STAT3 activation has been associated with survival, proliferation and invasion of various human cancers. Whether betulinic acid, a pentacyclic triterpene, can modulates the STAT3 pathway, was investigated in human multiple myeloma (MM) cells. We found that betulinic acid inhibited constitutive activation of STAT3, Src kinase, JAK1 and JAK2. Pervanadate reversed the betulinic acid -induced down regulation of STAT3 activation, suggesting the involvement of a protein tyrosine phosphatase (PTP). Furthermore, betulinic acid induced the expression of the PTP SHP-1 and silencing of the SHP-1 gene abolished the ability of betulinic acid to inhibit STAT3 activation and rescues betulinic acid-induced cell death. Betulinic acid also downregulated the expression of STAT3-regulated gene products such as bcl-xL, bcl-2, cyclin D1, and survivin. This correlated with an increase in apoptosis as indicated by an increase in the sub-G1 cell population and an increase in caspase-3–induced PARP cleavage. Consistent with these results, over expression of constitutive active STAT3 significantly reduced the betulinic acid-induced apoptosis. Betulinic acid also enhanced the apoptosis induced by thalidomide (from 10% to 55%) and bortezomib (from 5% to 70%) in MM cells. Overall, our results suggest that betulinic acid down regulates STAT3 activation through upregulation of SHP-1 and this may have potential in sensitization of STAT3 over expressing tumors to chemotherapeutic agents.
Betulinic acid; STAT3; JAK1; JAK2; SHP-1; apoptosis
Development of chemoresistance in androgen-refractory prostate cancer cells is partly due to constitutive activation of Rel/NF-κB transcription factors that regulate several cell survival and anti-apoptotic genes. In this study we examined whether betulinic acid (BetA), a pentacyclic triterpene from the bark of white birch, is effective in inhibiting NF-κB expression in androgen-refractory human prostate cancer cells exhibiting high constitutive NF-κB expression. Treatment of PC-3 cells with BetA inhibited DNA binding and reduced nuclear levels of the NF-κB/p65. BetA-mediated NF-κB inhibition involved decreased IKK activity and phosphorylation of IκBα at serine 32/36 followed by its degradation. Reporter assays revealed that NF-κB inhibition by BetA is transcriptionally active. These effects were found to correlate with a shift in Bax/Bcl-2 ratio and cleavage of poly(ADP)ribose polymerase more towards apoptosis. BetA also inhibited TNFα-induced activation of NF-κB via the IκBα pathway, thereby sensitizing the cells to TNFα-induced apoptosis. Our studies demonstrate that BetA effectively inhibits constitutive NF-κB activation and supports the rationale for targeting NF-κB through combination protocols with BetA in androgen-refractory prostate cancer.
transcription factor; betulinic acid; IκBα; IKK; prostate cancer
Traditional medicine and diet has served mankind through the ages for prevention and treatment of most chronic diseases. Mounting evidence suggests that chronic inflammation mediates most chronic diseases, including cancer. More than other transcription factors, nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-κB) and STAT3 have emerged as major regulators of inflammation, cellular transformation, and tumor cell survival, proliferation, invasion, angiogenesis, and metastasis. Thus, agents that can inhibit NF-κB and STAT3 activation pathways have the potential to both prevent and treat cancer. In this review, we examine the potential of one group of compounds called triterpenes, derived from traditional medicine and diet for their ability to suppress inflammatory pathways linked to tumorigenesis. These triterpenes include avicins, betulinic acid, boswellic acid, celastrol, diosgenin, madecassic acid, maslinic acid, momordin, saikosaponins, platycodon, pristimerin, ursolic acid, and withanolide. This review thus supports the famous adage of Hippocrates, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”.
triterpenoids; nuclear factor-κB; inflammation; tumor cell proliferation; invasion; angiogenesis; apoptosis
Hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α) is rapidly degraded by the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway under normoxic conditions. Ubiquitination of HIF-1α is mediated by interaction with von Hippel-Lindau tumor suppressor protein (pVHL). In our previous report, we found that hypoxia-induced active signal transducer and activator of transcription3 (STAT3) accelerated the accumulation of HIF-1α protein and prolonged its half-life in solid tumor cells. However, its specific mechanisms are not fully understood. Thus, we examined the role of STAT3 in the mechanism of pVHL-mediated HIF-1α stability. We found that STAT3 interacts with C-terminal domain of HIF-1α and stabilizes HIF-1α by inhibition of pVHL binding to HIF-1α. The binding between HIF-1α and pVHL, negative regulator of HIF-1α stability, was interfered dose-dependently by overexpressed constitutive active STAT3. Moreover, we found that the enhanced HIF-1α protein levels by active STAT3 are due to decrease of poly-ubiquitination of HIF-1α protein via inhibition of interaction between pVHL and HIF-1α. Taken together, our results suggest that STAT3 decreases the pVHL-mediated ubiquitination of HIF-1α through competition with pVHL for binding to HIF-1α, and then stabilizes HIF-1α protein levels.
