bims-mibica Biomed News
on Mitochondrial bioenergetics in cancer
Issue of 2023‒11‒19
twenty-two papers selected by
Kelsey Fisher-Wellman, East Carolina University

  1. JCI Insight. 2023 Nov 16. pii: e169868. [Epub ahead of print]
      Increased mitochondrial function may render some cancers vulnerable to mitochondrial inhibitors. Since mitochondrial function is regulated partly by mitochondrial DNA copy number (mtDNAcn), accurate measurements of mtDNAcn could help reveal which cancers are driven by increased mitochondrial function and may be candidates for mitochondrial inhibition. However, prior studies have employed bulk macrodissections that fail to account for cell type-specific or tumor cell heterogeneity in mtDNAcn. These studies have often produced unclear results, particularly in prostate cancer. Herein, we developed a multiplex in situ method to spatially quantify cell type specific mtDNAcn. We show that mtDNAcn is increased in luminal cells of high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (HGPIN), is increased in prostatic adenocarcinomas (PCa), and is further elevated in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. Increased PCa mtDNAcn was validated by two orthogonal methods and is accompanied by increases in mtRNAs and enzymatic activity. Mechanistically, MYC inhibition in prostate cancer cells decreases mtDNA replication and expression of several mtDNA replication genes, and MYC activation in the mouse prostate leads to increased mtDNA levels in the neoplastic prostate cells. Our in situ approach also revealed elevated mtDNAcn in precancerous lesions of the pancreas and colon/rectum, demonstrating generalization across cancer types using clinical tissue samples.
    Keywords:  Cancer; Metabolism; Mitochondria; Oncology
  2. Life Sci Alliance. 2024 Feb;pii: e202302386. [Epub ahead of print]7(2):
      Cristae membranes have been recently shown to undergo intramitochondrial merging and splitting events. Yet, the metabolic and bioenergetic factors regulating them are unclear. Here, we investigated whether and how cristae morphology and dynamics are dependent on oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) complexes, the mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm), and the ADP/ATP nucleotide translocator. Advanced live-cell STED nanoscopy combined with in-depth quantification were employed to analyse cristae morphology and dynamics after treatment of mammalian cells with rotenone, antimycin A, oligomycin A, and CCCP. This led to formation of enlarged mitochondria along with reduced cristae density but did not impair cristae dynamics. CCCP treatment leading to ΔΨm abrogation even enhanced cristae dynamics showing its ΔΨm-independent nature. Inhibition of OXPHOS complexes was accompanied by reduced ATP levels but did not affect cristae dynamics. However, inhibition of ADP/ATP exchange led to aberrant cristae morphology and impaired cristae dynamics in a mitochondrial subset. In sum, we provide quantitative data of cristae membrane remodelling under different conditions supporting an important interplay between OXPHOS, metabolite exchange, and cristae membrane dynamics.
  3. Neoplasia. 2023 Nov 11. pii: S1476-5586(23)00073-8. [Epub ahead of print]46 100949
      Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is an aggressive malignancy for which chemotherapy remains the standard treatment. However, between 3 and 5 years after chemotherapy, about half patients will relapse and it is essential to identify vulnerabilities of cancer cells surviving neoadujuvant therapy. In this study, we established persistent TNBC cell models after treating MDA-MB-231 and SUM159-PT TNBC cell lines with epirubicin and cyclophosphamide, and then with paclitaxel, for a total of 18 weeks. The resulting chemo-persistent cell lines were more proliferative, both in vitro and in xenografted mice. Interestingly, MDA-MB-231 persistent cells became less sensitive to chemotherapeutic drugs, whereas SUM159-PT persistent cells kept similar sensitivity compared to control cells. The reduced sensitivity to chemotherapy in MDA-MB-231 persistent cells was found to be associated with an increased oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) and modified levels of tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA) intermediates. Integration of data from proteomics and metabolomics demonstrated TCA cycle among the most upregulated pathways in MDA-MB-231 persistent cells. The absence of glucose and pyruvate impeded OXPHOS in persistent cells, while the absence of glutamine did not. In contrast, OXPHOS was not modified in control cells independently of TCA substrates, indicating that MDA-MB-231 persistent cells evolved towards a more pyruvate dependent profile. Finally, the inhibition of pyruvate entry into mitochondria with UK-5099 reduced OXPHOS and re-sensitized persistent cells to therapeutic agents. Together, these findings suggest that targeting mitochondrial pyruvate metabolism may help to overcome mitochondrial adaptation of chemo-persistent TNBC.
