Life Sciences, Cell & Developmental Biology; modulation of nuclear gene expression; mitochondrial 18 kDa translocator protein (TSPO); TSPO ligand; PK 11195; 2-Cl-MGV-1; retrograde mitochondrial-nuclear signaling pathway; microscopy; mitochondria; cell nucleus
It is known that knockdown of the mitochondrial 18 kDa translocator protein (TSPO) as well as TSPO ligands modulate various functions, including functions related to cancer. To study the ability of TSPO to regulate gene expression regarding such functions, we applied microarray analysis of gene expression to U118MG glioblastoma cells. Within 15 minutes, the classical TSPO ligand PK 11195 induced changes in expression of immediate early genes and transcription factors. These changes also included gene products that are part of the canonical pathway serving to modulate general gene expression. These changes are in accord with reverse transcriptase (RT) real-time -PCR. At the time points of 15, 30, 45, and 60 minutes, as well as 3 and 24 hours of PK 11195 exposure, the functions associated with the changes in gene expression in these glioblastoma cells covered well known TSPO functions. These functions included cell viability, proliferation, differentiation, adhesion, migration, tumorigenesis, and angiogenesis. This was corroborated microscopically for cell migration, cell accumulation, adhesion, and neuronal differentiation. Changes in gene expression at 24 hours of PK 11195 exposure were related to downregulation of tumorigenesis and upregulation of programmed cell death. In the vehicle treated as well as PK 11195 exposed cell cultures, our triple labeling showed intense TSPO labeling in the mitochondria but no TSPO signal in the cell nuclei. Thus, mitochondrial TSPO appears to be part of the mitochondria-to-nucleus signaling pathway for modulation of nuclear gene expression. The novel TSPO ligand 2-Cl-MGV-1 appeared to be very specific regarding modulation of gene expression of immediate early genes and transcription factors.