bims-mibica Biomed News
on Mitochondrial bioenergetics in cancer
Issue of 2023‒04‒16
thirty papers selected by
Kelsey Fisher-Wellman
East Carolina University

  1. J Biol Chem. 2023 Apr 08. pii: S0021-9258(23)00333-2. [Epub ahead of print] 104691
      Mitophagy is a cargo-specific autophagic process that recycles damaged mitochondria to promote mitochondrial turnover. PTEN-induced putative kinase 1 (PINK1) mediates the canonical mitophagic pathway. However, the role of PINK1 in diseases where mitophagy has been purported to play a role, such as colorectal cancer, in unclear.Our results here demonstrate that higher PINK1 expression is positively correlated with decreased colon cancer survival, and mitophagy is required for colon cancer growth following nutrient stress. We show that doxycycline-inducible knockdown (KD) of PINK1 in a panel of colon cancer cell lines inhibited proliferation, whereas disruption of other mitophagy receptors did not impact cell growth. We observed that PINK KD led to a decrease in mitochondrial respiration, membrane hyperpolarization, accumulation of mitochondrial DNA, and depletion of antioxidant glutathione. In addition, mitochondria are important hubs for the utilization of iron and synthesizing iron-dependent cofactors such as heme and iron sulfur clusters. We observed an increase in the iron storage protein ferritin and a decrease labile iron pool in the PINK1 KD cells, but total cellular iron or markers of iron starvation/overload were not affected. Finally, cellular iron storage and the labile iron pool are maintained via autophagic degradation of ferritin (ferritinophagy). We found overexpressing nuclear receptor coactivator 4, a key adaptor for ferritinophagy, rescued cell growth and the labile iron pool in PINK1 KD cells. These results indicate that PINK1 integrates mitophagy and ferritinophagy to regulate intracellular iron availability and is essential for maintaining intracellular iron homeostasis to support survival and growth in colorectal cancer cells.
    Keywords:  colon cancer; ferritinophagy; iron; mitochondria; mitophagy
  2. Nat Commun. 2023 Apr 14. 14(1): 2132
      Resistance to standard and novel therapies remains the main obstacle to cure in acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) and is often driven by metabolic adaptations which are therapeutically actionable. Here we identify inhibition of mannose-6-phosphate isomerase (MPI), the first enzyme in the mannose metabolism pathway, as a sensitizer to both cytarabine and FLT3 inhibitors across multiple AML models. Mechanistically, we identify a connection between mannose metabolism and fatty acid metabolism, that is mediated via preferential activation of the ATF6 arm of the unfolded protein response (UPR). This in turn leads to cellular accumulation of polyunsaturated fatty acids, lipid peroxidation and ferroptotic cell death in AML cells. Our findings provide further support to the role of rewired metabolism in AML therapy resistance, unveil a connection between two apparently independent metabolic pathways and support further efforts to achieve eradication of therapy-resistant AML cells by sensitizing them to ferroptotic cell death.
  3. J Clin Invest. 2023 Apr 13. pii: e165028. [Epub ahead of print]
      Germline or somatic loss-of-function mutations of fumarate hydratase (FH) predispose patients to an aggressive form of renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Since other than tumor resection, there is no effective therapy for metastatic FH-deficient RCC, an accurate method for early diagnosis is needed. Although MRI or CT scans are offered, they cannot differentiate FH-deficient tumors from other RCCs. Therefore, finding noninvasive plasma biomarkers suitable for rapid diagnosis, screening and surveillance would improve clinical outcomes. Taking advantage of the robust metabolic rewiring that occurs in FH-deficient cells, we performed plasma metabolomics analysis and identified two tumor-derived metabolites, succinyl-adenosine and succinic-cysteine, as outstanding plasma biomarkers for early diagnosis (receiver operating characteristic area under curve (ROCAUC) = 0.98). These two molecules reliably reflected the FH mutation status and tumor mass. We further identified the enzymatic cooperativity by which these biomarkers are produced within the tumor microenvironment. Longitudinal monitoring of patients demonstrated that these circulating biomarkers can be used for reporting on treatment efficacy and identifying recurrent or metastatic tumors.
