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J Biol Chem. 2006 Feb 24;281(8):5128-36. Epub 2005 Dec 27.

Overexpression of CYP2E1 in mitochondria sensitizes HepG2 cells to the toxicity caused by depletion of glutathione.

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Department of Pharmacology and Biological Chemistry, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York 10029, USA.


Induction of CYP2E1 by ethanol is one mechanism by which ethanol causes oxidative stress and alcohol liver disease. Although CYP2E1 is predominantly found in the endoplasmic reticulum, it is also located in rat hepatic mitochondria. In the current study, chronic alcohol consumption induced rat hepatic mitochondrial CYP2E1. To study the role of mitochondrial targeted CYP2E1 in generating oxidative stress and causing damage to mitochondria, HepG2 lines overexpressing CYP2E1 in mitochondria (mE10 and mE27 cells) were established by transfecting a plasmid containing human CYP2E1 cDNA lacking the hydrophobic endoplasmic reticulum targeting signal sequence into HepG2 cells followed by G418 selection. A 40-kDa catalytically active NH2-terminally truncated form of CYP2E1 (mtCYP2E1) was detected in the mitochondrial compartment in these cells by Western blot analysis. Cell death caused by depletion of GSH by buthionine sulfoximine (BSO) was increased in mE10 and mE27 cells as compared with cells transfected with empty vector (pCI-neo). Antioxidants were able to abolish the loss of cell viability. Increased levels of reactive oxygen species and mitochondrial 3-nitrotyrosine and 4-hydroxynonenal protein adducts and decreased mitochondrial aconitase activity and mitochondrial membrane potential were observed in mE10 and mE27 cells treated with BSO. The mitochondrial membrane stabilizer, cyclosporine A, was also able to protect these cells from BSO toxicity. These results revealed that CYP2E1 in the mitochondrial compartment could induce oxidative stress in the mitochondria, damage mitochondria membrane potential, and cause a loss of cell viability. The accumulation of CYP2E1 in hepatic mitochondria induced by ethanol consumption might play an important role in alcohol liver disease.

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