anoxia; hypoxia-inducible factor1, α subunit; neoplasms; STAT3 transcription factor; ubiquitination; von Hippel-Lindau tumor suppressor protein
The transcription factor hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) represents an important molecular target for anticancer drug discovery. In a T47D cell-based reporter assay, the Caulerpa spp. algal pigment caulerpin (1) inhibited hypoxia-induced as well as 1,10-phenanthroline-induced HIF-1 activation. The angiogenic factor vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is regulated by HIF-1. Caulerpin (10 μM) suppressed hypoxic induction of secreted VEGF protein and the ability of hypoxic T47D cell-conditioned media to promote tumor angiogenesis in vitro. Under hypoxic conditions, 1 (10 μM) blocked the induction of HIF-1α protein, the oxygen-regulated subunit that controls HIF-1 activity. Reactive oxygen species produced by mitochondrial complex III are believed to act as a signal of cellular hypoxia that leads to HIF-1α protein induction and activation. Further mechanistic studies revealed that 1 inhibits mitochondrial respiration at electron transport chain (ETC) complex I (NADH-ubiquinone oxidoreductase). Under hypoxic conditions, it is proposed that 1 may disrupt mitochondrial ROS-regulated HIF-1 activation and HIF-1 downstream target gene expression by inhibiting the transport or delivery of electrons to complex III.
12-lipoxygenase, an arachidonic acid metabolizing enzyme of the lipoxygenase pathway, has been implicated as a major factor in promoting prostate cancer progression and metastasis. The ability of 12-LOX to aggravate the disease was linked to its proangiogenic role. Recent studies clearly demonstrated that 12-LOX enhances the expression and secretion of the angiogenic factor, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) thus providing a direct link between this enzyme and its angiogenic properties. In the present study we have investigated the relationship between 12-LOX and hypoxia inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α), a transcription factor involved in the regulation of VEGF expression under hypoxic conditions in solid tumors. Our findings have revealed that HIF-1 is one of the target transcription factors regulated by 12-LOX and 12(S)-HETE, in hypoxic tumor cells of the prostate. Regulation of HIF-1α by 12-LOX adds to the complexity of pathways mediated by this enzyme in promoting prostate cancer angiogenesis and metastasis. We have evidence that 12-LOX increases the protein level, mRNA, and functional activity of HIF-1α under hypoxic conditions, one of the mechanisms by which it upregulates VEGF secretion and activity.
12-Lipoxygenase; Hypoxia Inducible Factor-1α (HIF-1α); angiogenesis; prostate cancer; hypoxia
The importance of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) in promoting angiogenesis and vasculogenesis during wound healing has been demonstrated. It is widely accepted that HIF activity can be promoted by many factors, including hypoxia in the wound or cytokines from inflammatory cells infiltrating the wound. However, there has not been a systematic exploration of the relationship between HIF activity and hypoxia in the burn wound. The location of the hypoxic tissue has not been clearly delineated. The time course of the appearance of hypoxia and the increased activity of HIF and appearance of HIF’s downstream transcription products has not been described. The aim of this study was to utilize pimonidazole, a specific tissue hypoxia marker, to characterize the spatial and temporal course of hypoxia in a murine burn model and correlate this with the appearance of HIF-1α and its important angiogenic and vasculogenic transcription products VEGF and SDF-1. Hypoxia was found in the healing margin of burn wounds beginning at 48 hours after burn and peaking at day 3 after burn. On sequential sections of the same tissue block, positive staining of HIF-1α, SDF-1, and VEGF all occurred at the leading margin of the healing area and peaked at day 3, as did hypoxia. Immunohistochemical analysis was used to explore the characteristics of the hypoxic region of the wound. The localization of hypoxia was found to be related to cell growth and migration, but not to proliferation or inflammatory infiltration.
ypoxia; Hypoxia-inducible factor -10α; Burn; Wound Healing; Ki67 Cell Proliferation; Keratin17
Cellular metabolism depends on the availability of oxygen and the major regulator of oxygen homeostasis is hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1), a highly conserved transcription factor that plays an essential role in cellular and systemic homeostatic responses to hypoxia. HIF-1 is a heterodimeric transcription factor composed of hypoxia-inducible HIF-1α and constitutively expressed HIF-1β. Under hypoxic conditions, the two subunits dimerize, allowing translocation of the HIF-1 complex to the nucleus where it binds to hypoxia-response elements (HREs) and activates expression of target genes implicated in angiogenesis, cell growth, and survival. The HIF-1 pathway is essential to normal growth and development, and is involved in the pathophysiology of cancer, inflammation, and ischemia. Thus, there is considerable interest in identifying compounds that modulate the HIF-1 signaling pathway. To assess the ability of environmental chemicals to stimulate the HIF-1 signaling pathway, we screened a National Toxicology Program collection of 1408 compounds using a cell-based β-lactamase HRE reporter gene assay in a quantitative high-throughput screening (qHTS) format. Twelve active compounds were identified. These compounds were tested in a confirmatory assay for induction of vascular endothelial growth factor, a known hypoxia target gene, and confirmed compounds were further tested for their ability to mimic the effect of a reduced-oxygen environment on hypoxia-regulated promoter activity. Based on this testing strategy, three compounds (o-phenanthroline, iodochlorohydroxyquinoline, cobalt sulfate heptahydrate) were confirmed as hypoxia mimetics, whereas two compounds (7-diethylamino-4-methylcoumarin and 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracence) were found to interact with HIF-1 in a manner different from hypoxia. These results demonstrate the effectiveness of qHTS in combination with secondary assays for identification of HIF-1α inducers and for distinguishing among inducers based on their pattern of activated hypoxic target genes. Identification of environmental compounds having HIF-1α activation activity in cell-based assays may be useful for prioritizing chemicals for further testing as hypoxia-response inducers in vivo.
