Fatty acid synthase gene is up-regulated by hypoxia via activation of Akt and sterol regulatory element binding protein-1

Eiji Furuta, Sudha K Pai, Rui Zhan, Sucharita Bandyopadhyay, Misako Watabe, Yin-Yuan Mo, Shigeru Hirota, Sadahiro Hosobe, Taisei Tsukada, Kunio Miura, Shuichi Kamada, Ken Saito, Megumi Iiizumi, Wen Liu, Johan Ericsson, Kounosuke Watabe
Cancer Research 2008 February 15, 68 (4): 1003-11
The fatty acid synthase (FAS) gene is significantly up-regulated in various types of cancers, and blocking the FAS expression results in apoptosis of tumor cells. Therefore, FAS is considered to be an attractive target for anticancer therapy. However, the molecular mechanism by which the FAS gene is up-regulated in tumor cells is poorly understood. We found that FAS was significantly up-regulated by hypoxia, which was also accompanied by reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation in human breast cancer cell lines. The FAS expression was also activated by H(2)O(2), whereas N-acetyl-L-cystein, a ROS inhibitor, suppressed the expression. We also found that the hypoxia significantly up-regulated sterol regulatory-element binding protein (SREBP)-1, the major transcriptional regulator of the FAS gene, via phosphorylation of Akt followed by activation of hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF1). Moreover, our results of reporter assay and chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis indicate that SREBP-1 strongly bound to the SREBP binding site/E-box sequence on the FAS promoter under hypoxia. In our xenograft mouse model, FAS was strongly expressed in the hypoxic regions of the tumor. In addition, our results of immunohistochemical analysis for human breast tumor specimens indicate that the expressions of both FAS and SREBP-1 were colocalized with hypoxic regions in the tumors. Furthermore, we found that hypoxia-induced chemoresistance to cyclophosphamide was partially blocked by a combination of FAS inhibitor and cyclophosphamide. Taken together, our results indicate that FAS gene is up-regulated by hypoxia via activation of the Akt and HIF1 followed by the induction of the SREBP-1 gene, and that hypoxia-induced chemoresistance is partly due to the up-regulation of FAS.

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