bims-mibica Biomed News
on Mitochondrial bioenergetics in cancer
Issue of 2023‒10‒08
35 papers selected by
Kelsey Fisher-Wellman, East Carolina University

  1. Sci Rep. 2023 Oct 05. 13(1): 16742
      Targeting mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) to treat cancer has been hampered due to serious side-effects potentially arising from the inability to discriminate between non-cancerous and cancerous mitochondria. Herein, comprehensive mitochondrial phenotyping was leveraged to define both the composition and function of OXPHOS across various murine cancers and compared to both matched normal tissues and other organs. When compared to both matched normal tissues, as well as high OXPHOS reliant organs like heart, intrinsic expression of the OXPHOS complexes, as well as OXPHOS flux were discovered to be consistently lower across distinct cancer types. Assuming intrinsic OXPHOS expression/function predicts OXPHOS reliance in vivo, these data suggest that pharmacologic blockade of mitochondrial OXPHOS likely compromises bioenergetic homeostasis in healthy oxidative organs prior to impacting tumor mitochondrial flux in a clinically meaningful way. Although these data caution against the use of indiscriminate mitochondrial inhibitors for cancer treatment, considerable heterogeneity was observed across cancer types with respect to both mitochondrial proteome composition and substrate-specific flux, highlighting the possibility for targeting discrete mitochondrial proteins or pathways unique to a given cancer type.
  2. Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Basis Dis. 2023 Sep 25. pii: S0925-4439(23)00263-6. [Epub ahead of print]1870(1): 166897
      Little is known about the metabolic regulation of cancer stem cells (CSCs) in melanoma. Here, we used A375 and WM115 cell lines to dissect the role of mitochondria in conferring CSC traits. Notably, we observed that A375 and WM115 melanospheres, known to be enriched in ABCG2+ CSCs, showed higher mitochondrial mass compared with their adherent counterpart. In particular, they displayed increased PGC1-α expression and oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) complex levels, leading to a metabolic switch characterized by enhanced mitochondrial membrane potential, oxygen consumption, ATP synthesis and ROS production. Interestingly, PGC1-α silencing resulted in the suppression of CSC features, including clonogenic ability, migration, spheroid formation and ABCG2 enrichment. Similarly, XCT790 and SR-18292, two PGC1-α inhibitors, were able not only to reduce melanoma tumorigenicity and invasion but also to block melanosphere growth and propagation and ABCG2+ cell proliferation. In conclusion, improved mitochondrial biogenesis is associated with a stem-like phenotype in melanoma, and therapeutically targeting the mitochondria-enriched CSC subpopulation might overcome tumor progression.
    Keywords:  Melanoma; Mitochondrial biogenesis; Oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS); PGC1-α; cancer stem cells (CSCs)
  3. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2023 Oct 06. 80(11): 315
      Melanoma is the most lethal skin cancer originating from the malignant transformation of epidermal melanocyte. The dysregulation of cellular metabolism is a hallmark of cancer, including in melanoma. Aberrant branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) metabolism and related enzymes has been greatly implicated in the progression of multiple types of cancer, whereas remains far from understood in melanoma. Herein, we reported that the critical BCAA metabolism enzyme branched-chain amino acid transaminase 2 (BCAT2) is an oncogenic factor in melanoma by activating lipogenesis via the epigenetic regulation of fatty acid synthase (FASN) and ATP-citrate lyase (ACLY) expressions. Firstly, we found that BCAT2 expression was prominently increased in melanoma, and highly associated with clinical stage. Then, it was proved that the deficiency of BCAT2 led to impaired tumor cell proliferation, invasion and migration in vitro, and tumor growth and metastasis in vivo. Further, RNA sequencing technology and a panel of biochemical assays demonstrated that BCAT2 regulated de novo lipogenesis via the regulation of the expressions of both FASN and ACLY. Mechanistically, the inhibition of BCAT2 suppressed the generation of intracellular acetyl-CoA, mitigating P300-dependent histone acetylation at the promoter of FASN and ACLY, and thereby their transcription. Ultimately, zinc finger E-box binding homeobox 1 (ZEB1) was identified as the upstream transcriptional factor responsible for BCAT2 up-regulation in melanoma. Our results demonstrate that BCAT2 promotes melanoma progression by epigenetically regulating FASN and ACLY expressions via P300-dependent histone acetylation. Targeting BCAT2 could be exploited as a promising strategy to restrain tumor progression in melanoma.
    Keywords:  ACLY; BCAT2; Epigenetic; FASN; Lipogenesis; Melanoma
  4. Ther Adv Med Oncol. 2023 ;15 17588359231197957
      Mitochondrially targeted anticancer drugs (mitocans) that disrupt the energy-producing systems of cancer are emerging as new potential therapeutics. Mitochondrially targeted tamoxifen (MitoTam), an inhibitor of mitochondrial respiration respiratory complex I, is a first-in-class mitocan that was tested in the phase I/Ib MitoTam-01 trial of patients with metastatic cancer. MitoTam exhibited a manageable safety profile and efficacy; among 37% (14/38) of responders, the efficacy was greatest in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC) with a clinical benefit rate of 83% (5/6) of patients. This can be explained by the preferential accumulation of MitoTam in the kidney tissue in preclinical studies. Here we report the mechanism of action and safety profile of MitoTam in a case series of RCC patients. All six patients were males with a median age of 69 years, who had previously received at least three lines of palliative systemic therapy and suffered progressive disease before starting MitoTam. We recorded stable disease in four, partial response in one, and progressive disease (PD) in one patient. The histological subtype matched clear cell RCC (ccRCC) in the five responders and claro-cellular carcinoma with sarcomatoid features in the non-responder. The number of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) was evaluated longitudinally to monitor disease dynamics. Beside the decreased number of CTCs after MitoTam administration, we observed a significant decrease of the mitochondrial network mass in enriched CTCs. Two patients had long-term clinical responses to MitoTam, of 50 and 36 weeks. Both patients discontinued treatment due to adverse events, not PD. Two patients who completed the trial in November 2019 and May 2020 are still alive without subsequent anticancer therapy. The toxicity of MitoTam increased with the dosage but was manageable. The efficacy of MitoTam in pretreated ccRCC patients is linked to the novel mechanism of action of this first-in-class mitochondrially targeted drug.