cobalt sulfate heptahydrate; 7-diethylamino-4-methylcoumarin; 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracence; HIF-1α; inducers; iodochlorohydroxyquinoline; NTP 1408 compound library; o-phenanthroline; qHTS
Angiogenesis is essential for promoting growth and metastasis of solid tumors by ensuring blood supply to the tumor mass. Targeting angiogenesis is therefore an attractive approach to therapeutic intervention of cancer. Tumor angiogenesis is a process that is controlled by a complex network of molecular components including sensors, signaling transducers, and effectors, leading to cellular responses under hypoxic conditions. Positioned at the center of this network are the hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs). HIF-1 is a major transcription factor that consists of two subunits, HIF-1α and HIF-1β. It mediates transcription of a spectrum of gene targets whose products are essential for mounting hypoxic responses. HIF-1α protein level is very low in the normoxic condition but is rapidly elevated under hypoxia. This dramatic change in the cellular HIF-1α level is primarily regulated through the proteosome-mediated degradation process. In the past few years, scientific progress has clearly demonstrated that HIF-1α phosphorylation is mediated by several families of protein kinases including GSK3β and ERKs both of which play crucial roles in the regulation of HIF-1α stability. Recent research progress has identified that Polo-like kinase 3 (Plk3) phosphorylates HIF-1α at two previously unidentified serine residues and that the Plk3-mediated phosphorylation of these residues results in destabilization of HIF-1α. Plk3 has also recently been found to phosphorylate and stabilize PTEN phosphatase, a known regulator of HIF-1α and tumor angiogenesis. Given the success of targeting protein kinases and tumor angiogenesis in anti-cancer therapies, Plk3 could be a potential molecular target for the development of novel and effective therapeutic agents for cancer treatment.
Plk3; Tumor angiogenesis; Tumor suppression; HIF-1α; PTEN
Angiogenesis and bone formation are intimately related processes. Hypoxia during early bone development stabilizes hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) and increases angiogenic signals including vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Furthermore, stabilization of HIF-1α by genetic or chemical means stimulates bone formation. On the other hand, deficiency of Runx2, a key osteogenic transcription factor, prevents vascular invasion of bone and VEGF expression. This study explores the possibility that HIF-1α and Runx2 interact to activate angiogenic signals. Runx2 over-expression in mesenchymal cells increased VEGF mRNA and protein under both normoxic and hypoxic conditions. In normoxia, Runx2 also dramatically increased HIF-1α protein. In all cases, the Runx2 response was inhibited by siRNA-mediated suppression of HIF-1α and completely blocked by the HIF-1α inhibitor, echinomycin. Similarly, treatment of preosteoblast cells with Runx2 siRNA reduced VEGF mRNA in normoxia or hypoxia. However, Runx2 is not essential for the HIF-1α response since VEGF is induced by hypoxia even in Runx2-null cells. Endogenous Runx2 and HIF-1α were colocalized to the nuclei of MC3T3-E1 preosteoblast cells. Moreover, HIF-1α and Runx2 physically interact using sites within the Runx2 RUNT domain. Chromatin immunoprecipitation also provided evidence for colocalization of Runx2 and HIF-1α on the VEGF promoter. In addition, Runx2 stimulated HIF-1α-dependent activation of an HRE-luciferase reporter gene without requiring a separate Runx2-binding enhancer. These studies indicate that Runx2 functions together with HIF-1α to stimulate angiogenic gene expression in bone cells and may in part explain the known requirement for Runx2 in bone vascularization.
Osteoblast; vascularization; angiogenesis; transcriptional factors; hypoxia
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) represents a highly vascularized tumor entity and the process of angiogenesis is essential for the growth of HCC. Importantly, the pro-angiogenic transcription factors HIF-1α and STAT3 have been implicated in HCC progression, thus representing interesting targets for molecular targeted therapy. We hypothesized that therapeutic inhibition of HIF-1α could be achieved by using a novel tubulin-binding agent (ENMD-1198). ENMD-1198 is an analog of 2-methoxyestradiol (2ME2) with antiproliferative and antiangiogenic activity.
