bims-mibica Biomed News
on Mitochondrial bioenergetics in cancer
Issue of 2023‒11‒12
thirty-one papers selected by
Kelsey Fisher-Wellman, East Carolina University

  1. EMBO Rep. 2023 Nov 06. e57339
      Breast adipose tissue is an important contributor to the obesity-breast cancer link. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are nanosized particles containing selective cargo, such as miRNAs, that act locally or circulate to distant sites to modulate target cell functions. Here, we find that long-term education of breast cancer cells with EVs obtained from breast adipose tissue of women who are overweight or obese (O-EVs) results in increased proliferation. RNA-seq analysis of O-EV-educated cells demonstrates increased expression of genes involved in oxidative phosphorylation, such as ATP synthase and NADH: ubiquinone oxidoreductase. O-EVs increase respiratory complex protein expression, mitochondrial density, and mitochondrial respiration in tumor cells. The mitochondrial complex I inhibitor metformin reverses O-EV-induced cell proliferation. Several miRNAs-miR-155-5p, miR-10a-3p, and miR-30a-3p-which promote mitochondrial respiration and proliferation, are enriched in O-EVs relative to EVs from lean women. O-EV-induced proliferation and mitochondrial activity are associated with stimulation of the Akt/mTOR/P70S6K pathway, and are reversed upon silencing of P70S6K. This study reveals a new facet of the obesity-breast cancer link with human breast adipose tissue-derived EVs causing metabolic reprogramming of breast cancer cells.
    Keywords:  breast cancer; extracellular vesicles; mitochondrial respiration; obesity; proliferation
  2. Nat Commun. 2023 Nov 04. 14(1): 7076
      Understanding the mechanisms that enable cancer cells to metastasize is essential in preventing cancer progression. Here we examine the metabolic adaptations of metastasis-initiating cells (MICs) in female breast cancer and how those shape their metastatic phenotype. We find that endogenous MICs depend on the oxidative tricarboxylic acid cycle and fatty acid usage. Sorting tumor cells based upon solely mitochondrial membrane potential or lipid storage is sufficient at identifying MICs. We further identify that mitochondrially-generated citrate is exported to the cytoplasm to yield acetyl-CoA, and this is crucial to maintaining heightened levels of H3K27ac in MICs. Blocking acetyl-CoA generating pathways or H3K27ac-specific epigenetic writers and readers reduces expression of epithelial-to-mesenchymal related genes, MIC frequency, and metastatic potential. Exogenous supplementation of a short chain carboxylic acid, acetate, increases MIC frequency and metastasis. In patient cohorts, we observe that higher expression of oxidative phosphorylation related genes is associated with reduced distant relapse-free survival. These data demonstrate that MICs specifically and precisely alter their metabolism to efficiently colonize distant organs.
  3. Cell Death Dis. 2023 Nov 10. 14(11): 732
      SIRT1 (NAD-dependent protein deacetylase sirtuin-1), a class III histone deacetylase acting as a tumor suppressor gene, is downregulated in oral cancer cells. Non-apoptotic doses of cisplatin (CDDP) downregulate SIRT1 expression advocating the mechanism of drug resistance. SIRT1 downregulation orchestrates inhibition of DNM1L-mediated mitochondrial fission, subsequently leading to the formation of hyperfused mitochondrial networks. The hyperfused mitochondrial networks preserve the release of cytochrome C (CYCS) by stabilizing the mitochondrial inner membrane cristae (formation of mitochondrial nucleoid clustering mimicking mito-bulb like structures) and reducing the generation of mitochondrial superoxide to inhibit apoptosis. Overexpression of SIRT1 reverses the mitochondrial hyperfusion by initiating DNM1L-regulated mitochondrial fission. In the overexpressed cells, inhibition of mitochondrial hyperfusion and nucleoid clustering (mito-bulbs) facilitates the cytoplasmic release of CYCS along with an enhanced generation of mitochondrial superoxide for the subsequent induction of apoptosis. Further, low-dose priming with gallic acid (GA), a bio-active SIRT1 activator, nullifies CDDP-mediated apoptosis inhibition by suppressing mitochondrial hyperfusion. In this setting, SIRT1 knockdown hinders apoptosis activation in GA-primed oral cancer cells. Similarly, SIRT1 overexpression in the CDDP resistance oral cancer-derived polyploid giant cancer cells (PGCCs) re-sensitizes the cells to apoptosis. Interestingly, synergistically treated with CDDP, GA induces apoptosis in the PGCCs by inhibiting mitochondrial hyperfusion.