    Keywords:  Chemotherapy; Mitochondrial adaptation; Persistence; Pyruvate; Resistance
  4. Nat Cell Biol. 2023 Nov 13.
      The intricate orchestration of enzymatic activities involving nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) is essential for maintaining metabolic homeostasis and preserving genomic integrity. As a co-enzyme, NAD+ plays a key role in regulating metabolic pathways, such as glycolysis and Kreb's cycle. ADP-ribosyltransferases (PARPs) and sirtuins rely on NAD+ to mediate post-translational modifications of target proteins. The activation of PARP1 in response to DNA breaks leads to rapid depletion of cellular NAD+ compromising cell viability. Therefore, the levels of NAD+ must be tightly regulated. Here we show that exogenous NAD+, but not its precursors, has a direct effect on mitochondrial activity. Short-term incubation with NAD+ boosts Kreb's cycle and the electron transport chain and enhances pyrimidine biosynthesis. Extended incubation with NAD+ results in depletion of pyrimidines, accumulation of purines, activation of the replication stress response and cell cycle arrest. Moreover, a combination of NAD+ and 5-fluorouridine selectively kills cancer cells that rely on de novo pyrimidine synthesis. We propose an integrated model of how NAD+ regulates nucleotide metabolism, with relevance to healthspan, ageing and cancer therapy.
  5. Nat Metab. 2023 Nov 13.
      Glutamine is a critical metabolite for rapidly proliferating cells as it is used for the synthesis of key metabolites necessary for cell growth and proliferation. Glutamine metabolism has been proposed as a therapeutic target in cancer and several chemical inhibitors are in development or in clinical trials. How cells subsist when glutamine is limiting is poorly understood. Here, using an unbiased screen, we identify ALDH18A1, which encodes P5CS, the rate-limiting enzyme in the proline biosynthetic pathway, as a gene that cells can downregulate in response to glutamine starvation. Notably, P5CS downregulation promotes de novo glutamine synthesis, highlighting a previously unrecognized metabolic plasticity of cancer cells. The glutamate conserved from reducing proline synthesis allows cells to produce the key metabolites necessary for cell survival and proliferation under glutamine-restricted conditions. Our findings reveal an adaptive pathway that cancer cells acquire under nutrient stress, identifying proline biosynthesis as a previously unrecognized major consumer of glutamate, a pathway that could be exploited for developing effective metabolism-driven anticancer therapies.
  6. Redox Biol. 2023 Nov 10. pii: S2213-2317(23)00360-9. [Epub ahead of print]68 102959
      Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a common and deadly disease of the digestive system, but its targeted therapy is hampered by the lack of reliable and specific biomarkers. Hence, discovering new therapeutic targets and agents for CRC is an urgent and challenging task. Here we report that carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1A (CPT1A), a mitochondrial enzyme that catalyzes fatty acid oxidation (FAO), is a potential target for CRC treatment. We show that CPT1A is overexpressed in CRC cells and that its inhibition by a secolignan-type compound, 2,6-dihydroxypeperomin B (DHP-B), isolated from the plant Peperomia dindygulensis, suppresses tumor cell growth and induces apoptosis. We demonstrate that DHP-B covalently binds to Cys96 of CPT1A, blocks FAO, and disrupts the mitochondrial CPT1A-VDAC1 interaction, leading to increased mitochondrial permeability and reduced oxygen consumption and energy metabolism in CRC cells. We also reveal that CPT1A expression correlates with the survival of tumor-bearing animals and that DHP-B exhibits anti-CRC activity in vitro and in vivo. Our study uncovers the molecular mechanism of DHP-B as a novel CPT1A inhibitor and provides a rationale for its preclinical development as well as a new strategy for CRC targeted therapy.