The human HCC cell lines HUH-7 and HepG2 were used for experiments. Effects of ENMD-1198 on constitutive and inducible (hypoxia, growth factors) activation of signaling cascades, including HIF-1α and STAT3, were investigated by Western blotting. Changes in VEGF expression were determined by real-time PCR. Effects of ENMD-1198 on cancer cell migration and invasion were evaluated in in vitro-assays. The growth-inhibitory effects of ENMD-1198 (200 mg/kg/day) were determined in a subcutaneous tumor model (HUH-7).
ENMD-1198 inhibited the phosphorylation of MAPK/Erk, PI-3K/Akt and FAK. Moreover, activation of HIF-1α and STAT3 was dramatically reduced by ENMD-1198, which resulted in lower VEGF mRNA expression (P < 0.05). In addition, tumor cell migratory and invasive properties were significantly inhibited (P < 0.05, for both). In vivo, treatment with ENMD-1198 led to a significant reduction in tumor growth, tumor vascularization, and numbers of proliferating tumor cells (P < 0.05 for all).
The novel microtubule destabilizing agent ENMD-1198 is suitable for inhibiting HIF-1α and STAT3 in human HCC cells and leads to reduced tumor growth and vascularization in vivo. Hence, inhibition of HIF-1α and STAT3 could prove valuable for therapy of hepatocellular carcinoma.
Oxygen is an essential regulator of cellular metabolism, survival, and proliferation. Cellular responses to oxygen levels are monitored, in part, by the transcriptional activity of the hypoxia inducible factors (HIFs). Under hypoxia, HIFs regulate a variety of pro-angiogenic and pro-glycolysis pathways. In solid cancers, regions of hypoxia are commonly present throughout the tissue because of the chaotic vascular architecture and regions of necrosis. In these regions, the hypoxic state fluctuates in a spatial and temporal manner. Transient hypoxic cycling causes an increase in the activity of the HIF proteins above what is typical for non-pathologic tissue. The extent of hypoxia strongly correlates to poor patient survival, therapeutic resistance and an aggressive tumour phenotype, but the full contribution of hypoxia and the HIFs to tumour biology is an area of active investigation. Recent reports link resistance to conventional therapies and the metastatic potential to a stem-like tumour population, termed cancer stem cells (CSCs). We and others have shown that within brain tumours CSCs reside in two niches, a perivascular location and the surrounding necrotic tissue. Restricted oxygen conditions increase the CSC fraction and promote acquisition of a stem-like state. Cancer stem cells are critically dependant on the HIFs for survival, self-renewal, and tumour growth. These observations and those from normal stem cell biology provide a new mechanistic explanation for the contribution of hypoxia to malignancy. Further, the presence of hypoxia in tumours may present challenges for therapy because of the promotion of CSC phenotypes even upon successful killing of CSCs. The current experimental evidence suggests that CSCs are plastic cell states governed by microenvironmental conditions, such as hypoxia, that may be critical for the development of new therapies targeted to disrupt the microenvironment.
HIF; hypoxia; cancer stem cell
Hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) is a transcriptional activator composed of HIF-1α and HIF-1β subunits. Several dozen HIF-1 targets are known, including the gene encoding vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Under hypoxic conditions, HIF-1α expression increases as a result of decreased ubiquitination and degradation. The tumor suppressors VHL (von Hippel-Lindau protein) and p53 target HIF-1α for ubiquitination such that their inactivation in tumor cells increases the half-life of HIF-1α. Increased phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) and AKT or decreased PTEN activity in prostate cancer cells also increases HIF-1α expression by an undefined mechanism. In breast cancer, increased activity of the HER2 (also known as neu) receptor tyrosine kinase is associated with increased tumor grade, chemotherapy resistance, and decreased patient survival. HER2 has also been implicated as an inducer of VEGF expression. Here we demonstrate that HER2 signaling induced by overexpression in mouse 3T3 cells or heregulin stimulation of human MCF-7 breast cancer cells results in increased HIF-1α protein and VEGF mRNA expression that is dependent upon activity of PI3K, AKT (also known as protein kinase B), and the downstream kinase FRAP (FKBP-rapamycin-associated protein). In contrast to other inducers of HIF-1 expression, heregulin stimulation does not affect the half-life of HIF-1α but instead stimulates HIF-1α synthesis in a rapamycin-dependent manner. The 5′-untranslated region of HIF-1α mRNA directs heregulin-inducible expression of a heterologous protein. These data provide a molecular basis for VEGF induction and tumor angiogenesis by heregulin-HER2 signaling and establish a novel mechanism for the regulation of HIF-1α expression.
