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Mol Biol Cell. 2010 Nov 1;21(21):3630-8. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E10-04-0312. Epub 2010 Sep 15.

Adenomatous polyposis coli and hypoxia-inducible factor-1{alpha} have an antagonistic connection.

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Division of Cell and Developmental Biology, College of Life Sciences, University of Dundee, Dundee DD1 5EH, Scotland, United Kingdom.


The tumor suppressor adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) is mutated in the majority of colorectal cancers and is best known for its role as a scaffold in a Wnt-regulated protein complex that determines the availability of β-catenin. Another common feature of solid tumors is the presence of hypoxia as indicated by the up-regulation of hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs) such as HIF-1α. Here, we demonstrate a novel link between APC and hypoxia and show that APC and HIF-1α antagonize each other. Hypoxia results in reduced levels of APC mRNA and protein via a HIF-1α-dependent mechanism. HIF-1α represses the APC gene via a functional hypoxia-responsive element on the APC promoter. In contrast, APC-mediated repression of HIF-1α requires wild-type APC, low levels of β-catenin, and nuclear factor-κB activity. These results reveal down-regulation of APC as a new mechanism that contributes to the survival advantage induced by hypoxia and also show that loss of APC mutations produces a survival advantage by mimicking hypoxic conditions.

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