Background: Lung cancer has emerged as one of the most common cancers in recent years. The mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC) is closely connected with metabolic pathways and inflammatory response. However, the influence of ETC-associated genes on the tumor immune response and the pathogenesis of lung cancer is not clear and needs further exploration.
Methods: The RNA-sequencing transcriptome and clinical characteristic data of LUAD were downloaded from the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) database. The LASSO algorithm was used to build the risk signature, and the prediction model was evaluated by the survival analysis and receiver operating characteristic curve. We explored the function of FDX1 through flow cytometry, molecular biological methods, and liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry/mass spectrometry (LC–MS/MS).
Results: 12 genes ( FDX1, FDX2, LOXL2, ASPH, GLRX2, ALDH2, CYCS, AKR1A1, MAOB, RDH16, CYBB, and CYB5A) were selected to build the risk signature, and the risk score was calculated with the coefficients from the LASSO algorithm. The 1-year, 3-year, and 5-year area under the curve (AUC) of ROC curves of the dataset were 0.7, 0.674, and 0.692, respectively. Univariate Cox analysis and multivariate Cox regression analysis indicated that the risk signature is an independent risk factor for LUAD patients. Among these genes, we focused on the FDX1 gene, and we found that knockdown of FDX1 neither inhibited tumor cell growth nor did it induce apoptosis or abnormal cell cycle distribution. But FDX1 could promote the ATP production. Furthermore, our study showed that FDX1 was closely related to the glucose metabolism, fatty acid oxidation, and amino acid metabolism.
Conclusion: Collectively, this study provides new clues about carcinogenesis induced by ETC-associated genes in LUAD and paves the way for finding potential targets of LUAD.