  4. Leukemia. 2023 Nov 07.
      High metabolic flexibility is pivotal for the persistence and therapy resistance of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). In 20-30% of AML patients, activating mutations of FLT3, specifically FLT3-ITD, are key therapeutic targets. Here, we investigated the influence of FLT3-ITD on AML metabolism. Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) profiling showed enhanced reshuffling of pyruvate towards the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, suggesting an increased activity of the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDC). Consistently, FLT3-ITD-positive cells expressed high levels of PDP1, an activator of the PDC. Combining endogenous tagging of PDP1 with genome-wide CRISPR screens revealed that FLT3-ITD induces PDP1 expression through the RAS signaling axis. PDP1 knockdown resulted in reduced cellular respiration thereby impairing the proliferation of only FLT3-ITD cells. These cells continued to depend on PDP1, even in hypoxic conditions, and unlike FLT3-ITD-negative cells, they exhibited a rapid, PDP1-dependent revival of their respiratory capacity during reoxygenation. Moreover, we show that PDP1 modifies the response to FLT3 inhibition. Upon incubation with the FLT3 tyrosine kinase inhibitor quizartinib (AC220), PDP1 persisted or was upregulated, resulting in a further shift of glucose/pyruvate metabolism towards the TCA cycle. Overexpression of PDP1 enhanced, while PDP1 depletion diminished AC220 resistance in cell lines and peripheral blasts from an AC220-resistant AML patient in vivo. In conclusion, FLT3-ITD assures the expression of PDP1, a pivotal metabolic regulator that enhances oxidative glucose metabolism and drug resistance. Hence, PDP1 emerges as a potentially targetable vulnerability in the management of AML.
  5. J Pathol Transl Med. 2023 Nov 07.
      Background: Cellular senescence is defined as an irreversible cell cycle arrest caused by various internal and external insults. While the metabolic dysfunction of senescent cells in normal tissue is relatively well-established, there is a lack of information regarding the metabolic features of senescent tumor cells.Methods: Publicly available single-cell RNA-sequencing data from the GSE166555 and GSE178341 datasets were utilized to investigate the metabolic features of senescent tumor cells. To validate the single-cell RNA-sequencing data, we performed senescence-associated β-galactosidase (SA-β-Gal) staining to identify senescent tumor cells in fresh frozen colorectal cancer tissue. We also evaluated nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide dehydrogenase-tetrazolium reductase (NADH-TR) and succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) activity using enzyme histochemical methods and compared the staining with SA-β-Gal staining. MTT assay was performed to reveal the complex 1 activity of the respiratory chain in in-vitro senescence model.
    Results: Single-cell RNA-sequencing data revealed an upregulation in the activity of complexes 1 and 2 in oxidative phosphorylation, despite overall mitochondrial dysfunction in senescent tumor cells. Both SA-β-Gal and enzyme histochemical staining using fresh frozen colorectal cancer tissues indicated a high correlation between SA-β-Gal positivity and NADH-TR/SDH staining positivity. MTT assay showed that senescent colorectal cancer cells exhibit higher absorbance in 600 nm wavelength.
    Conclusions: Senescent tumor cells exhibit distinct metabolic features, characterized by upregulation of complexes 1 and 2 in the oxidative phosphorylation pathway. NADH-TR and SDH staining represent efficient methods for detecting senescent tumor cells in colorectal cancer.
    Keywords:  Cellular senescence; Colorectal neoplasms; Metabolism; NADH; Oxidative phosphorylation
  6. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2023 Nov 06.
      After decades of focus on molecular genetics in cancer research, the role of metabolic and environmental factors is being reassessed. Here, we investigated the role of microenvironment in the promotion of malignant behavior in tumor cells with a different reliance on oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) versus lactic acid fermentation/Warburg effect. To this end, we evaluated the effects of microenvironmental challenges (hypoxia, acidity, and high glucose) on the expression of mitochondrial-encoded cytochrome c oxidase 1 (COX I) and two nuclear-encoded isoforms 4 (COX IV-1 and COX IV-2). We have shown that tumor cells with an "OXPHOS phenotype" respond to hypoxia by upregulating COX IV-1, whereas cells that rely on lactic acid fermentation maximized COX IV-2 expression. Acidity upregulates COX IV-2 regardless of the metabolic state of the cell, whereas high glucose stimulates the expression of COX I and COX IV-1, with a stronger effect in fermenting cells. Our results uncover that "energy phenotype" of tumor cells drives their adaptive response to microenvironment stress.
    Keywords:  Tumor microenvironment; Warburg phenotype; cytochrome c oxidase subunits; malignancy; mitochondria
  7. Cell Rep Med. 2023 Oct 31. pii: S2666-3791(23)00441-X. [Epub ahead of print] 101264
      ARID1A is among the most commonly mutated tumor suppressor genes in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In this study, we conduct a CRISPR-Cas9 synthetic lethality screen using ARID1A-deficient HCC cells to identify approaches to treat HCC patients harboring ARID1A deficiency. This strategy reveals that the survival of these ARID1A-deficient HCC cells is highly dependent on genes related to the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle. Mechanistically, ARID1A loss represses expression of key glycolysis-related gene PKM, shifting cellular glucose metabolism from aerobic glycolysis to dependence on the TCA cycle and oxidative phosphorylation. Cuproptosis is a recently defined form of copper-induced cell death reported to directly target the TCA cycle. Here, we find that ARID1A-deficient HCC cells and xenograft tumors are highly sensitive to copper treatment. Together, these results offer evidence of the synthetic lethality between ARID1A deficiency and mitochondrial respiration impairment, suggesting that copper treatment constitutes a promising therapeutic strategy for selectively targeting ARID1A-deficient HCC.
