bims-mibica Biomed News
on Mitochondrial bioenergetics in cancer
Issue of 2023‒07‒23
thirty-one papers selected by
Kelsey Fisher-Wellman
East Carolina University

  1. Geroscience. 2023 Jul 18.
      Aging muscle experiences functional decline in part mediated by impaired mitochondrial ADP sensitivity. Elamipretide (ELAM) rapidly improves physiological and mitochondrial function in aging and binds directly to the mitochondrial ADP transporter ANT. We hypothesized that ELAM improves ADP sensitivity in aging leading to rescued physiological function. We measured the response to ADP stimulation in young and old muscle mitochondria with ELAM treatment, in vivo heart and muscle function, and compared protein abundance, phosphorylation, and S-glutathionylation of ADP/ATP pathway proteins. ELAM treatment increased ADP sensitivity in old muscle mitochondria by increasing uptake of ADP through the ANT and rescued muscle force and heart systolic function. Protein abundance in the ADP/ATP transport and synthesis pathway was unchanged, but ELAM treatment decreased protein s-glutathionylation incuding of ANT. Mitochondrial ADP sensitivity is rapidly modifiable. This research supports the hypothesis that ELAM improves ANT function in aging and links mitochondrial ADP sensitivity to physiological function. ELAM binds directly to ANT and ATP synthase and ELAM treatment improves ADP sensitivity, increases ATP production, and improves physiological function in old muscles. ADP (adenosine diphosphate), ATP (adenosine triphosphate), VDAC (voltage-dependent anion channel), ANT (adenine nucleotide translocator), H+ (proton), ROS (reactive oxygen species), NADH (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide), FADH2 (flavin adenine dinucleotide), O2 (oxygen), ELAM (elamipretide), -SH (free thiol), -SSG (glutathionylated protein).
    Keywords:  ATP production; Adenine nucleotide translocator (ANT); Adenosine diphosphate (ADP) sensitivity; Elamipretide or SS-31; Mitochondrial dysfunction; Oxygen consumption rate (OCR)
  2. Cell Metab. 2023 Jul 14. pii: S1550-4131(23)00225-5. [Epub ahead of print]
      Liver mitochondria undergo architectural remodeling that maintains energy homeostasis in response to feeding and fasting. However, the specific components and molecular mechanisms driving these changes and their impact on energy metabolism remain unclear. Through comparative mouse proteomics, we found that fasting induces strain-specific mitochondrial cristae formation in the liver by upregulating MIC19, a subunit of the MICOS complex. Enforced MIC19 expression in the liver promotes cristae formation, mitochondrial respiration, and fatty acid oxidation while suppressing gluconeogenesis. Mice overexpressing hepatic MIC19 show resistance to diet-induced obesity and improved glucose homeostasis. Interestingly, MIC19 overexpressing mice exhibit elevated energy expenditure and increased pedestrian locomotion. Metabolite profiling revealed that uracil accumulates in the livers of these mice due to increased uridine phosphorylase UPP2 activity. Furthermore, uracil-supplemented diet increases locomotion in wild-type mice. Thus, MIC19-induced mitochondrial cristae formation in the liver increases uracil as a signal to promote locomotion, with protective effects against diet-induced obesity.
    Keywords:  brisk walking; diabetes; fatty liver; mitochondrial cristae; obesity; uracil
  3. Semin Immunol. 2023 Jul 18. pii: S1044-5323(23)00099-4. [Epub ahead of print]69 101808
      Mitochondrial dysfunction is a hallmark of aging that contributes to inflammaging. It is characterized by alterations of the mitochondrial DNA, reduced respiratory capacity, decreased mitochondrial membrane potential and increased reactive oxygen species production. These primary alterations disrupt other interconnected and important mitochondrial-related processes such as metabolism, mitochondrial dynamics and biogenesis, mitophagy, calcium homeostasis or apoptosis. In this review, we gather the current knowledge about the different mitochondrial processes which are altered during aging, with special focus on their contribution to age-associated T cell dysfunction and inflammaging.
    Keywords:  Aging; Apoptosis; Calcium homeostasis; Inflammaging; Lymphocyte; Mitochondria; Mitochondrial dynamics; Mitokines; Mitophagy; MtDNA; ROS; T cells
  4. Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol. 2023 Jul 19. pii: S1095-6433(23)00123-X. [Epub ahead of print] 111490
      In eukaryotes, the performances of an organism are dependent on body mass and chemically supported by the mitochondrial production of ATP. Although the relationship between body mass and mitochondrial oxygen consumption is well described, the allometry of the transduction efficiency from oxygen to ATP production (ATP/O) is still poorly understood. Using a comparative approach, we investigated the oxygen consumption and ATP production of liver mitochondria from twelve species of mammals ranging from 5 g to 600 kg. We found that both oxygen consumption and ATP production are mass dependent but not the ATP/O at the maximal phosphorylating state. The results also showed that for sub-maximal phosphorylating states the ATP/O value positively correlated with body mass, irrespective of the metabolic intensity. This result contrasts with previous data obtained in mammalian muscles, suggesting a tissue-dependence of the body mass effect on mitochondrial efficiency.
