Tumor hypoxia often directly correlates with aggressive phenotype, metastasis progression, and resistance to chemotherapy. Two transcription factors [hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) and HIF-2α] are dramatically induced in hypoxic areas and regulate the expression of genes necessary for tumor adaptation to the conditions of low oxygen; however, the relative contribution of these factors is controversial. We used RNA interference-mediated inactivation of HIF-1α or HIF-2α followed by microarray analysis to identify genes specifically regulated by either HIF-1 or HIF-2 in hypoxia. We found that, in the MCF7 cell line, the vast majority of hypoxia-responsive genes (>80%) were dependent on the presence of HIF-1α. However, a small group of genes were preferentially regulated by HIF-2α. Promoter analysis for this group of genes revealed that all of them have putative binding sites for ETS family transcription factors, and 10 of 11 HIF-2α-dependent genes had at least one potential hypoxia-responsive element (HRE) in proximity to an ETS transcription factor binding site. Knockdown of ELK-1, the most often represented member of ETS family, significantly reduced hypoxic induction of the HIF-2α-dependent genes. Physical and functional interaction between ELK-1 and HIF-2α were supported by coimmunoprecipitation of these two proteins, luciferase reporter assay using CITED2 promoter, and binding of ELK-1 protein to the promoters of CITED2 and WISP2 genes in proximity to a HRE. These data suggest that the choice of the target genes by HIF-1 or HIF-2 depends on availability and cooperation of HIFs with other factors recognizing their cognate elements in the promoters.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research