bims-mibica Biomed News
on Mitochondrial bioenergetics in cancer
Issue of 2023‒04‒09
eighteen papers selected by
Kelsey Fisher-Wellman
East Carolina University

  1. Haematologica. 2023 Apr 06.
      Outcomes for patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) remain poor due to the inability of current therapeutic regimens to fully eradicate disease initiating leukemia stem cells (LSCs). Previous studies have demonstrated that oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) is an essential process that is targetable in LSCs. Sirtuin 3 (SIRT3), a mitochondrial deacetylase with a multi-faceted role in metabolic regulation, has been shown to regulate OXPHOS in cancer models; however, it has not yet been studied in the context of LSCs. Thus, we sought to identify if SIRT3 is important for LSC function. Using RNAi and a SIRT3 inhibitor (YC8-02), we demonstrate that SIRT3 is a critical target for the survival of primary human LSCs but is not essential for normal human hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell (HSPC) function. To elucidate the molecular mechanisms by which SIRT3 is essential in LSCs we combined transcriptomic, proteomic, and lipidomic approaches, showing that SIRT3 is important for LSC function through the regulation of fatty acid oxidation (FAO) which is required to support oxidative phosphorylation and ATP production in human LSCs. Further, we discovered two approaches to further sensitize LSCs to SIRT3 inhibition. First, we found that LSCs tolerate the toxic effects of fatty acid accumulation induced by SIRT3 inhibition by upregulating cholesterol esterification. Disruption of cholesterol homeostasis sensitizes LSCs to YC8-02 and potentiates LSC cell death. Second, SIRT3 inhibition sensitizes LSCs to BCL-2 inhibitor venetoclax. Together, these findings establish SIRT3 as a regulator of lipid metabolism and potential therapeutic target in primitive AML cells.
  2. Autophagy Rep. 2022 ;1(1): 210-213
      Differentiating stem cells must adapt their mitochondrial metabolism to fit the needs of the mature differentiated cell. In a recent study, we observed that during differentiation to an endothelial phenotype, pluripotent stem cell mitochondria are removed by mitophagy, triggering compensatory mitochondrial biogenesis to replenish the mitochondrial pool. We identified the mitochondrial phosphatase PGAM5 as the link between mitophagy and transcription of the mitochondrial biogenesis regulator PPARGC1A/PGC1α in the nucleus. Swapping of mitochondria through the coupled processes of mitophagy and mitochondrial biogenesis lead to enhanced metabolic reprogramming in the differentiated cell.
    Keywords:  CTNNB1/β-catenin; PINK1; PPARGC1A/PGC1α; differentiation; endothelium; mitochondrial biogenesis; mitofusin 2; mitophagy; stem cells
  3. Nat Metab. 2023 Apr 03.
      Cancer cells fuel their increased need for nucleotide supply by upregulating one-carbon (1C) metabolism, including the enzymes methylenetetrahydrofolate dehydrogenase-cyclohydrolase 1 and 2 (MTHFD1 and MTHFD2). TH9619 is a potent inhibitor of dehydrogenase and cyclohydrolase activities in both MTHFD1 and MTHFD2, and selectively kills cancer cells. Here, we reveal that, in cells, TH9619 targets nuclear MTHFD2 but does not inhibit mitochondrial MTHFD2. Hence, overflow of formate from mitochondria continues in the presence of TH9619. TH9619 inhibits the activity of MTHFD1 occurring downstream of mitochondrial formate release, leading to the accumulation of 10-formyl-tetrahydrofolate, which we term a 'folate trap'. This results in thymidylate depletion and death of MTHFD2-expressing cancer cells. This previously uncharacterized folate trapping mechanism is exacerbated by physiological hypoxanthine levels that block the de novo purine synthesis pathway, and additionally prevent 10-formyl-tetrahydrofolate consumption for purine synthesis. The folate trapping mechanism described here for TH9619 differs from other MTHFD1/2 inhibitors and antifolates. Thus, our findings uncover an approach to attack cancer and reveal a regulatory mechanism in 1C metabolism.
