Changes in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) integrity have been reported in many cancers, however, the contribution of mtDNA integrity to tumorigenesis is not well understood. We used a transgenic mouse model that is haploinsufficient for the apurinic/apyrimidinic endonuclease 1 (Apex1+/-) gene, which encodes the base excision repair (BER) enzyme APE1, to determine its role in protecting mtDNA from the effects of azoxymethane (AOM), a carcinogen used to induce colorectal cancer (CRC). Repair kinetics of AOM-induced mtDNA damage was evaluated using quantitative PCR after a single AOM dose and a significant induction in mtDNA lesions in colonic crypts from both wild type (WT) and Apex1+/-animals were observed. However, Apex1+/- mice had slower repair kinetics in addition to decreased mtDNA abundance. Tumors were also induced using multiple AOM doses and both WT and Apex1+/-animals exhibited significant loss in mtDNA abundance. Surprisingly, no major differences in mtDNA lesions were observed in tumors from WT and Apex1+/-animals, whereas a significant increase in nuclear DNA lesions was detected in tumors from Apex1+/- mice. Finally, tumors from Apex1+/-mice displayed an increased proliferative index and histological abnormalities. Taken together, these results demonstrate that APE1 is important for preventing changes in mtDNA integrity during AOM-induced CRC. Implications: Azoxymethane, a colorectal cancer carcinogen, generates damage to the mitochondrial genome and the BER enzyme APE1 is required to maintain its integrity.
- Received June 28, 2016.
- Revision received March 7, 2017.
- Accepted March 28, 2017.
- Copyright ©2017, American Association for Cancer Research.