Loss of the redox mitochondrial protein mitoNEET leads to mitochondrial dysfunction in B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Free Radic Biol Med. 2021 Nov 1:175:226-235. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2021.09.003. Epub 2021 Sep 5.


B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) affects both pediatric and adult patients. Chemotherapy resistant tumor cells that contribute to minimal residual disease (MRD) underlie relapse and poor clinical outcomes in a sub-set of patients. Targeting mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) in the treatment of refractory leukemic cells is a potential novel approach to sensitizing tumor cells to existing standard of care therapeutic agents. In the current study, we have expanded our previous investigation of the mitoNEET ligand NL-1 in the treatment of ALL to interrogate the functional role of the mitochondrial outer membrane protein mitoNEET in B-cell ALL. Knockout (KO) of mitoNEET (gene: CISD1) in REH leukemic cells led to changes in mitochondrial ultra-structure and function. REH cells have significantly reduced OXPHOS capacity in the KO cells coincident with reduction in electron flow and increased reactive oxygen species. In addition, we found a decrease in lipid content in KO cells, as compared to the vector control cells was observed. Lastly, the KO of mitoNEET was associated with decreased proliferation as compared to control cells when exposed to the standard of care agent cytarabine (Ara-C). Taken together, these observations suggest that mitoNEET is essential for optimal function of mitochondria in B-cell ALL and may represent a novel anti-leukemic drug target for treatment of minimal residual disease.

Keywords: Chemoresistance; Glitazones; Mitochondrial dysfunction; cisd2.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • B-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Mitochondrial Proteins* / metabolism
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma* / drug therapy
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma* / genetics


  • Mitochondrial Proteins