Mitochondrial Lon protease (LonP1) is a multi-function enzyme that regulates mitochondrial functions in several human malignancies, including colorectal cancer (CRC). The mechanism(s) by which LonP1 contributes to colorectal carcinogenesis is not fully understood. We found that silencing LonP1 leads to severe mitochondrial impairment and apoptosis in colon cancer cells. Here, we investigate the role of LonP1 in mitochondrial functions, metabolism, and epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) in colon tumor cells and in metastasis. LonP1 was almost absent in normal mucosa, gradually increased from aberrant crypt foci to adenoma, and was most abundant in CRC. Moreover, LonP1 was preferentially upregulated in colorectal samples with mutated p53 or nuclear β-catenin, and its overexpression led to increased levels of β-catenin and decreased levels of E-cadherin, key proteins in EMT, in vitro. LonP1 upregulation also induced opposite changes in oxidative phosphorylation, glycolysis, and pentose pathway in SW480 primary colon tumor cells when compared to SW620 metastatic colon cancer cells. In conclusion, basal LonP1 expression is essential for normal mitochondrial function, and increased LonP1 levels in SW480 and SW620 cells induce a metabolic shift toward glycolysis, leading to EMT

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