Solid tumors often exhibit simultaneously inflammatory and hypoxic microenvironments. The ‘signal transducer and activator of transcription-3’ (STAT3)-mediated inflammatory response and the hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-mediated hypoxia response have been independently shown to promote tumorigenesis through the activation of HIF or STAT3 target genes and to be indicative of a poor prognosis in a variety of tumors. We report here for the first time that STAT3 is involved in the HIF1, but not HIF2-mediated hypoxic transcriptional response. We show that inhibiting STAT3 activity in MDA-MB-231 and RCC4 cells by a STAT3 inhibitor or STAT3 small interfering RNA significantly reduces the levels of HIF1, but not HIF2 target genes in spite of normal levels of hypoxia-inducible transcription factor 1α (HIF1α) and HIF2α protein. Mechanistically, STAT3 activates HIF1 target genes by binding to HIF1 target gene promoters, interacting with HIF1α protein and recruiting coactivators CREB binding protein (CBP) and p300, and RNA polymerase II (Pol II) to form enhanceosome complexes that contain HIF1α, STAT3, CBP, p300 and RNA Pol II on HIF1 target gene promoters. Functionally, the effect of STAT3 knockdown on proliferation, motility and clonogenic survival of tumor cells in vitro is phenocopied by HIF1α knockdown in hypoxic cells, whereas STAT3 knockdown in normoxic cells also reduces cell proliferation, motility and clonogenic survival. This indicates that STAT3 works with HIF1 to activate HIF1 target genes and to drive HIF1-depedent tumorigenesis under hypoxic conditions, but also has HIF-independent activity in normoxic and hypoxic cells. Identifying the role of STAT3 in the hypoxia response provides further data supporting the effectiveness of STAT3 inhibitors in solid tumor treatment owing to their usefulness in inhibiting both the STAT3 and HIF1 pro-tumorigenic signaling pathways in some cancer types.
cotranscriptional activation; HIF; hypoxia; STAT3; transcription
c-Myc is frequently overexpressed in tumors and plays an important role in the regulation of cancer metabolism. Hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF1), the master regulator of the hypoxic response, enhances tumorigenesis and influences metabolism via upregulation of the glycolytic pathway and suppression of mitochondrial respiration. Together, deregulated Myc and HIF1 cooperate to lend metabolic advantages to proliferating cancer cells and contribute to the Warburg Effect. Here we show that overexpression of Myc significantly stabilizes the alpha subunit of HIF1 (HIF1alpha) under normoxic conditions and enhances HIF1alpha accumulation under hypoxic conditions in cells. Post-transcriptional regulation of HIF1α by Myc led to the induction of HIF1α gene targets. Normoxic HIF1α protein expression was also dependent on Myc. Functionally; HIF1α expression was required for Myc-induced anchorage-independent growth and cell proliferation. Myc-dependent stabilization of HIF1α involved either disruption of binding to the VHL complex or post-translational protein modifications. Taken together, our findings uncover a previously uncharacterized regulatory relationship between Myc and HIF1 that has important implications for cancer metabolism and development.
Disulfiram is an aldehyde dehydrogenase inhibitor that was used to treat alcoholism and showed anticancer activity, but its anticancer mechanism remains unclear. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of disulfiram on the hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-driven tumor adaptation to hypoxia in vitro.
Hep3B, Huh7 and HepG2 hepatoma cells were incubated under normoxic (20% O2) or hypoxic (1% O2) conditions for 16 h. The expression and activity of HIF-1α and HIF-2α proteins were evaluated using immunoblotting and luciferase reporter assay, respectively. Semi-quantitative RT-PCR was used to analyze HIF-mediated gene expression. Endothelial tubule formation assay was used to evaluate the anti-angiogenic effect.
Hypoxia caused marked expression of HIF-1α and HIF-1α in the 3 hepatoma cell lines, dramatically increased HIF activity and induced the expression of HIF downstream genes (EPO, CA9, VEGF-A and PDK1) in Hep3B cells. HIF-2α expression was positively correlated with the induction of hypoxic genes (CA9, VEGF-A and PDK1). Moreover, hypoxia markedly increased VEGF production and angiogenic potential of Hep3B cells. Disulfiram (0.3 to 2 μmol/L) inhibited hypoxia-induced gene expression and HIF activity in a dose-dependent manner. Disulfiram more effectively suppressed the viability of Hep3B cells under hypoxia, but it did not affect the cell cycle. Overexpression of HIF-2α in Hep3B cells reversed the inhibitory effects of disulfiram on hypoxia-induced gene expression and cell survival under hypoxia.
