Accumulation of depolarized mitochondria within b-cells has been associated with oxidative damage and development of diabetes. To determine the source and fate of depolarized mitochondria, individual mitochondria were photolabeled and tracked through fusion and fission. Mitochondria were found to go through frequent cycles of fusion and fission in a 'kiss and run' pattern. Fission events often generated uneven daughter units: one daughter exhibited increased membrane potential (Dw m ) and a high probability of subsequent fusion, while the other had decreased membrane potential and a reduced probability for a fusion event. Together, this pattern generated a subpopulation of nonfusing mitochondria that were found to have reduced Dw m and decreased levels of the fusion protein OPA1. Inhibition of the fission machinery through DRP1 K38A or FIS1 RNAi decreased mitochondrial autophagy and resulted in the accumulation of oxidized mitochondrial proteins, reduced respiration and impaired insulin secretion. Pulse chase and arrest of autophagy at the pre-proteolysis stage reveal that before autophagy mitochondria lose Dw m and OPA1, and that overexpression of OPA1 decreases mitochondrial autophagy. Together, these findings suggest that fission followed by selective fusion segregates dysfunctional mitochondria and permits their removal by autophagy.
Tumour cells evade immune surveillance by upregulating the surface expression of programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1), which interacts with programmed death-1 (PD-1) receptor on T cells to elicit the immune checkpoint response. Anti-PD-1 antibodies have shown remarkable promise in treating tumours, including metastatic melanoma. However, the patient response rate is low. A better understanding of PD-L1-mediated immune evasion is needed to predict patient response and improve treatment efficacy. Here we report that metastatic melanomas release extracellular vesicles, mostly in the form of exosomes, that carry PD-L1 on their surface. Stimulation with interferon-γ (IFN-γ) increases the amount of PD-L1 on these vesicles, which suppresses the function of CD8 T cells and facilitates tumour growth. In patients with metastatic melanoma, the level of circulating exosomal PD-L1 positively correlates with that of IFN-γ, and varies during the course of anti-PD-1 therapy. The magnitudes of the increase in circulating exosomal PD-L1 during early stages of treatment, as an indicator of the adaptive response of the tumour cells to T cell reinvigoration, stratifies clinical responders from non-responders. Our study unveils a mechanism by which tumour cells systemically suppress the immune system, and provides a rationale for the application of exosomal PD-L1 as a predictor for anti-PD-1 therapy.
Stabilization of the hypoxia-inducible factor-1alpha (HIF-1alpha) transcription complex, caused by intratumoural hypoxia, promotes tumour progression and metastasis, leading to treatment failure and mortality in different types of human cancers. The transcription factor TWIST is a master regulator of gastrulation and mesoderm-specification and was implicated recently as an essential mediator of cancer metastasis. Notably, HIF-1alpha- and TWIST-null mice show similarities in their phenotypes. Here, we have shown that hypoxia or overexpression of HIF-1alpha promotes epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and metastastic phenotypes. We also found that HIF-1 regulates the expression of TWIST by binding directly to the hypoxia-response element (HRE) in the TWIST proximal promoter. However, siRNA-mediated repression of TWIST in HIF-1alpha-overexpressing or hypoxic cells reversed EMT and metastastic phenotypes. Co-expression of HIF-1alpha, TWIST and Snail in primary tumours of patients with head and neck cancers correlated with metastasis and the worst prognosis. These results provide evidence of a key signalling pathway involving HIF-1alpha and TWIST that promotes metastasis in response to intratumoural hypoxia.
Based on engineered or bacterial nucleases, the development of genome editing technologies has opened up the possibility of directly targeting and modifying genomic sequences in almost all eukaryotic cells. Genome editing has extended our ability to elucidate the contribution of genetics to disease by promoting the creation of more accurate cellular and animal models of pathological processes and has begun to show extraordinary potential in a variety of fields, ranging from basic research to applied biotechnology and biomedical research. Recent progress in developing programmable nucleases, such as zinc-finger nucleases (ZFNs), transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs) and clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR)-Cas-associated nucleases, has greatly expedited the progress of gene editing from concept to clinical practice. Here, we review recent advances of the three major genome editing technologies (ZFNs, TALENs, and CRISPR/Cas9) and discuss the applications of their derivative reagents as gene editing tools in various human diseases and potential future therapies, focusing on eukaryotic cells and animal models. Finally, we provide an overview of the clinical trials applying genome editing platforms for disease treatment and some of the challenges in the implementation of this technology.
Increased conversion of glucose to lactic acid associated with decreased mitochondrial respiration is a unique feature of tumors first described by Otto Warburg in the 1920s. Recent evidence suggests that the Warburg effect is caused by oncogenes and is an underlying mechanism of malignant transformation. Using a novel approach to measure cellular metabolic rates in vitro, the bioenergetic basis of this increased glycolysis and reduced mitochondrial respiration was investigated in two human cancer cell lines, H460 and A549. The bioenergetic phenotype was analyzed by measuring cellular respiration, glycolysis rate, and ATP turnover of the cells in response to various pharmacological modulators. H460 and A549 cells displayed a dependency on glycolysis and an ability to significantly upregulate this pathway when their respiration was inhibited. The converse, however, was not true. The cell lines were attenuated in oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) capacity and were unable to sufficiently upregulate mitochondrial OXPHOS when glycolysis was disabled. This observed mitochondrial impairment was intimately linked to the increased dependency on glycolysis. Furthermore, it was demonstrated that H460 cells were more glycolytic, having a greater impairment of mitochondrial respiration, compared with A549 cells. Finally, the upregulation of glycolysis in response to mitochondrial ATP synthesis inhibition was dependent on AMP-activated protein kinase activity. In summary, our results demonstrate a bioenergetic phenotype of these two cancer cell lines characterized by increased rate of glycolysis and a linked attenuation in their OXPHOS capacity. These metabolic alterations provide a mechanistic explanation for the growth advantage and apoptotic resistance of tumor cells.
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