Mutations in BALB mitochondrial DNA induce CCL20 up-regulation promoting tumorigenic phenotypes

James Sligh, Jaroslav Janda, Jana Jandova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


mtDNA mutations are common in human cancers and are thought to contribute to the process of neoplasia. We examined the role of mtDNA mutations in skin cancer by generating fibroblast cybrids harboring a mutation in the gene encoding the mitochondrial tRNA for arginine. This somatic mutation (9821insA) was previously reported in UV-induced hyperkeratotic skin tumors in hairless mice and confers specific tumorigenic phenotypes to mutant cybrids. Microarray analysis revealed and RT-PCR along with Western blot analysis confirmed the up-regulation of CCL20 and its receptor CCR6 in mtBALB haplotype containing the mt-Tr 9821insA allele compared to wild type mtB6 haplotype. Based on reported role of CCL20 in cancer progression we examined whether the hyper-proliferation and enhanced motility of mtBALB haplotype would be associated with CCL20 levels. Treatment of both genotypes with recombinant CCL20 (rmCCL20) resulted in enhanced growth and motility of mtB6 cybrids. Furthermore, the acquired somatic alteration increased the in vivo tumor growth of mtBALB cybrids through the up-regulation of CCL20 since neutralizing antibody significantly decreased in vivo tumor growth of these cells; and tumors from anti-CCL20 treated mice injected with mtBALB cybrids showed significantly decreased CCL20 levels. When rmCCL20 or mtBALB cybrids were used as chemotactic stimuli, mtB6 cybrids showed increased motility while anti-CCL20 antibody decreased the migration and in vivo tumor growth of mtBALB cybrids. Moreover, the inhibitors of MAPK signaling and NF-κB activation inhibited CCL20 expression in mtBALB cybrids and decreased their migratory capabilities. Thus, acquired mtDNA mutations may promote tumorigenic phenotypes through up-regulation of chemokine CCL20.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-58
Number of pages10
JournalMutation Research - Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis
StatePublished - Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Chemokine CCL20
  • Migration and invasion
  • Mitochondrial DNA mutations
  • Proliferation
  • Tumor formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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