  4. EMBO J. 2023 Apr 06. e114141
      The mitochondrial F1 Fo -ATP synthase uses a rotary mechanism to synthesise ATP. This mechanism can, however, also operate in reverse, pumping protons at the expense of ATP, with significant potential implications for mitochondrial and age-related diseases. In a recent study, Acin-Perez et al (2023) use an elegant assay to screen compounds for the capacity to selectively inhibit ATP hydrolysis without affecting ATP synthesis. They show that (+)-epicatechin is one such compound and has significant benefits for cell and tissue function in disease models. These findings signpost a novel therapeutic approach for mitochondrial disease.
  5. Nat Commun. 2023 Apr 03. 14(1): 1849
      Cachexia is a debilitating wasting syndrome and highly prevalent comorbidity in cancer patients. It manifests especially with energy and mitochondrial metabolism aberrations that promote tissue wasting. We recently identified nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) loss to associate with muscle mitochondrial dysfunction in cancer hosts. In this study we confirm that depletion of NAD+ and downregulation of Nrk2, an NAD+ biosynthetic enzyme, are common features of severe cachexia in different mouse models. Testing NAD+ repletion therapy in cachectic mice reveals that NAD+ precursor, vitamin B3 niacin, efficiently corrects tissue NAD+ levels, improves mitochondrial metabolism and ameliorates cancer- and chemotherapy-induced cachexia. In a clinical setting, we show that muscle NRK2 is downregulated in cancer patients. The low expression of NRK2 correlates with metabolic abnormalities underscoring the significance of NAD+ in the pathophysiology of human cancer cachexia. Overall, our results propose NAD+ metabolism as a therapy target for cachectic cancer patients.
  6. Mol Oncol. 2023 Apr 04.
      In previous studies, we demonstrated that panobinostat, a histone deacetylase inhibitor, and the proteasomal inhibitor bortezomib displayed synergistic therapeutic activity against pediatric and adult high-grade gliomas. Despite the remarkable initial response to this combination, resistance emerged. Here, in this study, we aimed to investigate the molecular mechanisms underlying the anticancer effects of panobinostat and marizomib, a brain-penetrant proteasomal inhibitor, and the potential for exploitable vulnerabilities associated with acquired resistance. RNA sequencing followed by gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) were employed to compare the molecular signatures enriched in resistant compared to drug-naïve cells. The levels of adenosine 5'-triphosphate (ATP), nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD)+ content, hexokinase activity and tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle metabolites required for oxidative phosphorylation to meet their bioenergetic needs were analyzed. Here, we report that panobinostat and marizomib significantly depleted ATP and NAD+ content, increased mitochondrial permeability and reactive oxygen species generation, and promoted apoptosis in pediatric and adult glioma cell lines at initial treatment. However, resistant cells exhibited increased levels of TCA cycle metabolites, required for oxidative phosphorylation to meet their bioenergetic needs. Therefore, we targeted glycolysis and the electron transport chain (ETC) with small-molecule inhibitors, which displayed substantial efficacy, suggesting that resistant cell survival is dependent on glycolytic and ETC complexes. To verify these observations in vivo, lonidamine, an inhibitor of glycolysis and mitochondrial function, was chosen. We produced two diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) models, and lonidamine treatment significantly increased median survival in both models, with particularly dramatic effects in panobinostat- and marizomib-resistant cells. These data provide new insights into mechanisms of treatment resistance in gliomas.
    Keywords:  Glioma; OXPHOS; marizomib; mitochondria; panobinostat; resistance
  7. Cell Death Dis. 2023 Apr 05. 14(4): 241
      Drug resistance limits the efficacy of chemotherapy and targeted cancer treatments, calling for the identification of druggable targets to overcome it. Here we show that the mitochondria-shaping protein Opa1 participates in resistance against the tyrosine kinase inhibitor gefitinib in a lung adenocarcinoma cell line. Respiratory profiling revealed that oxidative metabolism was increased in this gefitinib-resistant lung cancer cell line. Accordingly, resistant cells depended on mitochondrial ATP generation, and their mitochondria were elongated with narrower cristae. In the resistant cells, levels of Opa1 were increased and its genetic or pharmacological inhibition reverted the mitochondrial morphology changes and sensitized them to gefitinib-induced cytochrome c release and apoptosis. In vivo, the size of gefitinib-resistant lung orthotopic tumors was reduced when gefitinib was combined with the specific Opa1 inhibitor MYLS22. The combo gefitinib-MYLS22 treatment increased tumor apoptosis and reduced its proliferation. Thus, the mitochondrial protein Opa1 participates in gefitinib resistance and can be targeted to overcome it.
