YC-1 inhibits HIF-1 expression in prostate cancer cells: contribution of Akt/NF-kappaB signaling to HIF-1alpha accumulation during hypoxia

H-L Sun, Y-N Liu, Y-T Huang, S-L Pan, D-Y Huang, J-H Guh, F-Y Lee, S-C Kuo, C-M Teng
Oncogene 2007 June 7, 26 (27): 3941-51
Hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1), a transcription factor that is critical for tumor adaptation to microenvironmental stimuli, represents an attractive chemotherapeutic target. YC-1 is a novel antitumor agent that inhibits HIF-1 through previously unexplained mechanisms. In the present study, YC-1 was found to prevent HIF-1alpha and HIF-1beta accumulation in response to hypoxia or mitogen treatment in PC-3 prostate cancer cells. Neither HIF-1alpha protein half-life nor mRNA level was affected by YC-1. However, YC-1 was found to suppress the PI3K/Akt/mTOR/4E-BP pathway, which serves to regulate HIF-1alpha expression at the translational step. We demonstrated that YC-1 also inhibited hypoxia-induced activation of nuclear factor (NF)-kappaB, a downstream target of Akt. Two modulators of the Akt/NF-kappaB pathway, caffeic acid phenethyl ester and evodiamine, were observed to decrease HIF-1alpha expression. Additionally, overexpression of NF-kappaB partly reversed the ability of wortmannin to inhibit HIF-1alpha-dependent transcriptional activity, suggesting that NF-kappaB contributes to Akt-mediated HIF-1alpha accumulation during hypoxia. Overall, we identify a potential molecular mechanism whereby YC-1 serves to reduce HIF-1 expression.

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