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      Dodecyl-TPP Targets Mitochondria and Potently Eradicates Cancer Stem Cells (CSCs): Synergy With FDA-Approved Drugs and Natural Compounds (Vitamin C and Berberine)


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          Elevated mitochondrial biogenesis and/or metabolism are distinguishing features of cancer cells, as well as Cancer Stem Cells (CSCs), which are involved in tumor initiation, metastatic dissemination, and therapy resistance. In fact, mitochondria-impairing agents can be used to hamper CSCs maintenance and propagation, toward better control of neoplastic disease. Tri-Phenyl-Phosphonium (TPP)-based mitochondrially-targeted compounds are small non-toxic and biologically active molecules that are delivered to and accumulated within the mitochondria of living cells. Therefore, TPP-derivatives may represent potentially “powerful” candidates to block CSCs. Here, we evaluate the metabolic and biological effects induced by the TPP-derivative, termed Dodecyl-TPP (d-TPP) on breast cancer cells. By employing the 3D mammosphere assay in MCF-7 cells, we demonstrate that treatment with d-TPP dose-dependently inhibits the propagation of breast CSCs in suspension. Also, d-TPP targets adherent “bulk” cancer cells, by decreasing MCF-7 cell viability. The analysis of metabolic flux using Seahorse Xfe96 revealed that d-TPP potently inhibits the mitochondrial oxygen consumption rate (OCR), while simultaneously shifting cell metabolism toward glycolysis. Thereafter, we exploited this ATP depletion phenotype and strict metabolic dependency on glycolysis to eradicate the residual glycolytic CSC population, by using additional metabolic stressors. More specifically, we applied a combination strategy based on treatment with d-TPP, in the presence of a selected panel of natural and synthetic compounds, some of which are FDA-approved, that are known to behave as glycolysis (Vitamin C, 2-Deoxy-Glucose) and OXPHOS (Doxycyline, Niclosamide, Berberine) inhibitors. This two-hit scheme effectively decreased CSC propagation, at concentrations of d-TPP toxic only for cancer cells, but not for normal cells, as evidenced using normal human fibroblasts (hTERT-BJ1) as a reference point. Taken together, d-TPP halts CSCs propagation and targets “bulk” cancer cells, without eliciting the relevant undesirable off-target effects in normal cells. These observations pave the way for further exploring the potential of TPP-based derivatives in cancer therapy. Moreover, TPP-based compounds should be investigated for their potential to discriminate between “normal” and “malignant” mitochondria, suggesting that distinct biochemical, and metabolic changes in these organelles could precede specific normal or pathological phenotypes. Lastly, our data validate the manipulation of the energetic machinery as useful tool to eradicate CSCs.

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          Most cited references40

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          Mitochondria-Targeted Triphenylphosphonium-Based Compounds: Syntheses, Mechanisms of Action, and Therapeutic and Diagnostic Applications.

          Mitochondria are recognized as one of the most important targets for new drug design in cancer, cardiovascular, and neurological diseases. Currently, the most effective way to deliver drugs specifically to mitochondria is by covalent linking a lipophilic cation such as an alkyltriphenylphosphonium moiety to a pharmacophore of interest. Other delocalized lipophilic cations, such as rhodamine, natural and synthetic mitochondria-targeting peptides, and nanoparticle vehicles, have also been used for mitochondrial delivery of small molecules. Depending on the approach used, and the cell and mitochondrial membrane potentials, more than 1000-fold higher mitochondrial concentration can be achieved. Mitochondrial targeting has been developed to study mitochondrial physiology and dysfunction and the interaction between mitochondria and other subcellular organelles and for treatment of a variety of diseases such as neurodegeneration and cancer. In this Review, we discuss efforts to target small-molecule compounds to mitochondria for probing mitochondria function, as diagnostic tools and potential therapeutics. We describe the physicochemical basis for mitochondrial accumulation of lipophilic cations, synthetic chemistry strategies to target compounds to mitochondria, mitochondrial probes, and sensors, and examples of mitochondrial targeting of bioactive compounds. Finally, we review published attempts to apply mitochondria-targeted agents for the treatment of cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.
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            Stem cells. Asymmetric apportioning of aged mitochondria between daughter cells is required for stemness.

            By dividing asymmetrically, stem cells can generate two daughter cells with distinct fates. However, evidence is limited in mammalian systems for the selective apportioning of subcellular contents between daughters. We followed the fates of old and young organelles during the division of human mammary stemlike cells and found that such cells apportion aged mitochondria asymmetrically between daughter cells. Daughter cells that received fewer old mitochondria maintained stem cell traits. Inhibition of mitochondrial fission disrupted both the age-dependent subcellular localization and segregation of mitochondria and caused loss of stem cell properties in the progeny cells. Hence, mechanisms exist for mammalian stemlike cells to asymmetrically sort aged and young mitochondria, and these are important for maintaining stemness properties.
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              HIF-dependent antitumorigenic effect of antioxidants in vivo.

              The antitumorigenic activity of antioxidants has been presumed to arise from their ability to squelch DNA damage and genomic instability mediated by reactive oxygen species (ROS). Here, we report that antioxidants inhibited three tumorigenic models in vivo. Inhibition of a MYC-dependent human B lymphoma model was unassociated with genomic instability but was linked to diminished hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1 levels in a prolyl hydroxylase 2 and von Hippel-Lindau protein-dependent manner. Ectopic expression of an oxygen-independent, stabilized HIF-1 mutant rescued lymphoma xenografts from inhibition by two antioxidants: N-acetylcysteine and vitamin C. These findings challenge the paradigm that antioxidants diminish tumorigenesis primarily through decreasing DNA damage and mutations and provide significant support for a key antitumorigenic effect of diminishing HIF levels.

                Author and article information

                Front Oncol
                Front Oncol
                Front. Oncol.
                Frontiers in Oncology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                07 August 2019
                : 9
                : 615
                Translational Medicine, Biomedical Research Centre, School of Environment and Life Sciences, University of Salford , Greater Manchester, United Kingdom
                Author notes

                Edited by: Chris Albanese, Georgetown University, United States

                Reviewed by: Paul Dent, Virginia Commonwealth University, United States; Varda Shoshan-Barmatz, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel

                *Correspondence: Federica Sotgia fsotgia@ 123456gmail.com

                This article was submitted to Cancer Metabolism, a section of the journal Frontiers in Oncology

                Copyright © 2019 De Francesco, Ózsvári, Sotgia and Lisanti.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                : 13 May 2019
                : 21 June 2019
                Page count
                Figures: 7, Tables: 0, Equations: 0, References: 53, Pages: 12, Words: 6864
                Original Research

                Oncology & Radiotherapy
                tri-phenyl-phosphonium (tpp),cancer stem cells (cscs),mitochondria,cancer therapy,vitamin c,doxycycline,cancer metabolism,metabolic plasticity


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