Targeting pancreatic cancer metabolic dependencies through glutamine antagonism
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) cells use glutamine (Gln) to support proliferation and redox balance. Early attempts to inhibit Gln metabolism using glutaminase inhibitors resulted in rapid metabolic reprogramming and therapeutic resistance. Here, we demonstrated that treating PDAC cells with a Gln antagonist, 6-diazo-5-oxo-L-norleucine (DON), led to a metabolic crisis in vitro. In addition, we observed a profound decrease in tumor growth in several in vivo models using sirpiglenastat (DRP-104), a pro-drug version of DON that was designed to circumvent DON-associated toxicity. We found that extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signaling is increased as a compensatory mechanism. Combinatorial treatment with DRP-104 and trametinib led to a significant increase in survival in a syngeneic model of PDAC. These proof-of-concept studies suggested that broadly targeting Gln metabolism could provide a therapeutic avenue for PDAC. The combination with an ERK signaling pathway inhibitor could further improve the therapeutic outcome.
In vivo metabolomics identifies CD38 as an emergent vulnerability in LKB1 -mutant lung cancer
UNLABELLED:. Surprisingly, compared with other genetic subsets, murine and human LKB1-mutant NSCLC show marked overexpression of the NAD+-catabolizing ectoenzyme, CD38 on the surface of tumor cells. Loss of LKB1 or inactivation of Salt-Inducible Kinases (SIKs)-key downstream effectors of LKB1- induces CD38 transcription induction via a CREB binding site in the CD38 promoter. Treatment with the FDA-approved anti-CD38 antibody, daratumumab, inhibited growth of LKB1-mutant NSCLC xenografts. Together, these results reveal CD38 as a promising therapeutic target in patients with LKB1 mutant lung cancer. SIGNIFICANCE/CONCLUSIONS:tumor suppressor of lung adenocarcinoma patients and are associated with resistance to current treatments. Our study identified CD38 as a potential therapeutic target that is highly overexpressed in this specific subtype of cancer, associated with a shift in NAD homeostasis.
Cannabidiol modulates excitatory-inhibitory ratio to counter hippocampal hyperactivity
Cannabidiol (CBD), a non-euphoric component of cannabis, reduces seizures in multiple forms of pediatric epilepsies, but the mechanism(s) of anti-seizure action remain unclear. In one leading model, CBD acts at glutamatergic axon terminals, blocking the pro-excitatory actions of an endogenous membrane phospholipid, lysophosphatidylinositol (LPI), at the G-protein-coupled receptor GPR55. However, the impact of LPI-GPR55 signaling at inhibitory synapses and in epileptogenesis remains underexplored. We found that LPI transiently increased hippocampal CA3-CA1 excitatory presynaptic release probability and evoked synaptic strength in WT mice, while attenuating inhibitory postsynaptic strength by decreasing GABAARγ2 and gephyrin puncta. LPI effects at excitatory and inhibitory synapses were eliminated by CBD pre-treatment and absent after GPR55 deletion. Acute pentylenetrazole-induced seizures elevated GPR55 and LPI levels, and chronic lithium-pilocarpine-induced epileptogenesis potentiated LPI's pro-excitatory effects. We propose that CBD exerts potential anti-seizure effects by blocking LPI's synaptic effects and dampening hyperexcitability.
Author Correction: A local tumor microenvironment acquired super-enhancer induces an oncogenic driver in colorectal carcinoma
Metabolomic, proteomic, and transcriptomic changes in adults with epilepsy on modified Atkins diet
OBJECTIVE:High-fat and low-carbohydrate diets can reduce seizure frequency in some treatment-resistant epilepsy patients, including the more flexible modified Atkins diet (MAD), which is more palatable, mimicking fasting and inducing high ketone body levels. Low-carbohydrate diets may shift brain energy production, particularly impacting neuron- and astrocyte-linked metabolism. METHODS:We evaluated the effect of short-term MAD on molecular mechanisms in adult epilepsy patients from surgical brain tissue and plasma compared to control participants consuming a nonmodified higher carbohydrate diet (n = 6 MAD, mean age = 43.7 years, range = 21-53, diet for average 10 days; n = 10 control, mean age = 41.9 years, range = 28-64). RESULTS: = .48). Brain proteomics and RNAseq identified few differences, including 2.75-fold increased hippocampal MT-ND3 and trends (p < .01, false discovery rate > 5%) in hippocampal nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH)-related signaling pathways (activated oxidative phosphorylation and inhibited sirtuin signaling). SIGNIFICANCE/CONCLUSIONS:Short-term MAD was associated with metabolic differences in plasma and resected epilepsy brain tissue when compared to control participants, in combination with trending expression changes observed in hippocampal NADH-related signaling pathways. Future studies should evaluate how brain molecular mechanisms are altered with long-term MAD in a larger cohort of epilepsy patients, with correlations to seizure frequency, epilepsy syndrome, and other clinical variables. [Clinicaltrials.gov NCT02565966.].
