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Zhifu Xie, Yufeng Li, Long Cheng, Yidan Huang, Wanglin Rao, Honglu Shi, Jingya Li · 06 Jul 2024 loae029

Current treatment paradigms for metabolic dysfunction-associated steatohepatitis (MASH) are based primarily on dietary restrictions and the use of existing drugs, including anti-diabetic and anti-obesity medications. However, given the limited number of approved drugs specifically for MASH, recent efforts have focused on promising strategies that specifically target hepatic lipid metabolism, inflammation, fibrosis, or a combination of these processes. In this review, we examined the pathophysiology underlying the development of MASH in relation to recent advances in effective MASH therapy. Particularly, we analyzed the effects of lipogenesis inhibitors, nuclear receptor agonists, glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor (GLP-1R) agonists, fibroblast growth factor mimetics, and combinatorial therapeutic approaches. We summarize these targets along with their preclinical and clinical candidates with the ultimate goal of optimizing the therapeutic prospects for MASH.

Maria Delgado-Martin, Qiaoqiao Zhang, Lawrence Kazak · 28 Jun 2024 loae028


Nan Yin, Dan Zhang, Jiqiu Wang · 22 Jun 2024 loae027


Fenghua Xu, Shoujie Zhao, Yejing Zhu, Jun Zhu, Lingyang Kong, Huichen Li, Shouzheng Ma, Bo Wang, Yongquan Qu, Zhimin Tian, Junlong Zhao, Lei Liu · 18 Jun 2024 loae026

Metabolic dysfunction-associated steatohepatitis (MASH) is one of the most common chronic liver diseases and is mainly caused by metabolic disorders and systemic inflammatory responses. Recent studies have indicated that the activation of the mammalian (or mechanistic) target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling participates in MASH progression by facilitating lipogenesis and regulating the immune microenvironment. Although several molecular medicines have been demonstrated to inhibit the phosphorylation or activation of mTOR, their poor specificity and side effects limit their clinical application in MASH treatment. Phytic acid (PA), as an endogenous and natural antioxidant in the liver, presents significant anti-inflammatory and lipid metabolism-inhibiting functions to alleviate MASH. In this study, considering the unique phosphate-rich structure of PA, we developed a cerium-PA (CePA) nanocomplex by combining PA with cerium ions possessing phosphodiesterase activity. CePA intervened in the S2448 phosphorylation of mTOR through the occupation effect of phosphate groups, thereby inhibiting the inflammatory response and mTOR-sterol regulatory element-binding protein 1 (SREBP1) regulation axis. The in vivo experiments suggested that CePA alleviated MASH progression and fat accumulation in high-fat diet-fed mice. Mechanistic studies validated that CePA exerts a liver-targeted mTOR repressive function, making it a promising candidate for MASH and other mTOR-related disease treatments.

Chao Zhai, Nan Zhang, Xi-Xia Li, Xue-Ke Tan, Fei Sun, Meng-Qiu Dong · 13 Jun 2024 loae025

Vitellogenins (VITs) are the most abundant proteins in adult hermaphrodite Caenorhabditis elegans. VITs are synthesized in the intestine, secreted to the pseudocoelom, matured into yolk proteins, and finally deposited in oocytes as nutrients for progeny developme nt. How VITs are secreted out of the intestine remains unclear. Using immuno-electron microscopy (immuno-EM), we localize intestinal VITs along an exocytic pathway consisting of the rough endoplasmic reticulum (ER), the Golgi, and the lipid bilayer-bounded VIT vesicles (VVs). This suggests that the classic exocytotic pathway mediates the secretion of VITs from the intestine to the pseudocoelom. We also show that pseudocoelomic yolk patches (PYPs) are membrane-less and amorphous. The different VITs/yolk proteins are packed as a mixture into the above structures. The size of VVs can vary with the VIT levels and the age of the worm. On adult day 2 (AD 2), intestinal VVs (~200 nm in diameter) are smaller than gonadal yolk organelles (YOs, ~500 nm in diameter). VVs, PYPs, and YOs share a uniform medium electron density by conventional EM. The morphological profiles documented in this study serve as a reference for future studies of VITs/yolk proteins.

Hadrien Demagny, Alessia Perino, Kristina Schoonjan · 13 Jun 2024 loae023


Peter U Amadi, Da-Wei Zhang · 07 Jun 2024 loae024


Wei Zhang, Mengxiao Wang, Enci Wang, Wei Lu, Zengxia Li, Yuchong Zhang, Gaofei Hu, Qi Zhang, Wenxin Shan, Yongjun Dang, Zhe Zhao, Lemin Zheng, Weiguo Fu, Lixin Wang · 03 Jun 2024 loae022


Wuxiyar Otkur, Yiran Zhang, Yirong Li, Wenjun Bao, Tingze Feng, Bo Wu, Yaolu Ma, Jing Shi, Li Wang, Shaojun Pei, Wen Wang, Jixia Wang, Yaopeng Zhao, Yanfang Liu, Xiuling Li, Tian Xia, Fangjun Wang, Di Chen, Xinmiao Liang, Hai-long Piao · 31 May 2024 loae021

