand how their efficacy is modified by available nutrients.
  16. Sci Rep. 2023 Mar 15. 13(1): 4326
      The response to stress involves the activation of pathways leading either to protection from the stress origin, eventually resulting in development of stress resistance, or activation of the rapid death of the organism. Here we hypothesize that mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (mtROS) play a key role in stress-induced programmed death of the organism, which we called "phenoptosis" in 1997. We demonstrate that the synthetic mitochondria-targeted antioxidant SkQ1 (which specifically abolishes mtROS) prevents rapid death of mice caused by four mechanistically very different shocks: (a) bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) shock, (b) shock in response to intravenous mitochondrial injection, (c) cold shock, and (d) toxic shock caused by the penetrating cation C12TPP. Importantly, under all these stresses mortality was associated with a strong elevation of the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and administration of SkQ1 was able to switch off the cytokine storms. Since the main effect of SkQ1 is the neutralization of mtROS, this study provides evidence for the role of mtROS in the activation of innate immune responses mediating stress-induced death of the organism. We propose that SkQ1 may be used clinically to support patients in critical conditions, such as septic shock, extensive trauma, cooling, and severe infection by bacteria or viruses.
  17. Leuk Res. 2023 Mar 03. pii: S0145-2126(23)00039-5. [Epub ahead of print]128 107054
      Chemotherapy resistance leading to disease relapse is a significant barrier in treating acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Metabolic adaptations have been shown to contribute to therapy resistance. However, little is known about whether specific therapies cause specific metabolic changes. We established cytarabine-resistant (AraC-R) and Arsenic trioxide-resistant (ATO-R) AML cell lines, displaying distinct cell surface expression and cytogenetic abnormalities. Transcriptomic analysis revealed a significant difference in the expression profiles of ATO-R and AraC-R cells. Geneset enrichment analysis showed AraC-R cells rely on OXPHOS, while ATO-R cells on glycolysis. ATO-R cells were also enriched for stemness gene signatures, whereas AraC-R cells were not. The mito stress and glycolytic stress tests confirmed these findings. The distinct metabolic adaptation of AraC-R cells increased sensitivity to the OXPHOS inhibitor venetoclax. Cytarabine resistance was circumvented in AraC-R cells by combining Ven and AraC. In vivo, ATO-R cells showed increased repopulating potential, leading to aggressive leukemia compared to the parental and AraC-R. Overall, our study shows that different therapies can cause different metabolic changes and that these metabolic dependencies can be used to target chemotherapy-resistant AML.
    Keywords:  AML; Acquired chemoresistance; FLT3-ITD; Metabolic adaptation
  18. Biochem J. 2023 Mar 15. 480(5): 319-333
      My group and myself have studied respiratory complex I for almost 30 years, starting in 1994 when it was known as a L-shaped giant 'black box' of bioenergetics. First breakthrough was the X-ray structure of the peripheral arm, followed by structures of the membrane arm and finally the entire complex from Thermus thermophilus. The developments in cryo-EM technology allowed us to solve the first complete structure of the twice larger, ∼1 MDa mammalian enzyme in 2016. However, the mechanism coupling, over large distances, the transfer of two electrons to pumping of four protons across the membrane remained an enigma. Recently we have solved high-resolution structures of mammalian and bacterial complex I under a range of redox conditions, including catalytic turnover. This allowed us to propose a robust and universal mechanism for complex I and related protein families. Redox reactions initially drive conformational changes around the quinone cavity and a long-distance transfer of substrate protons. These set up a stage for a series of electrostatically driven proton transfers along the membrane arm ('domino effect'), eventually resulting in proton expulsion from the distal antiporter-like subunit. The mechanism radically differs from previous suggestions, however, it naturally explains all the unusual structural features of complex I. In this review I discuss the state of knowledge on complex I, including the current most controversial issues.
