bims-mibica Biomed News
on Mitochondrial bioenergetics in cancer
Issue of 2023‒04‒02
47 papers selected by
Kelsey Fisher-Wellman
East Carolina University

  1. Acta Pharm Sin B. 2023 Mar;13(3): 1145-1163
      MEK is a canonical effector of mutant KRAS; however, MEK inhibitors fail to yield satisfactory clinical outcomes in KRAS-mutant cancers. Here, we identified mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) induction as a profound metabolic alteration to confer KRAS-mutant non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) resistance to the clinical MEK inhibitor trametinib. Metabolic flux analysis demonstrated that pyruvate metabolism and fatty acid oxidation were markedly enhanced and coordinately powered the OXPHOS system in resistant cells after trametinib treatment, satisfying their energy demand and protecting them from apoptosis. As molecular events in this process, the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDHc) and carnitine palmitoyl transferase IA (CPTIA), two rate-limiting enzymes that control the metabolic flux of pyruvate and palmitic acid to mitochondrial respiration were activated through phosphorylation and transcriptional regulation. Importantly, the co-administration of trametinib and IACS-010759, a clinical mitochondrial complex I inhibitor that blocks OXPHOS, significantly impeded tumor growth and prolonged mouse survival. Overall, our findings reveal that MEK inhibitor therapy creates a metabolic vulnerability in the mitochondria and further develop an effective combinatorial strategy to circumvent MEK inhibitors resistance in KRAS-driven NSCLC.
    Keywords:  Carnitine palmitoyl transferase IA; Drug resistance; KRAS-mutant lung cancer; MEK inhibitors; Metabolic rewiring; Mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation; Pyruvate dehydrogenase complex
  2. bioRxiv. 2023 Mar 15. pii: 2023.03.14.532533. [Epub ahead of print]
      Fatty acid synthase (FASN) maintains de novo lipogenesis (DNL) to support rapid growth in most proliferating cancer cells. Lipogenic acetyl-CoA is primarily produced from carbohydrates but can arise from glutamine-dependent reductive carboxylation under hypoxia. Here we show that reductive carboxylation also occurs in the absence of DNL in cells with defective FASN. In this state, reductive carboxylation was mainly catalyzed by isocitrate dehydrogenase-1 (IDH1) in the cytosol, but IDH1-generated citrate was not used for DNL. Metabolic flux analysis (MFA) revealed that FASN-deficiency induced a net cytosol-to-mitochondria citrate flux through citrate transport protein (CTP). A similar pathway was previously shown to mitigate detachment-induced mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (mtROS) in anchorage-independent tumor spheroids. We further demonstrate that FASN-deficient cells acquire resistance to oxidative stress in a CTP- and IDH1-dependent manner. Together with the reduced FASN activity in tumor spheroids, these data indicate that anchorage-independent malignant cells trade FASN-supported rapid growth for a cytosol-to-mitochondria citrate flux to gain redox capacity against detachment-induced oxidative stress.
  3. Cell Rep. 2023 Mar 31. pii: S2211-1247(23)00343-1. [Epub ahead of print]42(4): 112332
      The metabolic plasticity of mitochondria ensures cell development, differentiation, and survival. The peptidase OMA1 regulates mitochondrial morphology via OPA1 and stress signaling via DELE1 and orchestrates tumorigenesis and cell survival in a cell- and tissue-specific manner. Here, we use unbiased systems-based approaches to show that OMA1-dependent cell survival depends on metabolic cues. A metabolism-focused CRISPR screen combined with an integrated analysis of human gene expression data found that OMA1 protects against DNA damage. Nucleotide deficiencies induced by chemotherapeutic agents promote p53-dependent apoptosis of cells lacking OMA1. The protective effect of OMA1 does not depend on OMA1 activation or OMA1-mediated OPA1 and DELE1 processing. OMA1-deficient cells show reduced glycolysis and accumulate oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) proteins upon DNA damage. OXPHOS inhibition restores glycolysis and confers resistance against DNA damage. Thus, OMA1 dictates the balance between cell death and survival through the control of glucose metabolism, shedding light on its role in cancerogenesis.
    Keywords:  CP: Metabolism; DNA damage; OMA1; OXPHOS; glucose metabolism; mitochondria; nucleotides; p53
  4. bioRxiv. 2023 Mar 23. pii: 2023.03.21.533091. [Epub ahead of print]
      The mitochondrial genome encodes essential machinery for respiration and metabolic homeostasis but is paradoxically among the most common targets of somatic mutation in the cancer genome, with truncating mutations in respiratory complex I genes being most over-represented 1 . While mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations have been associated with both improved and worsened prognoses in several tumour lineages 1-,3 , whether these mutations are drivers or exert any functional effect on tumour biology remains controversial. Here we discovered that complex I-encoding mtDNA mutations are sufficient to remodel the tumour immune landscape and therapeutic resistance to immune checkpoint blockade. Using mtDNA base editing technology 4 we engineered recurrent truncating mutations in the mtDNA-encoded complex I gene, Mt-Nd5 , into murine models of melanoma. Mechanistically, these mutations promoted utilisation of pyruvate as a terminal electron acceptor and increased glycolytic flux without major effects on oxygen consumption, driven by an over-reduced NAD pool and NADH shuttling between GAPDH and MDH1, mediating a Warburg-like metabolic shift. In turn, without modifying tumour growth, this altered cancer cell-intrinsic metabolism reshaped the tumour microenvironment in both mice and humans, promoting an anti- tumour immune response characterised by loss of resident neutrophils. This subsequently sensitised tumours bearing high mtDNA mutant heteroplasmy to immune checkpoint blockade, with phenocopy of key metabolic changes being sufficient to mediate this effect. Strikingly, patient lesions bearing >50% mtDNA mutation heteroplasmy also demonstrated a >2.5-fold improved response rate to checkpoint inhibitor blockade. Taken together these data nominate mtDNA mutations as functional regulators of cancer metabolism and tumour biology, with potential for therapeutic exploitation and treatment stratification.
  5. Nat Chem Biol. 2023 Mar 27.
      Although nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) is produced and consumed in both the cytosol and mitochondria, the relationship between NADPH fluxes in each compartment has been difficult to assess due to technological limitations. Here we introduce an approach to resolve cytosolic and mitochondrial NADPH fluxes that relies on tracing deuterium from glucose to metabolites of proline biosynthesis localized to either the cytosol or mitochondria. We introduced NADPH challenges in either the cytosol or mitochondria of cells by using isocitrate dehydrogenase mutations, administering chemotherapeutics or with genetically encoded NADPH oxidase. We found that cytosolic challenges influenced NADPH fluxes in the cytosol but not NADPH fluxes in mitochondria, and vice versa. This work highlights the value of using proline labeling as a reporter system to study compartmentalized metabolism and reveals that NADPH homeostasis in the cytosolic and mitochondrial locations of a cell are independently regulated, with no evidence for NADPH shuttle activity.
  6. Cell Calcium. 2023 Mar 24. pii: S0143-4160(23)00032-5. [Epub ahead of print]112 102720
      Mitochondrial Ca2+ (mitCa2+) uptake controls both intraorganellar and cytosolic functions. Within the organelle, [Ca2+] increases regulate the activity of tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle enzymes, thus sustaining oxidative metabolism and ATP production. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are also generated as side products of oxygen consumption. At the same time, mitochondria act as buffers of cytosolic Ca2+ (cytCa2+) increases, thus regulating Ca2+-dependent cellular processes. In pathological conditions, mitCa2+ overload triggers the opening of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore (mPTP) and the release of apoptotic cofactors. MitCa2+ uptake occurs in response of local [Ca2+] increases in sites of proximity between the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and the mitochondria and is mediated by the mitochondrial Ca2+ uniporter (MCU), a highly selective channel of the inner mitochondrial membrane (IMM). Both channel and regulatory subunits form the MCU complex (MCUC). Cryogenic electron microscopy (Cryo-EM) and crystal structures revealed the correct assembly of MCUC and the function of critical residues for the regulation of Ca2+ conductance.
