bims-mibica Biomed News
on Mitochondrial bioenergetics in cancer
Issue of 2023‒10‒22
33 papers selected by
Kelsey Fisher-Wellman, East Carolina University

  1. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2023 Oct 17. 80(11): 328
      Elevated mitochondrial metabolism promotes tumorigenesis of Embryonal Rhabdomyosarcomas (ERMS). Accordingly, targeting oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) could represent a therapeutic strategy for ERMS. We previously demonstrated that genetic reduction of Staufen1 (STAU1) levels results in the inhibition of ERMS tumorigenicity. Here, we examined STAU1-mediated mechanisms in ERMS and focused on its potential involvement in regulating OXPHOS. We report the novel and differential role of STAU1 in mitochondrial metabolism in cancerous versus non-malignant skeletal muscle cells (NMSkMCs). Specifically, our data show that STAU1 depletion reduces OXPHOS and inhibits proliferation of ERMS cells. Our findings further reveal the binding of STAU1 to several OXPHOS mRNAs which affects their stability. Indeed, STAU1 depletion reduced the stability of OXPHOS mRNAs, causing inhibition of mitochondrial metabolism. In parallel, STAU1 depletion impacted negatively the HIF2α pathway which further modulates mitochondrial metabolism. Exogenous expression of HIF2α in STAU1-depleted cells reversed the mitochondrial inhibition and induced cell proliferation. However, opposite effects were observed in NMSkMCs. Altogether, these findings revealed the impact of STAU1 in the regulation of mitochondrial OXPHOS in cancer cells as well as its differential role in NMSkMCs. Overall, our results highlight the therapeutic potential of targeting STAU1 as a novel approach for inhibiting mitochondrial metabolism in ERMS.
    Keywords:  Embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma; Mitochondrial metabolism; OXPHOS; STAU1
  2. Nucleic Acids Res. 2023 Oct 18. pii: gkad864. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) encodes the core subunits for OXPHOS, essential in near-all eukaryotes. Packed into distinct foci (nucleoids) inside mitochondria, the number of mtDNA copies differs between cell-types and is affected in several human diseases. Currently, common protocols estimate per-cell mtDNA-molecule numbers by sequencing or qPCR from bulk samples. However, this does not allow insight into cell-to-cell heterogeneity and can mask phenotypical sub-populations. Here, we present mtFociCounter, a single-cell image analysis tool for reproducible quantification of nucleoids and other foci. mtFociCounter is a light-weight, open-source freeware and overcomes current limitations to reproducible single-cell analysis of mitochondrial foci. We demonstrate its use by analysing 2165 single fibroblasts, and observe a large cell-to-cell heterogeneity in nucleoid numbers. In addition, mtFociCounter quantifies mitochondrial content and our results show good correlation (R = 0.90) between nucleoid number and mitochondrial area, and we find nucleoid density is less variable than nucleoid numbers in wild-type cells. Finally, we demonstrate mtFociCounter readily detects differences in foci-numbers upon sample treatment, and applies to Mitochondrial RNA Granules and superresolution microscopy. mtFociCounter provides a versatile solution to reproducibly quantify cellular foci in single cells and our results highlight the importance of accounting for cell-to-cell variance and mitochondrial context in mitochondrial foci analysis.
  3. Cancer Discov. 2023 Oct 20. OF1
      The developed single-cell method MERCI predicts mitochondrial trafficking between tumor and T cells.
  4. Cancer Metab. 2023 Oct 19. 11(1): 18
      BACKGROUND: To support proliferation and survival within a challenging microenvironment, cancer cells must reprogramme their metabolism. As such, targeting cancer cell metabolism is a promising therapeutic avenue. However, identifying tractable nodes of metabolic vulnerability in cancer cells is challenging due to their metabolic plasticity. Identification of effective treatment combinations to counter this is an active area of research. Aspirin has a well-established role in cancer prevention, particularly in colorectal cancer (CRC), although the mechanisms are not fully understood.METHODS: We generated a model to investigate the impact of long-term (52 weeks) aspirin exposure on CRC cells, which has allowed us comprehensively characterise the metabolic impact of long-term aspirin exposure (2-4mM for 52 weeks) using proteomics, Seahorse Extracellular Flux Analysis and Stable Isotope Labelling (SIL). Using this information, we were able to identify nodes of metabolic vulnerability for further targeting, investigating the impact of combining aspirin with metabolic inhibitors in vitro and in vivo.
    RESULTS: We show that aspirin regulates several enzymes and transporters of central carbon metabolism and results in a reduction in glutaminolysis and a concomitant increase in glucose metabolism, demonstrating reprogramming of nutrient utilisation. We show that aspirin causes likely compensatory changes that render the cells sensitive to the glutaminase 1 (GLS1) inhibitor-CB-839. Of note given the clinical interest, treatment with CB-839 alone had little effect on CRC cell growth or survival. However, in combination with aspirin, CB-839 inhibited CRC cell proliferation and induced apoptosis in vitro and, importantly, reduced crypt proliferation in Apcfl/fl mice in vivo.
    CONCLUSIONS: Together, these results show that aspirin leads to significant metabolic reprogramming in colorectal cancer cells and raises the possibility that aspirin could significantly increase the efficacy of metabolic cancer therapies in CRC.
