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Growth Factors. 2001;19(1):19-34.

Role of AP-1 and HIF-1 transcription factors in TGF-beta activation of VEGF expression.

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Department of Opthalmology, Children's Hospital, Boston, MA 02139, USA.


Aberrant expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) has been demonstrated to be associated with most human solid tumors. Here we report that TGF-beta potently induces VEGF expression in human HT-1080 fibrosarcomas primarily through transcriptional activation with no significant changes in mRNA turnover. The tyrosine kinase inhibitor genistein and AP-1 inhibitor curcumin significantly blocked TGF-beta induction of VEGF expression while SP-1 and MKK1 inhibitors did not. TGF-beta enhanced both AP-1 and HIF-1 DNA binding activities whereas SP-1, AP-2 and NF-1 did not show major changes. Transcriptional reporter assays provided further evidence that TGF-beta augmented both AP-1 and HIF-1 activities. Moreover, TGF-beta-treated HT-1080 cells contained higher levels of HIF-1alpha and c-jun proteins in nuclear extracts. TGF-beta and hypoxia synergistically induced VEGF mRNA expression. Given the fact that most tumors respond to hypoxic stress with increased VEGF expression via HIF-1-dependent transcription, this study identifies for the first time that TGF-beta also increases VEGF mRNA in an AP-l/HIF-1-dependent mechanism and may potentiate the hypoxic response.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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