Disulfiram deregulates the HIF-mediated hypoxic signaling pathway in hepatoma cells, which may contribute to its anticancer effect. Thus, disulfiram could be used to treat solid tumors that grow in a HIF-dependent manner.
disulfiram; hepatoma; hypoxia; HIF-2; VEGF; angiogenesis
Hypoxia plays a major role in the induction of angiogenesis during tumor development. One mechanism by which tumor cells respond to a reduced oxygen level is via the activation of hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1). HIF-1 is an oxygen-dependent transcriptional activator that plays crucial roles in the angiogenesis of tumors and mammalian development. HIF-1 consists of a constitutively expressed HIF-1β subunit and the highly regulated HIF-1α subunits. The stability and activity of HIF-1α are regulated by various post-translational modifications, hydroxylation, acetylation, phosphorylation and sumoyaltion. Therefore, HIF-1α interacts with several protein factors including PHD, pVHL, ARD-1, SUMO and p300/CBP. Under normoxia, the HIF-1α subunit is rapidly degraded via the von Hippel-Lindau tumor suppressor gene product (pVHL)-mediated ubiquitin/proteasome pathway. The association of pVHL and HIF-1α under normoxic conditions is triggered by the hydroxylation of prolines and the acetylation of lysine within a polypeptide segment known as the oxygen-dependent degradation (ODD) domain. On the contrary, under the hypoxia condition, the HIF-1α subunit becomes stable and interacts with coactivators such as p300/CBP to modulate its transcriptional activity. Under hypoxic conditions, HIF-1 eventually acts as a master regulator of numerous hypoxia-inducible genes. The target genes of HIF-1 are especially related to angiogenesis, cell proliferation and survival, and to glucose and iron metabolism. Moreover, it was reported that the activation of HIF-1α is closely associated with a variety of tumors and oncogenic pathways. Hence, the blocking of HIF-1α itself or the blocking of HIF-1α interacting proteins inhibits tumor growth. Based on these findings, HIF-1 can be a prime target for anticancer therapies. Therefore, this review summarizes the molecular mechanism of HIF-1α stability, the biological functions of HIF-1 and its potential applications for cancer therapies.
ARD1; Angiogenesis; Anticancer therapy; Cell proliferation/survival; Glucose metabolism; HIF-1; Iron metabolism; PHD; SUMO; pVHL; p300/CBP; Transcription factor
VHL tumor suppressor loss results in hypoxia inducible factor-alpha (HIF-α) stabilization, and occurs in 70% of sporadic clear cell renal carcinomas (ccRCCs). To determine whether opposing influences of HIF-1α and HIF-2α on c-Myc activity regulate human ccRCC progression, we analyzed VHL genotype and HIF-α expression in 160 primary tumors, which segregated into three groups with distinct molecular characteristics. Interestingly, ccRCCs with intact VHL, as well as pVHL-deficient, HIF-1α/HIF-2α expressing ccRCCs, exhibited enhanced Akt/mTOR and ERK/MAPK signaling. In contrast, pVHL-deficient ccRCCs expressing only HIF-2α displayed elevated c-Myc activity, resulting in enhanced proliferation and resistance to replication stress. These reproducible distinctions in ccRCC behavior delineate HIF-α effects on c-Myc in vivo and suggest molecular criteria for selecting targeted therapies.
Constitutive HIF activity is clearly associated with ccRCC tumorigenesis; however, the influence of individual HIF-α subunits on cell growth mechanisms in vivo is unknown. Few dominant oncogenic pathways have been identified within ccRCC, making it difficult to select optimal targeted therapies for patients, or to predict disease outcome, except by grade and stage. Cell culture experiments indicate that HIF-1α inhibits the c-Myc oncoprotein, whereas HIF-2α potentiates c-Myc transcriptional activity and cellular proliferation. The findings reported here indicate that HIF-1α and HIF-2α promote distinct oncogene activation in human ccRCCs, and reveal a critical role for HIF-2α and c-Myc in promoting genomic integrity. These results suggest that evaluating pVHL status and HIF-α expression may aid targeted therapy selection for human ccRCCs.
Carcinoma-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) play a pivotal role in cancer progression by contributing to invasion, metastasis and angiogenesis. Solid tumors possess a unique microenvironment characterized by local hypoxia, which induces gene expression changes and biological features leading to poor outcomes. Hypoxia Inducible Factor 1 (HIF-1) is the main transcription factor that mediates the cell response to hypoxia through different mechanisms that include the regulation of genes strongly associated with cancer aggressiveness. Among the HIF-1 target genes, the G-protein estrogen receptor (GPER) exerts a stimulatory role in diverse types of cancer cells and in CAFs.
We evaluated the regulation and function of the key angiogenic mediator vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in CAFs exposed to hypoxia. Gene expression studies, Western blotting analysis and immunofluorescence experiments were performed in CAFs and breast cancer cells in the presence of cobalt chloride (CoCl2) or cultured under low oxygen tension (2% O2), in order to analyze the involvement of the HIF-1α/GPER signaling in the biological responses to hypoxia. We also explored the role of the HIF-1α/GPER transduction pathway in functional assays like tube formation in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) and cell migration in CAFs.
We first determined that hypoxia induces the expression of HIF-1α and GPER in CAFs, then we ascertained that the HIF-1α/GPER signaling is involved in the regulation of VEGF expression in breast cancer cells and in CAFs exposed to hypoxia. We also assessed by ChIP assay that HIF-1α and GPER are both recruited to the VEGF promoter sequence and required for VEGF promoter stimulation upon hypoxic condition. As a biological counterpart of these findings, conditioned medium from hypoxic CAFs promoted tube formation in HUVECs in a HIF-1α/GPER dependent manner. The functional cooperation between HIF-1α and GPER in CAFs was also evidenced in the hypoxia-induced cell migration, which involved a further target of the HIF-1α/GPER signaling like connective tissue growth factor (CTGF).