  7. bioRxiv. 2023 Mar 14. pii: 2023.03.14.532620. [Epub ahead of print]
      Coenzyme Q (CoQ, ubiquinone) is an essential cellular cofactor comprised of a redox-active quinone head group and a long hydrophobic polyisoprene tail. How mitochondria access cytosolic isoprenoids for CoQ biosynthesis is a longstanding mystery. Here, via a combination of genetic screening, metabolic tracing, and targeted uptake assays, we reveal that Hem25p-a mitochondrial glycine transporter required for heme biosynthesis-doubles as an isopentenyl pyrophosphate (IPP) transporter in Saccharomyces cerevisiae . Mitochondria lacking Hem25p fail to efficiently incorporate IPP into early CoQ precursors, leading to loss of CoQ and turnover of CoQ biosynthetic proteins. Expression of Hem25p in Escherichia coli enables robust IPP uptake demonstrating that Hem25p is sufficient for IPP transport. Collectively, our work reveals that Hem25p drives the bulk of mitochondrial isoprenoid transport for CoQ biosynthesis in yeast.
  8. Sci Rep. 2023 Mar 28. 13(1): 5029
      Lysine Nɛ-acylations, such as acetylation or succinylation, are post-translational modifications that regulate protein function. In mitochondria, lysine acylation is predominantly non-enzymatic, and only a specific subset of the proteome is acylated. Coenzyme A (CoA) can act as an acyl group carrier via a thioester bond, but what controls the acylation of mitochondrial lysines remains poorly understood. Using published datasets, here we found that proteins with a CoA-binding site are more likely to be acetylated, succinylated, and glutarylated. Using computational modeling, we show that lysine residues near the CoA-binding pocket are highly acylated compared to those farther away. We hypothesized that acyl-CoA binding enhances acylation of nearby lysine residues. To test this hypothesis, we co-incubated enoyl-CoA hydratase short chain 1 (ECHS1), a CoA-binding mitochondrial protein, with succinyl-CoA and CoA. Using mass spectrometry, we found that succinyl-CoA induced widespread lysine succinylation and that CoA competitively inhibited ECHS1 succinylation. CoA-induced inhibition at a particular lysine site correlated inversely with the distance between that lysine and the CoA-binding pocket. Our study indicated that CoA acts as a competitive inhibitor of ECHS1 succinylation by binding to the CoA-binding pocket. Together, this suggests that proximal acylation at CoA-binding sites is a primary mechanism for lysine acylation in the mitochondria.
  9. Antioxidants (Basel). 2023 Mar 09. pii: 674. [Epub ahead of print]12(3):
      Although circadian biorhythms of mitochondria and cells are highly conserved and crucial for the well-being of complex animals, there is a paucity of studies on the reciprocal interactions between oxidative stress, redox modifications, metabolism, thermoregulation, and other major oscillatory physiological processes. To address this limitation, we hypothesize that circadian/ultradian interaction of the redoxome, bioenergetics, and temperature signaling strongly determine the differential activities of the sleep-wake cycling of mammalians and birds. Posttranslational modifications of proteins by reversible cysteine oxoforms, S-glutathionylation and S-nitrosylation are shown to play a major role in regulating mitochondrial reactive oxygen species production, protein activity, respiration, and metabolomics. Nuclear DNA repair and cellular protein synthesis are maximized during the wake phase, whereas the redoxome is restored and mitochondrial remodeling is maximized during sleep. Hence, our analysis reveals that wakefulness is more protective and restorative to the nucleus (nucleorestorative), whereas sleep is more protective and restorative to mitochondria (mitorestorative). The "redox-bioenergetics-temperature and differential mitochondrial-nuclear regulatory hypothesis" adds to the understanding of mitochondrial respiratory uncoupling, substrate cycling control and hibernation. Similarly, this hypothesis explains how the oscillatory redox-bioenergetics-temperature-regulated sleep-wake states, when perturbed by mitochondrial interactome disturbances, influence the pathogenesis of aging, cancer, spaceflight health effects, sudden infant death syndrome, and diseases of the metabolism and nervous system.
    Keywords:  bioenergetics; circadian; cysteine oxoforms; mitochondria; nuclear; oxidative stress; redoxome; substrate cycles; temperature; uncoupling
  10. Nat Commun. 2023 Mar 31. 14(1): 1682
      IF1 is a natural inhibitor protein for mitochondrial FoF1 ATP synthase that blocks catalysis and rotation of the F1 by deeply inserting its N-terminal helices into F1. A unique feature of IF1 is condition-dependent inhibition; although IF1 inhibits ATP hydrolysis by F1, IF1 inhibition is relieved under ATP synthesis conditions. To elucidate this condition-dependent inhibition mechanism, we have performed single-molecule manipulation experiments on IF1-inhibited bovine mitochondrial F1 (bMF1). The results show that IF1-inhibited F1 is efficiently activated only when F1 is rotated in the clockwise (ATP synthesis) direction, but not in the counterclockwise direction. The observed rotational-direction-dependent activation explains the condition-dependent mechanism of IF1 inhibition. Investigation of mutant IF1 with N-terminal truncations shows that the interaction with the γ subunit at the N-terminal regions is crucial for rotational-direction-dependent ejection, and the middle long helix is responsible for the inhibition of F1.
  11. Int J Mol Sci. 2023 Mar 16. pii: 5705. [Epub ahead of print]24(6):
      Mitochondrial metabolism plays an important role in the occurrence and development of cancers. Cytochrome C oxidase assembly factor six (COA6) is essential in mitochondrial metabolism. However, the role of COA6 in lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD) remains unknown. Here we report that the expression of COA6 mRNA and protein were upregulated in LUAD tissues compared with lung normal tissues. We found that COA6 had high sensitivity and specificity to distinguish LUAD tissues from normal lung tissues shown by a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve. In addition, our univariate and multivariate Cox regression analysis indicated that COA6 was an independent unfavorable prognostic factor for LUAD patients. Furthermore, our survival analysis and nomogram showed that a high expression of COA6 mRNA was related to the short overall survival (OS) of LUAD patients. Notably, our weighted correlation network analysis (WGCNA) and functional enrichment analysis revealed that COA6 may participate in the development of LUAD by affecting mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS). Importantly, we demonstrated that depletion of COA6 could decrease the mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP), nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) + hydrogen (H) (NADH), and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production in LUAD cells (A549 and H1975), hence inhibiting the proliferation of these cells in vitro. Together, our study strongly suggests that COA6 is significantly associated with the prognosis and OXPHOS in LUAD. Hence, COA6 is highly likely a novel prognostic biomarker and therapeutic target of LUAD.
    Keywords:  cytochrome C oxidase assembly factor 6 (COA6); lung adenocarcinoma; mitochondrion; oxidative phosphorylation; prognosis
  12. Curr Cancer Drug Targets. 2023 Mar 29.
      BACKGROUND: Inhibiting cancer metabolism via glutaminase (GAC) is a promising strategy to disrupt tumor progression. However, the mechanism regarding GAC acetylation remains largely unknown.METHODS: Mitochondrial protein isolation and glutaminase activity assay were used to examine GAC activity; RT-qPCR, western blot, sphere-formation, ALDH activity and tumor-initiating assays were performed to evaluate the alteration of cell stemness; Co-IP and rescuing experiments were constructed to explore the underlying mechanisms.
    RESULTS: In this study, we demonstrated that GAC acetylation was a vital post-translational modification that inhibits GAC activity in glioma. We identified that GAC was deacetylated by HDAC4, a class II deacetylase. GAC acetylation stimulated the interaction between GAC and SIRT5, therefore promoting GAC ubiquitination and inhibiting GAC activity. Furthermore, GAC overexpression suppressed the stemness of glioma cells, which was rescued by deacetylation of GAC.
