Activation of ALDH1A1 in MDA-MB-468 breast cancer cells that over-express CYP2J2 protects against paclitaxel-dependent cell death mediated by reactive oxygen species

Sarah E. Allison, Yongjuan Chen, Nenad Petrovic, Jian Zhang, Kirsi Bourget, Peter I. Mackenzie, Michael Murray

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    28 Citations (Scopus)


    Cytochrome P450 2J2 (CYP2J2) expression is elevated in breast and other tumours, and is known to be protective against cytotoxic agents that may be used in cancer chemotherapy. This study evaluated the mechanisms by which MDA-MB-468 breast cancer cells that stably expressed CYP2J2 (MDA-2J2 cells) were protected against killing by the anti-cancer agent paclitaxel. Compared to control cells caspase-3/7 activation by paclitaxel was lower in MDA-2J2 cells, while cell proliferation and colony formation following paclitaxel treatment were increased. Basal lipid peroxidation was lower in MDA-2J2 cells than in control cells, and the paclitaxel-mediated increase in peroxidation was attenuated. The mitochondrial complex III inhibitor antimycin A modulated basal and paclitaxel-activated reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation in control cells; paclitaxel-activated ROS production was also modulated by the NADPH oxidase inhibitor diphenyleneiodonium. Paclitaxel increased the formation of protein adducts by the reactive aldehyde 4-hydroxynonenal that is produced by lipid peroxidation; adduct formation was attenuated in MDA-2J2 cells. ALDH1A1 expression and activity was strongly upregulated in MDA-2J2 cells that was attributed to CYP2J2-derived 14,15-epoxyeicosatrienoic acid (14,15-EET); the 8,9- and 11,12-EET regioisomers did not activate ALDH1A1 expression. Silencing of ALDH1A1 restored the sensitivity of MDA-2J2 cells to paclitaxel, as indicated by a more pronounced decrease in proliferation, and greater increases in caspase activity and formation of ROS to levels comparable with control cells. Similar findings were observed with doxorubicin, sorafenib and staurosporine, that also promoted ROS-mediated cell death that was attenuated in MDA-2J2 cells and reversed by ALDH1A1 gene silencing. These findings implicate ALDH1A1 as an important gene that is activated in MDA-MB-468-derived cells that contain high levels of CYP2J2. ALDH1A1 modulates the production of ROS by anti-cancer agents such as paclitaxel and diminishes their efficacy. Future approaches could adapt this information to facilitate the targeting of ALDH1A1 to promote the efficacy of ROS-generating cytotoxic agents and enhance the treatment of breast cancer.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)79-89
    Number of pages11
    JournalBiochemical Pharmacology
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017


    • 14,15-EET
    • Aldehyde dehydrogenase 1A1
    • Breast cancer drug resistance
    • Cell survival
    • Cytochrome P450 2J2
    • Reactive oxygen species


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