Inhibition of mitochondrial fusion is an early and critical event in breast cancer cell apoptosis by dietary chemopreventative benzyl isothiocyanate.
Mitochondrion. 2016 09 ;30:67-77. Epub 2016 Jun 30. PMID: 27374852
Benzyl isothiocyanate (BITC) is a highly promising phytochemical abundant in cruciferous vegetables with preclinical evidence of in vivo efficacy against breast cancer in xenograft and transgenic mouse models. Mammary cancer chemoprevention by BITC is associated with apoptotic cell death but the underlying mechanism is not fully understood. Herein, we demonstrate for the first time that altered mitochondrial dynamics is an early and critical event in BITC-induced apoptosis in breast cancer cells. Exposure of MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells to plasma achievable doses of BITC resulted in rapid collapse of mitochondrial filamentous network. BITC treatment also inhibited polyethyleneglycol-induced mitochondrial fusion. In contrast, a normal human mammary epithelial cell line (MCF-10A) that was derived from fibrocystic breast disease, was resistant to BITC-mediated alterations in mitochondrial dynamics as well as apoptosis. Transient or sustained decrease in levels of proteins engaged in regulation of mitochondrial fission and fusion was clearly evident after BITC treatment in both cancer cell lines. A trend for a decrease in the levels of mitochondrial fission- and fusion-related proteins was also observed in vivo in tumors of BITC-treated mice compared with control. Immortalized mouse embryonic fibroblasts from Drp1 knockout mice were resistant to BITC-induced apoptosis when compared with those from wild-type mice. Upon treatment with BITC, Bak dissociated from mitofusin 2 in both MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells suggesting a crucial role for interaction of Bak and mitofusins in BITC-mediated inhibition of fusion and morphological dynamics. In conclusion, the present study provides novel insights into the molecular complexity of BITC-induced cell death.