5-Aminolevulinate Synthetase, Animals, Cell Death, Cell Membrane, Culture Media, Deferoxamine, Glycine, Green Fluorescent Proteins, HeLa Cells, Humans, K562 Cells, Light, Mice, Mutant Proteins, Paclitaxel, Plasmids, Protoporphyrins, Transfection
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
5-Aminolevulinate synthase (ALAS; EC 184.108.40.206) catalyzes the first committed step of heme biosynthesis in animals. The erythroid-specific ALAS isozyme (ALAS2) is negatively regulated by heme at the level of mitochondrial import and, in its mature form, certain mutations of the murine ALAS2 active site loop result in increased production of protoporphyrin IX (PPIX), the precursor for heme. Importantly, generation of PPIX is a crucial component in the widely used photodynamic therapies (PDT) of cancer and other dysplasias. ALAS2 variants that cause high levels of PPIX accumulation provide a new means of targeted, and potentially enhanced, photosensitization. In order to assess the prospective utility of ALAS2 variants in PPIX production for PDT, K562 human erythroleukemia cells and HeLa human cervical carcinoma cells were transfected with expression plasmids for ALAS2 variants with greater enzymatic activity than the wild-type enzyme. The levels of accumulated PPIX in ALAS2-expressing cells were analyzed using flow cytometry with fluorescence detection. Further, cells expressing ALAS2 variants were subjected to white light treatments (21–22 kLux) for 10 minutes after which cell viability was determined. Transfection of HeLa cells with expression plasmids for murine ALAS2 variants, specifically for those with mutated mitochondrial presequences and a mutation in the active site loop, caused significant cellular accumulation of PPIX, particularly in the membrane. Light treatments revealed that ALAS2 expression results in an increase in cell death in comparison to aminolevulinic acid (ALA) treatment producing a similar amount of PPIX. The delivery of stable and highly active ALAS2 variants has the potential to expand and improve upon current PDT regimes.
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Citation / Publisher Attribution
PLoS One, v. 9, issue 4, art. e93078
Scholar Commons Citation
Fratz, Erica J.; Hunter, Gregory A.; and Ferreira, Gloria C., "Expression of Murine 5-Aminolevulinate Synthase Variants Causes Protoporphyrin IX Accumulation and Light-Induced Mammalian Cell Death" (2014). Chemistry Faculty Publications. 15.