Therapeutic manipulation of the gasotransmitter hydrogen sulfide (H2S) has recently been proposed as a novel targeted anticancer approach. Here we show that human lung adenocarcinoma tissue expresses high levels of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) producing enzymes, namely, cystathionine beta-synthase (CBS), cystathionine gamma lyase (CSE) and 3-mercaptopyruvate sulfurtransferase (3-MST), in comparison to adjacent lung tissue. In cultured lung adenocarcinoma but not in normal lung epithelial cells elevated H2S stimulates mitochondrial DNA repair through sulfhydration of EXOG, which, in turn, promotes mitochondrial DNA repair complex assembly, thereby enhancing mitochondrial DNA repair capacity. In addition, inhibition of H2S-producing enzymes suppresses critical bioenergetics parameters in lung adenocarcinoma cells. Together, inhibition of H2S-producing enzymes sensitize lung adenocarcinoma cells to chemotherapeutic agents via induction of mitochondrial dysfunction as shown in in vitro and in vivo models, suggesting a novel mechanism to overcome tumor chemoresistance.
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