    Keywords:  MitoTam; case series; efficacy; mechanism of action; mitocans; mitochondria; mitochondrially targeted tamoxifen; phase I/Ib trial; renal cell carcinoma; safety
  5. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2023 Oct 02.
      PURPOSE: The incidence and mortality of lung cancer are continuously rising in recent years. Mitochondrial energy metabolism malfunction is found to be crucial in cancer proliferation and bioenergetic reprogramming, especially for lung cancer. In this study, we attempted to use mitochondrial-targeted drug therapy to change the energy metabolism pattern of cancer cells to inhibit the development of lung cancer, and investigated its mechanism of action and key targets through multi-omics studies.METHODS: In this study, we established the in vivo tumor mouse mode, treated mice with multiple mitochondrial-targeted drug combinations and DDP, severally. Then, we investigated the differences between the 7-drug group with the control group and the DDP treatment group by transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics to find the therapeutic targets.
    RESULTS: We found that mitochondria-targeting drug cocktail therapy, especially the 7-drug regimen, effectively improved mitochondrial metabolism, changed energy supply patterns in lung cancer cells, significantly increased NK cells in tumor tissues, and decreased tumor markers in plasma. Multi-omics analysis informed that the combination of 7-drug could up-regulate mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation, ATP synthesis and autophagy related genes, and down-regulate proliferation and immune-related genes compared with the control group. By further mapping the protein interaction network, we identified a key target for 7-drug therapy to reverse tumor metabolic reprogramming and validated it in metabolomics.
    CONCLUSIONS: Mitochondrial-targeted drug cocktail therapy can effectively inhibit the occurrence and development of tumors, through the reprogramming of energy metabolism and the increase in immune cells in tumor tissues. Thus, we provide a novel approach for the treatment of lung cancer and present evidence-based clues for the combined use of targeted mitochondrial drugs.
    Keywords:  Cocktail therapy; Energy metabolism; Lung cancer; Mitochondria; Mitochondria targeting drug; Omics analysis
  6. bioRxiv. 2023 Sep 20. pii: 2023.09.20.558501. [Epub ahead of print]
      Aberrant mitochondrial fission/fusion dynamics have previously been reported in cancer cells. While post translational modifications are known regulators of GTPases of the mitochondrial fission/fusion machinery, we show for the first time that alternate splice variants of the fission protein Drp1 (DNM1L) have specific and unique roles in ovarian cancer, adding to the complexity of mitochondrial fission/fusion regulation in tumor cells. We find that ovarian cancer specimens express a Drp1 alternate splice transcript variant lacking exon 16 of the variable domain. High expression of Drp1 lacking exon 16 relative to other transcripts is associated with poor patient outcome. Unlike the unspliced variant, expression of Drp1 lacking exon 16 leads to decreased association of Drp1 to mitochondrial fission sites, more fused mitochondrial networks, enhanced respiration and TCA cycle metabolites, and is associated with a more tumorigenic phenotype. These effects can also be reversed by specific siRNA-mediated inhibition of the endogenously expressed transcript lacking exon 16. Moreover, lack of exon 16 abrogates mitochondrial fission in response to pro-apoptotic stimuli and leads to decreased sensitivity to chemotherapeutics. These data emphasize the significance of the pathophysiological consequences of Drp1 alternate splicing and divergent functions of Drp1 splice variants, and strongly warrant consideration of Drp1 splicing in future studies.
  7. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2023 Oct 10. 120(41): e2221653120
      Fatty acid oxidation (FAO) fuels many cancers. However, knowledge of pathways that drive FAO in cancer remains unclear. Here, we revealed that valosin-containing protein (VCP) upregulates FAO to promote colorectal cancer growth. Mechanistically, nuclear VCP binds to histone deacetylase 1 (HDAC1) and facilitates its degradation, thus promoting the transcription of FAO genes, including the rate-limiting enzyme carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1A (CPT1A). FAO is an alternative fuel for cancer cells in environments exhibiting limited glucose availability. We observed that a VCP inhibitor blocked the upregulation of FAO activity and CPT1A expression triggered by metformin in colorectal cancer (CRC) cells. Combined VCP inhibitor and metformin prove more effective than either agent alone in culture and in vivo. Our study illustrates the molecular mechanism underlying the regulation of FAO by nuclear VCP and demonstrates the potential therapeutic utility of VCP inhibitor and metformin combination treatment for colorectal cancer.
    Keywords:  VCP; colorectal cancer; combination therapy; fatty acid oxidation; metformin
  8. bioRxiv. 2023 Sep 22. pii: 2023.09.21.558912. [Epub ahead of print]
      Efficient communication between mitochondria and the nucleus underlies homoeostatic metabolic control, though the involved mitochondrial factors and their mechanisms are poorly defined. Here, we report the surprising detection of multiple mitochondrial-derived transfer RNAs (mito-tRNAs) within the nuclei of human cells. Focused studies of nuclear-transported mito-tRNA-asparagine (mtAsn) revealed that its cognate charging enzyme (NARS2) is also present in the nucleus. MtAsn promoted interaction of NARS2 with histone deacetylase 2 (HDAC2), and repressed HDAC2 association with specific chromatin loci. Perturbation of this axis using antisense oligonucleotides promoted nucleotide biogenesis and enhanced breast cancer growth, and RNA and nascent transcript sequencing demonstrated specific alterations in the transcription of nuclear genes. These findings uncover nucleic-acid mediated communication between two organelles and the existence of a machinery for nuclear gene regulation by a mito-tRNA that restricts tumor growth through metabolic control.Highlights: Multiple mitochondrial-derived tRNAs are detected in human cell nucleiMtAsn promotes binding between NARS2 and HDAC2Metabolic alterations driven by mtAsn impact cell proliferationMtAsn inhibition releases HDAC2 to bind and transcriptionally regulate multiple nuclear genes.
