TMEM14A inhibits N-(4-hydroxyphenyl)retinamide-induced apoptosis through the stabilization of mitochondrial membrane potential

Im Sun Woo, Hana Jin, Eun Sil Kang, Hye Jung Kim, Jae Heun Lee, Ki Churl Chang, Jae Yong Park, Wan Sung Choi, Han Geuk Seo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Apoptosis is a highly conserved genetic process leading to death in mammalian cells. A critical step in apoptosis is mitochondrial membrane permeabilization, which results in the release of proteins critical to downstream events. Transmembrane protein 14A (TMEM14A) was identified as a novel suppressor of Bax using yeast-based functional screening. TMEM14A is a novel mitochondria-associated membrane protein containing a putative transmembrane domain. Over-expression of TMEM14A in U87MG cells inhibited N-(4-hydroxyphenyl)retinamide (4-HPR)-induced apoptosis. TMEM14A prevented 4-HPR-induced loss of mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP), the release of cytochrome c, and the activation of caspase-3, but not the generation of reactive oxygen species, suggesting that TMEM14A regulates mitochondrial membrane potential in a ROS-independent manner. As expected, cyclosporin A, an inhibitor of membrane potential transition, inhibited 4-HPR-induced loss of MMP and apoptosis in U87MG cells, indicating that loss of MMP plays a pivotal role in 4-HPR-induced apoptosis. Suppression of TMEM14A expression using shRNA significantly increased apoptosis and MMP loss in untreated and 4-HPR-treated cells. These findings show for the first time that TMEM14A inhibits apoptosis by blocking the mitochondrial permeability transition and stabilizing mitochondrial membrane potential.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)190-198
Number of pages9
JournalCancer letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Oct 28
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • Glioblastoma
  • Mitochondria membrane potential
  • TMEM14A

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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