    CONCLUSION: Our findings reveal a novel mechanism of GAC regulation by acetylation and ubiquitination that participates in glioma stemness.
    Keywords:  Acetylation; Cancer metabolism; Glioma; Glutaminase; Stemness
  13. Antioxidants (Basel). 2023 Mar 04. pii: 646. [Epub ahead of print]12(3):
      The homeostasis of the transmembrane potential of hydrogen ions in mitochondria is a prerequisite for the normal mitochondrial functioning. However, in different pathological conditions it is advisable to slightly reduce the membrane potential, while maintaining it at levels sufficient to produce ATP that will ensure the normal functioning of the cell. A number of chemical agents have been found to provide mild uncoupling; however, natural proteins residing in mitochondrial membrane can carry this mission, such as proteins from the UCP family, an adenine nucleotide translocator and a dicarboxylate carrier. In this study, we demonstrated that the butyl ester of rhodamine 19, C4R1, binds to the components of the mitochondrial ATP synthase complex due to electrostatic interaction and has a good uncoupling effect. The more hydrophobic derivative C12R1 binds poorly to mitochondria with less uncoupling activity. Mass spectrometry confirmed that C4R1 binds to the β-subunit of mitochondrial ATP synthase and based on molecular docking, a C4R1 binding model was constructed suggesting the binding site on the interface between the α- and β-subunits, close to the anionic amino acid residues of the β-subunit. The association of the uncoupling effect with binding suggests that the ATP synthase complex can provide induced uncoupling.
    Keywords:  ATP synthase; Complex V; antioxidants; mild uncoupling; mitochondria; mitochondria-targeted drugs
  14. bioRxiv. 2023 Mar 15. pii: 2023.03.13.532310. [Epub ahead of print]
      The inner mitochondrial membrane (IMM) is the site of bulk ATP generation in cells and has a broadly conserved lipid composition enriched in unsaturated phospholipids and cardiolipin (CL). While proteins that shape the IMM and its characteristic cristae membranes (CM) have been defined, specific mechanisms by which mitochondrial lipids dictate its structure and function have yet to be elucidated. Here we combine experimental lipidome dissection with multi-scale modeling to investigate how lipid interactions shape CM morphology and ATP generation. When modulating fatty acid unsaturation in engineered yeast strains, we observed that loss of di-unsaturated phospholipids (PLs) led to a breakpoint in IMM topology and respiratory capacity. We found that PL unsaturation modulates the organization of ATP synthases that shape cristae ridges. Based on molecular modeling of mitochondrial-specific membrane adaptations, we hypothesized that conical lipids like CL buffer against the effects of saturation on the IMM. In cells, we discovered that loss of CL collapses the IMM at intermediate levels of PL saturation, an effect that is independent of ATP synthase oligomerization. To explain this interaction, we employed a continuum modeling approach, finding that lipid and protein-mediated curvatures are predicted to act in concert to form curved membranes in the IMM. The model highlighted a snapthrough instability in cristae tubule formation, which could drive IMM collapse upon small changes in composition. The interaction between CL and di-unsaturated PLs suggests that growth conditions that alter the fatty acid pool, such as oxygen availability, could define CL function. While loss of CL only has a minimal phenotype under standard laboratory conditions, we show that its synthesis is essential under microaerobic conditions that better mimic natural yeast fermentation. Lipid and protein-mediated mechanisms of curvature generation can thus act together to support mitochondrial architecture under changing environments.
  15. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2023 Mar 29. 80(4): 108
      Episodes of chronic stress can result in psychic disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder, but also promote the development of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. We hypothesize that muscle, as main regulator of whole-body energy expenditure, is a central target of acute and adaptive molecular effects of stress in this context. Here, we investigate the immediate effect of a stress period on energy metabolism in Musculus gastrocnemius in our established C57BL/6 chronic variable stress (Cvs) mouse model. Cvs decreased lean body mass despite increased energy intake, reduced circadian energy expenditure (EE), and substrate utilization. Cvs altered the proteome of metabolic components but not of the oxidative phosphorylation system (OXPHOS), or other mitochondrial structural components. Functionally, Cvs impaired the electron transport chain (ETC) capacity of complex I and complex II, and reduces respiratory capacity of the ETC from complex I to ATP synthase. Complex I-OXPHOS correlated to diurnal EE and complex II-maximal uncoupled respiration correlated to diurnal and reduced nocturnal EE. Bioenergetics assessment revealed higher optimal thermodynamic efficiencies (ƞ-opt) of mitochondria via complex II after Cvs. Interestingly, transcriptome and methylome were unaffected by Cvs, thus excluding major contributions to supposed metabolic adaptation processes. In summary, the preclinical Cvs model shows that metabolic pressure by Cvs is initially compensated by adaptation of mitochondria function associated with high thermodynamic efficiency and decreased EE to manage the energy balance. This counter-regulation of mitochondrial complex II may be the driving force to longitudinal metabolic changes of muscle physiological adaptation as the basis of stress memory.
    Keywords:  Enriched mitochondria; Metabolic adaptation; Methylome; Mitochondrial thermodynamic efficiency (ƞ-opt); Proteome; Transcriptome
  16. FEBS J. 2023 Apr 01.
      We previously developed a stress-induced premature senescence (SIPS) model in which normal human fibroblast MRC-5 cells were treated with either the proteasome inhibitor MG132 or the vacuolar-type ATPase (V-ATPase) inhibitor bafilomycin A1 (BAFA1). To clarify the involvement of mitochondrial function in our SIPS model, MRC-5 cells were treated with MG132 or BAFA1 along with an inhibitor targeting either the electron transport chain (ETC) complex I or complex III, or with a mitochondrial uncoupler. SIPS induced by MG132 or BAFA1 was significantly attenuated by short-term co-treatment with the complex III inhibitor, antimycin A (AA), but not the complex I inhibitor, rotenone, or the mitochondrial uncoupler, carbonyl cyanide 3-chlorophenylhydrazone (CCCP). By co-treatment with AA, mitochondrial and intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels, accumulation of protein aggregates, and mitochondrial unfolded protein responses (UPRmt ) were remarkably suppressed. Furthermore, AA co-treatment suppressed the hyperpolarization of the mitochondrial membrane and the induction of mitophagy observed in MG132-treated cells, and enhanced mitochondrial biogenesis. These findings provide evidence that the temporal inhibition of mitochondrial respiration exerts protective effects against the progression of premature senescence caused by impaired proteostasis.
    Keywords:  MG132; mitochondria; oxidative phosphorylation; proteostasis; senescence; unfolded protein response
  17. Chembiochem. 2023 Mar 25. e202300111
      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 activity-based 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.
    Keywords:  chemoproteomics, activity-based protein profiling, natural products, gymnastatins, dankastatin B, VDAC3
  18. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2023 ;11 1071037
      Rewiring of mitochondrial metabolism has been described in different cancers as a key step for their progression. Calcium (Ca2+) signaling regulates mitochondrial function and is known to be altered in several malignancies, including triple negative breast cancer (TNBC). However, whether and how the alterations in Ca2+ signaling contribute to metabolic changes in TNBC has not been elucidated. Here, we found that TNBC cells display frequent, spontaneous inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (IP3)-dependent Ca2+ oscillations, which are sensed by mitochondria. By combining genetic, pharmacologic and metabolomics approaches, we associated this pathway with the regulation of fatty acid (FA) metabolism. Moreover, we demonstrated that these signaling routes promote TNBC cell migration in vitro, suggesting they might be explored to identify potential therapeutic targets.