The present results provide novel insight into the role elicited by the HIF-1α/GPER transduction pathway in CAFs towards the hypoxia-dependent tumor angiogenesis. Our findings further extend the molecular mechanisms through which the tumor microenvironment may contribute to cancer progression.
Hypoxia is a prevalent attribute of the solid tumor microenvironment that promotes the expression of genes through posttranslational modifications and stabilization of alpha subunits (HIF1α and HIF2α) of hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs). Despite significant similarities, HIF1 (HIF1α/ARNT) and HIF2 (HIF2/ARNT) activate common as well as unique target genes and exhibit different functions in cancer biology. More surprisingly, accumulating data indicates that the HIF1- and/or HIF2-mediated hypoxia responses can be oncogenic as well as tumor suppressive. While the role of HIF in the hypoxia response is well established, recent data support the concept that HIF is necessary, but not sufficient for the hypoxic response. Other transcription factors that are activated by hypoxia are also required for the HIF-mediated hypoxia response. HIFs, other transcription factors, co-factors and RNA poll II recruited by HIF and other transcription factors form multifactoral enhanceosome complexes on the promoters of HIF target genes to activate hypoxia inducible genes. Importantly, HIF1 or HIF2 require distinct partners in activating HIF1 or HIF2 target genes. Because HIF enhanceosome formation is required for the gene activation and distinct functions of HIF1 and HIF2 in tumor biology, disruption of the HIF1 or HIF2 specific enhanceosome complex may prove to be a beneficial strategy in tumor treatment in which tumor growth is specifically dependent upon HIF1 or HIF2 activity.
hypoxia; HIF; enhanceosome; transcription factors; tumor microenvironment; transcription
Hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) is a master regulator that mediates major changes in gene expression under hypoxic conditions. Though HIF family has been identified in many organisms, little is known about this family in schizothoracine fish.
Duplicated hif-α (hif-1αA, hif-1αB, hif-2αA, and hif-2αB) genes were identified in schizothoracine fish. All the deduced HIF-α proteins contain the main domains (bHLH-PAS, ODDD, and TAD), also found in humans. Evidence suggests a Cyprinidae-specific deletion, specifically, a conserved proline hydroxylation motif LxxLAP, in the NODD domain of schizothoracine fish HIF-1αA. In addition, a schizothoracine-specific mutation was observed in the CODD domain of the specialized and highly specialized schizothoracine fish HIF-1αB, which is the proline hydroxylation motif mutated into PxxLAP. Standard and stochastic branch-site codon model analysis indicated that only HIF-1αB has undergone positive selection, which may have led to changes in function. To confirm this hypothesis, HIF-αs tagged with Myc were transfected into HEK 293 T cells. Each HIF-1αB was found to significantly upregulate luciferase activity under normoxic and hypoxic conditions, which indicated that the HIF-1αB protein was more stable than other HIF-αs.
All deduced HIF-α proteins of schizothoracine fish contain important domains, like their mammalian counterparts, and each HIF-α is shorter than that of human. Our experiments reveal that teleost-specific duplicated hif-α genes played different roles under hypoxic conditions, and HIF-1αB may be the most important regulator in the adaptation of schizothoracine fish to the environment of the Tibetan Plateau.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12862-014-0192-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
HIF-α; Schizothoracine fish; Hypoxia; Positive selection; Tibetan Plateau adaptation
Hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) is a potent tumorigenic factor. Its alpha subunit (HIF-1α), which is tightly regulated in normal tissues, is elevated in tumors due to hypoxia and overactive growth signaling pathways. Although much is known about HIF-1α regulation in cancer cells, crucial molecular targets that affect HIF-1α levels modulated by both hypoxia and oncogenic signaling pathways remain to be identified. Additionally, whether and how the tumor microenvironment contributes to HIF-1α accumulation is unclear. This study demonstrates a novel mechanism by which HIF-1α availability is regulated in both cancer cells and in myeloid cells in the tumor microenvironment. We show a requirement of Stat3 for HIF-1α RNA expression under both hypoxia and growth signaling conditions. Furthermore, tumor-derived myeloid cells express elevated levels of HIF-1α mRNA relative to their counterparts from normal tissues in a Stat3-dependent manner. Additionally, Stat3 activity in the non-transformed cells in the tumor milieu impacts HIF-1α RNA expression of the entire growing tumor. Consistent with a role of Stat3 in regulating HIF-1α RNA transcription, elevated Stat3 activity increases HIF-1α promoter activity, and Stat3 protein binds to the HIF-1α promoter in both transformed cells and in growing tumors. Taken together, these findings demonstrate a novel mode by which HIF-1α is regulated not only in cancer cells but also in the tumor associated inflammatory cells, suggesting Stat3 as an important molecular target for inhibiting the oncogenic potential of HIF-1 induced by both hypoxia and overactive growth signaling pathways prevalent in cancer.
