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Energetic metabolism analysis based on the instability of the mitochondrial genome in melanoma

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Luiza Ferreira de Araujo
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Doctoral Thesis
Press: Ribeirão Preto.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Wilson Araújo da Silva Junior; Emmanuel Dias Neto; Vitor Marcel Faça; Rodrigo Alexandre Panepucci; Nadja Cristhina de Souza Pinto
Advisor: Wilson Araújo da Silva Junior

Recent studies have shown many oncogenes triggering metabolic reprogramming in cancer. The metabolic switch in cancer cells is necessary to supply the high demand for nutrients and biomolecules for proliferative cells. In this context, mitochondria play a central role in the energetic metabolism of the cell and changes in its genome, such as an increased load of mutations and alterations in mtDNA content, have been reported in several cancers. In addition, deficiency in the Mitochondrial Transcription Factor A (TFAM), responsible for transcription and maintenance of mtDNA stability, was previously associated with tumor growth. Based on that, our goal was to evaluate the impact of the mitochondrial genome instability in the energetic metabolism and melanoma growth. mtDNA instability was inferred measuring mtDNA mutations load and content, as well as TFAM expression. Its impact was evaluated in three different melanoma models: an in vitro model using melanoma cell lines, gene expression data from metastatic melanoma tumors, publicly available at TCGA, and an inducible murine model of melanoma (BRAFV600E/PTENnull), crossed onto different TFAMdeficient backgrounds. The murine model also provides us a tractable model to examine the consequences of mtDNA instability limited to cancer cells (Tfamflox) and in both cancer cells and tumor microenvironment (Tfam+/-). In vitro analysis showed us a positive correlation between mtDNA copy number (mtDNAcn) and TFAM expression with glucose consumption and ATP production, pointing an impact of these parameters in cellular bioenergetics. Further gene expression analysis, using both cell lines and metastatic melanoma data, suggested that TFAM could regulate the expression of angiogenesis genes, humoral immunity and amino acid metabolism. In vivo analysis confirmed the gene expression data, and revealed a higher melanoma growth in Tfam+/-. Also, combined metabolomics and transcriptomics data suggested that TFAM/mtDNAcn deficient melanoma cells rely mostly on glutamine metabolism to supply their energetic requirements. In conclusion, these data indicate that TFAM/mtDNAcn influences melanoma growth by triggering pro-tumorigenic signals and inducing metabolic reprogramming towards glutamine metabolism. These results are relevant and might help us understand how mitochondria affect melanoma progression. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 13/25119-0 - Energetic metabolism study on melanoma progression based on mitochondrial genome instability
Grantee:Luíza Ferreira de Araújo
Support type: Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate