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See detailErythritol is a pentose-phosphate pathway metabolite and associated with adiposity gain in young adults
Hootman, Katie C.; Trezzi, Jean-Pierre UL; Kraemer, Lisa UL et al

in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (2017)

Metabolomic markers associated with incident central adiposity gain were investigated in young adults. In a 9-mo prospective study of university freshmen (n = 264). Blood samples and anthropometry ... [more ▼]

Metabolomic markers associated with incident central adiposity gain were investigated in young adults. In a 9-mo prospective study of university freshmen (n = 264). Blood samples and anthropometry measurements were collected in the first 3 d on campus and at the end of the year. Plasma from individuals was pooled by phenotype [incident central adiposity, stable adiposity, baseline hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) > 5.05%, HbA1c < 4.92%] and assayed using GC-MS, chromatograms were analyzed using MetaboliteDetector software, and normalized metabolite levels were compared using Welch’s t test. Assays were repeated using freshly prepared pools, and statistically significant metabolites were quantified in a targeted GC-MS approach. Isotope tracer studies were performed to determine if the potential marker was an endogenous human metabolite in men and in whole blood. Participants with incident central adiposity gain had statistically significantly higher blood erythritol [P < 0.001, false discovery rate (FDR) = 0.0435], and the targeted assay revealed 15-fold [95% confidence interval (CI): 13.27, 16.25] higher blood erythritol compared with participants with stable adiposity. Participants with baseline HbA1c > 5.05% had 21-fold (95% CI: 19.84, 21.41) higher blood erythritol compared with participants with lower HbA1c (P < 0.001, FDR = 0.00016). Erythritol was shown to be synthesized endogenously from glucose via the pentose-phosphate pathway (PPP) in stable isotope-assisted ex vivo blood incubation experiments and through in vivo conversion of erythritol to erythronate in stable isotope-assisted dried blood spot experiments. Therefore, endogenous production of erythritol from glucose may contribute to the association between erythritol and obesity observed in young adults. [less ▲]

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See detailThe role of HIF-1 in oncostatin M-dependent metabolic reprogramming of hepatic cells.
Battello, Nadia UL; Zimmer, Andreas David UL; Goebel, Carole et al

in Cancer & metabolism (2016), 4

BACKGROUND: Hypoxia and inflammation have been identified as hallmarks of cancer. A majority of hepatocellular carcinomas are preceded by hepatitis B- or C-related chronic infections suggesting that liver ... [more ▼]

BACKGROUND: Hypoxia and inflammation have been identified as hallmarks of cancer. A majority of hepatocellular carcinomas are preceded by hepatitis B- or C-related chronic infections suggesting that liver cancer development is promoted by an inflammatory microenvironment. The inflammatory cytokine oncostatin M (OSM) was shown to induce the expression of hypoxia-inducible factor-1 alpha (HIF-1 alpha) under normoxic conditions in hepatocytes and hepatoma cells. HIF-1 alpha is known to orchestrate the expression of numerous genes, many of which code for metabolic enzymes that play key roles in the adaptation of cellular metabolism to low oxygen tension. RESULTS: Here, we show that OSM-induced upregulation of HIF-1 alpha reprograms cellular metabolism in three clones of the human hepatocyte cell line PH5CH (PH5CH1, PH5CH7, and PH5CH8) towards a hypoxia-like metabolic phenotype but has no significant effect on cellular metabolism of HepG2 and JHH-4 hepatoma cells. Although we observed only minor changes in glucose uptake and lactate secretion in PH5CH8 upon OSM treatment, we identified more pronounced changes in intracellular fluxes based on stable isotope labeling experiments. In particular, glucose oxidation in the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle is reduced through pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 1 (PDK1)-mediated inhibition of the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex, thereby reducing the oxidative TCA cycle flux. As a result of the impaired mitochondrial glucose and glutamine oxidation, the reductive isocitrate dehydrogenase flux was increased. CONCLUSIONS: We provide evidence that connects the inflammatory mediator OSM to a hypoxia-like metabolic phenotype. In the human hepatocyte cell line PH5CH, OSM-mediated upregulation of HIF-1 alpha and PDK1 can induce hypoxia-like metabolic changes, although to a lesser extent than hypoxia itself. Since PDK1 is overexpressed in several cancers, it might provide a causal link between chronic inflammation and malignant cellular transformation. [less ▲]