  8. EMBO J. 2023 Nov 07. e114054
      Cristae are high-curvature structures in the inner mitochondrial membrane (IMM) that are crucial for ATP production. While cristae-shaping proteins have been defined, analogous lipid-based mechanisms have yet to be elucidated. Here, we combine experimental lipidome dissection with multi-scale modeling to investigate how lipid interactions dictate IMM morphology and ATP generation. When modulating phospholipid (PL) saturation in engineered yeast strains, we observed a surprisingly abrupt breakpoint in IMM topology driven by a continuous loss of ATP synthase organization at cristae ridges. We found that cardiolipin (CL) specifically buffers the inner mitochondrial membrane against curvature loss, an effect that is independent of ATP synthase dimerization. To explain this interaction, we developed a continuum model for cristae tubule formation that integrates both lipid and protein-mediated curvatures. This model highlighted a snapthrough instability, which drives IMM collapse upon small changes in membrane properties. We also showed that cardiolipin is essential in low-oxygen conditions that promote PL saturation. These results demonstrate that the mechanical function of cardiolipin is dependent on the surrounding lipid and protein components of the IMM.
    Keywords:  cardiolipin; cristae; lipids; mechanics; mitochondria
  9. Cancer Discov. 2023 Nov 10. OF1
      UXS1-mediated clearance of the sugar nucleotide UDPGA is a specific vulnerability of cancer cells.
  10. Life Sci Alliance. 2024 Jan;pii: e202302335. [Epub ahead of print]7(1):
      Mitochondria interact with the ER at structurally and functionally specialized membrane contact sites known as mitochondria-ER contact sites (MERCs). Combining proximity labelling (BioID), co-immunoprecipitation, confocal microscopy and subcellular fractionation, we found that the ER resident SMP-domain protein ESYT1 was enriched at MERCs, where it forms a complex with the outer mitochondrial membrane protein SYNJ2BP. BioID analyses using ER-targeted, outer mitochondrial membrane-targeted, and MERC-targeted baits, confirmed the presence of this complex at MERCs and the specificity of the interaction. Deletion of ESYT1 or SYNJ2BP reduced the number and length of MERCs. Loss of the ESYT1-SYNJ2BP complex impaired ER to mitochondria calcium flux and provoked a significant alteration of the mitochondrial lipidome, most prominently a reduction of cardiolipins and phosphatidylethanolamines. Both phenotypes were rescued by reexpression of WT ESYT1 and an artificial mitochondria-ER tether. Together, these results reveal a novel function for ESYT1 in mitochondrial and cellular homeostasis through its role in the regulation of MERCs.
  11. Cell Rep. 2023 Nov 02. pii: S2211-1247(23)01382-7. [Epub ahead of print]42(11): 113370
      Most epithelial tissues are maintained by stem cells that produce the different cell lineages required for proper tissue function. Constant communication between different cell types ensures precise regulation of stem cell behavior and cell fate decisions. These cell-cell interactions are often disrupted during tumorigenesis, but mechanisms by which they are co-opted to support tumor growth in different genetic contexts are poorly understood. Here, we introduce PromoterSwitch, a genetic platform we established to generate large, transformed clones derived from individual adult Drosophila intestinal stem/progenitor cells. We show that cancer-driving genetic alterations representing common colon tumor genome landscapes disrupt cell fate decisions within transformed tissue and result in the emergence of abnormal cell fates. We also show that transformed enteroendocrine cells, a differentiated, hormone-secreting cell lineage, support tumor growth by regulating intestinal stem cell proliferation through multiple genotype-dependent mechanisms, which represent potential vulnerabilities that could be exploited for therapy.
    Keywords:  CP: Cancer; Drosophila; cancer model; cell signaling; cell-cell communication; colon cancer; enteroendocrine cell; intestinal stem cell; tumorigenesis
  12. Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Basis Dis. 2023 Nov 04. pii: S0925-4439(23)00307-1. [Epub ahead of print]1870(2): 166941
      OBJECTIVE: Branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) metabolism is involved in the development of colorectal cancer (CRC); however, the underlying mechanism remains unclear. Therefore, this study investigates the role of BCAA metabolism in CRC progression.METHODS: Dietary BCAA was administered to both azoxymethane-induced and azoxymethane/dextran sodium sulfate-induced CRC mouse models. The expression of genes related to BCAA metabolism was determined using RNA sequencing. Adjacent tissue samples, obtained from 58 patients with CRC, were subjected to quantitative real-time PCR and immunohistochemical analysis. Moreover, the suppressive role of branched-chain aminotransferase 2 (BCAT2) in cell proliferation, apoptosis, and xenograft mouse models was investigated. Alterations in BCAAs and activation of downstream pathways were also assessed using metabolic analysis and western blotting.
    RESULTS: High levels of dietary BCAA intake promoted CRC tumorigenesis in chemical-induced CRC and xenograft mouse models. Both the mRNA and protein levels of BCAT2 were decreased in tumor tissues of patients with CRC compared to those in normal tissues. Proliferation assays and xenograft models confirmed the suppressive role of BCAT2 in CRC progression. Furthermore, the accumulation of BCAAs caused by BCAT2 deficiency facilitated the chronic activation of mTORC1, thereby mediating the oncogenic effect of BCAAs.
    CONCLUSION: BCAT2 deficiency promotes CRC progression through inhibition of BCAAs metabolism and chronic activation of mTORC1.