    Keywords:  Aspirin; CB-839; Colorectal cancer; Glutaminase; Metabolic reprogramming; Metabolism
  5. Clin Exp Immunol. 2023 Oct 20. pii: uxad112. [Epub ahead of print]
      Cladribine tablets are a treatment for multiple sclerosis with effects on lymphocytes, yet its mode of action has not been fully established. Here, we analyzed the effects of cladribine on mitochondrial DNA integrity in lymphocytes. We treated cultured human T-cell lines (CCRF-CEM and Jurkat) with varying concentrations of cladribine to mimic the slow cell depletion observed in treated patients. The CCRF-CEM was more susceptible to cladribine than Jurkat cells. In both cells mitochondrial protein synthesis, mitochondrial DNA copy number and mitochondrial cytochrome-c oxidase-I mRNA mutagenesis was not affected by cladribine, while caspase-3 cleavage was detected in Jurkat cells at 100 nM concentration. Cladribine treatment at concentrations up to 10 nM in CCRF-CEM and 100 nM in Jurkat cells did not induce significant increase in mitochondrial DNA mutations. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells from 8 multiple sclerosis patients and 4 controls were cultured with or without an effective dose of cladribine (5 nM). However, we did not find any differences in mitochondrial DNA somatic mutations in lymphocyte subpopulations (CD4+, CD8+ and CD19+) between treated vs. non-treated cells. The overall mutation rate was similar in patients and controls. When different lymphocyte subpopulations were compared, greater mitochondrial DNA mutation levels were detected in CD8+ (p=0.014) and CD4+ (p=0.038) as compared to CD19+ cells, these differences were independent of cladribine treatment. We conclude that T-cells have more detectable mitochondrial DNA mutations than B-cells, and cladribine has no detectable mutagenic effect on lymphocyte mitochondrial genome nor does it impair mitochondrial function in human T-cell lines.
    Keywords:  cladribine; lymphocytes; mitochondrial DNA; multiple sclerosis
  6. J Mol Biol. 2023 Oct 17. pii: S0022-2836(23)00428-X. [Epub ahead of print] 168317
      Ferredoxins (FDXs) are evolutionarily conserved iron-sulfur (Fe-S) proteins that function as electron transfer proteins in diverse metabolic pathways. Mammalian mitochondria contain two ferredoxins, FDX1 and FDX2, which share a high degree of structural similarity but exhibit different functionalities. Previous studies have established the unique role of FDX2 in the biogenesis of Fe-S clusters; however, FDX1 seems to have multiple targets in vivo, some of which are only recently emerging. Using CRISPR-Cas9-based loss-of-function studies in rat cardiomyocyte cell line, we demonstrate an essential requirement of FDX1 in mitochondrial respiration and energy production. We attribute reduced mitochondrial respiration to a specific decrease in the abundance and assembly of cytochrome c oxidase (CcO), a mitochondrial heme-copper oxidase and the terminal enzyme of the mitochondrial respiratory chain. FDX1 knockout cells have reduced levels of copper and heme a/a3, factors that are essential for the maturation of the CcO enzyme complex. Copper supplementation failed to rescue CcO biogenesis, but overexpression of heme a synthase, COX15, partially rescued COX1 abundance in FDX1 knockouts. This finding links FDX1 function to heme a biosynthesis, and places it upstream of COX15 in CcO biogenesis like its ancestral yeast homolog. Taken together, our work has identified FDX1 as a critical CcO biogenesis factor in mammalian cells.
    Keywords:  COX1; Copper; Heme a; Mitochondria; respiration
  7. Endocr Metab Immune Disord Drug Targets. 2023 Oct 11.
      INTRODUCTION: Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Complex (PDC) is a pivotal gatekeeper between cytosolic glycolysis and mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation, playing important role in aerobic energy metabolism. Most PDC deficiency, cases being caused by mutations in PDHA1 encoding the α subunit of the rate-limiting E1 enzyme, which is characterized by abnormal phenotypes caused by energy deprivation at peripheral/central nervous systems and muscular tissues. This study aims to evaluate the potential therapeutic effect of arginine and thiamine in ameliorating mitochondrial function in patient-derived cultured cells.MATERIALS AND METHODS: PDC-deficient cell lines, carrying three different PDHA1 variants, were cultured in the absence and presence of arginine and/or thiamine at therapeutical levels, 4 mM and 100 μM, respectively. Mitochondrial bioenergetics profile was evaluated using the Seahorse extracellular flux analyzer.
    RESULTS: In physiological conditions, control cells presented standard values for all parameters evaluating the mitochondrial function, no differences being observed after supplementation of culture medium with therapeutic levels of arginine and/or thiamine. However, PDC-PDHA1 deficient cell lines consumed less oxygen than the control cells, but arginine and thiamine supplementation increased the basal respiration for values similar or higher than the control cell line. Moreover, arginine and thiamine treatment highlighted an inefficient oxidative phosphorylation carried out by PDC-deficient cell lines. Finally, this treatment showed an increased oxygen consumption by enzymes other than those in the respiratory chain, thus proving the dependence of these mutant cell lines on cytosolic sources for ATP production, namely glycolysis.
    CONCLUSIONS: This study showed that arginine and thiamine, at therapeutical levels, increase the basal oxygen consumption rate of PDC-deficient cell lines, as well as their ATP-linked respiration. This parameter measures the capacity of the cell to meet its energetic demands and, therefore, its increase reveals a higher electron flow through the respiratory chain, which is coupled to elevated oxidative phosphorylation, thus indicating an overall increased robustness in mitochondrial- related bioenergetics.