Metabolic dysfunction-associated steatotic liver disease (MASLD) is a metabolic disease that can progress to metabolic dysfunction-associated steatohepatitis (MASH), cirrhosis, and cancer. The zonal distribution of biomolecules in the liver is implicated in mediating the disease progression. Recently, G-protein-coupled receptor 35 (GPR35) has been highlighted to play a role in MASLD, but the precise mechanism is not fully understood, particularly, in a liver-zonal manner. Here, we aimed to identify spatially distributed specific genes and metabolites in different liver zonation that are regulated by GPR35 in MASLD, by combining lipid metabolomics, spatial transcriptomics (ST), and spatial metabolomics (SM). We found that GPR35 influenced lipid accumulation, inflammatory and metabolism-related factors in specific regions, notably affecting the anti-inflammation factor ELF4 (E74 like E-twenty six (ETS) transcription factor 4), lipid homeostasis key factor CIDEA (cell death-inducing DNA fragmentation factor alpha (DFFA)-like effector A), and the injury response-related genes serum amyloid A1/2/3 (SAA1/2/3), thereby impacting MASLD progression. Furthermore, SM elucidated specific metabolite distributions across different liver regions, such as C10H11N4O7P (3',5'-cyclic inosine monophosphate (3',5'-IMP)) for the central vein, and this metabolite significantly decreased in the liver zones of GPR35-deficient mice during MASLD progression. Taken together, GPR35 regulates hepatocyte damage repair, controls inflammation, and prevents MASLD progression by influencing phospholipid homeostasis and gene expression in a zonal manner

Wen Li, Mingyue Dong, Kaiyu Gao, Jialiang Guan, Ying Liu · 28 May 2024 loae020


Callen C Goldsmith, Garron T Dodd · 24 May 2024 loae019


Ningning Liang, Xuan Yuan, Lili Zhang, Xia Shen, Shanshan Zhong, Luxiao Li, Rui Li, Xiaodong Xu, Xin Chen, Chunzhao Yin, Shuyuan Guo, Jing Ge, Mingjiang Zhu, Yongzhen Tao, Shiting Chen, Yongbing Qian, Nicola Dalbeth, Tony R Merriman, Robert Terkeltaub, Changgui Li, Qiang Xia, Huiyong Yin · 17 May 2024 loae018

Dyslipidemia affects approximately half of all people with gout, and prior Mendelian randomization analysis suggested a causal role for elevated triglycerides in hyperuricemia (HU), but the underlying mechanisms remain elusive. We hypothesize that dyslipidemia promotes hepatic urate biosynthesis in HU and gout and fatty acid (FA) oxidation (FAO) drives this process. Here we developed a targeted metabolomics to quantify major metabolites in purine metabolic pathway in the sera of a human cohort with HU, gout, and normaluricemic controls. We found that the levels of major purine metabolites and multiple FAs were significantly elevated in HU and gout, compared to normouricemic controls, whereas hypoxathine showed opposite trend. Furthermore, the levels of multiple serum FAs were positively correlated with urate, xanthine, and inosine but negatively with hypoxanthine, which was also observed in a murine model of high-fat diet-induced HU. Using a stable isotope labeled metabolic flux assay, we discovered that exogenous hypoxanthine plays a key role in urate synthesis. Moreover, FAO-induced hypoxia-inducible factor 1 alpha (HIF-1α) activation upregulated 5’-nucleotidase II (NT5C2) and xanthine dehydrogenase (XDH) levels to facilitate hypoxanthine uptake from blood to liver and activation of urate biosynthesis. Our findings was further supported by data in human hepatocytes and 50 paired serum and liver tissues from liver transplant donors.Together, this study uncovers a mechanism by which FAO promotes hepatic urate synthesis by activating HIF-1α-NT5C2/XDH pathways, directly linking lipid metabolism to HU.

Zhanya Huang, Yuanjun Tang, Jianlin Zhang, Jiaqi Huang, Rui Cheng, Yunyun Guo, Celina G Kleer, Yuqing Wang, Lixiang Xue · 06 May 2024 loae017

Histone methylation plays a crucial role in tumorigenesis. Enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2) is a histone methyltransferase that regulates chromatin structure and gene expression. EZH2 inhibitors (EZH2is) have been shown to be effective in treating hematologic malignancies, while their effectiveness in solid tumors remains limited. One of the major challenges in the treatment of solid tumors is their hypoxic tumor microenvironment. Hypoxia-inducible factor 1-alpha (HIF-1α) is a key hypoxia responder that interacts with EZH2 to promote tumor progression. Here we discuss the implications of the relationship between EZH2 and hypoxia for expanding the application of EZH2is in solid tumors.