Hypoxia‐inducible factor (HIF) is a common transcription factor for many angiogenic proteins. Retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells are an important source of angiogenic factors in the retina. The expression of HIF, its regulation by proline hydroxylase (PHD) enzymes, and its downstream regulation of angiogenic factors like vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and erythropoietin (EPO) was studied in RPE cells in order to determine some of the molecular mechanisms underlying ischaemic retinal disease.
ARPE‐19 cells were cultured for various times under hypoxic conditions. Cellular HIF and PHD isoforms were analysed and quantified using western blot and densitometry. VEGF and EPO secreted into the media were assayed using enzyme‐linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Messenger RNA (mRNA) was quantified using real‐time quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). RNA interference was achieved using siRNA techniques.
HIF‐1α was readily produced by ARPE‐19 cells under hypoxia, but HIF‐2α and HIF‐3α could not be detected even after HIF‐1α silencing. HIF‐1α protein levels showed an increasing trend for the first 24 h while HIF‐1α mRNA levels fluctuated during this time. After 36 h HIF‐1α protein levels declined to baseline levels, a change that was coincident with a rise in both PHD2 and PHD3. Silencing HIF‐1α significantly decreased VEGF secretion. Significant production of EPO could not be detected at the protein or mRNA level.
HIF‐1α appears to be the main isoform of HIF functioning in ARPE‐19 cells. Under hypoxia, HIF‐1α levels are likely self‐regulated by a feedback loop that involves both transcriptional and post‐translational mechanisms. VEGF production by human RPE cells is regulated by HIF‐1α. EPO was not produced in significant amounts by RPE cells under hypoxic conditions, suggesting that other cells and/or transcription factors in the retina are responsible for its production.
diabetic retinopathy; VEGF; erythropoietin; hypoxia‐inducible factor; proline hydroxylase
► AAI increases whereas OTA decreases production of proangiogenic VEGF. ► The upregulation of VEGF expression by AAI is caused by induction of SP-1 and HIFs. ► Hypoxia prevents OTA-diminished VEGF production ► The effect of hypoxia on OTA-reduced VEGF is mediated by HIF-2α but not HIF-1α.
Aristolochic acid I (AAI) and ochratoxin A (OTA) cause chronic kidney diseases. Recently, the contribution of hypoxic injuries and angiogenic disturbances to nephropathies has been suggested, but underlying mechanisms have not been fully clarified yet.
In porcine kidney epithelial cell line, LLC-PK1 cells, treatment with non-toxic doses of AAI increased whereas with OTA decreased production of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), the angiogenic factor with well-defined functions in kidney. Moreover, the activity of transcription factors regulating VEGF expression was differentially affected by examined compounds. Activity of hypoxia inducible factors (HIFs) and SP-1 was increased by AAI but diminished by OTA. Interestingly, AP-1 activity was inhibited while NFκB was not influenced by both toxins. Mithramycin A, a SP-1 inhibitor, as well as chetomin, an inhibitor of HIFs, reversed AAI-induced up-regulation of VEGF synthesis, indicating the importance of SP-1 and HIFs in this effect. Additionally, adenoviral overexpression of HIF-2α but not HIF-1α prevented OTA-diminished VEGF production suggesting the protective effect of this isoform towards the consequences exerted by OTA.
These observations provide new insight into complex impact of AAI and OTA on angiogenic gene regulation. Additionally, it adds to our understanding of hypoxia influence on nephropathies pathology.
AA, aristolochic acid; AAI, aristolochic acid I; AAII, aristolochic acid II; AA-ATN, aristolochic acid-induced acute tubular necrosis; AAN, aristolochic acid-induced nephropathy; AdGFP, adenoviral vectors containing GFP cDNA; AdHIF-1,-2α, adenoviral vectors containing HIF-1,-2α cDNA; β-gal, β-galactosidase; BEN, Balkan endemic nephropathy; CKDs, chronic kidney diseases; EMT, epithelial to mesenchymal cell transformation; GFP, green fluorescent protein; HIF, hypoxia inducible factor; HRE, hypoxia responsive element; HRP, horseradish peroxidase; LDH, lactate dehydrogenase; LLC-PK1, porcine kidney epithelial cell line; IARC, The International Agency for Research on Cancer; OTA, ochratoxin A; ROS, reactive oxygen species; RT, room temperature; TGFβ, transforming growth factor β; VEGF, vascular endothelial growth factor; Nephropathy; Kidney diseases; Vascular endothelial growth factor; Angiogenesis; Hypoxia; LLC-PK1
Angiogenesis is a critical component of mammalian brain adaptation to prolonged hypoxia. Hypoxia-induced angiogenesis is mediated by hypoxia inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) dependent transcriptional activation of growth factors, such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Microvascular angiogenesis occurs over a three week period in the rodent brain. We have recently reported that HIF-1α accumulation and transcriptional activation of HIF target genes in the aged cortex of 24 month F344 rats is significantly attenuated during acute hypoxic exposure. In the present study, we show that cortical HIF-1α accumulation and HIF-1 activation remains absent during chronic hypoxic exposure in the aged rat brain (24 month F344). Despite this lack of HIF-1 activation, there is no significant difference in baseline or post-hypoxic brain capillary density counts between the young (3 month F344) and old age groups. VEGF mRNA and protein levels are significantly elevated in the aged cortex despite the lack of HIF-1 activation. Other HIF-independent mediators of hypoxia inducible genes could be involved during chronic hypoxia in the aged brain. PPAR-γ coactivator (PGC)-1α, a known regulator of VEGF gene transcription, is elevated in the young and aged cortex during the chronic hypoxic exposure. Overall, our results suggest a compensatory HIF-1 independent preservation of hypoxic-induced microvascular angiogenesis in the aged rat brain.
