Intercellular communications play a major role in tissue homeostasis. In pathologies such as cancer, cellular interactions within the tumor microenvironment (TME) contribute to tumor progression and resistance to therapy. Tunneling nanotubes (TNTs) are newly discovered long-range intercellular connections that allow the exchange between cells of various cargos, ranging from ions to whole organelles such as mitochondria. TNT-transferred mitochondria were shown to change the metabolism and functional properties of recipient cells as reported for both normal and cancer cells. Metabolic plasticity is now considered a hallmark of cancer as it notably plays a pivotal role in drug resistance. The acquisition of cancer drug resistance was also associated to TNT-mediated mitochondria transfer, a finding that relates to the role of mitochondria as a hub for many metabolic pathways. In this review, we first give a brief overview of the various mechanisms of drug resistance and of the cellular communication means at play in the TME, with a special focus on the recently discovered TNTs. We further describe recent studies highlighting the role of the TNT-transferred mitochondria in acquired cancer cell drug resistance. We also present how changes in metabolic pathways, including glycolysis, pentose phosphate and lipid metabolism, are linked to cancer cell resistance to therapy. Finally, we provide examples of novel therapeutic strategies targeting mitochondria and cell metabolism as a way to circumvent cancer cell drug resistance.
The role of metabolism and tunneling nanotube-mediated intercellular mitochondria exchange in cancer drug resistance
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Yalda Hekmatshoar, Jean Nakhle, Mireille Galloni, Marie-Luce Vignais; The role of metabolism and tunneling nanotube-mediated intercellular mitochondria exchange in cancer drug resistance. Biochem J 31 July 2018; 475 (14): 2305–2328. doi: https://doi.org/10.1042/BCJ20170712
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