    Keywords:  Ca2+; IP3; MCU; TNBC; acylcarnitine; breast cancer; fatty acids; mitochondria
  19. Genes Cells. 2023 Mar 25.
      The tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) gene products (TSC1/TSC2) negatively regulate mTORC1. Although mTORC1 inhibitors are used for the treatment of TSC, incomplete tumor elimination and the adverse effects from long-term administration are problems that need to be solved. Branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) metabolism is involved in the growth of many tumor cells via the mTORC1 pathway. However, it remains unclear how BCAA metabolism affects the growth of mTORC1-dysregulated tumors. We show here that the expression of branched-chain amino transferase1 (Bcat1) was suppressed in Tsc2-deficient murine renal tumor cells either by treatment with rapamycin or restoration of Tsc2 expression suggesting that Bcat1 is located downstream of Tsc2-mTORC1 pathway. We also found that gabapentin, a Bcat1 inhibitor suppressed the growth of Tsc2-deficient tumor cells and increased efficacy when combined with rapamycin. We investigate the functional importance of Bcat1 and the mitochondrial isoform Bcat2 by inhibiting each enzyme separately or both together by genome editing and shRNA in Tsc2-deficient cells. We found that deficiency of both enzymes, but not either alone, inhibited cell growth, indicating that BCAA-metabolic reactions support Tsc2-deficient cell proliferation. Our results indicate that inhibition of Bcat1 and Bcat2 by specific drugs should be a useful method for TSC treatment.
    Keywords:  BCAA; Bcat1; Bcat2; Tuberous sclerosis complex; mTORC1
  20. ACS Biomater Sci Eng. 2023 Mar 31.
      It has become evident that physical stimuli of the cellular microenvironment transmit mechanical cues regulating key cellular functions, such as proliferation, migration, and malignant transformation. Accumulating evidence suggests that tumor cells face variable mechanical stimuli that may induce metabolic rewiring of tumor cells. However, the knowledge of how tumor cells adapt metabolism to external mechanical cues is still limited. We therefore designed soft 3D collagen scaffolds mimicking a pathological mechanical environment to decipher how liver tumor cells would adapt their metabolic activity to physical stimuli of the cellular microenvironment. Here, we report that the soft 3D microenvironment upregulates the glycolysis of HepG2 and Alexander cells. Both cell lines adapt their mitochondrial activity and function under growth in the soft 3D microenvironment. Cells grown in the soft 3D microenvironment exhibit marked mitochondrial depolarization, downregulation of mitochondrially encoded cytochrome c oxidase I, and slow proliferation rate in comparison with stiff monolayer cultures. Our data reveal the coupling of liver tumor glycolysis to mechanical cues. It is proposed here that soft 3D collagen scaffolds can serve as a useful model for future studies of mechanically regulated cellular functions of various liver (potentially other tissues as well) tumor cells.
    Keywords:  cancer; cell plasticity; cytoskeleton; engineered cell microenvironments; extracellular matrix; mechanical forces; mitochondria
  21. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2023 Apr 04. 120(14): e2220102120
      Molecular clocks in the periphery coordinate tissue-specific daily biorhythms by integrating input from the hypothalamic master clock and intracellular metabolic signals. One such key metabolic signal is the cellular concentration of NAD+, which oscillates along with its biosynthetic enzyme, nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (NAMPT). NAD+ levels feed back into the clock to influence rhythmicity of biological functions, yet whether this metabolic fine-tuning occurs ubiquitously across cell types and is a core clock feature is unknown. Here, we show that NAMPT-dependent control over the molecular clock varies substantially between tissues. Brown adipose tissue (BAT) requires NAMPT to sustain the amplitude of the core clock, whereas rhythmicity in white adipose tissue (WAT) is only moderately dependent on NAD+ biosynthesis, and the skeletal muscle clock is completely refractory to loss of NAMPT. In BAT and WAT, NAMPT differentially orchestrates oscillation of clock-controlled gene networks and the diurnality of metabolite levels. NAMPT coordinates the rhythmicity of TCA cycle intermediates in BAT, but not in WAT, and loss of NAD+ abolishes these oscillations similarly to high-fat diet-induced circadian disruption. Moreover, adipose NAMPT depletion improved the ability of animals to defend body temperature during cold stress but in a time-of-day-independent manner. Thus, our findings reveal that peripheral molecular clocks and metabolic biorhythms are shaped in a highly tissue-specific manner by NAMPT-dependent NAD+ synthesis.
    Keywords:  Brown adipose tissue; Circadian metabolism; Clock rhythm; NAD; Skeletal muscle
  22. Cancers (Basel). 2023 Mar 21. pii: 1883. [Epub ahead of print]15(6):
      Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), the most prevalent acute and aggressive leukemia diagnosed in adults, often recurs as a difficult-to-treat, chemotherapy-resistant disease. Because chemotherapy resistance is a major obstacle to successful treatment, novel therapeutic intervention is needed. Upregulated ceramide clearance via accelerated hydrolysis and glycosylation has been shown to be an element in chemotherapy-resistant AML, a problem considering the crucial role ceramide plays in eliciting apoptosis. Herein we employed agents that block ceramide clearance to determine if such a "reset" would be of therapeutic benefit. SACLAC was utilized to limit ceramide hydrolysis, and D-threo-1-phenyl-2-decanoylamino-3-morpholino-1-propanol (D-threo-PDMP) was used to block the glycosylation route. The SACLAC D-threo-PDMP inhibitor combination was synergistically cytotoxic in drug-resistant, P-glycoprotein-expressing (P-gp) AML but not in wt, P-gp-poor cells. Interestingly, P-gp antagonists that can limit ceramide glycosylation via depression of glucosylceramide transit also synergized with SACLAC, suggesting a paradoxical role for P-gp in the implementation of cell death. Mechanistically, cell death was accompanied by a complete drop in ceramide glycosylation, concomitant, striking increases in all molecular species of ceramide, diminished sphingosine 1-phosphate levels, resounding declines in mitochondrial respiratory kinetics, altered Akt, pGSK-3β, and Mcl-1 expression, and caspase activation. Although ceramide was generated in wt cells upon inhibitor exposure, mitochondrial respiration was not corrupted, suggestive of mitochondrial vulnerability in the drug-resistant phenotype, a potential therapeutic avenue. The inhibitor regimen showed efficacy in an in vivo model and in primary AML cells from patients. These results support the implementation of SL enzyme targeting to limit ceramide clearance as a therapeutic strategy in chemotherapy-resistant AML, inclusive of a novel indication for the use of P-gp antagonists.
    Keywords:  P-glycoprotein; acute myeloid leukemia; ceramide; chemotherapy resistance; sphingolipids
  23. Hepatobiliary Pancreat Dis Int. 2023 Mar 21. pii: S1499-3872(23)00040-1. [Epub ahead of print]
      BACKGROUND: The survival of pancreatic cancer cells, particularly cancer stem cells which are responsible for tumor relapse, depends on mitochondrial function. Mitochondrial transcription factor A (TFAM) is critical for the regulation of mitochondrial DNA and thus mitochondrial function. However, the possible involvement of TFAM in pancreatic cancer is unknown.METHODS: Human samples were obtained from pancreatic cancers and their adjacent tissues; human pancreatic cell lines were cultured in RPMI1640 medium. TFAM expressions in pancreatic tissues and cultured cells were determined using immunohistochemistry, ELISA, and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). The effect of TFAM on cell growth, migration, colony formation and apoptosis were evaluated. Mitochondrial biogenesis in pancreatic cancer and normal cells were examined.
    RESULTS: The majority of pancreatic cancer tissues exhibited higher TFAM expression compared to the adjacent counterparts. Consistently, TFAM mRNA and protein levels were higher in pancreatic cancer cell lines than in immortalized normal pancreatic epithelial cells. There was no difference on TFAM level between gemcitabine-sensitive and resistant pancreatic cancer cells. Functional analysis demonstrated that TFAM overexpression activated pancreatic normal and tumor cells whereas TFAM inhibition effectively inhibited the growth of pancreatic cancer cells. TFAM inhibition enhanced gemcitabine's cytotoxicity and suppressed growth, anchorage-independent colony formation and survival of gemcitabine-resistant pancreatic cancer cells. Mechanistic studies showed that TFAM inhibition resulted in remarkable mitochondrial dysfunction and energy crisis followed by oxidative stress. The basal mitochondrial biogenesis level correlated well with TFAM level in pancreatic cancer cells.