    Keywords:  2,6-Dihydroxypeperomin B; CPT1A; Colorectal cancer; Covalent inhibitor; VDAC1
  7. bioRxiv. 2023 Nov 03. pii: 2023.11.01.565193. [Epub ahead of print]
      Nucleotides perform important metabolic functions, carrying energy and feeding nucleic acid synthesis. Here, we use isotope tracing-mass spectrometry to quantitate the contributions to purine nucleotides of salvage versus de novo synthesis. We further explore the impact of augmenting a key precursor for purine synthesis, one-carbon (1C) units. We show that tumors and tumor-infiltrating T cells (relative to splenic T cells) synthesize purines de novo . Purine synthesis requires two 1C units, which come from serine catabolism and circulating formate. Shortage of 1C units is a potential bottleneck for anti-tumor immunity. Elevating circulating formate drives its usage by tumor-infiltrating T cells. Orally administered methanol functions as a formate pro-drug, with deuteration enabling control of formate-production kinetics. In MC38 tumors, safe doses of methanol raise formate levels and augment anti-PD-1 checkpoint blockade, tripling durable regressions. Thus, 1C deficiency can gate antitumor immunity and this metabolic checkpoint can be overcome with pharmacological 1C supplementation.Statement of significance: Checkpoint blockade has revolutionized cancer therapy. Durable tumor control, however, is achieved in only a minority of patients. We show that the efficacy of anti-PD-1 blockade can be enhanced by metabolic supplementation with one-carbon donors. Such donors support nucleotide synthesis in tumor-infiltrating T cells and merit future clinical evaluation.
  8. Biophys Rev. 2023 Oct;15(5): 859-873
      The role of protons in ATP synthase is typically considered to be energy storage in the form of an electrochemical potential, as well as an operating element proving rotation. However, this review emphasizes that protons also act as activators of conformational changes in F1 and as direct participants in phosphorylation reaction. The protons transferred through Fo do not immediately leave to the bulk aqueous phase, but instead provide for the formation of a pH gradient between acidifying Fo and alkalizing F1. It facilitates a directed inter-subunit proton transfer to F1, where they are used in the ATP synthesis reaction. This ensures that the enzyme activity is not limited by a lack of protons in the alkaline mitochondrial matrix or chloroplast stroma. Up to one hundred protons bind to the carboxyl groups of the F1 subunit, altering the electrical interactions between the amino acids of the enzyme. This removes the inhibition of ATP synthase caused by the electrostatic attraction of charged amino acids of the stator and rotor and also makes the enzyme more prone to conformational changes. Protonation occurs during ATP synthesis initiation and during phosphorylation, while deprotonation blocks the rotation inhibiting both synthesis and hydrolysis. Thus, protons participate in the functioning of all main components of ATP synthase molecular machine making it effectively a proton-driven electric machine. The review highlights the key role of protons as a coupling factor in ATP synthase with multifaceted functions, including charge and energy transport, torque generation, facilitation of conformational changes, and participation in the ATP synthesis reaction.
    Keywords:  F1Fo ATP synthase; H+ ions; Oxidative phosphorylation system; Protein conformational changes; Proton transport
  9. Mol Cell. 2023 Nov 16. pii: S1097-2765(23)00854-7. [Epub ahead of print]83(22): 4078-4092.e6
      Tumor growth is driven by continued cellular growth and proliferation. Cyclin-dependent kinase 7's (CDK7) role in activating mitotic CDKs and global gene expression makes it therefore an attractive target for cancer therapies. However, what makes cancer cells particularly sensitive to CDK7 inhibition (CDK7i) remains unclear. Here, we address this question. We show that CDK7i, by samuraciclib, induces a permanent cell-cycle exit, known as senescence, without promoting DNA damage signaling or cell death. A chemogenetic genome-wide CRISPR knockout screen identified that active mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) signaling promotes samuraciclib-induced senescence. mTOR inhibition decreases samuraciclib sensitivity, and increased mTOR-dependent growth signaling correlates with sensitivity in cancer cell lines. Reverting a growth-promoting mutation in PIK3CA to wild type decreases sensitivity to CDK7i. Our work establishes that enhanced growth alone promotes CDK7i sensitivity, providing an explanation for why some cancers are more sensitive to CDK inhibition than normally growing cells.
