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See detailProtein Kinase A Activation Promotes Cancer Cell Resistance to Glucose Starvation and Anoikis.
Palorini, Roberta; Votta, Giuseppina; Pirola, Yuri et al

in PLoS genetics (2016), 12(3), 1005931

Cancer cells often rely on glycolysis to obtain energy and support anabolic growth. Several studies showed that glycolytic cells are susceptible to cell death when subjected to low glucose availability or ... [more ▼]

Cancer cells often rely on glycolysis to obtain energy and support anabolic growth. Several studies showed that glycolytic cells are susceptible to cell death when subjected to low glucose availability or to lack of glucose. However, some cancer cells, including glycolytic ones, can efficiently acquire higher tolerance to glucose depletion, leading to their survival and aggressiveness. Although increased resistance to glucose starvation has been shown to be a consequence of signaling pathways and compensatory metabolic routes activation, the full repertoire of the underlying molecular alterations remain elusive. Using omics and computational analyses, we found that cyclic adenosine monophosphate-Protein Kinase A (cAMP-PKA) axis activation is fundamental for cancer cell resistance to glucose starvation and anoikis. Notably, here we show that such a PKA-dependent survival is mediated by parallel activation of autophagy and glutamine utilization that in concert concur to attenuate the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and to sustain cell anabolism. Indeed, the inhibition of PKA-mediated autophagy or glutamine metabolism increased the level of cell death, suggesting that the induction of autophagy and metabolic rewiring by PKA is important for cancer cellular survival under glucose starvation. Importantly, both processes actively participate to cancer cell survival mediated by suspension-activated PKA as well. In addition we identify also a PKA/Src mechanism capable to protect cancer cells from anoikis. Our results reveal for the first time the role of the versatile PKA in cancer cells survival under chronic glucose starvation and anoikis and may be a novel potential target for cancer treatment. [less ▲]

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See detailAn evolutionarily conserved role for the aryl hydrocarbon receptor in the regulation of movement.
Williams, Evan UL; Mouchiroud, Laurent; Frochaux, Michael et al

in PLoS genetics (2014), 10(9), 1004673

The BXD genetic reference population is a recombinant inbred panel descended from crosses between the C57BL/6 (B6) and DBA/2 (D2) strains of mice, which segregate for about 5 million sequence variants ... [more ▼]

The BXD genetic reference population is a recombinant inbred panel descended from crosses between the C57BL/6 (B6) and DBA/2 (D2) strains of mice, which segregate for about 5 million sequence variants. Recently, some of these variants have been established with effects on general metabolic phenotypes such as glucose response and bone strength. Here we phenotype 43 BXD strains and observe they have large variation (-5-fold) in their spontaneous activity during waking hours. QTL analyses indicate that -40% of this variance is attributable to a narrow locus containing the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (Ahr), a basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor with well-established roles in development and xenobiotic metabolism. Strains with the D2 allele of Ahr have reduced gene expression compared to those with the B6 allele, and have significantly higher spontaneous activity. This effect was also observed in B6 mice with a congenic D2 Ahr interval, and in B6 mice with a humanized AHR allele which, like the D2 allele, is expressed much less and has less enzymatic activity than the B6 allele. Ahr is highly conserved in invertebrates, and strikingly inhibition of its orthologs in D. melanogaster and C. elegans (spineless and ahr-1) leads to marked increases in basal activity. In mammals, Ahr has numerous ligands, but most are either non-selective (e.g. resveratrol) or highly toxic (e.g., 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD)). Thus, we chose to examine a major environmental influence--long term feeding with high fat diet (HFD)--to see if the effects of Ahr are dependent on major metabolic differences. Interestingly, while HFD robustly halved movement across all strains, the QTL position and effects of Ahr remained unchanged, indicating that the effects are independent. The highly consistent effects of Ahr on movement indicate that changes in its constitutive activity have a role on spontaneous movement and may influence human behavior. [less ▲]

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See detailMicroevolution of Helicobacter pylori during prolonged infection of single hosts and within families.
Morelli, Giovanna; Didelot, Xavier; Kusecek, Barica et al

in PLoS genetics (2010), 6(7), 1001036

Our understanding of basic evolutionary processes in bacteria is still very limited. For example, multiple recent dating estimates are based on a universal inter-species molecular clock rate, but that ... [more ▼]

Our understanding of basic evolutionary processes in bacteria is still very limited. For example, multiple recent dating estimates are based on a universal inter-species molecular clock rate, but that rate was calibrated using estimates of geological dates that are no longer accepted. We therefore estimated the short-term rates of mutation and recombination in Helicobacter pylori by sequencing an average of 39,300 bp in 78 gene fragments from 97 isolates. These isolates included 34 pairs of sequential samples, which were sampled at intervals of 0.25 to 10.2 years. They also included single isolates from 29 individuals (average age: 45 years) from 10 families. The accumulation of sequence diversity increased with time of separation in a clock-like manner in the sequential isolates. We used Approximate Bayesian Computation to estimate the rates of mutation, recombination, mean length of recombination tracts, and average diversity in those tracts. The estimates indicate that the short-term mutation rate is 1.4 x 10(-6) (serial isolates) to 4.5 x 10(-6) (family isolates) per nucleotide per year and that three times as many substitutions are introduced by recombination as by mutation. The long-term mutation rate over millennia is 5-17-fold lower, partly due to the removal of non-synonymous mutations due to purifying selection. Comparisons with the recent literature show that short-term mutation rates vary dramatically in different bacterial species and can span a range of several orders of magnitude. [less ▲]

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