Mitochondrial ROS Produced in Human Colon Carcinoma Associated with Cell Survival via Autophagy

Eun Ji Gwak, Dasol Kim, Hui Yun Hwang, Ho Jeong Kwon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Human colon carcinomas, including HCT116 cells, often exhibit high autophagic flux under nutrient deprivation or hypoxic conditions. Mitochondrial ROS (mROS) is known as a ‘molecular switch’ for regulating the autophagic pathway, which is critical for directing cancer cell survival or death. In early tumorigenesis, autophagy plays important roles in maintaining cellular homeostasis and contributes to tumor growth. However, the relationships between mROS and the autophagic capacities of HCT116 cells are poorly understood. Ubiquinol cytochrome c reductase binding protein (UQCRB) has been reported as a biomarker of colorectal cancer, but its role in tumor growth has not been clarified. Here, we showed that UQCRB is overexpressed in HCT116 cells compared to CCD18co cells, a normal colon fibroblast cell line. Pharmacological inhibition of UQCRB reduced mROS levels, autophagic flux, and the growth of HCT116 tumors in a xenograft mouse model. We further investigated mutant UQCRB-overexpressing cell lines to identify functional links in UQCRB-mROS-autophagy. Notably, an increasing level of mROS caused by UQCRB overexpression released Ca2+ by the activation of lysosomal transient receptor potential mucolipin 1 (TRPML1) channels. This activation induced transcription factor EB (TFEB) nuclear translocation and lysosome biogenesis, leading to autophagy flux. Collectively, our study showed that increasing levels of mROS caused by the overexpression of UQCRB in human colon carcinoma HCT116 cells could be linked to autophagy for cell survival.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1883
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Apr 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This work was partly supported by grants from the National Research Foundation of Korea and was funded by the government of the Republic of Korea (MSIP; 2021R1A3B1077371, 2015K1A1A2028365, and 2012M3A9D1054520) and the Brain Korea 21 Plus Project, Republic of Korea and Institute of Convergence Science at Yonsei University.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authorsLicensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Mitochondrial ROS Produced in Human Colon Carcinoma Associated with Cell Survival via Autophagy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this