Hypoxia induces an aggressive phenotype in some brain tumors in part due to hypoxia inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α) and integrin expression. The importance of hypoxia in medulloblastoma is unclear and the interaction of HIF-1α and c-Myc in medulloblastoma has not been explored. The objective of this project was to determine if hypoxia induces an aggressive phenotype in human medulloblastoma cells that constitutively express high (D283 Med) or low (DAOY) levels of c-Myc and to determine if blocking αv integrins with the monoclonal antibody, intetumumab, inhibits hypoxia-induced cellular stress responses.
Cells were grown at 21% and 1% O2 and in the presence or absence of intetumumab. Measures of malignancy evaluated included cell proliferation, cell migration, and expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), αv integrins, HIF-1α, and c-Myc.
Both cell lines robustly expressed αv integrins. Hypoxic DAOY cells had significantly increased proliferation compared to normoxic controls (P < 0.05) whereas D283 Med cells did not. Both cell lines exhibited a dose-dependent decrease in proliferation when treated with intetumumab, (P < 0.05). Hypoxia did not increase DAOY migration. Regardless, intetumumab significantly inhibited migration at both oxygen conditions (P < 0.05). Intetumumab significantly decreased VEGF levels in DAOY cells at both oxygen conditions (P < 0.05) and in normoxic D283 cells (P < 0.01). Neither cell line had increased HIF-1α expression in response to hypoxia. However, hypoxic D283 Med cells grown in the presence of intetumumab demonstrated significantly decreased c-Myc expression (P < 0.05).
Hypoxia did not clearly induce a more aggressive phenotype in medulloblastoma cells. Despite this, intetumumab decreased medulloblastoma cell proliferation and migration and variably decreased VEGF and c-Myc expression in hypoxic conditions. Targeting αv integrins represents a promising potential adjuvant modality in the treatment of medulloblastoma, particularly subtypes that metastasize and overexpress VEGF and c-Myc.
medulloblastoma; intetumumab; αv integrin; hypoxia; c-Myc; HIF-1α
In human neuroblastoma, amplification of the MYCN gene predicts poor prognosis and resistance to therapy. Because hypoxia contributes to aggressive tumor phenotypes, predominantly via two structurally related hypoxia inducible factors, HIF-1α and HIF-2α, we examined hypoxia responses in MYCN amplified neuroblastoma cells. We demonstrate here that HIF-1α, but not HIF-2α, is preferentially expressed in both MYCN amplified neuroblastoma cells and primary tumors in comparison to samples without MYCN amplification. Our results showed that interplay between N-Myc and HIF-1α plays critical roles in neuroblastoma. For example, high levels of N-Myc override HIF-1α inhibition of cell cycle progression, enabling continued proliferation under hypoxia. Furthermore, both HIF-1α and N-Myc are essential for the Warburg effect (aerobic glycolysis) in neuroblastomas by activating the transcription of multiple glycolytic genes. Of note, expression of Phosphoglycerate Kinase 1 (PGK1), Hexokinase 2 (HK2) and Lactate Dehydrogenase A (LDHA), were each significantly higher in MYCN amplified neuroblastomas compared to tumors without MYCN amplification. Interestingly, MYCN amplified neuroblastoma cells are “addicted” to LDHA enzymatic activity, as its depletion completely inhibits tumorigenesis in vivo. Thus, our results provide mechanistic insights explaining how MYCN amplified neuroblastoma cells contend with hypoxic stress and paradoxically how hypoxia contributes to neuroblastoma aggressiveness through combinatorial effects of N-Myc and HIF-1α. These results also suggest LDHA represents a novel, pharmacologically tractable target for neuroblastoma therapeutics.
N-Myc; hypoxia inducible factor; neuroblastoma; tumorigenesis; Warburg effect
Hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) is known as a transactivator for VEGF gene promoter. It can be induced by hypoxia. However, no study has been done so far to dissect HIF-1α-mediated effects from hypoxia or VEGF-mediated effects. By using a HIF-1α knockout (HIF-1α KO) cell system in mouse embryonic fibroblast (MEF) cells, this study analyzes cell migration and HIF-1α, hypoxia and VEGF activation. A hypoxia-mediated HIF-1α induction and VEGF transactivation were observed: both HIF-1α WT lines had significantly increased VEGF transactivation, as an indicator for HIF-1α induction, in hypoxia compared to normoxia; in contrast, HIF-1α KO line had no increased VEGF transactivation under hypoxia. HIF-1α promotes cell migration: HIF-1α-KO cells had a significantly reduced migration compared to that of the HIF-1α WT cells under both normoxia and hypoxia. The significantly reduced cell migration in HIF-1α KO cells can be partially rescued by the restoration of WT HIF-1α expression mediated by adenoviral-mediated gene transfer. Interestingly, hypoxia has no effect on cell migration: the cells had a similar cell migration rate under hypoxic and normoxic conditions for both HIF-1α WT and HIF-1α KO lines, respectively. Collectively, these data suggest that HIF-1α plays a role in MEF cell migration that is independent from hypoxia-mediated effects.