  8. J Vis Exp. 2023 03 17.
      In recent years, the number of studies dedicated to ascertaining the connection between mitochondria and cancer has significantly risen. However, more efforts are still needed to fully understand the link involving alterations in mitochondria and tumorigenesis, as well as to identify tumor-associated mitochondrial phenotypes. For instance, to evaluate the contribution of mitochondria in tumorigenesis and metastasis processes, it is essential to understand the influence of mitochondria from tumor cells in different nuclear environments. For this purpose, one possible approach consists of transferring mitochondria into a different nuclear background to obtain the so-called cybrid cells. In the traditional cybridization techniques, a cell line lacking mtDNA (ρ0, nuclear donor cell) is repopulated with mitochondria derived from either enucleated cells or platelets. However, the enucleation process requires good cell adhesion to the culture plate, a feature that is partially or completely lost in many cases in invasive cells. In addition, another difficulty found in the traditional methods is achieving complete removal of the endogenous mtDNA from the mitochondrial-recipient cell line to obtain pure nuclear and mitochondrial DNA backgrounds, avoiding the presence of two different mtDNA species in the generated cybrid. In this work, we present a mitochondrial exchange protocol applied to suspension-growing cancer cells based on the repopulation of rhodamine 6G-pretreated cells with isolated mitochondria. This methodology allows us to overcome the limitations of the traditional approaches, and thus can be used as a tool to expand the comprehension of the mitochondrial role in cancer progression and metastasis.
  9. Cell Death Dis. 2023 Apr 06. 14(4): 251
      Mitochondria are essential organelles in balancing oxidative stress and cell death during cancer cell proliferation. Rapid tumor growth induces tremendous stress on mitochondria. The mammalian tumor necrosis factor-α-induced protein 8-likes (TIPEs) family plays critical roles in balancing cancer cell death and survival. Yet, the roles of TIPEs in HNSCC tumorigenesis and mitochondria stress maintenance is unclear. Based on an integrative analysis of public HNSCC datasets, we identified that the downregulation of TIPE3 via its promoter hypermethylation modification is the major event of TIPEs alterations during HNSCC tumorigenesis. Low expression levels of TIPE3 were correlated with high malignancy and poor clinical outcomes of HNSCC patients. Restoring TIPE3 represses HNSCC proliferation, migration, and invasion in vitro and in vivo, while silencing TIPE3 acted on an opposite way. Mechanistically, TIPE3 band to the PGAM5 and electron transport chain (ETC) complex. Restoring TIPE3 promoted PGAM5 recruiting BAX and dephosphorylating p-DRP1(Ser637), which triggered mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization and fragmentation. Ultimately, TIPE3 induced ETC damage and oxygen consumption rate decrease, ROS accumulation, mitochondrial membrane potential depolarization, and cell apoptosis. Collectively, our work reveals that TIPE3 plays critical role in maintaining mitochondrial stress and cancer cell progression in HNSCC, which might be a potential therapeutic target for HNSCC patients.
