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Concept: Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide


Glyphosate tolerant genetically modified (GM) maize NK603 was assessed as ‘substantially equivalent’ to its isogenic counterpart by a nutrient composition analysis in order to be granted market approval. We have applied contemporary in depth molecular profiling methods of NK603 maize kernels (sprayed or unsprayed with Roundup) and the isogenic corn to reassess its substantial equivalence status. Proteome profiles of the maize kernels revealed alterations in the levels of enzymes of glycolysis and TCA cycle pathways, which were reflective of an imbalance in energy metabolism. Changes in proteins and metabolites of glutathione metabolism were indicative of increased oxidative stress. The most pronounced metabolome differences between NK603 and its isogenic counterpart consisted of an increase in polyamines including N-acetyl-cadaverine (2.9-fold), N-acetylputrescine (1.8-fold), putrescine (2.7-fold) and cadaverine (28-fold), which depending on context can be either protective or a cause of toxicity. Our molecular profiling results show that NK603 and its isogenic control are not substantially equivalent.

Concepts: Protein, Metabolism, Adenosine triphosphate, Antioxidant, Oxidative phosphorylation, Cellular respiration, Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, Glycolysis


Defects in mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC) function have been implicated in a number of neurodegenerative disorders, cancer, and aging. Mitochondrial complex I (NADH dehydrogenase) is the largest and most complicated enzyme of the ETC with 45 subunits originating from two separate genomes. The biogenesis of complex I is an intricate process that requires multiple steps, subassemblies, and assembly factors. Here, we report the generation and characterization of a Drosophila model of complex I assembly factor deficiency. We show that CG7598 (dCIA30), the Drosophila homolog of human complex I assembly factor Ndufaf1, is necessary for proper complex I assembly. Reduced expression of dCIA30 results in the loss of the complex I holoenzyme band in blue-native polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and loss of NADH:ubiquinone oxidoreductase activity in isolated mitochondria. The complex I assembly defect, caused by mutation or RNAi of dCIA30, has repercussions both during development and adulthood in Drosophila, including developmental arrest at the pupal stage and reduced stress resistance during adulthood. Expression of the single-subunit yeast alternative NADH dehydrogenase, Ndi1, can partially or wholly rescue phenotypes associated with the complex I assembly defect. Our work shows that CG7598/dCIA30 is a functional homolog of Ndufaf1 and adds to the accumulating evidence that transgenic NDI1 expression is a viable therapy for disorders arising from complex I deficiency.

Concepts: Photosynthesis, Bacteria, Metabolism, Adenosine triphosphate, Cellular respiration, Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, Electron transport chain, NADH dehydrogenase


Plant contamination by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) is crucial to food safety and human health. Enzyme inhibitors are commonly utilized in agriculture to control plant metabolism of organic components. This study revealed that the enzyme inhibitor ascorbic acid (AA) significantly reduced the activities of peroxidase (POD) and polyphenol oxidase (PPO), thus enhancing the potential risks of PAH contamination in tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.). POD and PPO enzymes in vitro effectively decomposed naphthalene (NAP), phenanthrene (PHE) and anthracene (ANT). The presence of AA reduced POD and PPO activities in plants, and thus was likely responsible for enhanced PAH accumulation in tall fescue. This conclusion is supported by the significantly enhanced uptake of PHE in plants in the presence of AA, and the positive correlation between enzyme inhibition efficiencies and the rates of metabolism of PHE in tall fescue roots. This study provides a new perspective, that the common application of enzyme inhibitors in agricultural production could increase the accumulation of organic contaminants in plants, hence enhancing risks to food safety and quality.

Concepts: Metabolism, Adenosine triphosphate, Enzyme, Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, Enzyme inhibitor, Enzymes, Festuca arundinacea


Many animals live in groups because of the potential benefits associated with defense and foraging. Group living may also induce a ‘calming effect’ on individuals, reducing overall metabolic demand. This effect could occur by minimising the need for individual vigilance and reducing stress through social buffering. However, this effect has proved difficult to quantify. We examined the effect of shoaling on metabolism and body condition in the gregarious damselfish Chromis viridis Using a novel respirometry methodology for social species, we found that the presence of shoal-mate visual and olfactory cues led to a reduction in the minimum metabolic rate of individuals. Fish held in isolation for 1 week also exhibited a reduction in body condition when compared with those held in shoals. These results indicate that social isolation as a result of environmental disturbance could have physiological consequences for gregarious species.

Concepts: Photosynthesis, Carbon dioxide, Metabolism, Energy, Cellular respiration, Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, Coral, Coral reef


Myalgic encephalopathy/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is a debilitating disease of unknown etiology, with hallmark symptoms including postexertional malaise and poor recovery. Metabolic dysfunction is a plausible contributing factor. We hypothesized that changes in serum amino acids may disclose specific defects in energy metabolism in ME/CFS. Analysis in 200 ME/CFS patients and 102 healthy individuals showed a specific reduction of amino acids that fuel oxidative metabolism via the TCA cycle, mainly in female ME/CFS patients. Serum 3-methylhistidine, a marker of endogenous protein catabolism, was significantly increased in male patients. The amino acid pattern suggested functional impairment of pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH), supported by increased mRNA expression of the inhibitory PDH kinases 1, 2, and 4; sirtuin 4; and PPARδ in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from both sexes. Myoblasts grown in presence of serum from patients with severe ME/CFS showed metabolic adaptations, including increased mitochondrial respiration and excessive lactate secretion. The amino acid changes could not be explained by symptom severity, disease duration, age, BMI, or physical activity level among patients. These findings are in agreement with the clinical disease presentation of ME/CFS, with inadequate ATP generation by oxidative phosphorylation and excessive lactate generation upon exertion.

