Mutant p53-dependent mitochondrial metabolic alterations in a mesenchymal stem cell-based model of progressive malignancy

Giuseppe Lonetto, Gabriela Koifman, Alon Silberman, Ayush Attery, Hilla Solomon, Smadar Levin-Zaidman, Naomi Goldfinger, Ziv Porat, Ayelet Erez, Varda Rotter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is well accepted that malignant transformation is associated with unique metabolism. Malignant transformation involves a variety of cellular pathways that are associated with initiation and progression of the malignant process that remain to be deciphered still. Here we used a mouse model of mutant p53 that presents a stepwise progressive transformation of adult Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs). While the established parental p53Mut-MSCs induce tumors, the parental p53WT-MSCs that were established in parallel, did not. Furthermore, tumor lines derived from the parental p53Mut-MSCs (p53Mut-MSC-TLs), exhibited yet a more aggressive transformed phenotype, suggesting exacerbation in tumorigenesis. Metabolic tracing of these various cell types, indicated that while malignant transformation is echoed by a direct augmentation in glycolysis, the more aggressive p53Mut-MSC-TLs demonstrate increased mitochondrial oxidation that correlates with morphological changes in mitochondria mass and function. Finally, we show that these changes are p53Mut-dependent. Computational transcriptional analysis identified a mitochondrial gene signature specifically downregulated upon knock/out of p53Mut in MSC-TLs. Our results suggest that stem cells exhibiting different state of malignancy are also associated with a different quantitative and qualitative metabolic profile in a p53Mut-dependent manner. This may provide important insights for cancer prognosis and the use of specific metabolic inhibitors in a personalized designed cancer therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1566-1581
Number of pages16
JournalCell Death and Differentiation
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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