Wen Mi, Jianwei You, Liucheng Li, Lingzhi Zhu, Xinyi Xia, Li Yang, Fei Li, Yi Xu, Junfeng Bi, Pingyu Liu, Li Chen, Fuming Li · 26 Apr 2024 loae016

Bromodomain and extra-terminal domain (BET) proteins, which function partly through MYC proto-oncogene (MYC), are critical epigenetic readers and emerging therapeutic targets in cancer. Whether and how BET inhibition simultaneously induces metabolic remodeling in cancer cells remains unclear. Here we find that even transient BET inhibition by JQ-1 and other pan-BETi blunts liver cancer cell proliferation and tumor growth. BET inhibition decreases glycolytic gene expression but enhances mitochondrial glucose and glutamine oxidative metabolism revealed by metabolomics and isotope labeling analysis. Specifically, BET inhibition downregulates miR-30a to upregulate glutamate dehydrogenase 1 (GDH1) independent of MYC, which produces α-ketoglutarate for mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS). Targeting GDH1 or OXPHOS is synthetic lethal to BET inhibition, and combined BET and OXPHOS inhibition therapeutically prevents liver tumor growth in vitro and in vivo. Together, we uncover an important epigenetic-metabolic crosstalk whereby BET inhibition induces MYC-independent and GDH1-dependent glutamine metabolic remodeling that can be exploited for innovative combination therapy of liver cancer.

Jacques Togo, Hoon-Ki Sung · 25 Apr 2024 loae015


Zhongsheng Wu, Yongtao Du, Tom Kirchhausen, Kangmin He · 13 Apr 2024 loae014

Distinct phospholipid species display specific distribution patterns across cellular membranes, important for their structural and signaling roles and for preserving the integrity and functionality of the plasma membrane and organelles. Recent advancements in lipid biosensor technology and imaging modalities now allow for direct observation of phospholipid distribution, trafficking, and dynamics in living cells. These innovations have markedly advanced our understanding of phospholipid function and regulation at both cellular and subcellular levels. Herein, we summarize the latest developments in phospholipid biosensor design and application, emphasizing the contribution of cutting-edge imaging techniques to elucidating phospholipid dynamics and distribution with unparalleled spatiotemporal precision.

Qiankun Wang, Lupeng Chen, Junzhi Zhang, Yue Liu, Yi Jin, Jian Wu, Zhuqing Ren · 03 Apr 2024 loae012

Obesity is considered an epidemic often accompanied by insulin resistance (IR). Heat treatment (HT) has been shown to prevent high-fat diet-induced IR in skeletal muscle, but the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. In this study, we discovered that high temperature alleviated the hallmarks of obesity by promoting glycogen synthesis and lowering blood glucose levels in skeletal muscle tissue (SMT). Additionally, HT maintained the decay phase of heat shock factor 1 (HSF1), leading to the activation of gene expression of heat shock proteins (HSPs), which contributed to the alleviation of IR in SMT of diet-induced obese (DIO) mice. Metabolomics and lipidomics analyses showed that HT promoted ceramide (Cer) breakdown, resulting in an elevation of both sphingomyelin (SM) and sphingosine, which further contributed to the amelioration of IR in SMT of DIO mice. Importantly, the increase in sphingosine was attributed to the heightened expression of the acid ceramidase N-acylsphingosine amidohydrolase 1 (ASAH1), and the inhibition of ASAH1 attenuated HT-relieved IR in SMT of DIO mice. Surprisingly, high temperature increased the composition of Cer and cholesteryl ester in lipid droplets of skeletal muscle cells. This not only helped alleviate IR but also prevented lipotoxicity in SMT of DIO mice. These findings revealed a previously unknown connection between a high-temperature environment and sphingolipid metabolism in obesity, suggesting that high temperature can improve IR by promoting Cer catabolism in SMT of obese mice.

Pingyu Liu, Hongbin Ji, Fuming Li · 02 Apr 2024 loae013


Tristram A J Ryan, Ivan Zanoni · 26 Mar 2024 loae011


John R Speakman · 20 Mar 2024 loae007


Zhen Cao, Lei Lei, Ziyun Zhou, Shimeng Xu, Linlin Wang, Weikang Gong, Qi Zhang, Bin Pan, Gaoxin Zhang, Quan Yuan, Liujuan Cui, Min Zheng, Tao Xu, You Wang, Shuyan Zhang, Pingsheng Liu · 14 Mar 2024 loae010

It is crucial to understand the glucose control within our bodies. Bariatric/metabolic surgeries, including laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy (LSG) and Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB), provide an avenue for exploring the potential key factors involved in maintaining glucose homeostasis since these surgeries have shown promising results in improving glycemic control among patients with severe type 2 diabetes (T2D). For the first time, a markedly altered population of serum proteins in patients after LSG was discovered and analyzed through proteomics. Apolipoprotein A-IV (apoA-IV) was revealed to be increased dramatically in diabetic obese patients following LSG, and a similar effect was observed in patients after RYGB surgery. Moreover, recombinant protein apoA-IV treatment was proven to enhance insulin secretion in isolated human islets. These results showed that apoA-IV may play a crucial role in glycemic control in humans, potentially through enhancing insulin secretion in human islets. ApoA-IV was further shown to enhance energy expenditure and improve glucose tolerance in diabetic rodents, through stimulating glucose-dependent insulin secretion in pancreatic β cells, partially via Gαs-coupled GPCR/cAMP (G protein-coupled receptor-cyclic adenosine monophosphate) signaling. Furthermore, T55−121, truncated peptide 55−121 of apoA-IV, was discovered to mediate the function of apoA-IV. These collective findings contribute to our understanding of the relationship between apoA-IV and glycemic control, highlighting its potential as a biomarker or therapeutic target in managing and improving glucose regulation.

