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Front Oncol. 2013 Feb 5;3:16. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2013.00016. eCollection 2013.

GSK-3 and mitochondria in cancer cells.

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Department of Molecular Medicine, University of Padova Padova, Italy.


GSK-3 is a multifunctional kinase that is located in the cytosol, nucleus, and mitochondria of all cell types, and it is involved in the pathogenesis of a variety of diseases. In cancer, GSK-3 modulates the response of the cell death machinery to stress stimuli, including chemotherapeutics. Mitochondria are at the heart of the integration between survival and noxious signals; therefore, modulation of the mitochondrial functions carried out by GSK-3 is profoundly involved in the apoptosis escape capabilities that hallmark neoplasms. This review briefly covers the mechanistic interactions among oncogenic kinase pathways, GSK-3 activity and subsequent modulation of mitochondrial functions that shape the pro-survival phenotype of cancer cells, such as control of redox homeostasis and inhibition of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore.


GSK-3; PTP; ROS; apoptosis; cancer; chemotherapeutics; mitochondria

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