bims-toxgon Biomed News
on Toxoplasma gondii metabolism
Issue of 2022‒12‒18
27 papers selected by
Lakesh Kumar
BITS Pilani

  1. Biotechniques. 2022 Dec 15.
      Toxoplasma gondii is considered the most successful parasite by some, and yet, it is likely that you haven't even heard of it.
  2. Microbiol Spectr. 2022 Dec 14. e0307822
      The analysis of the subcellular localization and function of dense granule proteins (GRAs) is of central importance for the understanding of host-parasite interaction and pathogenesis of Toxoplasma gondii infection. Here, we identified 15 novel GRAs and used C-terminal endogenous gene tagging to determine their localization at the intravacuolar network (IVN), parasitophorous vacuole (PV), or PV membrane (PVM) in the tachyzoites and at the periphery of the bradyzoites-containing cysts. The functions of the 15 gra genes were examined in type I RH strain and 5 of these gra genes were also evaluated in the cyst-forming type II Pru strain. The 15 novel gra genes were successfully disrupted by using CRISPR-Cas9 mediated homologous recombination and the results showed that 13 gra genes were not individually essential for T. gondii replication in vitro or virulence in mice during acute and chronic infection. Intriguingly, deletion of TGME49_266410 and TGME49_315910 in both RH and Pru strains decreased the parasite replication in vitro and attenuated its virulence, and also reduced the cyst-forming ability of the Pru strain in mice during chronic infection. Comparison of the transcriptomic profiles of the 15 gra genes suggests that they may play roles in other life cycle stages and genotypes of T. gondii. Taken together, our findings improve the understanding of T. gondii pathogenesis and demonstrate the involvement of two novel GRAs, TGME49_266410 and TGME49_315910, in the parasite replication and virulence. IMPORTANCE Dense granule proteins (GRAs) play important roles in Toxoplasma gondii pathogenicity. However, the functions of many putative GRAs have not been elucidated. Here, we found that 15 novel GRAs are secreted into intravacuolar network (IVN), parasitophorous vacuole (PV), or PV membrane (PVM) in tachyzoites and are located at the periphery of the bradyzoite-containing cysts. TGME49_266410 and TGME49_315910 were crucial to the growth of RH and Pru strains in vitro. Deletion of TGME49_266410 and TGME49_315910 attenuated the parasite virulence in mice. However, disruption of other 13 gra genes did not have a significant impact on the proliferation and pathogenicity of T. gondii in vitro or in vivo. The marked effects of the two novel GRAs (TGME49_266410 and TGME49_315910) on the in vitro growth and virulence of T. gondii are notable and warrant further elucidation of the temporal and spatial dynamics of translocation of these two novel GRAs and how do they interfere with host cell functions.
    Keywords:  Toxoplasma gondii; cysts; dense granule proteins; subcellular localization; virulence
  3. Sci Signal. 2022 12 13. 15(764): eadg1743
      Toxoplasma gondii infection confers a migratory phenotype upon macrophages.
  4. Elife. 2022 Dec 15. pii: e85171. [Epub ahead of print]11
      Toxoplasma gondii is a protozoan parasite that infects 30-40% of the world's population. Infections are typically subclinical but can be severe and, in some cases, life threatening. Central to the virulence of T. gondii is an unusual form of substrate-dependent motility that enables the parasite to invade cells of its host and to disseminate throughout the body. A hetero-oligomeric complex of proteins that functions in motility has been characterized, but how these proteins work together to drive forward motion of the parasite remains controversial. A key piece of information needed to understand the underlying mechanism(s) is the directionality of the forces that a moving parasite exerts on the external environment. The linear motor model of motility, which has dominated the field for the past two decades, predicts continuous anterior-to-posterior force generation along the length of the parasite. We show here using three-dimensional traction force mapping that the predominant forces exerted by a moving parasite are instead periodic and directed in towards the parasite at a fixed circular location within the extracellular matrix. These highly localized forces, which are generated by the parasite pulling on the matrix, create a visible constriction in the parasite's plasma membrane. We propose that the ring of inward-directed force corresponds to a circumferential attachment zone between the parasite and the matrix, through which the parasite propels itself to move forward. The combined data suggest a closer connection between the mechanisms underlying parasite motility and host cell invasion than previously recognized. In parasites lacking the major surface adhesin, TgMIC2, neither the inward-directed forces nor the constriction of the parasite membrane are observed. The trajectories of the TgMIC2-deficient parasites are less straight than those of wild-type parasites, suggesting that the annular zone of TgMIC2-mediated attachment to the extracellular matrix normally constrains the directional options available to the parasite as it migrates through its surrounding environment.