    Keywords:  Cancer; Genetic diseases; Metabolism; Molecular diagnosis; Oncology
  4. J Biol Chem. 2023 Apr 10. pii: S0021-9258(23)00337-X. [Epub ahead of print] 104695
      Pulmonary fibrosis is a progressive lung disease characterized by macrophage activation. Asbestos-induced expression of NADPH oxidase 4 (NOX4) in lung macrophages mediates fibrotic progression by the generation of mitochondrial ROS, modulating mitochondrial biogenesis, and promoting apoptosis resistance; however, the mechanism(s) by which NOX4 localizes to mitochondria during fibrosis is not known. Here we show that NOX4 localized to the mitochondrial matrix following asbestos exposure in lung macrophages by a direct interaction with TIM23. TIM23 and NOX4 interaction was found in lung macrophages from human subjects with asbestosis, while it was absent in mice harboring a conditional deletion of NOX4 in lung macrophages. This interaction was localized to the proximal transmembrane region of NOX4. Mechanistically, TIM23 augmented NOX4-induced mitochondrial ROS and metabolic reprogramming to oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS). Silencing TIM23 decreased mitochondrial ROS and OXPHOS. These observations highlight the important role of the mitochondrial translocase TIM23 interaction with NOX4. Moreover, this interaction is required for mitochondrial redox signaling and metabolic reprogramming in lung macrophages.
  5. Nat Commun. 2023 Apr 14. 14(1): 2123
      Redox signaling and cardiac function are tightly linked. However, it is largely unknown which protein targets are affected by hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) in cardiomyocytes that underly impaired inotropic effects during oxidative stress. Here, we combine a chemogenetic mouse model (HyPer-DAO mice) and a redox-proteomics approach to identify redox sensitive proteins. Using the HyPer-DAO mice, we demonstrate that increased endogenous production of H2O2 in cardiomyocytes leads to a reversible impairment of cardiac contractility in vivo. Notably, we identify the γ-subunit of the TCA cycle enzyme isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH)3 as a redox switch, linking its modification to altered mitochondrial metabolism. Using microsecond molecular dynamics simulations and experiments using cysteine-gene-edited cells reveal that IDH3γ Cys148 and 284 are critically involved in the H2O2-dependent regulation of IDH3 activity. Our findings provide an unexpected mechanism by which mitochondrial metabolism can be modulated through redox signaling processes.
  6. bioRxiv. 2023 Mar 31. pii: 2023.03.31.535139. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitochondria are highly dynamic double membrane-bound organelles that maintain their shape in part through fission and fusion. Mitochondrial fission is performed by the dynamin-related protein Dnm1 (Drp1 in humans), a large GTPase that constricts and divides the mitochondria in a GTP hydrolysis-dependent manner. However, it is unclear whether factors inside mitochondria help coordinate the process and if Dnm1/Drp1 activity alone is sufficient to complete fission of both mitochondrial membranes. Here, we identify an intermembrane space protein required for mitochondrial fission in yeast, which we propose to name Mdi1. Loss of Mdi1 leads to hyper-fused mitochondria networks due to defects in mitochondrial fission, but not lack of Dnm1 recruitment to mitochondria. Mdi1 plays a conserved role in fungal species and its homologs contain a putative amphipathic α-helix, mutations in which disrupt mitochondrial morphology. One model to explain these findings is that Mdi1 associates with and distorts the mitochondrial inner membrane to enable Dnm1 to robustly complete fission. Our work reveals that Dnm1 cannot efficiently divide mitochondria without the coordinated function of a protein that resides inside mitochondria.
  7. iScience. 2023 Apr 21. 26(4): 106386
      Cholesterol initiates steroid metabolism in adrenal and gonadal mitochondria, which is essential for all mammalian survival. During stress an increased cholesterol transport rapidly increases steroidogenesis; however, the mechanism of mitochondrial cholesterol transport is unknown. Using rat testicular tissue and mouse Leydig (MA-10) cells, we report for the first time that mitochondrial translocase of outer mitochondrial membrane (OMM), Tom40, is central in cholesterol transport. Cytoplasmic cholesterol-lipids complex containing StAR protein move from the mitochondria-associated ER membrane (MAM) to the OMM, increasing cholesterol load. Tom40 interacts with StAR at the OMM increasing cholesterol transport into mitochondria. An absence of Tom40 disassembles complex formation and inhibits mitochondrial cholesterol transport and steroidogenesis. Therefore, Tom40 is essential for rapid mitochondrial cholesterol transport to initiate, maintain, and regulate activity.