    Keywords:  CDK inhibition; CDK7 inhibitor; cancer treatment; cell cycle; cell size; cell-cycle arrest; cellular growth; mTOR singaling; proliferation; samuraciclib; senescence
  10. bioRxiv. 2023 Oct 27. pii: 2023.10.27.564195. [Epub ahead of print]
      DNA damage and cellular metabolism are intricately linked with bidirectional feedback. Two of the main effectors of the DNA damage response and control of cellular metabolism are ATR and mTORC1, respectively. Prior work has placed ATR upstream of mTORC1 during replication stress, yet the direct mechanism for how mTORC1 is activated in this context remain unclear. We previously published that p16-low cells have mTORC1 hyperactivation, which in part promotes their proliferation. Using this model, we found that ATR, but not ATM, is upstream of mTORC1 activation via de novo cholesterol synthesis and is associated with increased lanosterol synthase (LSS). Indeed, p16-low cells showed increased cholesterol abundance. Additionally, knockdown of either ATR or LSS decreased mTORC1 activity. Decreased mTORC1 activity due to ATR knockdown was rescued by cholesterol supplementation. Finally, using both LSS inhibitors and multiple FDA-approved de novo cholesterol synthesis inhibitors, we found that the de novo cholesterol biosynthesis pathway is a metabolic vulnerability of p16-low cells. Together, our data provide new evidence coupling the DNA damage response and cholesterol metabolism and demonstrate the feasibility of using FDA-approved cholesterol-lowering drugs in tumors with loss of p16.
  11. Aging (Albany NY). 2023 Nov 09. 15
      Aging is a continuous degenerative process caused by a progressive decline of cell and tissue functions in an organism. It is induced by the accumulation of damage that affects normal cellular processes, ultimately leading to cell death. It has been speculated for many years that mitochondria play a key role in the aging process. In the aim of characterizing the implications of mitochondria in aging, here we used Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) as an organismal model treated a panel of mitochondrial inhibitors and assessed for survival. In our study, we assessed survival by evaluating worm lifespan, and we assessed aging markers by evaluating the pharyngeal muscle contraction, the accumulation of lipofuscin pigment and ATP levels. Our results show that treatment of worms with either doxycycline, azithromycin (inhibitors of the small and the large mitochondrial ribosomes, respectively), or a combination of both, significantly extended median lifespan of C. elegans, enhanced their pharyngeal pumping rate, reduced their lipofuscin content and their energy consumption (ATP levels), as compared to control untreated worms, suggesting an aging-abrogating effect for these drugs. Similarly, DPI, an inhibitor of mitochondrial complex I and II, was capable of prolonging the median lifespan of treated worms. On the other hand, subjecting worms to vitamin C, a pro-oxidant, failed to extend C. elegans lifespan and upregulated its energy consumption, revealing an increase in ATP level. Therefore, our longevity study reveals that mitochondrial inhibitors (i.e., mitochondria-targeting antibiotics) could abrogate aging and extend lifespan in C. elegans.
    Keywords:  C. elegans; DPI; aging; antibiotics; lifespan; lipofuscin; metabolism; mitochondria
  12. Nat Commun. 2023 Nov 17. 14(1): 7471
      Acute inflammation can either resolve through immunosuppression or persist, leading to chronic inflammation. These transitions are driven by distinct molecular and metabolic reprogramming of immune cells. The anti-diabetic drug Metformin inhibits acute and chronic inflammation through mechanisms still not fully understood. Here, we report that the anti-inflammatory and reactive-oxygen-species-inhibiting effects of Metformin depend on the expression of the plasticity factor ZEB1 in macrophages. Using mice lacking Zeb1 in their myeloid cells and human patient samples, we show that ZEB1 plays a dual role, being essential in both initiating and resolving inflammation by inducing macrophages to transition into an immunosuppressed state. ZEB1 mediates these diverging effects in inflammation and immunosuppression by modulating mitochondrial content through activation of autophagy and inhibition of mitochondrial protein translation. During the transition from inflammation to immunosuppression, Metformin mimics the metabolic reprogramming of myeloid cells induced by ZEB1. Mechanistically, in immunosuppression, ZEB1 inhibits amino acid uptake, leading to downregulation of mTORC1 signalling and a decrease in mitochondrial translation in macrophages. These results identify ZEB1 as a driver of myeloid cell metabolic plasticity, suggesting that targeting its expression and function could serve as a strategy to modulate dysregulated inflammation and immunosuppression.