Yajuan Deng, Xiaoyu Yang, Xueru Ye, Youwen Yuan, Yanan Zhang, Fei Teng, Danming You, Xuan Zhou, Wenhui Liu, Kangli Li, Shenjian Luo, Zhi Yang, Ruxin Chen, Guojun Shi, Jin Li, Huijie Zhang · 07 Mar 2024 loae009

Atherosclerosis is the major contributor to cardiovascular mortality worldwide. Alternate day fasting (ADF) has gained growing attention due to its metabolic benefits. However, the effects of ADF on atherosclerotic plaque formation remain inconsistent and controversial in atherosclerotic animal models. The present study was designed to investigate the effect of ADF on atherosclerosis in apolipoprotein E-deficient (Apoe−/−) mice. Eleven-week-old male Apoe−/− mice fed with Western diet (WD) were randomly grouped into ad libitum (AL) group and ADF group, and ADF aggravated both the early and advanced atherosclerotic lesion formation, which might be due to the disturbed cholesterol profiles caused by ADF intervention. ADF significantly altered cholesterol metabolism pathways and down-regulated integrated stress response (ISR) in the liver. The hepatic expression of activating transcription factor 3 (ATF3) was suppressed in mice treated with ADF and hepatocyte-specific overexpression of ATF3 attenuated the effects of ADF on atherosclerotic plaque formation in Apoe−/− mice. Moreover, the expression of ATF3 could be regulated by Krüppel-like factor 6 (KLF6) and both the expressions of ATF3 and KLF6 were regulated by hepatic cellular ISR pathway. In conclusion, ADF aggravates atherosclerosis progression in Apoe−/− mice fed on WD. ADF inhibits the hepatic ISR signaling pathway and decreases the expression of KLF6, subsequently inhibiting ATF3 expression. The suppressed ATF3 expression in the liver mediates the deteriorated effects of ADF on atherosclerosis in Apoe−/− mice. The findings suggest the potentially harmful effects when ADF intervention is applied to the population at high risk of atherosclerosis.

Ruoxi Zhang, Guido Kroemer, Daolin Tang · 06 Mar 2024 loae008

Ferroptosis, characterized by lipid peroxidation-mediated cell demise, is governed by a nuanced interplay of lipid species influencing its vulnerability. Two recent publications in Nature discovered 7-dehydrocholesterol, a cholesterol precursor, as a radical-trapping antioxidant that can suppress ferroptosis, thereby presenting a novel metabolic target to improve ferroptosis-related cancer therapy.

Zhi-Tian Chen, Zhi-Xuan Weng, Jiandie D Lin, Zhuo-Xian Meng · 02 Mar 2024 loae006

Skeletal muscle plays a vital role in the regulation of systemic metabolism, partly through its secretion of endocrine factors which are collectively known as myokines. Altered myokine levels are associated with metabolic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes (T2D). The significance of interorgan crosstalk, particularly through myokines, has emerged as a fundamental aspect of nutrient and energy homeostasis. However, a comprehensive understanding of myokine biology in the setting of obesity and T2D remains a major challenge. In this review, we discuss the regulation and biological functions of key myokines that have been extensively studied during the past two decades, namely interleukin 6 (IL-6), irisin, myostatin (MSTN), growth differentiation factor 11 (GDF11), fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21), apelin, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), meteorin-like (Metrnl), secreted protein acidic and rich in cysteine (SPARC), β-aminoisobutyric acid (BAIBA), Musclin, and Dickkopf-3 (Dkk3). Related to these, we detail the role of exercise in myokine expression and secretion together with their contributions to metabolic physiology and disease. Despite significant advancements in myokine research, many myokines remain challenging to measure accurately and investigate thoroughly. Hence, new research techniques and detection methods should be developed and rigorously tested. Therefore, developing a comprehensive perspective on myokine biology is crucial, as this will likely offer new insights into the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying obesity and T2D and may reveal novel targets for therapeutic interventions.

Qingran Kong, Shaorong Gao · 28 Feb 2024 loae005

The dynamic changes in lipids during early embryonic development in mammals have not yet been comprehensively investigated. In a recent paper published in Nature Cell Biology, Jin Zhang et al. reported the dynamic lipid landscapes during preimplantation embryonic development in mice and humans. They highlight the crucial role of lipid unsaturation in regulating embryogenesis.

Yang Liu, Shu-Wen Qian, Yan Tang, Qi-Qun Tang · 20 Jan 2024 loae003

In addition to their pivotal roles in energy storage and expenditure, adipose tissues play a crucial part in the secretion of bioactive molecules, including peptides, lipids, metabolites, and extracellular vesicles, in response to physiological stimulation and metabolic stress. These secretory factors, through autocrine and paracrine mechanisms, regulate various processes within adipose tissues. These processes include adipogenesis, glucose and lipid metabolism, inflammation, and adaptive thermogenesis, all of which are essential for the maintenance of the balance and functionality of the adipose tissue micro-environment. A subset of these adipose-derived secretory factors can enter the circulation and target the distant tissues to regulate appetite, cognitive function, energy expenditure, insulin secretion and sensitivity, gluconeogenesis, cardiovascular remodeling, and exercise capacity. In this review, we highlight the role of adipose-derived secretory factors and their signaling pathways in modulating metabolic homeostasis. Furthermore, we delve into the alterations in both the content and secretion processes of these factors under various physiological and pathological conditions, shedding light on potential pharmacological treatment strategies for related diseases.