    Keywords:  cell biology; infectious disease; microbiology
  5. Mol Metab. 2022 Dec 10. pii: S2212-8778(22)00222-8. [Epub ahead of print] 101653
      BACKGROUND: Key cellular metabolites reflecting the immediate activity of metabolic enzymes as well as the functional metabolic state of intracellular organelles can act as powerful signal regulators to ensure the activation of homeostatic responses. The citrate/acetyl-CoA pathway, initially recognized for its role in intermediate metabolism, has emerged as a fundamental branch of this nutrient-sensing homeostatic response. Emerging studies indicate that fluctuations in acetyl-CoA availability within different cellular organelles and compartments provides substrate-level regulation of many biological functions. A fundamental aspect of these regulatory functions involves Nε-lysine acetylation.SCOPE OF REVIEW: Here, we will examine the emerging regulatory functions of the citrate/acetyl-CoA pathway and the specific role of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) acetylation machinery in the maintenance of intracellular crosstalk and homeostasis. These functions will be analyzed in the context of associated human diseases and specific mouse models of dysfunctional ER acetylation and citrate/acetyl-CoA flux. A primary objective of this review is to highlight the complex yet integrated response of compartment- and organelle-specific Nε-lysine acetylation to the intracellular availability and flux of acetyl-CoA, linking this important post-translational modification to cellular metabolism.
    MAJOR CONCLUSIONS: The ER acetylation machinery regulates the proteostatic functions of the organelle as well as metabolic crosstalk between different intracellular organelles and compartments. This crosstalk enables the cell to impart adaptive responses within the ER and the secretory pathway. However, it also enables the ER to impart adaptive responses within different cellular organelles and compartments. Defects in the homeostatic balance of acetyl-CoA flux and ER acetylation reflect different but converging disease states in humans as well as converging phenotypes in relevant mouse models. In conclusion, citrate and acetyl-CoA should not only be seen as metabolic substrates of intermediate metabolism but also as signaling molecules that direct functional adaptation of the cell to both intracellular and extracellular messages. Future discoveries in CoA biology and acetylation are likely to yield novel therapeutic approaches.
    Keywords:  Acetyl-CoA; Acetylation; Citrate; CoA; Endoplasmic Reticulum
  6. Parasit Vectors. 2022 Dec 13. 15(1): 464
      BACKGROUND: Toxoplasma gondii infection during pregnancy can lead to fetal defect(s) or congenital complications. The inhibitory molecule B7-H4 expressed on decidual macrophages (dMφ) plays an important role in maternal-fetal tolerance. However, the effect of B7-H4 on the function of dMφ during T. gondii infection remains unclear.METHODS: Changes in B7-H4 expression on dMφ after T. gondii infection were explored both in vivo and in vitro. B7-H4-/- pregnant mice (pregnant mice with B7-H4 gene knockout) and purified primary human dMφ treated with B7-H4 neutralizing antibody were used to explore the role of B7-H4 signaling on regulating the membrane molecules, synthesis of arginine metabolic enzymes and cytokine production by dMφ with T. gondii infection. Also, adoptive transfer of dMφ from wild-type (WT) pregnant mice or B7-H4-/- pregnant mice to infected B7-H4-/- pregnant mice was used to examine the effect of B7-H4 on adverse pregnancy outcomes induced by T. gondii infection.
    RESULTS: The results illustrated that B7-H4-/- pregnant mice infected by T. gondii had poorer pregnancy outcomes than their wild-type counterparts. The expression of B7-H4 on dMφ significantly decreased after T. gondii infection, which resulted in the polarization of dMφ from the M2 toward the M1 phenotype by changing the expression of membrane molecules (CD80, CD86, CD163, CD206), synthesis of arginine metabolic enzymes (Arg-1, iNOS) and production of cytokines (IL-10, TNF-α) production. Also, we found that the B7-H4 downregulation after T. gondii infection increased iNOS and TNF-α expression mediated through the JAK2/STAT1 signaling pathway. In addition, adoptive transfer of dMφ from a WT pregnant mouse donor rather than from a B7-H4-/- pregnant mouse donor was able to improve adverse pregnancy outcomes induced by T. gondii infection.
    CONCLUSIONS: The results demonstrated that the downregulation of B7-H4 induced by T. gondii infection led to the dysfunction of decidual macrophages and contributed to abnormal pregnancy outcomes. Moreover, adoptive transfer of B7-H4+ dMφ could improve adverse pregnancy outcomes induced by T. gondii infection.
