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      Regulation of vascular endothelial growth factor expression by homeodomain-interacting protein kinase-2

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          Homeodomain-interacting protein kinase-2 (HIPK2) plays an essential role in restraining tumor progression as it may regulate, by itself or within multiprotein complexes, many proteins (mainly transcription factors) involved in cell growth and apoptosis. This study takes advantage of the recent finding that HIPK2 may repress the β-catenin transcription activity. Thus, we investigated whether HIPK2 overexpression may down-regulate vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) levels (a β-catenin target gene) and the role of β-catenin in this regulation, in order to consider HIPK2 as a tool for novel anti-tumoral therapeutical approaches.


          The regulation of VEGF expression by HIPK2 was evaluated by using luciferase assay with VEGF reporter construct, after overexpression of the β-catenin transcription factor. Relative quantification of VEGF and β-catenin mRNAs were assessed by reverse-transcriptase-PCR (RT-PCR) analyses, following HIPK2 overexpression, while β-catenin protein levels were evaluated by western immunoblotting.


          HIPK2 overexpression in tumor cells downregulated VEGF mRNA levels and VEGF promoter activity. The VEGF downregulation was partly depending on HIPK2-mediated β-catenin regulation. Thus, HIPK2 could induce β-catenin protein degradation that was prevented by cell treatment with proteasome inhibitor MG132. The β-catenin degradation was dependent on HIPK2 catalytic activity and independent of p53 and glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK-3β) activities.


          These results suggest that VEGF might be a target of HIPK2, at least in part, through regulation of β-catenin activity. These findings support the function of HIPK2 as tumor suppressor and hypothesise a role for HIPK2 as antiangiogenic tool in tumor therapy approaches.

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          Most cited references 30

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          Identification of c-MYC as a target of the APC pathway.

          The adenomatous polyposis coli gene (APC) is a tumor suppressor gene that is inactivated in most colorectal cancers. Mutations of APC cause aberrant accumulation of beta-catenin, which then binds T cell factor-4 (Tcf-4), causing increased transcriptional activation of unknown genes. Here, the c-MYC oncogene is identified as a target gene in this signaling pathway. Expression of c-MYC was shown to be repressed by wild-type APC and activated by beta-catenin, and these effects were mediated through Tcf-4 binding sites in the c-MYC promoter. These results provide a molecular framework for understanding the previously enigmatic overexpression of c-MYC in colorectal cancers.
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            Beta-catenin regulates expression of cyclin D1 in colon carcinoma cells.

            Mutations in the adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) tumour-suppressor gene occur in most human colon cancers. Loss of functional APC protein results in the accumulation of beta-catenin. Mutant forms of beta-catenin have been discovered in colon cancers that retain wild-type APC genes, and also in melanomas, medulloblastomas, prostate cancer and gastric and hepatocellular carcinomas. The accumulation of beta-catenin activates genes that are responsive to transcription factors of the TCF/LEF family, with which beta-catenin interacts. Here we show that beta-catenin activates transcription from the cyclin D1 promoter, and that sequences within the promoter that are related to consensus TCF/LEF-binding sites are necessary for activation. The oncoprotein p21ras further activates transcription of the cyclin D1 gene, through sites within the promoter that bind the transcriptional regulators Ets or CREB. Cells expressing mutant beta-catenin produce high levels of cyclin D1 messenger RNA and protein constitutively. Furthermore, expression of a dominant-negative form of TCF in colon-cancer cells strongly inhibits expression of cyclin D1 without affecting expression of cyclin D2, cyclin E, or cyclin-dependent kinases 2, 4 or 6. This dominant-negative TCF causes cells to arrest in the G1 phase of the cell cycle; this phenotype can be rescued by expression of cyclin D1 under the cytomegalovirus promoter. Abnormal levels of beta-catenin may therefore contribute to neoplastic transformation by causing accumulation of cyclin D1.
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              High-efficiency transformation of mammalian cells by plasmid DNA.

               C. Chen,  H Okayama (1987)
              We describe a simple calcium phosphate transfection protocol and neo marker vectors that achieve highly efficient transformation of mammalian cells. In this protocol, the calcium phosphate-DNA complex is formed gradually in the medium during incubation with cells and precipitates on the cells. The crucial factors for obtaining efficient transformation are the pH (6.95) of the buffer used for the calcium phosphate precipitation, the CO2 level (3%) during the incubation of the DNA with the cells, and the amount (20 to 30 micrograms) and the form (circular) of DNA. In sharp contrast to the results with circular DNA, linear DNA is almost inactive. Under these conditions, 50% of mouse L(A9) cells can be stably transformed with pcDneo, a simian virus 40-based neo (neomycin resistance) marker vector. The NIH3T3, C127, CV1, BHK, CHO, and HeLa cell lines were transformed at efficiencies of 10 to 50% with this vector and the neo marker-incorporated pcD vectors that were used for the construction and transduction of cDNA expression libraries as well as for the expression of cloned cDNA in mammalian cells.

                Author and article information

                [1 ]Department of Experimental Oncology, Molecular Oncogenesis Laboratory, Regina Elena Cancer Institute, 00158, Rome, Italy
                [2 ]Department of Oncology and Neurosciences, University "G. d'Annunzio", 66013, Chieti, Italy
                J Exp Clin Cancer Res
                Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research : CR
                BioMed Central
                21 July 2008
                : 27
                : 1
                : 22
                Copyright © 2008 Puca et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


                Oncology & Radiotherapy


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