Concepts: Protein, Carbon dioxide, Amino acid, Metabolism, Adenosine triphosphate, Oxidative phosphorylation, Cellular respiration, Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide


DNA repair is essential for life, yet its efficiency declines with age for reasons that are unclear. Numerous proteins possess Nudix homology domains (NHDs) that have no known function. We show that NHDs are NAD(+) (oxidized form of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) binding domains that regulate protein-protein interactions. The binding of NAD(+) to the NHD domain of DBC1 (deleted in breast cancer 1) prevents it from inhibiting PARP1 [poly(adenosine diphosphate-ribose) polymerase], a critical DNA repair protein. As mice age and NAD(+) concentrations decline, DBC1 is increasingly bound to PARP1, causing DNA damage to accumulate, a process rapidly reversed by restoring the abundance of NAD(+) Thus, NAD(+) directly regulates protein-protein interactions, the modulation of which may protect against cancer, radiation, and aging.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Gene, Adenosine triphosphate, Senescence, DNA repair, Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, BRCA2


Fasting has been practiced for millennia, but, only recently, studies have shed light on its role in adaptive cellular responses that reduce oxidative damage and inflammation, optimize energy metabolism, and bolster cellular protection. In lower eukaryotes, chronic fasting extends longevity, in part, by reprogramming metabolic and stress resistance pathways. In rodents intermittent or periodic fasting protects against diabetes, cancers, heart disease, and neurodegeneration, while in humans it helps reduce obesity, hypertension, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis. Thus, fasting has the potential to delay aging and help prevent and treat diseases while minimizing the side effects caused by chronic dietary interventions.

Concepts: Photosynthesis, Carbon dioxide, Nutrition, Adenosine triphosphate, Obesity, Oxidative phosphorylation, Cellular respiration, Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide


Age-associated dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) are currently epidemic. Neither their cause nor connection to the metabolic syndrome (MS) is clear. Suppression of deacetylase survival factor sirtuin 1 (SIRT1), a key host defense, is a central feature of AD. Age-related MS and diabetes are also causally associated with suppressed SIRT1 partly due to oxidant glycotoxins [advanced glycation end products (AGEs)]. Changes in the modern diet include excessive nutrient-bound AGEs, such as neurotoxic methyl-glyoxal derivatives (MG). To determine whether dietary AGEs promote AD, we evaluated WT mice pair-fed three diets throughout life: low-AGE (MG(-)), MG-supplemented low-AGE (MG(+)), and regular (Reg) chow. Older MG(+)-fed mice, similar to old Reg controls, developed MS, increased brain amyloid-β42, deposits of AGEs, gliosis, and cognitive deficits, accompanied by suppressed SIRT1, nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase, AGE receptor 1, and PPARγ. These changes were not due to aging or caloric intake, as neither these changes nor the MS were present in age-matched, pair-fed MG(-) mice. The mouse data were enhanced by significant temporal correlations between high circulating AGEs and impaired cognition, as well as insulin sensitivity in older humans, in whom dietary and serum MG levels strongly and inversely associated with SIRT1 gene expression. The data identify a specific AGE (MG) as a modifiable risk factor for AD and MS, possibly acting via suppressed SIRT1 and other host defenses, to promote chronic oxidant stress and inflammation. Because SIRT1 deficiency in humans is both preventable and reversible by AGE reduction, a therapeutic strategy that includes AGE reduction may offer a new strategy to combat the epidemics of AD and MS.

Concepts: Alzheimer's disease, Gene, Nutrition, Insulin, Diabetes mellitus, Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, Metabolic syndrome, Mouse


The mechanisms of neuronal death in protein misfolding neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and prion diseases are poorly understood. We used a highly toxic misfolded prion protein (TPrP) model to understand neurotoxicity induced by prion protein misfolding. We show that abnormal autophagy activation and neuronal demise is due to severe, neuron-specific, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD(+)) depletion. Toxic prion protein-exposed neuronal cells exhibit dramatic reductions of intracellular NAD(+) followed by decreased ATP production, and are completely rescued by treatment with NAD(+) or its precursor nicotinamide because of restoration of physiological NAD(+) levels. Toxic prion protein-induced NAD(+) depletion results from PARP1-independent excessive protein ADP-ribosylations. In vivo, toxic prion protein-induced degeneration of hippocampal neurons is prevented dose-dependently by intracerebral injection of NAD(+). Intranasal NAD(+) treatment of prion-infected sick mice significantly improves activity and delays motor impairment. Our study reveals NAD(+) starvation as a novel mechanism of autophagy activation and neurodegeneration induced by a misfolded amyloidogenic protein. We propose the development of NAD(+) replenishment strategies for neuroprotection in prion diseases and possibly other protein misfolding neurodegenerative diseases.

Concepts: Neuron, Adenosine triphosphate, Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, Prion, Neurology, Neurodegeneration, Neurodegenerative disorders, Transmissible spongiform encephalopathy


Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are constantly generated by cells and ROS-derived damage contributes to ageing. Protection against oxidative damage largely relies on the reductive power of NAPDH, whose levels are mostly determined by the enzyme glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD). Here, we report a transgenic mouse model with moderate overexpression of human G6PD under its endogenous promoter. Importantly, G6PD-Tg mice have higher levels of NADPH, lower levels of ROS-derived damage, and better protection from ageing-associated functional decline, including extended median lifespan in females. The G6PD transgene has no effect on tumour development, even after combining with various tumour-prone genetic alterations. We conclude that a modest increase in G6PD activity is beneficial for healthspan through increased NADPH levels and protection from the deleterious effects of ROS.

Concepts: Oxygen, Gene, Gene expression, Oxidative stress, Oxidative phosphorylation, Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, Reactive oxygen species, Hydrogen peroxide