Jie Li, Yue Dong, Tianxing Zhou, He Tian, Xiahe Huang, Yong Q Zhang, Yingchun Wang, Sin Man Lam, Guanghou Shui · 18 Jan 2024 loae004

Interorgan lipid transport is crucial for organism development and the maintenance of physiological function. Here, we demonstrate that Drosophila long-chain acyl-CoA synthetase (dAcsl), which catalyzes the conversion of fatty acids into acyl-coenzyme As (acyl-CoAs), plays a critical role in regulating systemic lipid homeostasis. dAcsl deficiency in the fat body leads to the ectopic accumulation of neutral lipids in the gut, along with significantly reduced lipoprotein contents in both the fat body and hemolymph. The aberrant phenotypes were rescued by fat body-specific overexpression of apolipophorin. A multi-omics investigation comprising lipidomics, metabolomics, and proteomics in conjunction with genetic screening revealed that glycosylation processes were suppressed in dAcsl knockdowns. Overexpression of CG9035, human ortholog of which is implicated in the congenital disorder of glycosylation, ameliorated gut lipid accumulation in Drosophila. Aberrant lipoprotein glycosylation led to accelerated proteasome-related degradation and induced ER stress in dAcsl knockdown flies, impairing lipoprotein release into the circulation which compromised interorgan lipid transport between the fat body and the gut. Inhibition of ubiquitin-proteasome-dependent degradation alleviated the phenotype of gut ectopic fat accumulation in dAcsl knockdowns. Finally, we verified that ACSL4, the human homolog of dAcsl, also regulated lipoprotein levels in HepG2 cells, indicating that the role of dAcsl in modulating lipoprotein secretion and systemic lipid homeostasis is possibly conserved in humans.

Tongxing Song, Ming Qi, Yucheng Zhu, Nan Wang, Zhibo Liu, Na Li, Jiacheng Yang, Yanxu Han, Jing Wang, Shiyu Tao, Zhuqing Ren, Yulong Yin, Jinshui Zheng, Bie Tan · 17 Jan 2024 load052

Postnatal growth retardation (PGR) frequently occurs during early postnatal development of piglets and induces high mortality. To date, the mechanism of PGR remains poorly understood. Adipose tissue-derived microbes have been documented to be associated with several disorders of metabolism and body growth. However, the connection between microbial disturbance of adipose tissue and pig PGR remains unclear. Here, we investigated piglets with PGR, and found that the adipose tissue of PGR piglets was characterized by metabolism impairment, adipose abnormality, and specific enrichment of culturable bacteria from Proteobacteria. Gavage of Sphingomonas paucimobilis, a species of Sphingomonas genus from the alphaproteobacteria, induced PGR in piglets. Moreover, this bacterium could also lead to metabolic disorders and susceptibility to acute stress, resulting in weight loss in mice. Mechanistically, multi-omics analysis indicated the changes in lipid metabolism as a response of adipose tissue to abnormal microbial composition. Further experimental test proved that one of the altered lipids phosphatidylethanolamines could rescue the metabolism disorder and growth retardation, thereby suppressing the amount of Sphingomonas in the adipose tissue. Together, these results highlight that the microbe-host crosstalk may regulate the metabolic function of adipose tissue in response to PGR.

Yuanlin Zhao, Ying Yang, Risheng Yang, Chao Sun, Xing Gao, Xiwen Gu, Yuan Yuan, Yating Nie, Shenhui Xu, Ruili Han, Lijun Zhang, Jing Li, Peizhen Hu, Yingmei Wang, Huangtao Chen, Xiangmei Cao, Jing Wu, Zhe Wang, Yu Gu, Jing Ye · 15 Jan 2024 loae002

Isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) mutations frequently occurr in lower-grade gliomas and secondary glioblastomas. Mutant IDHs exhibit a gain-of-function activity, leading to the production of D-2-hydroxyglutarate (D-2HG) by reducing α-ketoglutarate (α-KG), a central player in metabolism and epigenetic modifications. However, the role of α-KG homeostasis in IDH-mutated gliomagenesis remains elusive. In this study, we found that low expression of oxoglutarate dehydrogenase (OGDH) is a common feature in IDH-mutated gliomas, as well as in astrocytes. This low expression of OGDH results in the accumulation of α-KG and promotes astrocyte maturation. However, IDH1 mutation significantly reduces α-KG levels, and increases glutaminolysis and DNA/histone methylation in astrocytes. These metabolic and epigenetic alterations inhibit astrocyte maturation, and lead to cortical dysplasia in mice. Moreover, our results also indicated that reduced OGDH expression can promote the differentiation of glioma cells, while IDH1 mutations impeded the differentiation of glioma cells with low OGDH by reducing the accumulation of α-K and increasing glutaminolysis. Finally, we found that L-glutamine increased α-KG levels and augmented the differentiation-promoting effects of AGI5198, an IDH1-mutant inhibitor, in IDH1-mutant glioma cells. Collectively, this study reveals that low OGDH expression is a crucial metabolic characteristic of IDH-mutant gliomas, providing a potential strategy for the treatment of IDH-mutant gliomas by targeting α-KG homeostasis.