    Keywords:  BCAT2; Branched-chain amino acid; Colorectal cancer; Diet
  13. Nat Metab. 2023 Nov 09.
    CRUK Rosetta Grand Challenge Consortium
      Tumors are intrinsically heterogeneous and it is well established that this directs their evolution, hinders their classification and frustrates therapy1-3. Consequently, spatially resolved omics-level analyses are gaining traction4-9. Despite considerable therapeutic interest, tumor metabolism has been lagging behind this development and there is a paucity of data regarding its spatial organization. To address this shortcoming, we set out to study the local metabolic effects of the oncogene c-MYC, a pleiotropic transcription factor that accumulates with tumor progression and influences metabolism10,11. Through correlative mass spectrometry imaging, we show that pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) associates with MYC-high areas within both human and murine mammary tumors, where its conversion to coenzyme A fuels Krebs cycle activity. Mechanistically, we show that this is accomplished by MYC-mediated upregulation of its multivitamin transporter SLC5A6. Notably, we show that SLC5A6 over-expression alone can induce increased cell growth and a shift toward biosynthesis, whereas conversely, dietary restriction of pantothenic acid leads to a reversal of many MYC-mediated metabolic changes and results in hampered tumor growth. Our work thus establishes the availability of vitamins and cofactors as a potential bottleneck in tumor progression, which can be exploited therapeutically. Overall, we show that a spatial understanding of local metabolism facilitates the identification of clinically relevant, tractable metabolic targets.
  14. Mol Metab. 2023 Nov 08. pii: S2212-8778(23)00170-9. [Epub ahead of print] 101836
      Tumor cells hijack inflammatory mechanisms to promote their own growth. IL-6 is one of the major cytokines, and is frequently upregulated in tumors. The pentose phosphate pathway (PPP) generates the indispensable building blocks to produce various nucleotides. However, whether and how PPP is timely tuned in response to IL-6 to support tumor growth remains largely unknown. Here we show that the metabolic flux of PPP and enzymatic activity of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) is rapidly induced under IL-6 treatment, without obvious changes in G6PD expression level. Mechanistically, Janus kinase 2 (JAK2) phosphorylates G6PD Y437 under IL-6 treatment, which accentuates G6PD enzymatic activity by promoting G6PD binding with its substrate G6P. Further, JAK2-dependent G6PD Y437 phosphorylation is required for IL-6-induced nucleotide biosynthesis and tumor cell proliferation, and is associated with the progression of oral squamous cell carcinoma. Our findings report a new mechanism implicated in the crosstalk between tumor cells and inflammatory microenvironment, by which JAK2-dependent activation of G6PD governs nucleotide synthesis to support tumor cell proliferation, thereby highlighting its value as a potential anti-tumor target.
    Keywords:  G6PD; JAK2; nucleotide metabolism; pentose phosphate pathway; tumorigenesis
  15. Nat Commun. 2023 Nov 03. 14(1): 7069
      Chemo-activation of mitochondrial ClpP exhibits promising anticancer properties. However, we are currently unaware of any studies using selective and potent ClpP activators in lung squamous cell carcinoma. In this work, we report on such an activator, ZK53, which exhibits therapeutic effects on lung squamous cell carcinoma in vivo. The crystal structure of ZK53/ClpP complex reveals a π-π stacking effect that is essential for ligand binding selectively to the mitochondrial ClpP. ZK53 features on a simple scaffold, which is distinct from the activators with rigid scaffolds, such as acyldepsipeptides and imipridones. ZK53 treatment causes a decrease of the electron transport chain in a ClpP-dependent manner, which results in declined oxidative phosphorylation and ATP production in lung tumor cells. Mechanistically, ZK53 inhibits the adenoviral early region 2 binding factor targets and activates the ataxia-telangiectasia mutated-mediated DNA damage response, eventually triggering cell cycle arrest. Lastly, ZK53 exhibits therapeutic effects on lung squamous cell carcinoma cells in xenograft and autochthonous mouse models.
  16. Chembiochem. 2023 Nov 07. e202300603
      Mitochondrion has appeared as one of the important targets for the anti-cancer therapy. Subsequently, small molecule anti-cancer drugs are directed to the mitochondria for improved therapeutic efficacy. However, simultaneous imaging and impairing mitochondria by a single probe remained a major challenge. To address this, herein chimeric small molecules (CSMs) encompassing drugs, fluorophore and mitochondria homing moiety were designed and synthesized through a concise strategy. Screening of the CSMs in a panel of cancer cell lines (HeLa, MCF7, A549 and HCT-116) revealed that one of the CSMs comprising indomethacin V exhibited remarkable cervical cancer cell (HeLa) killing (IC50 = 0.97 μM). This lead CSM homed into the mitochondria of HeLa cells within 1h followed by mitochondrial damage and reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation. This novel indomethacin V-based CSM-mediated mitochondrial damage induced programmed cell death (apoptosis). We anticipate this CSMs can be used as tools to understand the drug effects in organelle chemical biology in diseased states.
    Keywords:  Mitochondria * Cancer* Drug conjugate * Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  17. Nat Commun. 2023 Nov 08. 14(1): 7217
      Cellular activities are commonly associated with dynamic proteomic changes at the subcellular level. Although several techniques are available to quantify whole-cell protein turnover dynamics, such measurements often lack sufficient spatial resolution at the subcellular level. Herein, we report the development of prox-SILAC method that combines proximity-dependent protein labeling (APEX2/HRP) with metabolic incorporation of stable isotopes (pulse-SILAC) to map newly synthesized proteins with subcellular spatial resolution. We apply prox-SILAC to investigate proteome dynamics in the mitochondrial matrix and the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) lumen. Our analysis reveals a highly heterogeneous distribution in protein turnover dynamics within macromolecular machineries such as the mitochondrial ribosome and respiratory complexes I-V, thus shedding light on their mechanism of hierarchical assembly. Furthermore, we investigate the dynamic changes of ER proteome when cells are challenged with stress or undergoing stimulated differentiation, identifying subsets of proteins with unique patterns of turnover dynamics, which may play key regulatory roles in alleviating stress or promoting differentiation. We envision that prox-SILAC could be broadly applied to profile protein turnover at various subcellular compartments, under both physiological and pathological conditions.
