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Altered Retrograde Signaling Patterns in Breast Cancer Cells Cybrids with H and J Mitochondrial DNA Haplogroups


The aim of this study was to determine the role of retrograde signaling (mitochondria to nucleus) in MCF7 breast cancer cells. Therefore, in the present study, MCF7-H and MCF7-J cybrids were produced using the mitochondria from the same H and J individuals that were already used in our non-diseased retinal pigment epithelium (ARPE19) cybrids. MCF7 cybrids were treated with cisplatin and analyzed for cell viability, mitochondrial membrane potential, ROS, and expression levels of genes associated with the cGAS-STING and cancer-related pathways. Results showed that unlike the ARPE19-H and ARPE19-J cybrids, the untreated MCF7-H and MCF7-J cybrids had similar levels of ATP, lactate, and OCR: ECAR ratios. After cisplatin treatment, MCF7-H and MCF7-J cybrids showed similar (a) decreases in cell viability and ROS levels; (b) upregulation of ABCC1, BRCA1 and CDKN1A/P21; and (c) downregulation of EGFR. Cisplatin-treated ARPE19-H and ARPE19-J cybrids showed increased expression of six cGAS-STING pathway genes, while two were increased for MCF7-J cybrids. In summary, the ARPE19-H and ARPE19-J cybrids behave differentially from each other with or without cisplatin. In contrast, the MCF7-H and MCF7-J cybrids had identical metabolic/bioenergetic profiles and cisplatin responses. Our findings suggest that cancer cell nuclei might have a diminished ability to respond to the modulating signaling of the mtDNA that occurs via the cGAS-STING pathway.

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