VEGF; cell migration; hypoxia; HIF-1α
Hypoxia inducible factor-1 alpha (HIF-1α) protein is rapidly degraded under normoxic conditions. When oxygen tensions fall HIF-1α protein stabilizes and transactivates genes involved in adaptation to hypoxic conditions. We have examined the normoxic expression of HIF-1α RNA and protein in normal human melanocytes and a series of human melanoma cell lines isolated from radial growth phase (RGP), vertical growth phase (VGP) and metastatic (MET) melanomas.
HIF-1α mRNA and protein was increased in RGP vs melanocytes, VGP vs RGP and MET vs VGP melanoma cell lines. We also detected expression of a HIF-1α mRNA splice variant that lacks part of the oxygen-dependent regulation domain in WM1366 and WM9 melanoma cells. Over-expression of HIF-1α and its splice variant in the RGP cell line SbCl2 resulted in a small increase in soft agar colony formation and a large increase in matrigel invasion relative to control transfected cells. Knockdown of HIF-1α expression by siRNA in the MET WM9 melanoma cell line resulted in a large decrease in both soft agar colony formation and matrigel invasion relative to cells treated with non-specific siRNA. There is a high level of ERK1/2 phosphorylation in WM9 cells, indicating an activated Ras-Raf-MEK-ERK1/2 MAPK pathway. Treatment of WM9 cells with 30 μM U0126 MEK inhibitor, decreased ERK1/2 phosphorylation and resulted in a decrease in HIF-1α expression. However, a 24 h treatment with 10 μM U0126 totally eliminated Erk1/2 phosphorylation, but did not change HIF-1alpha levels. Furthermore, siRNA knockdown of MEK siRNA did not change HIF-1alpha levels.
We speculate that metabolic products of U0126 decrease HIF-1alpha expression through "off target" effects. Overall our data suggest that increased HIF-1α expression under normoxic conditions contributes to some of the malignant phenotypes exhibited by human melanoma cells. The expanded role of HIF-1α in melanoma biology increases its importance as a therapeutic target.
Hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs) are involved in adaptive and survival responses to hypoxic stress in mammals. In fish, very little is known about the functions of HIFs.
We have cloned and characterized two distinct HIF-alpha cDNAs – gcHIF-1alpha and gcHIF-4alpha – from the hypoxia-tolerant grass carp. The deduced gcHIF-1alpha protein is highly similar to the HIF-1alphas (57–68%) from various vertebrate species, while gcHIF-4alpha is a novel isoform, and shows an equivalent degree of amino acid identity (41–47%) to the HIF-1alpha, HIF-2alpha and HIF-3alpha proteins so far described. Parsimony analysis indicated that gcHIF-4alpha is most closely related to the HIF-3alpha proteins. Northern blot analysis showed that mRNA levels of gcHIF-1alpha and gcHIF-4alpha differ substantially under normoxic and hypoxic conditions, while Western blot studies demonstrated that the endogenous protein levels for both gcHIF-1alpha and gcHIF-4alpha are similarly responsive to hypoxia. Our findings suggest that both gcHIF-1alpha and gcHIF-4alpha are differentially regulated at the transcriptional and translational levels. HRE-luciferase reporter assays show that both proteins function as transcription activators and play distinct roles in modulating the hypoxic response in grass carp.
There are at least two distinct HIF-alpha isoforms – gcHIF-1alpha and gcHIF-4alpha – in the hypoxia-tolerant grass carp, which are differentially expressed and regulated in different fish organs in response to hypoxic stress. Overall, the results suggest that unique molecular mechanisms operate through these two HIF-alpha isoforms, which underpin the hypoxic response in the hypoxia-tolerant grass carp.
Cellular adaptation to a hypoxic microenvironment is essential for tumor progression and is largely mediated by HIF-1α through coordinated regulation of hypoxia-responsive genes. The chemokine SDF-1α and its unique receptor CXCR4 have been implicated in organ-specific metastases of many cancers. In this study, we investigated the response of osteosarcoma cells to hypoxia and the expression of CXCR4 and HIF-1α in human osteosarcoma specimens and explored the roles of CXCR4 and HIF-1α in the cell migration process.
We performed immunohistochemistry, immunocytochemistry, quantitative real-time PCR, Western blots and fluorescent reporter assays to evaluate the correlation between CXCR4 and HIF-1α expression in human osteosarcoma specimens or SOSP-9607 cells under normoxic and hypoxic conditions. Transwell assays were used to assess cell migration under different conditions. Exposure of SOSP-9607 cells to hypoxic conditions resulted in significantly increased migration. When SOSP-9607 cells were subjected to hypoxic conditions, the mRNA and protein levels of CXCR4 were significantly increased in a time-dependent manner. Moreover, siHIF-1α significantly decreased the mRNA and protein levels of CXCR4 under hypoxia, whereas pcDNA-HIF-1α significantly increased the mRNA and protein levels of CXCR4 under normoxia. A luciferase reporter gene study showed that siHIF-1α reduced pGL3-CXCR4 luciferase activity. Furthermore, coexpression of HIF-1α and CXCR4 was significantly higher in patients with distant metastasis compared with those without metastasis.
