Mitochondrial dynamics is affected by 17β-estradiol in the MCF-7 breast cancer cell line. Effects on fusion and fission related genes

Jorge Sastre-Serra, Mercedes Nadal-Serrano, Daniel Gabriel Pons, Pilar Roca, Jordi Oliver
International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology 2012, 44 (11): 1901-5
Mitochondrial dynamics, specifically fusion and fission processes, maintain mitochondria integrity and function, yet at this time, effect of estrogens on fusion and fission in breast cancer cell lines has not been studied. The aim of this study was to characterize the effect of 17β-estradiol on fusion and fission-related genes, as well as on mitochondria proliferation and function. We used MCF-7 breast cancer cell line, which is estrogen sensitive (estrogen receptor positive). Cells were grown in Dulbecco's modified Eagle medium charcoal-stripped fetal bovine serum and treated with 1nM of 17β-estradiol and with/without 100nM of ICI 182,780, a drug that caused rapid degradation of estrogen receptor. mRNA levels of fusion (mfn1, mfn2, opa1) and fission-related genes (drp1 and fis1) were examined by RT-PCR, cardiolipin content by N-acridyl-orange fluorescence and oxidative phosphorylation protein levels, as well as, the major fusion and fission related protein levels, by Western blot. mRNA expression of fusion-related genes increased after 17β-estradiol-treatment for 4h; however fis1 fission-related gene expression decreased. All these effects were not found in cells pre-treated with ICI 182,780, save for the changes in mfn-1, conferring them the effects of 17β-estradiol to estrogen receptor. The changes in protein levels were less prominent, but in the same way, than in mRNA levels, showing an increase in Mfn1 and Mfn2, as well as in Drp1, but there was no change in Fis1 protein levels. Mitochondrial biogenesis was also affected by 17β-estradiol, showing an increase in mtDNA but with no change in N-acridyl-orange fluorescence. On the whole, our results suggest an imbalance in the fusion/fission ratio, with a high fusion by 17β-estradiol-estrogen receptor action, which can affect to mitochondrial biogenesis, concretely in mitochondria proliferation. According to this information, 17β-estradiol would modify mitochondrial dynamics, biogenesis and metabolism, and thus compromise the normal development and function of mitochondria in cancer affected tissues.

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