    Keywords:  Bioenergetics; Liver; Mitochondria; Oxidative phosphorylation
  5. Nat Metab. 2023 Jul 17.
      Having direct access to brain vasculature, astrocytes can take up available blood nutrients and metabolize them to fulfil their own energy needs and deliver metabolic intermediates to local synapses1,2. These glial cells should be, therefore, metabolically adaptable to swap different substrates. However, in vitro and in vivo studies consistently show that astrocytes are primarily glycolytic3-7, suggesting glucose is their main metabolic precursor. Notably, transcriptomic data8,9 and in vitro10 studies reveal that mouse astrocytes are capable of mitochondrially oxidizing fatty acids and that they can detoxify excess neuronal-derived fatty acids in disease models11,12. Still, the factual metabolic advantage of fatty acid use by astrocytes and its physiological impact on higher-order cerebral functions remain unknown. Here, we show that knockout of carnitine-palmitoyl transferase-1A (CPT1A)-a key enzyme of mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation-in adult mouse astrocytes causes cognitive impairment. Mechanistically, decreased fatty acid oxidation rewired astrocytic pyruvate metabolism to facilitate electron flux through a super-assembled mitochondrial respiratory chain, resulting in attenuation of reactive oxygen species formation. Thus, astrocytes naturally metabolize fatty acids to preserve the mitochondrial respiratory chain in an energetically inefficient disassembled conformation that secures signalling reactive oxygen species and sustains cognitive performance.
  6. Res Sq. 2023 Jun 30. pii: [Epub ahead of print]
      The mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC) is a highly adaptive process to meet metabolic demands of the cell, and its dysregulation has been associated with diverse clinical pathologies. However, the role and nature of impaired ETC in kidney diseases remains poorly understood. Here, we generated diabetic mice with podocyte-specific overexpression of Ndufs4, an accessory subunit of mitochondrial complex I, as a model to investigate the role of ETC integrity in diabetic kidney disease (DKD). We find that these conditional mice exhibit significant improvements in cristae morphology, mitochondrial dynamics, and albuminuria. By coupling proximity labeling with super-resolution imaging, we also identify the role of cristae shaping proteins in linking NDUFS4 with improved cristae morphology. Taken together, we discover the central role of NDUFS4 as a powerful regulator of cristae remodeling, respiratory supercomplexes assembly, and mitochondrial ultrastructure in vitro and in vivo . We propose that targeting NDUFS4 represents a promising approach to slow the progression of DKD.
  7. Antioxid Redox Signal. 2023 Jul 20.
      Mitochondria are subcellular organelles performing essential metabolic functions contributing to cellular bioenergetics and regulation of cell growth or death. The basic mitochondrial function in fulfilling the need for cell growth and vitality is evidenced by the conditional state whereby cancer cells with depleted mitochondrial DNA (rho zero cells) are no longer capable of forming tumors until newly recruited mitochondria are internalized into the rho zero cells. Herein lies the absolute dependency on mitochondria for tumor growth. In addition, mitochondria are key regulators of cell death (by apoptosis, necroptosis, or other forms of cell death) and are therefore important targets for anticancer therapy. Mitochondrial plasticity regulating their state of fusion or fission is also key to the chemoresistance properties of cancer cells by promoting pro-survival pathways enabling the mitochondria to mitigate against the cellular stresses and extreme conditions within the tumor microenvironment caused by chemotherapy, hypoxia, or oxidative stress. This review discusses many characteristics of mitochondria, the processes and pathways controlling the dynamic changes occurring in the morphology of mitochondria, the roles of reactive oxygen species, and their relationship with mitochondrial fission or fusion. It also examines the relationship of redox to mitophagy when mitochondria become compromised and its effect on cancer cell survival, stemness and the changes accompanying malignant progression from primary tumors to metastatic disease. A challenging question that arises is whether the changes in mitochondrial dynamics and their regulation can provide opportunities for improving drug targeting during cancer treatment and enhancing survival outcomes.
  8. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2023 07 25. 120(30): e2210599120
      Cardiolipin (CL) is an essential phospholipid for mitochondrial structure and function. Here, we present a small mitochondrial protein, NERCLIN, as a negative regulator of CL homeostasis and mitochondrial ultrastructure. Primate-specific NERCLIN is expressed ubiquitously from the GRPEL2 locus on a tightly regulated low level. NERCLIN overexpression severely disrupts mitochondrial cristae structure and induces mitochondrial fragmentation. Proximity labeling and immunoprecipitation analysis suggested interactions of NERCLIN with CL synthesis and prohibitin complexes on the matrix side of the inner mitochondrial membrane. Lipid analysis indicated that NERCLIN regulates mitochondrial CL content. Furthermore, NERCLIN is responsive to heat stress ensuring OPA1 processing and cell survival. Thus, we propose that NERCLIN contributes to the stress-induced adaptation of mitochondrial dynamics. Our findings add NERCLIN to the group of recently identified small mitochondrial proteins with important regulatory functions.