  10. Nat Cell Biol. 2023 Apr 03.
      Metabolism is intertwined with various cellular processes, including controlling cell fate, influencing tumorigenesis, participating in stress responses and more. Metabolism is a complex, interdependent network, and local perturbations can have indirect effects that are pervasive across the metabolic network. Current analytical and technical limitations have long created a bottleneck in metabolic data interpretation. To address these shortcomings, we developed Metaboverse, a user-friendly tool to facilitate data exploration and hypothesis generation. Here we introduce algorithms that leverage the metabolic network to extract complex reaction patterns from data. To minimize the impact of missing measurements within the network, we introduce methods that enable pattern recognition across multiple reactions. Using Metaboverse, we identify a previously undescribed metabolite signature that correlated with survival outcomes in early stage lung adenocarcinoma patients. Using a yeast model, we identify metabolic responses suggesting an adaptive role of citrate homeostasis during mitochondrial dysfunction facilitated by the citrate transporter, Ctp1. We demonstrate that Metaboverse augments the user's ability to extract meaningful patterns from multi-omics datasets to develop actionable hypotheses.
  11. Free Radic Biol Med. 2023 Apr 01. pii: S0891-5849(23)00368-4. [Epub ahead of print]
      Aging is accompanied by a decline in DNA repair efficiency, which leads to the accumulation of different types of DNA damage. Age-associated chronic inflammation and generation of reactive oxygen species exacerbate the aging process and age-related chronic disorders. These inflammatory processes establish conditions that favor accumulation of DNA base damage, especially 8-oxo-7,8 di-hydroguanine (8-oxoG), which in turn contributes to various age associated diseases. 8-oxoG is repaired by 8-oxoG glycosylase1 (OGG1) through the base excision repair (BER) pathway. OGG1 is present in both the cell nucleus and in mitochondria. Mitochondrial OGG1 has been implicated in mitochondrial DNA repair and increased mitochondrial function. Using transgenic mouse models and cell lines that have been engineered to have enhanced expression of mitochondria-targeted OGG1 (mtOGG1), we show that elevated levels of mtOGG1 in mitochondria can reverse aging-associated inflammation and improve functions. Old male mtOGG1Tg mice show decreased inflammation response, decreased TNFα levels and multiple pro-inflammatory cytokines. Moreover, we observe that male mtOGG1Tg mice show resistance to STING activation. Interestingly, female mtOGG1Tg mice did not respond to mtOGG1 overexpression. Further, HMC3 cells expressing mtOGG1 display decreased release of mtDNA into the cytoplasm after lipopolysacchride induction and regulate inflammation through the pSTING pathway. Also, increased mtOGG1 expression reduced LPS-induced loss of mitochondrial functions. These results suggest that mtOGG1 regulates age-associated inflammation by controlling release of mtDNA into the cytoplasm.
  12. Nat Metab. 2023 Apr 06.
      Glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) is known to contain an active-site cysteine residue undergoing oxidation in response to hydrogen peroxide, leading to rapid inactivation of the enzyme. Here we show that human and mouse cells expressing a GAPDH mutant lacking this redox switch retain catalytic activity but are unable to stimulate the oxidative pentose phosphate pathway and enhance their reductive capacity. Specifically, we find that anchorage-independent growth of cells and spheroids is limited by an elevation of endogenous peroxide levels and is largely dependent on a functional GAPDH redox switch. Likewise, tumour growth in vivo is limited by peroxide stress and suppressed when the GAPDH redox switch is disabled in tumour cells. The induction of additional intratumoural oxidative stress by chemo- or radiotherapy synergized with the deactivation of the GAPDH redox switch. Mice lacking the GAPDH redox switch exhibit altered fatty acid metabolism in kidney and heart, apparently in compensation for the lack of the redox switch. Together, our findings demonstrate the physiological and pathophysiological relevance of oxidative GAPDH inactivation in mammals.
  13. FEBS Lett. 2023 Apr 05.
      Mitochondria contain 902 (yeast) to 1.136 (mouse, humans) verified proteins. Except for a very small number of mitochondrially encoded core components of the respiratory chain, mitochondrial proteins are encoded by nuclear genes and synthesized in the cytosol. Different import pathways direct proteins to their respective mitochondrial subcompartment (outer membrane, intermembrane space (IMS), inner membrane and matrix). Specific targeting signals in their sequence direct proteins to their target destination and allow the proteins to embark on their respective import pathway. The main import pathways are shown here on the poster and are introduced in the following, using the mitochondrial import system of the baker's yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as example. However, the mitochondrial import system of mammalian cells is highly similar and deviates only in minor aspects. Even the mitochondrial import machineries of less closely related eukaryotes, such as plants and trypanosomes, are very similar and adhere to the same general principles.
