Gene Summary

Gene:BNIP3; BCL2 interacting protein 3
Aliases: NIP3
Summary:This gene is encodes a mitochondrial protein that contains a BH3 domain and acts as a pro-apoptotic factor. The encoded protein interacts with anti-apoptotic proteins, including the E1B 19 kDa protein and Bcl2. This gene is silenced in tumors by DNA methylation. [provided by RefSeq, Dec 2014]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:BCL2/adenovirus E1B 19 kDa protein-interacting protein 3
Source:NCBIAccessed: 14 March, 2017


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (43)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 14 March 2017 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins
  • Tumor Suppressor Gene
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Autophagy
  • Promoter Regions
  • Drug Resistance
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Signal Transduction
  • siRNA
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Messenger RNA
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Epigenetics
  • HIF1A
  • Down-Regulation
  • Transcription Factors
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Apoptosis
  • Cell Hypoxia
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • DNA Methylation
  • Disease Progression
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Chromosome 10
  • BNIP3
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • p53 Protein
  • Cell Death
  • Colorectal Cancer
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein
  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • CpG Islands
  • Gene Silencing
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors
  • Cell Survival
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Breast Cancer
  • Gene Expression
Tag cloud generated 14 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (4)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: BNIP3 (cancer-related)

Zou P, Liu L, Zheng LD, et al.
Coordinated Upregulation of Mitochondrial Biogenesis and Autophagy in Breast Cancer Cells: The Role of Dynamin Related Protein-1 and Implication for Breast Cancer Treatment.
Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2016; 2016:4085727 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Overactive mitochondrial fission was shown to promote cell transformation and tumor growth. It remains elusive how mitochondrial quality is regulated in such conditions. Here, we show that upregulation of mitochondrial fission protein, dynamin related protein-1 (Drp1), was accompanied with increased mitochondrial biogenesis markers (PGC1α, NRF1, and Tfam) in breast cancer cells. However, mitochondrial number was reduced, which was associated with lower mitochondrial oxidative capacity in breast cancer cells. This contrast might be owing to enhanced mitochondrial turnover through autophagy, because an increased population of autophagic vacuoles engulfing mitochondria was observed in the cancer cells. Consistently, BNIP3 (a mitochondrial autophagy marker) and autophagic flux were significantly upregulated, indicative of augmented mitochondrial autophagy (mitophagy). The upregulation of Drp1 and BNIP3 was also observed in vivo (human breast carcinomas). Importantly, inhibition of Drp1 significantly suppressed mitochondrial autophagy, metabolic reprogramming, and cancer cell viability. Together, this study reveals coordinated increase of mitochondrial biogenesis and mitophagy in which Drp1 plays a central role regulating breast cancer cell metabolism and survival. Given the emerging evidence of PGC1α contributing to tumor growth, it will be of critical importance to target both mitochondrial biogenesis and mitophagy for effective cancer therapeutics.

Gargini R, García-Escudero V, Izquierdo M, Wandosell F
Oncogene-mediated tumor transformation sensitizes cells to autophagy induction.
Oncol Rep. 2016; 35(6):3689-95 [PubMed] Related Publications
The process of tumorigenesis induces alterations in numerous cellular pathways including the main eukaryotic metabolic routes. It has been recently demonstrated that autophagy is part of the oncogene-induced senescence phenotype although its role in tumor establishment has not been completely clarified. In the present study, we showed that non‑transformed cells are sensitized to mitochondrial stress and autophagy induction when they are transformed by oncogenes such as c-Myc or Ras. We observed that overexpression of c-Myc or Ras increased AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) phosphorylation and the expression of p62, a known partner for degradation by autophagy. The activation of AMPK was found to favor the activation of FoxO3 which was prevented by the inhibition of AMPK. The transcriptional activation mediated by FoxO3 upregulated genes such as BNIP3 and LC3. Finally, the transformation by oncogenes such as c-Myc and Ras predisposes tumor cells to autophagy induction as a consequence of mitochondrial stress and impairs tumor growth in vitro and in vivo, which may have therapeutic implications.

