Overexpression of human papillomavirus type 16 oncoproteins enhances hypoxia-inducible factor 1 alpha protein accumulation and vascular endothelial growth factor expression in human cervical carcinoma cells

Xudong Tang, Qunzhou Zhang, Junko Nishitani, Jimmy Brown, Shihong Shi, Anh D Le
Clinical Cancer Research 2007 May 1, 13 (9): 2568-76

PURPOSE: Human papillomavirus (HPV)-16 oncoproteins, E6 and E7, are associated with enhanced tumor angiogenesis in human cervical cancers. The purpose of this study was (a) to investigate whether expression of HPV-16 E6 and E7 oncoproteins induces hypoxia-inducible factor 1 alpha (HIF-1 alpha) and vascular endothelial growth factor expression in cervical cancer cells; and (b) to assess the effect of resveratrol on 16 E6- and E7-induced HIF-1 alpha and VEGF gene expression.

EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Human cervical cancer cell lines C-33A and HeLa were transiently cotransfected with pSG5-HPV-16 E6 or 16 E7 constructs along with HIF-1 alpha small interfering RNA (siRNA) or nonspecific siRNA. The expression of HIF-1 alpha/VEGF was measured using real-time PCR, Western blot analysis, or ELISA. The in vitro angiogenic activity induced by 16 E6- and E7-transfected cells was examined. The effect of resveratrol on oncoprotein-induced HIF-1 alpha/VEGF expression and in vitro angiogenesis was investigated.

RESULTS: HPV-16 E6- and E7-transfected cervical cancer cells express increased HIF-1 alpha protein and VEGF expression. These stimulatory effects were abrogated by cotransfection with either HIF-1 alpha siRNA or treatment with resveratrol. Blocking extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK 1/2) and phosphoinositide-3-kinase by PD98059 and LY294002, respectively, abolished 16 E6- and E7-induced HIF-1 alpha and VEGF expression. Functionally, we showed that HPV-16 E6- and E7-transfected cervical cancer cells stimulated in vitro capillary or tubule formation, and these angiogenic effects could be abolished either by cotransfection with HIF-1 alpha siRNA or by treatment with resveratrol.

CONCLUSION: HPV-16 oncoproteins contribute to enhanced angiogenesis in cervical cancer cells via HIF-1 alpha-dependent VEGF expression. Resveratrol suppresses 16 E6- and E7-induced HIF-1 alpha-mediated angiogenic activity and, thus, is a promising chemotherapeutic agent for human cervical cancer.

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