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J Biol Chem. 2001 Mar 23;276(12):9519-25. Epub 2000 Dec 18.

Regulation of glut1 mRNA by hypoxia-inducible factor-1. Interaction between H-ras and hypoxia.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104 , USA.


Oncogenic transformation and hypoxia both induce glut1 mRNA. We studied the interaction between the ras oncogene and hypoxia in up-regulating glut1 mRNA levels using Rat1 fibroblasts transformed with H-ras (Rat1-ras). Transformation with H-ras led to a substantial increase in glut1 mRNA levels under normoxic conditions and additively increased glut1 mRNA levels in concert with hypoxia. Using a luciferase reporter construct containing 6 kilobase pairs of the glut1 promoter, we showed that this effect was mediated at the transcriptional level. Promoter activity was much higher in Rat1-ras cells than in Rat1 cells and could be down-regulated by cotransfection with a dominant negative Ras construct (RasN17). A 480-base pair (bp) cobalt/hypoxia-responsive fragment of the promoter containing a HIF-1 binding site showed significantly higher activity in Rat1-ras cells than in Rat1 cells, suggesting that Ras might mediate its effect through HIF-1 even under normoxic conditions. Consistent with this, Rat1-ras cells displayed higher levels of HIF1-alpha protein under normoxic conditions. In addition, a promoter construct containing a 4-bp mutation in the HIF1 binding site showed lower activity in Rat1-ras cells than a construct with an intact HIF1 binding site. The activity of the latter construct but not the former could be down-regulated by RasN17, supporting the importance of the HIF1 binding site in regulation by Ras. The phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase inhibitor LY29004 down-regulated glut1 promoter activity and mRNA levels under normoxia and also decreased HIF1alpha protein levels in these cells. Collectively these results indicate that H-Ras up-regulates the glut1 promoter, at least in part, by increasing HIF-1alpha protein levels leading to transactivation of promoter through the HIF-1 binding site.

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