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J Biol Chem. 2014 Jul 25;289(30):20448-61.

Synergistic signaling of tumor cell invasiveness by hepatocyte growth factor and hypoxia.


Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) signaling promotes tumor invasiveness in renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and other cancers. In clear cell RCC, VHL loss generates pseudohypoxia that exacerbates HGF-driven invasion through β-catenin deregulation. Hypoxia also enhances HGF-driven invasiveness by papillary RCC cells, but in the absence of VHL, loss signaling integration involves three parallel routes: 1) hypoxia-induced reactive oxygen species production and decreased DUSP2 expression, leading to enhanced mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascade activation; 2) reactive oxygen species-induced diacylglycerol production by phospholipase Cγ, leading to protein kinase C activation and increased protein phosphatase- 2A activity, thereby suppressing HGF-induced Akt activation; and 3) a profound shift from HGF-enhanced, proliferation- oriented metabolism to autophagy-dependent invasion and suppression of proliferation. This tripartite signaling integration was not unique to RCC or HGF; in RCC cells, invasive synergy induced by the combination of hypoxia and epidermal growth factor occurred through the same mechanism, and in estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer cells, this mechanism was suppressed in the absence of estrogen. These results define the molecular basis of growth factor and hypoxia invasive synergy in VHL-competent papillary RCC cells, illustrate the plasticity of invasive and proliferative tumor cell states, and provide signaling profiles by which they may be predicted.

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