    Keywords:  arginine; energy metabolism; mitochondrial bioenergetics; pyruvate dehydrogenase complex; pyruvate dehydrogenase complex deficiency; thiamine
  8. Cell Rep. 2023 Oct 19. pii: S2211-1247(23)01303-7. [Epub ahead of print]42(10): 113291
      Dysfunctional mitochondria are removed via multiple pathways, such as mitophagy, a selective autophagy process. Here, we identify an intracellular hybrid mitochondria-lysosome organelle (termed the mitochondria-lysosome-related organelle [MLRO]), which regulates mitochondrial homeostasis independent of canonical mitophagy during hepatocyte dedifferentiation. The MLRO is an electron-dense organelle that has either a single or double membrane with both mitochondria and lysosome markers. Mechanistically, the MLRO is likely formed from the fusion of mitochondria-derived vesicles (MDVs) with lysosomes through a PARKIN-, ATG5-, and DRP1-independent process, which is negatively regulated by transcription factor EB (TFEB) and associated with mitochondrial protein degradation and hepatocyte dedifferentiation. The MLRO, which is galectin-3 positive, is reminiscent of damaged lysosome and could be cleared by overexpression of TFEB, resulting in attenuation of hepatocyte dedifferentiation. Together, results from this study suggest that the MLRO may act as an alternative mechanism for mitochondrial quality control independent of canonical autophagy/mitophagy involved in cell dedifferentiation.
    Keywords:  ATG5; CP: Cell biology; DRP1; autophagy; hepatocytes; lysosome; mitophagy
  9. Nucleic Acids Res. 2023 Oct 18. pii: gkad849. [Epub ahead of print]
      The mitochondrial genome, mtDNA, is present in multiple copies in cells and encodes essential subunits of oxidative phosphorylation complexes. mtDNA levels have to change in response to metabolic demands and copy number alterations are implicated in various diseases. The mitochondrial HMG-box proteins Abf2 in yeast and TFAM in mammals are critical for mtDNA maintenance and packaging and have been linked to mtDNA copy number control. Here, we discover the previously unrecognized mitochondrial HMG-box protein Cim1 (copy number influence on mtDNA) in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which exhibits metabolic state dependent mtDNA association. Surprisingly, in contrast to Abf2's supportive role in mtDNA maintenance, Cim1 negatively regulates mtDNA copy number. Cells lacking Cim1 display increased mtDNA levels and enhanced mitochondrial function, while Cim1 overexpression results in mtDNA loss. Intriguingly, Cim1 deletion alleviates mtDNA maintenance defects associated with loss of Abf2, while defects caused by Cim1 overexpression are mitigated by simultaneous overexpression of Abf2. Moreover, we find that the conserved LON protease Pim1 is essential to maintain low Cim1 levels, thereby preventing its accumulation and concomitant repressive effects on mtDNA. We propose a model in which the protein ratio of antagonistically acting Cim1 and Abf2 determines mtDNA copy number.
  10. Cell Rep. 2023 Oct 17. pii: S2211-1247(23)01272-X. [Epub ahead of print]42(10): 113260
      Mechanisms that prevent accidental activation of the PINK1/Parkin mitophagy circuit on healthy mitochondria are poorly understood. On the surface of damaged mitochondria, PINK1 accumulates and acts as the input signal to a positive feedback loop of Parkin recruitment, which in turn promotes mitochondrial degradation via mitophagy. However, PINK1 is also present on healthy mitochondria, where it could errantly recruit Parkin and thereby activate this positive feedback loop. Here, we explore emergent properties of the PINK1/Parkin circuit by quantifying the relationship between mitochondrial PINK1 concentrations and Parkin recruitment dynamics. We find that Parkin is recruited to mitochondria only if PINK1 levels exceed a threshold and then only after a delay that is inversely proportional to PINK1 levels. Furthermore, these two regulatory properties arise from the input-coupled positive feedback topology of the PINK1/Parkin circuit. These results outline an intrinsic mechanism by which the PINK1/Parkin circuit can avoid errant activation on healthy mitochondria.
    Keywords:  CP: Molecular biology; PINK1; Parkin; circuit; delay; mathematical model; mitophagy decision; quantitative microscopy; synthetic biology; systems biology; threshold
  11. Biosystems. 2023 Oct 12. pii: S0303-2647(23)00213-7. [Epub ahead of print] 105038
      Metabolic Control Theory (MCT) and Metabolic Control Analysis (MCA) are the two sides, theoretical and experimental, of the measurement of the sensitivity of metabolic networks in the vicinity of a steady state. We will describe the birth and the development of this theory from the first analyses of linear pathways up to a global mathematical theory applicable to any metabolic network. We will describe how the theory, given the global nature of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation, solved the problem of what controls mitochondrial ATP synthesis and then how it led to a better understanding of the differential tissue expression of human mitochondrial pathologies and of the heteroplasmy of mitochondrial DNA, leading to the concept of the threshold effect.