    Keywords:  NERCLIN; OPA1; cardiolipin; prohibitins; small mitochondrial proteins
  9. bioRxiv. 2023 Jul 07. pii: 2023.07.07.548169. [Epub ahead of print]
      Preserving the health of the mitochondrial network is critical to cell viability and longevity. To do so, mitochondria employ several membrane remodeling mechanisms, including the formation of mitochondrial-derived vesicles (MDVs) and compartments (MDCs) to selectively remove portions of the organelle. In contrast to well-characterized MDVs, the distinguishing features of MDC formation and composition remain unclear. Here we used electron tomography to observe that MDCs form as large, multilamellar domains that generate concentric spherical compartments emerging from mitochondrial tubules at ER-mitochondria contact sites. Time-lapse fluorescence microscopy of MDC biogenesis revealed that mitochondrial membrane extensions repeatedly elongate, coalesce, and invaginate to form these compartments that encase multiple layers of membrane. As such, MDCs strongly sequester portions of the outer mitochondrial membrane, securing membrane cargo into a protected domain, while also enclosing cytosolic material within the MDC lumen. Collectively, our results provide a model for MDC formation and describe key features that distinguish MDCs from other previously identified mitochondrial structures and cargo-sorting domains.SUMMARY: Wilson and colleagues use electron tomography and time-lapse fluorescence microscopy to observe that mitochondrial-derived compartments (MDCs) are generated from outer mitochondrial membrane extensions that repeatedly elongate, coalesce, and invaginate to secure membrane cargo and cytosol within a distinct, protected domain.
  10. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2023 Jul 18.
      Medium-chain fatty acid (MCFA) consumption confers a wide range of health benefits that are highly distinct from long-chain fatty acids (LCFA). A major difference between the metabolism of LCFAs compared to MCFAs is that mitochondrial LCFA oxidation depends on the carnitine shuttle, whereas MCFA mitochondrial oxidation is not. Although MCFAs are said to range from 6 to 14 carbons long based on physicochemical properties in vitro, the biological cut-off length of acyl chains that can bypass the carnitine shuttle in different mammalian tissues is unknown. To define the range of acyl chain length that can be oxidized in the mitochondria independent of carnitine, we determined the oxidative metabolism of free fatty acids (FFAs) from 6 to 18 carbons long in the liver, kidney, heart, and skeletal muscle. The liver oxidized FFAs 6 to 14 carbons long, while the kidney oxidized FFAs from 6 to 10 carbons in length. Heart and skeletal muscle were unable to oxidize FFAs of any chain length. These data show that while the liver and kidney can oxidize MCFAs in the free form, the heart and skeletal muscle require carnitine for the oxidative metabolism of MCFAs. Together these data demonstrate that MCFA oxidation independent of carnitine is tissue-specific.
    Keywords:  carnitine; liver; medium-chain fatty acids; mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation; skeletal muscle
  11. Elife. 2023 07 17. pii: e89825. [Epub ahead of print]12
      Studying the nutrient composition immediately surrounding pancreatic cancer cells provides new insights into their metabolic properties and how they can evade the immune system to promote disease progression.
    Keywords:  amino acid homeostasis; biochemistry; cancer; cancer biology; chemical biology; human; immunotherapy; metabolism; mouse; nutrient stress; tumor microenvironment
  12. Nat Commun. 2023 07 19. 14(1): 4356
      The large cytosolic GTPase, dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1), mediates both physiological and pathological mitochondrial fission. Cell stress triggers Drp1 binding to mitochondrial Fis1 and subsequently, mitochondrial fragmentation, ROS production, metabolic collapse, and cell death. Because Drp1 also mediates physiological fission by binding to mitochondrial Mff, therapeutics that inhibit pathological fission should spare physiological mitochondrial fission. P110, a peptide inhibitor of Drp1-Fis1 interaction, reduces pathology in numerous models of neurodegeneration, ischemia, and sepsis without blocking the physiological functions of Drp1. Since peptides have pharmacokinetic limitations, we set out to identify small molecules that mimic P110's benefit. We map the P110-binding site to a switch I-adjacent grove (SWAG) on Drp1. Screening for SWAG-binding small molecules identifies SC9, which mimics P110's benefits in cells and a mouse model of endotoxemia. We suggest that the SWAG-binding small molecules discovered in this study may reduce the burden of Drp1-mediated pathologies and potentially pathologies associated with other members of the GTPase family.
