We measured the mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (mtOXPHOS) activities of all five complexes and determined the activity and gene expression in detail of the Complex III subunits in human breast cancer cell lines and primary tumors. Our analysis revealed dramatic differences in activity of complex III between normal and aggressive metastatic breast cancer cell lines. Determination of Complex III subunit gene expression identified over expression and co-regulation of UQCRFS1 (encoding RISP protein) and UQCRH (encoding Hinge protein) in 6 out of 9 human breast tumors. Analyses of UQCRFS1/RISP expression in additional matched normal and breast tumors demonstrated an over expression in 14 out of 40 (35%) breast tumors. UQCRFS1/RISP knockdown in breast tumor cell line led to decreased mitochondrial membrane potential as well as a decrease in matrigel invasion. Furthermore, reduced matrigel invasion was mediated by reduced ROS levels coinciding with decreased expression of NADPH oxidase 2, 3, 4 and 5 involved in ROS production. These studies provide direct evidence for contribution of impaired mtOXPHOS Complex III to breast tumorigenesis
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