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Mol Cancer Res. 2008 Sep;6(9):1397-409. doi: 10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-07-2086.

A Key role for cyclic AMP-responsive element binding protein in hypoxia-mediated activation of the angiogenesis factor CCN1 (CYR61) in Tumor cells.

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Department of Virology, The Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem, Israel.


Hypoxia is a prominent feature of solid tumors known to contribute to malignant progression and therapeutic resistance. Cancer cells adapt to hypoxia using various pathways, allowing tumors to thrive in a low oxygen state. Induction of new blood vessel formation via the secretion of proangiogenic factors is one of the main adaptive responses engaged by tumor cells under hypoxic conditions. Hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) is a transcription factor that plays a pivotal role in mediating such responses. In addition, several other transcription factors have also been implicated in hypoxic gene regulation, either independently or in cooperation with HIF-1. In this work, we show that the expression of the angiogenesis-related, immediate early gene CCN1 (formerly known as CYR61), considered to be involved in tumor growth and invasiveness, is enhanced upon hypoxia stress primarily in a protein kinase A and cyclic AMP-responsive element binding protein (CREB) and CRE-dependent manner in various cell lines. The hypoxia-mediated activation of the CCN1 promoter is independent of HIF-1 and HIF-2, as shown by small interfering RNA knockdown. We identify the cis element in the mouse CCN1 promoter responsible for CREB binding to be one of two partial CRE sites present in the promoter. Moreover, we report for the first time that CREB-mediated CCN1 transcription is enhanced in hypoxic regions of tumors in vivo. Identifying and characterizing the molecular mechanisms that govern the response of tumors to hypoxia may be instrumental to identify the tumors that will respond favorably to inhibition of angiogenesis and thus lead to the development of treatments that could complement hypoxia-inducing treatment modalities.

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