    Keywords:  Biomolecules; Cell biology; Protein folding
  8. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2023 Apr 18. 120(16): e2217665120
      The mitochondrial calcium uniporter is a Ca2+ channel that imports cytoplasmic Ca2+ into the mitochondrial matrix to regulate cell bioenergetics, intracellular Ca2+ signaling, and apoptosis. The uniporter contains the pore-forming MCU subunit, an auxiliary EMRE protein, and the regulatory MICU1/MICU2 subunits. Structural and biochemical studies have suggested that MICU1 gates MCU by blocking/unblocking the pore. However, mitoplast patch-clamp experiments argue that MICU1 does not block, but instead potentiates MCU via allosteric mechanisms. Here, we address this direct clash of the proposed MICU1 function. Supporting the MICU1-occlusion mechanism, patch-clamp demonstrates that purified MICU1 strongly suppresses MCU Ca2+ currents, and this inhibition is abolished by mutating the MCU-interacting K126 residue. Moreover, a membrane-depolarization assay shows that MICU1 prevents MCU-mediated Na+ flux into intact mitochondria under Ca2+-free conditions. Examining the observations underlying the potentiation model, we found that MICU1 occlusion was not detected in mitoplasts not because MICU1 cannot block, but because MICU1 dissociates from the uniporter complex. Furthermore, MICU1 depletion reduces uniporter transport not because MICU1 can potentiate MCU, but because EMRE is down-regulated. These results firmly establish the molecular mechanisms underlying the physiologically crucial process of uniporter regulation by MICU1.
    Keywords:  calcium channels; intracellular calcium signaling; mitochondrial physiology; organellar channels
  9. bioRxiv. 2023 Mar 29. pii: 2023.03.29.534596. [Epub ahead of print]
      Pancreatic cancer (PC) is one of the most aggressive types of cancer, with a five-year overall survival rate of 11% among all-comers. Current systemic therapeutic options are limited to cytotoxic chemotherapies which have limited clinical efficacy and are often associated with development of drug resistance. Analysis of The Cancer Genome Atlas showed that wild-type isocitrate dehydrogenase (wtIDH1) is overexpressed in pancreatic tumors. In this study, we focus on the potential roles of wtIDH1 in pancreatic cancer chemoresistance. We found that treatment of pancreatic cancer cells with chemotherapy induced expression of wtIDH1, and this serves as a key resistance factor. The enzyme is protective to cancer cells under chemotherapy-induced oxidative stress by producing NADPH and alpha-ketoglutarate to maintain redox balance and mitochondrial function. An FDA-approved mutant IDH1 inhibitor, ivosidenib (AG-120), is actually a potent wtDH1 inhibitor under a nutrient-deprived microenvironment, reflective of the pancreatic cancer microenvironment. Suppression of wtIDH1 impairs redox balance, results in increased ROS levels, and enhances chemotherapy induced apoptosis in pancreatic cancer vis ROS damage in vitro . In vivo experiments further revealed that inhibiting wtIDH1 enhances chemotherapy anti-tumor effects in patient-derived xenografts and murine models of pancreatic cancer. Pharmacologic wtIDH1 inhibition with ivosidenib represents an attractive option for combination therapies with cytotoxic chemotherapy for patients with pancreatic cancer. Based on these data, we have initiated phase Ib trial combining ivosidenib and multi-agent chemotherapy in patients with pancreatic cancer ( NCT05209074 ).
  10. Sci Adv. 2023 Apr 14. 9(15): eadf1956
      Deficiencies in mitochondrial protein import are associated with a number of diseases. However, although nonimported mitochondrial proteins are at great risk of aggregation, it remains largely unclear how their accumulation causes cell dysfunction. Here, we show that nonimported citrate synthase is targeted for proteasomal degradation by the ubiquitin ligase SCFUcc1. Unexpectedly, our structural and genetic analyses revealed that nonimported citrate synthase appears to form an enzymatically active conformation in the cytosol. Its excess accumulation caused ectopic citrate synthesis, which, in turn, led to an imbalance in carbon flux of sugar, a reduction of the pool of amino acids and nucleotides, and a growth defect. Under these conditions, translation repression is induced and acts as a protective mechanism that mitigates the growth defect. We propose that the consequence of mitochondrial import failure is not limited to proteotoxic insults, but that the accumulation of a nonimported metabolic enzyme elicits ectopic metabolic stress.
