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1.  The Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid DHA Induces Simultaneous Apoptosis and Autophagy via Mitochondrial ROS-Mediated Akt-mTOR Signaling in Prostate Cancer Cells Expressing Mutant p53 
BioMed Research International  2013;2013:568671.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) induces autophagy-associated apoptotic cell death in wild-type p53 cancer cells via regulation of p53. The present study investigated the effects of DHA on PC3 and DU145 prostate cancer cell lines harboring mutant p53. Results show that, in addition to apoptosis, DHA increased the expression levels of lipidated form LC3B and potently stimulated the autophagic flux, suggesting that DHA induces both autophagy and apoptosis in cancer cells expressing mutant p53. DHA led to the generation of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS), as shown by the mitochondrial ROS-specific probe mitoSOX. Similarly, pretreatment with the antioxidant N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) markedly inhibited both the autophagy and the apoptosis triggered by DHA, indicating that mitochondrial ROS mediate the cytotoxicity of DHA in mutant p53 cells. Further, DHA reduced the levels of phospho-Akt and phospho-mTOR in a concentration-dependent manner, while NAC almost completely blocked that effect. Collectively, these findings present a novel mechanism of ROS-regulated apoptosis and autophagy that involves Akt-mTOR signaling in prostate cancer cells with mutant p53 exposed to DHA.
doi:10.1155/2013/568671
PMCID: PMC3691929  PMID: 23841076
2.  Docosahexaenoic acid induces autophagy through p53/AMPK/mTOR signaling and promotes apoptosis in human cancer cells harboring wild-type p53 
Autophagy  2011;7(11):1348-1358.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) has been reported to induce tumor cell death by apoptosis. However, little is known about the effects of DHA on autophagy, another complex well-programmed process characterized by the sequestration of cytoplasmic material within autophagosomes. Here we show that DHA increased both the level of microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 and the number of autophagic vacuoles without impairing autophagic vesicle turnover, indicating that DHA induces not only apoptosis but also autophagy. We also observed that DHA-induced autophagy was accompanied by p53 loss. Inhibition of p53 increased DHA-induced autophagy and prevention of p53 degradation significantly led to the attenuation of DHA-induced autophagy, suggesting that DHA-induced autophagy is mediated by p53. Further experiments showed that the mechanism of DHA-induced autophagy associated with p53 attenuation involved an increase in the active form of AMP-activated protein kinase and a decrease in the activity of mammalian target of rapamycin. In addition, compelling evidence for the interplay between autophagy and apoptosis induced by DHA is supported by the findings that autophagy inhibition suppressed apoptosis and further autophagy induction enhanced apoptosis in response to DHA treatment. Overall, our results demonstrate that autophagy contributes to the cytotoxicity of DHA in cancer cells harboring wild-type p53.
doi:10.4161/auto.7.11.16658
PMCID: PMC3242799  PMID: 21811093
DHA; autophagy; apoptosis; p53; cancer; mTOR; AMPK; p27
3.  DJ-1 Null Dopaminergic Neuronal Cells Exhibit Defects in Mitochondrial Function and Structure: Involvement of Mitochondrial Complex I Assembly 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e32629.
DJ-1 is a Parkinson's disease-associated gene whose protein product has a protective role in cellular homeostasis by removing cytosolic reactive oxygen species and maintaining mitochondrial function. However, it is not clear how DJ-1 regulates mitochondrial function and why mitochondrial dysfunction is induced by DJ-1 deficiency. In a previous study we showed that DJ-1 null dopaminergic neuronal cells exhibit defective mitochondrial respiratory chain complex I activity. In the present article we investigated the role of DJ-1 in complex I formation by using blue native-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and 2-dimensional gel analysis to assess native complex status. On the basis of these experiments, we concluded that DJ-1 null cells have a defect in the assembly of complex I. Concomitant with abnormal complex I formation, DJ-1 null cells show defective supercomplex formation. It is known that aberrant formation of the supercomplex impairs the flow of electrons through the channels between respiratory chain complexes, resulting in mitochondrial dysfunction. We took two approaches to study these mitochondrial defects. The first approach assessed the structural defect by using both confocal microscopy with MitoTracker staining and electron microscopy. The second approach assessed the functional defect by measuring ATP production, O2 consumption, and mitochondrial membrane potential. Finally, we showed that the assembly defect as well as the structural and functional abnormalities in DJ-1 null cells could be reversed by adenovirus-mediated overexpression of DJ-1, demonstrating the specificity of DJ-1 on these mitochondrial properties. These mitochondrial defects induced by DJ-1mutation may be a pathological mechanism for the degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in Parkinson's disease.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0032629
PMCID: PMC3293835  PMID: 22403686

Results 1-3 (3)