  13. Oncol Rep. 2024 Jan;pii: 6. [Epub ahead of print]51(1):
      The protein Dynein‑related protein 1 (Drp1) plays a crucial role in regulating the process of mitochondrial fission, which is known to be associated with the onset and progression of various human diseases. However, the specific impact of Drp1 on bladder cancer has yet to be fully understood. In previous studies, evidence to support the theory that the deubiquitinating enzyme proteasome non‑ATPase regulatory subunit 14 (PSMD14) is responsible for stabilizing and promoting the activity of Drp1, ultimately resulting in increased mitochondrial fission, has been presented. The levels of PSMD14 in both bladder cancer tissues and cells were elevated, as confirmed through immunohistochemical and immunofluorescent staining. Co‑immunoprecipitation and reciprocal co‑IP tests demonstrated that PSMD14 and Drp1 interacted with each other. Upon knockdown of PSMD14, there was a corresponding decrease in Drp1 expression and subsequent inhibition of mitochondrial fission. However, when the Drp1 agonist Mdivi‑1 was applied to cells where PSMD14 expression had been knocked down, a significant increase in cell growth was observed, partially restoring the cancer‑promoting effects of PSMD14 on cell proliferation. In conclusion, these findings suggest that PSMD14 may stimulate bladder cancer cell proliferation by promoting mitochondrial fission through the stabilization of Drp1.
    Keywords:  bladder cancer; deubiquitinating; dynein‑related protein 1; mitochondrial fission; proteasome non‑ATPase regulatory subunit 14
  14. bioRxiv. 2023 Oct 23. pii: 2023.10.20.563287. [Epub ahead of print]
      Cysteine-focused chemical proteomic platforms have accelerated the clinical development of covalent inhibitors of a wide-range of targets in cancer. However, how different oncogenic contexts influence cysteine targeting remains unknown. To address this question, we have developed DrugMap , an atlas of cysteine ligandability compiled across 416 cancer cell lines. We unexpectedly find that cysteine ligandability varies across cancer cell lines, and we attribute this to differences in cellular redox states, protein conformational changes, and genetic mutations. Leveraging these findings, we identify actionable cysteines in NFκB1 and SOX10 and develop corresponding covalent ligands that block the activity of these transcription factors. We demonstrate that the NFκB1 probe blocks DNA binding, whereas the SOX10 ligand increases SOX10-SOX10 interactions and disrupts melanoma transcriptional signaling. Our findings reveal heterogeneity in cysteine ligandability across cancers, pinpoint cell-intrinsic features driving cysteine targeting, and illustrate the use of covalent probes to disrupt oncogenic transcription factor activity.
  15. Aging Cell. 2023 Nov 13. e14009
      During aging, muscle gradually undergoes sarcopenia, the loss of function associated with loss of mass, strength, endurance, and oxidative capacity. However, the 3D structural alterations of mitochondria associated with aging in skeletal muscle and cardiac tissues are not well described. Although mitochondrial aging is associated with decreased mitochondrial capacity, the genes responsible for the morphological changes in mitochondria during aging are poorly characterized. We measured changes in mitochondrial morphology in aged murine gastrocnemius, soleus, and cardiac tissues using serial block-face scanning electron microscopy and 3D reconstructions. We also used reverse transcriptase-quantitative PCR, transmission electron microscopy quantification, Seahorse analysis, and metabolomics and lipidomics to measure changes in mitochondrial morphology and function after loss of mitochondria contact site and cristae organizing system (MICOS) complex genes, Chchd3, Chchd6, and Mitofilin. We identified significant changes in mitochondrial size in aged murine gastrocnemius, soleus, and cardiac tissues. We found that both age-related loss of the MICOS complex and knockouts of MICOS genes in mice altered mitochondrial morphology. Given the critical role of mitochondria in maintaining cellular metabolism, we characterized the metabolomes and lipidomes of young and aged mouse tissues, which showed profound alterations consistent with changes in membrane integrity, supporting our observations of age-related changes in muscle tissues. We found a relationship between changes in the MICOS complex and aging. Thus, it is important to understand the mechanisms that underlie the tissue-dependent 3D mitochondrial phenotypic changes that occur in aging and the evolutionary conservation of these mechanisms between Drosophila and mammals.
    Keywords:   Drosophila ; 3D morphometry; MICOS; aging; mitochondria; mitochondrial disease; mitochondrion; reconstruction; reticulum; serial block-face SEM; skeletal muscle
  16. Cancer Res Commun. 2023 Nov 09.
      The BCL2 inhibitor venetoclax promotes apoptosis in blood cancer cells and is approved for treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia and acute myeloid leukemia. However, multiple myeloma (MM) cells are frequently more dependent on MCL-1 for survival, conferring resistance to venetoclax. Here we report that mevalonate pathway inhibition with statins can overcome resistance to venetoclax in MM cell lines and primary cells. Additionally, statins sensitize to apoptosis induced by MCL1 inhibitor, S63845. In retrospective analysis of venetoclax clinical studies in MM, background statin use was associated with a significantly enhanced rate of stringent complete response and absence of progressive disease. Statins sensitize MM cells to venetoclax by upregulating two pro-apoptotic proteins: PUMA via a p53-independent mechanism, and NOXA via the integrated stress response. These findings provide rationale for prospective testing of statins with venetoclax regimens in MM.