    CONCLUSIONS: TFAM played essential roles in pancreatic cancer via regulating mitochondrial functions which highlighted the therapeutic value of inhibiting TFAM to overcome gemcitabine resistance.
    Keywords:  Gemcitabine; Mitochondrial respiration and biogenesis; Pancreatic cancer; TFAM
  24. Curr Issues Mol Biol. 2023 Feb 22. 45(3): 1794-1809
      Mitochondria are involved in many vital functions in living cells, including the synthesis of ATP by oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) and regulation of nuclear gene expression through retrograde signaling. Leigh syndrome is a heterogeneous neurological disorder resulting from an isolated complex I deficiency that causes damage to mitochondrial energy production. The pathogenic mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variant m.13513G>A has been associated with Leigh syndrome. The present study investigated the effects of this mtDNA variant on the OXPHOS system and cell retrograde signaling. Transmitochondrial cytoplasmic hybrid (cybrid) cell lines harboring 50% and 70% of the m.13513G>A variant were generated and tested along with wild-type (WT) cells. The functionality of the OXPHOS system was evaluated by spectrophotometric assessment of enzyme activity and high-resolution respirometry. Nuclear gene expression was investigated by RNA sequencing and droplet digital PCR. Increasing levels of heteroplasmy were associated with reduced OXPHOS system complex I, IV, and I + III activities, and high-resolution respirometry also showed a complex I defect. Profound changes in transcription levels of nuclear genes were observed in the cell lines harboring the pathogenic mtDNA variant, indicating the physiological processes associated with defective mitochondria.
    Keywords:  Leigh syndrome; OXPHOS system; RNA sequencing; mitochondrial diseases; retrograde signaling
  25. Leukemia. 2023 Mar 27.
      To identify molecules/pathways governing Venetoclax (VEN) sensitivity, we performed genome-wide CRISPR/Cas9 screens using a mouse AML line insensitive to VEN-induced mitochondrial apoptosis. Levels of sgRNAs targeting March5, Ube2j2 or Ube2k significantly decreased upon VEN treatment, suggesting synthetic lethal interaction. Depletion of either Ube2j2 or Ube2k sensitized AML cells to VEN only in the presence of March5, suggesting coordinate function of the E2s Ube2j2 and Ube2k with the E3 ligase March5. We next performed CRISPR screens using March5 knockout cells and identified Noxa as a key March5 substrate. Mechanistically, Bax released from Bcl2 upon VEN treatment was entrapped by Mcl1 and Bcl-XL and failed to induce apoptosis in March5 intact AML cells. By contrast, in March5 knockout cells, liberated Bax did not bind to Mcl1, as Noxa likely occupied Mcl1 BH3-binding grooves and efficiently induced mitochondrial apoptosis. We reveal molecular mechanisms underlying AML cell-intrinsic VEN resistance and suggest a novel means to sensitize AML cells to VEN.
  26. bioRxiv. 2023 Mar 15. pii: 2023.03.13.532431. [Epub ahead of print]
      Immune cells must adapt to different environments during the course of an immune response. We studied the adaptation of CD8 + T cells to the intestinal microenvironment and how this process shapes their residency in the gut. CD8 + T cells progressively remodel their transcriptome and surface phenotype as they acquire gut residency, and downregulate expression of mitochondrial genes. Human and mouse gut-resident CD8 + T cells have reduced mitochondrial mass, but maintain a viable energy balance to sustain their function. We found that the intestinal microenvironment is rich in prostaglandin E 2 (PGE 2 ), which drives mitochondrial depolarization in CD8 + T cells. Consequently, these cells engage autophagy to clear depolarized mitochondria, and enhance glutathione synthesis to scavenge reactive oxygen species (ROS) that result from mitochondrial depolarization. Impairing PGE 2 sensing promotes CD8 + T cell accumulation in the gut, while tampering with autophagy and glutathione negatively impacts the T cell population. Thus, a PGE 2 -autophagy-glutathione axis defines the metabolic adaptation of CD8 + T cells to the intestinal microenvironment, to ultimately influence the T cell pool.
  27. Free Radic Biol Med. 2023 Mar 28. pii: S0891-5849(23)00127-2. [Epub ahead of print]
      Glioma is the most common primary malignant brain tumor with poor survival and limited therapeutic options. Chelerythrine (CHE), a natural benzophenanthridine alkaloid, has been reported to exhibit the anti-tumor effects in a variety of cancer cells. However, the molecular target and the signaling process of CHE in glioma remain elusive. Here we investigated the underlying mechanisms of CHE in glioma cell lines and glioma xenograft mice model. Our results found that CHE-induced cell death is associated with RIP1/RIP3-dependent necroptosis rather than apoptotic cell death in glioma cells at the early time. Mechanism investigation revealed the cross-talking between necroptosis and mitochondria dysfunction that CHE triggered generation of mitochondrial ROS, mitochondrial depolarization, reduction of ATP level and mitochondrial fragmentation, which was the important trigger for RIP1-dependent necroptosis activation. Meanwhile, PINK1 and parkin-dependent mitophagy promoted clearance of impaired mitochondria in CHE-incubated glioma cells, and inhibition of mitophagy with CQ selectively enhanced CHE-induced necroptosis. Furthermore, early cytosolic calcium from the influx of extracellular Ca2+ induced by CHE acted as important "priming signals" for impairment of mitochondrial dysfunction and necroptosis. Suppression of mitochondrial ROS contributed to interrupting positive feedback between mitochondrial damage and RIPK1/RIPK3 necrosome. Lastly, subcutaneous tumor growth in U87 xenograft was suppressed by CHE without significant body weight loss and multi-organ toxicities. In summary, the present study helped to elucidate necroptosis was induced by CHE via mtROS-mediated formation of the RIP1-RIP3-Drp1 complex that promoted Drp1 mitochondrial translocation to enhance necroptosis. Our findings indicated that CHE could potentially be further developed as a novel therapeutic strategy for treatment of glioma.
    Keywords:  Calcium; Chelerythrine; Glioblastoma; Mitochondrial dysfunction; Necroptosis
  28. Exp Gerontol. 2023 Mar 27. pii: S0531-5565(23)00079-7. [Epub ahead of print]175 112158
      Incompatibilities between mitochondrial and nuclear genes can perturb respiration, biosynthesis, signaling and gene expression. Here we investigate whether mild mitonuclear incompatibilities alter the physiological response to redox stress induced by N-acetyl cysteine (NAC). We studied three Drosophila melanogaster lines with mitochondrial genomes that were either coevolved (WT) or mildly mismatched (BAR, COX) to an isogenic nuclear background. Responses to NAC varied substantially with mitonuclear genotype, sex, tissue and dose. NAC caused infertility and high mortality in some groups, but not others. Using tissue-specific high-resolution fluorespirometry, we show that NAC did not alter H2O2 flux but suppressed complex I-linked respiration in female flies, while maintaining a reduced glutathione pool. The high mortality in BAR females was associated with severe (>50 %) suppression of complex I-linked respiration, rising H2O2 flux in the ovaries, and significant oxidation of the glutathione pool. Our results suggest that redox stress is attenuated by the suppression of complex-I linked respiration, to the point of death in some mitonuclear lines. We propose that suppression of complex I-linked respiration is a general mechanism to maintain redox homeostasis in tissues, which could offset oxidative stress in ageing, producing a metabolic phenotype linked with epigenetic changes and age-related decline.