    Keywords:  Metabolic control analysis; Metabolic control theory; Mitochondrial diseases; Oxidative phoshorylation
  12. Nat Chem Biol. 2023 Oct 19.
      The inner mitochondrial membrane (IMM) generates power to drive cell function, and its dynamics control mitochondrial health and cellular homeostasis. Here, we describe the cell-permeant, lipid-like small molecule MAO-N3 and use it to assemble high-density environmentally sensitive (HIDE) probes that selectively label and image the IMM in live cells and multiple cell states. MAO-N3 pairs with strain-promoted azide-alkyne click chemistry-reactive fluorophores to support HIDE imaging using confocal, structured illumination, single-molecule localization and stimulated emission depletion microscopy, all with significantly improved resistance to photobleaching. These probes generate images with excellent spatial and temporal resolution, require no genetic manipulations, are non-toxic in model cell lines and primary cardiomyocytes (even under conditions that amplify the effects of mitochondrial toxins) and can visualize mitochondrial dynamics for 12.5 h. This probe will enable comprehensive studies of IMM dynamics with high temporal and spatial resolution.
  13. Cancer Drug Resist. 2023 ;6(3): 567-589
      Malignant hematopoietic cells gain metabolic plasticity, reorganize anabolic mechanisms to improve anabolic output and prevent oxidative damage, and bypass cell cycle checkpoints, eventually outcompeting normal hematopoietic cells. Current therapeutic strategies of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) are based on prognostic stratification that includes mutation profile as the closest surrogate to disease biology. Clinical efficacy of targeted therapies, e.g., agents targeting mutant FMS-like tyrosine kinase 3 (FLT3) and isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 or 2, are mostly limited to the presence of relevant mutations. Recent studies have not only demonstrated that specific mutations in AML create metabolic vulnerabilities but also highlighted the efficacy of targeting metabolic vulnerabilities in combination with inhibitors of these mutations. Therefore, delineating the functional relationships between genetic stratification, metabolic dependencies, and response to specific inhibitors of these vulnerabilities is crucial for identifying more effective therapeutic regimens, understanding resistance mechanisms, and identifying early response markers, ultimately improving the likelihood of cure. In addition, metabolic changes occurring in the tumor microenvironment have also been reported as therapeutic targets. The metabolic profiles of leukemia stem cells (LSCs) differ, and relapsed/refractory LSCs switch to alternative metabolic pathways, fueling oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS), rendering them therapeutically resistant. In this review, we discuss the role of cancer metabolic pathways that contribute to the metabolic plasticity of AML and confer resistance to standard therapy; we also highlight the latest promising developments in the field in translating these important findings to the clinic and discuss the tumor microenvironment that supports metabolic plasticity and interplay with AML cells.
    Keywords:  DHODH; IDH; OXPHOS; leukemia stem cells; mesenchymal stromal cells
  14. Mol Cells. 2023 Oct 31. 46(10): 611-626
      Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a heterogeneous disease caused by distinctive mutations in individual patients; therefore, each patient may display different cell-type compositions. Although most patients with AML achieve complete remission (CR) through intensive chemotherapy, the likelihood of relapse remains high. Several studies have attempted to characterize the genetic and cellular heterogeneity of AML; however, our understanding of the cellular heterogeneity of AML remains limited. In this study, we performed single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNAseq) of bone marrow-derived mononuclear cells obtained from same patients at different AML stages (diagnosis, CR, and relapse). We found that hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) at diagnosis were abnormal compared to normal HSCs. By improving the detection of the DNMT3A R882 mutation with targeted scRNAseq, we identified that DNMT3A-mutant cells that mainly remained were granulocyte-monocyte progenitors (GMPs) or lymphoid-primed multipotential progenitors (LMPPs) from CR to relapse and that DNMT3A-mutant cells have gene signatures related to AML and leukemic cells. Copy number variation analysis at the single-cell level indicated that the cell type that possesses DNMT3A mutations is an important factor in AML relapse and that GMP and LMPP cells can affect relapse in patients with AML. This study advances our understanding of the role of DNMT3A in AML relapse and our approach can be applied to predict treatment outcomes.
    Keywords:  DNMT3A R882; acute myeloid leukemia; cancer genomics; copy number variation; relapse; single-cell RNA sequencing
  15. Mol Cell. 2023 Oct 17. pii: S1097-2765(23)00752-9. [Epub ahead of print]
      Ferroptosis, a regulated cell death pathway driven by accumulation of phospholipid peroxides, has been challenging to identify in physiological conditions owing to the lack of a specific marker. Here, we identify hyperoxidized peroxiredoxin 3 (PRDX3) as a marker for ferroptosis both in vitro and in vivo. During ferroptosis, mitochondrial lipid peroxides trigger PRDX3 hyperoxidation, a posttranslational modification that converts a Cys thiol to sulfinic or sulfonic acid. Once hyperoxidized, PRDX3 translocates from mitochondria to plasma membranes, where it inhibits cystine uptake, thereby causing ferroptosis. Applying hyperoxidized PRDX3 as a marker, we determined that ferroptosis is responsible for death of hepatocytes in mouse models of both alcoholic and nonalcoholic fatty liver diseases, the most prevalent chronic liver disorders. Our study highlights the importance of ferroptosis in pathophysiological conditions and opens the possibility to treat these liver diseases with drugs that inhibit ferroptosis.
