bims-stacyt Biomed News
on Metabolism and the paracrine crosstalk between cancer and the organism
Issue of 2024‒07‒07
eleven papers selected by
Cristina Muñoz Pinedo, L’Institut d’Investigació Biomèdica de Bellvitge

  1. bioRxiv. 2024 Jun 17. pii: 2024.06.14.598891. [Epub ahead of print]
      Cachexia is a wasting syndrome comprised of adipose, muscle, and weight loss observed in cancer patients. Tumor loss-of-function mutations in STK11/LKB1 , a regulator of the energy sensor AMP-activated protein kinase, induce cancer cachexia (CC) in preclinical models and are associated with cancer-related weight loss in NSCLC patients. Here we characterized the relevance of the NSCLC-associated cachexia factor growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF15) in several patient-derived and genetically engineered STK11/LKB1 -mutant NSCLC cachexia lines. Both tumor mRNA expression and serum concentrations of tumor-derived GDF15 were significantly elevated in multiple mice transplanted with patient-derived STK11/LKB1 -mutated NSCLC lines. GDF15 neutralizing antibody administered to mice transplanted with patient- or mouse-derived STK11/LKB1 -mutated NSCLC lines suppressed cachexia-associated adipose loss, muscle atrophy, and changes in body weight. The silencing of GDF15 in multiple human NSCLC lines was also sufficient to eliminate in vivo circulating GDF15 levels and abrogate cachexia induction, suggesting that tumor and not host tissues represent a key source of GDF15 production in these cancer models. Finally, reconstitution of wild-type STK11/LKB1 in a human STK11/LKB1 loss-of-function NSCLC line that normally induces cachexia in vivo correlated with the absence of tumor-secreted GDF15 and rescue from the cachexia phenotype. The current data provide evidence for tumor-secreted GDF15 as a conduit and a therapeutic target through which NSCLCs with STK11/LKB1 loss-of-function mutations promote cachexia-associated wasting.
  2. FEBS Open Bio. 2024 Jul 01.
      Glucose is essential for energy metabolism, and its usage can determine other cellular functions, depending on the cell type. In some pathological conditions, cells are exposed to high concentrations of glucose for extended periods. In this study, we investigated metabolic, oxidative stress, and cellular senescence pathways in human bronchial epithelial cells (HBECs) cultured in media with physiologically low (5 mm) and high (12.5 mm) glucose concentrations. HBECs exposed to 12.5 mm glucose showed increased glucose routing toward the pentose phosphate pathway, lactate synthesis, and glycogen, but not triglyceride synthesis. These metabolic shifts were not associated with changes in cell proliferation rates, oxidative stress, or cellular senescence pathways. Since hyperglycemia is associated with fibrosis in the lung, we asked whether HBECS could activate fibroblasts. Primary human lung fibroblasts cultured in media conditioned by 12.5 mm glucose-exposed HBECs showed a 1.3-fold increase in the gene expression of COL1A1 and COL1A2, along with twofold increased protein levels of smooth muscle cell actin and 2.4-fold of COL1A1. Consistently, HBECs cultured with 12.5 mm glucose secreted proteins associated with inflammation and fibrosis, such as interleukins IL-1β, IL-10, and IL-13, CC chemokine ligands CCL2 and CCL24, and with extracellular matrix remodeling, such as metalloproteinases (MMP)-1, MMP-3, MMP-9, and MMP-13 and tissue inhibitors of MMPs (TIMP)-1 and -2. This study shows that HBECs undergo metabolic reprogramming and increase the secretion of profibrotic mediators following exposure to high concentrations of glucose, and it contributes to the understanding of the metabolic crosstalk of neighboring cells in diabetes-associated pulmonary fibrosis.