Haoming Luan, Tiffany Horng · 05 Jan 2024 loae001


Anna S Monzel, Michael Levin, Martin Picard · 27 Dec 2023 load051

Major life transitions are always difficult because change costs energy. Recent findings have demonstrated how mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OxPhos) defects increase the energetic cost of living, and that excessive integrated stress response (ISR) signaling may prevent cellular identity transitions during development. In this perspective, we discuss general bioenergetic principles of life transitions and the costly molecular processes involved in reprograming the cellular hardware/software as cells shift identity. The energetic cost of cellular differentiation has not been directly quantified, representing a gap in knowledge. We propose that the ISR is an energetic checkpoint evolved to i) prevent OxPhos-deficient cells from engaging in excessively costly transitions, and ii) allow ISR-positive cells to recruit systemic energetic resources by signaling via the brain.

Qinchao Ding, Rui Guo, Liuyi Hao, Qing Song, Ai Fu, Shanglei Lai, Tiantian Xu, Hui Zhuge, Kaixin Chang, Yanli Chen, Haibin Wei, Daxi Ren, Zhaoli Sun, Zhenyuan Song, Xiaobing Dou, Songtao Li · 18 Dec 2023 load050

Emerging evidence discloses the involvement of calcium channel protein in the pathological process of liver diseases. Transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily C member 3 (TRPC3), a ubiquitously expressed non-selective cation channel protein, controls proliferation, inflammation, and immune response via operating calcium influx in various organs. However, our understanding on the biofunction of hepatic TRPC3 is still limited. The present study aims to clarify the role and potential mechanism(s) of TRPC3 in alcohol-associated liver disease (ALD). We recently found that TRPC3 expression plays an important role in the disease process of ALD. Alcohol exposure led to a significant reduction of hepatic TRPC3 in patients with alcohol-related hepatitis (AH) and ALD models. Antioxidants (N-acetylcysteine and mitoquinone) intervention improved alcohol-induced suppression of TRPC3 via a miR-339-5p-involved mechanism. TRPC3 loss robustly aggravated the alcohol-induced hepatic steatosis and liver injury in mouse liver; this was associated with the suppression of Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase kinase 2 (CAMKK2)/AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and dysregulation of genes related to lipid metabolism. TRPC3 loss also enhanced hepatic inflammation and early fibrosis-like change in mice. Replenishing hepatic TRPC3 effectively reversed chronic alcohol-induced detrimental alterations in ALD mice. Briefly, chronic alcohol exposure-induced TRPC3 reduction contributes to the pathological development of ALD via suppression of the CAMKK2/AMPK pathway. Oxidative stress-stimulated miR-339-5p upregulation contributes to alcohol-reduced TRPC3. TRPC3 is requisite and a potential target to defend alcohol consumption-caused ALD.

Xiaoli Ma, Hong Zhang · 09 Dec 2023 load049


Jameel Barkat Lone, Jonathan Z Long, Katrin J Svensson · 08 Dec 2023 load048

The endocrine system is a fundamental type of long-range cell-cell communication that is important for maintaining metabolism, physiology, and other aspects of organismal homeostasis. Endocrine signaling is mediated by diverse blood-borne ligands, also called hormones, including metabolites, lipids, steroids, peptides, and proteins. The size and structure of these hormones are fine-tuned to make them bioactive, responsive, and adaptable to meet the demands of changing environments. Why has nature selected such diverse ligand types to mediate communication in the endocrine system? What is the chemical, signaling, or physiologic logic of these ligands? What fundamental principles from our knowledge of endocrine communication can be applied as we continue as a field to uncover additional new circulating molecules that are claimed to mediate long-range cell and tissue crosstalk? This review provides a framework based on the biochemical logic behind this crosstalk with respect to their chemistry, temporal regulation in physiology, specificity, signaling actions, and evolutionary development.

Xiuxiu Liu, Bin Zhou · 01 Dec 2023 load047

The metabolic state of a cell is closely related to its structure and function in adult mammalian cardiomyocytes. These adult cardiomyocytes primarily use fatty acids as an energy substrate to support heart contraction. Recently, Li and his colleagues reported that inhibiting fatty acid oxidation in cardiomyocytes keeps them in an immature state. This influences epigenomic modifications and ultimately increases the proliferation capacity of the cardiomyocytes.

David Sokolov, Lucas B Sullivan · 27 Nov 2023 load046

In addition to their canonical roles in biosynthetic pathways, metabolites can be active participants in oncogenic signaling, but our understanding of these signaling mechanisms is incomplete. In a recent article published in Cell, Mossmann and colleagues find a novel signaling role for accumulated arginine in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), mediated by the RNA splicing factor and transcriptional modifier RNA-binding protein 39 (RBM39).