  18. Cancer Metab. 2023 Nov 06. 11(1): 20
      BACKGROUND: ATM is a multifunctional serine/threonine kinase that in addition to its well-established role in DNA repair mechanisms is involved in a number of signaling pathways including regulation of oxidative stress response and metabolic diversion of glucose through the pentose phosphate pathway. Oncogene-driven tumorigenesis often implies the metabolic switch from oxidative phosphorylation to glycolysis which provides metabolic intermediates to sustain cell proliferation. The aim of our study is to elucidate the role of ATM in the regulation of glucose metabolism in oncogene-driven cancer cells and to test whether ATM may be a suitable target for anticancer therapy.METHODS: Two oncogene-driven NSCLC cell lines, namely H1975 and H1993 cells, were treated with ATM inhibitor, KU55933, alone or in combination with oncogene driver inhibitors, WZ4002 or crizotinib. Key glycolytic enzymes, mitochondrial complex subunits (OXPHOS), cyclin D1, and apoptotic markers were analyzed by Western blotting. Drug-induced toxicity was assessed by MTS assay using stand-alone or combined treatment with KU55933 and driver inhibitors. Glucose consumption, pyruvate, citrate, and succinate levels were also analyzed in response to KU55933 treatment. Both cell lines were transfected with ATM-targeted siRNA or non-targeting siRNA and then exposed to treatment with driver inhibitors.
    RESULTS: ATM inhibition deregulates and inhibits glucose metabolism by reducing HKII, p-PKM2Tyr105, p-PKM2Ser37, E1α subunit of pyruvate dehydrogenase complex, and all subunits of mitochondrial complexes except ATP synthase. Accordingly, glucose uptake and pyruvate concentrations were reduced in response to ATM inhibition, whereas citrate and succinate levels were increased in both cell lines indicating the supply of alternative metabolic substrates. Silencing of ATM resulted in similar changes in glycolytic cascade and OXPHOS levels. Furthermore, the driver inhibitors amplified the effects of ATM downregulation on glucose metabolism, and the combined treatment with ATM inhibitors enhanced the cytotoxic effect of driver inhibitors alone by increasing the apoptotic response.
    CONCLUSIONS: Inhibition of ATM reduced both glycolytic enzymes and OXPHOS levels in oncogene-driven cancer cells and enhanced apoptosis induced by driver inhibitors thus highlighting the possibility to use ATM and the driver inhibitors in combined regimens of anticancer therapy in vivo.
    Keywords:  ATM; Anticancer therapy; Glycolysis; OXPHOS; Oncogene-driver inhibitors
  19. Cell Rep. 2023 Nov 04. pii: S2211-1247(23)01401-8. [Epub ahead of print]42(11): 113389
      Acyl-protein thioesterases 1 and 2 (APT1 and APT2) reverse S-acylation, a potential regulator of systemic glucose metabolism in mammals. Palmitoylation proteomics in liver-specific knockout mice shows that APT1 predominates over APT2, primarily depalmitoylating mitochondrial proteins, including proteins linked to glutamine metabolism. miniTurbo-facilitated determination of the protein-protein proximity network of APT1 and APT2 in HepG2 cells reveals APT proximity networks encompassing mitochondrial proteins including the major translocases Tomm20 and Timm44. APT1 also interacts with Slc1a5 (ASCT2), the only glutamine transporter known to localize to mitochondria. High-fat-diet-fed male mice with dual (but not single) hepatic deletion of APT1 and APT2 have insulin resistance, fasting hyperglycemia, increased glutamine-driven gluconeogenesis, and decreased liver mass. These data suggest that APT1 and APT2 regulation of hepatic glucose metabolism and insulin signaling is functionally redundant. Identification of substrates and protein-protein proximity networks for APT1 and APT2 establishes a framework for defining mechanisms underlying metabolic disease.
    Keywords:  CP: Metabolism; acyl-protein thioesterase 1; acyl-protein thioesterase 2; gluconeogenesis; glutamine; insulin; liver; palmitoylation; proximity labeling
  20. Commun Biol. 2023 Nov 10. 6(1): 1143
      Enzymes with novel functions are needed to enable new organic synthesis techniques. Drawing inspiration from gain-of-function cancer mutations that functionally alter proteins and affect cellular metabolism, we developed METIS (Mutated Enzymes from Tumors In silico Screen). METIS identifies metabolism-altering cancer mutations using mutation recurrence rates and protein structure. We used METIS to screen 298,517 cancer mutations and identify 48 candidate mutations, including those previously identified to alter enzymatic function. Unbiased metabolomic profiling of cells exogenously expressing a candidate mutant (OGDHLp.A400T) supports an altered phenotype that boosts in vitro production of xanthosine, a pharmacologically useful chemical that is currently produced using unsustainable, water-intensive methods. We then applied METIS to 49 million cancer mutations, yielding a refined set of candidates that may impart novel enzymatic functions or contribute to tumor progression. Thus, METIS can be used to identify and catalog potentially-useful cancer mutations for green chemistry and therapeutic applications.