    Keywords:  epithelial cells; fibroblast activation; glucose; metabolic reprogramming
  3. Res Sq. 2024 Jun 11. pii: [Epub ahead of print]
      Stromal cells within the tumor tissue promote immune evasion as a critical strategy for cancer development and progression, but the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. In this study, we explore the role of endothelial cells (ECs) in the regulation of the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment. Using mouse pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) models, we found that canonical Notch signaling in endothelial cells suppresses the recruitment of antitumor T cells and promotes tumor progression by inhibiting the pro-inflammatory functions of cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs). Abrogation of endothelial Notch signaling modulates EC-derived angiocrine factors to enhance the pro-inflammatory activities of CAFs, which drive CXCL9/10-CXCR3-mediated T cell recruitment to inhibit tumor growth. Additionally, abrogation of endothelial Notch unleashed interferon gamma responses in the tumor microenvironment, upregulated PDL1 expression on tumor cells, and sensitized PDAC to PD1-based immunotherapy. Collectively, these data uncover a pivotal role of endothelial cells in shaping the immunosuppressive microenvironment, and suggest the potential of targeting EC-CAF interaction as a novel therapeutic modality to boost antitumor immunity.
  4. Autophagy. 2024 Jul 02.
      Co-occurring mutations in KEAP1 in STK11/LKB1-mutant NSCLC activate NFE2L2/NRF2 to compensate for the loss of STK11-AMPK activity during metabolic adaptation. Characterizing the regulatory crosstalk between the STK11-AMPK and KEAP1-NFE2L2 pathways during metabolic stress is crucial for understanding the implications of co-occurring mutations. Here, we found that metabolic stress increased the expression and phosphorylation of SQSTM1/p62, which is essential for the activation of NFE2L2 and AMPK, synergizing antioxidant defense and tumor growth. The SQSTM1-driven dual activation of NFE2L2 and AMPK was achieved by inducing macroautophagic/autophagic degradation of KEAP1 and facilitating the AXIN-STK11-AMPK complex formation on the lysosomal membrane, respectively. In contrast, the STK11-AMPK activity was also required for metabolic stress-induced expression and phosphorylation of SQSTM1, suggesting a double-positive feedback loop between AMPK and SQSTM1. Mechanistically, SQSTM1 expression was increased by the PPP2/PP2A-dependent dephosphorylation of TFEB and TFE3, which was induced by the lysosomal deacidification caused by low glucose metabolism and AMPK-dependent proton reduction. Furthermore, SQSTM1 phosphorylation was increased by MAP3K7/TAK1, which was activated by ROS and pH-dependent secretion of lysosomal Ca2+. Importantly, phosphorylation of SQSTM1 at S24 and S226 was critical for the activation of AMPK and NFE2L2. Notably, the effects caused by metabolic stress were abrogated by the protons provided by lactic acid. Collectively, our data reveal a novel double-positive feedback loop between AMPK and SQSTM1 leading to the dual activation of AMPK and NFE2L2, potentially explaining why co-occurring mutations in STK11 and KEAP1 happen and providing promising therapeutic strategies for lung cancer.
    Keywords:  AXIN; KEAP1; STK11/LKB1; lysosomal stress; metabolic stress; oxidative stress
  5. J Immunother Cancer. 2024 Jul 04. pii: e008434. [Epub ahead of print]12(7):
      BACKGROUND: T cells play a central role in the antitumor response. However, they often face numerous hurdles in the tumor microenvironment, including the scarcity of available essential metabolites such as glucose and amino acids. Moreover, cancer cells can monopolize these resources to thrive and proliferate by upregulating metabolite transporters and maintaining a high metabolic rate, thereby outcompeting T cells.METHODS: Herein, we sought to improve T-cell antitumor function in the tumor vicinity by enhancing their glycolytic capacity to better compete with tumor cells. To achieve this, we engineered human T cells to express a key glycolysis enzyme, phosphofructokinase, in conjunction with Glucose transporter 3, a glucose transporter. We co-expressed these, along with tumor-specific chimeric antigen or T-cell receptors.
    RESULTS: Engineered cells demonstrated an increased cytokine secretion and upregulation of T-cell activation markers compared with control cells. Moreover, they displayed superior glycolytic capacity, which translated into an improved in vivo therapeutic potential in a xenograft model of human tumors.
    CONCLUSION: In summary, these findings support the implementation of T-cell metabolic engineering to enhance the efficacy of cellular immunotherapies for cancer.