    Keywords:  complex I; electron transfer; membrane protein structure; proton pumping; respiratory chain
  19. Biol Open. 2023 Mar 15. pii: bio.059615. [Epub ahead of print]
      BACKGROUND: Numerous cancer patients undergoing conventional cancer therapies such as radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgical tumour removal face relapses several years or even decades later. This may be due to the presence of cancer stem cells (CSCs) which survived said therapies. In this study, we aimed to uncover the relationship between cell density and CSCs, and the role of the Warburg effect in regulating CSC-like characteristics. Method: A prostate cancer cell line, PC3, was used in this study. To investigate the Warburg effect effect and CSC-like characteristics in prostate cancer, we measured the expression levels of glycolysis and OXPHOS-related genes, and performed spheroid forming, cell viability and various glycolysis and OXPHOS-assays. Results: Increase cell density caused a metabolic shift from glycolysis to OXPHOS and higher CSC-like characteristics. However, the use of dichloroacetate (DCA), an inhibitor of the Warburg effect, significantly inhibited the cell density-induced metabolic shift and CSC-like characteristics. Conclusion: Changes in cell density strongly influenced the preferred metabolic pathway of prostate cancer cells, regulating their CSC-like characteristics. It is possible that DCA, an inhibitor of the Warburg effect, could be a novel drug used to treat CSCs by distinguishing Warburg effect, preventing future cancer relapses.
    Keywords:  Cancer stem cell; Glycolysis; Oxidative phosphorylation; Prostate cancer; Warburg effect
  20. Nucleic Acids Res. 2023 Mar 17. pii: gkad139. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mutations in mitochondrial (mt-)tRNAs frequently cause mitochondrial dysfunction. Mitochondrial myopathy, encephalopathy, lactic acidosis, and stroke-like episodes (MELAS), and myoclonus epilepsy associated with ragged red fibers (MERRF) are major clinical subgroups of mitochondrial diseases caused by pathogenic point mutations in tRNA genes encoded in mtDNA. We previously reported a severe reduction in the frequency of 5-taurinomethyluridine (τm5U) and its 2-thiouridine derivative (τm5s2U) in the anticodons of mutant mt-tRNAs isolated from the cells of patients with MELAS and MERRF, respectively. The hypomodified tRNAs fail to decode cognate codons efficiently, resulting in defective translation of respiratory chain proteins in mitochondria. To restore the mitochondrial activity of MELAS patient cells, we overexpressed MTO1, a τm5U-modifying enzyme, in patient-derived myoblasts. We used a newly developed primer extension method and showed that MTO1 overexpression almost completely restored the τm5U modification of the MELAS mutant mt-tRNALeu(UUR). An increase in mitochondrial protein synthesis and oxygen consumption rate suggested that the mitochondrial function of MELAS patient cells can be activated by restoring the τm5U of the mutant tRNA. In addition, we confirmed that MTO1 expression restored the τm5s2U of the mutant mt-tRNALys in MERRF patient cells. These findings pave the way for epitranscriptomic therapies for mitochondrial diseases.
  21. Onco Targets Ther. 2023 ;16 143-155
      Cancer cells strongly upregulate glucose uptake and glycolysis to produce vital biomolecules for cancer cell survival, proliferation, and metastasis as ATP, lipids, proteins, nucleotides, and lactate. The Warburg effect is tumours' unique glucose oxidation to give lactate (not pyruvate) even in the presence of oxygen. Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD/NADH.H) is used in glycolysis via glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH). Both catalyse reversible biochemical reactions to produce 1,3-diphosphoglycerate and lactate, respectively. In this expert opinion and based on published evidence, the author suggests that: "In transformed cells and hyperglycolytic cancer cells, the Warburg effect (permanent conversion of pyruvate to lactate) occurs secondary to a vicious cycle and a closed circuit between GAPDH and LDH (reaction of carcinogenesis) causing increased endogenous oxidative stress and subsequent carcinogenesis. Mitochondrial defects in cancer cells cause hyperglycolysis resulting in NADH.H accumulation (produced during GAPDH step) that obligatorily drives LDH to become an irreversible reaction in the direction of lactate formation (Warburg effect) but not pyruvate formation. Likewise, LDH oxidizes NADH.H producing excessive NAD+ that secondarily drives GAPDH reaction to be irreversible to produce NADH.H and so on. Pyruvate is an antioxidant while lactate is pro-oxidant, causing increased endogenous oxidative stress in cancer cells, tumour's hypoxia and obligatory hyperglycolysis with NADH.H overproduction (GAPDH step) to be consumed in the LDH step for lactate production and NAD+ generation (utilized by GAPDH) and so on". This confirms Warburg's origin of cancer cells. Best anticancer applications based on this hypothesis are: breaking this closed vicious circle using siRNA to target GAPDH and LDH, avoiding strong oxidants (as many cancer chemotherapeutics), and using strong antioxidants for causing antioxidant-oxidant antagonism or antioxidant-lactate antagonism to inhibit the Warburg effect. Strong natural antioxidants of prophetic medicine (related to Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him) such as Zamzam water, Nigella sativa, costus, Ajwa date fruit, olive oil, Al-hijamah and natural honey are strongly recommended to prevent and antagonize the Warburg effect.
