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Menendez J.A.,Catalan Institute of Oncology Girona ICO Girona | Menendez J.A.,Girona Biomedical Research Institute IDIBGI | Alarco n T.,Computational and Mathematical Biology Research Group
Frontiers in Oncology | Year: 2014

The acquisition of and departure from stemness in cancer tissues might not only be hardwired by genetic controllers, but also by the pivotal regulatory role of the cellular metabotype, which may act as a "starter dough" for cancer stemness traits. We have coined the term metabostemness to refer to the metabolic parameters causally controlling or functionally substituting the epitranscriptional orchestration of the genetic reprogramming that redirects normal and tumor cells toward less-differentiated CSC cellular states. Certain metabotypic alterations might operate as pivotal molecular events rendering a cell of origin susceptible to epigenetic rewiring required for the acquisition of aberrant stemness and, concurrently, of refractoriness to differentiation. The metabostemness attribute can remove, diminish, or modify the nature of molecular barriers present in Waddington's epigenetic landscapes, thus allowing differentiated cells to more easily (re)-enter into CSC cellular macrostates. Activation of the metabostemness trait can poise cells with chromatin states competent for rapid dedifferentiation while concomitantly setting the idoneous metabolic stage for later reprogramming stimuli to finish the journey from non-cancerous into tumor-initiating cells. Because only a few permitted metabotypes will be compatible with the operational properties owned by CSC cellular states, the metabostemness property provides a new framework through which to pharmacologically resolve the apparently impossible problem of discovering drugs aimed to target the molecular biology of the cancer stemness itself. We are embarking on one of the cancer field's biggest challenges, namely the discovery of the key metabolic features and the elite metabolites that influence chromatin structure and epigenetic circuits in charge of CSC reprogramming and the incorporation of novel metaboloepigenetic strategies that can effectively hamper cancer initiation and progression at the stem cell level. © 2014 Menendez and Alarco´n.

Menendez J.A.,Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology | Menendez J.A.,Girona Biomedical Research Institute IDIBGI | Alarcon T.,Computational and Mathematical Biology Research Group | Joven J.,Rovira i Virgili University
Cell Cycle | Year: 2014

Oncometabolites are defined as small-molecule components (or enantiomers) of normal metabolism whose accumulation causes signaling dysregulation to establish a milieu that initiates carcinogenesis. In a similar manner, we propose the term "gerometabolites" to refer to small-molecule components of normal metabolism whose depletion causes signaling dysregulation to establish a milieu that drives aging. In an investigation of the pathogenic activities of the currently recognized oncometabolites R(-)-2-hydroxyglutarate (2-HG), fumarate, and succinate, which accumulate due to mutations in isocitrate dehydrogenases (IDH), fumarate hydratase (FH), and succinate dehydrogenase (SDH), respectively, we illustrate the fact that metabolic pseudohypoxia, the accumulation of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIFα) under normoxic conditions, and the subsequent Warburg-like reprogramming that shifts glucose metabolism from the oxidative pathway to aerobic glycolysis are the same mechanisms through which the decline of the "gerometabolite" nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD)+ reversibly disrupts nuclear-mitochondrial communication and contributes to the decline in mitochondrial function with age. From an evolutionary perspective, it is reasonable to view NAD +-driven mitochondrial homeostasis as a conserved response to changes in energy supplies and oxygen levels. Similarly, the natural ability of 2-HG to significantly alter epigenetics might reflect an evolutionarily ancient role of certain metabolites to signal for elevated glutamine/glutamate metabolism and/or oxygen deficiency. However, when chronically altered, these responses become conserved causes of aging and cancer. Because HIFα-driven pseudohypoxia might drive the overproduction of 2-HG, the intriguing possibility exists that the decline of gerometabolites such as NAD+ could promote the chronic accumulation of oncometabolites in normal cells during aging. If the sole activation of a Warburg-like metabolic reprogramming in normal tissues might be able to significantly increase the endogenous production of bona fide etiological determinants in cancer, such as oncometabolites, this undesirable trade-off between mitochondrial dysfunction and activation of oncometabolites production might then pave the way for the epigenetic initiation of carcinogenesis in a strictly metabolic-dependent manner. Perhaps it is time to definitely adopt the view that aging and aging diseases including cancer are governed by a pivotal regulatory role of metabolic reprogramming in cell fate decisions. © 2014 Landes Bioscience.

Fernandez-Arroyo S.,Rovira i Virgili University | Cuyas E.,Catalan Institute of Oncology ICO | Cuyas E.,Girona Biomedical Research Institute IDIBGI | Bosch-Barrera J.,Girona Biomedical Research Institute IDIBGI | And 6 more authors.
Oncoscience | Year: 2015

Generation of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells and cancer biogenesis share similar metabolic switches. Most studies have focused on how the establishment of a cancer-like glycolytic phenotype is necessary for the optimal routing of somatic cells for achieving stemness. However, relatively little effort has been dedicated towards elucidating how one-carbon (1C) metabolism is retuned during acquisition of stem cell identity. Here we used ultra-high pressure liquid chromatography coupled to an electrospray ionization source and a triple-quadrupole mass spectrometer [UHPLC-ESI-QqQ-MS/MS] to quantitatively examine the methionine/folate bi-cyclic 1C metabolome during nuclear reprogramming of somatic cells into iPS cells. iPS cells optimize the synthesis of the universal methyl donor S-adenosylmethionine (SAM), apparently augment the ability of the redox balance regulator NADPH in SAM biosynthesis, and greatly increase their methylation potential by triggering a high SAM:S-adenosylhomocysteine (SAH) ratio. Activation of the methylation cycle in iPS cells efficiently prevents the elevation of homocysteine (Hcy), which could alter global DNA methylation and induce mitochondrial toxicity, oxidative stress and inflammation. In this regard, the methyl donor choline is also strikingly accumulated in iPS cells, suggesting perhaps an overactive intersection of the de novo synthesis of choline with the methionine-Hcy cycle. Activation of methylogenesis and maintenance of an optimal SAM:Hcy ratio might represent an essential function of 1C metabolism to provide a labile pool of methyl groups and NADPH-dependent redox products required for successfully establishing and maintaining an embryonic-like DNA methylation imprint in stem cell states.

