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Front Genet


Autoantibodies against mitochondrial-derived antigens play a key role in chronic tissue inflammation in autoimmune disorders and cancers. Here, we identify autoreactive nuclear genomic DNA (nDNA)-encoded mitochondrial gene products (GAPDH, PKM2, GSTP1, SPATA5, MFF, TSPOAP1, PHB2, COA4, and HAGH) recognized by breast cancer (BC) patients' sera as nonself, supporting a direct relationship of mitochondrial autoimmunity to breast carcinogenesis. Autoreactivity of multiple nDNA-encoded mitochondrial gene products was mapped to protein-coding regions, 3' untranslated regions (UTRs), as well as introns. In addition, autoantibodies in BC sera targeted intergenic sequences that may be parts of long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) genes, including LINC02381 and other putative lncRNA neighbors of the protein-coding genes ERCC4, CXCL13, SOX3, PCDH1, EDDM3B, and GRB2. Increasing evidence indicates that lncRNAs play a key role in carcinogenesis. Consistent with this, our findings suggest that lncRNAs, as well as mRNAs of nDNA-encoded mitochondrial genes, mechanistically contribute to BC progression. This work supports a new paradigm of breast carcinogenesis based on a globally dysfunctional genome with altered function of multiple mitochondrial and non-mitochondrial oncogenic pathways caused by the effects of autoreactivity-induced dysregulation of multiple genes and their products. This autoimmunity-based model of carcinogenesis will open novel avenues for BC treatment.

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