Author(s): Hughes MD, Kapllani E, Alexander AE, Burk RD, Schoenfeld AR
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Mutational inactivation of the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) tumor suppressor gene has been linked to hereditary as well as sporadic clear cell renal carcinomas. The product of the VHL gene, pVHL, acts to target hypoxia-inducible factor alpha (HIF-alpha) subunits for ubiquitination and subsequent degradation. Using an RNA interference approach to lower levels of HIF-2alpha in two different renal cell lines that lack functional pVHL, we have tested the contribution of HIF-2alpha toward cellular pVHL activities. RESULTS: Knockdown of HIF-2alpha resulted in cell cycle arrest of renal cells that were grown on collagen I, indicating that this pVHL function is dependent on HIF-2alpha regulation. However, cellular morphological changes and downregulation of integrins alpha5 and beta1, which were seen upon pVHL replacement, were not faithfully phenocopied by HIF-2alpha reduction. Moreover, fibronectin deposition and expression of renal cell differentiation markers were observed in cells containing replaced pVHL, but not in HIF-2alpha knockdown cells, indicating that these pVHL functions may occur independently of HIF-2alpha downregulation. CONCLUSION: These results indicate that HIF-2alpha regulation is not sufficient for pVHL-induced renal cell differentiation. We hypothesize that in addition to HIF-2alpha dysregulation, abrogation of additional pVHL functions is required for the initiation of renal carcinogenesis.
This article was published in Cancer Cell Int
and referenced in Cell & Developmental Biology