    Keywords:  Abnormal pregnancy; Adoptive transfer; B7-H4; Decidual macrophage; Toxoplasma gondii
  7. Front Physiol. 2022 ;13 1015500
      Adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a significant energy sensor in the maintenance of cellular energy homeostasis. Autophagy is a highly conserved catabolic process that involves an intracellular degradation system in which cytoplasmic components, such as protein aggregates, organelles, and other macromolecules, are directed to the lysosome through the self-degradative process to maintain cellular homeostasis. Given the triggered autophagy process in various situations including the nutrient deficit, AMPK is potentially linked with different stages of autophagy. Above all, AMPK increases ULK1 activity by directly phosphorylating Ser467, Ser555, Thr574, and Ser637 at least four sites, which increases the recruitment of autophagy-relevant proteins (ATG proteins) to the membrane domains which affects autophagy at the initiation stage. Secondly, AMPK inhibits VPS34 complexes that do not contain pro-autophagic factors and are thus involved in isolation membrane forming processes, by direct phosphorylation of VPS34 on Thr163 and Ser165. After phosphorylation, AMPK can govern autophagosome formation through recruiting downstream autophagy-related proteins to the autophagosome formation site. Finally, the AMPK-SIRT1 signaling pathway can be activated by upregulating the transcription of autophagy-related genes, thereby enhancing autophagosome-lysosome fusion. This review provides an introduction to the role of AMPK in different stages of autophagy.
    Keywords:  AMPK; autophagosome autophagosome; autophagy autophagy; lysosome; mTOR
  8. Parasit Vectors. 2022 Dec 12. 15(1): 461
      BACKGROUND: Glutathione S-transferase (GST) in eukaryotic organisms has multiple functions such as detoxifying endogenous/exogenous harmful substances to protect cells from oxidative damage, participating in sterol synthesis and metabolism, and regulating signaling pathways. Our previous work identified an important GST protein in Toxoplasma that contributes to vesicle trafficking called TgGST2, the deletion of which significantly reduces the virulence of the parasite. Meanwhile, we considered that TgGST2 may also play a role in other pathways of parasite life activities.METHODS: The tertiary structures of TgGST2 as well as estradiol (E2) and progesterone (P4) were predicted by trRosetta and Autodock Vina software, the binding sites were analyzed by PyMol's GetBox Plugin, and the binding capacity was evaluated using Discovery Studio plots software. We examined the influence of E2 and P4 on TgGST2 via glutathione S-transferase enzyme activity and indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA) and through the localization observation of TgGST2 to evaluate its response ability in different drugs.
    RESULTS: TgGST2 could bind to exogenous E2 and P4, and that enzymatic activity was inhibited by the hormones in a concentration-dependent manner. Upon P4 treatment, the localization of TgGST2 changed from Golgi and vesicles to hollow circles, leading to abnormal localization of the molecular transporter Sortilin (VPS10) and microneme proteins (M2AP and MIC2), which ultimately affect the parasite life activities, but E2 had no significant effect. Moreover, diverse types of drugs had divergent effects on TgGST2, among which treatment with antifungal agents (voriconazole and clarithromycin), anticarcinogens (KU-60019, WYE-132 and SH5-07) and coccidiostats (dinitolmide and diclazuril) made the localization of TgGST2 appear in different forms, including dots, circles and rod shaped.
    CONCLUSIONS: Our study shows that TgGST2 plays a role in sterol treatment and can be affected by P4, which leads to deficient parasite motility. TgGST2 exerts divergent effects in response to the different properties of the drugs themselves. Its responsiveness to diverse drugs implies a viable target for the development of drugs directed against Toxoplasma and related pathogenic parasites.
    Keywords:  Drugs; Glutathione S-transferase; Progesterone; Toxoplasma gondii
  9. Cancers (Basel). 2022 Nov 29. pii: 5900. [Epub ahead of print]14(23):
      The commonly used therapeutic management of PC involves androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) followed by treatment with AR signaling inhibitors (ARSI). However, nearly all patients develop drug-resistant disease, with a median progression-free survival of less than 2 years in chemotherapy-naïve men. Acetyl-coenzyme A (acetyl-CoA) is a central metabolic signaling molecule with key roles in biosynthetic processes and cancer signaling. In signaling, acetyl-CoA serves as the acetyl donor for acetylation, a critical post-translational modification. Acetylation affects the androgen receptor (AR) both directly and indirectly increasing expression of AR dependent genes. Our studies reveal that PC cells respond to the treatment with ARSI by increasing expression of ATP-citrate lyase (ACLY), a major enzyme responsible for cytosolic acetyl-CoA synthesis, and up-regulation of acetyl-CoA intracellular levels. Inhibition of ACLY results in a significant suppression of ligand-dependent and -independent routes of AR activation. Accordingly, the addition of exogenous acetyl-CoA, or its precursor acetate, augments AR transcriptional activity and diminishes the anti-AR activity of ARSI. Taken together, our findings suggest that PC cells respond to antiandrogens by increasing activity of the acetyl-coA pathway in order to reinstate AR signaling.