  29. bioRxiv. 2023 Mar 15. pii: 2023.03.14.532663. [Epub ahead of print]
      Immune evasion is a critical step of cancer progression that remains a major obstacle for current T cell-based immunotherapies. Hence, we seek to genetically reprogram T cells to exploit a common tumor-intrinsic evasion mechanism, whereby cancer cells suppress T cell function by generating a metabolically unfavorable tumor microenvironment (TME). Specifically, we use an in silico screen to identify ADA and PDK1 as metabolic regulators, in which gene overexpression (OE) enhances the cytolysis of CD19-specific CD8 CAR-T cells against cognate leukemia cells, and conversely, ADA or PDK1 deficiency dampens such effect. ADA -OE in CAR-T cells improves cancer cytolysis under high concentrations of adenosine, the ADA substrate and an immunosuppressive metabolite in the TME. High-throughput transcriptomics and metabolomics in these CAR-Ts reveal alterations of global gene expression and metabolic signatures in both ADA- and PDK1- engineered CAR-T cells. Functional and immunological analyses demonstrate that ADA -OE increases proliferation and decreases exhaustion in α-CD19 and α-HER2 CAR-T cells. ADA-OE improves tumor infiltration and clearance by α-HER2 CAR-T cells in an in vivo colorectal cancer model. Collectively, these data unveil systematic knowledge of metabolic reprogramming directly in CAR-T cells, and reveal potential targets for improving CAR-T based cell therapy.Synopsis: The authors identify the adenosine deaminase gene (ADA) as a regulatory gene that reprograms T cell metabolism. ADA-overexpression (OE) in α-CD19 and α-HER2 CAR-T cells increases proliferation, cytotoxicity, memory, and decreases exhaustion, and ADA-OE α-HER2 CAR-T cells have enhanced clearance of HT29 human colorectal cancer tumors in vivo .
  30. Cancers (Basel). 2023 Mar 08. pii: 1654. [Epub ahead of print]15(6):
      Pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 4 (PDK4) is a mitochondrial isozyme in the PDK family (PDK1-4) partially responsible for phosphorylation of pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH). Phosphorylation of PDH is thought to result in a pro-proliferative shift in metabolism that sustains growth of cancer cells. Previous data from our lab indicate the pan-PDK inhibitor dichloroacetate (DCA) or acute genetic knockdown of PDK4 blocks proliferation of bladder cancer (BCa) cells. The goal of this study was to determine the role of PDK4 in an in vivo BCa model, with the hypothesis that genetic depletion of PDK4 would impair formation of BCa. PDK4-/- or WT animals were exposed to N-Butyl-N-(4-hydroxybutyl) nitrosamine (BBN) for 16 weeks, and tumors were allowed to develop for up to 7 additional weeks. PDK4-/- mice had significantly larger tumors at later time points. When animals were treated with cisplatin, PDK4-/- animals still had larger tumors than WT mice. PDK4 expression was assessed in human tissue and in mice. WT mice lost expression of PDK4 as tumors became muscle-invasive. Similar results were observed in human samples, wherein tumors had less expression of PDK4 than benign tissue. In summary, PDK4 has a complex, multifunctional role in BCa and may represent an underrecognized tumor suppressor.
    Keywords:  BBN; PDH; PDK4; bladder cancer; mouse
  31. Nature. 2023 Mar 29.
      There is a need to develop effective therapies for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA), a highly lethal malignancy with increasing incidence1 and poor prognosis2. Although targeting tumour metabolism has been the focus of intense investigation for more than a decade, tumour metabolic plasticity and high risk of toxicity have limited this anticancer strategy3,4. Here we use genetic and pharmacological approaches in human and mouse in vitro and in vivo models to show that PDA has a distinct dependence on de novo ornithine synthesis from glutamine. We find that this process, which is mediated through ornithine aminotransferase (OAT), supports polyamine synthesis and is required for tumour growth. This directional OAT activity is usually largely restricted to infancy and contrasts with the reliance of most adult normal tissues and other cancer types on arginine-derived ornithine for polyamine synthesis5,6. This dependency associates with arginine depletion in the PDA tumour microenvironment and is driven by mutant KRAS. Activated KRAS induces the expression of OAT and polyamine synthesis enzymes, leading to alterations in the transcriptome and open chromatin landscape in PDA tumour cells. The distinct dependence of PDA, but not normal tissue, on OAT-mediated de novo ornithine synthesis provides an attractive therapeutic window for treating patients with pancreatic cancer with minimal toxicity.
  32. Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2023 Mar 29. pii: S0960-894X(23)00140-3. [Epub ahead of print] 129262
      Cell imaging A new hydrocyanine probe containing a ROS-responsive element and a mitochondrial-targeting moiety, as well as a thiol-reactive chloromethyl group, has been designed for imaging reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the mitochondria of live cells. This hydrocyanine probe is cell-permeable, selectively target mitochondria and response to superoxide and hydroxyl radical, and can be used for detection of ROS production in the mitochondria of live cells caused by an oxidative stress.
    Keywords:  Fluorescence; Hydrocyanine; Mitochondria; Reactive oxygen species
  33. Int J Mol Sci. 2023 Mar 16. pii: 5710. [Epub ahead of print]24(6):
      Metabolic reprogramming is a central hub in tumor development and progression. Therefore, several efforts have been developed to find improved therapeutic approaches targeting cancer cell metabolism. Recently, we identified the 7α-acetoxy-6β-benzoyloxy-12-O-benzoylroyleanone (Roy-Bz) as a PKCδ-selective activator with potent anti-proliferative activity in colon cancer by stimulating a PKCδ-dependent mitochondrial apoptotic pathway. Herein, we investigated whether the antitumor activity of Roy-Bz, in colon cancer, could be related to glucose metabolism interference. The results showed that Roy-Bz decreased the mitochondrial respiration in human colon HCT116 cancer cells, by reducing electron transfer chain complexes I/III. Consistently, this effect was associated with downregulation of the mitochondrial markers cytochrome c oxidase subunit 4 (COX4), voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC) and mitochondrial import receptor subunit TOM20 homolog (TOM20), and upregulation of synthesis of cytochrome c oxidase 2 (SCO2). Roy-Bz also dropped glycolysis, decreasing the expression of critical glycolytic markers directly implicated in glucose metabolism such as glucose transporter 1 (GLUT1), hexokinase 2 (HK2) and monocarboxylate transporter 4 (MCT4), and increasing TP53-induced glycolysis and apoptosis regulator (TIGAR) protein levels. These results were further corroborated in tumor xenografts of colon cancer. Altogether, using a PKCδ-selective activator, this work evidenced a potential dual role of PKCδ in tumor cell metabolism, resulting from the inhibition of both mitochondrial respiration and glycolysis. Additionally, it reinforces the antitumor therapeutic potential of Roy-Bz in colon cancer by targeting glucose metabolism.
    Keywords:  OXPHOS; PKCδ; Roy-Bz; anticancer agent; glycolysis
  34. Ann Agric Environ Med. 2023 Mar 31. pii: 155382. [Epub ahead of print]30(1): 65-76
      INTRODUCTION: Ionizing radiation is one of the most widely used therapeutic methods in the treatment of prostate cancer, but the problem is developing radioresistance of the tumour. There is evidence that metabolic reprogramming in cancer is one of the major contributors to radioresistance and mitochondria play a crucial role in this process.OBJECTIVE: The aim of the study was to assess the influence of oxidative phosphorylation uncoupling to radiosensitivity of prostate cancer cells differing in metabolic phenotype.
    MATERIAL AND METHODS: LNCaP, PC-3 and DU-145 cells were exposed to X-rays and simultaneously treated with 2,4-dinitrophenol (2,4-DNP). The radiosensitive of cell lines was determined by cell clonogenic assay and cell cycle analysis. The cytotoxic effect was evaluated with MTT and CVS (Crystal violet staining) assay, apoptosis detection and cell cycle analysis. The phenotype of the cells was determined by glucose uptake and lactate release, ATP level measurement as well as basal reactive oxygen species level and mRNA expression of genes related to oxidative stress defence.