    Keywords:  AFLD; NAFLD; PRDX3; cell death marker; ferroptosis; hyperoxidation
  16. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2023 Oct 24. 120(43): e2308658120
      Dysregulated apoptosis and proliferation are fundamental properties of cancer, and microRNAs (miRNA) are critical regulators of these processes. Loss of miR-15a/16-1 at chromosome 13q14 is the most common genomic aberration in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Correspondingly, the deletion of either murine miR-15a/16-1 or miR-15b/16-2 locus in mice is linked to B cell lymphoproliferative malignancies. However, unexpectedly, when both miR-15/16 clusters are eliminated, most double knockout (DKO) mice develop acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Moreover, in patients with CLL, significantly reduced expression of miR-15a, miR-15b, and miR-16 associates with progression of myelodysplastic syndrome to AML, as well as blast crisis in chronic myeloid leukemia. Thus, the miR-15/16 clusters have a biological relevance for myeloid neoplasms. Here, we demonstrate that the myeloproliferative phenotype in DKO mice correlates with an increase of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPC) early in life. Using single-cell transcriptomic analyses, we presented the molecular underpinning of increased myeloid output in the HSPC of DKO mice with gene signatures suggestive of dysregulated hematopoiesis, metabolic activities, and cell cycle stages. Functionally, we found that multipotent progenitors (MPP) of DKO mice have increased self-renewing capacities and give rise to significantly more progeny in the granulocytic compartment. Moreover, a unique transcriptomic signature of DKO MPP correlates with poor outcome in patients with AML. Together, these data point to a unique regulatory role for miR-15/16 during the early stages of hematopoiesis and to a potentially useful biomarker for the pathogenesis of myeloid neoplasms.
    Keywords:  CITE-seq; acute myeloid leukemia; hematopoietic stem cell; miR-15/16 clusters; microRNA
  17. J Clin Invest. 2023 Oct 17. pii: e173116. [Epub ahead of print]
      We previously demonstrated that a subset of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients with concurrent RAS pathway and TP53 mutations have extremely poor prognosis, and most of these TP53 mutations are missense mutations. Here, we report that in contrast to mixed AML and T-cell malignancy developed in NrasG12D/+; p53-/- (NP-/-) mice, NrasG12D/+; p53R172H/+ (NPmut) mice rapidly developed an inflammation-associated AML. Under the inflammatory conditions, NPmut hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) displayed imbalanced myelopoiesis and lymphopoiesis and largely normal cell proliferation despite MEK/ERK hyperactivation. RNA-Seq analysis revealed that oncogenic NRAS signaling and mutant p53 synergize to establish an NPmut-AML transcriptome distinct from that of NP-/- cells. The NPmut-AML transcriptome showed GATA2 downregulation and elevated expression of inflammatory genes, including those linked to NFκB signaling. NFκB was also upregulated in human NRAS;TP53 AML. Exogenous expression of GATA2 in human NPmut KY821 AML cells downregulated inflammatory gene expression. Mouse and human NPmut AML cells were sensitive to MEK and NFκB inhibition in vitro. The proteasome inhibitor bortezomib stabilized NFκB inhibitory protein IκBα reduced inflammatory gene expression, and potentiated the survival benefit of a MEK inhibitor in NPmut mice. Our study demonstrates that a p53 structural mutant synergizes with oncogenic NRAS to promote AML through mechanisms distinct from p53 loss.
    Keywords:  Hematology; Leukemias
  18. iScience. 2023 Oct 20. 26(10): 108059
      Extensive metabolic heterogeneity in breast cancers has limited the deployment of metabolic therapies. To enable patient stratification, we studied the metabolic landscape in breast cancers (∼3000 patients combined) and identified three subtypes with increasing degrees of metabolic deregulation. Subtype M1 was found to be dependent on bile-acid biosynthesis, whereas M2 showed reliance on methionine pathway, and M3 engaged fatty-acid, nucleotide, and glucose metabolism. The extent of metabolic alterations correlated strongly with tumor aggressiveness and patient outcome. This pattern was reproducible in independent datasets and using in vivo tumor metabolite data. Using machine-learning, we identified robust and generalizable signatures of metabolic subtypes in tumors and cell lines. Experimental inhibition of metabolic pathways in cell lines representing metabolic subtypes revealed subtype-specific sensitivity, therapeutically relevant drugs, and promising combination therapies. Taken together, metabolic stratification of breast cancers can thus aid in predicting patient outcome and designing precision therapies.
    Keywords:  Medical informatics; cancer; computational bioinformatics
  19. Gastroenterology. 2023 Oct 17. pii: S0016-5085(23)05139-9. [Epub ahead of print]
      BACKGROUND & AIMS: Dietary fibers are mainly fermented by the gut microbiota, but their roles in colorectal cancer (CRC) are largely unclear. Here, we investigated the associations of different fibers with colorectal tumorigenesis in mice.METHODS: Apcmin/+ mice and C57BL/6 mice with azoxymethane (AOM) injection were used as CRC mouse models. Mice were fed with mixed high-fiber diet (20% soluble fiber and 20% insoluble fiber), high-inulin diet, high-guar gum diet, high-cellulose diet, or diets with different inulin dose. Germ-free mice were used for validation. Fecal microbiota and metabolites were profiled by shotgun metagenomic sequencing and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, respectively.