  9. FEBS J. 2023 Oct 03.
      In this work, cryo-electron tomography (cryo-ET) was used to study the localization of 2-oxoacid dehydrogenase complexes (OADCs) in cardiac mitochondria and mitochondrial inner membrane samples. Two classes of ordered OADC inner cores with different symmetries were distinguished and their quaternary structures modeled. One class corresponds to pyruvate dehydrogenase complexes and the other to dehydrogenase complexes of α-ketoglutarate and branched-chain α-ketoacids. OADCs were shown to be localized in close proximity to membrane-embedded respirasomes, as observed both in densely packed lamellar cristae of cardiac mitochondria and in ruptured mitochondrial samples where the dense packing is absent. This suggests the specificity of the OADC -respirasome interaction, which allows localized NADH/NAD+ exchange between OADCs and complex I of the respiratory chain. The importance of this local coupling lies in the fact that OADCs are the link between respiration, glycolysis and amino acid metabolism. The coupling of these basic metabolic processes can vary in different tissues and conditions and may be involved in the development of various pathologies. This article shows that this important and previously missing parameter of mitochondrial complex coupling can be successfully assessed using cryo-ET.
    Keywords:  2-oxoacid; cryo-electron tomography; dehydrogenase complex; mitochondria; pyruvate
  10. Sci Rep. 2023 Oct 06. 13(1): 16863
      Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) cells have a great demand for nutrients in the form of sugars, amino acids, and lipids. Particularly, amino acids are critical for cancer growth and, as intermediates, connect glucose, lipid and nucleotide metabolism. PDAC cells meet these requirements by upregulating selective amino acid transporters. Here we show that SLC38A5 (SN2/SNAT5), a neutral amino acid transporter is highly upregulated and functional in PDAC cells. Using CRISPR/Cas9-mediated knockout of SLC38A5, we show its tumor promoting role in an in vitro cell line model as well as in a subcutaneous xenograft mouse model. Using metabolomics and RNA sequencing, we show significant reduction in many amino acid substrates of SLC38A5 as well as OXPHOS inactivation in response to SLC38A5 deletion. Experimental validation demonstrates inhibition of mTORC1, glycolysis and mitochondrial respiration in KO cells, suggesting a serious metabolic crisis associated with SLC38A5 deletion. Since many SLC38A5 substrates are activators of mTORC1 as well as TCA cycle intermediates/precursors, we speculate amino acid insufficiency as a possible link between SLC38A5 deletion and inactivation of mTORC1, glycolysis and mitochondrial respiration, and the underlying mechanism for PDAC attenuation. Overall, we show that SLC38A5 promotes PDAC, thereby identifying a novel, hitherto unknown, therapeutic target for PDAC.
  11. BMC Cancer. 2023 Oct 03. 23(1): 935
      BACKGROUND: Leucine-rich pentatricopeptide repeat containing (LRPPRC) is a potential oncogene in multiple tumor types, including lung adenocarcinoma, esophageal squamous cell carcinoma and gastric cancer. LRPPRC exerts its tumor-promoting effects mainly by regulating mitochondrial homeostasis and inducing oxidative stress. However, the exact role and mechanisms by which LRPPRC acts in osteosarcoma and osteosarcoma-derived cancer stem-like cells (CSCs), which potentially critically contribute to recurrence, metastasis and chemoresistance, are still largely unclear.METHODS: LRPPRC level in osteosarcoma cells and CSCs were detected by western blot. Effects of LRPPRC on CSCs were accessed after LRPPRC knockdown by introducing lentivirus containing shRNA targeting to LRPPRC mRNA.
    RESULTS: we found that LRPPRC was highly expressed in several osteosarcoma cell lines and that LRPPRC knockdown inhibited malignant behaviors, including proliferation, invasion, colony formation and tumor formation, in MG63 and U2OS cells. Enriched CSCs derived from MG63 and U2OS cells presented upregulated LRPPRC levels compared to parental cells (PCs), and LRPPRC knockdown markedly decreased the sphere-forming capacity. These findings demonstrate that LRPPRC knockdown decreased stemness in CSCs. Consistent with a previous report, LRPPRC knockdown decreased the expression levels of FOXM1 and its downstream target genes, including PRDX3, MnSOD and catalase, which are responsible for scavenging reactive oxygen species (ROS). Expectedly, LRPPRC knockdown increased the accumulation of ROS in osteosarcoma and osteosarcoma-derived CSCs under hypoxic conditions due to the decrease in ROS scavenging proteins. Moreover, LRPPRC knockdown sensitized osteosarcomas and CSCs against carboplatin, a ROS-inducing chemoagent, and promoted apoptosis. Furthermore, LRPPRC knockdown significantly decreased the mitochondrial membrane potential, disturbed mitochondrial homeostasis and led to mitochondrial dysfunction.
    CONCLUSION: Taken together, these findings indicated that LRPPRC exerts critical roles in regulating mitochondrial homeostasis, mitochondrial function and tumorigenesis in osteosarcomas and osteosarcoma-derived CSCs. This suggests that LRPPRC might be a promising therapeutic target for osteosarcomas.
    Keywords:  Cancer stem-like cells; FOXM1; LRPPRC; Mitochondrial homeostasis; Osteosarcoma
  12. J Transl Med. 2023 Oct 05. 21(1): 696
      BACKGROUND: Breast cancer is, despite screening, not always detected early enough and is together with other tumor types known to shed genetic information in circulation. Unlike single-copy nuclear DNA, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) copies range from 100s to 10,000s per cell, thus providing a potentially alternative to identify potential missing cancer information in circulation at an early stage.METHODS: To characterize mitochondrial mutation landscapes in breast cancer, whole mtDNA sequencing and bioinformatics analyses were performed on 86 breast cancer biopsies and 50 available matched baseline cancer-free whole blood samples from the same individuals, selected from a cohort of middle-aged women in Sweden. To determine whether the mutations can be detected in blood plasma prior to cancer diagnosis, we further designed a nested case-control study (n = 663) and validated the shortlisted mutations using droplet digital PCR.
