JOURNAL ARTICLE

The role of Aurora A in hypoxia-inducible factor 1α-promoting malignant phenotypes of hepatocelluar carcinoma

Shi-Yun Cui, Jia-Yuan Huang, Yi-Tian Chen, Hai-Zhu Song, Gui-Chun Huang, Wei De, Rui Wang, Long-Bang Chen
Cell Cycle 2013 September 1, 12 (17): 2849-66
23966163
Overexpression of both hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α) and Aurora A has been found in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, whether HIF-1α and Aurora A synergistically promote malignant phenotypes of HCC cells is unknown. The purpose of this study was to investigate the roles and functional correlation of HIF-1α and Aurora A in HCC progression. Immunohistochemistry was performed to detect HIF-1α and Aurora A protein expression in 55 primary HCC and corresponding non-tumor tissues and their clinical significance. Gene knockout technology using short hairpin RNA (shRNA) was used to knockdown expression of HIF-1α or Aurora A and analyze their effects on malignant phenotypes of HCC cells. The transcriptional regulation of Aurora A by HIF-1α and the possible downstream molecular signaling pathways were also determined. Results showed that hypoxia could induce the increased expression of HIF-1α and Aurora A in HCC cells. Also, shRNA-mediated HIF-1α downregulation could lead to the decreased Aurora A expression and inhibition of growth or invasion in HCC cells. Moreover, HIF-1α could transcriptionally regulate Aurora A expression by binding to hypoxia-responsive elements in the Aurora A promoter and recruiting the coactivator-p300/CBP. Additionally, shRNA-mediated Aurora A knockdown could mimic the effects of HIF-1α downregulation on phenotypes of HCC cells, and overexpression of Aurora A could partially rescue the phenotypical changes of HCC cells induced by HIF-1α downregulation. Further research indicated that activation of Akt and p38-MAPK signaling pathways mediated the downstream effects of HIF-1α and Aurora A in HCC cells under hypoxic condition. Taken together, our findings indicated that Aurora A might be a key regulator of HIF-1α-promoting malignant phenotypes of HCC by activation of Akt and p38-MAPK signaling pathways.

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