    Keywords:  abiraterone; acetyl-coenzyme A; androgen receptor; enzalutamide; prostate cancer
  10. Nucleic Acids Res. 2022 Dec 12. pii: gkac1155. [Epub ahead of print]
      During starvation, organisms modify both gene expression and metabolism to adjust to the energy stress. We previously reported that Caenorhabditis elegans lacing AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) exhibit transgenerational reproductive defects associated with abnormally elevated trimethylated histone H3 at lysine 4 (H3K4me3) levels in the germ line following recovery from acute starvation. Here, we show that these H3K4me3 marks are significantly increased at promoters, driving aberrant transcription elongation resulting in the accumulation of R-loops in starved AMPK mutants. DNA-RNA immunoprecipitation followed by high-throughput sequencing (DRIP-seq) analysis demonstrated that a significant proportion of the genome was affected by R-loop formation. This was most pronounced in the promoter-transcription start site regions of genes, in which the chromatin was modified by H3K4me3. Like H3K4me3, the R-loops were also found to be heritable, likely contributing to the transgenerational reproductive defects typical of these mutants following starvation. Strikingly, AMPK mutant germ lines show considerably more RAD-51 (the RecA recombinase) foci at sites of R-loop formation, potentially sequestering them from their roles at meiotic breaks or at sites of induced DNA damage. Our study reveals a previously unforeseen role of AMPK in maintaining genome stability following starvation. The downstream effects of R-loops on DNA damage sensitivity and germline stem cell integrity may account for inappropriate epigenetic modification that occurs in numerous human disorders, including various cancers.
  11. Int J Parasitol Drugs Drug Resist. 2022 Dec 08. pii: S2211-3207(22)00032-X. [Epub ahead of print]21 1-12
      The sesquiterpene lactone artemisinin and its amino-artemisinin derivatives artemiside (GC008) and artemisone (GC003) are potent antimalarials. The mode of action of artemisinins against Plasmodium sp is popularly ascribed to 'activation' of the peroxide group by heme-Fe(II) or labile Fe(II) to generate C-radicals that alkylate parasite proteins. An alternative postulate is that artemisinins elicit formation of reactive oxygen species by interfering with flavin disulfide reductases resposible for maintaining intraparasitic redox homeostasis. However, in contradistinction to the heme-activation mechanism, the amino-artemisinins are effective in vitro against non-heme-degrading apicomplexan parasites including T. gondii, with IC 50 values of 50-70 nM, and induce distinct ultrastructural alterations. However, T. gondii strains readily adapted to increased concentrations (2.5 μM) of these two compounds within few days. Thus, T. gondii strains that were resistant against artemisone and artemiside were generated by treating the T. gondii reference strain ME49 with stepwise increasing amounts of these compounds, yielding the artemisone resistant strain GC003R and the artemiside resistant strain GC008R. Differential analyses of the proteomes of these resistant strains compared to the wildtype ME49 revealed that 215 proteins were significantly downregulated in artemisone resistant tachyzoites and only 8 proteins in artemiside resistant tachyzoites as compared to their wildtype. Two proteins, namely a hypothetical protein encoded by ORF TGME49_236950, and the rhoptry neck protein RON2 encoded by ORF TGME49_300100 were downregulated in both resistant strains. Interestingly, eight proteins involved in ROS scavenging including catalase and superoxide dismutase were amongst the differentially downregulated proteins in the artemisone-resistant strain. In parallel, ROS formation was significantly enhanced in isolated tachyzoites from the artemisone resistant strain and - to a lesser extent - in tachyzoites from the artemiside resistant strain as compared to wildtype tachyzoites. These findings suggest that amino-artemisinin derivatives display a mechanism of action in T. gondii distinct from Plasmodium.
    Keywords:  Apicomplexan parasites; Drug resistance; Mass spectrometry; Model organism; Reactive oxygen species; Untargeted proteomics
  12. Cell Rep. 2022 Dec 13. pii: S2211-1247(22)01697-7. [Epub ahead of print]41(11): 111809
      The gut microbiota influences acetylation on host histones by fermenting dietary fiber into butyrate. Although butyrate could promote histone acetylation by inhibiting histone deacetylases, it may also undergo oxidation to acetyl-coenzyme A (CoA), a necessary cofactor for histone acetyltransferases. Here, we find that epithelial cells from germ-free mice harbor a loss of histone H4 acetylation across the genome except at promoter regions. Using stable isotope tracing in vivo with 13C-labeled fiber, we demonstrate that the microbiota supplies carbon for histone acetylation. Subsequent metabolomic profiling revealed hundreds of labeled molecules and supported a microbial contribution to host fatty acid metabolism, which declined in response to colitis and correlated with reduced expression of genes involved in fatty acid oxidation. These results illuminate the flow of carbon from the diet to the host via the microbiota, disruptions to which may affect energy homeostasis in the distal gut and contribute to the development of colitis.
