Tumor suppressor WWOX moderates the mitochondrial respiratory complex

Amanda Choo, Louise V. O'Keefe, Cheng Shoou Lee, Stephen L. Gregory, Zeeshan Shaukat, Alex D. Colella, Kristie Lee, Donna Denton, Robert I. Richards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Fragile site FRA16D exhibits DNA instability in cancer, resulting in diminished levels of protein from the WWOX gene that spans it. WWOX suppresses tumor growth by an undefined mechanism. WWOX participates in pathways involving aerobic metabolism and reactive oxygen species. WWOX comprises two WW domains as well as a short-chain dehydrogenase/reductase enzyme. Herein is described an in vivo genetic analysis in Drosophila melanogaster to identify functional interactions between WWOX and metabolic pathways. Altered WWOX levels modulate variable cellular outgrowths caused by genetic deficiencies of components of the mitochondrial respiratory complexes. This modulation requires the enzyme active site of WWOX, and the defective respiratory complex-induced cellular outgrowths are mediated by reactive oxygen species, dependent upon the Akt pathway and sensitive to levels of autophagy and hypoxia-inducible factor. WWOX is known to contribute to homeostasis by regulating the balance between oxidative phosphorylation and glycolysis. Reduction of WWOX levels results in diminished ability to respond to metabolic perturbation of normal cell growth. Thus, the ability of WWOX to facilitate escape from mitochondrial damage-induced glycolysis (Warburg effect) is, therefore, a plausible mechanism for its tumor suppressor activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)745-761
Number of pages17
JournalGenes Chromosomes and Cancer
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015


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