Menu

Mitochondrial DNA Plays a Role in Metastasis

Experiments in mice show that mitochondria, both within the tumor and beyond, can make the difference between promoting or inhibiting cancer spread.

Apr 18, 2018
Kerry Grens

ISTOCK, WIR0MANThe mitochondrial genome of mice is only 16 kilobases long, comprising just 37 genes, yet its polymorphisms appear related to the metastatic potential of cancer, researchers report at the American Association of Cancer Research annual meeting in Chicago today (April 17). Researchers swapped the nuclear and mitochondrial DNA among several mouse strains and observed changes in immune function, microbiome composition, metabolomics, and tumor spread that tracked with mitochondrial type.

“People just assume something of 16 kilobases couldn’t be that critical for something so complicated,” Danny Welch, a cancer biologist at the University of Kansas Medical Center who presented his lab’s results, tells The Scientist.

The latest, unpublished findings build upon a 2017 report in Cancer Research by Welch’s group that showed that the mitochondrial genome was tied to the speed of cancer growth and metastasis. Mice of a strain called FVB that had inherited mitochondria from either of two other strains took longer to form tumors and had less tumor spread than mice with native FVB mitochondria, Welch and his colleagues reported.

In the latest experiments, the researchers took cancer cells with the mouse strains’ original nuclear and mitochondrial genomic backgrounds and infused them into mice with either original or swapped mitochondrial DNA. This set-up gave the investigators a look at how mitochondrial DNA in tissues outside the tumor might affect cancer spread. Again, the team found that the amount of metastases was tied to mitochondrial type. “We were so shocked by the data we repeated it three times over the course of the year with 10 mice per experiment,” Welch said during his presentation.

The new data point to possible hints as to how mitochondria might contribute to metastasis—namely, Welch and colleagues found immune, microbial, and metabolic, changes associated with mitochondrial background that they are now pursuing with follow up investigations.

February 2019

Big Storms Brewing

Can forests weather more major hurricanes?

Marketplace

Sponsored Product Updates

Bio-Rad Releases First FDA-Cleared Digital PCR System and Test for Monitoring Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Response
Bio-Rad Releases First FDA-Cleared Digital PCR System and Test for Monitoring Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Response
Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: BIO and BIOb), a global leader of life science research and clinical diagnostic products, today announced that its QXDx AutoDG ddPCR System, which uses Bio-Rad’s Droplet Digital PCR technology, and the QXDx BCR-ABL %IS Kit are the industry’s first digital PCR products to receive U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance. Used together, Bio-Rad’s system and kit can precisely and reproducibly monitor molecular response to treatment in patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML).
Bio-Rad Showcases New Automation Features of its ZE5 Cell Analyzer at SLAS 2019
Bio-Rad Showcases New Automation Features of its ZE5 Cell Analyzer at SLAS 2019
Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: BIO and BIOb) today showcases new automation features of its ZE5 Cell Analyzer during the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening 2019 International Conference and Exhibition (SLAS) in Washington, D.C., February 2–6. These capabilities enable the ZE5 to be used for high-throughput flow cytometry in biomarker discovery and phenotypic screening.
Andrew Alliance and Sartorius Collaborate to Provide Software-Connected Pipettes for Life Science Research
Andrew Alliance and Sartorius Collaborate to Provide Software-Connected Pipettes for Life Science Research
Researchers to benefit from an innovative software-connected pipetting system, bringing improved reproducibility and traceability of experiments to life-science laboratories.
Corning Life Sciences to Feature 3D Cell Culture Technologies at SLAS 2019
Corning Life Sciences to Feature 3D Cell Culture Technologies at SLAS 2019
Corning Incorporated (NYSE: GLW) will showcase advanced 3D cell culture technologies and workflow solutions for spheroids, organoids, tissue models, and applications including ADME/toxicology at the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening (SLAS) conference, Feb. 2-6 in Washington, D.C.