Cancer cells undergo distinct metabolic changes to cope with their hypoxic environment. These changes are achieved at least partly by the action of transcriptional factors called hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs). We investigated gene expression in cultured human colon cancer cells induced by hypoxic conditions with special reference to cell-adhesion molecules and carbohydrate determinants having cell-adhesive activity by using DNA-microarray and RT-PCR techniques. Hypoxic culture of colon cancer cells induced a marked increase in expression of selectin ligands, the sialyl Lewis x and sialyl Lewis a determinants at the cell surface, which led to a definite increase in cancer cell adhesion to endothelial E-selectin. The transcription of genes for fucosyltransferase VII (FUT7), sialyltransferase ST3Gal-I (ST3O), and UDP-galactose transporter-1 (UGT1), which are all known to be involved in the synthesis of the carbohydrate ligands for E-selectin, was significantly induced in cancer cells by hypoxic culture. In addition, a remarkable induction was detected in the genes for syndecan-4 (SDC4) and α5-integrin (ITGA5), the cell-adhesion molecules involved in the enhanced adhesion of cancer cells to fibronectin. The transcriptional induction by hypoxia was reproduced in the luciferase-reporter assays for these genes, which were significantly suppressed by the cotransfection of a dominant-negative form of HIF. These results indicate that the metabolic shifts of cancer cells partly mediated by HIFs significantly enhance their adhesion to vascular endothelial cells, through both selectin- and integrin-mediated pathways, and suggest that this enhancement further facilitates hematogenous metastasis of cancers and tumor angiogenesis.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|Publication status||Published - 2004 May 21|
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