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Mitochondrial protein 18 (MTP18) plays a pro-apoptotic role in chemotherapy-induced gastric cancer cell apoptosis.

Abstract

One of the severe limitations of chemotherapy is the development of drug resistance. However, the mechanisms underlying chemotherapy resistance remain to be elucidated. Mitochondrial mediated apoptosis is a form of cell death induced by chemotherapy. Several chemotherapeutic agents have been shown to induce mitochondrial fission, and finally activate the apoptosis cascade in various cancer cells. Here, we report that the mitochondrial membrane protein 18 (MTP18) induced mitochondrial fragmentation in gastric cancer cells under doxorubicin (DOX) exposure. Upon over-expression of MTP18, a sub-cytotoxic dose of DOX could sensitize a significant number of cells to undergo mitochondrial fission and subsequent apoptosis. These findings suggest that MTP18 can enhance the sensitivity of gastric cancer cells to DOX. Mechanistically, we found that MTP18 enriched dynamic-related protein 1 (DRP1) accumulation in mitochondria and it was responsible for mediating DOX-induced signaling required for mitochondrial fission. Intriguingly, MTP18 expression was downregulated during DOX treatment. Thus, down-regulation of MTP18 expression could be one of the resistance factors interfering with DOX-induced apoptosis in gastric cancer cells.

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