Aging; Angiogenesis; Brain; Hypoxia; HIF-1; Microvessels; PGC-1α; VEGF
3,3′-Diindolylmethane (DIM) is a chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic phytochemical derived from the metabolism of indoles found at high concentrations in cruciferous vegetables. We have previously shown that DIM exhibits anti-angiogenic properties in cultured vascular endothelial cells and in Matrigel plug assays in rodents. In the present study, we demonstrate that DIM reduces the level of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1α in hypoxic tumor cell lines, as well as HIF-1 transcriptional activity as measured by a reporter assay. Moreover, DIM inhibited the expression of HIF-1-responsive endogenous genes, resulting in the reduced expression of key hypoxia responsive factors, VEGF, furin, enolase-1, glucose transporter-1 and phosphofructokinase. DIM reduced the level of HIF-1α in hypoxic cells by increasing the rate of the prolylhydroxylase- and proteosome-mediated degradation of HIF-1α, and by decreasing the rate of HIF-1α transcription. Using enzyme kinetics studies, we established that DIM interacts with the oligomycin-binding site on the F1 transmembrane component of mitochondrial F1F0-ATPase. The contributions of the resulting increases in levels of ROS and O2 in hypoxic cells to the inhibitory effects of DIM on HIF-1α expression are discussed. These studies are the first to show that DIM can decrease the accumulation and activity of the key angiogenesis regulatory factor, HIF-1α, in hypoxic tumor cells.
3,3′-Diindolylmethane; angiogenesis; hypoxia-inducible factor; cancer; ATPase; prolylhydroxylase
Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1 (HIF-1) is a transcription factor that is a
critical mediator of the cellular response to hypoxia. Enhanced levels of
HIF-1α, the oxygen-regulated subunit of HIF-1, is often associated
with increased tumour angiogenesis, metastasis, therapeutic resistance and
poor prognosis. It is in this context that we previously demonstrated that
under hypoxia, bcl-2 protein promotes HIF-1/Vascular Endothelial Growth
Factor (VEGF)-mediated tumour angiogenesis.
By using human melanoma cell lines and their stable or transient derivative
bcl-2 overexpressing cells, the current study identified HIF-1α
protein stabilization as a key regulator for the induction of HIF-1 by bcl-2
under hypoxia. We also demonstrated that bcl-2-induced accumulation of
HIF-1α protein during hypoxia was not due to an increased gene
transcription or protein synthesis. In fact, it was related to a modulation
of HIF-1α protein expression at a post-translational level, indeed
its degradation rate was faster in the control lines than in bcl-2
transfectants. The bcl-2-induced HIF-1α stabilization in response to
low oxygen tension conditions was achieved through the impairment of
ubiquitin-dependent HIF-1α degradation involving the molecular
chaperone HSP90, but it was not dependent on the prolyl hydroxylation of
HIF-1α protein. We also showed that bcl-2, HIF-1α and HSP90
proteins form a tri-complex that may contribute to enhancing the stability
of the HIF-1α protein in bcl-2 overexpressing clones under hypoxic
conditions. Finally, by using genetic and pharmacological approaches we
proved that HSP90 is involved in bcl-2-dependent stabilization of
HIF-1α protein during hypoxia, and in particular the isoform
HSP90β is the main player in this phenomenon.
We identified the stabilization of HIF-1α protein as a mechanism
through which bcl-2 induces the activation of HIF-1 in hypoxic tumour cells
involving the β isoform of molecular chaperone HSP90.
Pentacyclic triterpenes, mainly betulin and betulinic acid, are valuable anticancer agents found in the bark of birch tree. This study evaluates birch bark extracts for the active principles composition.
New improved extraction methods were applied on the bark of Betula pendula in order to reach the maximum content in active principles. Extracts were analyzed by HPLC-MS, Raman, SERS and 13C NMR spectroscopy which revealed a very high yield of betulin (over 90%). Growth inhibiting effects were measured in vitro on four malignant human cell lines: A431 (skin epidermoid carcinoma), A2780 (ovarian carcinoma), HeLa (cervix adenocarcinoma) and MCF7 (breast adenocarcinoma), by means of MTT assay. All of the prepared bark extracts exerted a pronounced antiproliferative effect against human cancer cell lines. In vivo studies involved the anti-inflammatory effect of birch extracts on TPA-induced model of inflammation in mice.
