Axin is expressed in mitochondria and suppresses mitochondrial ATP synthesis in HeLa cells

Jee Hye Shin, Hyun Wook Kim, Im Joo Rhyu, Sun-Ho Kee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Many recent studies have revealed that axin is involved in numerous cellular functions beyond the negative regulation of β-catenin-dependent Wnt signaling. Previously, an association of ectopic axin with mitochondria was observed. In an effort to investigate the relationship between axin and mitochondria, we found that axin expression suppressed cellular ATP production, which was more apparent as axin expression levels increased. Also, mitochondrial expression of axin was observed using two axin-expressing HeLa cell models: doxycycline-inducible ectopic axin expression (HeLa-axin) and axin expression enhanced by long-term treatment with XAV939 (HeLa-XAV). In biochemical analysis, axin is associated with oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) complex IV and is involved in defects in the assembly of complex IV-containing supercomplexes. Functionally, axin expression reduced the activity of OXPHOS complex IV and the oxygen consumption rate (OCR), suggesting axin-mediated mitochondrial dysfunction. Subsequent studies using various inhibitors of Wnt signaling showed that the reduction in cellular ATP levels was weaker in cases of ICAT protein expression and treatment with iCRT3 or NSC668036 compared with XAV939 treatment, suggesting that XAV939 treatment affects ATP synthesis in addition to suppressing Wnt signaling activity. Axin-mediated regulation of mitochondrial function may be an additional mechanism to Wnt signaling for regulation of cell growth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-21
Number of pages10
JournalExperimental Cell Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jan 1


  • Axin
  • Mitochondria
  • Oxidative phosphorylation
  • Wnt
  • XAV939

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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