    Keywords:  GAPDH; LDH; Warburg effect; closed circuit; lactate; pyruvate; vicious cycle
  22. Sci Adv. 2023 Mar 17. 9(11): eadd8564
      Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) enhance anticancer immunity by releasing repressive signals into tumor microenvironments (TMEs). To be effective, ICIs require preexisting immunologically "hot" niches for tumor antigen presentation and lymphocyte recruitment. How the mutational landscape of cancer cells shapes these immunological niches remains poorly defined. We found in human and murine colorectal cancer (CRC) models that the superior antitumor immune response of mismatch repair (MMR)-deficient CRC required tumor cell-intrinsic activation of cGAS-STING signaling triggered by genomic instability. Subsequently, we synthetically enforced STING signaling in CRC cells with intact MMR signaling using constitutively active STING variants. Even in MMR-proficient CRC, genetically encoded gain-of-function STING was sufficient to induce cancer cell-intrinsic interferon signaling, local activation of antigen-presenting cells, recruitment of effector lymphocytes, and sensitization of previously "cold" TMEs to ICI therapy in vivo. Thus, our results introduce a rational strategy for modulating cancer cell-intrinsic programs via engineered STING enforcement to sensitize resistant tumors to ICI responsiveness.
  23. Nature. 2023 Mar 15.
      Lactate is abundant in rapidly dividing cells due to the requirement for elevated glucose catabolism to support proliferation1-6. However, it is not known whether accumulated lactate affects the proliferative state. Here, we deploy a systematic approach to determine lactate-dependent regulation of proteins across the human proteome. From these data, we elucidate a mechanism of cell cycle regulation whereby accumulated lactate remodels the anaphase promoting complex (APC/C). Remodeling of APC/C in this way is caused by direct inhibition of the SUMO protease SENP1 by lactate. We discover that accumulated lactate binds and inhibits SENP1 by forming a complex with zinc in the SENP1 active site. SENP1 inhibition by lactate stabilizes SUMOylation of two residues on APC4, which drives UBE2C binding to APC/C. This direct regulation of APC/C by lactate stimulates timed degradation of cell cycle proteins, and efficient mitotic exit in proliferative human cells. The above mechanism is initiated upon mitotic entry when lactate abundance reaches its apex. In this way, accumulation of lactate communicates the consequences of a nutrient replete growth phase to stimulate timed opening of APC/C, cell division, and proliferation. Conversely, persistent accumulation of lactate drives aberrant APC/C remodeling and can overcome anti-mitotic pharmacology via mitotic slippage. Taken together, we define a biochemical mechanism through which lactate directly regulates protein function to control cell cycle and proliferation.
  24. Blood Adv. 2023 Mar 15. pii: bloodadvances.2022008345. [Epub ahead of print]
      Multiple myeloma (MM) is a hematological malignancy that emerges from antibody-producing plasma B cells. Proteasome inhibitors, including the FDA-approved bortezomib (BTZ) and carfilzomib (CFZ), are frequently used for the treatment of MM patients. Still, a significant proportion of MM patients are refractory or develop resistance to this class of inhibitors, which represents a significant challenge in the clinic. Thus, identifying factors that determine the potency of proteasome inhibitors in MM is of paramount importance to bolster their efficacy in the clinic. Using genome-wide CRISPR-based screening, we identified a subunit of the mitochondrial pyruvate carrier (MPC) complex, MPC1, as a common modulator of BTZ response in two distinct human MM cell lines in vitro. We noticed that CRISPR-mediated deletion or pharmacological inhibition of the MPC complex enhanced BTZ/CFZ-induced MM cell death with minimal impact on cell cycle progression. In fact, targeting the MPC complex compromised the bioenergetic capacity of MM cells, which is accompanied by a reduced proteasomal activity, thereby exacerbating BTZ-induced cytotoxicity in vitro. Importantly, we observed that the RNA expression levels of several players in pyruvate metabolism were altered in advanced stages of MM wherein they correlated with poor prognosis for MM patients. Collectively, this study highlights the importance of the MPC complex for the survival of MM cells and their responses to proteasome inhibitors. These findings establish mitochondrial pyruvate metabolism as a potential target for the treatment of MM, and a hitherto unappreciated strategy to increase the efficacy of proteasome inhibitors in the clinic.
