Despite the established role of mitochondria in cancer, the mechanisms by which mitochondrial Ca2+ (mtCa2+) regulates tumorigenesis remain incompletely understood. The crucial role of mtCa2+ in tumorigenesis is highlighted by altered expression of proteins mediating mtCa2+ uptake and extrusion in cancer. Here, we demonstrate decreased expression of the mitochondrial Na+ /Ca2+ /Li+ exchanger NCLX (SLC8B1) in human colorectal tumors and its association with advanced-stage disease in patients. Downregulation of NCLX causes mtCa2+ overload, mitochondrial depolarization, decreased expression of cell-cycle genes and reduced tumor size in xenograft and spontaneous colorectal cancer mouse models. Concomitantly, NCLX downregulation drives metastatic spread, chemoresistance, and expression of epithelial-to-mesenchymal, hypoxia, and stem cell pathways. Mechanistically, mtCa2+ overload leads to increased mitochondrial reactive oxygen species, which activate HIF1a signaling supporting metastasis of NCLX-null tumor cells. Thus, loss of NCLX is a novel driver of metastasis, indicating that regulation of mtCa2+ is a novel therapeutic approach in metastatic colorectal cancer.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)