  13. Cancer Drug Resist. 2023 ;6(2): 273-283
      Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most diagnosed cancer and the second most deadly type of cancer worldwide. In late diagnosis, CRC can resist therapy regimens in which cancer stem cells (CSCs) are intimately related. CSCs are a subpopulation of tumor cells responsible for tumor initiation and maintenance, metastasis, and resistance to conventional treatments. In this scenario, colorectal cancer stem cells (CCSCs) are considered an important key for therapeutic failure and resistance. In its turn, mitochondria is an organelle involved in many mechanisms in cancer, including chemoresistance of cytotoxic drugs due to alterations in mitochondrial metabolism, apoptosis, dynamics, and mitophagy. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the mitochondrial role in CCSCs regarding CRC drug resistance. It has been shown that enhanced anti-apoptotic protein expression, mitophagy rate, and addiction to oxidative phosphorylation are the major strategies developed by CCSCs to avoid drug insults. Thus, new mitochondria-targeted drug approaches must be explored to mitigate CRC chemoresistance via the ablation of CCSCs.
    Keywords:  Cancer stem cells; colorectal cancer; drug resistance; mitochondria; mitophagy
  14. Autophagy. 2023 Jul 16.
      Mitophagy is a selective form of autophagy that targets dysfunctional or superfluous mitochondria for degradation. During mitophagy, specific selective autophagy receptors (SARs) mark a portion of mitochondria to recruit the autophagy-related (Atg) machinery and nucleate a phagophore. The phagophore expands and surrounds the mitochondrial cargo, forming an autophagosome. Fission plays a crucial role in separating the targeted portion of mitochondria from the main body to sequester it within the autophagosome. Our recent study, utilizing fission and budding yeasts as model systems, has identified Atg44 as a mitochondrial fission factor that generates mitochondrial fragments suitable for phagophore engulfment. Atg44 resides in the mitochondrial intermembrane space (IMS) and interacts with lipid membranes, with the capacity of mediating membrane fragility and fission. Based on our findings, we propose the term mitofissin to refer to Atg44 and its homologous proteins, which might participate in diverse cellular processes requiring membrane remodeling across various species.
    Keywords:  Atg44; autophagy; mitochondria; mitochondrial fission; mitofissin; mitophagy; yeast
  15. Cell Death Differ. 2023 Jul 17.
      The mitochondrial permeability transition (mPT) describes a Ca2+-dependent and cyclophilin D (CypD)-facilitated increase of inner mitochondrial membrane permeability that allows diffusion of molecules up to 1.5 kDa in size. It is mediated by a non-selective channel, the mitochondrial permeability transition pore (mPTP). Sustained mPTP opening causes mitochondrial swelling, which ruptures the outer mitochondrial membrane leading to subsequent apoptotic and necrotic cell death, and is implicated in a range of pathologies. However, transient mPTP opening at various sub-conductance states may contribute several physiological roles such as alterations in mitochondrial bioenergetics and rapid Ca2+ efflux. Since its discovery decades ago, intensive efforts have been made to identify the exact pore-forming structure of the mPT. Both the adenine nucleotide translocase (ANT) and, more recently, the mitochondrial F1FO (F)-ATP synthase dimers, monomers or c-subunit ring alone have been implicated. Here we share the insights of several key investigators with different perspectives who have pioneered mPT research. We critically assess proposed models for the molecular identity of the mPTP and the mechanisms underlying its opposing roles in the life and death of cells. We provide in-depth insights into current controversies, seeking to achieve a degree of consensus that will stimulate future innovative research into the nature and role of the mPTP.
  16. J Transl Med. 2023 07 17. 21(1): 473
      BACKGROUND: Interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1RA), a member of the IL-1 family, has diverse roles in cancer development. However, the role of IL-1RA in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC), in particular the underlying mechanisms, remains to be elucidated.METHODS: Tumor tissues from OSCC patients were assessed for protein expression by immunohistochemistry. Patient survival was evaluated by Kaplan-Meier curve analysis. Impact of differential IL-1RA expression on cultured OSCC cell lines was assessed in vitro by clonogenic survival, tumorsphere formation, soft agar colony formation, and transwell cell migration and invasion assays. Oxygen consumption rate was measured by Seahorse analyzer or multi-mode plate reader. PCR array was applied to screen human cancer stem cell-related genes, proteome array for phosphorylation status of kinases, and Western blot for protein expression in cultured cells. In vivo tumor growth was investigated by orthotopic xenograft in mice, and protein expression in xenograft tumors assessed by immunohistochemistry.
    RESULTS: Clinical analysis revealed that elevated IL-1RA expression in OSCC tumor tissues was associated with increased tumor size and cancer stage, and reduced survival in the patient group receiving adjuvant radiotherapy compared to the patient group without adjuvant radiotherapy. In vitro data supported these observations, showing that overexpression of IL-1RA increased OSCC cell growth, migration/invasion abilities, and resistance to ionizing radiation, whereas knockdown of IL-1RA had largely the opposite effects. Additionally, we identified that EGFR/JNK activation and SOX2 expression were modulated by differential IL-1RA expression downstream of mitochondrial metabolism, with application of mitochondrial complex inhibitors suppressing these pathways. Furthermore, in vivo data revealed that treatment with cisplatin or metformin-a mitochondrial complex inhibitor and conventional therapy for type 2 diabetes-reduced IL-1RA-associated xenograft tumor growth as well as EGFR/JNK activation and SOX2 expression. This inhibitory effect was further augmented by combination treatment with cisplatin and metformin.
