JOURNAL ARTICLE

Fasudil-induced hypoxia-inducible factor-1alpha degradation disrupts a hypoxia-driven vascular endothelial growth factor autocrine mechanism in endothelial cells

Keiko Takata, Ken-Ichirou Morishige, Toshifumi Takahashi, Kae Hashimoto, Seiji Tsutsumi, Limei Yin, Tsuyoshi Ohta, Jun Kawagoe, Kazuhiro Takahashi, Hirohisa Kurachi
Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 2008, 7 (6): 1551-61
18566226
Hypoxic response of endothelial cells (EC) is an important component of tumor angiogenesis. Especially, hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1)-dependent EC-specific mechanism is an essential component of tumor angiogenesis. Recently, the Rho/Rho-associated kinase (ROCK) signaling has been shown to play a key role in HIF-1alpha induction in renal cell carcinoma and trophoblast. The present study was designed to investigate whether low oxygen conditions might modulate HIF-1alpha expression through the Rho/ROCK signaling in human umbilical vascular ECs (HUVEC). Pull-down assay showed that hypoxia stimulated RhoA activity. Under hypoxic conditions, HUVECs transfected with small interfering RNA of RhoA and ROCK2 exhibited decreased levels of HIF-1alpha protein compared with nontargeted small interfering RNA transfectants, whereas HIF-1alpha mRNA levels were not altered. One of ROCK inhibitors, fasudil, inhibited hypoxia-induced HIF-1alpha expression without altering HIF-1alpha mRNA expression. Furthermore, proteasome inhibitor prevented the effect of fasudil on HIF-1alpha expression, and polyubiquitination was enhanced by fasudil. These results suggested that hypoxia-induced HIF-1alpha expression is through preventing HIF-1alpha degradation by activating the Rho/ROCK signaling in ECs. Furthermore, hypoxia induced both vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and VEGF receptor-2 expression through the Rho/ROCK/HIF-1alpha signaling in HUVECs. Thus, augmented VEGF/VEGF receptor-2 autocrine mechanism stimulated HUVEC migration under hypoxic conditions. In summary, the Rho/ROCK/HIF-1alpha signaling is an essential mechanism for hypoxia-driven, VEGF-mediated autocrine loop in ECs. Therefore, fasudil might have the antimigratory effect against ECs in tumor angiogenesis.

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