    RESULTS: The synergistic effect of 2,4-dinitrophenol and X-ray was observed only in the case of the LNCaP cell line.
    CONCLUSIONS: Phenotypic analysis indicates that this may be due to the highest dependence of these cells on oxidative phosphorylation and sensitivity to disruption of their redox status.
    Keywords:  X-ray; dinitrophenol; metabolic phenotype; mitochondria; prostate cancer; radiosensitivity
  35. Cell Rep. 2023 Mar 31. pii: S2211-1247(23)00347-9. [Epub ahead of print]42(4): 112336
      The mitochondrial response to changes in cellular energy demand is necessary for cellular adaptation and organ function. Many genes are essential in orchestrating this response, including the transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 target gene Mss51, an inhibitor of skeletal muscle mitochondrial respiration. Although Mss51 is implicated in the pathophysiology of obesity and musculoskeletal disease, how Mss51 is regulated is not entirely understood. Site-1 protease (S1P) is a key activator of several transcription factors required for cellular adaptation. However, the role of S1P in muscle is unknown. Here, we identify S1P as a negative regulator of muscle mass and mitochondrial respiration. S1P disruption in mouse skeletal muscle reduces Mss51 expression and increases muscle mass and mitochondrial respiration. The effects of S1P deficiency on mitochondrial activity are counteracted by overexpressing Mss51, suggesting that one way S1P inhibits respiration is by regulating Mss51. These discoveries expand our understanding of TGF-β signaling and S1P function.
    Keywords:  CP: Metabolism; Mss51; TGF-β; metabolism; mitochondria; muscle mass; respiration; site-1 protease; skeletal muscle
  36. Nat Rev Cancer. 2023 Mar 27.
      Metabolic alterations are a key hallmark of cancer cells, and the augmented synthesis and use of nucleotide triphosphates is a critical and universal metabolic dependency of cancer cells across different cancer types and genetic backgrounds. Many of the aggressive behaviours of cancer cells, including uncontrolled proliferation, chemotherapy resistance, immune evasion and metastasis, rely heavily on augmented nucleotide metabolism. Furthermore, most of the known oncogenic drivers upregulate nucleotide biosynthetic capacity, suggesting that this phenotype is a prerequisite for cancer initiation and progression. Despite the wealth of data demonstrating the efficacy of nucleotide synthesis inhibitors in preclinical cancer models and the well-established clinical use of these drugs in certain cancer settings, the full potential of these agents remains unrealized. In this Review, we discuss recent studies that have generated mechanistic insights into the diverse biological roles of hyperactive cancer cell nucleotide metabolism. We explore opportunities for combination therapies that are highlighted by these recent advances and detail key questions that remain to be answered, with the goal of informing urgently warranted future studies.
  37. Life Sci Alliance. 2023 Jun;pii: e202301914. [Epub ahead of print]6(6):
      Mutations in SLC25A46 underlie a wide spectrum of neurodegenerative diseases associated with alterations in mitochondrial morphology. We established an SLC25A46 knock-out cell line in human fibroblasts and studied the pathogenicity of three variants (p.T142I, p.R257Q, and p.E335D). Mitochondria were fragmented in the knock-out cell line and hyperfused in all pathogenic variants. The loss of SLC25A46 led to abnormalities in the mitochondrial cristae ultrastructure that were not rescued by the expression of the variants. SLC25A46 was present in discrete puncta at mitochondrial branch points and tips of mitochondrial tubules, co-localizing with DRP1 and OPA1. Virtually, all fission/fusion events were demarcated by a SLC25A46 focus. SLC25A46 co-immunoprecipitated with the fusion machinery, and loss of function altered the oligomerization state of OPA1 and MFN2. Proximity interaction mapping identified components of the ER membrane, lipid transfer proteins, and mitochondrial outer membrane proteins, indicating that it is present at interorganellar contact sites. SLC25A46 loss of function led to altered mitochondrial lipid composition, suggesting that it may facilitate interorganellar lipid flux or play a role in membrane remodeling associated with mitochondrial fusion and fission.
  38. bioRxiv. 2023 Mar 22. pii: 2023.03.20.530986. [Epub ahead of print]
      Cytochrome c oxidase (C c O) is an essential enzyme in mitochondrial and bacterial respiration. It catalyzes the four-electron reduction of molecular oxygen to water and harnesses the chemical energy to translocate four protons across biological membranes, thereby establishing the proton gradient required for ATP synthesis 1 . The full turnover of the C c O reaction involves an oxidative phase, in which the reduced enzyme ( R ) is oxidized by molecular oxygen to the metastable oxidized O H state, and a reductive phase, in which O H is reduced back to the R state. During each of the two phases, two protons are translocated across the membranes 2 . However, if O H is allowed to relax to the resting oxidized state ( O ), a redox equivalent to O H , its subsequent reduction to R is incapable of driving proton translocation 2,3 . How the O state structurally differs from O H remains an enigma in modern bioenergetics. Here, with resonance Raman spectroscopy and serial femtosecond X-ray crystallography (SFX) 4 , we show that the heme a 3 iron and Cu B in the active site of the O state, like those in the O H state 5,6 , are coordinated by a hydroxide ion and a water molecule, respectively. However, Y244, a residue covalently linked to one of the three Cu B ligands and critical for the oxygen reduction chemistry, is in the neutral protonated form, which distinguishes O from O H , where Y244 is in the deprotonated tyrosinate form. These structural characteristics of O provide new insights into the proton translocation mechanism of C c O.
  39. Nutrients. 2023 Mar 17. pii: 1447. [Epub ahead of print]15(6):
      Targeting Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) metabolism has emerged as a promising anti-cancer strategy; we aimed to explore the health benefits of boosting NAD levels with nicotinamide riboside (NR) on hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We established three in vivo tumor models, including subcutaneous transplantation tumor model in both Balb/c nude mice (xenograft), C57BL/6J mice (allograft), and hematogenous metastatic neoplasm in nude mice. NR (400 mg/kg bw) was supplied daily in gavage. In-situ tumor growth or noninvasive bioluminescence were measured to evaluate the effect of NR on the HCC process. HepG2 cells were treated with transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) in the absence/presence of NR in vitro. We found that NR supplementation alleviated malignancy-induced weight loss and metastasis to lung in nude mice in both subcutaneous xenograft and hematogenous metastasis models. NR supplementation decreased metastasis to the bone and liver in the hematogenous metastasis model. NR supplementation also significantly decreased the size of allografted tumors and extended the survival time in C57BL/6J mice. In vitro experiments showed that NR intervention inhibited the migration and invasion of HepG2 cells triggered by TGF-β. In summary, our results supply evidence that boosting NAD levels by supplementing NR alleviates HCC progression and metastasis, which may serve as an effective treatment for the suppression of HCC progression.
    Keywords:  cancer metastasis; hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC); nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD); nicotinamide riboside (NR)
  40. Front Genet. 2023 ;14 1092276
      Introduction: Cervical cancer (CC) is the fourth most common malignant tumor in term of in incidence and mortality among women worldwide. The tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle is an important hub of energy metabolism, networking one-carbon metabolism, fatty acyl metabolism and glycolysis. It can be seen that the reprogramming of cell metabolism including TCA cycle plays an indispensable role in tumorigenesis and development. We aimed to identify genes related to the TCA cycle as prognostic markers in CC. Methods: Firstly, we performed the differential expressed analysis the gene expression profiles associated with TCA cycle obtained from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) database. Differential gene list was generated and cluster analysis was performed using genes with detected fold changes >1.5. Based on the subclusters of CC, we analysed the relationship between different clusters and clinical information. Next, Cox univariate and multivariate regression analysis were used to screen genes with prognostic characteristics, and risk scores were calculated according to the genes with prognostic characteristics. Additionally, we analyzed the correlation between the predictive signature and the treatment response of CC patients. Finally, we detected the expression of ench prognostic gene in clinical CC samples by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR). Results: We constructed a prognostic model consist of seven TCA cycle associated gene (ACSL1, ALDOA, FOXK2, GPI, MDH1B, MDH2, and MTHFD1). Patients with CC were separated into two groups according to median risk score, and high-risk group had a worse prognosis compared to the low-risk group. High risk group had lower level of sensitivity to the conventional chemotherapy drugs including cisplatin, paclitaxel, sunitinib and docetaxel. The expression of ench prognostic signature in clinical CC samples was verified by qRT-PCR. Conclusion: There are several differentially expressed genes (DEGs) related to TCA cycle in CC. The risk score model based on these genes can effectively predict the prognosis of patients and provide tumor markers for predicting the prognosis of CC.