    Keywords:  CP: Microbiology; colitis; epigenetics; fatty acid metabolism; histone acetylation; host-microbiota interactions
  13. Expert Rev Vaccines. 2022 Dec 12.
      INTRODUCTION: Toxoplasma gondii (T.gondii) is a widespread protozoan with significant economic losses and public health importance. But so far, the protective effect of reported DNA-based vaccines fluctuates widely, and no study has demonstrated complete protection.AREAS COVERED: This review provides an inclusive summary of T. gondii DNA vaccine antigens, adjuvants, and some other parameters. A total of 140 articles from 2000 to 2021 were collected from five databases. By contrasting the outcomes of acute and chronic challenges, we aimed to investigate and identify viable immunological strategies for optimum protection. Furthermore, we evaluated and discussed the impact of several parameters on challenge outcomes in the hopes of developing some recommendations to assist better future horizontal comparisons among research.
    EXPERT OPINION: In the coming five years of research, the exploration of vaccine cocktails combining invasion antigens and metabolic antigens with genetic adjuvants or novel DNA delivery methods may offer us desirable protection against this multiple stage of life parasite. In addition to finding a better immune strategy, developing better in silico prediction methods, solving problems posed by variables in practical applications, and gaining a more profound knowledge of T.gondii-host molecular interaction is also crucial towards a successful vaccine.
    Keywords:  Adjuvant; DNA vaccine; Toxoplasma gondii; gene; immunization
  14. EMBO Rep. 2022 Dec 15. e55363
      Macrophages are key cells after tissue damage since they mediate both acute inflammatory phase and regenerative inflammation by shifting from pro-inflammatory to restorative cells. Glucocorticoids (GCs) are the most potent anti-inflammatory hormone in clinical use, still their actions on macrophages are not fully understood. We show that the metabolic sensor AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is required for GCs to induce restorative macrophages. GC Dexamethasone activates AMPK in macrophages and GC receptor (GR) phosphorylation is decreased in AMPK-deficient macrophages. Loss of AMPK in macrophages abrogates the GC-induced acquisition of their repair phenotype and impairs GC-induced resolution of inflammation in vivo during post-injury muscle regeneration and acute lung injury. Mechanistically, two categories of genes are impacted by GC treatment in macrophages. Firstly, canonical cytokine regulation by GCs is not affected by AMPK loss. Secondly, AMPK-dependent GC-induced genes required for the phenotypic transition of macrophages are co-regulated by the transcription factor FOXO3, an AMPK substrate. Thus, beyond cytokine regulation, GR requires AMPK-FOXO3 for immunomodulatory actions in macrophages, linking their metabolic status to transcriptional control in regenerative inflammation.
    Keywords:  acute lung injury; glucocorticoids; macrophages; regenerative inflammation; skeletal muscle regeneration
  15. Molecules. 2022 Dec 05. pii: 8583. [Epub ahead of print]27(23):
      Dengue fever is the most common mosquito-borne viral disease and is caused by the dengue virus (DENV). There is still a lack of efficient drugs against DENV infection, so it is urgent to develop new inhibitors for future clinical use. Our previous research indicated the role of VEGFR2/AMPK in regulating cellular metabolism during DENV infection, while acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC) is located downstream of AMPK and plays a crucial role in mediating cellular lipid synthesis; therefore, we speculated that an ACC inhibitor could serve as an antiviral agent against DENV. Luckily, we found that CP640186, a reported noncompetitive ACC inhibitor, significantly inhibited DENV proliferation, and CP640186 clearly reduced DENV2 proliferation at an early stage with an EC50 of 0.50 μM. A mechanism study indicated that CP640186 inhibited ACC activation and destroyed the cellular lipid environment for viral proliferation. In the DENV2 infection mice model, oral CP640186 administration (10 mg/kg/day) significantly improved the mice survival rate after DENV2 infection. In summary, our research suggests that lipid synthesis plays an important role during DENV2 proliferation and indicates that CP640186 is a promising drug candidate against DNEV2 in the future.
    Keywords:  CP640186; acetyl-CoA carboxylase; antiviral drugs; dengue virus
  16. BMC Cancer. 2022 Dec 14. 22(1): 1313
      BACKGROUND: Prostate cancer is a major health issue affecting the male population worldwide, and its etiology remains relatively unknown. As presented on the Gene Expression Profiling Interactive Analysis database, acetyl-CoA acetyltransferase 1 (ACAT1) acts as a prostate cancer-promoting factor. ACAT1 expression in prostate cancer tissues is considerably higher than that in normal tissues, leading to a poor prognosis in patients with prostate cancer. Here, we aimed to study the role of the ACAT1-fused in sarcoma (FUS) complex in prostate cancer and identify new targets for the diagnosis and treatment of the disease.METHODS: We conducted immunohistochemical analysis of 57 clinical samples and in vitro and in vivo experiments using a mouse model and plasmid constructs to determine the expression of ACAT1 in prostate cancer.