The hypoxia-HIF-1α-CXCR4 pathway plays a crucial role during the migration of human osteosarcoma cells, and targeting this pathway might represent a novel therapeutic strategy for patients suffering from osteosarcoma.
Hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) is a major mediator of tumor physiology, and its activation is correlated with tumor progression, metastasis, and therapeutic resistance. HIF-1 is activated in a broad range of solid tumors due to intratumoral hypoxia or genetic alterations that enhance its expression or inhibit its degradation. As a result, decreasing HIF-1α expression represents an attractive strategy to sensitize hypoxic tumors to anticancer therapies. Here, we show that cyclin-dependent kinase 1 (CDK1) regulates the expression of HIF-1α, independent of its known regulators. Overexpression of CDK1 and/or cyclin B1 is sufficient to stabilize HIF-1α under normoxic conditions, whereas inhibition of CDK1 enhances the proteasomal degradation of HIF-1α, reducing its half-life and steady-state levels. In vitro kinase assays reveal that CDK1 directly phosphorylates HIF-1α at a previously unidentified regulatory site, Ser668. HIF-1α is stabilized under normoxic conditions during G2/M phase via CDK1-mediated phosphorylation of Ser668. A phospho-mimetic construct of HIF-1α at Ser668 (S668E) is significantly more stable under both normoxic and hypoxic conditions, resulting in enhanced transcription of HIF-1 target genes and increased tumor cell invasion and migration. Importantly, HIF-1α (S668E) displays increased tumor angiogenesis, proliferation, and tumor growth in vivo compared with wild-type HIF-1α. Thus, we have identified a novel link between CDK1 and HIF-1α that provides a potential molecular explanation for the elevated HIF-1 activity observed in primary and metastatic tumors, independent of hypoxia, and offers a molecular rationale for the clinical translation of CDK inhibitors for use in tumors with constitutively active HIF-1.
CDK1; HIF-1α; angiogenesis; cell cycle; hypoxia
Notch1 is a potent regulator known to play an oncogenic role in many malignancies including T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL). Tumor hypoxia and increased hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) activity can act as major stimuli for tumor aggressiveness and progression. Although hypoxia-mediated activation of the Notch1 pathway plays an important role in tumor cell survival and invasiveness, the interaction between HIF-1α and Notch1 has not yet been identified in T-ALL. This study was designed to investigate whether hypoxia activates Notch1 signalling through HIF-1α stabilization and to determine the contribution of hypoxia and HIF-1α to proliferation, invasion and chemoresistance in T-ALL.
T-ALL cell lines (Jurkat, Sup-T1) transfected with HIF-1α or Notch1 small interference RNA (siRNA) were incubated in normoxic or hypoxic conditions. Their potential for proliferation and invasion was measured by WST-8 and transwell assays. Flow cytometry was used to detect apoptosis and assess cell cycle regulation. Expression and regulation of components of the HIF-1α and Notch1 pathways and of genes related to proliferation, invasion and apoptosis were assessed by quantitative real-time PCR or Western blot.
Hypoxia potentiated Notch1 signalling via stabilization and activation of the transcription factor HIF-1α. Hypoxia/HIF-1α-activated Notch1 signalling altered expression of cell cycle regulatory proteins and accelerated cell proliferation. Hypoxia-induced Notch1 activation increased the expression of matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP2) and MMP9, which increased invasiveness. Of greater clinical significance, knockdown of Notch1 prevented the protective effect of hypoxia/HIF-1α against dexamethasone-induced apoptosis. This sensitization correlated with losing the effect of hypoxia/HIF-1α on Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL expression.
Notch1 signalling is required for hypoxia/HIF-1α-induced proliferation, invasion and chemoresistance in T-ALL. Pharmacological inhibitors of HIF-1α or Notch1 signalling may be attractive interventions for T-ALL treatment.
T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia; Hypoxia; HIF-1α; Notch1; Proliferation; Invasion; Chemoresistance
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) accounts for about 38% of primary brain tumors in the United States. GBM is characterized by extensive angiogenesis induced by vascular growth factors and cytokines. The transcription of these growth factors and cytokines is regulated by the Hypoxia-Inducible-Factor-1(HIF-1), which is a key regulator mediating the cellular response to hypoxia. It is known that Factor Inhibiting HIF-1, or FIH-1, is also involved in the cellular response to hypoxia and has the capability to physically interact with HIF-1 and block its transcriptional activity under normoxic conditions. Delineation of the regulatory role of FIH-1 will help us to better understand the molecular mechanism responsible for tumor growth and progression and may lead to the design of new therapies targeting cellular pathways in response to hypoxia. Previous studies have shown that the chromosomal region of 10q24 containing the FIH-1 gene is often deleted in GBM, suggesting a role for the FIH-1 in GBM tumorigenesis and progression. In the current study, we found that FIH-1 is able to inhibit HIF-mediated transcription of GLUT1 and VEGF-A, even under hypoxic conditions in human glioblastoma cells. FIH-1 has been found to be more potent in inhibiting HIF function than PTEN. This observation points to the possibility that deletion of 10q23-24 and loss or decreased expression of FIH-1 gene may lead to a constitutive activation of HIF-1 activity, an alteration of HIF-1 targets such as GLUT-1 and VEGF-A, and may contribute to the survival of cancer cells in hypoxia and the development of hypervascularization observed in GBM. Therefore FIH-1 can be potential therapeutic target for the treatment of GBM patients with poor prognosis.
The hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) transcription complex, which is activated by low oxygen tension, controls a diverse range of cellular processes including angiogenesis and erythropoiesis. Under normoxic conditions, the α subunit of HIF is rapidly degraded in a manner dependent on hydroxylation of two conserved proline residues at positions 402 and 564 in HIF-1α in the oxygen-dependent degradation (ODD) domain. This allows subsequent recognition by the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) tumor suppressor protein, which targets HIF for degradation by the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. Under hypoxic conditions, prolyl hydroxylation of HIF is inhibited, allowing it to escape VHL-mediated degradation. The transcriptional regulation of the erythropoietin gene by HIF raises the possibility that HIF may play a role in disorders of erythropoiesis, such as idiopathic erythrocytosis (IE).
Patients with IE were screened for changes in the HIF-1α coding sequence, and a change in the ODD domain that converts Pro-582 to Ser was identified in several patients. This same change, however, was also detected at a significant frequency, 0.073, in unaffected controls compared to 0.109 in the IE patient group. In vitro hydroxylation assays examining this amino acid change failed to reveal a discernible effect on HIF hydroxylation at Pro-564.
The Pro582Ser change represents a common polymorphism of HIF-1α that does not impair HIF-1α prolyl hydroxylation. Although the Pro582Ser polymorphism is located in the ODD domain of HIF-1α it does not diminish the association of HIF-1α with VHL. Thus, it is unlikely that this polymorphism accounts for the erythrocytosis in the group of IE patients studied.
The HIF1- and HIF2-mediated transcriptional responses play critical roles in solid tumor progression. Despite significant similarities, including their binding to promoters of both HIF1 and HIF2 target genes, HIF1 and HIF2 proteins activate unique subsets of target genes under hypoxia. The mechanism for HIF target gene specificity has remained unclear. Using siRNA or inhibitor, we previously reported that STAT3 or USF2 is specifically required for activation of endogenous HIF1 or HIF2 target genes. In this study, using reporter gene assays and chromatin immuno-precipitation, we find that STAT3 or USF2 exhibits specific binding to the promoters of HIF1 or HIF2 target genes respectively even when over-expressed. Functionally, HIF1α interacts with STAT3 to activate HIF1 target gene promoters in a HIF1α HLH/PAS and N-TAD dependent manner while HIF2α interacts with USF2 to activate HIF2 target gene promoters in a HIF2α N-TAD dependent manner. Physically, HIF1α HLH and PAS domains are required for its interaction with STAT3 while both N- and C-TADs of HIF2α are involved in physical interaction with USF2. Importantly, addition of functional USF2 binding sites into a HIF1 target gene promoter increases the basal activity of the promoter as well as its response to HIF2+USF2 activation while replacing HIF binding site with HBS from a HIF2 target gene does not change the specificity of the reporter gene. Importantly, RNA Pol II on HIF1 or HIF2 target genes is primarily associated with HIF1α or HIF2α in a STAT3 or USF2 dependent manner. Thus, we demonstrate here for the first time that HIF target gene specificity is achieved by HIF transcription partners that are required for HIF target gene activation, exhibit specific binding to the promoters of HIF1 or HIF2 target genes and selectively interact with HIF1α or HIF2α protein.
Ionizing irradiation is a commonly accepted treatment modality for lung cancer patients. However, the clinical outcome is hampered by normal tissue toxicity and tumor hypoxia. Since tumors often have higher levels of active heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) than normal tissues, targeting of Hsp90 might provide a promising strategy to sensitize tumors towards irradiation. Hsp90 client proteins include oncogenic signaling proteins, cell cycle activators, growth factor receptors and hypoxia inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α). Overexpression of HIF-1α is assumed to promote malignant transformation and tumor progression and thus might reduce the accessibility to radiotherapy.
Herein, we describe the effects of the novel Hsp90 inhibitor NVP-AUY922 and 17-allylamino-17-demethoxygeldanamycin (17-AAG), as a control, on HIF-1α levels and radiosensitivity of lung carcinoma cells under normoxic and hypoxic conditions. NVP-AUY922 exhibited a similar biological activity to that of 17-AAG, but at only 1/10 of the dose. As expected, both inhibitors reduced basal and hypoxia-induced HIF-1α levels in EPLC-272H lung carcinoma cells. However, despite a down-regulation of HIF-1α upon Hsp90 inhibition, sensitivity towards irradiation remained unaltered in EPLC-272H cells under normoxic and hypoxic conditions. In contrast, treatment of H1339 lung carcinoma cells with NVP-AUY922 and 17-AAG resulted in a significant up-regulation of their initially high HIF-1α levels and a concomitant increase in radiosensitivity.
In summary, our data show a HIF-1α-independent radiosensitization of normoxic and hypoxic H1339 lung cancer cells by Hsp90 inhibition.