    CONCLUSIONS: The current study suggests that IL-1RA promoted OSCC malignancy through mitochondrial metabolism-mediated EGFR/JNK activation and SOX2 expression. Inhibition of this mitochondrial metabolic pathway may present a potential therapeutic strategy in OSCC.
    Keywords:  Cancer stemness; EGFR; IL-1RA; JNK; Metastasis; Mitochondrial metabolism; OSCC; SOX2; Tumor growth
  17. Mol Oncol. 2023 Jul 17.
      Mitochondrial glycolysis and hyperactivity of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)-protein kinase B (AKT) pathway are hallmarks of malignant brain tumors. However, kinase inhibitors targeting AKT (AKTi) or the glycolysis master regulator pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase (PDKi) have failed to provide clinical benefits for brain tumor patients. Here, we demonstrate that heterogenous glioblastoma (GB) and medulloblastoma (MB) cell lines display only cytostatic responses to combined AKT and PDK targeting. Biochemically, the combined AKT and PDK inhibition resulted in the shutdown of both target pathways and priming to mitochondrial apoptosis but failed to induce apoptosis. In contrast, all tested brain tumor cell models were sensitive to a triplet therapy, in which AKT and PDK inhibition was combined with the pharmacological reactivation of protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) by NZ-8-061 (also known as DT-061), DBK-1154 and DBK-1160. We also provide proof-of-principle evidence for in vivo efficacy in the intracranial GB and MB models by the brain-penetrant triplet therapy (AKTi + PDKi + PP2A reactivator). Mechanistically, PP2A reactivation converted the cytostatic AKTi + PDKi response to cytotoxic apoptosis, through PP2A-elicited shutdown of compensatory mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation and by increased proton leakage. These results encourage the development of triple-strike strategies targeting mitochondrial metabolism to overcome therapy tolerance in brain tumors.
    Keywords:  AKT; PDK; PP2A; apoptosis; glioblastoma; mitochondria
  18. J Biol Chem. 2023 Jul 14. pii: S0021-9258(23)02083-5. [Epub ahead of print] 105055
      Post-translational modifications including protein ubiquitination regulate a plethora of cellular processes in distinct manners. RNA m6A is the most abundant post-transcriptional modification on mammalian mRNAs, and plays important roles in various physiological and pathological conditions including hematologic malignancies. We previously determined that the RNA m6A eraser ALKBH5 is necessary for the maintenance of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) stem cell function, but the post-translational modifications involved in ALKBH5 regulation remain elusive. Here, we show that deubiquitinase USP9X stabilizes ALKBH5 and promotes AML cell survival. Through the use of mass spectrometry as an unbiased approach, we identify USP9X and confirm that it directly binds to ALKBH5. USP9X stabilizes ALKBH5 by removing the K48-linked polyubiquitin chain at K57. Using human myeloid leukemia cells and a murine AML model, we find that genetic knockdown or pharmaceutical inhibition of USP9X inhibits leukemia cell proliferation, induces apoptosis, and delays AML development. Ectopic expression of ALKBH5 partially mediates the function of USP9X in AML. Overall, this study uncovers deubiquitinase USP9X as a key for stabilizing ALKBH5 expression, and reveals the important role of USP9X in AML, which provides a promising therapeutic strategy for AML treatment in the clinic.
    Keywords:  ALKBH5; Acute myeloid leukemia; Deubiquitination; RNA m(6)A; USP9X
  19. Cell Death Dis. 2023 Jul 15. 14(7): 435
      DNA repair is a tightly coordinated stress response to DNA damage, which is critical for preserving genome integrity. Accruing evidence suggests that metabolic pathways have been correlated with cellular response to DNA damage. Here, we show that fatty acid oxidation (FAO) is a crucial regulator of DNA double-strand break repair, particularly homologous recombination repair. Mechanistically, FAO contributes to DNA repair by activating poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase 1 (PARP1), an enzyme that detects DNA breaks and promotes DNA repair pathway. Upon DNA damage, FAO facilitates PARP1 acetylation by providing acetyl-CoA, which is required for proper PARP1 activity. Indeed, cells reconstituted with PARP1 acetylation mutants display impaired DNA repair and enhanced sensitivity to DNA damage. Consequently, FAO inhibition reduces PARP1 activity, leading to increased genomic instability and decreased cell viability upon DNA damage. Finally, our data indicate that FAO serves as an important participant of cellular response to DNA damage, supporting DNA repair and genome stability.
