All Publications


  • Mitochondria-Rich Extracellular Vesicles From Autologous Stem Cell-Derived Cardiomyocytes Restore Energetics of Ischemic Myocardium. Journal of the American College of Cardiology Ikeda, G. n., Santoso, M. R., Tada, Y. n., Li, A. M., Vaskova, E. n., Jung, J. H., O'Brien, C. n., Egan, E. n., Ye, J. n., Yang, P. C. 2021; 77 (8): 1073–88

    Abstract

    Mitochondrial dysfunction results in an imbalance between energy supply and demand in a failing heart. An innovative therapy that targets the intracellular bioenergetics directly through mitochondria transfer may be necessary.The purpose of this study was to establish a preclinical proof-of-concept that extracellular vesicle (EV)-mediated transfer of autologous mitochondria and their related energy source enhance cardiac function through restoration of myocardial bioenergetics.Human-induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (iCMs) were employed. iCM-conditioned medium was ultracentrifuged to collect mitochondria-rich EVs (M-EVs). Therapeutic effects of M-EVs were investigated using in vivo murine myocardial infarction (MI) model.Electron microscopy revealed healthy-shaped mitochondria inside M-EVs. Confocal microscopy showed that M-EV-derived mitochondria were transferred into the recipient iCMs and fused with their endogenous mitochondrial networks. Treatment with 1.0 × 108/ml M-EVs significantly restored the intracellular adenosine triphosphate production and improved contractile profiles of hypoxia-injured iCMs as early as 3 h after treatment. In contrast, isolated mitochondria that contained 300× more mitochondrial proteins than 1.0 × 108/ml M-EVs showed no effect after 24 h. M-EVs contained mitochondrial biogenesis-related messenger ribonucleic acids, including proliferator-activated receptor γ coactivator-1α, which on transfer activated mitochondrial biogenesis in the recipient iCMs at 24 h after treatment. Finally, intramyocardial injection of 1.0 × 108 M-EVs demonstrated significantly improved post-MI cardiac function through restoration of bioenergetics and mitochondrial biogenesis.M-EVs facilitated immediate transfer of their mitochondrial and nonmitochondrial cargos, contributing to improved intracellular energetics in vitro. Intramyocardial injection of M-EVs enhanced post-MI cardiac function in vivo. This therapy can be developed as a novel, precision therapeutic for mitochondria-related diseases including heart failure.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jacc.2020.12.060

    View details for PubMedID 33632482

  • Developing metabolic intervention strategies to reprogram neuroblastoma epigenome and overcome tumor resistance to differentiation therapy Jiang, H., Li, Y., Yip, M., Gruber, J., Li, A., Ye, J. AMER ASSOC CANCER RESEARCH. 2020
  • Deciphering Warburg effect: hypoxia inhibits tumor cell differentiation through reducing acetyl-CoA generation and chromatin accessibility Ye, J., Li, Y., Gruber, J. J., Litzenburger, U. M., Zhou, Y., Miao, Y. R., LaGory, E. L., Li, A. M., Hu, Z., Hart, L. S., Maris, J. M., Chang, H. Y., Giaccia, A. J. AMER ASSOC CANCER RESEARCH. 2020
  • Reprogramming of serine metabolism during breast cancer progression Li, A., Ducker, G. S., Li, Y., Seoane, J. A., Xiao, Y., Melemenidis, S., Zhou, Y., Liu, L., Vanharanta, S., Graves, E. E., Rankin, E. B., Curtis, C., Massague, J., Rabinowitz, J. D., Thompson, C. B., Ye, J. AMER ASSOC CANCER RESEARCH. 2020
  • Intermediary metabolism: An intricate network at the crossroads of cell fate and function. Biochimica et biophysica acta. Molecular basis of disease Ferreira, L. M., Li, A. M., Serafim, T. L., Sobral, M. C., Alpoim, M. C., Urbano, A. M. 2020: 165887