    RESULTS: Mixed high-fiber diet promoted colorectal tumorigenesis with increased tumor number and tumor load in AOM-treated and Apcmin/+ mice. Antibiotics use abolished the pro-tumorigenic effect of mixed high-fiber diet, while transplanting stools from mice fed with mixed high-fiber diet accelerated tumor growth in AOM-treated germ-free mice. We therefore characterized the contribution of soluble and insoluble fiber in CRC separately. Our results revealed that soluble fiber inulin or guar gum, but not insoluble fiber cellulose, promoted colorectal tumorigenesis in AOM-treated and Apcmin/+ mice. Soluble fiber induced gut dysbiosis with Bacteroides uniformis enrichment and Bifidobacterium pseudolongum depletion, accompanied with increased fecal butyrate and serum bile acids and decreased inosine. We also identified a positive correlation between inulin dosage and colorectal tumorigenesis. Moreover, transplanting stools from mice fed with high-inulin diet increased colonic cell proliferation and oncogene expressions in germ-free mice.
    CONCLUSION: High-dose soluble but not insoluble fiber potentiates colorectal tumorigenesis in a dose-dependent manner by dysregulating gut microbiota and metabolites in mice.
    Keywords:  Colon cancer; Dietary nutrient; Gut metabolism; Microbiota
  20. Trends Cell Biol. 2023 Oct 17. pii: S0962-8924(23)00210-6. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitochondrial fusion enables cooperation between the mitochondrial population and is critical for mitochondrial function. Phosphatidic acid (PA) on the mitochondrial surface has a key role in mitochondrial fusion. A recent study by Su et al. shows that the nucleoside diphosphate (NDP) kinase NME3 recognizes PA and mediates its effects on mitochondrial dynamics.
    Keywords:  membrane fusion; mitochondria; organelle; phospholipid
  21. Mol Cell Proteomics. 2023 Oct 13. pii: S1535-9476(23)00177-9. [Epub ahead of print] 100666
      The application of integrated systems biology to the field of structural biology is a promising new direction, although it is still in the infant stages of development. Here we report the use of single particle cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) to identify multiple proteins from three enriched heterogeneous fractions prepared from human liver mitochondrial lysate. We simultaneously identify and solve high-resolution structures of nine essential mitochondrial enzymes with key metabolic functions, including fatty acid catabolism, reactive oxidative species clearance and amino acid metabolism. Our methodology also identified multiple distinct members of the acyl-CoA dehydrogenase family. This work highlights the potential of cryo-EM to explore tissue proteomics at the atomic level.
    Keywords:  Aminotransferase; Catalase; Dehydrogenase; Dismutase; Isomerase
  22. Nat Commun. 2023 Oct 14. 14(1): 6498
      Melanoma provides a primary benchmark for targeted drug therapy. Most melanomas with BRAFV600 mutations regress in response to BRAF/MEK inhibitors (BRAFi/MEKi). However, nearly all relapse within the first two years, and there is a connection between BRAFi/MEKi-resistance and poor response to immune checkpoint therapy. We reported that androgen receptor (AR) activity is required for melanoma cell proliferation and tumorigenesis. We show here that AR expression is markedly increased in BRAFi-resistant melanoma cells, and in sensitive cells soon after BRAFi exposure. Increased AR expression is sufficient to render melanoma cells BRAFi-resistant, eliciting transcriptional changes of BRAFi-resistant subpopulations, including elevated EGFR and SERPINE1 expression, of likely clinical significance. Inhibition of AR expression or activity blunts changes in gene expression and suppresses proliferation and tumorigenesis of BRAFi-resistant melanoma cells, promoting clusters of CD8+ T cells infiltration and cancer cells killing. Our findings point to targeting AR as possible co-therapeutical approach in melanoma treatment.
  23. Cell Rep Med. 2023 Oct 17. pii: S2666-3791(23)00411-1. [Epub ahead of print]4(10): 101234
    Chinese Study Group for Pancreatic Cancer
      The molecular dynamics of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) under chemotherapy remain incompletely understood. The widespread use of neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) provides a unique opportunity to investigate PDAC samples post-chemotherapy. Leveraging a cohort from Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center, encompassing PDAC samples with and without exposure to neoadjuvant albumin-bound paclitaxel and gemcitabine (AG), we have compiled data from single-cell and spatial transcriptomes, proteomes, bulk transcriptomes, and metabolomes, deepening our comprehension of the molecular changes in PDACs in response to chemotherapy. Metabolic flux analysis reveals that NAC induces a reprogramming of PDAC metabolic patterns and enhances immunogenicity. Notably, NAC leads to the downregulation of glycolysis and the upregulation of CD36. Tissue microarray analysis demonstrates that high CD36 expression is linked to poorer survival in patients receiving postoperative AG. Targeting CD36 synergistically improves the PDAC response to AG both in vitro and in vivo, including patient-derived preclinical models.
    Keywords:  immune microenvironment; neoadjuvant chemotherapy; pancreatic cancer; tumor metabolism
  24. Blood Cancer Discov. 2023 Oct 17. OF1-OF22
      Therapy-resistant leukemia stem and progenitor cells (LSC) are a main cause of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) relapse. LSC-targeting therapies may thus improve outcome of patients with AML. Here we demonstrate that LSCs present HLA-restricted antigens that induce T-cell responses allowing for immune surveillance of AML. Using a mass spectrometry-based immunopeptidomics approach, we characterized the antigenic landscape of patient LSCs and identified AML- and AML/LSC-associated HLA-presented antigens absent from normal tissues comprising nonmutated peptides, cryptic neoepitopes, and neoepitopes of common AML driver mutations of NPM1 and IDH2. Functional relevance of shared AML/LSC antigens is illustrated by presence of their cognizant memory T cells in patients. Antigen-specific T-cell recognition and HLA class II immunopeptidome diversity correlated with clinical outcome. Together, these antigens shared among AML and LSCs represent prime targets for T cell-based therapies with potential of eliminating residual LSCs in patients with AML.SIGNIFICANCE: The elimination of therapy-resistant leukemia stem and progenitor cells (LSC) remains a major challenge in the treatment of AML. This study identifies and functionally validates LSC-associated HLA class I and HLA class II-presented antigens, paving the way to the development of LSC-directed T cell-based immunotherapeutic approaches for patients with AML. See related commentary by Ritz, p. 437 .