  25. Free Radic Biol Med. 2023 Mar 14. pii: S0891-5849(23)00119-3. [Epub ahead of print]
      Aberrant lipid metabolism mediated by the selective transport of fatty acids plays vital roles in cancer initiation, progression, and therapeutic failure. However, the biological function and clinical significance of abnormal fatty acid transporters in human cancer remain unclear. In the present study, we reported that solute carrier family 27 member 4 (SLC27A4) is significantly overexpressed in 21 types of human cancer, especially in the fatty acids-enriched microenvironment surrounding hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), breast cancer, and ovarian cancer. Upregulated SLC27A4 expression correlated with shorter overall and relapse-free survival of patients with HCC, breast cancer, or ovarian cancer. Lipidomic analysis revealed that overexpression of SLC27A4 significantly promoted the selective uptake of mono-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), which induced a high level of MUFA-containing phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylethanolamine in HCC cells, consequently resulting in resistance to lipid peroxidation and ferroptosis. Importantly, silencing SLC27A4 significantly promoted the sensitivity of HCC to sorafenib treatment, both in vitro and in vivo. Our findings revealed a plausible role for SLC27A4 in ferroptosis defense via lipid remodeling, which might represent an attractive therapeutic target to increase the effectiveness of sorafenib treatment in HCC.
    Keywords:  Ferroptosis; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Lipid remodeling; SLC27A4; Uptake of fatty acids
  26. Nat Commun. 2023 Mar 13. 14(1): 1376
      Mitochondrial transport along microtubules is mediated by Miro1 and TRAK adaptors that recruit kinesin-1 and dynein-dynactin. To understand how these opposing motors are regulated during mitochondrial transport, we reconstitute the bidirectional transport of Miro1/TRAK along microtubules in vitro. We show that the coiled-coil domain of TRAK activates dynein-dynactin and enhances the motility of kinesin-1 activated by its cofactor MAP7. We find that TRAK adaptors that recruit both motors move towards kinesin-1's direction, whereas kinesin-1 is excluded from binding TRAK transported by dynein-dynactin, avoiding motor tug-of-war. We also test the predictions of the models that explain how mitochondrial transport stalls in regions with elevated Ca2+. Transport of Miro1/TRAK by kinesin-1 is not affected by Ca2+. Instead, we demonstrate that the microtubule docking protein syntaphilin induces resistive forces that stall kinesin-1 and dynein-driven motility. Our results suggest that mitochondrial transport stalls by Ca2+-mediated recruitment of syntaphilin to the mitochondrial membrane, not by disruption of the transport machinery.
  27. J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2023 Mar 17. 42(1): 65
      BACKGROUND: Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is the most aggressive subtype of lung cancer. Although most patients are initially sensitive to first-line combination chemotherapy with cisplatin and etoposide, chemotherapy drug resistance easily develops and quickly leads to tumour progression. Therefore, understanding the mechanisms of chemotherapy drug resistance and how to reverse it is key to improving the prognosis of patients with SCLC. Moreover, N6-methyladenosine (m6A) is the most abundant mRNA modification and is catalysed by the methyltransferase complex, in which methyltransferase-like 3 (METTL3) is the sole catalytic subunit.METHODS: The effects of METTL3 on chemoresistance in SCLC cells were determined using qRT-PCR, Western blotting, immunohistochemistry, cell counting kit (CCK-8) assays, flow cytometry, and tumorigenicity experiments. Methylated RNA immunoprecipitation sequencing (MeRIP-seq), MeRIP qPCR, immunofluorescence, and drug inhibitor experiments were performed to confirm the molecular mechanism of Decapping Protein 2 (DCP2), which is involved in the chemoresistance of SCLC.