  17. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2023 Nov 16. 80(12): 361
      Mitochondrial translation occurs on the mitochondrial ribosome, also known as the mitoribosome. The assembly of mitoribosomes is a highly coordinated process. During mitoribosome biogenesis, various assembly factors transiently associate with the nascent ribosome, facilitating the accurate and efficient construction of the mitoribosome. However, the specific factors involved in the assembly process, the precise mechanisms, and the cellular compartments involved in this vital process are not yet fully understood. In this study, we discovered a crucial role for GTP-binding protein 8 (GTPBP8) in the assembly of the mitoribosomal large subunit (mt-LSU) and mitochondrial translation. GTPBP8 is identified as a novel GTPase located in the matrix and peripherally bound to the inner mitochondrial membrane. Importantly, GTPBP8 is specifically associated with the mt-LSU during its assembly. Depletion of GTPBP8 leads to an abnormal accumulation of mt-LSU, indicating that GTPBP8 is critical for proper mt-LSU assembly. Furthermore, the absence of GTPBP8 results in reduced levels of fully assembled 55S monosomes. This impaired assembly leads to compromised mitochondrial translation and, consequently, impaired mitochondrial function. The identification of GTPBP8 as an important player in these processes provides new insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying mitochondrial protein synthesis and its regulation.
    Keywords:  GTP binding protein; Mitochondria; Mitochondrial translation; Mitoribosomal protein; Mitoribosome; Mitoribosome assembly; Mitoribosome large subunit
  18. Acta Pharm Sin B. 2023 Nov;13(11): 4477-4501
      Pancreatic cancer is a more aggressive and refractory malignancy. Resistance and toxicity limit drug efficacy. Herein, we report a lower toxic and higher effective miriplatin (MPt)-loaded liposome, LMPt, exhibiting totally different anti-cancer mechanism from previously reported platinum agents. Both in gemcitabine (GEM)-resistant/sensitive (GEM-R/S) pancreatic cancer cells, LMPt exhibits prominent anti-cancer activity, led by faster cellular entry-induced larger accumulation of MPt. The level of caveolin-1 (Cav-1) determines entry rate and switch of entry pathways of LMPt, indicating a novel role of Cav-1 in nanoparticle entry. After endosome-lysosome processing, in unchanged metabolite, MPt is released and targets mitochondria to enhance binding of mitochondria protease LONP1 with POLG and TFAM, to degrade POLG and TFAM. Then, via PINK1-Parkin axis, mitophagy is induced by POLG and TFAM degradation-initiated mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) replication blocking. Additionally, POLG and TFAM are identified as novel prognostic markers of pancreatic cancer, and mtDNA replication-induced mitophagy blocking mediates their pro-cancer activity. Our findings reveal that the target of this liposomal platinum agent is mitochondria but not DNA (target of most platinum agents), and totally distinct mechanism of MPt and other formulations of MPt. Self-assembly offers LMPt special efficacy and mechanisms. Prominent action and characteristic mechanism make LMPt a promising cancer candidate.
    Keywords:  Caveolae-mediated endocytosis; Caveolin-1; Miriplatin-loaded liposome; Mitochondria DNA; Mitophagy; POLG; Pancreatic cancer; TFAM
  19. Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2023 Nov 15. pii: S1084-9521(23)00229-X. [Epub ahead of print]156 1-10
      The emergence of therapeutic resistance remains a formidable barrier to durable responses by cancer patients and is a major cause of cancer-related deaths. It is increasingly recognized that non-genetic mechanisms of acquired resistance are important in many cancers. These mechanisms of resistance rely on inherent cellular plasticity where cancer cells can switch between multiple phenotypic states without genetic alterations, providing a dynamic, reversible resistance landscape. Such mechanisms underlie the generation of drug-tolerant persister (DTP) cells, a subpopulation of tumour cells that contributes to heterogeneity within tumours and that supports therapeutic resistance. In this review, we provide an overview of the major features of DTP cells, focusing on phenotypic and metabolic plasticity as two key drivers of tolerance and persistence. We discuss the link between DTP cell plasticity and the potential vulnerability of these cells to ferroptosis. We also discuss the relationship between DTP cells and cells that survive the induction of apoptosis, a process termed anastasis, and discuss the properties of such cells in the context of increased metastatic potential and sensitivity to cell death mechanisms such as ferroptosis.
