Downregulation of the Mitochondrial Phosphatase PTPMT1 Is Sufficient to Promote Cancer Cell Death

Natalie M. Niemi, Nathan J. Lanning, Laura M. Westrate, Jeffrey P. MacKeigan

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25 Scopus citations


Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase localized to the Mitochondrion 1 (PTPMT1) is a dual specificity phosphatase exclusively localized to the mitochondria, and has recently been shown to be a critical component in the cardiolipin biosynthetic pathway. The downregulation of PTPMT1 in pancreatic beta cells has been shown to increase cellular ATP levels and insulin production, however, the generalized role of PTPMT1 in cancer cells has not been characterized. Here we report that downregulation of PTPMT1 activity is sufficient to induce apoptosis of cancer cells. Additionally, the silencing of PTPMT1 decreases cardiolipin levels in cancer cells, while selectively increasing ATP levels in glycolytic media. Additionally, sublethal downregulation of PTPMT1 synergizes with low doses of paclitaxel to promote cancer cell death. Our data suggest that inhibition of PTPMT1 causes a metabolic crisis in cancer cells that induces cell death, and may be a mechanism by which cancer cells can be sensitized to currently available therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere53803
JournalPloS one
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 17 2013


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