  21. Cancer Gene Ther. 2023 Nov 07.
      Tamoxifen is the frontline therapeutic agent for the estrogen receptor-positive (ER + ) subtype of breast cancer patients, which accounts for 70-80% of total breast cancer incidents. However, clinical resistance to tamoxifen has become increasingly common, highlighting the need to identify the underlying cellular mechanisms. In our study, we employed a genome-scale CRISPR-Cas9 loss-of-function screen and validation experiments to discover that Tafazzin (TAZ), a mitochondrial transacylase, is crucial for maintaining the cellular sensitivity of ER+ breast cancer cells to tamoxifen and other chemotherapies. Mechanistically, we found that cardiolipin, whose synthesis and maturation rely on TAZ, is required to maintain cellular sensitivity to tamoxifen. Loss of metabolic enzymatic activity of TAZ causes ERα downregulation and therapy resistance. Interestingly, we observed that TAZ deficiency also led to the upregulation of lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC), which in turn suppressed ERα expression and nuclear localization, thereby contributing to tamoxifen resistance. LPC is further metabolized to lysophosphatidic acid (LPA), a bioactive molecule that supports cell survival. Thus, our findings suggest that the depletion of TAZ promotes tamoxifen resistance through an LPC-LPA phospholipid synthesis axis, and targeting this lipid metabolic pathway could restore cell susceptibility to tamoxifen treatment.
  22. Front Immunol. 2023 ;14 1267816
      Introduction: Naïve T cells remain in an actively maintained state of quiescence until activation by antigenic signals, upon which they start to proliferate and generate effector cells to initiate a functional immune response. Metabolic reprogramming is essential to meet the biosynthetic demands of the differentiation process, and failure to do so can promote the development of hypofunctional exhausted T cells.Methods: Here we used 13C metabolomics and transcriptomics to study the metabolism of CD8+ T cells in their complete course of differentiation from naïve over stem-like memory to effector cells and in exhaustion-inducing conditions.
    Results: The quiescence of naïve T cells was evident in a profound suppression of glucose oxidation and a decreased expression of ENO1, downstream of which no glycolytic flux was detectable. Moreover, TCA cycle activity was low in naïve T cells and associated with a downregulation of SDH subunits. Upon stimulation and exit from quiescence, the initiation of cell growth and proliferation was accompanied by differential expression of metabolic enzymes and metabolic reprogramming towards aerobic glycolysis with high rates of nutrient uptake, respiration and lactate production. High flux in anabolic pathways imposed a strain on NADH homeostasis, which coincided with engagement of the proline cycle for mitochondrial redox shuttling. With acquisition of effector functions, cells increasingly relied on glycolysis as opposed to oxidative phosphorylation, which was, however, not linked to changes in mitochondrial abundance. In exhaustion, decreased effector function concurred with a reduction in mitochondrial metabolism, glycolysis and amino acid import, and an upregulation of quiescence-associated genes, TXNIP and KLF2, and the T cell suppressive metabolites succinate and itaconate.
    Discussion: Overall, these results identify multiple metabolic features that regulate quiescence, proliferation and effector function, but also exhaustion of CD8+ T cells during differentiation. Thus, targeting these metabolic checkpoints may be a promising therapeutic strategy for both prevention of exhaustion and promotion of stemness of anti-tumor T cells.
    Keywords:  13C tracer analysis; RNA sequencing; differentiation; exhaustion; immunometabolism; stem cell memory cells
  23. Enzymes. 2023 ;pii: S1874-6047(23)00008-2. [Epub ahead of print]54 37-70
      Although recognized earlier as subcellular entities by microscopists, mitochondria have been the subject of functional studies since 1922, when their biochemical similarities with bacteria were first noted. In this overview I trace the history of research on mitochondria from that time up to the present day, focussing on the major milestones of the overlapping eras of mitochondrial biochemistry, genetics, pathology and cell biology, and its explosion into new areas in the past 25 years. Nowadays, mitochondria are considered to be fully integrated into cell physiology, rather than serving specific functions in isolation.
    Keywords:  Apoptosis; Calcium homeostasis; Cell signalling; Chemiosmotic hypothesis; DNA replication; Endosymbiosis; Eukaryote origins; Heteroplasmy; Immunity; Krebs cycle; Mitochondrial DNA; Mitochondrial disease; Mitochondrial dynamics; Mitophagy; Oxidative phosphorylation; Reactive oxygen species; Supercomplexes
  24. Commun Biol. 2023 Nov 09. 6(1): 1134
      The molecular basis of reduced autofluorescence in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) cells relative to normal cells has been speculated to be due to lower levels of free flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD). This speculation, along with differences in the intrinsic optical properties of extracellular collagen, lies at the foundation of the design of currently-used clinical optical detection devices. Here, we report that free FAD levels may not account for differences in autofluorescence of OSCC cells, but that the differences relate to FAD as a co-factor for flavination. Autofluorescence from a 70 kDa flavoprotein, succinate dehydrogenase A (SDHA), was found to be responsible for changes in optical properties within the FAD spectral region, with lower levels of flavinated SDHA in OSCC cells. Since flavinated SDHA is required for functional complexation with succinate dehydrogenase B (SDHB), decreased SDHB levels were observed in human OSCC tissue relative to normal tissues. Accordingly, the metabolism of OSCC cells was found to be significantly altered relative to normal cells, revealing vulnerabilities for both diagnosis and targeted therapy. Optimizing non-invasive tools based on optical and metabolic signatures of cancers will enable more precise and early diagnosis leading to improved outcomes in patients.