Limin Xie, Wanyu Hu, Haowei Zhang, Yujin Ding, Qin Zeng, Xiyan Liao, Dandan Wang, Wanqin Xie, Xiaoyan Hui, Tuo Deng · 21 Nov 2023 load045

Regardless of its anatomical site, adipose tissue shares a common energy-storage role but exhibits distinctive properties. Exploring the cellular and molecular heterogeneity of white adipose tissue (WAT) is crucial for comprehending its function and properties. However, existing single-nucleus RNA sequencing (snRNA-seq) studies of adipose tissue heterogeneity have examined only one or two depots. In this study, we employed snRNA-seq to test five representative depots including inguinal, epididymal, mesenteric, perirenal, and pericardial adipose tissues in mice under physiological conditions. By analyzing the contents of main cell categories and gene profiles of various depots, we identified their distinctive physiological properties. Immune cells and fibro-adipogenic progenitor cells (FAPs) showed dramatic differences among WAT depots, while adipocytes seemed to be conserved. The heightened presence of regulatory macrophages and B cells in pericardial adipose tissues implied their potential contribution to the preservation of coronary vascular function. Moreover, the selective aggregation of pericytes within mesenteric adipose tissue was likely associated with the maintenance of intestinal barrier homeostasis. Using a combination of RNA sequencing and snRNA-seq analysis, the major subpopulations of FAPs derived from these depots determined the site characteristics of FAPs to a certain extent. Our work establishes a systematic and reliable foundation for investigating the heterogeneity of WAT depots and elucidating the unique roles these depots play in coordinating the function of adjacent organs.

Tiange Feng, Yuan Liang, Lijun Sun, Lu Feng, Jiajie Min, Michael W Mulholland, Yue Yin, Weizhen Zhang · 21 Nov 2023 load044

The “gut-liver axis” is critical for the control of hepatic lipid homeostasis, where the intestine affects the liver through multiple pathways such as nutrient uptake, gastrointestinal hormone release, and gut microbiota homeostasis. Whether intestine-originated exosomes mediate the gut’s influence on liver steatosis remains unknown. Here we aimed to determine whether intestinal epithelium-derived exosomes (intExos) contribute to the regulation of hepatic lipid metabolism. We found that mouse intExos could be taken up by hepatic cells. Mice fed high-fat diet (HFD) received intExos showed strong resistance to liver steatosis. MicroRNA sequencing of intExos indicated the correlation between miR-21a-5p/miR-145a-5p and hepatic lipid metabolism. Both liver overexpression of miR-21a-5p and intExos containing miR-21a-5p alleviated hepatic steatosis in mice fed with HFD. Mechanistically, miR-21a-5p suppressed the expression of Ccl1 (C-C motif chemokine ligand 1) in macrophages, as well as lipid transport genes Cd36 (cluster of differentiation 36) and Fabp7 (fatty acid binding protein 7) in hepatocytes. Liver-specific inhibition of miR-145a-5p significantly reduced hepatic lipid accumulation in mice fed with HFD through negatively regulating the expression of Btg1 (BTG anti-proliferation factor 1), leading to an increase of stearoyl-CoA desaturase-1 and lipogenesis.Our study demonstrates that intExos regulate hepatic lipid metabolism and NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease) progression via miR-21a-5p and miR-145a-5p pathways, providing novel mediators for the gut-liver crosstalk and potential targets for regulating hepatic lipid metabolism.

Yuelong Yan, Boyi Gan · 18 Nov 2023 load042


Oliver K Fuller, Casey L Egan, Tina L Robinson, Nimna Perera, Heidy K Latchman, Lauren V Terry, Emma D McLennan, Carolina Chavez, Emma L Burrows, John W Scott, Robyn M Murphy, Henriette van Praag, Martin Whitham, Mark A Febbraio · 15 Nov 2023 load043

Obesity has been linked to a range of pathologies, including dementia. In contrast, regular physical activity is associated with the prevention or reduced progression of neurodegeneration. Specifically, physical activity can improve memory and spatial cognition, reduce age-related cognitive decline, and preserve brain volume, but the mechanisms are not fully understood. Accordingly, we investigated whether any detrimental effects of high-fat diet (HFD)-induced obesity on cognition, motor behavior, adult hippocampal neurogenesis, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) could be mitigated by voluntary exercise training in male C57Bl/6 mice. HFD-induced impairment of motor function was not reversed by exercise. Importantly, voluntary wheel running improved long-term memory and increased hippocampal neurogenesis, suggesting that regular physical activity may prevent cognitive decline in obesity.

Shuo Wang, Lingling Zhang, Jingyu Zhao, Meijuan Bai, Yijun Lin, Qianqian Chu, Jue Gong, Ju Qiu, Yan Chen · 06 Nov 2023 load041