  20. Nat Commun. 2023 07 19. 14(1): 4360
      Chemotherapy-induced cardiac damage remains a leading cause of death amongst cancer survivors. Anthracycline-induced cardiotoxicity is mediated by severe mitochondrial injury, but little is known about the mechanisms by which cardiomyocytes adaptively respond to the injury. We observed the translocation of selected mitochondrial tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle dehydrogenases to the nucleus as an adaptive stress response to anthracycline-cardiotoxicity in human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes and in vivo. The expression of nuclear-targeted mitochondrial dehydrogenases shifts the nuclear metabolic milieu to maintain their function both in vitro and in vivo. This protective effect is mediated by two parallel pathways: metabolite-induced chromatin accessibility and AMP-kinase (AMPK) signaling. The extent of chemotherapy-induced cardiac damage thus reflects a balance between mitochondrial injury and the protective response initiated by the nuclear pool of mitochondrial dehydrogenases. Our study identifies nuclear translocation of mitochondrial dehydrogenases as an endogenous adaptive mechanism that can be leveraged to attenuate cardiomyocyte injury.
  21. Sci Adv. 2023 Jul 21. 9(29): eadf4163
      Aging is a leading risk factor for cancer. While it is proposed that age-related accumulation of somatic mutations drives this relationship, it is likely not the full story. We show that aging and cancer share a common epigenetic replication signature, which we modeled using DNA methylation from extensively passaged immortalized human cells in vitro and tested on clinical tissues. This signature, termed CellDRIFT, increased with age across multiple tissues, distinguished tumor from normal tissue, was escalated in normal breast tissue from cancer patients, and was transiently reset upon reprogramming. In addition, within-person tissue differences were correlated with predicted lifetime tissue-specific stem cell divisions and tissue-specific cancer risk. Our findings suggest that age-related replication may drive epigenetic changes in cells and could push them toward a more tumorigenic state.
  22. Cell Death Dis. 2023 07 17. 14(7): 441
      BH3 mimetics, targeting the Bcl-2 family anti-apoptotic proteins, represent a promising therapeutic opportunity in cancers. ABT-199, the first specific Bcl-2 inhibitor, was approved by FDA for the treatment of several hematological malignancies. We have recently discovered IS21, a novel pan BH3 mimetic with preclinical antitumor activity in several tumor types. Here, we evaluated the efficacy of IS21 and other BH3 mimetics, both as single agents and combined with the currently used antineoplastic agents in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, ovarian cancer, and melanoma. IS21 was found to be active in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, melanoma, lung, pancreatic, and ovarian cancer cell lines. Bcl-xL and Mcl-1 protein levels predicted IS21 sensitivity in melanoma and ovarian cancer, respectively. Exploring IS21 mechanism of action, we found that IS21 activity depends on the presence of BAX and BAK proteins: complexes between Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL proteins and their main binding partners were reduced after IS21 treatment. In combination experiments, BH3 mimetics sensitized leukemia cells to chemotherapy, ovarian cancer cells and melanoma models to PARP and MAPK inhibitors, respectively. We showed that this enhancing effect was related to the potentiation of the apoptotic pathway, both in hematologic and solid tumors. In conclusion, our data suggest the use of inhibitors of anti-apoptotic proteins as a therapeutic strategy to enhance the efficacy of anticancer treatment.
  23. iScience. 2023 Jul 21. 26(7): 107206
      The acidic microenvironment is considered an important factor in colorectal cancer (CRC) that contributes to malignant transformation. However, the underlying mechanism remains unclear. In a previous study, we confirmed that IDH1 K224 deacetylation promotes enzymatic activity and the production of α-KG. Here, we further investigate the effect of IDH1 hyperacetylation on the CRC acidic microenvironment. We demonstrate that increased α-KG affects hydroxylation of Ago2 and mediates miR-9-5p targeting NHE1 protein. Knockdown of NHE1 dramatically attenuates CRC cell proliferation and migration by restricting transport of intracellular H+ out of cells. Furthermore, we show that miR-9-5p is the microRNA with the most significant difference in the alteration of IDH1 K224 acetylation and can downregulate NHE1 mRNA. Our data also indicate that hydroxylation stabilizes Ago2, which in turn promotes miR-9-5p activity. Taken together, our results reveal a novel mechanism through which IDH1 deacetylation regulates the cellular acidic microenvironment and inhibits CRC metastasis.
    Keywords:  Cancer; Cell biology
  24. Commun Biol. 2023 Jul 21. 6(1): 765
      Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a heterogeneous disease characterized by high rate of therapy resistance. Since the cell of origin can impact response to therapy, it is crucial to understand the lineage composition of AML cells at time of therapy resistance. Here we leverage single-cell chromatin accessibility profiling of 22 AML bone marrow aspirates from eight patients at time of therapy resistance and following subsequent therapy to characterize their lineage landscape. Our findings reveal a complex lineage architecture of therapy-resistant AML cells that are primed for stem and progenitor lineages and spanning quiescent, activated and late stem cell/progenitor states. Remarkably, therapy-resistant AML cells are also composed of cells primed for differentiated myeloid, erythroid and even lymphoid lineages. The heterogeneous lineage composition persists following subsequent therapy, with early progenitor-driven features marking unfavorable prognosis in The Cancer Genome Atlas AML cohort. Pseudotime analysis further confirms the vast degree of heterogeneity driven by the dynamic changes in chromatin accessibility. Our findings suggest that therapy-resistant AML cells are characterized not only by stem and progenitor states, but also by a continuum of differentiated cellular lineages. The heterogeneity in lineages likely contributes to their therapy resistance by harboring different degrees of lineage-specific susceptibilities to therapy.