  11. Aging (Albany NY). 2023 Apr 10. 15
    Keywords:  electron transport chain; mitochondrial reactive oxygen species; mtROS propagation; redox signaling; reverse electron transport
  12. Antioxid Redox Signal. 2023 Apr 13.
      AIMS: Ferroptosis, a type of oxidative cell death driven by unlimited lipid peroxidation, is emerging as a target for cancer therapy. Although mitochondrial dysfunction may lead to ferroptosis, the underlying molecular mechanisms and metabolic pathways for ferroptosis are incompletely understood. Here, we identify solute carrier family 25 member 22 (SLC25A22), a mitochondrial glutamate transporter, as a driver of ferroptosis resistance in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) cells.RESULTS: The downregulation of SLC25A22 expression was associated with increased sensitivity to ferroptosis, but not to apoptosis. Mechanistically, on the one hand, SLC25A22-dependent NAPDH synthesis blocks ferroptotic cell death in PDAC cells through mediating the product of glutathione, the most important hydrophilic antioxidant. On the other hand, SLC25A22 promotes the expression of stearoyl-CoA desaturase (SCD) in PDAC cells in an AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK)-dependent manner, resulting in the production of anti-ferroptotic monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). The animal study further confirms that SLC25A22 inhibits ferroptosis-mediated tumor suppression.
    INNOVATION: SLC25A22 is a novel metabolic repressor of ferroptosis by producing GSH and MUFAs.
    CONCLUSION: These findings establish a previously unrecognized metabolic defense pathway to limit ferroptotic cell death in vitro and in vivo.
  13. Am J Cancer Res. 2023 ;13(3): 886-899
      Mitochondrial phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PCK2) is a key gluconeogenesis enzyme. Its differential expression is related to kidney renal clear cell carcinoma (KIRC) malignancy, possibly by influencing energy metabolism. Therefore, it is possible that PKC2 plays a significant part in the emergence and progression of KIRC. To systematically and comprehensively identify the significance of PCK2 in KIRC, we further studied PCK2 in terms of its relationship to clinical features and various clinical subgroups' prognoses. Moreover, we verified the effect of PCK2 and KIRC cells using experimental methods. PCR and western blotting analyses confirmed PCK2 expression in KIRC cell lines and tissues. As a cell model, we constructed cells that overexpress PCK2. Proliferation was detected by EdU experiments. Scratch tests and transwell assays were used, respectively, to analyze cell migration and invasion. Mass spectrometry detected energy metabolite expression in KIRC cells. The findings revealed that KIRC patients with lower levels of PCK2 expression exhibited shorter progression-free intervals, shorter disease-specific survival, and shorter overall survival. The experimental results showed that compared with 293t, PCK2 was downregulated in three KIRC lines (OSRC-2, 786-O, and A498). Relative to surrounding tissues, PCK2 was downregulated in KIRC. PCK2 overexpression inhibited KIRC cell proliferation, migration, and invasion and upregulated energy metabolite expression. Mass spectrometry revealed that thiamine pyrophosphate, cyclic AMP, beta-D-fructose 6-phosphate, lactate, flavin mononucleotide, NAD, NADP, and D-glucose 6-phosphate were upregulated. PCK2 has the potential to serve as both a diagnostic and prognostic molecular biomarker for KIRC, as well as an independent prognostic risk factor for KIRC. It is hoped that PCK2 will emerge as a therapeutic target for KIRC.
    Keywords:  Mitochondrial phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase; energy metabolism; invasion; kidney renal clear cell carcinoma; migration; proliferation
  14. Am J Cancer Res. 2023 ;13(3): 1067-1081
      Most breast cancers are estrogen receptor (ER)-positive, targeted by endocrine therapies, but chemoresistance remains a significant challenge in treating the disease. Altered intracellular metabolite has closely connected with the pathogenic process of breast cancer and drug resistance. Itaconate is an anti-inflammatory metabolite generated from converting cis-aconitate in the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle by the immune response gene 1 (IRG1). However, the potential role of IRG1/Itaconate in the crosstalk of metabolic pathways and tumor development is currently unknown. We tested the hypothesis that IRG1/Itaconate controls metabolic homeostasis to modulate breast cancer cell growth. We showed that breast cancers harboring an IRG1 deletion displayed a worse prognosis than those without IRG1 deletion; approximately 70% of breast cancer with IRG1 deletion were ER-positive. There was no significant difference in the IRG1 copy number, mRNA, and protein levels between ER-positive and ER-negative breast cancer cell lines and breast tumors. Itaconate selectively inhibited ER-positive breast cancer cell growth via the blockade of DNA synthesis and the induction of apoptosis. Mechanistically, IRG1 overexpression led to decreased intermediate levels of glycolysis, the TCA cycle, and lipid metabolism to compromise the entire biomass and energy of the cell. Itaconate inhibited the enzymatic activity of succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) in the mitochondrial electron-transport chain, concomitant with reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and the decreased adenylate kinase (AK) activities, which, in turn, induced AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activation to restore metabolic homeostasis. These results suggest a new regulatory pathway whereby IRG1/Itaconate controls metabolic homeostasis in ER-positive breast cancer cells, which may contribute to developing more efficacious therapeutic strategies for breast cancer.