The monocarboxylate transporter 1 (MCT1), encoded by gene Slc16a1, is a proton-coupled transporter for lactate and other monocarboxylates. MCT1-mediated lactate transport was recently found to regulate various biological functions. However, how MCT1 and lactate in the intestine modulate the physiology and pathophysiology of the body is unclear. In this study, we generated a mouse model with specific deletion of Slc16a1 in the intestinal epithelium (Slc16a1IKO mice) and investigated the functions of MCT1 in the gut. When fed a high-fat diet, Slc16a1IKO male mice had improvement in glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity, while Slc16a1IKO female mice only had increased adiposity. Deficiency of intestinal MCT1 in male mice was associated with downregulation of pro-inflammatory pathways, together with decreased circulating levels of inflammatory cytokines including tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) and C-C motif chemokine ligand 2 (CCL2). Lactate had a stimulatory effect on pro-inflammatory macrophages in vitro. The number of intestinal macrophages was reduced in Slc16a1IKO male mice in vivo. Intestinal deletion of Slc16a1 in male mice reduced interstitial lactate level in the intestine. In addition, treatment of male mice with estrogen lowered interstitial lactate level in the intestine and abolished the difference of glucose homeostasis between Slc16a1IKO and wild-type mice. Deficiency of intestinal MCT1 also blocked transport of lactate and short-chain fatty acids from the intestine to the portal vein. The effect of Slc16a1 deletion on glucose homeostasis in male mice was partly mediated by alterations in gut microbiota. In conclusion, our work reveals that intestinal MCT1 regulates glucose homeostasis in a sex-dependent manner.

Yawei Wang, Xin Feng, Wenjing Zhou, Runze Huang, Yating Hu, Hui Hui, Jie Tian, Xiao Wang, Xiao-Wei Chen · 26 Oct 2023 load040

Precise control of circulating lipid levels is vital in both health and disease. We recently uncovered that bulk lipids, transported by lipoproteins, enter the circulation initially via the coat protein complex II (COPII) in a condensation-dependent manner. Divalent manganese, acting as a signaling messenger, selectively controls COPII condensation to regulate lipid homeostasis in vivo. Here we present evidence for a manganese-based therapy in murine models of hypolipidemia and hyperlipidemia, aided by advanced in vivo multimodal imaging of atherosclerosis. Dietary titration of manganese supply enables tailored control of circulating lipid levels in whole animals, with no apparent toxicity. Strikingly, elevating the manganese signal through diets could not only effectively treat pathological hyperlipidemia, but further achieve significant reversal of atherosclerotic plaques. Hence, the study provides critical proof-of-principle for a novel therapy for deadly cardiovascular diseases with a potentially broad impact.

Lauren F Uchiyama, Peter Tontonoz · 05 Oct 2023 load039

Alternative triglyceride (TG) synthesis pathways have yet to be identified in mammalian cells. In a recent article published in Nature, Brummelkamp and colleagues reported the acyltransferase TMEM68/DIESL synthesizes TG in the absence of the canonical enzymes diacylglycerol acyltransferase 1 (DGAT1) and DGAT2.

Huan Chen, Ting Ling, Di Chen, Wenjuan Liu, Huan Qi, Tian Xia, Xiaolong Liu, Wen Wang, Xin Guo, Wuxiyar Otkur, Fangjun Wang, Zhaochao Xu, Jean-Claude Martinou, Hai-long Piao · 27 Sep 2023 load038

Pyruvate is an essential fuel for maintaining the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle in the mitochondria. However, the precise molecular mechanism of pyruvate uptake by mitochondrial pyruvate carrier (MPC) is largely unknown. Here, we report that the DNA/RNA-binding protein Y-box binding protein 1 (YBX1) is localized to the mitochondrial inter-membrane space (IMS) by its C-terminal domain (CTD) in cancer cells. In mitochondria, YBX1 inhibits pyruvate uptake by associating with MPC1/2, thereby suppressing pyruvate-dependent TCA cycle flux. This association, in turn, promotes MPC-mediated glutaminolysis and histone lactylation. Our findings reveal that the YBX1-MPC axis exhibits a positive correlation with metastatic potential, while does not affect cell proliferation in both cultured cells and tumor xenografts. Therefore, the restricted pyruvate uptake into mitochondria potentially represents a hallmark of metastatic capacity, suggesting that the YBX1-MPC axis is a therapeutic target for combating cancer metastasis.

Feng Li, Shubin Lin, Zhiyi Tan, Yanqing Pang, Shuai Wang · 19 Sep 2023 load034


Ningning Bai, Xuhong Lu, Yansu Wang, Xiaoya Li, Rong Zhang, Haoyong Yu, Cheng Hu, Xiaojing Ma, Yuqian Bao, Ying Yang · 14 Sep 2023 load037


Life Metabolism Editorial Team · 05 Sep 2023 load035


Qixiang Zhao, Jiayu Wu, Yong Ding, Yanli Pang, Changtao Jiang · 23 Jul 2023 load032

In recent decades, the global prevalence of metabolic syndrome has surged, posing a significant public health challenge. Metabolic disorders, encompassing diabetes, obesity, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and polycystic ovarian syndrome, have been linked to alterations in the gut microbiota. Nonetheless, the connection between gut microbiota and host metabolic diseases warrants further investigation. In this review, we delve into the associations between various metabolic disorders and the gut microbiota, focusing on immune responses and bile acid (BA) metabolism. Notably, T helper cells, innate lymphoid cells, macrophages, and dendritic cells have been shown to modulate host metabolism through interactions with intestinal microorganisms and the release of cytokines. Furthermore, secondary BA metabolites, derived from the microbiota, are involved in the pathogenesis of metabolic diseases via the farnesoid X receptor and Takeda G protein-coupled receptor 5. By covering both aspects of this immune system-microorganism axis, we present a comprehensive overview of the roles played by the gut microbiota, microbiota-derived BA metabolites, and immune responses in metabolic diseases, as well as the interplay between these systems.