    RESULTS: We detected different mutation landscapes between biopsies and matched whole blood samples. Compared to whole blood samples, mtDNA from biopsies had higher heteroplasmic mutations in the D-loop region (P = 0.02), RNR2 (P = 0.005), COX1 (P = 0.037) and CYTB (P = 0.006). Furthermore, the germline mtDNA mutations had higher heteroplasmy level than the lost (P = 0.002) and de novo mutations (P = 0.04). The nonsynonymous to synonymous substitution ratio (dN/dS) was higher for the heteroplasmic mutations (P = 7.25 × 10-12) than that for the homoplasmic mutations, but the de novo (P = 0.06) and lost mutations (P = 0.03) had lower dN/dS than the germline mutations. Interestingly, we found that the critical regions for mitochondrial transcription: MT-HSP1 (odds ratio [OR]: 21.41), MT-TFH (OR: 7.70) and MT-TAS2 (OR: 3.62), had significantly higher heteroplasmic mutations than the rest of the D-loop sub-regions. Finally, we found that the presence of mt.16093T > C mutation increases 67% risk of developing breast cancer.
    CONCLUSIONS: Our findings show that mitochondrial genetic landscape changes during cancer pathogenesis and positive selection of mtDNA heteroplasmic mutations in breast cancer. Most importantly, the mitochondrial mutations identified in biopsies can be traced back in matched plasma samples and could potentially be used as early breast cancer diagnostic biomarkers.
    Keywords:  Breast cancer; Heteroplasmic mutation; Sequencing; ddPCR validation; mtDNA
  13. Biomark Res. 2023 Oct 05. 11(1): 89
      Mitochondria are energy-generated organelles and take an important part in biological metabolism. Mitochondria could be transferred between cells, which serves as a new intercellular communication. Mitochondrial transfer improves mitochondrial defects, restores the biological functions of recipient cells, and maintains the high metabolic requirements of tumor cells as well as drug resistance. In recent years, it has been reported mitochondrial transfer between cells of bone marrow microenvironment and hematological malignant cells play a critical role in the disease progression and resistance during chemotherapy. In this review, we discuss the patterns and mechanisms on mitochondrial transfer and their engagement in different pathophysiological contexts and outline the latest knowledge on intercellular transport of mitochondria in hematological malignancies. Besides, we briefly outline the drug resistance mechanisms caused by mitochondrial transfer in cells during chemotherapy. Our review demonstrates a theoretical basis for mitochondrial transfer as a prospective therapeutic target to increase the treatment efficiency in hematological malignancies and improve the prognosis of patients.
    Keywords:  Extracellular mitochondria; Extracellular vesicles; Hematological malignancies; Mitochondrial transfer; Tunneling nanotubes
  14. Res Sq. 2023 Sep 11. pii: [Epub ahead of print]
      Background: Diffuse midline gliomas (DMG), including diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (DIPGs), are a fatal form of brain cancer. These tumors often carry a driver mutation on histone H3 converting lysine 27 to methionine (H3K27M). DMG-H3K27M are characterized by altered metabolism and resistance to standard of care radiation (RT), but how the H3K27M mediates the metabolic response to radiation and consequent treatment resistance is uncertain. Methods: We performed metabolomics on irradiated and untreated H3K27M isogenic DMG cell lines and observed an H3K27M-specific enrichment for purine synthesis pathways. We profiled the expression of purine synthesis enzymes in publicly available patient data and in our models, quantified purine synthetic flux using stable isotope tracing, and characterized the in vitro and in vivo response to de novo and salvage purine synthesis inhibition in combination with RT. Results: DMG-H3K27M cells activate purine metabolism in an H3K27M-specific fashion. In the absence of genotoxic treatment, H3K27M-expressing cells have higher relative activity of de novo synthesis and lower activity of purine salvage due to decreased expression of the purine salvage enzymes. Inhibition of de novo synthesis radiosensitized DMG-H3K27M cells in vitro and in vivo. Irradiated H3K27M cells adaptively upregulate purine salvage enzyme expression and pathway activity. Silencing the rate limiting enzyme in purine salvage, hypoxanthine guanine phosphoribosyl transferase (HGPRT) when combined with radiation markedly suppressed DMG-H3K27M tumor growth in vivo. Conclusions: H3K27M expressing cells rely on de novo purine synthesis but adaptively upregulate purine salvage in response to RT. Inhibiting purine salvage may help overcome treatment resistance in DMG-H3K27M tumors.
  15. bioRxiv. 2023 Sep 18. pii: 2023.09.18.558236. [Epub ahead of print]
      Knockout (KO) of the fatty acid-activation enzyme very long-chain acyl-CoA synthetase 3 (ACSVL3; SLC27A3) in U87MG glioblastoma cells reduced their malignant growth properties both in vitro and in xenografts. These U87-KO glioma cells grew at a slower rate, became adherence-dependent, and were less invasive than parental U87 cells. U87-KO cells produced fewer, slower-growing subcutaneous and intracranial tumors when implanted in NOD-SCID mice. Thus, depleting U87MG cells of ACSVL3 restored these cells to a phenotype more like that of normal astrocytes. To understand the mechanisms underlying these beneficial changes, we investigated several possibilities, including the effects of ACSVL3 depletion on carbohydrate metabolism. Proteomic and metabolomic profiling indicated that ACSVL3 KO produced changes in glucose and energy metabolism. Even though protein levels of glucose transporters GLUT1 and GLUT3 were reduced by KO, cellular uptake of labeled 2-deoxyglucose was unaffected. Glucose oxidation to CO 2 was reduced nearly 7-fold by ACSVL3 depletion, and the cellular glucose level was 25% higher in KO cells. Glycolytic enzymes were upregulated by KO, but metabolic intermediates were essentially unchanged. Surprisingly, lactate production and the levels of lactate dehydrogenase isozymes LDHA and LDHB were elevated by ACSVL3 KO. The activity of the pentose phosphate pathway was found to be lower in KO cells. Citric acid cycle enzymes, electron transport chain complexes, and ATP synthase protein levels were all reduced by ACSVL3 depletion. Mitochondria were elongated in KO cells, but had a more punctate morphology in U87 cells. The mitochondrial potential was unaffected by lack of ACSVL3. We conclude that the beneficial effects of ACSVL3 depletion in human glioblastoma cells may result in part from alterations in diverse metabolic processes that are not directly related to role(s) of this enzyme in fatty acid and/or lipid metabolism. (Supported by NIH 5R01NS062043 and KKI institutional funds.).