    RESULTS: In the present study, we found that METTL3 is a marker for poor SCLC prognosis, and it is highly expressed in chemoresistant SCLC cells. METTL3 promotes SCLC chemoresistance by positively regulating mitophagy. METTL3 induces m6A methylation of DCP2 and causes the degradation of DCP2, which promotes mitochondrial autophagy through the Pink1-Parkin pathway, leading to chemotherapy resistance. We also found that STM2457, a novel METTL3 inhibitor, can reverse SCLC chemoresistance.
    CONCLUSIONS: The m6A methyltransferase METTL3 regulates Pink1-Parkin pathway-mediated mitophagy and mitochondrial damage in SCLC cells by targeting DCP2, thereby promoting chemotherapy resistance in patients with SCLC.
    Keywords:  Chemoresistance; Mitophagy; N6-methyladenosine; Small cell lung cancer
  28. bioRxiv. 2023 Mar 01. pii: 2023.02.28.530478. [Epub ahead of print]
      Aberrant tumor metabolism is a hallmark of cancer in which metabolic rewiring can support tumor growth under nutrient deficient conditions. KRAS mutations occur in 35-45% of all colorectal cancer (CRC) cases and are difficult to treat. The relationship between mutant KRAS and aberrant metabolism in CRCs has not been fully explored and could be a target for intervention. We previously acquired non-targeted metabolomics data from 161 tumor tissues and 39 normal colon tissues from stage I-III chemotherapy na√Øve CRC patients. In this study, we revealed that tumors from male patients with KRAS mutations only, had several altered pathways that suppress ferroptosis, including glutathione biosynthesis, transsulfuration activity, and methionine metabolism. To validate this phenotype, MC38 CRC cells (KRAS G13R ) were treated with a ferroptosis inducer; RAS-selected lethal (RSL3). RSL3 altered metabolic pathways in the opposite direction to that seen in KRAS mutant tumors from male patients confirming a suppressed ferroptosis metabolic phenotype in these patients. We further validated gene expression data from an additional CRC patient cohort (Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO), and similarly observed differences in ferroptosis-related genes by sex and KRAS status. Further examination of the relationship between these genes and overall survival (OS) in the GEO cohort showed that KRAS mutant tumors are associated with poorer 5-year OS compared to KRAS wild type tumors, and only in male patients. Additionally, high compared to low expression of GPX4, FTH1, FTL , which suppressed ferroptosis, were associated with poorer 5-year OS only in KRAS mutant tumors from male CRC patients. Low compared to high expression of ACSL4 was associated with poorer OS for this group. Our results show that KRAS mutant tumors from male CRC patients have suppressed ferroptosis, and gene expression changes that suppress ferroptosis associate with adverse outcomes for these patients, revealing a novel potential avenue for therapeutic approaches.
  29. bioRxiv. 2023 Mar 01. pii: 2023.02.28.530351. [Epub ahead of print]
      Pptc7 is a resident mitochondrial phosphatase essential for maintaining proper mitochondrial content and function. Newborn mice lacking Pptc7 exhibit aberrant mitochondrial protein phosphorylation, suffer from a range of metabolic defects, and fail to survive beyond one day after birth. Using an inducible knockout model, we reveal that loss of Pptc7 in adult mice causes marked reduction in mitochondrial mass concomitant with elevation of the mitophagy receptors Bnip3 and Nix. Consistently, Pptc7 -/- mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) exhibit a major increase in mitophagy that is reversed upon deletion of these receptors. Our phosphoproteomics analyses reveal a common set of elevated phosphosites between perinatal tissues, adult liver, and MEFsâ€" including multiple sites on Bnip3 and Nix. These data suggest that Pptc7 deletion causes mitochondrial dysfunction via dysregulation of several metabolic pathways and that Pptc7 may directly regulate mitophagy receptor function or stability. Overall, our work reveals a significant role for Pptc7 in the mitophagic response and furthers the growing notion that management of mitochondrial protein phosphorylation is essential for ensuring proper organelle content and function.