Lack of oxidative phosphorylation and low mitochondrial membrane potential decrease susceptibility to apoptosis and do not modulate the protective effect of Bcl-xL in osteosarcoma cells
We explored the role of low mitochondrial membrane potential (DeltaPsim) and the lack of oxidative phosphorylation in apoptosis by assessing the susceptibility of osteosarcoma cell lines with and without mitochondrial DNA to staurosporine-induced death. Our cells without mitochondrial DNA had low DeltaPsim and no functional oxidative phosphorylation. Contrary to our expectation, these cells were more resistant to staurosporine-induced death than were the parental cells. This reduced susceptibility was associated with decreased activation of caspase 3 but not with the mitochondrial permeability transition pore or cytochrome c release from the mitochondria. Apoptosis in both cell lines was associated with an increase in DeltaPsim. Bcl-x(L) could protect both cell types against caspase 3 activation and apoptosis by a mechanism that does not appear to be mediated by mitochondrial function or modulation of DeltaPsim. Nevertheless, we found that Bcl-x(L) expression can stimulate cell respiration in cells with mitochondrial DNA. Our results showed that the lack of functional oxidative phosphorylation and/or low mitochondrial membrane potential are associated with an antiapoptotic effect, possibly contributing to the development of some types of cancer. It also reinforces a model in which Bcl-x(L) can exert an antiapoptotic effect by stimulating oxidative phosphorylation and/or inhibiting caspase activation.
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