    Keywords:  Immunotherapy; Receptors, Antigen; T-Lymphocytes
  6. Cancer Lett. 2024 Jul 03. pii: S0304-3835(24)00496-8. [Epub ahead of print] 217101
      The tumor microenvironment (TME) consists of tumor cells, non-tumor cells, extracellular matrix, and signaling molecules, which can contribute to tumor initiation, progression, and therapy resistance. In response to starvation, hypoxia, and drug treatments, tumor cells undergo a variety of deleterious endogenous stresses, such as hypoxia, DNA damage, and oxidative stress. In this context, to survive the difficult situation, tumor cells evolve multiple conserved adaptive responses, including metabolic reprogramming, DNA damage checkpoints, homologous recombination, up-regulated antioxidant pathways, and activated unfolded protein responses. In the last decades, the protein O-GlcNAcylation has emerged as a crucial causative link between glucose metabolism and tumor progression. Here, we discuss the relevant pathways that regulate the above responses. These pathways are adaptive adjustments induced by endogenous stresses in cells. In addition, we systematically discuss the role of O-GlcNAcylation-regulated stress-induced adaptive response pathways (SARPs) in TME remodeling, tumor progression, and treatment resistance. We also emphasize targeting O-GlcNAcylation through compounds that modulate OGT or OGA activity to inhibit tumor progression. It seems that targeting O-GlcNAcylated proteins to intervene in TME may be a novel approach to improve tumor prognosis.
    Keywords:  DNA replication and damage stress; Endoplasmic reticulum stress; Hypoxia; Immune activation; Metabolic stress; O-GlcNAcylation; Oxidative stress; Stress-induced adaptive response-related pathway (SARPs); Tumor microenvironment
  7. iScience. 2024 Jun 21. 27(6): 110121
      Aerobic exercise training (AET) has emerged as a strategy to reduce cancer mortality, however, the mechanisms explaining AET on tumor development remain unclear. Tumors escape immune detection by generating immunosuppressive microenvironments and impaired T cell function, which is associated with T cell mitochondrial loss. AET improves mitochondrial content and function, thus we tested whether AET would modulate mitochondrial metabolism in tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL). Balb/c mice were subjected to a treadmill AET protocol prior to CT26 colon carcinoma cells injection and until tumor harvest. Tissue hypoxia, TIL infiltration and effector function, and mitochondrial content, morphology and function were evaluated. AET reduced tumor growth, improved survival, and decreased tumor hypoxia. An increased CD8+ TIL infiltration, IFN-γ and ATP production promoted by AET was correlated with reduced mitochondrial loss in these cells. Collectively, AET decreases tumor growth partially by increasing CD8+ TIL effector function through an improvement in their mitochondrial content and function.
    Keywords:  Biochemistry; Biological sciences; Cancer systems biology; Immunology; Natural sciences; Physiology; Systems biology
  8. Cell Signal. 2024 Jun 28. pii: S0898-6568(24)00249-3. [Epub ahead of print] 111281
      Adenosine 5'-triphosphate (ATP) is a vital element in energy information. It plays a critical role in transmitting signals inside the body, which is necessary for controlling the life activities of all cells, including tumor cells [1]. Its significance extends from intracellular signaling pathways to tumor regression. Purinergic signaling, a form of extracellular paracrine signaling, relies on purine nucleotides. Extracellular ectonucleotidases convert these purine nucleotides to their respective di and mono-phosphate nucleoside forms, contributing significantly to immune biology, cancer biology, and inflammation studies. ATP functions as a mighty damage-linked molecular pattern when released outside the cell, accumulating in inflammatory areas. In the tumor microenvironment (TME), purinergic receptors such as ATP-gated ion channels P2X1-5 and G protein-coupled receptors (GPCR) (P2Y) interact with ATP and other nucleotides, influencing diverse immune cell activities. CD39 and CD73-mediated extracellular ATP degradation contributes to immunosuppression by diminishing ATP-dependent activation and generating adenosine (ADO), potentially hindering antitumor immunity and promoting tumor development. Unraveling the complexities of extracellular ATP (e-ATP) and ADO effects on the TME poses challenges in identifying optimal treatment targets, yet ongoing investigations aim to devise strategies combating e-ATP/ADO-induced immunosuppression, ultimately enhancing anti-tumor immunity. This review explores e-ATP metabolism, its purinergic signaling, and therapeutic strategies targeting associated receptors and enzymes.
