The redox protein thioredoxin-1 (Trx-1) increases hypoxia-inducible factor 1α protein expression: Trx-1 overexpression results in increased vascular endothelial growth factor production and enhanced tumor angiogenesis

Sarah J. Welsh, William T. Bellamy, Margaret M. Briehl, Garth Powis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

296 Scopus citations

Abstract

Hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1), a heterodimer of HIF-1α and HIF-1β subunits, is a transcriptional activator central to the cellular response to low oxygen that includes metabolic adaptation, angiogenesis, metastasis, and inhibited apoptosis. Thioredoxin-1 (Trx-1) is a small redox protein overexpressed in a number of human primary tumors. We have examined the effects of Trx-1 on HIF activity and the activation of downstream genes. Stable transfection of human breast carcinoma MCF-7 cells with human Trx-1 caused a significant increase in HIF-1α protein levels under both normoxic (20% oxygen) and hypoxic (1% oxygen) conditions. Trx-1 increased hypoxia-induced HIF-1 transactivation activity measured using a luciferase reporter under the control of the hypoxia response element. Changes in HIF-1α mRNA levels did not account for the changes observed at the protein level, and HIF-1β protein levels did not change. Trx-1 transfection also caused a significant increase in the protein products of hypoxia-responsive genes, including vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and nitric oxide synthase 2 in a number of different cell lines (MCF-7 human breast and HT29 human colon carcinomas and WEHI7.2 mouse lymphoma cells) under both normoxic and hypoxic conditions. The pattern of expression of the different isoforms of VEGF was not changed by Trx-1. Transfection of a redox-inactive Trx-1 (C32S/C35S) markedly decreased levels of HIF-1α protein, HIF-1 transactivating activity, and VEGF protein in MCF-7 cells compared with empty vector controls. In vivo studies using WEHI7.2 cells transfected with Trx-1 showed significantly increased tumor VEGF and angiogenesis. The results suggest that Trx-1 increases HIF-1α protein levels in cancer cells and increases VEGF production and tumor angiogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5089-5095
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Research
Volume62
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 1 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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