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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2011 Jun;1807(6):595-601. doi: 10.1016/j.bbabio.2010.12.011. Epub 2010 Dec 29.

Mitochondrial proteases and cancer.

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CRICM-INSERM-UMRS975, CNRS UMR 7225-UPMC, Hôpital de la Salpétrière, Bâtiment Pharmacie, 47 Bd de l'Hôpital, 75651 Paris Cedex 13, France.


Mitochondria are a major source of intracellular reactive oxygen species, the production of which increases with cancer. The deleterious effects of reactive oxygen species may be responsible for the impairment of mitochondrial function observed during various pathophysiological states associated with oxidative stress and cancer. These organelles are also targets of oxidative damage (oxidation of mitochondrial DNA, lipids, protein). An important factor for protein maintenance in the presence of oxidative stress is enzymatic reversal of oxidative modifications and/or protein degradation. Failure of these processes is likely a critical component of the cancer process. Mitochondrial proteases degrade misfolded and non-assemble polypeptides, thus performing quality control surveillance in the organelle. Mitochondrial proteases may be directly involved in cancer development as recently shown for HtrA2/Omi or may regulate crucial mitochondrial molecule such as cytochrome c oxidase 4 a subunit of the cytochrome c oxidase complex degraded by the Lon protease. Thus, the role of mitochondrial proteases is further addressed in the context of oxidative stress and cancer.

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