    Keywords:  Breast cancer; estrogen receptor; immune response gene 1; itaconate; metabolic reprogramming; tricarboxylic acid cycle
  15. Sci Adv. 2023 Apr 14. 9(15): eadf8522
      It is increasingly becoming clear that cancers are a symbiosis of diverse cell types and tumor clones. Combined single-cell RNA sequencing, flow cytometry, and immunohistochemistry studies of the innate immune compartment in the bone marrow of patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) reveal a shift toward a tumor-supportive M2-polarized macrophage landscape with an altered transcriptional program, with enhanced fatty acid oxidation and NAD+ generation. Functionally, these AML-associated macrophages display decreased phagocytic activity and intra-bone marrow coinjection of M2 macrophages together with leukemic blasts strongly enhances in vivo transformation potential. A 2-day in vitro exposure to M2 macrophages results in the accumulation of CALRlow leukemic blast cells, which are now protected against phagocytosis. Moreover, M2-exposed "trained" leukemic blasts display increased mitochondrial metabolism, in part mediated via mitochondrial transfer. Our study provides insight into the mechanisms by which the immune landscape contributes to aggressive leukemia development and provides alternatives for targeting strategies aimed at the tumor microenvironment.
  16. Cancer Cell Int. 2023 Apr 11. 23(1): 66
      PURPOSE: Reprogrammed lipid metabolism is a hallmark of cancer that provides energy, materials, and signaling molecules for rapid cancer cell growth. Cancer cells acquire fatty acids primarily through de novo synthesis and uptake. Targeting altered lipid metabolic pathways is a promising anticancer strategy. However, their regulators have not been fully investigated, especially those targeting both synthesis and uptake.METHODS: Immunohistochemistry was performed on samples from patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) to establish the correlation between miR-3180, stearoyl-CoA desaturase-1 (SCD1), and CD36 expression, quantified via qRT-PCR and western blotting. The correlation was analyzed using a luciferase reporter assay. Cell proliferation, migration, and invasion were analyzed using CCK-8, wound healing, and transwell assays, respectively. Oil Red O staining and flow cytometry were used to detect lipids. Triglycerides and cholesterol levels were analyzed using a reagent test kit. CY3-labeled oleic acid transport was analyzed using an oleic acid transport assay. Tumor growth and metastasis were detected in vivo in a xenograft mouse model.
    RESULTS: MiR-3180 suppressed de novo fatty acid synthesis and uptake by targeting the key lipid synthesis enzyme SCD1 and key lipid transporter CD36. MiR-3180 suppressed HCC cell proliferation, migration, and invasion in an SCD1- and CD36-dependent manner in vitro. The mouse model demonstrated that miR-3180 inhibits HCC tumor growth and metastasis by inhibiting SCD1- and CD36-mediated de novo fatty acid synthesis and uptake. MiR-3180 expression was downregulated in HCC tissues and negatively correlated with SCD1 and CD36 levels. Patients with high miR-3180 levels showed better prognosis than those with low levels.
    CONCLUSIONS: Our investigation indicates that miR-3180 is a critical regulator involved in de novo fatty acid synthesis and uptake, which inhibits HCC tumor growth and metastasis by suppressing SCD1 and CD36. Therefore, miR-3180 is a novel therapeutic target and prognostic indicator for patients with HCC.
    Keywords:  CD36; Lipid synthesis; Lipid transport; SCD1; miR-3180
  17. Cancer Discov. 2023 Apr 13. OF1
      A recent study shows that mitochondrial networks in the two main subtypes of non-small cell lung cancer, adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, are structurally and functionally distinct. This difference could impact therapeutic targeting of cancer metabolism, a complex field that has been slow to bear fruit.
  18. Am J Cancer Res. 2023 ;13(3): 992-1003
      Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma is a highly malignant cancer with poor prognosis, for which effective therapeutic strategies are urgently needed. The dual-specificity phosphatase PTPMT1 is localized in mitochondria and highly expressed in various cancers. Here, we investigated the function of PTPMT1 in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. We inhibited its expression in pancreatic cancer cell lines using siRNAs or the specific PTPMT1 inhibitor alexidine dihydrochloride and observed that PTPMT1 silencing in pancreatic cancer cell lines drastically reduced cell viability, caused mitochondrial damage, and impaired mitochondrial function. Co-immunoprecipitation analysis demonstrated that PTPMT1 could interact with SLC25A6 and NDUFS2, indicating that it may modulate mitochondrial function via the SLC25A6-NDUFS2 axis. Collecively, our data highlight PTPMT1 as an important factor in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma and a potential therapeutic target.
