Objective: Recently, a high frequency of mutations in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) has been detected in ovarian cancer. To explore the alterations of proteins in mitochondria in ovarian cancer, a pair of human ovarian carcinoma cell lines (SKOV3/SKOV3.ip1) with different metastatic potentials was examined. Methods: Cancer cells SKOV3.ip1 were derived from the ascitic tumor cells of nude mice bearing a tumor of ovarian cancer cells SKOV3. SKOV3.ip1 exhibited a higher degree of migration potential than its paired cell line SKOV3. The proteins in the mitochondria of these two cells were isolated and separated by 2-D gel electrophoresis. The differently expressed proteins were extracted and identified using matrix assisted laser desorption ionisation/time-of-flight/time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF/TOF), and finally a selected protein candidate was further investigated by immunohistochemistry (IHC) method in nude mice bearing tumor tissues of these two cells. Results: A total of 35 spots with different expressions were identified between the two cells using 2D-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE) approach. Among them, 17 spots were detected only in either SKOV3 or SKOV3.ip1 cells. Eighteen spots expressed different levels, with as much as a three-fold difference between the two cells. Twenty spots were analyzed using MALDI-TOF/TOF, and 11 of them were identified successfully; four were known to be located in mitochondria, including superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2), fumarate hydratase (FH), mitochondrial ribosomal protein L38 (MRPL38), and mRNA turnover 4 homolog (MRTO4). An increased staining of SOD2 was observed in SKOV3.ip1 over that of SKOV3 in IHC analysis. Conclusions: Our results indicate that the enhanced antioxidation and metabolic potentials of ovarian cancer cells might contribute to their aggressive and metastatic behaviors. The underlying mechanism warrants further study
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