PGC-1α induced mitochondrial biogenesis in stromal cells underpins mitochondrial transfer to melanoma

Prakrit R. Kumar, Mona Saad, Charlotte Hellmich, Jayna J. Mistry, Jamie A. Moore, Shannon Conway, Christopher J. Morris, Kristian M. Bowles, Marc D. Moncrieff, Stuart A. Rushworth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
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Introduction: Progress in the knowledge of metabolic interactions between cancer and its microenvironment is ongoing and may lead to novel therapeutic approaches. Until recently, melanoma was considered a glycolytic tumour due to mutations in mitochondrial-DNA, however, these malignant cells can regain OXPHOS capacity via the transfer of mitochondrial-DNA, a process that supports their proliferation in-vitro and in-vivo. Here we study how melanoma cells acquire mitochondria and how this process is facilitated from the tumour microenvironment. Methods: Primary melanoma cells, and MSCs derived from patients were obtained. Genes’ expression and DNA quantification was analysed using Real-time PCR. MSC migration, melanoma proliferation and tumour volume, in a xenograft subcutaneous mouse model, were monitored through bioluminescent live animal imaging. Results: Human melanoma cells attract bone marrow-derived stromal cells (MSCs) to the primary tumour site where they stimulate mitochondrial biogenesis in the MSCs through upregulation of PGC1a. Mitochondria are transferred to the melanoma cells via direct contact with the MSCs. Moreover, inhibition of MSC-derived PGC1a was able to prevent mitochondrial transfer and improve NSG melanoma mouse tumour burden. Conclusion: MSC mitochondrial biogenesis stimulated by melanoma cells is prerequisite for mitochondrial transfer and subsequent tumour growth, where targeting this pathway may provide an effective novel therapeutic approach in melanoma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69–78
Number of pages10
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Early online date26 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2022

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