    Keywords:  bioinformatics; cervical cancer; metabolic reprogramming; prognostic signature; tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA cycle)
  41. J Med Chem. 2023 Mar 30.
      High oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) happens in some tumors, which depends on OXPHOS for energy supply, particularly in slow-cycling tumor cells. Therefore, targeting human mitochondrial RNA polymerase (POLRMT) to inhibit mitochondrial gene expression emerges as a potential therapeutic strategy to eradicate tumor cells. In this work, exploration and optimization of the first-in-class POLRMT inhibitor IMT1B and its SAR led to the identification of a novel compound D26, which exerted a strong antiproliferative effect on several cancer cells and decreased mitochondrial-related genes expression. In addition, mechanism studies demonstrated that D26 arrested cell cycle at the G1 phase and had no effect on apoptosis, depolarized mitochondria, or reactive oxidative stress generation in A2780 cells. Importantly, D26 exhibited more potent anticancer activity than the lead IMT1B in A2780 xenograft nude mice and had no observable toxic effect. All results suggest that D26 deserves to be further investigated as a potent and safe antitumor candidate.
  42. Cell Death Differ. 2023 Mar 25.
      The functionally differentiated mammary gland adapts to extreme levels of stress from increased demand for energy by activating specific protective mechanisms to support neonatal health. Here, we identify the breast tumor suppressor gene, single-minded 2 s (SIM2s) as a novel regulator of mitophagy, a key component of this stress response. Using tissue-specific mouse models, we found that loss of Sim2 reduced lactation performance, whereas gain (overexpression) of Sim2s enhanced and extended lactation performance and survival of mammary epithelial cells (MECs). Using an in vitro model of MEC differentiation, we observed SIM2s is required for Parkin-mediated mitophagy, which we have previously shown as necessary for functional differentiation. Mechanistically, SIM2s localizes to mitochondria to directly mediate Parkin mitochondrial loading. Together, our data suggest that SIM2s regulates the rapid recycling of mitochondria via mitophagy, enhancing the function and survival of differentiated MECs.
  43. Nature. 2023 Mar 29.
    Keywords:  Cancer; Medical research
  44. Front Oncol. 2023 ;13 1123192
      Metastasis is considered as the major cause of cancer death. Cancer cells can be released from primary tumors into the circulation and then colonize in distant organs. How cancer cells acquire the ability to colonize in distant organs has always been the focus of tumor biology. To enable survival and growth in the new environment, metastases commonly reprogram their metabolic states and therefore display different metabolic properties and preferences compared with the primary lesions. For different microenvironments in various colonization sites, cancer cells must transfer to specific metabolic states to colonize in different distant organs, which provides the possibility of evaluating metastasis tendency by tumor metabolic states. Amino acids provide crucial precursors for many biosynthesis and play an essential role in cancer metastasis. Evidence has proved the hyperactivation of several amino acid biosynthetic pathways in metastatic cancer cells, including glutamine, serine, glycine, branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), proline, and asparagine metabolism. The reprogramming of amino acid metabolism can orchestrate energy supply, redox homeostasis, and other metabolism-associated pathways during cancer metastasis. Here, we review the role and function of amino acid metabolic reprogramming in cancer cells colonizing in common metastatic organs, including lung, liver, brain, peritoneum, and bone. In addition, we summarize the current biomarker identification and drug development of cancer metastasis under the amino acid metabolism reprogramming, and discuss the possibility and prospect of targeting organ-specific metastasis for cancer treatment.
    Keywords:  amino acid metabolism; cancer metastasis; distant organ colonization; metabolic reprogramming; metabolic targeting
  45. Nature. 2023 Mar 29.
      Metastasis frequently develops from disseminated cancer cells that remain dormant after the apparently successful treatment of a primary tumour. These cells fluctuate between an immune-evasive quiescent state and a proliferative state liable to immune-mediated elimination1-6. Little is known about the clearing of reawakened metastatic cells and how this process could be therapeutically activated to eliminate residual disease in patients. Here we use models of indolent lung adenocarcinoma metastasis to identify cancer cell-intrinsic determinants of immune reactivity during exit from dormancy. Genetic screens of tumour-intrinsic immune regulators identified the stimulator of interferon genes (STING) pathway as a suppressor of metastatic outbreak. STING activity increases in metastatic progenitors that re-enter the cell cycle and is dampened by hypermethylation of the STING promoter and enhancer in breakthrough metastases or by chromatin repression in cells re-entering dormancy in response to TGFβ. STING expression in cancer cells derived from spontaneous metastases suppresses their outgrowth. Systemic treatment of mice with STING agonists eliminates dormant metastasis and prevents spontaneous outbreaks in a T cell- and natural killer cell-dependent manner-these effects require cancer cell STING function. Thus, STING provides a checkpoint against the progression of dormant metastasis and a therapeutically actionable strategy for the prevention of disease relapse.
  46. Aging (Albany NY). 2023 Mar 24. 15
      Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a common malignant tumor of the digestive system worldwide. DMC-BH, a curcumin analog, has been reported to possess anticancer properties against human gliomas. However, its effects and mechanism on CRC cells are still unknown. Our present study demonstrated that DMC-BH had stronger cytostatic ability than curcumin against CRC cells in vitro and in vivo. It effectively inhibited the proliferation and invasion and promoted the apoptosis of HCT116 and HT-29 cells. RNA-Seq and data analysis indicated that its effects might be mediated by regulation of the PI3K/AKT signaling. Western blotting further confirmed that it dose-dependently suppressed the phosphorylation of PI3K, AKT and mTOR. The Akt pathway activator SC79 reversed the proapoptotic effects of DMC-BH on CRC cells, indicating that its effects are mediated by PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling. Collectively, the results of the present study suggest that DMC-BH exerts more potent effects than curcumin against CRC by inactivating the PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling pathway.
    Keywords:  DMC-BH; apoptosis; colorectal cancer; invasion; proliferation
  47. Sci Signal. 2023 Mar 28. 16(778): eabp9586
      Mutations in the type III receptor tyrosine kinase FLT3 are frequent in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and are associated with a poor prognosis. AML is characterized by the overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which can induce cysteine oxidation in redox-sensitive signaling proteins. Here, we sought to characterize the specific pathways affected by ROS in AML by assessing oncogenic signaling in primary AML samples. The oxidation or phosphorylation of signaling proteins that mediate growth and proliferation was increased in samples from patient subtypes with FLT3 mutations. These samples also showed increases in the oxidation of proteins in the ROS-producing Rac/NADPH oxidase-2 (NOX2) complex. Inhibition of NOX2 increased the apoptosis of FLT3-mutant AML cells in response to FLT3 inhibitors. NOX2 inhibition also reduced the phosphorylation and cysteine oxidation of FLT3 in patient-derived xenograft mouse models, suggesting that decreased oxidative stress reduces the oncogenic signaling of FLT3. In mice grafted with FLT3 mutant AML cells, treatment with a NOX2 inhibitor reduced the number of circulating cancer cells, and combining FLT3 and NOX2 inhibitors increased survival to a greater extent than either treatment alone. Together, these data raise the possibility that combining NOX2 and FLT3 inhibitors could improve the treatment of FLT3 mutant AML.