Urine Metabolome Dynamics Discriminate Influenza Vaccination Response
Influenza represents a major and ongoing public health hazard. Current collaborative efforts are aimed toward creating a universal flu vaccine with the goals of both improving responses to vaccination and increasing the breadth of protection against multiple strains and clades from a single vaccine. As an intermediate step toward these goals, the current work is focused on evaluating the systemic host response to vaccination in both normal and high-risk populations, such as the obese and geriatric populations, which have been linked to poor responses to vaccination. We therefore employed a metabolomics approach using a time-course (n = 5 time points) of the response to human vaccination against influenza from the time before vaccination (pre) to 90 days following vaccination. We analyzed the urinary profiles of a cohort of subjects (n = 179) designed to evenly sample across age, sex, BMI, and other demographic factors, stratifying their responses to vaccination as "High", "Low", or "None" based on the seroconversion measured by hemagglutination inhibition assay (HAI) from plasma samples at day 28 post-vaccination. Overall, we putatively identified 15,903 distinct, named, small-molecule structures (4473 at 10% FDR) among the 895 samples analyzed, with the aim of identifying metabolite correlates of the vaccine response, as well as prognostic and diagnostic markers from the periods before and after vaccination, respectively. Notably, we found that the metabolic profiles could unbiasedly separate the high-risk High-responders from the high-risk None-responders (obese/geriatric) within 3 days post-vaccination. The purine metabolites Guanine and Hypoxanthine were negatively associated with high seroconversion (p = 0.0032, p < 0.0001, respectively), while Acetyl-Leucine and 5-Aminovaleric acid were positively associated. Further changes in Cystine, Glutamic acid, Kynurenine and other metabolites implicated early oxidative stress (3 days) after vaccination as a hallmark of the High-responders. Ongoing efforts are aimed toward validating these putative markers using a ferret model of influenza infection, as well as an independent cohort of human seasonal vaccination and human challenge studies with live virus.
A local tumor microenvironment acquired super-enhancer induces an oncogenic driver in colorectal carcinoma
Tumors exhibit enhancer reprogramming compared to normal tissue. The etiology is largely attributed to cell-intrinsic genomic alterations. Here, using freshly resected primary CRC tumors and patient-matched adjacent normal colon, we find divergent epigenetic landscapes between CRC tumors and cell lines. Intriguingly, this phenomenon extends to highly recurrent aberrant super-enhancers gained in CRC over normal. We find one such super-enhancer activated in epithelial cancer cells due to surrounding inflammation in the tumor microenvironment. We restore this super-enhancer and its expressed gene, PDZK1IP1, following treatment with cytokines or xenotransplantation into nude mice, thus demonstrating cell-extrinsic etiology. We demonstrate mechanistically that PDZK1IP1 enhances the reductive capacity CRC cancer cells via the pentose phosphate pathway. We show this activation enables efficient growth under oxidative conditions, challenging the previous notion that PDZK1IP1 acts as a tumor suppressor in CRC. Collectively, these observations highlight the significance of epigenomic profiling on primary specimens.
