Scientific reports

MFN2 suppresses cancer progression through inhibition of mTORC2/Akt signaling.

PMID 28176801


The mitochondrial GTPase mitofusin-2 (MFN2) has previously been reported to play a role in regulating cell proliferation, apoptosis and differentiation in a number of cell types. Here, we report that breast cancer patients with low MFN2 expression are associated with poor prognosis as compared to patients with high MFN2 expression. We find that MFN2 knockout from MCF7 and A549 cells via Crispr/Cas9 greatly promotes cell viability, colony formation, and invasion of cancer cells in vitro and in vivo, which were confirmed by colony formation assay, transwell invasion assay, and tumor xenograft model. Signaling analyses suggest the mammalian target of rapamycin complex 2 (mTORC2)/Akt signaling pathway is highly elevated in MFN2 knockout cancer cells. The elevated mTORC2 promotes cancer cell growth and metastasis via Akt(S437) phosphorylation mediated signaling pathway. Mechanistic studies reveal that MFN2 suppresses mTORC2 through direct interaction by binding its domain HR1. Inhibition of mTORC2 significantly suppresses MFN2 deficient tumor growth. Collectively, this study provides novel insights into the tumor progression associated with MFN2 deficiency and suggests that the importance of mTORC2 inhibitor in the treatment of MFN2 downregulated cancer patients.