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PLoS One. 2011;6(9):e24792. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0024792. Epub 2011 Sep 15.

Cellular model of Warburg effect identifies tumor promoting function of UCP2 in breast cancer and its suppression by genipin.

Author information

  • 1Department of Cancer Genetics, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, New York, United States of America.

Abstract

The Warburg Effect is characterized by an irreversible injury to mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) and an increased rate of aerobic glycolysis. In this study, we utilized a breast epithelial cell line lacking mitochondrial DNA (rho(0)) that exhibits the Warburg Effect associated with breast cancer. We developed a MitoExpress array for rapid analysis of all known nuclear genes encoding the mitochondrial proteome. The gene-expression pattern was compared among a normal breast epithelial cell line, its rho(0) derivative, breast cancer cell lines and primary breast tumors. Among several genes, our study revealed that over-expression of mitochondrial uncoupling protein UCP2 in rho(0) breast epithelial cells reflects gene expression changes in breast cancer cell lines and in primary breast tumors. Furthermore, over-expression of UCP2 was also found in leukemia, ovarian, bladder, esophagus, testicular, colorectal, kidney, pancreatic, lung and prostate tumors. Ectopic expression of UCP2 in MCF7 breast cancer cells led to a decreased mitochondrial membrane potential and increased tumorigenic properties as measured by cell migration, in vitro invasion and anchorage independent growth. Consistent with in vitro studies, we demonstrate that UCP2 over-expression leads to development of tumors in vivo in an orthotopic model of breast cancer. Genipin, a plant derived small molecule, suppressed the UCP2 led tumorigenic properties, which were mediated by decreased reactive oxygen species and down-regulation of UCP2. However, UCP1, 3, 4 and 5 gene expression was unaffected. UCP2 transcription was controlled by SMAD4. Together, these studies suggest a tumor-promoting function of UCP2 in breast cancer. In summary, our studies demonstrate that i) the Warburg Effect is mediated by UCP2; ii) UCP2 is over-expressed in breast and many other cancers; iii) UCP2 promotes tumorigenic properties in vitro and in vivo and iv) genipin suppresses the tumor promoting function of UCP2.

PMID:
21935467
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3174207
Free PMC Article

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