Contrasting Properties of Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1 (HIF-1) and HIF-2 in von Hippel-Lindau-Associated Renal Cell Carcinoma
Raval RR., Lau KW., Tran MGB., Sowter HM., Mandriota SJ., Li J-L., Pugh CW., Maxwell PH., Harris AL., Ratcliffe PJ.
ABSTRACT Defective function of the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) tumor suppressor ablates proteolytic regulation of hypoxia-inducible factor α subunits (HIF-1α and HIF-2α), leading to constitutive activation of hypoxia pathways in renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Here we report a comparative analysis of the functions of HIF-1α and HIF-2α in RCC and non-RCC cells. We demonstrate common patterns of HIF-α isoform transcriptional selectivity in VHL-defective RCC that show consistent and striking differences from patterns in other cell types. We also show that HIF-α isoforms display unexpected suppressive interactions in RCC cells, with enhanced expression of HIF-2α suppressing HIF-1α and vice-versa. In VHL-defective RCC cells, we demonstrate that the protumorigenic genes encoding cyclin D1, transforming growth factor alpha, and vascular endothelial growth factor respond specifically to HIF-2α and that the proapoptotic gene encoding BNip3 responds positively to HIF-1α and negatively to HIF-2α, indicating that HIF-1α and HIF-2α have contrasting properties in the biology of RCC. In keeping with this, HIF-α isoform-specific transcriptional selectivity was matched by differential effects on the growth of RCC as tumor xenografts, with HIF-1α retarding and HIF-2α enhancing tumor growth. These findings indicate that therapeutic approaches to targeting of the HIF system, at least in this setting, will need to take account of HIF isoform-specific functions.