The research revealed the efficacy of the extraction procedures as well as the antiproliferative and anti-inflammatory effects of birch extracts.
Betulin; Birch extract; Anticancer; Raman; SERS; 13C NMR
Hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) is the major hypoxia-regulated transcription factor that regulates cellular responses to low oxygen environments. HIF-1 is composed of two subunits: hypoxia-inducible HIF-1α and constitutively-expressed HIF-1β. During hypoxic conditions, HIF-1α heterodimerizes with HIF-1β and translocates to the nucleus where the HIF-1 complex binds to the hypoxia-response element (HRE) and activates expression of target genes implicated in cell growth and survival. HIF-1α protein expression is elevated in many solid tumors, including those of the cervix and brain, where cells that are the greatest distance from blood vessels, and therefore the most hypoxic, express the highest levels of HIF-1α. Therapeutic blockade of the HIF-1 signaling pathway in cancer cells therefore provides an attractive strategy for development of anticancer drugs. To identify small molecule inhibitors of the HIF-1 pathway, we have developed a cell-based reporter gene assay and screened a large compound library by using a quantitative high-throughput screening (qHTS) approach.
The assay is based upon a β-lactamase reporter under the control of a HRE. We have screened approximate 73,000 compounds by qHTS, with each compound tested over a range of seven to fifteen concentrations. After qHTS we have rapidly identified three novel structural series of HIF-1 pathway Inhibitors. Selected compounds in these series were also confirmed as inhibitors in a HRE β-lactamase reporter gene assay induced by low oxygen and in a VEGF secretion assay. Three of the four selected compounds tested showed significant inhibition of hypoxia-induced HIF-1α accumulation by western blot analysis.
The use of β-lactamase reporter gene assays, in combination with qHTS, enabled the rapid identification and prioritization of inhibitors specific to the hypoxia induced signaling pathway.
Stat3, a member of the signal transducers and activators of transcription (STAT) family, is a key signal transduction protein activated by numerous cytokines, growth factors and oncoproteins that controls cell proliferation, differentiation, development, survival and inflammation. Constitutive activation of Stat3 has been found frequently in a wide variety of human tumors and induces cellular transformation and tumor formation. In this study, we demonstrated that LIGHT, a member of tumor necrosis factor superfamily, activates Stat3 in cancer cells. LIGHT induces dose dependent activation of Stat3 by phosphorylation at both the tyrosine 705 and serine 727 residues. The activation of Stat3 by LIGHT appears to be mediated by NIK phosphorylation. Expression of a kinase-inactive NIK mutant abolished LIGHT induced Stat3 activation. Overexpression of an active NIK induces Stat3 activation by phosphorylation at the both tyrosine 705 and serine 727 residues. Activation of Stat3 by NIK requires NIK kinase activity as showed by kinase assays. In addition, LIGHT increases the expression of Stat3 target genes including cyclin D1, survivin, and Bcl-xL, and stimulates human LNCaP prostate cancer cell growth in vitro which can by blocked by expression of a dominant-negative Stat3 mutant. Taken together, these results indicate that in addition to activating NF-κB/p52, LIGHT also activates Stat3. Activation of Stat3 together with activating non-canonical NF-κB/p52 signaling by LIGHT may maximize its effects on cellular proliferation, survival, and inflammation.
Stat3; LIGHT; NIK; Prostate
Angiogenesis is a critical step required for sustained tumor growth and tumor progression. The stimulation of endothelial cells by cytokines secreted by tumor cells such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) induces their proliferation and migration. This is a prominent feature of high-grade gliomas. The secretion of VEGF is greatly upregulated under conditions of hypoxia because of the transcription factor hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1α, which controls the expression of many genes, allowing rapid adaptation of cells to their hypoxic microenvironment. Flavopiridol, a novel cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor, has been attributed with antiangiogenic properties in some cancer cell lines by its ability to inhibit VEGF production. Here, we show that flavopiridol treatment of human U87MG and T98G glioma cell lines decreases hypoxia-mediated HIF-1α expression, VEGF secretion, and tumor cell migration. These in vitro results correlate with reduced vascularity of intracranial syngeneic GL261 gliomas from animals treated with flavopiridol. In addition, we show that flavopiridol downregulates HIF-1α expression in the presence of a proteasome inhibitor, an agent that normally results in the accumulation and overexpression of HIF-1α. The potential to downregulate HIF-1α expression with flavopiridol treatment in combination with a proteasome inhibitor makes this an extremely attractive anticancer treatment strategy for tumors with high angiogenic activity, such as gliomas.
flavopiridol; proteasome inhibitor; hypoxia; HIF-1α; VEGF; glioma
Hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) increases transcription of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) gene. Inhibition of VEGF abolishes VEGF mediated induction of HIF-1α. Recent reports suggested that HIF-1α also mediated the induction of class III β-tubulin (TUBB3) in hypoxia. TUBB3 confers resistance to taxanes. Inhibition of VEGF may decrease the expression of HIF-1α and TUBB3. This study was undertaken to investigate the roles of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR) in gastric cancer cell behavior and to identify methods to overcome paclitaxel resistance in vitro.
