Mitochondrial proteome: Cancer-altered metabolism associated with cytochrome c oxidase subunit level variation

René C. Krieg, Ruth Knuechel, Elliot Schiffmann, Lance A. Liotta, Emanuel F. Petricoin, Paul C. Herrmann*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Shifts in metabolism associated with tumorigenesis were first noted by Otto Warburg in the 1920s. In the ensuing decades many examples of the phenomenon have been elucidated while the underlying molecular mechanism has remained elusive. As the enzyme complex at the crux of oxidative phosphorylation, cytochrome c oxidase is uniquely positioned to have a very high impact on cellular metabolism. In this study, we test the hypothesis that there is a specific association between altered cytochrome c oxidase subunit levels and altered metabolism by combining the technique of reverse-phase protein microarray with radiolabeled glucose metabolic studies. Such a relationship is observed with five different cell lines, two of which (1542N and 1542T) are a matched set of normal and tumor-based lineages derived from the same prostate gland. By measuring the [14C]carbon dioxide production of a cell line metabolizing [1-14C]glucose and comparing those measurements to values obtained for the same cell line metabolizing [6-14C]glucose, we determined the relative utilization of the hexose monophosphate shunt and glycolysis progressing through the Krebs cycle metabolic pathway in each cell line. In all cases there is an increased utilization of hexose monophosphate shunt relative to glycolysis progressing through the Krebs cycle in tumor derived relative to normal derived cell lines. Additionally, there is an associated increase in the ratio of nuclear encoded cytochrome c oxidase subunits to mitochondrially encoded cytochrome c oxidase subunits in the tumor-derived cell lines. These results demonstrate an alteration in subunit levels of a single enzyme complex (cytochrome c oxidase) commensurate with tumor-altered metabolism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2789-2795
Number of pages7
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Cell lines
  • Cytochrome c oxidase
  • Mitochondria
  • Prostate
  • Protein expression


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