    Abstract

    Intermediary metabolism is traditionally viewed as the large, highly integrated network of reactions that provides cells with metabolic energy, reducing power and biosynthetic intermediates. The elucidation of its major pathways and molecular mechanisms of energy transduction occupied some of the brightest scientific minds for almost two centuries. When these goals were achieved, a sense that intermediary metabolism was mostly a solved problem pervaded the broader biochemical community, and the field lost its vitality. However, intermediary metabolism has recently been re-energized by several paradigm-shifting discoveries that challenged its perception as a self-contained system and re-positioned it at the crossroads of all aspects of cell function, from cell growth, proliferation and death to epigenetics and immunity. Emphasis is now increasingly placed on the involvement of metabolic dysfunction in human disease. In this review, we will navigate from the dawn of intermediary metabolism research to present day work on this ever-expanding field.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.bbadis.2020.165887

    View details for PubMedID 32599141

  • The PHGDH enigma: do cancer cells only need serine or also a redox modulator? Cancer letters Li, A. M., Ye, J. n. 2020

    Abstract

    Upregulation of serine biosynthesis pathway activity is an increasingly apparent feature of many cancers. Most notably, the first rate-limiting enzyme of the pathway, phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase (PHGDH), is genomically amplified in some melanomas and breast cancers and can be transcriptionally regulated by various tumor suppressors and oncogenes. Yet emerging evidence suggests that serine-in particular, serine biosynthetic pathway activity-may promote cancer in ways beyond providing the building blocks to support cell proliferation. Here, we summarize how mammalian cells tightly control serine synthesis before discussing alternate ways in which increased serine synthetic flux through PHGDH may benefit cancer cells, such as maintenance of TCA cycle flux through alpha-ketoglutarate (αKG) and modulation of cellular redox balance. We will also provide an overview of the current landscape of therapeutics targeting serine synthesis and offer a perspective on future strategies.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.canlet.2020.01.036

    View details for PubMedID 32032680

  • Acetate supplementation restores chromatin accessibility and promotes tumor cell differentiation under hypoxia. Cell death & disease Li, Y. n., Gruber, J. J., Litzenburger, U. M., Zhou, Y. n., Miao, Y. R., LaGory, E. L., Li, A. M., Hu, Z. n., Yip, M. n., Hart, L. S., Maris, J. M., Chang, H. Y., Giaccia, A. J., Ye, J. n. 2020; 11 (2): 102

    Abstract

    Despite the fact that Otto H. Warburg discovered the Warburg effect almost one hundred years ago, why cancer cells waste most of the glucose carbon as lactate remains an enigma. Warburg proposed a connection between the Warburg effect and cell dedifferentiation. Hypoxia is a common tumor microenvironmental stress that induces the Warburg effect and blocks tumor cell differentiation. The underlying mechanism by which this occurs is poorly understood, and no effective therapeutic strategy has been developed to overcome this resistance to differentiation. Using a neuroblastoma differentiation model, we discovered that hypoxia repressed cell differentiation through reducing cellular acetyl-CoA levels, leading to reduction of global histone acetylation and chromatin accessibility. The metabolic switch triggering this global histone hypoacetylation was the induction of pyruvate dehydrogenase kinases (PDK1 and PDK3). Inhibition of PDKs using dichloroacetate (DCA) restored acetyl-CoA generation and histone acetylation under hypoxia. Knocking down PDK1 induced neuroblastoma cell differentiation, highlighting the critical role of PDK1 in cell fate control. Importantly, acetate or glycerol triacetate (GTA) supplementation restored differentiation markers expression and neuron differentiation under hypoxia. Moreover, ATAC-Seq analysis demonstrated that hypoxia treatment significantly reduced chromatin accessibility at RAR/RXR binding sites, which can be restored by acetate supplementation. In addition, hypoxia-induced histone hypermethylation by increasing 2-hydroxyglutarate (2HG) and reducing α-ketoglutarate (αKG). αKG supplementation reduced histone hypermethylation upon hypoxia, but did not restore histone acetylation or differentiation markers expression. Together, these findings suggest that diverting pyruvate flux away from acetyl-CoA generation to lactate production is the key mechanism that Warburg effect drives dedifferentiation and tumorigenesis. We propose that combining differentiation therapy with acetate/GTA supplementation might represent an effective therapy against neuroblastoma.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41419-020-2303-9

    View details for PubMedID 32029721

  • p53 deficiency triggers dysregulation of diverse cellular processes in physiological oxygen. The Journal of cell biology Valente, L. J., Tarangelo, A. n., Li, A. M., Naciri, M. n., Raj, N. n., Boutelle, A. M., Li, Y. n., Mello, S. S., Bieging-Rolett, K. n., DeBerardinis, R. J., Ye, J. n., Dixon, S. J., Attardi, L. D. 2020; 219 (11)

