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Exp Mol Med. 2012 Apr 30;44(4):251-9. doi: 10.3858/emm.2012.44.4.019.

Adenovirus adenine nucleotide translocator-2 shRNA effectively induces apoptosis and enhances chemosensitivity by the down-regulation of ABCG2 in breast cancer stem-like cells.

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  • 1Tumor Immunity Medical Research Center, Cancer Research Institute, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul 110-799, Korea.


Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are resistant to chemo- and radio-therapy, and can survive to regenerate new tumors. This is an important reason why various anti- cancer therapies often fail to completely control tumors, although they kill and eliminate the bulk of cancer cells. In this study, we determined whether or not adenine nucleotide translocator-2 (ANT2) suppression could also be effective in inducing cell death of breast cancer stem-like cells. A sub-population (SP; CD44+/ CD24-) of breast cancer cells has been reported to have stem/progenitor cell properties. We utilized the adeno- ANT2 shRNA virus to inhibit ANT2 expression and then observed the treatment effect in a SP of breast cancer cell line. In this study, MCF7, MDA-MB-231 cells, and breast epithelial cells (MCF10A) mesenchymally-transdifferentiated through E-cadherin knockdown were used. ANT2 expression was high in both stem-like cells and non-stem-like cells of MCF7 and MDA-MB-231 cells, and was induced and up-regulated by mesenchymal transdifferentiation in MCF10A cells (MCF10A(EMT)). Knockdown of ANT2 by adeno-shRNA virus efficiently induced apoptotic cell death in the stem-like cells of MCF7 and MDA-MB-231 cells, and MCF10A(EMT). Stem-like cells of MCF7 and MDA-MB-231, and MCF10A(EMT) cells exhibited increased drug (doxorubicin) resistance, and expressed a multi-drug resistant related molecule, ABCG2, at a high level. Adeno-ANT2 shRNA virus markedly sensitized the stem-like cells of MCF7 and MDA-MB-231, and the MCF10A(EMT) cells to doxorubicin, which was accompanied by down-regulation of ABCG2. Our results suggest that ANT2 suppression by adeno-shRNA virus is an effective strategy to induce cell death and increase the chemosensitivity of stem-like cells in breast cancer.

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