Dietary methionine influences therapy in mouse cancer models and alters human metabolism.

Gao X, Sanderson SM, Dai Z, Reid MA, Cooper DE, Lu M, Richie JP Jr, Ciccarella A, Calcagnotto A, Mikhael PG, Mentch SJ, Liu J, Ables G, Kirsch DG, Hsu DS, Nichenametla SN, Locasale JW.

Nature. 2019 Aug;572(7769):397-401

PMID: 31367041 

Nutrition exerts considerable effects on health, and dietary interventions are commonly used to treat diseases of metabolic aetiology. Although cancer has a substantial metabolic component1, the principles that define whether nutrition may be used to influence outcomes of cancer are unclear2. Nevertheless, it is established that targeting metabolic pathways with pharmacological agents or radiation can sometimes lead to controlled therapeutic outcomes. By contrast, whether specific dietary interventions can influence the metabolic pathways that are targeted in standard cancer therapies is not known. Here we show that dietary restriction of the essential amino acid methionine-the reduction of which has anti-ageing and anti-obesogenic properties-influences cancer outcome, through controlled and reproducible changes to one-carbon metabolism. This pathway metabolizes methionine and is the target of a variety of cancer interventions that involve chemotherapy and radiation. Methionine restriction produced therapeutic responses in two patient-derived xenograft models of chemotherapy-resistant RAS-driven colorectal cancer, and in a mouse model of autochthonous soft-tissue sarcoma driven by a G12D mutation in KRAS and knockout of p53 (KrasG12D/+;Trp53-/-) that is resistant to radiation. Metabolomics revealed that the therapeutic mechanisms operate via tumour-cell-autonomous effects on flux through one-carbon metabolism that affects redox and nucleotide metabolism-and thus interact with the antimetabolite or radiation intervention. In a controlled and tolerated feeding study in humans, methionine restriction resulted in effects on systemic metabolism that were similar to those obtained in mice. These findings provide evidence that a targeted dietary manipulation can specifically affect tumour-cell metabolism to mediate broad aspects of cancer outcome.

Methionine metabolism influences genomic architecture and gene expression through H3K4me3 peak width

Dai Z, Mentch SJ, Gao X, Nichenametla SN, Locasale JW

Nat Commun 2018 May;9(1):1955

PMID: 29769529


Nutrition and metabolism are known to influence chromatin biology and epigenetics through post-translational modifications, yet how this interaction influences genomic architecture and connects to gene expression is unknown. Here we consider, as a model, the metabolically-driven dynamics of H3K4me3, a histone methylation mark that is known to encode information about active transcription, cell identity, and tumor suppression. We analyze the genome-wide changes in H3K4me3 and gene expression in response to alterations in methionine availability in both normal mouse physiology and human cancer cells. Surprisingly, we find that the location of H3K4me3 peaks is largely preserved under methionine restriction, while the response of H3K4me3 peak width encodes almost all aspects of H3K4me3 biology including changes in expression levels, and the presence of cell identity and cancer-associated genes. These findings may reveal general principles for how nutrient availability modulates specific aspects of chromatin dynamics to mediate biological function.

Dietary methionine restriction in mice elicits an adaptive cardiovascular response to hyperhomocysteinemia

Ables GP, Ouattara A, Hampton TG, Cooke D, Perodin F, Augie I, Orentreich DS

Sci Rep 2015;5:8886

PMID: 25744495


Dietary methionine restriction (MR) in rodents increased lifespan despite higher heart-to-body weight ratio (w/w) and hyperhomocysteinemia, which are symptoms associated with increased risk for cardiovascular disease. We investigated this paradoxical effect of MR on cardiac function using young, old, and apolipoprotein E-deficient (ApoE-KO) mice. Indeed, MR animals exhibited higher heart-to-body weight ratio (w/w) and hyperhomocysteinemia with a molecular pattern consistent with cardiac stress while maintaining the integrity of cardiac structure. Baseline cardiac function, which was measured by non-invasive electrocardiography (ECG), showed that young MR mice had prolonged QRS intervals compared with control-fed (CF) mice, whereas old and ApoE-KO mice showed similar results for both groups. Following β-adrenergic challenge, responses of MR mice were either similar or attenuated compared with CF mice. Cardiac contractility, which was measured by isolated heart retrograde perfusion, was similar in both groups of old mice. Finally, the MR diet induced secretion of cardioprotective hormones, adiponectin and fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21), in MR mice with concomitant alterations in cardiac metabolic molecular signatures. Our findings demonstrate that MR diet does not alter cardiac function in mice despite the presence of hyperhomocysteinemia because of the adaptive responses of increased adiponectin and FGF21 levels.

Methionine restriction prevents the progression of hepatic steatosis in leptin-deficient obese mice

Methionine restriction prevents the progression of hepatic steatosis in leptin-deficient obese mice

Malloy VL, Perrone CE, Mattocks DA, Ables GP, Caliendo NS, Orentreich DS, Orentreich N

Metab. Clin. Exp. 2013 Nov;62(11):1651-61

PMID: 23928105


OBJECTIVE: This study investigated the effects of dietary methionine restriction (MR) on the progression of established hepatic steatosis in the leptin-deficient ob/ob mouse.

MATERIAL/METHODS: Ten-week-old ob/ob mice were fed diets containing 0.86% (control-fed; CF) or 0.12% methionine (MR) for 14 weeks. At 14 weeks, liver and fat were excised and blood was collected for analysis. In another study, blood was collected to determine in vivo triglyceride (TG) and very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) secretion rates. Liver histology was conducted to determine the severity of steatosis. Hepatic TG, free fatty acid levels, and fatty acid oxidation (FAO) were also measured. Gene expression was analyzed by quantitative PCR.

RESULTS: MR reversed the severity of steatosis in the ob/ob mouse. This was accompanied by reduced body weight despite similar weight-specific food intake. Compared with the CF group, hepatic TG levels were significantly reduced in response to MR, but adipose tissue weight was not decreased. MR reduced insulin and HOMA ratios but increased total and high-molecular-weight adiponectin levels. Scd1 gene expression was significantly downregulated, while Acadvl, Hadha, and Hadhb were upregulated in MR, corresponding with increased β-hydroxybutyrate levels and a trend toward increased FAO. The VLDL secretion rate was also significantly increased in the MR mice, as were the mRNA levels of ApoB and Mttp. The expression of inflammatory markers, such as Tnf-α and Ccr2, was also downregulated by MR.

CONCLUSIONS: Our data indicate that MR reverses steatosis in the ob/ob mouse liver by promoting FAO, increasing the export of lipids, and reducing obesity-related inflammatory responses.

Metabolic adaptations to methionine restriction that benefit health and lifespan in rodents

Metabolic adaptations to methionine restriction that benefit health and lifespan in rodents

Perrone CE, Malloy VL, Orentreich DS, Orentreich N

Exp. Gerontol. 2013 Jul;48(7):654-60

PMID: 22819757


Restriction of dietary methionine by 80% slows the progression of aged-related diseases and prolongs lifespan in rodents. A salient feature of the methionine restriction phenotype is the significant reduction of adipose tissue mass, which is associated with improvement of insulin sensitivity. These beneficial effects of MR involve a host of metabolic adaptations leading to increased mitochondrial biogenesis and function, elevated energy expenditure, changes of lipid and carbohydrate homeostasis, and decreased oxidative damage and inflammation. This review summarizes observations from MR studies and provides insight about potential mediators of tissue-specific responses associated with MR’s favorable metabolic effects that contribute to health and lifespan extension.