    Keywords:  Anastasis; Drug tolerant persister cell; Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition; Ferroptosis; Plasticity; Therapy resistance
  20. Cell Rep Med. 2023 Nov 02. pii: S2666-3791(23)00480-9. [Epub ahead of print] 101286
      Internal tandem duplication mutations of the FMS-like tyrosine kinase-3 (FLT3-ITDs) occur in 25%-30% of patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and are associated with dismal prognosis. Although FLT3 inhibitors have demonstrated initial clinical efficacy, the overall outcome of patients with FLT3-ITD AML remains poor, highlighting the urgency to develop more effective treatment strategies. In this study, we reveal that FLT3 inhibitors reduced protein stability of the anti-cancer protein p53, resulting in drug resistance. Blocking p53 degradation with proteasome inhibitors restores intracellular p53 protein levels and, in combination with FLT3-ITD inhibitors, shows superior therapeutic effects against FLT3-ITD AML in cells, mouse models, and patients. These data suggest that this combinatorial therapeutic approach may represent a promising strategy to target FLT3-ITD AML.
    Keywords:  FLT3 inhibitor; FLT3-ITD; MYC; USP10; acute myeloid leukemia; p53; proteasome inhibitor; ubiquitination
  21. Sci Rep. 2023 11 11. 13(1): 19664
      The ketogenic diet is an emerging therapeutic approach for refractory epilepsy, as well as certain rare and neurodegenerative disorders. The main ketone body, β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), is the primary energy substrate endogenously produced in a ketogenic diet, however, mechanisms of its therapeutic actions remain unknown. Here, we studied the effects of BHB on mitochondrial energetics, both in non-stimulated conditions and during glutamate-mediated hyperexcitation. We found that glutamate-induced hyperexcitation stimulated mitochondrial respiration in cultured cortical neurons, and that this response was greater in cultures supplemented with BHB than with glucose. BHB enabled a stronger and more sustained maximal uncoupled respiration, indicating that BHB enables neurons to respond more efficiently to increased energy demands such as induced during hyperexcitation. We found that cytosolic Ca2+ was required for BHB-mediated enhancement of mitochondrial function, and that this enhancement was independent of the mitochondrial glutamate-aspartate carrier, Aralar/AGC1. Our results suggest that BHB exerts its protective effects against hyperexcitation by enhancing mitochondrial function through a Ca2+-dependent, but Aralar/AGC1-independent stimulation of mitochondrial respiration.
  22. bioRxiv. 2023 Oct 23. pii: 2023.10.21.563437. [Epub ahead of print]
      Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is an aggressive hematologic malignancy requiring urgent treatment advancements. Ceramide is a cell death-promoting signaling lipid that plays a central role in therapy-induced cell death. Acid ceramidase (AC), a ceramide-depleting enzyme, is overexpressed in AML and promotes leukemic survival and drug resistance. The ceramidase inhibitor B-13 and next-generation lysosomal-localizing derivatives termed dimethylglycine (DMG)-B-13 prodrugs have been developed but remain untested in AML. Here, we report the in vitro anti-leukemic efficacy and mechanism of DMG-B-13 prodrug, LCL-805, across AML cell lines and primary patient samples. LCL-805 inhibited AC enzymatic activity, increased total ceramides, and reduced sphingosine levels. A median EC50 value of 11.7 μM was achieved for LCL-805 in cell viability assays across 32 human AML cell lines. As a single agent tested across a panel of 71 primary AML patient samples, a median EC50 value of 15.8 μM was achieved. Exogenous ceramide supplementation with C6-ceramide nanoliposomes, which is entering phase I/II clinical trial for relapsed/refractory AML, significantly enhanced LCL-805 killing. Mechanistically, LCL-805 antagonized Akt signaling and led to iron-dependent cell death distinct from canonical ferroptosis. These findings elucidated key factors involved in LCL-805 cytotoxicity and demonstrated the potency of combining AC inhibition with exogenous ceramide.