  16. Cancer Immunol Res. 2023 10 04. 11(10): 1303-1313
      Hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) and T cells are intimately related, lineage-dependent cell populations that are extensively used as therapeutic products for the treatment of hematologic malignancies and certain types of solid tumors. These cellular therapies can be life-saving treatments; however, their efficacies are often limited by factors influencing their activity and cellular properties. Among these factors is mitochondrial metabolism, which influences the function and fate commitment of both HSCs and T cells. Mitochondria, besides being the "cellular powerhouse," provide metabolic intermediates that are used as substrates for epigenetic modifications and chromatin remodeling, thus, driving cell fate decisions during differentiation. Moreover, mitochondrial fitness and mitochondrial quality control mechanisms are closely related to cellular function, and impairment of these mitochondrial properties associates with cellular dysfunction due to factors such as T-cell exhaustion and aging. Here, we give an overview of the role of mitochondria in shaping the behavior of these lineage-related cell populations. Moreover, we discuss the potential of novel mitochondria-targeting strategies for enhancing HSC- and T cell-based cancer immunotherapies and highlight how design and application of such approaches requires consideration of the metabolic similarities and differences between HSCs and T cells. See related article on p. 1302.
  17. Nat Commun. 2023 09 30. 14(1): 6113
      Mitochondria carry their own circular genome and disruption of the mitochondrial genome is associated with various aging-related diseases. Unlike the nuclear genome, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) can be present at 1000 s to 10,000 s copies in somatic cells and variants may exist in a state of heteroplasmy, where only a fraction of the DNA molecules harbors a particular variant. We quantify mtDNA heteroplasmy in 194,871 participants in the UK Biobank and find that heteroplasmy is associated with a 1.5-fold increased risk of all-cause mortality. Additionally, we functionally characterize mtDNA single nucleotide variants (SNVs) using a constraint-based score, mitochondrial local constraint score sum (MSS) and find it associated with all-cause mortality, and with the prevalence and incidence of cancer and cancer-related mortality, particularly leukemia. These results indicate that mitochondria may have a functional role in certain cancers, and mitochondrial heteroplasmic SNVs may serve as a prognostic marker for cancer, especially for leukemia.
  18. Cell Rep. 2023 Oct 03. pii: S2211-1247(23)01203-2. [Epub ahead of print]42(10): 113191
      In solid tumors, drug concentrations decrease with distance from blood vessels. However, cellular adaptations accompanying the gradated exposure of cancer cells to drugs are largely unknown. Here, we modeled the spatiotemporal changes promoting chemotherapy resistance in breast cancer. Using pairwise cell competition assays at each step during the acquisition of chemoresistance, we reveal an important priming phase that renders cancer cells previously exposed to sublethal drug concentrations refractory to dose escalation. Therapy-resistant cells throughout the concentration gradient display higher expression of the solute carriers SLC38A7 and SLC46A1 and elevated intracellular concentrations of their associated metabolites. Reduced levels of SLC38A7 and SLC46A1 diminish the proliferative potential of cancer cells, and elevated expression of these SLCs in breast tumors from patients correlates with reduced survival. Our work provides mechanistic evidence to support dose-intensive treatment modalities for patients with solid tumors and reveals two members of the SLC family as potential actionable targets.
    Keywords:  CP: Cancer; CP: Metabolism; anthracyclines; breast cancer; cancer metabolism; chemotherapy resistance; metabolomics; solute carriers
  19. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2023 Oct 02.
      The expression of mitochondrial genes is regulated in response to the metabolic needs of different cell types, but the basic mechanisms underlying this process are still poorly understood. In this Review, we describe how different layers of regulation cooperate to fine tune initiation of both mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) transcription and replication in human cells. We discuss our current understanding of the molecular mechanisms that drive and regulate transcription initiation from mtDNA promoters, and how the packaging of mtDNA into nucleoids can control the number of mtDNA molecules available for both transcription and replication. Indeed, a unique aspect of the mitochondrial transcription machinery is that it is coupled to mtDNA replication, such that mitochondrial RNA polymerase is additionally required for primer synthesis at mtDNA origins of replication. We discuss how the choice between replication-primer formation and genome-length RNA synthesis is controlled at the main origin of replication (OriH) and how the recent discovery of an additional mitochondrial promoter (LSP2) in humans may change this long-standing model.
  20. Free Radic Biol Med. 2023 Sep 25. pii: S0891-5849(23)00654-8. [Epub ahead of print]208 771-779
      Disrupting mitochondrial superoxide dismutase (SOD) causes neonatal lethality in mice and death of flies within 24 h after eclosion. Deletion of mitochondrial sod genes in C. elegans impairs fertility as well, but surprisingly is not detrimental to survival of progeny generated. The comparison of metabolic pathways among mouse, flies and nematodes reveals that mice and flies lack the glyoxylate shunt, a shortcut that bypasses part of the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle. Here we show that ICL-1, the sole protein that catalyzes the glyoxylate shunt, is critical for protection against embryonic lethality resulting from elevated levels of mitochondrial superoxide. In exploring the mechanism by which ICL-1 protects against ROS-mediated embryonic lethality, we find that ICL-1 is required for the efficient activation of mitochondrial unfolded protein response (UPRmt) and that ATFS-1, a key UPRmt transcription factor and an activator of icl-1 gene expression, is essential to limit embryonic/neonatal lethality in animals lacking mitochondrial SOD. In sum, we identify a biochemical pathway that highlights a molecular strategy for combating toxic mitochondrial superoxide consequences in cells.
  21. Chem Commun (Camb). 2023 Oct 06.
      A mitochondria-targeted far-red fluorescent probe LY-1 with AIE character was formulated to track cell viscosity alterations with excellent sensitivity and selectivity, which was used to discriminate between mitophagy and ferroptosis in cancer cells. Probe LY-1 is expected to be an effective vehicle for the diagnosis of mitochondrial viscosity relevant diseases.
