Silencing of mitochondrial Lon protease deeply impairs mitochondrial proteome and function in colon cancer cells

Lara Gibellini, Marcello Pinti, Federica Boraldi, Valentina Giorgio, Paolo Bernardi, Regina Bartolomeo, Milena Nasi, Sara De Biasi, Sonia Missiroli, Gianluca Carnevale, Lorena Losi, Anna Tesei, Paolo Pinton, Daniela Quaglino, Andrea Cossarizza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Lon is a nuclear-encoded, mitochondrial protease that assists protein folding, degrades oxidized/damaged proteins, and participates in maintaining mtDNA levels. Here we show that Lon is up-regulated in several human cancers and that its silencing in RKO colon cancer cells causes profound alterations of mitochondrial proteome and function, and cell death. We silenced Lon in RKO cells by constitutive or inducible expression of Lon shRNA. Lon-silenced cells displayed altered levels of 39 mitochondrial proteins (26% related to stress response, 14.8% to ribosome assembly, 12.7% to oxidative phosphorylation, 8.5% to Krebs cycle, 6.3% to β-oxidation, and 14.7% to crista integrity, ketone body catabolism, and mtDNA maintenance), low levels of mtDNA transcripts, and reduced levels of oxidative phosphorylation complexes (with >90% reduction of complex I). Oxygen consumption rate decreased 7.5-fold in basal conditions, and ATP synthesis dropped from 0.25 ± 0.04 to 0.03 ± 0.001 nmol/mg proteins, in the presence of 2-deoxy-D-glucose. Hydrogen peroxide and mitochondrial superoxide anion levels increased by 3- and 1.3-fold, respectively. Mitochondria appeared fragmented, heterogeneous in size and shape, with dilated cristae, vacuoles, and electrondense inclusions. The triterpenoid 2-cyano-3,12-dioxooleana-1,9,-dien-28-oic acid, a Lon inhibitor, partially mimics Lon silencing. In summary, Lon is essential for maintaining mitochondrial shape and function, and for survival of RKO cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5122-5135
Number of pages14
JournalFASEB Journal
Volume28
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2014

Keywords

  • MtDNA
  • MtRNA
  • Oxphos
  • Respiration
  • RKO cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Biotechnology
  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Medicine(all)

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