Resurrecting essential amino acid biosynthesis in mammalian cells
Major genomic deletions in independent eukaryotic lineages have led to repeated ancestral loss of biosynthesis pathways for nine of the twenty canonical amino acids1. While the evolutionary forces driving these polyphyletic deletion events are not well understood, the consequence is that extant metazoans are unable to produce nine essential amino acids (EAAs). Previous studies have highlighted that EAA biosynthesis tends to be more energetically costly2,3, raising the possibility that these pathways were lost from organisms with access to abundant EAAs in the environment4,5. It is unclear whether present-day metazoans can reaccept these pathways to resurrect biosynthetic capabilities that were lost long ago or whether evolution has rendered EAA pathways incompatible with metazoan metabolism. Here, we report progress on a large-scale synthetic genomics effort to reestablish EAA biosynthetic functionality in mammalian cells. We designed codon-optimized biosynthesis pathways based on genes mined from Escherichia coli. These pathways were de novo synthesized in 3 kilobase chunks, assembled in yeasto and genomically integrated into a Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cell line. One synthetic pathway produced valine at a sufficient level for cell viability and proliferation, and thus represents a successful example of metazoan EAA biosynthesis restoration. This prototrophic CHO line grows in valine-free medium, and metabolomics using labeled precursors verified de novo biosynthesis of valine. RNA-seq profiling of the valine prototrophic CHO line showed that the synthetic pathway minimally disrupted the cellular transcriptome. Furthermore, valine prototrophic cells exhibited transcriptional signatures associated with rescue from nutritional starvation. 13C-tracing revealed build-up of pathway intermediate 2,3-dihydroxy-3-isovalerate in these cells. Increasing the dosage of downstream ilvD boosted pathway performance and allowed for long-term propagation of second-generation cells in valine-free medium at a consistent doubling time of 3.2 days. This work demonstrates that mammalian metabolism is amenable to restoration of ancient core pathways, paving a path for genome-scale efforts to synthetically restore metabolic functions to the metazoan lineage.
Succinate dehydrogenase inversely regulates red cell distribution width and healthy lifespan in chronically hypoxic mice
Increased red cell distribution width (RDW), which measures erythrocyte volume (MCV) variability (anisocytosis), has been linked to early mortality in many diseases and in older adults through unknown mechanisms. Hypoxic stress has been proposed as a potential mechanism. However, experimental models to investigate the link between increased RDW and reduced survival are lacking. Here, we show that lifelong hypobaric hypoxia (~10% O2) increases erythrocyte numbers, hemoglobin and RDW, while reducing longevity in male mice. Compound heterozygous knockout (chKO) mutations in succinate dehydrogenase (Sdh; mitochondrial complex II) genes Sdhb, Sdhc and Sdhd reduce Sdh subunit protein levels, RDW, and increase healthy lifespan compared to wild-type (WT) mice in chronic hypoxia. RDW-SD, a direct measure of MCV variability, and the standard deviation of MCV (1SD-RDW) show the most statistically significant reductions in Sdh hKO mice. Tissue metabolomic profiling of 147 common metabolites shows the largest increase in succinate with elevated succinate to fumarate and succinate to oxoglutarate (2-ketoglutarate) ratios in Sdh hKO mice. These results demonstrate that mitochondrial complex II level is an underlying determinant of both RDW and healthy lifespan in hypoxia, and suggest that therapeutic targeting of Sdh might reduce high RDW-associated clinical mortality in hypoxic diseases.
Multiscale study of the oral and gut environments in children with high- and low-threshold peanut allergy
BACKGROUND:The oral and gut microbiomes have each been associated with food allergy status. Within food allergy, they may also influence reaction thresholds. OBJECTIVE:Our aim was to identify oral and gut microbiota associated with reaction thresholds in peanut allergy. METHODS:A total of 59 children aged 4 to 14 years with suspected peanut allergy underwent double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenge to peanut. Those children who reacted at the 300-mg or higher dose of peanut were classified as high-threshold (HT), those who reacted to lower doses were classified as low-threshold (LT), and those children who did not react were classified as not peanut allergic (NPA). Saliva and stool samples collected before challenge underwent DNA isolation followed by 16S rRNA sequencing and short-chain fatty acid measurement. RESULTS:The 59 participants included 38 HT children and 13 LT children. Saliva microbiome Î±-diversity (Shannon index) was higher in LT children (PÂ = .017). We identified saliva and stool microbiota that distinguished HT children from LT children, including oral Veillonella nakazawae (amplicon sequence variant 1979), which was more abundant in the HT group than in the LT group (false discovery rate [FDR]Â = 0.025), and gut Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron (amplicon sequence variant 6829), which was less abundant in HT children than in LT children (FDRÂ = 0.039). Comparison with NPA children revealed consistent ordinal trends between these discriminating species and reaction thresholds. Importantly, many of these threshold-associated species were also correlated with short-chain fatty acid levels at the respective body sites, including between oral VÂ nakazawae and oral butyrate (rÂ = 0.57;Â FDRÂ = 0.049). CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:Findings from this multiscale study raise the possibility of microbial therapeutics to increase reaction thresholds in children with food allergy.