  25. JCI Insight. 2023 Nov 08. pii: e167874. [Epub ahead of print]8(21):
      Emerging evidence shows that KRAS-mutant colorectal cancer (CRC) depends on glutamine (Gln) for survival and progression, indicating that targeting Gln metabolism may be a promising therapeutic strategy for KRAS-mutant CRC. However, the precise mechanism by which Gln metabolism reprogramming promotes and coordinates KRAS-mutant CRC progression remains to be fully investigated. Here, we discovered that solute carrier 25 member 21 (SLC25A21) expression was downregulated in KRAS-mutant CRC, and that SLC25A21 downregulation was correlated with poor survival of KRAS-mutant CRC patients. SLC25A21 depletion selectively accelerated the growth, invasion, migration, and metastasis of KRAS-mutant CRC cells in vitro and in vivo, and inhibited Gln-derived α-ketoglutarate (α-KG) efflux from mitochondria, thereby potentiating Gln replenishment, accompanied by increased GTP availability for persistent KRAS activation in KRAS-mutant CRC. The restoration of SLC25A21 expression impaired the KRAS-mutation-mediated resistance to cetuximab in KRAS-mutant CRC. Moreover, the arrested α-KG efflux that occurred in response to SLC25A21 depletion inhibited the activity of α-KG-dependent DNA demethylases, resulting in a further decrease in SLC25A21 expression. Our studies demonstrate that SLC25A21 plays a significant role as a tumor suppressor in KRAS-mutant CRC by antagonizing Gln-dependent anaplerosis to limit GTP availability for KRAS activation, which suggests potential alternative therapeutic strategies for KRAS-mutant CRC.
    Keywords:  Amino acid metabolism; Colorectal cancer; Drug therapy; Gastroenterology; Metabolism
  26. Blood Adv. 2023 Nov 07. pii: bloodadvances.2023010964. [Epub ahead of print]
      Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is the most common lymphoma in adults, but first-line immunochemotherapy fails to produce a durable response in about one-third of the patients. Since tumor cells often reprogram their metabolism, we investigated the importance of glutaminolysis, a pathway converting glutamine to generate energy and various metabolites, for the growth of DLBCL cells. Glutaminase-1 (GLS1) expression was robustly detected in DLBCL biopsies and cell lines. Both pharmacological inhibition and genetic knockdown of GLS1 induced cell death in DLBCL cells regardless of their subtype classification, whereas primary B cells remained unaffected. Interestingly, GLS1 inhibition resulted not only in reduced levels of intermediates of the tricarboxylic acid cycle, but also in a strong mitochondrial accumulation of reactive oxygen species. Supplementation of DLBCL cells with α-ketoglutarate or with the antioxidant α-tocopherol mitigated oxidative stress and abrogated cell death upon GLS1 inhibition, indicating an essential role of glutaminolysis in the protection from oxidative stress. Furthermore, the combination of the GLS1 inhibitor CB-839 with the therapeutic BCL2 inhibitor ABT-199 not only induced massive ROS production, but also exhibited highly synergistic cytotoxicity, suggesting that simultaneous targeting of GLS1 and BCL2 could represent a novel therapeutic strategy for DLBCL patients.
  27. Mol Pharm. 2023 Nov 07.
      Metabolic reprogramming is a significant hallmark of cancer that promotes chemoresistance by allowing tumor tissues to adapt to changes in the tumor microenvironment caused by anticancer therapies. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), one of the most common types of primary tumors, is associated with recurrent metabolic reprogramming that maximizes cancer cell growth and proliferation. Herein, we developed metformin (MET)-loaded hyaluronic acid (HA)-derived carbon dots (HA-CD-MET) by a simple and green method with no involvement of any additives. HA-CD-MET was utilized for specifically binding the CD44 receptor overexpressed in HCC and induced glutamine metabolic rewiring to inhibit HCC cell proliferation. Exposure to HA-CD-MET resulted in ∼6.5-fold better anticancer efficacy against CD44+ Hep3B cells in comparison to CD44-, HepG2, and noncancerous HEK293 cells at a very low dose of 80 μg/mL. Moreover, treatment of three-dimensional (3D) tumor spheroid model of HCC (Hep3B) with HA-CD-MET resulted in ∼4.9-fold reduction in tumor size. This improved anticancer efficacy of HA-CD-MET was attributed to the inhibition of glutaminase-1 (GLS-1), a mitochondrial enzyme that hydrolyzes glutamine into glutamate as confirmed from immunofluorescence and immunoblotting experiments. Furthermore, treatment with HA-CD-MET resulted in downregulation of glucose transporter-1 (GLUT-1) in Hep3B cells. Consequently, cancer cells were starved from essential nutrients, glutamine, and glucose, leading to the enhancement in intracellular ROS generation. This increase in intracellular ROS accumulation activated AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and inhibited AKT phosphorylation, leading to cancer cell apoptosis. Thus, this study offers the targeting of metabolic reprogramming by HA-CD-MET that opens up a promising strategy for therapeutic intervention in hepatocarcinoma.