  25. Cell Death Dis. 2023 Oct 16. 14(10): 682
      Cancer stem-like cells (CSCs) contribute to cancer metastasis, drug resistance and tumor relapse, yet how amino acid metabolism promotes CSC maintenance remains exclusive. Here, we identify that proline synthetase PYCR1 is critical for breast cancer stemness and tumor growth. Mechanistically, PYCR1-synthesized proline activates cGMP-PKG signaling to enhance cancer stem-like traits. Importantly, cGMP-PKG signaling mediates psychological stress-induced cancer stem-like phenotypes and tumorigenesis. Ablation of PYCR1 markedly reverses psychological stress-induced proline synthesis, cGMP-PKG signaling activation and cancer progression. Clinically, PYCR1 and cGMP-PKG signaling components are highly expressed in breast tumor specimens, conferring poor survival in breast cancer patients. Targeting proline metabolism or cGMP-PKG signaling pathway provides a potential therapeutic strategy for breast patients undergoing psychological stress. Collectively, our findings unveil that PYCR1-enhanced proline synthesis displays a critical role in maintaining breast cancer stemness.
  26. J Nutr. 2023 Oct 17. pii: S0022-3166(23)72665-5. [Epub ahead of print]
      BACKGROUND: Prolonged lactation provides substantial health benefits, potentially due to galactose as part of milk sugar lactose. Isocaloric replacing dietary glucose (16energy%) by galactose within a normal diet (64en% carbohydrates) during a 3 week post-weaning period provided substantial benefits on short- and long-term physiological and metabolic parameters at whole body level and liver in female mice, which might be attributable to intestinal function.OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to investigate if partial dietary replacement of glucose by galactose alters intestinal metabolism underlying hepatic health effects.
    METHODS: Proximal intestinal mucosa gene profiles in female mice using RNAseq technology were analyzed, validated, and correlated to hepatic health parameters.
    RESULTS: Transcriptome analysis revealed that the presence of galactose primarily affected pathways involved in energy metabolism. In the subset of mitochondrial transcripts, a consistent higher expression was observed (78 of 80, all P.adjusted<0.1). Oxidative phosphorylation represented the most upregulated process (all top 10 pathways), independent of total mitochondrial mass (P=0.75). Moreover, galactose consistently upregulated carbohydrate metabolism pathways, specifically glycolysis till acetyl-CoA production, and fructose metabolism. Also, the expression of transcripts involved in these pathways negatively correlated with circulating serum amyloid A3 protein, a marker of hepatic inflammation (R[-0.61, -0.5], P[0.002, 0.01]). In agreement, CD163+ cells were decreased in the liver. Additionally, the expression of key fructolytic enzymes in the small intestinal mucosa negatively correlated with triglycerides accumulation in the liver (R[-0.45, -0.4], P[0.03, 0.05]).
    CONCLUSIONS: Our results show for the first time in vivo the role of galactose as an oxidative phosphorylation activator. Moreover, the concept of intestinal cells acting as the body's metabolic gatekeeper is strongly supported, as they alter substrate availability and thereby contribute to the maintenance of metabolic homeostasis, protecting other organs, as evidenced by their potential ability to shield the liver from potential detrimental effects of fructose.
    Keywords:  Mouse; OXPHOS; RNA-seq; carbohydrate metabolism; galactose; gut-liver axis; lactose; mitochondria
  27. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2023 Oct 17. pii: a041542. [Epub ahead of print]
      Molecular oxygen (O2) is essential for cellular bioenergetics and numerous biochemical reactions necessary for life. Solid tumors outgrow the native blood supply and diffusion limits of O2, and therefore must engage hypoxia response pathways that evolved to withstand acute periods of low O2 Hypoxia activates coordinated gene expression programs, primarily through hypoxia inducible factors (HIFs), to support survival. Many of these changes involve metabolic rewiring such as increasing glycolysis to support ATP generation while suppressing mitochondrial metabolism. Since low O2 is often coupled with nutrient stress in the tumor microenvironment, other responses to hypoxia include activation of nutrient uptake pathways, metabolite scavenging, and regulation of stress and growth signaling cascades. Continued development of models that better recapitulate tumors and their microenvironments will lead to greater understanding of oxygen-dependent metabolic reprogramming and lead to more effective cancer therapies.
  28. J Biol Chem. 2023 Oct 12. pii: S0021-9258(23)02372-4. [Epub ahead of print] 105344
      Recent advances in the understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying cancer progression have led to the development of novel therapeutic targeting strategies. Aberrant glycosylation patterns and their implication in cancer have gained increasing attention as potential targets due to the critical role of glycosylation in regulating tumor-specific pathways that contribute to cancer cell survival, proliferation, and progression. A special type of glycosylation that has been gaining momentum in cancer research is the modification of nuclear, cytoplasmic, and mitochondrial proteins, termed O-GlcNAcylation. This protein modification is catalyzed by an enzyme called O-GlcNAc transferase (OGT), which uses the final product of the Hexosamine Biosynthetic Pathway (HBP) to connect altered nutrient availability to changes in cellular signaling that contribute to multiple aspects of tumor progression. Both O-GlcNAc and its enzyme OGT are highly elevated in cancer and fulfill the crucial role in regulating many hallmarks of cancer. In this review, we present and discuss the latest findings elucidating the involvement of OGT and O-GlcNAc in cancer.
