Monday, December 19, 2022

ΔΨm and Immune Responses to Disease

Each cell contains hundreds to thousands of mitochondria, each with hundreds of electron transport chain complexes (ETC) that deliver ATP as the cells primary energy source and the central dogma of eukaryote existence. ETC function's, on the inner mitochondrial membrane, are sensitive to change in electric charge represented as mitochondrial polarization and mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm). The large responsive surface area of the outer and inner membrane promotes remodeling and protein interactions that may lead to cellular diseases including cancer.

Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) causes mitochondria to relocate, to bind the nucleus and efficiently shuttle elements that enable fast DNA transcription and signaling that, under certain conditions, may suppress the pro inflammatory immune response. TNF signaling to mitochondrial PINK1 stabilizes ubiquitin chains that result in mitochondrial relocation and shuttling activated p65 that increases NF-κB transcription in the nucleus. This anti-apoptotic response resembles the feed forward activation loop in Pink1/Parkin-dependent mitophagy as an independent defense against accumulation of dysfunctional mitochondria, that under physiological conditions integrate their roles in innate immune signaling and stress. 

Enhanced activation of NF-κB by TNF, via mutant p53, concomitantly suppressed the pro-apoptotic effect of TNF leading to increased invasiveness of cancer cells. Accordingly mutant p53 may directly affect nuclear accumulation and retention of p65 upon cytokine exposure as mutant p53 overexpression and nuclear p65 staining in tumors strongly correlated.

Stresses elicited by aneuploid states in cells mediate interaction between Natural Killer (NK) cells. In highly aneuploid cancer cell lines NF-κB signaling is upregulated and activated promoting immune clearance by NK cells, but anti-correlated with expression of immune signaling genes, due to decreased leukocyte infiltrates in high-aneuploidy samples. Rapid NF-κB signaling may be preferentially selected because it antagonizes p53, known to inhibit the growth of highly aneuploid cells. Significantly increased mitochondrial DNA in aneuploid cells may result from increased fission of mitochondria, similar to that found in extreme ploidy during Oocyte development. Perhaps supporting the reason in embryonic stem cells (ESC) apoptosis occurs independent of p53 and protein kinase Akt3, the regulator of ESC apoptosis, suppresses p53 for the survival and proliferation of these stem cells.

A comprehensive metabolic analysis identified mitochondrial polarization as a gatekeeper of NK cell priming, activation, and function. Mitochondrial fusion and OXPHOS promote long-term persistence and improve cytokine production by NK cells. Hypoxic Tumor Micro Environments (TME) sustained NK cell activation of mTOR-Drp1, which resulted in excessive mitochondrial fission and fragmentation. Inhibition of fragmentation improved mitochondrial metabolism, survival and the antitumor capacity of NK cells. 

Mitochondrial biogenesis also requires the initiation of Drp1-driven fission. Whereas, fissions from dysfunction are associated with diminished ΔΨm and Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), which are unchanged in this biogenesis. Depletion of p53 exaggerates fragmentation, but does not affect ΔΨm and ROS levels. Instead, p53 depletion activates mTORC1/4EBP1 signaling that regulates MTFP1 protein expression to govern Drp1-mediated fission. Thus, increased fission upon p53 loss can stimulate biogenesis, but not accumulation of damaged mitochondria. This may explain how mitochondrial integrity, in context of p53 deficiency induced fragmentation, may suppress immune signaling.

Downregulating p53 expression or elevating the molecular signature of mitochondrial fission correlates with aggressive tumor phenotypes and poor prognosis in cancer patients. Upon p53 loss, exaggerated fragmentation stimulates the activation of ERK1/2 signaling resulting in epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition-like changes in cell morphology, accompanied by accelerated MMP9 expression and invasive cell migration. Notably, blocking the activation of mTORC1/MTFP1/Drp1/ERK1/2 axis completely abolishes the p53 deficiency-driven cellular morphological switch, MMP9 expression, and cancer cell dissemination. MMP-9 mediates Notch1 signaling via p53 to regulate apoptosis, cell cycle arrest, and inflammation

Vascular remodeling, in the uterus, during pregnancy is controlled by small populations of conventional Natural Killer cells that acidify the extracellular matrix (ECM) with a2V-ATPase that activates MMP9, degrades the ECM and releases pro-angiogenesis growth factors stored in the ECM. Hypoxic TME's that sustain excessive mitochondrial fission-fragmentation in NK cells would cause a2V-ATP activated MMP9 to similarly promote angiogenesis akin to Blastocyst implantation.  

ΔΨm as a measure of functional integrity maybe the flawed alert, a blind spot for the 'canary in the mine' of a cells' ADP-ATP pipeline. Likewise the status of TP53, from transcription through p53 isoform, may signal wide ranging affects of ΔΨm that incorporate fragmentation, accumulating damaged mitochondria, mitophagy, apoptosis, normal immune signaling and response through to mitochondrial biogenesis, differentiation, angiogenesis, reduced immune signaling and response. This modal duality aligns known functions of NK cells that under physiological conditions promote angiogenesis growth (as in Blastocyst implantation and placental vascularization) or NK's classic, cytolytic role in the innate immune response. 

The delicate balance in health and sensitivity of at least TP53 DNA is known to result in DNA to DNA and/or upstream RNA/protein interactions that influence mechanics of molecules and responses to ΔΨm variations. Here we have highlighted links between NK cell function relative to  mitochondrial polarization, ΔΨm and p53 relative to mitochondrial fission and immune signaling.