Cover Story Current Issue

Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) are known as incretins, which are released from the gut into the bloodstream postprandially and enhance glucose-dependent insulin secretion via activation of the GLP-1 receptor (GLP-1R) and the GIP receptor (GIPR), respectively. Several GLP-1R agonists (GLP-1RA) with improved pharmacokinetic properties have been developed and are currently in clinical use to treat type 2 diabetes and obesity. In addition to improving glucose metabolism, GLP-1RAs potently suppress appetite and body weight. These anorectic and body weight-lowering effects are thought to be mediated by central mechanisms, as indicated also by human studies. However, the neuronal substrates that mediate these effects are still poorly understood.

Alessia Costa, Minrong Ai, Nicolas Nunn, Isabella Culotta, ... Giuseppe D'Agostino

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Current Issue

An anaplerotic approach to correct the mitochondrial dysfunction in ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T)

A.J. Yeo, G.N. Subramanian, K.L. Chong, M. Gatei, ... M.F. Lavin

Background

ATM, the protein defective in the human genetic disorder, ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T) plays a central role in response to DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) and in protecting the cell against oxidative stress. We showed that A-T cells are hypersensitive to metabolic stress which can be accounted for by a failure to exhibit efficient endoplasmic reticulum(ER)-mitochondrial signalling and Ca2+ transfer in response to nutrient deprivation resulting in mitochondrial dysfunction. The objective of the current study is to use an anaplerotic approach using the fatty acid, heptanoate (C7), a metabolic product of the triglyceridetriheptanoin to correct the defect in ER-mitochondrial signalling and enhance cell survival of A-T cells in response to metabolic stress.

Methods

We treated control cells and A-T cells with the anaplerotic agent, heptanoate to determine their sensitivity to metabolic stress induced by inhibition of glycolysis with 2- deoxyglucose (2DG) using live-cell imaging to monitor cell survival for 72 h using the Incucyte system. We examined ER-mitochondrial signalling in A-T cells exposed to metabolic stress using a suite of techniques including immunofluorescence staining of Grp75, ER-mitochondrial Ca2+ channel, the VAPB-PTPIP51 ER-mitochondrial tether complexes as well as proximity ligation assays between Grp75-IP3R1 and VAPB1-PTPIP51 to establish a functional interaction between ER and mitochondria. Finally, we also performed metabolomicanalysis using LC-MS/MS assay to determine altered levels of TCA intermediates A-T cells compared to healthy control cells.

Results

We demonstrate that heptanoate corrects all aspects of the defective ER-mitochondrial signalling observed in A-T cells. Heptanoate enhances ER-mitochondrial contacts; increases the flow of calcium from the ER to the mitochondrion; restores normal mitochondrial function and mitophagy and increases the resistance of ATM-deficient cells and cells from A-T patients to metabolic stress-induced killing. The defect in mitochondrial function in ATM-deficient cells was accompanied by more reliance on aerobic glycolysis as shown by increased lactate dehydrogenase A (LDHA), accumulation of lactate, and reduced levels of both acetyl CoA and ATP which are all restored by heptanoate.

Conclusions

We conclude that heptanoate corrects metabolic stress in A-T cells by restoring ER-mitochondria signalling and mitochondrial function and suggest that the parent compound, triheptanoin, has immense potential as a novel therapeutic agent for patients with A-T.

An anaplerotic approach to correct the mitochondrial dysfunction in ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T)

A.J. Yeo, G.N. Subramanian, K.L. Chong, M. Gatei, ... M.F. Lavin

Background

ATM, the protein defective in the human genetic disorder, ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T) plays a central role in response to DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) and in protecting the cell against oxidative stress. We showed that A-T cells are hypersensitive to metabolic stress which can be accounted for by a failure to exhibit efficient endoplasmic reticulum(ER)-mitochondrial signalling and Ca2+ transfer in response to nutrient deprivation resulting in mitochondrial dysfunction. The objective of the current study is to use an anaplerotic approach using the fatty acid, heptanoate (C7), a metabolic product of the triglyceridetriheptanoin to correct the defect in ER-mitochondrial signalling and enhance cell survival of A-T cells in response to metabolic stress.

Methods

We treated control cells and A-T cells with the anaplerotic agent, heptanoate to determine their sensitivity to metabolic stress induced by inhibition of glycolysis with 2- deoxyglucose (2DG) using live-cell imaging to monitor cell survival for 72 h using the Incucyte system. We examined ER-mitochondrial signalling in A-T cells exposed to metabolic stress using a suite of techniques including immunofluorescence staining of Grp75, ER-mitochondrial Ca2+ channel, the VAPB-PTPIP51 ER-mitochondrial tether complexes as well as proximity ligation assays between Grp75-IP3R1 and VAPB1-PTPIP51 to establish a functional interaction between ER and mitochondria. Finally, we also performed metabolomicanalysis using LC-MS/MS assay to determine altered levels of TCA intermediates A-T cells compared to healthy control cells.

Results

We demonstrate that heptanoate corrects all aspects of the defective ER-mitochondrial signalling observed in A-T cells. Heptanoate enhances ER-mitochondrial contacts; increases the flow of calcium from the ER to the mitochondrion; restores normal mitochondrial function and mitophagy and increases the resistance of ATM-deficient cells and cells from A-T patients to metabolic stress-induced killing. The defect in mitochondrial function in ATM-deficient cells was accompanied by more reliance on aerobic glycolysis as shown by increased lactate dehydrogenase A (LDHA), accumulation of lactate, and reduced levels of both acetyl CoA and ATP which are all restored by heptanoate.

Conclusions

We conclude that heptanoate corrects metabolic stress in A-T cells by restoring ER-mitochondria signalling and mitochondrial function and suggest that the parent compound, triheptanoin, has immense potential as a novel therapeutic agent for patients with A-T.

2020 impact factor: 7.4

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