    Keywords:  O-GlcNAc; OGT; cancer; hexosamine; metabolism; metastasis
  29. iScience. 2023 Oct 20. 26(10): 107916
      We identified cytoprotective small molecules (CSMs) by a cell-based high-throughput screening of Bax inhibitors. Through a medicinal chemistry program, M109S was developed, which is orally bioactive and penetrates the blood-brain/retina barriers. M109S protected retinal cells in ocular disease mouse models. M109S directly interacted with Bax and inhibited the conformational change and mitochondrial translocation of Bax. M109S inhibited ABT-737-induced apoptosis both in Bax-only and Bak-only mouse embryonic fibroblasts. M109S also inhibited apoptosis induced by staurosporine, etoposide, and obatoclax. M109S decreased maximal mitochondrial oxygen consumption rate and reactive oxygen species production, whereas it increased glycolysis. These effects on cellular metabolism may contribute to the cytoprotective activity of M109S. M109S is a novel small molecule protecting cells from mitochondria-dependent apoptosis both in vitro and in vivo. M109S has the potential to become a research tool for studying cell death mechanisms and to develop therapeutics targeting mitochondria-dependent cell death pathway.
    Keywords:  Cell biology; Cellular physiology; Chemistry
  30. Nat Commun. 2023 Oct 20. 14(1): 6638
      Mammalian lactate dehydrogenase D (LDHD) catalyzes the oxidation of D-lactate to pyruvate. LDHD mutations identified in patients with D-lactic acidosis lead to deficient LDHD activity. Here, we perform a systematic biochemical study of mouse LDHD (mLDHD) and determine the crystal structures of mLDHD in FAD-bound form and in complexes with FAD, Mn2+ and a series of substrates or products. We demonstrate that mLDHD is an Mn2+-dependent general dehydrogenase which exhibits catalytic activity for D-lactate and other D-2-hydroxyacids containing hydrophobic moieties, but no activity for their L-isomers or D-2-hydroxyacids containing hydrophilic moieties. The substrate-binding site contains a positively charged pocket to bind the common glycolate moiety and a hydrophobic pocket with some elasticity to bind the varied hydrophobic moieties of substrates. The structural and biochemical data together reveal the molecular basis for the substrate specificity and catalytic mechanism of LDHD, and the functional roles of mutations in the pathogenesis of D-lactic acidosis.
  31. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2023 Oct 17.
      The small intestine requires energy to exert its important role in nutrient uptake and barrier function. Pigs are an important source of food and a model for humans. Young piglets and infants can suffer from periods of insufficient food intake. Whether this functionally affects the small intestinal epithelial cell (IEC) metabolic capacity, and how this may be associated with an increased vulnerability to intestinal disease is unknown. We therefore performed a 48h fasting intervention in young piglets. After feeding a standard weaning diet for 2 weeks, six-week-old piglets (n=16 per group) were fasted for 48h, and mid-jejunal IECs were collected upon slaughter. Functional metabolism of isolated IECs was analysed with the Seahorse XF analyser and gene expression was assessed using RNA-sequencing. Fasting decreased the mitochondrial and glycolytic function of the IECs by 50% and 45%, respectively (p<0.0001), signifying that overall metabolic function was decreased. The RNA-sequencing results corroborated our functional metabolic measurements, showing that particularly pathways related to mitochondrial energy production were decreased. Besides oxidative metabolic pathways, decreased cell-cycle progression pathways were most regulated in fasted piglets, which was confirmed by 43% reduction of Ki67-stained cells (p<0.05). Finally, the expression of barrier function genes was reduced upon fasting. In conclusion, we found that the decreased IEC energy metabolic function in response to fasting is supported by a decreased gene expression of mitochondrial pathways and is likely linked to the observed decreased intestinal cell proliferation and barrier function, providing insight in the vulnerability of piglets, and infants, to decreased food intake.
    Keywords:  cell proliferation; fasting; intestine; metabolic function; mitochondria
  32. Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2023 Oct 19.
      Glutaminase (GLS), which deaminates glutamine to form glutamate, is a mitochondrial tetrameric protein complex. Although inorganic phosphate (Pi) is known to promote GLS filamentation and activation, the molecular basis of this mechanism is unknown. Here we aimed to determine the molecular mechanism of Pi-induced mouse GLS filamentation and its impact on mitochondrial physiology. Single-particle cryogenic electron microscopy revealed an allosteric mechanism in which Pi binding at the tetramer interface and the activation loop is coupled to direct nucleophile activation at the active site. The active conformation is prone to enzyme filamentation. Notably, human GLS filaments form inside tubulated mitochondria following glutamine withdrawal, as shown by in situ cryo-electron tomography of cells thinned by cryo-focused ion beam milling. Mitochondria with GLS filaments exhibit increased protection from mitophagy. We reveal roles of filamentous GLS in mitochondrial morphology and recycling.