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      Calcitriol Suppresses HIF-1 and HIF-2 Transcriptional Activity by Reducing HIF-1/2α Protein Levels via a VDR-Independent Mechanism

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          Abstract

          Hypoxia-inducible transcription factors 1 and 2 (HIFs) are major mediators of cancer development and progression and validated targets for cancer therapy. Although calcitriol, the biologically active metabolite of vitamin D, was attributed with anticancer properties, there is little information on the effect of calcitriol on HIFs and the mechanism underling this activity. Here, we demonstrate the negative effect of calcitriol on HIF-1/2α protein levels and HIF-1/2 transcriptional activity and elucidate the molecular mechanism of calcitriol action. We also reveal that the suppression of vitamin D receptor (VDR) expression by siRNA does not abrogate the negative regulation of HIF-1α and HIF-2α protein levels and HIF-1/2 transcriptional activity by calcitriol, thus testifying that the mechanism of these actions is VDR independent. At the same time, calcitriol significantly reduces the phosphorylation of Akt protein kinase and its downstream targets and suppresses HIF-1/2α protein synthesis by inhibiting HIF1A and EPAS1 (Endothelial PAS domain-containing protein 1) mRNA translation, without affecting their mRNA levels. On the basis of the acquired data, it can be proposed that calcitriol reduces HIF-1α and HIF-2α protein levels and inhibits HIF-1 and HIF-2 transcriptional activity by a VDR-independent, nongenomic mechanism that involves inhibition of PI3K/Akt signaling pathway and suppression of HIF1A and EPAS1 mRNA translation.

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          Most cited references 76

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          Regulation of 4E-BP1 phosphorylation: a novel two-step mechanism.

          The multisubunit eukaryotic translation initiation factor (eIF) 4F recruits 40S ribosomal subunits to the 5' end of mRNA. The eIF4F subunit eIF4E interacts directly with the mRNA 5' cap structure. Assembly of the eIF4F complex is inhibited by a family of repressor polypeptides, the eIF4E-binding proteins (4E-BPs). Binding of the 4E-BPs to eIF4E is regulated by phosphorylation: Hypophosphorylated 4E-BP isoforms interact strongly with eIF4E, whereas hyperphosphorylated isoforms do not. 4E-BP1 is hypophosphorylated in quiescent cells, but is hyperphosphorylated on multiple sites following exposure to a variety of extracellular stimuli. The PI3-kinase/Akt pathway and the kinase FRAP/mTOR signal to 4E-BP1. FRAP/mTOR has been reported to phosphorylate 4E-BP1 directly in vitro. However, it is not known if FRAP/mTOR is responsible for the phosphorylation of all 4E-BP1 sites, nor which sites must be phosphorylated to release 4E-BP1 from eIF4E. To address these questions, a recombinant FRAP/mTOR protein and a FRAP/mTOR immunoprecipitate were utilized in in vitro kinase assays to phosphorylate 4E-BP1. Phosphopeptide mapping of the in vitro-labeled protein yielded two 4E-BP1 phosphopeptides that comigrated with phosphopeptides produced in vivo. Mass spectrometry analysis indicated that these peptides contain phosphorylated Thr-37 and Thr-46. Thr-37 and Thr-46 are efficiently phosphorylated in vitro by FRAP/mTOR when 4E-BP1 is bound to eIF4E. However, phosphorylation at these sites was not associated with a loss of eIF4E binding. Phosphorylated Thr-37 and Thr-46 are detected in all phosphorylated in vivo 4E-BP1 isoforms, including those that interact with eIF4E. Finally, mutational analysis demonstrated that phosphorylation of Thr-37/Thr-46 is required for subsequent phosphorylation of several carboxy-terminal serum-sensitive sites. Taken together, our results suggest that 4E-BP1 phosphorylation by FRAP/mTOR on Thr-37 and Thr-46 is a priming event for subsequent phosphorylation of the carboxy-terminal serum-sensitive sites.
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            Regulation of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α by NF-κB

            HIF (hypoxia-inducible factor) is the main transcription factor activated by low oxygen tensions. HIF-1α (and other α subunits) is tightly controlled mostly at the protein level, through the concerted action of a class of enzymes called PHDs (prolyl hydroxylases) 1, 2 and 3. Most of the knowledge of HIF derives from studies following hypoxic stress; however, HIF-1α stabilization is also found in non-hypoxic conditions through an unknown mechanism. In the present study, we demonstrate that NF-κB (nuclear factor κB) is a direct modulator of HIF-1α expression. The HIF-1α promoter is responsive to selective NF-κB subunits. siRNA (small interfering RNA) studies for individual NF-κB members revealed differential effects on HIF-1α mRNA levels, indicating that NF-κB can regulate basal HIF-1α expression. Finally, when endogenous NF-κB is induced by TNFα (tumour necrosis factor α) treatment, HIF-1α levels also change in an NF-κB-dependent manner. In conclusion, we find that NF-κB can regulate basal TNFα and, in certain circumstances, the hypoxia-induced HIF-1α.
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              Therapeutic targeting of hypoxia and hypoxia-inducible factors in cancer.

              Insufficient tissue oxygenation, or hypoxia, contributes to tumor aggressiveness and has a profound impact on clinical outcomes in cancer patients. At decreased oxygen tensions, hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs) 1 and 2 are stabilized and mediate a hypoxic response, primarily by acting as transcription factors. HIFs exert differential effects on tumor growth and affect important cancer hallmarks including cell proliferation, apoptosis, differentiation, vascularization/angiogenesis, genetic instability, tumor metabolism, tumor immune responses, and invasion and metastasis. As a consequence, HIFs mediate resistance to chemo- and radiotherapy and are associated with poor prognosis in cancer patients. Intriguingly, perivascular tumor cells can also express HIF-2α, thereby forming a "pseudohypoxic" phenotype that further contributes to tumor aggressiveness. Therefore, therapeutic targeting of HIFs in cancer has the potential to improve treatment efficacy. Different strategies to target hypoxic cancer cells and/or HIFs include hypoxia-activated prodrugs and inhibition of HIF dimerization, mRNA or protein expression, DNA binding capacity, and transcriptional activity. Here we review the functions of HIFs in the progression and treatment of malignant solid tumors. We also highlight how HIFs may be targeted to improve the management of patients with therapy-resistant and metastatic cancer.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Cells
                Cells
                cells
                Cells
                MDPI
                2073-4409
                09 November 2020
                November 2020
                : 9
                : 11
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Laboratory of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Thessaly, Biopolis 41500, Larissa, Greece; iogotina@ 123456med.uth.gr (I.-M.G.); elkechag@ 123456uth.gr (E.K.); pliakos@ 123456med.uth.gr (P.L.)
                [2 ]Division of Endocrinology, Interbalkan Medical Center, Thessaloniki 55535, Greece; kpazaitoupanayiotou@ 123456gmail.com
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: mylonis@ 123456med.uth.gr (I.M.); atsakal@ 123456med.uth.gr (A.T.); Tel.: +30-2410-685578 (I.M.); +30-2410-685580 (A.T.)
                Article
                cells-09-02440
                10.3390/cells9112440
                7695316
                33182300
                © 2020 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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