    Keywords:  Mitochondria; Protein Import; Protein translocation; Translocase of the inner membrane; Translocase of the outer membrane
  14. Nat Commun. 2023 Apr 06. 14(1): 1930
      Mutations in GBA1, the gene encoding the lysosomal enzyme β-glucocerebrosidase (GCase), which cause Gaucher's disease, are the most frequent genetic risk factor for Parkinson's disease (PD). Here, we employ global proteomic and single-cell genomic approaches in stable cell lines as well as induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived neurons and midbrain organoids to dissect the mechanisms underlying GCase-related neurodegeneration. We demonstrate that GCase can be imported from the cytosol into the mitochondria via recognition of internal mitochondrial targeting sequence-like signals. In mitochondria, GCase promotes the maintenance of mitochondrial complex I (CI) integrity and function. Furthermore, GCase interacts with the mitochondrial quality control proteins HSP60 and LONP1. Disease-associated mutations impair CI stability and function and enhance the interaction with the mitochondrial quality control machinery. These findings reveal a mitochondrial role of GCase and suggest that defective CI activity and energy metabolism may drive the pathogenesis of GCase-linked neurodegeneration.
  15. Genes Dis. 2023 Jan;10(1): 7-9
      Although extensively studied, it is unknown what is the major cellular energy driving tumor metastasis after anti-cancer radiotherapy. Metabolic reprogramming is one of the fundamental hallmarks in carcinogenesis and tumor progression featured with the increased glycolysis in solid tumors. However, accumulating evidence indicates that in addition to the rudimentary glycolytic pathway, tumor cells are capable of reactivating mitochondrial OXPHOS under genotoxic stress condition to meet the increasing cellular fuel demand for repairing and surviving anti-cancer radiation. Such dynamic metabolic rewiring may play a key role in cancer therapy resistance and metastasis. Interestingly, data from our group and others have demonstrated that cancer cells can re-activate mitochondrial oxidative respiration to boost an annexing energy to meet the increasing cellular fuel demand for tumor cells surviving genotoxic anti-cancer therapy with metastatic potential.
    Keywords:  CD47; Immune checkpoint; Immunotherapy; Metabolic rewiring; Radiation therapy; Tumor acquired resistance
  16. Blood. 2023 Apr 05. pii: blood.2022016896. [Epub ahead of print]
      Although tyrosine kinase inhibitors are effective for treating chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), they often fail to eradicate the leukemia-initiating stem cells (LSCs), causing disease persistence and relapse. Evidence indicates that LSC persistence may be due to bone marrow (BM) niche protection. However, little is known about the underlying mechanisms. We here molecularly and functionally characterized BM niches in CML patients at diagnosis and revealed the altered niche composition and function in the CML patients. Long-term culture initiating cell (LTC-IC) assay showed that the mesenchymal stem cells from CML patients displayed an enhanced supporting capacity for normal and CML BM CD34+CD38- cells. Molecularly, RNA sequencing detected dysregulated cytokine and growth factor expression in CML patient BM cellular niches. Among them, CXCL14 was lost in the BM cellular niches in contrast to its expression in healthy BM. Restoring CXCL14 significantly inhibited CML LSC maintenance and enhanced their response to imatinib in vitro, and CML engraftment in vivo in NSG-SGM3 mice. Importantly, CXCL14 treatment dramatically inhibited CML engraftment in xenografted NSG-SGM3 mice, even to a greater degree than imatinib, and this inhibition persisted in patients with suboptimal TKI response. Mechanistically, CXCL14 upregulated inflammatory cytokine signaling but downregulated mTOR signaling and oxidative phosphorylation in CML LSCs. Together, we have discovered a suppressive role of CXCL14 in CML LSC growth. CXCL14 might offer a treatment option targeting CML LSCs.