    Keywords:  PTPMT1; Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma; SLC25A6; alexidine dihydrochloride
  19. FEBS Open Bio. 2023 Apr 14.
      5-Fluorouracil (5-FU) is widely used for colorectal cancer (CRC) treatment; however, continuous treatment of CRC cells with 5-FU can result in acquired resistance, and the underlying mechanism of 5-FU resistance remains unclear. We previously established an acquired 5-FU-resistant CRC cell line, HCT116RF10 , and examined its biological features and 5-FU resistance mechanisms. In this study, we evaluated the 5-FU sensitivity and cellular respiration dependency of HCT116RF10 cells and parental HCT116 cells under conditions of high- and low-glucose concentrations. Both HCT116RF10 and parental HCT116 cells were more sensitive to 5-FU under low-glucose conditions compared to high-glucose conditions. Interestingly, HCT116RF10 and parental HCT116 cells exhibited altered cellular respiration dependence for glycolysis and mitochondrial respiration under high- and low-glucose conditions. Additionally, HCT116RF10 cells showed a markedly decreased ATP production rate compared with HCT116 cells under both high- and low-glucose conditions. Importantly, glucose restriction significantly reduced the ATP production rate for both glycolysis and mitochondrial respiration in HCT116RF10 cells compared with HCT116 cells. The ATP production rates in HCT116RF10 and HCT116 cells were reduced by approximately 64% and 23% respectively under glucose restriction, suggesting that glucose restriction may be effective at enhancing 5-FU chemotherapy. Overall, these findings shed light on 5-FU resistance mechanisms, which may lead to improvements in anticancer treatment strategies.
    Keywords:  5-fluorouracil; glucose restriction; HCT116; cellular respiration; colorectal cancer cell; drug resistance
  20. bioRxiv. 2023 Mar 28. pii: 2023.03.27.534395. [Epub ahead of print]
      T-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (T-ALL) is a hematological malignancy in need of novel therapeutic approaches. Here, we identify the ATP-citrate lyase ACLY as a novel therapeutic target in T-ALL. Our results show that ACLY is overexpressed in T-ALL, and its expression correlates with NOTCH1 activity. To test the effects of ACLY in leukemia progression and the response to NOTCH1 inhibition, we developed an isogenic model of NOTCH1-induced Acly conditional knockout leukemia. Importantly, we observed intrinsic antileukemic effects upon loss of ACLY, which further synergized with NOTCH1 inhibition in vivo . Gene expression profiling analyses showed that the transcriptional signature of ACLY loss very significantly correlates with the signature of NOTCH1 inhibition in vivo , with significantly downregulated pathways related to oxidative phosphorylation, electron transport chain, ribosomal biogenesis and nucleosome biology. Consistently, metabolomic profiling upon ACLY loss revealed a metabolic crisis with accumulation of nucleotide intermediates and reduced levels of several amino acids. Overall, our results identify a link between NOTCH1 and ACLY and unveil ACLY as a novel promising target for T-ALL treatment.
  21. Nat Metab. 2023 Apr 13.
      Lactate is a circulating metabolite and a signalling molecule with pleiotropic physiological effects. Studies suggest that lactate modulates energy balance by lowering food intake, inducing adipose browning and increasing whole-body thermogenesis. Yet, like many other metabolites, lactate is often commercially produced as a counterion-bound salt and typically administered in vivo through hypertonic aqueous solutions of sodium L-lactate. Most studies have not controlled for injection osmolarity and the co-injected sodium ions. Here, we show that the anorectic and thermogenic effects of exogenous sodium L-lactate in male mice are confounded by the hypertonicity of the injected solutions. Our data reveal that this is in contrast to the antiobesity effect of orally administered disodium succinate, which is uncoupled from these confounders. Further, our studies with other counterions indicate that counterions can have confounding effects beyond lactate pharmacology. Together, these findings underscore the importance of controlling for osmotic load and counterions in metabolite research.
  22. Cell Rep Methods. 2023 Mar 27. 3(3): 100417
      Tumor heterogeneity is an important driver of treatment failure in cancer since therapies often select for drug-tolerant or drug-resistant cellular subpopulations that drive tumor growth and recurrence. Profiling the drug-response heterogeneity of tumor samples using traditional genomic deconvolution methods has yielded limited results, due in part to the imperfect mapping between genomic variation and functional characteristics. Here, we leverage mechanistic population modeling to develop a statistical framework for profiling phenotypic heterogeneity from standard drug-screen data on bulk tumor samples. This method, called PhenoPop, reliably identifies tumor subpopulations exhibiting differential drug responses and estimates their drug sensitivities and frequencies within the bulk population. We apply PhenoPop to synthetically generated cell populations, mixed cell-line experiments, and multiple myeloma patient samples and demonstrate how it can provide individualized predictions of tumor growth under candidate therapies. This methodology can also be applied to deconvolution problems in a variety of biological settings beyond cancer drug response.
