Mutation research

Mitochondrial localization of APE/Ref-1 in thyroid cells.

PMID 11182545


Mutations of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) are associated with different human diseases, including cancer and aging. Reactive oxygen species produced during oxidative phosphorylation are a major source of mtDNA damage. It is not clear, however, whether DNA repair mechanisms, able to abolish effects due to oxidative damage, are present in mitochondria. APE/Ref-1 is a nuclear protein possessing both redox activity (by which activates, "in vitro", the DNA-binding functions of several transcription factors) and DNA repair activity over apurinic/apyrimidinic sites. Immunohistochemical evidences indicate that in follicular thyroid cells, APE/Ref-1 is located in both nucleus and cytoplasm. Electronmicroscopy immunocytochemistry performed in the rat thyroid FRTL-5 cell line, indicates that part of the cytoplasmatic APE/Ref-1 is located in mitochondria. The presence of APE/Ref-1 inside mitochondria is further demonstrated by western blot analysis after cell fractionation. In the Kimol cell line (which is derived from FRTL-5, transformed by the Ki-ras oncogene) the amount of mitochondrial APE/Ref-1 is reduced by three to fourfold with respect to the normal FRTL-5 cells. These results suggest that: (i) a machinery capable of repairing DNA damaged by oxidative stress is present in mitochondria and (ii) mtDNA repair mechanisms may be impaired during cell transformation.