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Cancer Biol Ther. 2010 Dec 1;10(11):1101-11. Epub 2010 Dec 1.

Hypoxia induced upregulation and function of the thiamine transporter, SLC19A3 in a breast cancer cell line.

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Department of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA.


Adaptive responses within hypoxic tumor microenvironments require the altered expression of Solute Carrier (SLC) transporters to maintain nutrient uptake in support of cellular metabolism and biosynthesis. Using a real time PCR array strategy to further characterize changes in transporter expression within a chronic hypoxia breast cancer cell line model (BT474), we have found a 31 fold increase in the expression of the thiamine transporter, SLC19A3. Thus, further investigations into the expression changes of the thiamine transporters, SLC19A2 and SLC19A3, and the role of hypoxia inducible factor-1 alpha (HIF-1α) regulating their expression were conducted. Chronic culturing of BT474 cells in 1% O2 up to 142 days consistently demonstrated a high level of SLC19A3 expression with a mean of approximately 40 fold with no change in SLC19A2. A corresponding 2 fold increase in thiamine uptake over 15 min was measured in chronic hypoxic BT474 cells compared to normoxia. Acute 1% O2 exposure of BT474 cells up to 72 h demonstrated a 7.5 fold increase in SLC19A3 expression. The chemical hypoxia mimetic deferoxamine, resulted in an approximately 70 fold increase in SLC19A3 expression. Stable shRNA knockdown of HIF-1α reduced hypoxia mediated SLC19A3 up-regulation by approximately 3 fold compared to scrambled construct. In conclusion, SLC19A3 transporter expression was observed to be up-regulated under acute, chronic and DFO induced hypoxia. The attenuated increase in SLC19A3 expression after HIF-1α knockdown suggests a role for HIF-1α mediated pathways regulating SLC19A3 gene expression.

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