    RESULTS: The relationship between the expression of ACAT1 and the Gleason score was significant. The expression of ACAT1 was higher in tissues with a Gleason score of > 7 than in tissues with a Gleason score of ≤7 (P = 0.0011). In addition, we revealed that ACAT1 can interact with the FUS protein.
    CONCLUSIONS: In prostate cancer, ACAT1 promotes the expression of P62 and Nrf2 through FUS and affects reactive oxygen species scavenging. These effects are due to the inhibition of autophagy by ACAT1. That is, ACAT1 promotes prostate cancer by inhibiting autophagy and eliminating active oxygen species. The expression of ACAT1 is related to prostate cancer. Studying the underlying mechanism may provide a new perspective on the treatment of prostate cancer.
    Keywords:  ACAT1; Autophagy; FUS; Prostate cancer; Reactive oxygen species
  17. Front Neurosci. 2022 ;16 1040182
      Cerebral ischemia is one of the leading causes of death and disability worldwide. Although revascularization via reperfusion combined with advanced anticoagulant therapy is currently a gold standard treatment for patients, the reperfusion itself also results in a serious dysfunction termed cerebral ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury. Silent information regulator 1 (sirtuin 1, SIRT1), is a classic NAD+-dependent deacetylase, which has been proposed as an important mediator in the alleviation of cerebral ischemia through modulating multiple physiological processes, including apoptosis, inflammation, DNA repair, oxidative stress, and autophagy. Recent growing evidence suggests that SIRT1-mediated autophagy plays a key role in the pathophysiological process of cerebral I/R injury. SIRT1 could both activate and inhibit the autophagy process by mediating different autophagy pathways, such as the SIRT1-FOXOs pathway, SIRT1-AMPK pathway, and SIRT1-p53 pathway. However, the autophagic roles of SIRT1 in cerebral I/R injury have not been systematically summarized. Here, in this review, we will first introduce the molecular mechanisms and effects of SIRT1 in cerebral ischemia and I/R injury. Next, we will discuss the involvement of autophagy in the pathogenesis of cerebral I/R injury. Finally, we will summarize the latest advances in the interaction between SIRT1 and autophagy in cerebral I/R injury. A good understanding of these relationships would serve to consolidate a framework of mechanisms underlying SIRT1's neuroprotective effects and provides evidence for the development of drugs targeting SIRT1.
    Keywords:  SIRT1; autophagy; autophagy signaling pathway; cerebral ischemia-reperfusion; neuroprotection
  18. Cells. 2022 Nov 29. pii: 3835. [Epub ahead of print]11(23):
      cAMP-dependent pathway is one of the most significant signaling cascades in healthy and neoplastic ovarian cells. Working through its major effector proteins-PKA and EPAC-it regulates gene expression and many cellular functions. PKA promotes the phosphorylation of cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) which mediates gene transcription, cell migration, mitochondrial homeostasis, cell proliferation, and death. EPAC, on the other hand, is involved in cell adhesion, binding, differentiation, and interaction between cell junctions. Ovarian cancer growth and metabolism largely depend on changes in the signal processing of the cAMP-PKA-CREB axis, often associated with neoplastic transformation, metastasis, proliferation, and inhibition of apoptosis. In addition, the intracellular level of cAMP also determines the course of other pathways including AKT, ERK, MAPK, and mTOR, that are hypo- or hyperactivated among patients with ovarian neoplasm. With this review, we summarize the current findings on cAMP signaling in the ovary and its association with carcinogenesis, multiplication, metastasis, and survival of cancer cells. Additionally, we indicate that targeting particular stages of cAMP-dependent processes might provide promising therapeutic opportunities for the effective management of patients with ovarian cancer.
    Keywords:  CREB; EPAC; PKA; cAMP; ovarian cancer
  19. J Biol Chem. 2022 Dec 09. pii: S0021-9258(22)01231-5. [Epub ahead of print] 102788
      Mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a protein kinase that integrates multiple inputs to regulate anabolic cellular processes. For example , mTOR complex I (mTORC1) has key functions in growth control, autophagy and metabolism. However, much less is known about the signaling components that act downstream of mTORC1 to regulate cellular morphogenesis. Here we show that the RNA-binding protein Unkempt, a key regulator of cellular morphogenesis, is a novel substrate of mTORC1. We show that Unkempt phosphorylation is regulated by nutrient levels and growth factors via mTORC1. To analyze Unkempt phosphorylation, we immunoprecipitated Unkempt from cells in the presence or absence of the mTORC1 inhibitor rapamycin and used mass spectrometry to identify mTORC1-dependent phosphorylated residues. This analysis showed that mTORC1-dependent phosphorylation is concentrated in a serine-rich intrinsically disordered region in the C-terminal half of Unkempt. We also found that Unkempt physically interacts with and is directly phosphorylated by mTORC1 through binding to the regulatory-associated protein of mTOR, Raptor. Furthermore, analysis in the developing brain of mice lacking TSC1 expression showed that phosphorylation of Unkempt is mTORC1-dependent in vivo. Finally, mutation analysis of key serine/threonine residues in the serine-rich region indicates that phosphorylation inhibits the ability of Unkempt to induce a bipolar morphology. Phosphorylation within this serine-rich region thus profoundly affects the ability of Unkempt to regulate cellular morphogenesis. Taken together, our findings reveal a novel molecular link between mTORC1 signaling and cellular morphogenesis.
