Bax is necessary for PGC1α pro-apoptotic effect in colorectal cancer cells

Ilenia D'Errico, Giuseppe Lo Sasso, Lorena Salvatore, Stefania Murzilli, Nicola Martelli, Maricarmen Cristofaro, Dominga Latorre, Gaetano Villani, Antonio Moschetta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We have recently shown that the transcriptional coactivator PGC1α, a master regulator of mitochondrial biogenesis and function, is involved in the control of the intestinal epithelium cell fate. Furthermore, PGC1α protects against colon cancer formation by promoting ROS accumulation and, consequently, mitochondria-mediated apoptosis. Here we provide an additional mechanistic insight into the tumor suppressor activity of PGC1α showing that its pro-apoptotic effect is mediated by Bax. In fact, PGC1α overexpression in HCT116 Bax -/- colorectal cancer cells stimulates mitochondrial production and activity, but it fails to induce cell death as well as to oppose tumor growth in the xenograft model. The lack of ROS accumulation in the Bax -/- cells strengthens our view that the PGC1α-induced oxidative burst represents one of the main apoptosis-driving factors in colorectal cancer cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2937-2945
Number of pages9
JournalCell Cycle
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2011


  • Apoptosis
  • Intestine
  • Mitochondria
  • Nuclear receptors
  • Reactive oxygen species (ROS)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology

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  • Cite this

    D'Errico, I., Lo Sasso, G., Salvatore, L., Murzilli, S., Martelli, N., Cristofaro, M., Latorre, D., Villani, G., & Moschetta, A. (2011). Bax is necessary for PGC1α pro-apoptotic effect in colorectal cancer cells. Cell Cycle, 10(17), 2937-2945.