    Abstract

    The mechanisms by which TP53, the most frequently mutated gene in human cancer, suppresses tumorigenesis remain unclear. p53 modulates various cellular processes, such as apoptosis and proliferation, which has led to distinct cellular mechanisms being proposed for p53-mediated tumor suppression in different contexts. Here, we asked whether during tumor suppression p53 might instead regulate a wide range of cellular processes. Analysis of mouse and human oncogene-expressing wild-type and p53-deficient cells in physiological oxygen conditions revealed that p53 loss concurrently impacts numerous distinct cellular processes, including apoptosis, genome stabilization, DNA repair, metabolism, migration, and invasion. Notably, some phenotypes were uncovered only in physiological oxygen. Transcriptomic analysis in this setting highlighted underappreciated functions modulated by p53, including actin dynamics. Collectively, these results suggest that p53 simultaneously governs diverse cellular processes during transformation suppression, an aspect of p53 function that would provide a clear rationale for its frequent inactivation in human cancer.

    View details for DOI 10.1083/jcb.201908212

    View details for PubMedID 32886745

  • Metabolic Profiling Reveals a Dependency of Human Metastatic Breast Cancer on Mitochondrial Serine and One-Carbon Unit Metabolism. Molecular cancer research : MCR Li, A. M., Ducker, G. S., Li, Y. n., Seoane, J. A., Xiao, Y. n., Melemenidis, S. n., Zhou, Y. n., Liu, L. n., Vanharanta, S. n., Graves, E. E., Rankin, E. B., Curtis, C. n., Massague, J. n., Rabinowitz, J. D., Thompson, C. B., Ye, J. n. 2020

    Abstract

    Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women and a major cause of mortality. To identify metabolic pathways as potential targets to treat metastatic breast cancer, we performed metabolomics profiling on breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-231 and its tissue-tropic metastatic subclones. Here, we report that these subclones with increased metastatic potential display an altered metabolic profile compared to the parental population. In particular, the mitochondrial serine and one-carbon (1C) unit pathway is upregulated in metastatic subclones. Mechanistically, the mitochondrial serine and 1C unit pathway drives the faster proliferation of subclones through enhanced de novo purine biosynthesis. Inhibition of the first rate-limiting enzyme of the mitochondrial serine and 1C unit pathway, serine hydroxymethyltransferase (SHMT2), potently suppresses proliferation of metastatic subclones in culture and impairs growth of lung metastatic subclones at both primary and metastatic sites in mice. Some human breast cancers exhibit a significant association between the expression of genes in the mitochondrial serine and 1C unit pathway with disease outcome and higher expression of SHMT2 in metastatic tumor tissue compared to primary tumors. In addition to breast cancer, a few other cancer types, such as adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) and kidney chromophobe cell carcinoma (KICH), also display increased SHMT2 expression during disease progression. Together, these results suggest that mitochondrial serine and 1C unit plays an important role in promoting cancer progression, particularly in late stage cancer. Implications: This study identifies mitochondrial serine and 1C unit metabolism as an important pathway during the progression of a subset of human breast cancers.

    View details for DOI 10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-19-0606

    View details for PubMedID 31941752

  • Reprogramming of serine, glycine and one-carbon metabolism in cancer. Biochimica et biophysica acta. Molecular basis of disease Li, A. M., Ye, J. n. 2020: 165841

    Abstract

    Metabolic pathways leading to the synthesis, uptake, and usage of the nonessential amino acid serine are frequently amplified in cancer. Serine encounters diverse fates in cancer cells, including being charged onto tRNAs for protein synthesis, providing head groups for sphingolipid and phospholipid synthesis, and serving as a precursor for cellular glycine and one-carbon units, which are necessary for nucleotide synthesis and methionine cycle reloading. This review will focus on the participation of serine and glycine in the mitochondrial one-carbon (SGOC) pathway during cancer progression, with an emphasis on the genetic and epigenetic determinants that drive SGOC gene expression. We will discuss recently elucidated roles for SGOC metabolism in nucleotide synthesis, redox balance, mitochondrial function, and epigenetic modifications. Finally, therapeutic considerations for targeting SGOC metabolism in the clinic will be discussed.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.bbadis.2020.165841

    View details for PubMedID 32439610