  22. Biomed Pharmacother. 2023 Sep 29. pii: S0753-3322(23)01382-3. [Epub ahead of print]167 115584
      Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a deadly hematological malignancy characterized by oncogenic translational addiction that results in over-proliferation and apoptosis evasion of leukemia cells. Various chemo- and targeted therapies aim to reverse this hallmark, but most show only modest efficacy. Here we report a single oral pill containing a low-dose triple small molecule-based cocktail, a highly active anti-cancer therapy (HAACT) with unique mechanisms that can effectively control AML. The cocktail comprises oncogenic translation inhibitor HHT, drug efflux pump P-gpi ENC and anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2i VEN. Mechanistically, the cocktail can potently kill both leukemia stem cells (LSC) and bulk leukemic cells via co-targeting oncogenic translation, apoptosis machinery, and drug efflux pump, resulting in deep and durable remissions of AML in diverse model systems. We also identified EphB4/Bcl-xL as the cocktail response biomarkers. Collectively, our studies provide proof that a single pill containing a triple combination cocktail might be a promising avenue for AML therapy.
    Keywords:  Acute myeloid leukemia; Bcl-2i; Cocktail therapy; HHT; P-gpi
  23. Cell Rep. 2023 Oct 03. pii: S2211-1247(23)01028-8. [Epub ahead of print]42(10): 113017
      Despite available targeted treatments for the disease, drug-resistant chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) poses a clinical challenge. The objective of this study is to examine whether the dual-specific phosphatases DUSP1 and DUSP6 are required to negatively regulate mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) and thus counterbalance excessive MAPK activity. We show that high expression of DUSP6 in CLL correlates with poor clinical prognosis. Importantly, genetic deletion of the inhibitory phosphatase DUSP1 or DUSP6 and blocking DUSP1/6 function using a small-molecule inhibitor reduces CLL cell survival in vitro and in vivo. Using global phospho-proteome approaches, we observe acute activation of MAPK signaling by DUSP1/6 inhibition. This promotes accumulation of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species and, thereby, DNA damage and apoptotic cell death in CLL cells. Finally, we observe that DUSP1/6 inhibition is particularly effective against treatment-resistant CLL and therefore suggest transient DUSP1/6 inhibition as a promising treatment concept to eliminate drug-resistant CLL cells.
    Keywords:  CLL; CP: Cancer; DNA damage; MAPK; apoptosis; phosphatases
  24. Hematology. 2023 Dec;28(1): 2265206
      OBJECTIVES: Young adults with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) often fail to achieve permanent complete remission (CR) and frequently relapse, indicating an urgent need to explore effective salvage therapies. Recent advances in AML treatment have been attributed to the combination of the B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2) inhibitor venetoclax (VEN) with hypomethylating agents (HMAs); however, the use of this combination in young adults with relapsed or refractory (R/R) AML has not been reported.METHODS: We retrospectively examined 31 young patients with R/R AML treated with VEN plus an HMA. We evaluated the demographic data, cytogenetic characteristics, AML types, response rates, and transplantation-related data for the patients in our cohort.
    RESULTS: The combination of VEN + HMA yielded a CR rate of 48.4%. The most prominent hematologic adverse event was neutropenia, which occurred in all patients, with 90.3% of cases being grade ≥3. Non-hematologic toxicities were relatively mild and infrequent, with an incidence of 45.2%. More than half of the patients with sustained CR had received an allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT), of whom two died of transplant-related complications.
    CONCLUSION: Our results showed that the combination of VEN + HMA appeared to be a highly effective and well-tolerated salvage therapy option for young patients with R/R AML, enabling more young patients to proceed to potentially curative allo-HSCT. However, additional, well-designed studies with larger numbers of patients are required to confirm the advantages of VEN + HMA in this population.
    Keywords:  Acute myeloid leukemia; allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation; azacytidine; hypomethylating agents; refractory; relapsed; venetoclax; young patients
  25. Front Biosci (Landmark Ed). 2023 Sep 26. 28(9): 227
      BACKGROUND: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the major causes of cancer-related mortality worldwide. The tumor microenvironment plays a significant role in CRC development, progression and metastasis. Oxidative stress in the colon is a major etiological factor impacting tumor progression. Tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated protein 1 (TRAP1) is a mitochondrial member of the heat shock protein 90 (HSP90) family that is involved in modulating apoptosis in colon cancer cells under oxidative stress. We undertook this study to provide mechanistic insight into the role of TRAP1 under oxidative stress in colon cells.METHODS: We first assessed the The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) CRC gene expression dataset to evaluate the expression of TRAP1 and its association with oxidative stress and disease progression. We then treated colon HCT116 cells with hydrogen peroxide to induce oxidative stress and with the TRAP1 inhibitor gamitrinib-triphenylphosphonium (GTPP) to inhibit TRAP1. We examined the cellular proteomic landscape using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) in this context compared to controls. We further examined the impact of treatment on DNA damage and cell survival.
    RESULTS: TRAP1 expression under oxidative stress is associated with the disease outcomes of colorectal cancer. TRAP1 inhibition under oxidative stress induced metabolic reprogramming and heat shock factor 1 (HSF1)-dependent transactivation. In addition, we also observed enhanced induction of DNA damage and cell death in the cells under oxidative stress and TRAP1 inhibition in comparison to single treatments and the nontreatment control.
    CONCLUSIONS: These findings provide new insights into TRAP1-driven metabolic reprogramming in response to oxidative stress.