    Keywords:  deconvolution; drug resistance; drug screening; mechanistic modeling; multiple myeloma; tumor heterogeneity; tumor profiling
  23. Cell Rep. 2023 Apr 13. pii: S2211-1247(23)00412-6. [Epub ahead of print]42(4): 112401
      Cell-to-cell heterogeneity is vital for tumor evolution and survival. How cancer cells achieve and exploit this heterogeneity remains an active area of research. Here, we identify c-Myc as a highly heterogeneously expressed transcription factor and an orchestrator of transcriptional and phenotypic diversity in cancer cells. By monitoring endogenous c-Myc protein in individual living cells, we report the surprising pulsatile nature of c-Myc expression and the extensive cell-to-cell variability in its dynamics. We further show that heterogeneity in c-Myc dynamics leads to variable target gene transcription and that timing of c-Myc expression predicts cell-cycle progression rates and drug sensitivities. Together, our data advocate for a model in which cancer cells increase the heterogeneity of functionally diverse transcription factors such as c-Myc to rapidly survey transcriptional landscapes and survive stress.
    Keywords:  CP: Cancer; CP: Cell biology; Myc; cancer; cell-to-cell heterogeneity; gene expression; transcription
  24. Nat Commun. 2023 Apr 10. 14(1): 2018
      Aging associated defects within stem cell-supportive niches contribute towards age-related decline in stem cell activity. However, mechanisms underlying age-related niche defects, and whether restoring niche function can improve stem cell fitness, remain unclear. Here, we sought to determine whether aged blood stem cell function can be restored by rejuvenating their supportive niches within the bone marrow (BM). We identify Netrin-1 as a critical regulator of BM niche cell aging. Niche-specific deletion of Netrin-1 induces premature aging phenotypes within the BM microenvironment, while supplementation of aged mice with Netrin-1 rejuvenates aged niche cells and restores competitive fitness of aged blood stem cells to youthful levels. We show that Netrin-1 plays an essential role in maintaining active DNA damage responses (DDR), and that aging-associated decline in niche-derived Netrin-1 results in DNA damage accumulation within the BM microenvironment. We show that Netrin-1 supplementation is sufficient to resolve DNA damage and restore regenerative potential of the aged BM niche and blood stem cells to endure serial chemotherapy regimens.
  25. Open Biol. 2023 Apr;13(4): 230021
      Expression and activity of the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) α1 catalytic subunit of the heterotrimeric kinase significantly correlates with poor outcome for colorectal cancer patients. Hence there is considerable interest in uncovering signalling vulnerabilities arising from this oncogenic elevation of AMPKα1 signalling. We have therefore attenuated mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) control of AMPKα1 to generate a mutant colorectal cancer in which AMPKα1 signalling is elevated because AMPKα1 serine 347 cannot be phosphorylated by mTORC1. The elevated AMPKα1 signalling in this HCT116 α1.S347A cell line confers hypersensitivity to growth inhibition by metformin. Complementary chemical approaches confirmed this relationship in both HCT116 and the genetically distinct HT29 colorectal cells, as AMPK activators imposed vulnerability to growth inhibition by metformin in both lines. Growth inhibition by metformin was abolished when AMPKα1 kinase was deleted. We conclude that elevated AMPKα1 activity modifies the signalling architecture in such a way that metformin treatment compromises cell proliferation. Not only does this mutant HCT116 AMPKα1-S347A line offer an invaluable resource for future studies, but our findings suggest that a robust biomarker for chronic AMPKα1 activation for patient stratification could herald a place for the well-tolerated drug metformin in colorectal cancer therapy.