Corominas-Faja B.,Catalan Institute of Oncology Girona ICO Girona | Corominas-Faja B.,Girona Biomedical Research Institute IDIBGI | Cufi S.,Catalan Institute of Oncology Girona ICO Girona | Cufi S.,Girona Biomedical Research Institute IDIBGI | And 15 more authors.
Cell Cycle | Year: 2013

Energy metabolism plasticity enables stemness programs during the reprogramming of somatic cells to an induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) state. This relationship may introduce a new era in the understanding of Warburg's theory on the metabolic origin of cancer at the level of cancer stem cells (CSCs). Here, we used Yamanaka's stem cell technology in an attempt to create stable CSC research lines in which to dissect the transcriptional control of mTO R - the master switch of cellular catabolism and anabolism - in CSC-like states. The rare colonies with iPSC-like morphology, obtained following the viral transduction of the Oct4, Sox2, Klf4, and c-Myc (OSKM) stemness factors into MCF-7 luminal-like breast cancer cells (MCF-7/Rep), demonstrated an intermediate state between cancer cells and bona fide iPSCs. MCF-7/Rep cells notably overexpressed SOX2 and stage-specific embryonic antigen (SSEA)-4 proteins; however, other stemness-related markers (OCT4, NANOG, SSEA-1, TRA-1-60, and TRA-1-81) were found at low to moderate levels. The transcriptional analyses of OSKM factors confirmed the strong but unique reactivation of the endogenous Sox2 stemness gene accompanied by the silencing of the exogenous Sox2 transgene in MCF-7/Rep cells. Some but not all MCF-7/Rep cells acquired strong alkaline phosphatase (AP) activity compared with MCF-7 parental cells. SOX2-overexpressing MCF-7/Rep cells contained drastically higher percentages of CD44+ and ALDEFLUOR-stained ALDHbright cells than MCF-7 parental cells. The overlap between differentially expressed mTO R signaling-related genes in 3 different SOX2-overexpressing CSC-like cell lines revealed a notable downregulation of 3 genes, PRKAA1 (which codes for the catalytic α 1 subunit of AMPK), DDIT4/REDD1 (a stress response gene that operates as a negative regulator of mTO R), and DEPTOR (a naturally occurring endogenous inhibitor of mTO R activity). The insulin-receptor gene (INSR) was differentially upregulated in MCF-7/Rep cells. Consistent with the downregulation of AMPK expression, immunoblotting procedures confirmed upregulation of p70S6K and increased phosphorylation of mTO R in Sox2-overexpressing CSC-like cell populations. Using an in vitro model of the de novo generation of CSC-like states through the nuclear reprogramming of an established breast cancer cell line, we reveal that the transcriptional suppression of mTO R repressors is an intrinsic process occurring during the acquisition of CSC-like properties by differentiated populations of luminal-like breast cancer cells. This approach may provide a new path for obtaining information about preventing the appearance of CSCs through the modulation of the AMPK/mTO R pathway. © 2013 Landes Bioscience.

Menendez J.A.,Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology | Menendez J.A.,Girona Biomedical Research Institute IDIBGI | Alarcon T.,Computational and Mathematical Biology Research Group | Corominas-Faja B.,Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology | And 6 more authors.
Cell Cycle | Year: 2014

In the science-fiction thriller film Minority Report, a specialized police department called "PreCrime" apprehends criminals identified in advance based on foreknowledge provided by 3 genetically altered humans called "PreCogs". We propose that Yamanaka stem cell technology can be similarly used to (epi)genetically reprogram tumor cells obtained directly from cancer patients and create self-evolving personalized translational platforms to foresee the evolutionary trajectory of individual tumors. This strategy yields a large stem cell population and captures the cancer genome of an affected individual, i.e., the PreCog-induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cancer cells, which are immediately available for experimental manipulation, including pharmacological screening for personalized "stemotoxic" cancer drugs. The PreCog-iPS cancer cells will re-differentiate upon orthotopic injection into the corresponding target tissues of immunodeficient mice (i.e., the PreCrime-iPS mouse avatars), and this in vivo model will run through specific cancer stages to directly explore their biological properties for drug screening, diagnosis, and personalized treatment in individual patients. The PreCog/PreCrime-iPS approach can perform sets of comparisons to directly observe changes in the cancer-iPS cell line vs. a normal iPS cell line derived from the same human genetic background. Genome editing of PreCog-iPS cells could create translational platforms to directly investigate the link between genomic expression changes and cellular malignization that is largely free from genetic and epigenetic noise and provide proof-of-principle evidence for cutting-edge "chromosome therapies" aimed against cancer aneuploidy. We might infer the epigenetic marks that correct the tumorigenic nature of the reprogrammed cancer cell population and normalize the malignant phenotype in vivo. Genetically engineered models of conditionally reprogrammable mice to transiently express the Yamanaka stemness factors following the activation of phenotypic copies of specific cancer diseases might crucially evaluate a "reprogramming cure" for cancer. A new era of xenopatients 2.0 generated via nuclear reprogramming of the epigenetic landscapes of patient-derived cancer genomes might revolutionize the current personalized translational platforms in cancer research. © 2014 Landes Bioscience.

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