    Keywords:  TRAP1; colon cancer; oxidative stress; proteomics
  26. Nat Commun. 2023 Oct 05. 14(1): 6208
      Lysine acetylation has been discovered in thousands of non-histone human proteins, including most metabolic enzymes. Deciphering the functions of acetylation is key to understanding how metabolic cues mediate metabolic enzyme regulation and cellular signaling. Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD), the rate-limiting enzyme in the pentose phosphate pathway, is acetylated on multiple lysine residues. Using site-specifically acetylated G6PD, we show that acetylation can activate (AcK89) and inhibit (AcK403) G6PD. Acetylation-dependent inactivation is explained by structural studies showing distortion of the dimeric structure and active site of G6PD. We provide evidence for acetylation-dependent K95/97 ubiquitylation of G6PD and Y503 phosphorylation, as well as interaction with p53 and induction of early apoptotic events. Notably, we found that the acetylation of a single lysine residue coordinates diverse acetylation-dependent processes. Our data provide an example of the complex roles of acetylation as a posttranslational modification that orchestrates the regulation of enzymatic activity, posttranslational modifications, and apoptotic signaling.
  27. Sci Rep. 2023 Oct 06. 13(1): 16844
      Thyroid cancer is the most common endocrine malignancy, affecting nearly 600,000 new patients worldwide. Treatment with the BRAF inhibitor sorafenib partially prolongs progression-free survival in thyroid cancer patients, but fails to improve overall survival. This study examines enhancing sorafenib efficacy by combination therapy with the novel HSP90 inhibitor onalespib. In vitro efficacy of sorafenib and onalespib monotherapy as well as in combination was assessed in papillary (PTC) and anaplastic (ATC) thyroid cancer cells using cell viability and colony formation assays. Migration potential was studied in wound healing assays. The in vivo efficacy of sorafenib and onalespib therapy was evaluated in mice bearing BHT-101 xenografts. Sorafenib in combination with onalespib significantly inhibited PTC and ATC cell proliferation, decreased metabolic activity and cancer cell migration. In addition, the drug combination approach significantly inhibited tumor growth in the xenograft model and prolonged the median survival. Our results suggest that combination therapy with sorafenib and onalespib could be used as a new therapeutic approach in the treatment of thyroid cancer, significantly improving the results obtained with sorafenib as monotherapy. This approach has the potential to reduce treatment adaptation while at the same time providing therapeutic anti-cancer benefits such as reducing tumor growth and metastatic potential.
  28. Front Biosci (Landmark Ed). 2023 Sep 06. 28(9): 195
      BACKGROUND: Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a recurrence-prone hematologic malignancy. The advent of molecularly targeted therapies provides new opportunities to enhance the effectiveness of AML treatments. Venetoclax, a selective inhibitor of the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2, has shown promising results; however, resistance often arises due to elevated expression of the Mcl-1 protein, among other factors. Overcoming this resistance to improve therapeutic outcomes is a pressing issue that requires further investigation. Studies have demonstrated that oridonin, by inhibiting AKT signaling that regulates Mcl-1 expression, can effectively suppress tumor cell growth. This study aims to investigate whether oridonin can synergistically enhance the anti-leukemic effects of venetoclax and explore the underlying mechanisms behind this effect.METHODS: In vitro experiments were performed to evaluate the effects of the combination of oridonin and venetoclax on AML cell proliferation, apoptosis, cell cycle distribution, and mitochondrial membrane potential. Transcriptome sequencing was used to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying the synergistic induction of AML cell apoptosis by the combination therapy. Western blotting and reverse transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) techniques were used to validate the findings. Additionally, an AML mouse model was established to observe the synergistic anti-AML effects of venetoclax combined with oridonin in vivo.
    RESULTS: Both venetoclax and oridonin individually exhibited inhibitory effects on AML cell proliferation, resulted in cell cycle arrest, and induced cell apoptosis. Moreover, combination of the two drugs resulted in a synergistic effect. We also observed that oridonin inhibited AKT phosphorylation, upregulated the expression of Bim and Bax proteins, facilitated Mcl-1 degradation, and enhanced the apoptotic effects of venetoclax in AML cells. Finally, in vivo experiments demonstrated that the combination of oridonin and venetoclax effectively inhibited the growth of AML xenograft tumors in mice and prolonged the survival time of tumor-bearing mice.
    CONCLUSIONS: Oridonin and venetoclax synergistically promote AML cell apoptosis by inhibiting AKT signaling.
    Keywords:  AKT signaling pathway; acute myeloid leukemia (AML); apoptosis; oridonin; venetoclax
  29. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2023 ;11 1254313
      Deregulation of tumor cell metabolism is widely recognized as a "hallmark of cancer." Many of the selective pressures encountered by tumor cells, such as exposure to anticancer therapies, navigation of the metastatic cascade, and communication with the tumor microenvironment, can elicit further rewiring of tumor cell metabolism. Furthermore, phenotypic plasticity has been recently appreciated as an emerging "hallmark of cancer." Mitochondria are dynamic organelles and central hubs of metabolism whose roles in cancers have been a major focus of numerous studies. Importantly, therapeutic approaches targeting mitochondria are being developed. Interestingly, both plastic (i.e., reversible) and permanent (i.e., stable) metabolic adaptations have been observed following exposure to anticancer therapeutics. Understanding the plastic or permanent nature of these mechanisms is of crucial importance for devising the initiation, duration, and sequential nature of metabolism-targeting therapies. In this review, we compare permanent and plastic mitochondrial mechanisms driving therapy resistance. We also discuss experimental models of therapy-induced metabolic adaptation, therapeutic implications for targeting permanent and plastic metabolic states, and clinical implications of metabolic adaptations. While the plasticity of metabolic adaptations can make effective therapeutic treatment challenging, understanding the mechanisms behind these plastic phenotypes may lead to promising clinical interventions that will ultimately lead to better overall care for cancer patients.
    Keywords:  cancer; metabolism; oxphos (oxidative phosphorylation); plasticity; resistance
  30. Cell Rep. 2023 Sep 29. pii: S2211-1247(23)01195-6. [Epub ahead of print]42(10): 113183
      Recent developments in genome sequencing have expanded the knowledge of genetic factors associated with late-onset Alzheimer's disease (AD). Among them, genetic variant ε4 of the APOE gene (APOE4) confers the greatest disease risk. Dysregulated glucose metabolism is an early pathological feature of AD. Using isogenic ApoE3 and ApoE4 astrocytes derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells, we find that ApoE4 increases glycolytic activity but impairs mitochondrial respiration in astrocytes. Ultrastructural and autophagy flux analyses show that ApoE4-induced cholesterol accumulation impairs lysosome-dependent removal of damaged mitochondria. Acute treatment with cholesterol-depleting agents restores autophagic activity, mitochondrial dynamics, and associated proteomes, and extended treatment rescues mitochondrial respiration in ApoE4 astrocytes. Taken together, our study provides a direct link between ApoE4-induced lysosomal cholesterol accumulation and abnormal oxidative phosphorylation.
