Che-1 sustains hypoxic response of colorectal cancer cells by affecting Hif-1α stabilization
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BACKGROUND: Solid tumours are less oxygenated than normal tissues. Consequently, cancer cells acquire to be adapted to a hypoxic environment. The poor oxygenation of solid tumours is also a major indicator of an adverse cancer prognosis and leads to resistance to conventional anticancer treatments. We previously showed the involvement of Che-1/AATF (Che-1) in cancer cell survival under stress conditions. Herein we hypothesized that Che-1 plays a role in the response of cancer cells to hypoxia. METHODS: The human colon adenocarcinoma HCT116 and HT29 cell lines undepleted or depleted for Che-1 expression by siRNA, were treated under normoxic and hypoxic conditions to perform studies regarding the role of this protein in metabolic adaptation and cell proliferation. Che-1 expression was detected using western blot assays; cell metabolism was assessed by NMR spectroscopy and functional assays. Additional molecular studies were performed by RNA seq, qRT-PCR and ChIP analyses. RESULTS: Here we report that Che-1 expression is required for the adaptation of cells to hypoxia, playing an important role in metabolic modulation. Indeed, Che-1 depletion impacted on HIF-1α stabilization, thus downregulating the expression of several genes involved in the response to hypoxia and affecting glucose metabolism. CONCLUSIONS: We show that Che-1 a novel player in the regulation of HIF-1α in response to hypoxia. Notably, we found that Che-1 is required for SIAH-2 expression, a member of E3 ubiquitin ligase family that is involved in the degradation of the hydroxylase PHD3, the master regulator of HIF-1α stability.
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