• Authors: Bao, D., Zhao, J., Zhou, X., Yang, Q., Chen, Y., Zhu, J., Yuan, P., Yang, J., Qin, T., Wan, S., Xing, J.
  • Year: 2019
  • Journal: Oncogene 38 5007-5020
  • Applications: in vitro / Protein/Peptide/Antibody / PULSin
  • Cell type: HCC
    Description: Human hepatocellular carcinoma cells


DNase I


Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) contribute to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) progression. However, the molecular mechanism underlying the infiltration of TAMs into HCC microenvironment is largely unclear. Recent studies have reported that alteration of mitochondrial nucleoid structures induces mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) release into the cytosol, which is recognized as mtDNA stress, and consequently regulates innate immunity. Here we aimed to investigate whether mitochondrial fission induces mtDNA stress and then promotes TAM infiltration and HCC progression. Confocal microscopy and real-time PCR were used to detect cytosolic mtDNA content in HCC cells. The relationship between the expression of mitochondrial fission key regulator dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1) and the percentage of CD163 (a marker of TAMs)-positive cells was investigated in HCC tissues using immunohistochemistry. Finally, the effect of Drp1 overexpression in HCC cells on recruitment and polarization of TAMs was investigated. Our data showed that increased Drp1 expression was positively correlated with the infiltration of TAMs into HCC tissues. Drp1-mediated mitochondrial fission induced the cytosolic mtDNA stress to enhance the CCL2 secretion from HCC cells by TLR9-mediated NF-kappaB signaling pathway, and thus promoted the TAM recruitment and polarization. Depleting cytosolic mtDNA using DNase I or blocking TLR9 pathway by TLR9 antagonist, siRNA for TLR9 or p65 in HCC cells with Drp1 overexpression significantly decreased the recruitment and polarization of TAMs. Blocking CCR2 by antagonist significantly reduced TAM infiltration and suppressed HCC progression in mouse model. In conclusion, our findings reveal a novel mechanism of TAM infiltration in HCC by mitochondrial fission-induced mtDNA stress.