  25. Front Oncol. 2023 ;13 1207603
      F-ATP synthase inhibitory factor 1 (IF1) is an intrinsic inhibitor of F-ATP synthase. It is known that IF1 mediates metabolic phenotypes and cell fate, yet the molecular mechanisms through which IF1 fulfills its physiological functions are not fully understood. Ablation of IF1 favors metabolic switch to oxidative metabolism from glycolysis. c-Myc and PGC1α are critical for metabolic reprogramming. This work identified that IF1 interacted with Thr-58 phosphorylated c-Myc, which might thus mediate the activity of c-Myc and promote glycolysis. The interaction of IF1 with PGC1α inhibited oxidative respiration. c-Myc and PGC1α were localized to mitochondria under mitochondrial stress in an IF1-dependent manner. Furthermore, IF1 was found to be required for the protective effect of hypoxia on c-Myc- and PGC1α-induced cell death. This study suggested that the interactions of IF1 with transcription factors c-Myc and PGC1α might be involved in IF1-regulatory metabolic reprogramming and cell fate.
    Keywords:  F-ATP synthase inhibitory factor 1; PGC1α; c-Myc; metabolic reprogramming; mitochondria; p-c-Myc
  26. Elife. 2023 07 18. pii: e83870. [Epub ahead of print]12
      Mannose has anticancer activity that inhibits cell proliferation and enhances the efficacy of chemotherapy. How mannose exerts its anticancer activity, however, remains poorly understood. Here, using genetically engineered human cancer cells that permit the precise control of mannose metabolic flux, we demonstrate that the large influx of mannose exceeding its metabolic capacity induced metabolic remodeling, leading to the generation of slow-cycling cells with limited deoxyribonucleoside triphosphates (dNTPs). This metabolic remodeling impaired dormant origin firing required to rescue stalled forks by cisplatin, thus exacerbating replication stress. Importantly, pharmacological inhibition of de novo dNTP biosynthesis was sufficient to retard cell cycle progression, sensitize cells to cisplatin, and inhibit dormant origin firing, suggesting dNTP loss-induced genomic instability as a central mechanism for the anticancer activity of mannose.
    Keywords:  cancer biology; cell biology; chemotherapy; dormant origins; genomic instability; human; mannose; metabolism; mouse; replication stress
  27. bioRxiv. 2023 Jul 07. pii: 2023.07.05.547839. [Epub ahead of print]
      Genetic elements encoded in nuclear DNA determine the sex of an individual in many animals. In bivalves, however, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) has been hypothesized to contribute to sex determination in lineages that possess doubly uniparental inheritance (DUI). In these cases, females transmit a female mtDNA (F mtDNA) to all offspring, while male mtDNA (M mtDNA) is transmitted only from fathers to sons. Because M mtDNA is inherited in the same way as Y chromosomes, it has been hypothesized that mtDNA may be responsible for sex determination. However, the role of mitochondrial and nuclear genes in sex determination has yet to be validated in DUI bivalves. In this study, we used DNA, RNA, and mitochondrial short non-coding RNA (sncRNA) sequencing to explore the role of mitochondrial and nuclear elements in the sexual development pathway of the freshwater mussel Potamilus streckersoni (Bivalvia: Unionida). We found that the M mtDNA shed a sncRNA partially within a male-specific mitochondrial gene that targeted pathways hypothesized to be involved in female development and mitophagy. RNA-seq confirmed the gene target was significantly upregulated in females, supporting a direct role of mitochondrial sncRNAs in gene silencing. These findings support the hypothesis that M mtDNA inhibits female development. Genome-wide patterns of genetic differentiation and heterozygosity did not support a nuclear sex determining region, although we cannot reject that nuclear factors are involved with sex determination. Our results provide further evidence that mitochondrial loci contribute to diverse, non-respiratory functions and provide a first glimpse into an unorthodox sex determining system.
