JOURNAL ARTICLE

Knockdown of hypoxia-inducible factor-1 alpha reduces proliferation, induces apoptosis and attenuates the aggressive phenotype of retinoblastoma WERI-Rb-1 cells under hypoxic conditions

Tian Xia, Hao Cheng, Yu Zhu
Annals of Clinical and Laboratory Science 2014, 44 (2): 134-44
24795051

BACKGROUND: Hypoxia-inducible factor-1 alpha (HIF-1α) plays a critical role in tumor cell adaption to hypoxia by inducing the transcription of numerous genes. The role of HIF-1α in malignant retinoblastoma remains unclear. We analyzed the role of HIF-1α in WERI-Rb-1 retinoblastoma cells under hypoxic conditions.

METHODS: CoCl2 (125 mmol/L) was added to the culture media to mimic hypoxia. HIF-1α was silenced using siRNA. Gene and protein expression were measured by semi-quantitative RT-PCR and Western blotting. Cell cycle and apoptosis were analyzed by flow cytometry. Cell proliferation, adhesion and invasion were assayed using MTT, Transwell invasion, and cell adhesion assays respectively.

RESULT: Hypoxia significantly upregulated HIF-1α protein expression and the HIF-1α target genes VEGF, GLUT1, and Survivin mRNA. HIF-1α mRNA expression was not affected by hypoxia. Transfection of the siRNA expression plasmid pRNAT-CMV3.2/Neo-HIF-1α silenced HIF-1α by approximately 80% in hypoxic WERI-Rb-1 cells. The knockdown of HIF-1α under hypoxic conditions downregulated VEGF, GLUT1, and Survivin mRNA. It also inhibited proliferation, promoted apoptosis, induced the G0/G1 phase cell cycle arrest, and reduced the adhesion and invasion of WERI-Rb-1 cells.

CONCLUSION: HIF-1α plays a major role in the survival and aggressive phenotype of retinoblastoma cells under hypoxic conditions. Targeting HIF-1α may be a promising therapeutic strategy for human malignant retinoblastoma.

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