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See detailLoss of DJ-1 impairs antioxidant response by altered glutamine and serine metabolism
Meiser, Johannes UL; Delcambre, Sylvie UL; Wegner, André UL et al

in Neurobiology of disease (2016), 89

The oncogene DJ-1 has been originally identified as a suppressor of PTEN. Further on, loss-of-function mutations have been described as a causative factor in Parkinson's disease (PD). DJ-1 has an ... [more ▼]

The oncogene DJ-1 has been originally identified as a suppressor of PTEN. Further on, loss-of-function mutations have been described as a causative factor in Parkinson's disease (PD). DJ-1 has an important function in cellular antioxidant responses, but its role in central metabolism of neurons is still elusive. We applied stable isotope assisted metabolic profiling to investigate the effect of a functional loss of DJ-1 and show that DJ-1 deficient neuronal cells exhibit decreased glutamine influx and reduced serine biosynthesis. By providing precursors for GSH synthesis, these two metabolic pathways are important contributors to cellular antioxidant response. Down-regulation of these pathways, as a result of loss of DJ-1 leads to an impaired antioxidant response. Furthermore, DJ-1 deficient mouse microglia showed a weak but constitutive pro-inflammatory activation. The combined effects of altered central metabolism and constitutive activation of glia cells raise the susceptibility of dopaminergic neurons towards degeneration in patients harboring mutated DJ-1. Our work reveals metabolic alterations leading to increased cellular instability and identifies potential new intervention points that can further be studied in the light of novel translational medicine approaches. [less ▲]

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See detailDual loss of succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) and complex I activity is necessary to recapitulate the metabolic phenotype of SDH mutant tumors
Lorendeau, Doriane; Rinaldi, Gianmarco; Boon, Ruben et al

in Metabolic Engineering (2016)

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See detailFragment Formula Calculator (FFC): Determination of chemical formulas for fragment ions in mass spectrometric data
Wegner, André UL; Weindl, Daniel UL; Jäger, Christian UL et al

in Analytical Chemistry (2014), 86(4), 22212228

The accurate determination of mass isotopomer distributions (MID) is of great significance for stable isotope-labeling experiments. Most commonly, MIDs are derived from gas chromatography/electron ... [more ▼]

The accurate determination of mass isotopomer distributions (MID) is of great significance for stable isotope-labeling experiments. Most commonly, MIDs are derived from gas chromatography/electron ionization mass spectrometry (GC/EI-MS) measurements. The analysis of fragment ions formed during EI, which contain only specific parts of the original molecule can provide valuable information on the positional distribution of the label. The chemical formula of a fragment ion is usually applied to derive the correction matrix for accurate MID calculation. Hence, the correct assignment of chemical formulas to fragment ions is of crucial importance for correct MIDs. Moreover, the positional distribution of stable isotopes within a fragment ion is of high interest for stable isotope-assisted metabolomics techniques. For example, 13C-metabolic flux analyses (13C-MFA) are dependent on the exact knowledge of the number and position of retained carbon atoms of the unfragmented molecule. Fragment ions containing different carbon atoms are of special interest, since they can carry different flux information. However, the process of mass spectral fragmentation is complex, and identifying the substructures and chemical formulas for these fragment ions is nontrivial. For that reason, we developed an algorithm, based on a systematic bond cleavage, to determine chemical formulas and retained atoms for EI derived fragment ions. Here, we present the fragment formula calculator (FFC) algorithm that can calculate chemical formulas for fragment ions where the chemical bonding (e.g., Lewis structures) of the intact molecule is known. The proposed algorithm is able to cope with general molecular rearrangement reactions occurring during EI in GC/MS measurements. The FFC algorithm is able to integrate stable isotope labeling experiments into the analysis and can automatically exclude candidate formulas that do not fit the observed labeling patterns.1 We applied the FFC algorithm to create a fragment ion repository that contains the chemical formulas and retained carbon atoms of a wide range of trimethylsilyl and tert-butyldimethylsilyl derivatized compounds. In total, we report the chemical formulas and backbone carbon compositions for 160 fragment ions of 43 alkylsilyl-derivatives of primary metabolites. Finally, we implemented the FFC algorithm in an easy-to-use graphical user interface and made it publicly available at http://www.ffc.lu. [less ▲]

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