  28. Nat Commun. 2023 07 18. 14(1): 4300
      Mitochondrial apoptosis is strictly controlled by BCL-2 family proteins through a subtle network of protein interactions. The tumor suppressor protein p53 triggers transcription-independent apoptosis through direct interactions with BCL-2 family proteins, but the molecular mechanism is not well understood. In this study, we present three crystal structures of p53-DBD in complex with the anti-apoptotic protein BCL-2 at resolutions of 2.3-2.7 Å. The structures show that two loops of p53-DBD penetrate directly into the BH3-binding pocket of BCL-2. Structure-based mutations at the interface impair the p53/BCL-2 interaction. Specifically, the binding sites for p53 and the pro-apoptotic protein Bax in the BCL-2 pocket are mostly identical. In addition, formation of the p53/BCL-2 complex is negatively correlated with the formation of BCL-2 complexes with pro-apoptotic BCL-2 family members. Defects in the p53/BCL-2 interaction attenuate p53-mediated cell apoptosis. Overall, our study provides a structural basis for the interaction between p53 and BCL-2, and suggests a molecular mechanism by which p53 regulates transcription-independent apoptosis by antagonizing the interaction of BCL-2 with pro-apoptotic BCL-2 family members.
  29. Nat Cell Biol. 2023 Jul 17.
      The ability to balance conflicting functional demands is critical for ensuring organismal survival. The transcription and repair of the mitochondrial genome (mtDNA) requires separate enzymatic activities that can sterically compete1, suggesting a life-long trade-off between these two processes. Here in Caenorhabditis elegans, we find that the bZIP transcription factor ATFS-1/Atf5 (refs. 2,3) regulates this balance in favour of mtDNA repair by localizing to mitochondria and interfering with the assembly of the mitochondrial pre-initiation transcription complex between HMG-5/TFAM and RPOM-1/mtRNAP. ATFS-1-mediated transcriptional inhibition decreases age-dependent mtDNA molecular damage through the DNA glycosylase NTH-1/NTH1, as well as the helicase TWNK-1/TWNK, resulting in an enhancement in the functional longevity of cells and protection against decline in animal behaviour caused by targeted and severe mtDNA damage. Together, our findings reveal that ATFS-1 acts as a molecular focal point for the control of balance between genome expression and maintenance in the mitochondria.
  30. bioRxiv. 2023 Jul 03. pii: 2023.07.01.547355. [Epub ahead of print]
      Metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer remains incurable regardless of recent therapeutic advances. Tumors display highly glycolytic phenotypes as the cancer progresses. In this study, we report the preclinical activity and characterization of a novel series of small molecules with antiglycolytic activity mediated through inhibition of hexokinase 2. These compounds display selective growth inhibition across multiple prostate cancer models. We describe a lead compound (BKIDC-1553) that demonstrates promising pharmacological properties and activity in preclinical models of advanced prostate cancer. This work supports testing BKIDC-1553 and its derivatives in clinical trials for patients with advanced prostate cancer.
  31. Front Immunol. 2023 ;14 1219652
      Background: Alterations in Mitochondrial DNA methylation (MTDM) exist in many tumors, but their role in breast cancer (BC) development remains unclear.Methods: We analyzed BC patient data by combining scRNA-seq and bulk sequencing. Weighted co-expression network analysis (WGCNA) of TCGA data identified mitochondrial DNA methylation (MTDM)-associated genes in BC. COX regression and LASSO regression were used to build prognostic models. The biological function of MTDM was assessed using various methods, such as signaling pathway enrichment analysis, copynumber karyotyping analysis, and quantitative analysis of the cell proliferation rate. We also evaluated MTDM-mediated alterations in the immune microenvironment using immune microenvironment, microsatellite instability, mutation, unsupervised clustering, malignant cell subtype differentiation, immune cell subtype differentiation, and cell-communication signature analyses. Finally, we performed cellular experiments to validate the role of the MTDM-associated prognostic gene NCAPD3 in BC.
    Results: In this study, MTDM-associated prognostic models divided BC patients into high/low MTDM groups in TCGA/GEO datasets. The difference in survival time between the two groups was statistically significant (P<0.001). We found that high MTDM status was positively correlated with tumor cell proliferation. We analyzed the immune microenvironment and found that low-MTDM group had higher immune checkpoint gene expression/immune cell infiltration, which could lead to potential benefits from immunotherapy. In contrast, the high MTDM group had higher proliferation rates and levels of CD8+T cell exhaustion, which may be related to the secretion of GDF15 by malignant breast epithelial cells with a high MTDM status. Cellular experiments validated the role of the MTDM-associated prognostic gene NCAPD3 (the gene most positively correlated with epithelial malignant cell proliferation in the model) in BC. Knockdown of NCAPD3 significantly reduced the activity and proliferation of MDA-MB-231 and BCAP-37 cells, and significantly reduced their migration ability of BCAP-37 cell line.
    Conclusion: This study presented a holistic evaluation of the multifaceted roles of MTDM in BC. The analysis of MTDM levels not only enables the prediction of response to immunotherapy but also serves as an accurate prognostic indicator for patients with BC. These insightful discoveries provide novel perspectives on tumor immunity and have the potentially to revolutionize the diagnosis and treatment of BC.
    Keywords:  NCAPD3; breast cancer; immunotherapy; mitochondrial DNA methylation (MTDM); prognostic model