Materials and Methods
The protein expression levels of HIF-1α and TUBB3 were measured in human gastric cancer cell lines (AGS) under normoxic and hypoxic conditions. The relationship between TUBB3 and paclitaxel resistance was assessed with small interfering TUBB3 RNA. AGS cells were treated with anti-VEGFR-1, anti-VEGFR-2, placental growth factor (PlGF), bevacizuamb, and paclitaxel.
Hypoxia induced paclitaxel resistance was decreased by knockdown of TUBB3. Induction of HIF-1α and TUBB3 in AGS is VEGFR-1 mediated and PlGF dependent. Hypoxia-dependent upregulation of HIF-1α and TUBB3 was reduced in response to paclitaxel treatment. Expressions of HIF-1α and TUBB3 were most decreased when AGS cells were treated with a combination of paclitaxel and anti-VEGFR-1. AGS cell cytotoxicity was most increased in response to paclitaxel, anti-VEGFR-1, and anti-VEGFR-2.
We suggest that blockade of VEGFR-1 and VEGFR-2 enhances paclitaxel sensitivity in TUBB3-expressing gastric cancer cells.
Vascular endothelial growth factor; Hypoxia-inducible factor 1 alpha; class III beta-tubulin; paclitaxel
This article highlights the current knowledge of mTOR biology and provides new insights into the role of mTOR in different cancers. An active mTOR coordinates a response in cell growth directly through its effects on cell cycle regulators and indirectly by sustaining nutrient supply into the cell through the production of nutrient transporters and also through the promotion of angiogenesis. A primary way that mTOR exerts its regulatory effects on cell proliferation is by controlling the production of cyclin D1. mTOR increases the translation of hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1)/HIF-2. The HIF transcription factors drive the expression of hypoxic stress response genes, including angiogenic growth factors such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), platelet-derived growth factor β (PDGF-β), and transforming growth factor a (TGF-α). mTOR also increases the surface expression of nutrient transporters proteins. An increase in these proteins results in greater uptake of amino acids and other nutrients by the cell leading to adequate nutrient support to abnormal cell growth and survival. There is also emerging evidence that mTOR activation may play a role in promoting cell survival through the activation of antiapoptotic proteins that contribute to tumor progression. Given that the mTOR pathway is deregulated in a number of cancers, it is anticipated that mTOR inhibitors will have broad therapeutic application across many tumor types. Until now, no treatment demonstrated Phase III evidence after disease progression on an initial VEGF-targeted therapy in advanced renal cell carcinoma. Everolimus is the first and only therapy with Phase III evidence after failure of VEGF-targeted therapy. Everolimus is a once-daily, oral inhibitor of mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) indicated for the treatment of advanced renal cell carcinoma in patients, whose disease has progressed on or after treatment with VEGF-targeted therapy.
Angiogenesis; bioenergetics; everolimus
Marine natural products have become a major source of new chemical entities in the discovery of potential anticancer agents that potently suppress various antitumor molecular targets. As a consequence of insufficient vascularization, hypoxic regions form within rapidly growing solid tumor masses. Specific alterations of gene expression in these hypoxic tumor cells help facilitate the survival and metastatic spread of solid tumors. The transcriptional response to cellular hypoxia is primarily mediated by the transcription factor hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) that regulates the expression of more than 100 genes involved in cellular adaptation and survival under hypoxic stress. Clinical studies in cancer patients indicate that HIF-1 activation is directly correlated with advanced disease stages and treatment resistance. HIF-1 has emerged as an important tumor-selective molecular target for anticancer drug discovery. As a result, natural product-based inhibitors of HIF-1 activation have been identified from plants and microorganisms. Recently, structurally unique natural products from marine sponges, crinoids, and algae have been identified as HIF-1 activation inhibitors. The US National Cancer Institute’s Open Repository of marine invertebrate and algae extracts has proven to be a valuable source of natural product HIF-1 inhibitors. Among the active compounds identified, certain marine natural products have also been shown to suppress the hypoxic induction of HIF-1 target genes such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Some of these marine HIF-1 inhibitors act by interfering with the generation of mitochondrial signaling molecules in hypoxic cells. However, the precise mechanisms of action for many newly identified marine natural product HIF-1 inhibitors remain unresolved.
cellular signaling; crinoids; gene expression; HIF-1 inhibitors; hypoxia-inducible factor-1; marine natural products; molecular-targeted antitumor agents; sponges; transcription factor; tumor hypoxia; tunicates