    Keywords:  Raptor; Unkempt; cellular morphogenesis; intrinsically disordered region; mTOR; phosphorylation
  20. Cell Chem Biol. 2022 Dec 01. pii: S2451-9456(22)00415-9. [Epub ahead of print]
      While it is well known that expression levels of metabolic enzymes regulate the metabolic state of the cell, there is mounting evidence that the converse is also true, that metabolite levels themselves can modulate gene expression via epigenetic modifications and transcriptional regulation. Here we focus on the one-carbon metabolic pathway, which provides the essential building blocks of many classes of biomolecules, including purine nucleotides, thymidylate, serine, and methionine. We review the epigenetic roles of one-carbon metabolic enzymes and their associated metabolites and introduce an interactive computational resource that places enzyme essentiality in the context of metabolic pathway topology. Therefore, we briefly discuss examples of metabolic condensates and higher-order complexes of metabolic enzymes downstream of one-carbon metabolism. We speculate that they may be required to the formation of transcriptional condensates and gene expression control. Finally, we discuss new ways to exploit metabolic pathway compartmentalization to selectively target these enzymes in cancer.
    Keywords:  cancer; chromatin; epigenetics; folate metabolism; metabolic condensates; nuclear condensates; nuclear metabolism; nucleotides; one-carbon metabolism; phase separation; purinergic signaling; transcription regulation; transcriptional condensates
  21. Biochem J. 2022 Dec 13. pii: BCJ20220429. [Epub ahead of print]
      Proteins associated with ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) are potential drug targets in the malaria parasite. The ubiquitination and deubiquitination are key regulatory processes for the functioning of UPS. In this study, we have characterized the biochemical and functional role of a novel ubiquitin-specific protease (USP) domain-containing protein of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum(PfUSP). We have shown that the PfUSP is an active deubiquitinase associated with parasite endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Selection linked integration (SLI) method for C-terminal tagging and GlmS-ribozyme mediated inducible knock-down (iKD) of PfUSP was utilised to assess its functional role. Inducible knockdown of PfUSP resulted in a remarkable reduction in parasite growth and multiplication; specifically, PfUSP-iKD disrupted ER morphology and development, blocked the development of healthy schizonts, and hindered proper merozoite development. PfUSP-iKD caused increased ubiquitylation of specific proteins, disrupted organelle homeostasis and reduced parasite survival. Since the mode of action of artemisinin and the artemisinin-resistance are shown to be associated with the proteasome machinery, we analysed the effect of dihydroartemisinin (DHA) on PfUSP-iKD parasites. Importantly, thePfUSP-knocked-down parasite showed increased sensitivity to dihydroartemisinin (DHA), whereas no change in chloroquine sensitivity was observed, suggesting a role of PfUSP in combating artemisinin-induced cellular stress. Together, the results show that PlasmodiumPfUSP is an essential protease for parasite survival, and its inhibition increases the efficacy of artemisinin-based drugs. Therefore, PfUSP can be targeted to develop novel scaffolds for developing new antimalarials to combat artemisinin resistance.
    Keywords:  Malaria; Plasmodium falciparum; artemisinin resistance; deubiquitinase; organelle homeostasis
  22. Curr Protoc. 2022 Dec;2(12): e625
      This unit describes the basic principles of Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET). Beginning with a brief summary of the history of FRET applications, the theory of FRET is introduced in detail using figures to explain all the important parameters of the FRET process. After listing various approaches for measuring FRET efficiency, several pieces of advice are given on choosing the appropriate instrumentation. The unit concludes with a discussion of the limitations of FRET measurements followed by a few examples of the latest FRET applications, including new developments such as spectral flow cytometric FRET, single-molecule FRET, and combinations of FRET with super-resolution or lifetime imaging microscopy and with molecular dynamics simulations. © 2022 The Authors. Current Protocols published by Wiley Periodicals LLC.
    Keywords:  Förster distance; Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET); flow cytometric FRET; fluorescence lifetime; orientation factor; single molecule FRET
  23. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Dec 01. pii: 15119. [Epub ahead of print]23(23):
      Gastric cancer is a major health burden worldwide. Among all neoplasms, gastric cancer is the fifth most common and the third most deadly type of cancer. It is known that sirtuins (SIRTs), are NAD+-dependent histone deacetylases regulating important metabolic pathways. High expression of SIRTs in the human body can regulate metabolic processes; they prevent inflammation but also resist cell death and aging processes. The seven members of this family enzymes can also play a fundamental role in process of carcinogenesis by influencing cell viability, apoptosis and metastasis. This review collects and discusses the role of all seven sirtuins (SIRT1-SIRT7) in the pathogenesis of gastric cancer (GC).