Hypoxia induces activation of the HIF-1 pathway and is an essential characteristic of malignant gliomas. Hypoxia has been linked to tumor progression, therapy resistance and poor prognosis. However, little is known about the impact of HIF-1α inhibition on radioresistance of malignant glioma.
In this study, we investigated the effects of the inhibition of HIF-1α on cell survival and radiosensitivity in U251MG and U343MG glioma cells, using two different strategies. HIF-1α inhibition was achieved by siRNA targeting of HIF-1α or via chetomin, a disruptor of interactions between HIF-1α and p300. The inhibition of the HIF-1 pathway was monitored by quantitative real-time PCR and Western blot analyses of the expression levels of HIF-1α and CA9. CA9 expression was investigated as a potential indicator of the efficacy of HIF-1 inhibition and the resulting radiosensitivity of malignant glioma cell lines was determined by clonogenic assay after irradiation under normoxic (2-10 Gy) or hypoxic (2-15 Gy) conditions.
Although siRNA and chetomin show distinct modes of action, both attenuated the hypoxia-induced radioresistance of malignant glioma cell lines U251MG (DMF10: 1.35 and 1.18) and U343MG (DMF10: 1.78 and 1.48). However, siRNA and chetomin showed diverse effects on radiosensitivity under normoxic conditions in U251MG (DMF10: 0.86 and 1.35) and U343MG (DMF10: 1.33 and 1.02) cells.
Results from this in vitro study suggest that inhibition of HIF-1α is a promising strategy to sensitize human malignant gliomas to radiotherapy and that CA9 could serve as an indicator of effective HIF-1-related radiosensitization.
Epithelial ovarian cancer is one of the most malignant cancers in women because metastasis occurs in the most of patients by the time of diagnosis. Cancer cells have strong capacity to form angiogenesis or vasculogenic mimicry, which plays the major role in its malignant phenotype. Vasculogenic mimicry might contribute to the failure of the angiogenesis-targeted therapy strategies. Under the microenvironment of the tumor, hypoxia is the most common phenomena because of the vast energy and oxygen consuming. In the present study, the endothelial-like cells induced by hypoxia from SKOV-3 and ES-2 ovarian cancer cells were harvested to investigate the changes in their biological behaviors.
The endothelial-like cells from SKOV-3 and ES-2 cells were harvested by laser capture microdissection. The biological behaviors of the endothelial-like cells, including proliferation, cell cycle, apoptosis, invasion and telomerase activity were determined by MTT, FCM, Transwell chamber and TRAP-ELISA methods. HIF-1α is the most important factor for the behavior changes under hypoxic condition. Some other genes relative to biological behaviors are also changes following the changes of HIF-1α. In order to elucidate the underlying mechanisms for these changes by hypoxia, the relative genes expressions including HIF-1α, CyclinD1, Flk-1, VEGF, p53 and V-src were determined by real-time PCR.
SKOV-3 and ES-2 cells were resistant to hypoxia by adoption of proliferation, apoptosis, differentiation and invasion. Combined with other studies, the more poorly cancer cells differentiate, the more strongly cells are resistant to hypoxia, the more possible to form vasculogenic mimicry. The changes in the expression of HIF-1α, and HIF-1α-dependent VEGF, Flk-1, Cyclin D1, and HIF-1α-independent p53 have been involved in this process.
HIF-1α took an important role in the behavioral changes of SKOV-3 and ES-2 cells by hypoxia. At the same time, other mechanisms were also involved in this process.
Hypoxic tumor cells overexpressing hypoxia-inducible factor 1alpha (HIF-1α) are generally resistant to chemo/radiotherapy. We have reported that Se-methylselenocysteine (MSC) therapeutically enhances the efficacy and selectivity of irinotecan against human tumor xenografts. The aim of this study was to delineate the mechanism responsible for the observed efficacy targeting on HIF-1α and its transcriptionally regulated genes VEGF and CAIX.
We investigated the mechanism of HIF-1α inhibition by MSC and its critical role in the therapeutic outcome by generating HIF-1α stable knockdown (KD) human head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, FaDu by transfecting HIF-1α short hairpin RNA.
While cytotoxic efficacy in combination with methylselenic acid (MSA) with SN-38 (active metabolites of MSC and irinotecan) could not be confirmed in vitro against normoxic tumor cells, the hypoxic tumor cells were more sensitive to the combination. Reduction in HIF-1α either by MSA or shRNA knockdown resulted in significant increase in cytotoxicity of SN38 in vitro against hypoxic, but not the normoxic tumor cells. Similarly, in vivo, either MSC in combination with irinotecan treatment of parental xenografts or HIF-1α KD tumors treated with irinotecan alone resulted in comparable therapeutic response and increase in the long-term survival of mice bearing FaDu xenografts.
Our results show that HIF-1α is a critical target for MSC and its inhibition was associated with enhanced antitumor activity of irinotecan. Inhibition of HIF-1α appeared to be mediated through stabilization of PHD2, 3 and downregulation of ROS by MSC. Thus, our findings support the development of MSC as a HIF-1α inhibitor in combination chemotherapy.
HIF-1α; Se-methylselenocysteine; Irinotecan; Hypoxic tumor cells; PHD
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