    Keywords:  Extracellular ATP (e-ATP); Immunosuppression; Purinergic receptors; Purinergic signaling; Therapeutic potential; Tumor microenvironment (TME)
  9. EBioMedicine. 2024 Jun 28. pii: S2352-3964(24)00252-4. [Epub ahead of print]105 105217
      BACKGROUND: γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), known as the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain, exerts immunomodulatory functions by interaction with immune cells, including T cells. Metabolic programs of T cells are closely linked to their effector functions including proliferation, differentiation, and cytokine production. The physiological molecules glucose and insulin may provide environmental cues and guidance, but whether they coordinate to regulate GABA-mediated T cell immunomodulation is still being examined.METHODS: CD4+ T cells that were isolated from blood samples from healthy individuals and from patients with type 1 diabetes (T1D) were activated in vitro. We carried out metabolic assays, multiple proximity extension assay (PEA), ELISA, qPCR, immunoblotting, immunofluorescence staining, flow cytometry analysis, MS-based proteomics, as well as electrophysiology and live-cell Ca2+ imaging.
    FINDINGS: We demonstrate that GABA-mediated reduction of metabolic activity and the release of inflammatory proteins, including IFNγ and IL-10, were abolished in human CD4+ T cells from healthy individuals and patients with T1D when the glucose concentration was elevated above levels typically observed in healthy people. Insulin increased GABAA receptor-subunit ρ2 expression, enhanced the GABAA receptors-mediated currents and Ca2+ influx. GABA decreased, whereas insulin sustained, hexokinase activity and glycolysis in a glucose concentration-dependent manner.
    INTERPRETATION: These findings support that metabolic factors, such as glucose and insulin, influence the GABA-mediated immunomodulation of human primary T cells effector functions.
    FUNDING: The Swedish Children's Diabetes Foundation, The Swedish Diabetes Foundation, The Swedish Research Council 2018-02952, EXODIAB, The Ernfors Foundation, The Thurings Foundation and the Science for Life Laboratory.
    Keywords:  Calcium signaling; Cytokine; Diabetes; GABA(A) receptors; Glycolysis; Immunometabolism
  10. Cancer Discov. 2024 Jul 03.
      Pancreatic cancer is characterized by an extensive fibroinflammatory microenvironment. During carcinogenesis, normal stromal cells are converted to cytokine-high cancer associated fibroblasts (CAFs). The mechanisms underlying this conversion, including regulation and function of fibroblast-derived cytokines, are poorly understood. Thus, efforts to target CAFs therapeutically have so far failed. Here, we show that signals from epithelial cells expressing oncogenic KRAS -a hallmark pancreatic cancer mutation- activate fibroblast autocrine signaling, which drives expression of the cytokine interleukin-33 (IL-33). Stromal IL-33 expression remains high and dependent on epithelial KRAS throughout carcinogenesis; in turn, environmental stress induces IL-33 secretion. Using compartment-specific IL-33 knockout mice, we observed that lack of stromal IL-33 leads to profound reprogramming of multiple components of the pancreatic tumor microenvironment, including CAFs, myeloid cells and lymphocytes. Notably, loss of stromal IL-33 leads to an increase in CD8+ T cell infiltration and activation, and, ultimately, reduced tumor growth.
  11. Acta Biochim Biophys Sin (Shanghai). 2024 Jul 01.
      Glycosylation is the most structurally diverse form of post-translational modification (PTM) of proteins that affects a myriad of cellular processes. As a pivotal regulator of protein homeostasis, glycosylation notably impacts the function of proteins, spanning from protein localization and stability to protein-protein interactions. Aberrant glycosylation is a hallmark of cancer, and extensive studies have revealed the multifaceted roles of glycosylation in tumor growth, migration, invasion and immune escape Over the past decade, glycosylation has emerged as an immune regulator in the tumor microenvironment (TME). Here, we summarize the intricate interplay between glycosylation and the immune system documented in recent literature, which orchestrates the regulation of the tumor immune response through endogenous lectins, immune checkpoints and the extracellular matrix (ECM) in the TME. In addition, we discuss the latest progress in glycan-based cancer immunotherapy. This review provides a basic understanding of glycosylation in the tumor immune response and a theoretical framework for tumor immunotherapy.
    Keywords:  endogenous lectins; extracellular matrix; glycosylation; immune checkpoint; immune response; immunotherapy