    Keywords:  AMPK; PRKAA1; colorectal cancers‌; mTORC1; metformin; α1.S347A
  26. Biochim Biophys Acta Bioenerg. 2023 Apr 12. pii: S0005-2728(23)00023-3. [Epub ahead of print] 148977
      We have investigated NADH and succinate aerobic oxidation in frozen and thawed swine heart mitochondria. Simultaneous oxidation of NADH and succinate showed complete additivity under a variety of experimental conditions, suggesting that the electron fluxes originating from NADH and succinate are completely independent and do not mix at the level of the so-called mobile diffusible components. We ascribe the results to mixing of the fluxes at the level of cytochrome c in bovine mitochondria: the Complex IV flux control coefficient in NADH oxidation was high in swine mitochondria but very low in bovine mitochondria, suggesting a stronger interaction of cytochrome c with the supercomplex in the former. This was not the case in succinate oxidation, in which Complex IV exerted little control also in swine mitochondria. We interpret the data in swine mitochondria as restriction of the NADH flux by channelling within the I-III2-IV supercomplex, whereas the flux from succinate shows pool mixing for both Coenzyme Q and probably cytochrome c. The difference between the two types of mitochondria may be ascribed to different lipid composition affecting the cytochrome c binding properties, as suggested by breaks in Arrhenius plots of Complex IV activity occurring at higher temperatures in bovine mitochondria.
    Keywords:  Channelling; Coenzyme Q; Cytochrome c; Metabolic flux control; Mitochondria; Supercomplexes
  27. Nat Commun. 2023 Apr 14. 14(1): 2155
      Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a genetically heterogeneous, aggressive hematological malignancy induced by distinct oncogenic driver mutations. The effect of specific AML oncogenes on immune activation or suppression is unclear. Here, we examine immune responses in genetically distinct models of AML and demonstrate that specific AML oncogenes dictate immunogenicity, the quality of immune response and immune escape through immunoediting. Specifically, expression of NrasG12D alone is sufficient to drive a potent anti-leukemia response through increased MHC Class II expression that can be overcome with increased expression of Myc. These data have important implications for the design and implementation of personalized immunotherapies for patients with AML.
  28. Leuk Lymphoma. 2023 Apr 13. 1-6
      Venetoclax (VEN) in combination with hypomethylating agents (HMA) or low-dose cytarabine has become the standard of care for patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) who are ineligible to receive intensive induction chemotherapy. Clinical trials are performed in a controlled setting that can be difficult to emulate in the real world. We sought to investigate outcomes of patients treated with VEN-based therapy in the real world. Patients with an age of ≥65 years who received frontline VEN-based therapy were identified using the COTA database (n = 112). The majority of patients (91%) were treated in the community setting and had adverse-risk AML (63%). The real-world overall response rate (rwORR) was 55% with a median real-world overall survival (rwOS) of 13 months after VEN/HMA. The rwORR was lower and median rwOS was shorter than those reported in the VIALE-A trial, underscoring the importance of studying novel therapies using real-world data.
    Keywords:  AML; Real-world; VIALE-A; venetoclax
  29. bioRxiv. 2023 Mar 29. pii: 2023.03.28.534564. [Epub ahead of print]
      Tumors acquire an increased ability to obtain and metabolize nutrients. Here, we engineered and implanted adipocytes to outcompete tumors for nutrients and show that they can substantially reduce cancer progression. Growing cells or xenografts from several cancers (breast, colon, pancreas, prostate) alongside engineered human adipocytes or adipose organoids significantly suppresses cancer progression and reduces hypoxia and angiogenesis. Transplanting modulated adipocyte organoids in pancreatic or breast cancer mouse models nearby or distal from the tumor significantly suppresses its growth. To further showcase therapeutic potential, we demonstrate that co-culturing tumor organoids derived from human breast cancers with engineered patient-derived adipocytes significantly reduces cancer growth. Combined, our results introduce a novel cancer therapeutic approach, termed adipose modulation transplantation (AMT), that can be utilized for a broad range of cancers.
  30. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2023 Apr 18. 120(16): e2300137120
      Heme-containing integral membrane proteins are at the heart of many bioenergetic complexes and electron transport chains. The importance of these electron relay hubs across biology has inspired the design of de novo proteins that recreate their core features within robust, versatile, and tractable protein folds. To this end, we report here the computational design and in-cell production of a minimal diheme membrane cytochrome which successfully integrates into the cellular membrane of live bacteria. This synthetic construct emulates a four-helix bundle found in modern respiratory complexes but has no sequence homology to any polypeptide sequence found in nature. The two b-type hemes, which appear to be recruited from the endogenous heme pool, have distinct split redox potentials with values close to those of natural membrane-spanning cytochromes. The purified protein can engage in rapid biomimetic electron transport with small molecules, with other redox proteins, and with biologically relevant diffusive electron carriers. We thus report an artificial membrane metalloprotein with the potential to serve as a functional electron transfer module in both synthetic protocells and living systems.
    Keywords:  cytochrome; membrane proteins; metalloproteins; protein design