    Keywords:  ApoE4; CP: Cell biology; CP: Metabolism; glucose metabolism; human astrocytes; lysosomal cholesterol accumulation; mitophagy
  31. Exp Mol Med. 2023 Oct 02.
      Histone acetylation involves the transfer of two-carbon units to the nucleus that are embedded in low-concentration metabolites. We found that lactate, a high-concentration metabolic byproduct, can be a major carbon source for histone acetylation through oxidation-dependent metabolism. Both in cells and in purified nuclei, 13C3-lactate carbons are incorporated into histone H4 (maximum incorporation: ~60%). In the purified nucleus, this process depends on nucleus-localized lactate dehydrogenase (LDHA), knockout (KO) of which abrogates incorporation. Heterologous expression of nucleus-localized LDHA reverses the KO effect. Lactate itself increases histone acetylation, whereas inhibition of LDHA reduces acetylation. In vitro and in vivo settings exhibit different lactate incorporation patterns, suggesting an influence on the microenvironment. Higher nuclear LDHA localization is observed in pancreatic cancer than in normal tissues, showing disease relevance. Overall, lactate and nuclear LDHA can be major structural and regulatory players in the metabolism-epigenetics axis controlled by the cell's own status or the environmental status.
  32. Nat Cancer. 2023 Oct 02.
      Acute myeloid leukemia (AML), the most frequent leukemia in adults, is driven by recurrent somatically acquired genetic lesions in a restricted number of genes. Treatment with tyrosine kinase inhibitors has demonstrated that targeting of prevalent FMS-related receptor tyrosine kinase 3 (FLT3) gain-of-function mutations can provide significant survival benefits for patients, although the efficacy of FLT3 inhibitors in eliminating FLT3-mutated clones is variable. We identified a T cell receptor (TCR) reactive to the recurrent D835Y driver mutation in the FLT3 tyrosine kinase domain (TCRFLT3D/Y). TCRFLT3D/Y-redirected T cells selectively eliminated primary human AML cells harboring the FLT3D835Y mutation in vitro and in vivo. TCRFLT3D/Y cells rejected both CD34+ and CD34- AML in mice engrafted with primary leukemia from patients, reaching minimal residual disease-negative levels, and eliminated primary CD34+ AML leukemia-propagating cells in vivo. Thus, T cells targeting a single shared mutation can provide efficient immunotherapy toward selective elimination of clonally involved primary AML cells in vivo.
  33. Elife. 2023 10 02. pii: e79725. [Epub ahead of print]12
      The heteroplasmic state of eukaryotic cells allows for cryptic accumulation of defective mitochondrial genomes (mtDNA). 'Purifying selection' mechanisms operate to remove such dysfunctional mtDNAs. We found that activators of programmed cell death (PCD), including the CED-3 and CSP-1 caspases, the BH3-only protein CED-13, and PCD corpse engulfment factors, are required in C. elegans to attenuate germline abundance of a 3.1-kb mtDNA deletion mutation, uaDf5, which is normally stably maintained in heteroplasmy with wildtype mtDNA. In contrast, removal of CED-4/Apaf1 or a mutation in the CED-4-interacting prodomain of CED-3, do not increase accumulation of the defective mtDNA, suggesting induction of a non-canonical germline PCD mechanism or non-apoptotic action of the CED-13/caspase axis. We also found that the abundance of germline mtDNAuaDf5 reproducibly increases with age of the mothers. This effect is transmitted to the offspring of mothers, with only partial intergenerational removal of the defective mtDNA. In mutants with elevated mtDNAuaDf5 levels, this removal is enhanced in older mothers, suggesting an age-dependent mechanism of mtDNA quality control. Indeed, we found that both steady-state and age-dependent accumulation rates of uaDf5 are markedly decreased in long-lived, and increased in short-lived, mutants. These findings reveal that regulators of both PCD and the aging program are required for germline mtDNA quality control and its intergenerational transmission.
    Keywords:  C. elegans; aging; cell biology; genetics; genomics; heteroplasmy; insulin signaling; programmed cell death; purifying selection; uaDf5
  34. Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Basis Dis. 2023 Oct 04. pii: S0925-4439(23)00272-7. [Epub ahead of print] 166906
      Sphingolipids are important for the physicochemical properties of cellular membranes and deregulated in tumors. In human colon cancer tissue ceramide synthase (CerS) 4 and CerS5 are reduced which correlates with a reduced survival probability of late-stage colon cancer patients. Both enzymes are reduced after hypoxia in advanced colorectal cancer (CRC) cells (HCT-116, SW620) but not in non-metastatic CRC cells (SW480, Caco-2). Downregulation of CerS4 or CerS5 in advanced CRC cells enhanced tumor formation in nude mice and organoid growth in vitro. This was accompanied by an enhanced proliferation rate and metabolic changes leading to a shift towards the Warburg effect. In contrast, CerS4 or CerS5 depletion in Caco-2 cells reduced tumor growth in vivo. Lipidomic and proteomic analysis of membrane fractions revealed significant changes in tumor-promoting cellular pathways and cellular transporters. This study identifies CerS4 and CerS5 as prognostic markers for advanced colon cancer patients and provides a comprehensive overview about the associated cellular metabolic changes. We propose that the expression level of CerS4 and CerS5 in colon tumors could serve as a basis for decision-making for personalized treatment of advanced colon cancer patients. Trial registration: The study was accredited by the study board of the Deutsche Krebsgesellschaft (Registration No: St-D203, 2017/06/30, retrospectively registered).
    Keywords:  Biomarker; Lipidomic; Metabolism; Oxidative consumption rate, hypoxia; Proteomic