    Keywords:  CD44; carbon dot; glutamine; hyaluronic acid; metabolic reprogramming; metformin
  28. Leukemia. 2023 Nov 09.
      Juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML) is an aggressive hematopoietic disorder of infancy and early childhood driven by constitutively active RAS signaling and characterized by abnormal proliferation of the granulocytic-monocytic blood cell lineage. Most JMML patients require hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for cure, but the risk of relapse is high for some JMML subtypes. Azacitidine was shown to effectively reduce leukemic burden in a subset of JMML patients. However, variable response rates to azacitidine and the risk of drug resistance highlight the need for novel therapeutic approaches. Since RAS signaling is known to interfere with the intrinsic apoptosis pathway, we combined various BH3 mimetic drugs with azacitidine in our previously established patient-derived xenograft model. We demonstrate that JMML cells require both MCL-1 and BCL-XL for survival, and that these proteins can be effectively targeted by azacitidine and BH3 mimetic combination treatment. In vivo azacitidine acts via downregulation of antiapoptotic MCL-1 and upregulation of proapoptotic BH3-only. The combination of azacitidine with BCL-XL inhibition was superior to BCL-2 inhibition in eliminating JMML cells. Our findings emphasize the need to develop clinically applicable MCL-1 or BCL-XL inhibitors in order to enable novel combination therapies in JMML refractory to standard therapy.
  29. Nature. 2023 Nov;623(7986): 283-291
      Mitochondria are believed to have originated through an ancient endosymbiotic process in which proteobacteria were captured and co-opted for energy production and cellular metabolism. Mitochondria segregate during cell division and differentiation, with vertical inheritance of mitochondria and the mitochondrial DNA genome from parent to daughter cells. However, an emerging body of literature indicates that some cell types export their mitochondria for delivery to developmentally unrelated cell types, a process called intercellular mitochondria transfer. In this Review, we describe the mechanisms by which mitochondria are transferred between cells and discuss how intercellular mitochondria transfer regulates the physiology and function of various organ systems in health and disease. In particular, we discuss the role of mitochondria transfer in regulating cellular metabolism, cancer, the immune system, maintenance of tissue homeostasis, mitochondrial quality control, wound healing and adipose tissue function. We also highlight the potential of targeting intercellular mitochondria transfer as a therapeutic strategy to treat human diseases and augment cellular therapies.
  30. Leuk Res. 2023 Oct 31. pii: S0145-2126(23)00672-0. [Epub ahead of print]135 107407
      Combining venetoclax with the hypomethylating agents azacitidine or decitabine has shown high complete response rates (60-70 %) in newly diagnosed (ND) acute myeloid leukemia (AML). However, studies addressing the efficacy of this approach in relapsed/refractory (R/R) AML remain limited. We conducted a retrospective analysis on patients treated with venetoclax-based therapy at a single institution. Objective response rates (ORR) and overall survival (OS) were assessed using logistic regression and Cox regression models, respectively. The total study population exhibited an ORR of 64 % with a complete remission at 34 %, complete remission with incomplete count recovery at 19%, and morphologic leukemia free state at 11 %. Patients with ND AML had a better ORR (71 %) compared to R/R AML (55 %), but the difference was not statistically significant. Median OS for the overall population was 14.4 months (range: 2-26 months). In the ND group, patients had a longer 6-month OS (82 % vs. 55 % in R/R AML), while both cohorts showed similar 12- and 24-month OS. Factors such as the hypomethylating agent chosen, adverse cytogenetics, TP53 mutations, prior hypomethylating agent use, and stem cell transplant status did not significantly affect ORR or OS. These findings support the effectiveness of venetoclax-based treatments in ND and R/R AML.
    Keywords:  Acute myeloid leukemia; Hypomethylating agents; Newly diagnosed; Refractory; Relapsed; Venetoclax
  31. Anticancer Drugs. 2023 Nov 13.
      After an initial positive response to chemotherapy, cancer patients often become resistant and experience relapse. Our previous research identified eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E (eIF4E) as a crucial target to overcome chemoresistance. In this study, we delved further into the role and therapeutic potential of myeloid cell leukemia 1 (Mcl-1), an eIF4E-mediated target, in chemoresistance. We showed that the levels of phosphor and total eIF4E, as well as Mcl-1, were elevated in chemoresistant cervical but not colon cancer cells. Mcl-1 inhibitor S64315 decreased Mcl-1 levels in chemoresistant cancer cells, regardless of Mcl-1 upregulation, decreased viability in chemoresistant cancer cells and acted synergistically with chemotherapy drugs. The combined inhibition of Mcl-1 and B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2), employing both genetic and pharmacological approaches, led to a markedly more substantial decrease in viability compared with the inhibition of either target individually. The combination of S64315 and Bcl-2 inhibitors reduced tumor growth in chemoresistant cervical and colon cancer models without causing general toxicity in mice. This combination also prolonged overall survival compared with using S64315 or venetoclax alone. Our research highlights the therapeutic potential of inhibiting Mcl-1 and Bcl-2 simultaneously in chemoresistant cancers and provides a rationale for initiating clinical trials to investigate the combination of S64315 and venetoclax for the treatment of advanced colon and cervical cancer.