    Keywords:  SIRT family; gastric adenocarcinoma; gastric cancer; pathogenesis; sirtuins; stomach cancer
  24. Cancers (Basel). 2022 Nov 29. pii: 5896. [Epub ahead of print]14(23):
      The long-chain fatty acyl CoA synthetase (ACSLs) family of enzymes contributes significantly to lipid metabolism and produces acyl-coenzyme A by catalyzing fatty acid oxidation. The dysregulation of ACSL3 and ACSL4, which belong to the five isoforms of ACSLs, plays a key role in cancer initiation, development, metastasis, and tumor immunity and may provide several possible therapeutic strategies. Moreover, ACSL3 and ACSL4 are crucial for ferroptosis, a non-apoptotic cell death triggered by the accumulation of membrane lipid peroxides due to iron overload. Here, we present a summary of the current knowledge on ACSL3 and ACSL4 and their functions in various cancers. Research on the molecular mechanisms involved in the regulation of ferroptosis is critical to developing targeted therapies for cancer.
    Keywords:  ACSL3; ACSL4; cancer; ferroptosis
  25. Methods Mol Biol. 2023 ;2609 157-192
      Gene regulation in the nucleus requires precise control of the molecular processes that dictate how, when, and which genes are transcribed. The posttranslational modification (PTM) of histones in chromatin is an effective means to link cellular signaling to gene expression outcomes. The repertoire of histone PTMs includes phosphorylation, acetylation, methylation, ubiquitylation, and ADP-ribosylation (ADPRylation). ADPRylation is a reversible PTM that results in the covalent transfer of ADP-ribose units derived from NAD+ to substrate proteins on glutamate, aspartate, serine, and other amino acids. Histones were the first substrate proteins identified for ADPRylation, over five decades ago. Since that time, histone ADPRylation has been shown to be a widespread and critical regulator of chromatin structure and function during transcription, DNA repair, and replication. Here, we describe a set of protocols that allow the user to investigate site-specific histone ADPRylation and its functional consequences in biochemical assays and in cells in a variety of biological systems. With the recent discovery that some cancer-causing histone mutations (i.e., oncohistone mutations) occur at functional sites of regulatory ADPRylation, these protocols may have additional utility in studies of oncology.
    Keywords:  ADP-ribose (ADPR); ADP-ribosylation (ADPRylation); Chromatin; DNA repair; Histone; Oncohistone; Poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation (PARylation); Posttranslational modification (PTM); Transcription
  26. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Nov 29. pii: 14945. [Epub ahead of print]23(23):
      Glucose is a direct energy source for eukaryotic cells, and its deficiency elicits complex stress responses and diverse cellular outcomes. Although several signaling pathways involved have been identified, how they coordinately dictate the cell fate remains obscure. We propose a minimal network model for the cellular response to glucose restriction, characterizing the glucose uptake and signaling of the AMPK, Akt, mTOR, and p53 pathways. We demonstrate that in the presence of sufficient growth factors and amino acids, cells may undergo proliferation, senescence, or apoptosis, depending on the extracellular glucose level. AMPK is first activated upon glucose limitation, activating p53 to induce cell-cycle arrest; possibly, cells resume proliferation after timely glucose restoration. For long-term energy stress, cell senescence is maintained by low/intermediate levels of p53 and persistent activation of mTOR and Akt, or cells commit apoptosis when the proteins undergo biphasic dynamics, e.g., p53 switches from intermediate levels to high levels while mTOR and Akt become inactivated in the later phase. The biphasic dynamics of p53 are associated with flipping of two bistable switches. Appropriate mTOR levels are required for optimal cell-fate decision. This work suggests that senescence and apoptosis occur sequentially in glucose-depleted cells, and a theoretical framework is provided for exploring the cellular response to energy stress.
    Keywords:  apoptosis; biphasic dynamics; cell-fate decision; glucose starvation; network modeling; senescence
  27. Methods Mol Biol. 2023 ;2557 721-741
      Acetylation is one of the most abundant post-translational protein modifications that regulates all cellular compartments ranging from chromatin to cytoskeleton and Golgi. The dynamic acetylation of the Golgi stacking protein GRASP55 was shown to regulate Golgi reassembly after mitosis. Here we provide a detailed protocol for the analysis of Golgi acetylation including in vitro assays to detect protein acetylation and mass spectrometry analysis to identify specific acetylation sites and their relative abundance.
    Keywords:  Acetyl transferases; Acetylation; Golgi; Mass spectrometry; Parallel reaction monitoring