The cystine/glutamate antiporter SLC7A11 (also commonly known as xCT) functions to import cystine for glutathione biosynthesis and antioxidant defense and is overexpressed in multiple human cancers. Recent studies revealed that SLC7A11 overexpression promotes tumor growth partly through suppressing ferroptosis, a form of regulated cell death induced by excessive lipid peroxidation. However, cancer cells with high expression of SLC7A11 (SLC7A11high) also have to endure the significant cost associated with SLC7A11-mediated metabolic reprogramming, leading to glucoseand glutamine-dependency in SLC7A11high cancer cells, which presents potential metabolic vulnerabilities for therapeutic targeting in SLC7A11high cancer. In this review, we summarize diverse regulatory mechanisms of SLC7A11 in cancer, discuss ferroptosis-dependent and-independent functions of SLC7A11 in promoting tumor development, explore the mechanistic basis of SLC7A11-induced nutrient dependency in cancer cells, and conceptualize therapeutic strategies to target SLC7A11 in cancer treatment. This review will provide the foundation for further understanding SLC7A11 in ferroptosis, nutrient dependency, and tumor biology and for developing novel effective cancer therapies.
Axonal degeneration is one of the key features of neurodegenerative disorders. In the canonical view, axonal degeneration destructs neural connections and promotes detrimental disease defects. Here, we assessed the enteric nervous system (ENS) of the mouse, nonhuman primate, and human by advanced 3D imaging. We observed the profound neurodegeneration of catecholaminergic axons in human colons with ulcerative colitis, and similarly, in mouse colons during acute dextran sulfate sodium-induced colitis. However, we unexpectedly revealed that blockage of such axonal degeneration by the Sarm1 deletion in mice exacerbated the colitis condition. In contrast, pharmacologic ablation or chemogenetic inhibition of catecholaminergic axons suppressed the colon inflammation. We further showed that the catecholaminergic neurotransmitter norepinephrine exerted a pro-inflammatory function by enhancing the expression of IL-17 cytokines. Together, this study demonstrated that Sarm1-mediated neurodegeneration within the ENS mitigated local inflammation of the colon, uncovering a previously-unrecognized beneficial role of axonal degeneration in this disease context.
Rett syndrome (RTT) is a progressive neurodevelopmental disorder, mainly caused by mutations in MeCP2 and currently with no cure. We report here that neurons from R106W MeCP2 RTT human iPSCs as well as human embryonic stem cells after MeCP2 knockdown exhibit consistent and long-lasting impairment in maturation as indicated by impaired action potentials and passive membrane properties as well as reduced soma size and spine density. Moreover, RTT-inherent defects in neuronal maturation could be pan-neuronal and occurred in neurons with both dorsal and ventral forebrain features. Knockdown of MeCP2 led to more severe neuronal deficits as compared to RTT iPSC-derived neurons, which appeared to retain partial function. Strikingly, consistent deficits in nuclear size, dendritic complexity and circuitry-dependent spontaneous postsynaptic currents could only be observed in MeCP2 knockdown neurons but not RTT iPSC-derived neurons. Both neuron-intrinsic and circuitry-dependent deficits of MeCP2-deficient neurons could be fully or partially rescued by re-expression of wild type or T158M MeCP2, strengthening the dosage dependency of MeCP2 on disease phenotypes and also the partial function of the mutant. Our findings thus reveal stable neuronal maturation deficits and unexpectedly, graded sensitivities of neuron-inherent and neural transmission phenotypes towards the extent of MeCP2 deficiency, which is informative for future therapeutic development.