Mitochondrial membrane potential regulation is independent of c-fos expression
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Tumour cells contain mitochondria with elevated membrane potentials compared with normal cells, and thus this feature provides a selective target for destroying tumour cells. To improve mitochondrial-based therapies, a better understanding of the factors involved in regulating mitochondria are required. Since v-fos overexpression has been shown to elevate mitochondrial membrane potentials in rat fibroblasts, we investigated whether the human homologue, c-fos, was also capable of regulating the mitochondrial membrane potential in cells. Rat fibroblasts transfected with the c-fos gene did not accumulate more rhodamine 123 (Rh123) nor did they retain this Rh123 for extended periods of time compared with their parental line. Moreover, there was no difference in survival following dequalinium chloride (Deca) treatment between transfectants and controls. Similarly, reduction of c-fos expression in rat fibroblasts did not significantly alter their mitochondrial membrane potential. In addition, human ovarian carcinoma cells, which overexpress the c-fos gene, did not accumulate more Rh123 nor were they hypersensitive to Deca compared with their parental line. In another human ovarian carcinoma cell line, selection of variants with lower mitochondrial membrane potential did not alter c-fos mRNA or protein levels. These data suggest that alterations in c-fos expression do not regulate the magnitude of the mitochondrial membrane potential.
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