Kimura K, Huang RC
Tetra-O-Methyl Nordihydroguaiaretic Acid Broadly Suppresses Cancer Metabolism and Synergistically Induces Strong Anticancer Activity in Combination with Etoposide, Rapamycin and UCN-01.
PLoS One. 2016; 11(2):e0148685 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The ability of Tetra-O-methyl nordihydroguaiaretic acid (M4N) to induce rapid cell death in combination with Etoposide, Rapamycin, or UCN-01 was examined in LNCaP cells, both in cell culture and animal experiments. Mice treated with M4N drug combinations with either Etoposide or Rapamycin showed no evidence of tumor and had a 100% survival rate 100 days after tumor implantation. By comparison all other vehicles or single drug treated mice failed to survive longer than 30 days after implantation. This synergistic improvement of anticancer effect was also confirmed in more than 20 cancer cell lines. In LNCaP cells, M4N was found to reduce cellular ATP content, and suppress NDUFS1 expression while inducing hyperpolarization of mitochondrial membrane potential. M4N-treated cells lacked autophagy with reduced expression of BNIP3 and ATG5. To understand the mechanisms of this anticancer activity of M4N, the effect of this drug on three cancer cell lines (LNCaP, AsPC-1, and L428 cells) was further examined via transcriptome and metabolomics analyses. Metabolomic results showed that there were reductions of 26 metabolites essential for energy generation and/or production of cellular components in common with these three cell lines following 8 hours of M4N treatment. Deep RNA sequencing analysis demonstrated that there were sixteen genes whose expressions were found to be modulated following 6 hours of M4N treatment similarly in these three cell lines. Six out of these 16 genes were functionally related to the 26 metabolites described above. One of these up-regulated genes encodes for CHAC1, a key enzyme affecting the stress pathways through its degradation of glutathione. In fact M4N was found to suppress glutathione content and induce reactive oxygen species production. The data overall indicate that M4N has profound specific negative impacts on a wide range of cancer metabolisms supporting the use of M4N combination for cancer treatments.

Koo JS, Kim JW, Yoon JS
Expression of Autophagy and Reactive Oxygen Species-Related Proteins in Lacrimal Gland Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma.
Yonsei Med J. 2016; 57(2):482-9 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PURPOSE: To investigate the difference of expression of autophagy and reactive oxygen species (ROS) related proteins in adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC) of lacrimal gland in comparison with ACC of salivary gland.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue samples from patients pathologically diagnosed as lacrimal gland ACC (n=11) and salivary gland ACC (n=64) were used. Immunochemistry was used to measure expression of autophagy related proteins [beclin-1, light chain (LC) 3A, LC3B, p62, and BCL2/adenovirus E1B 19 kDa protein-interacting protein 3 (BNIP3)] and ROS related proteins [catalase, thioredoxinreductase, glutathione S-transferasepi (GSTpi), thioredoxin interacting protein, and manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD)]. The prognostic factors related to disease-free and overall survival (OS) in lacrimal gland ACC by log-rank tests, were determined.
RESULTS: GSTpi in stromal cells was more highly expressed in lacrimal gland ACC (p=0.006), however, MnSOD in epithelial cells was expressed more in salivary gland ACC (p=0.046). LC3B positivity and BNIP3 positivity in epithelial component were associated with shorter disease-free survival (both p=0.002), and LC3A positivity in stromal component was the factor related to shorter OS (p=0.005).
CONCLUSION: This is the first study to demonstrate the expression of autophagy and ROS related proteins in lacrimal gland ACC in comparison with the salivary gland ACC, which would provide a basis for further study of autophagy and ROS mechanism as novel therapeutic targets in lacrimal gland ACC.

Lee SD, Kim W, Jeong JW, et al.
AK-1, a SIRT2 inhibitor, destabilizes HIF-1α and diminishes its transcriptional activity during hypoxia.
Cancer Lett. 2016; 373(1):138-45 [PubMed] Related Publications
Sirtuin family proteins are involved in the regulation of hypoxic responses which are primarily dependent on a hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF). However, few studies have examined the use of sirtuin inhibitors to regulate HIF. The present study examined the effect of a SIRT2-specific inhibitor, AK-1, on hypoxic responses. Under hypoxic conditions, AK-1 increased the ubiquitination of HIF-1α in a VHL-dependent manner, leading to the degradation of HIF-1α via a proteasomal pathway. Downregulation of HIF-1α expression reduced its transcriptional activity and, eventually, reduced the expression of BNIP3, one of HIF-1 target genes, in AK-1-treated cells. These data demonstrate that SIRT2 inhibition attenuates hypoxic responses, and that SIRT2 inhibitors may have potential as treatments for hypoxia-associated pathological conditions.

Ramachandran C, Portalatin G, Quirin KW, et al.
Inhibition of AKT signaling by supercritical CO2 extract of mango ginger (Curcuma amada Roxb.) in human glioblastoma cells.
J Complement Integr Med. 2015; 12(4):307-15 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Mango ginger (Curcuma amada Roxb.) is a less-investigated herb for anticancer properties than other related Curcuma species. AKT (a serine/threonine protein kinase B, originally identified as an oncogene in the transforming retrovirus AKT8) plays a central role in the development and promotion of cancer. In this investigation, we have analyzed the effect of supercritical CO2 extract of mango ginger (CA) on the genetic pathways associated with AKT signaling in human glioblastoma cells.
METHODS: The inhibitory effect of supercritical CO2 extract of mango ginger (Curcuma amada) on AKT signaling was investigated in U-87MG glioblastoma cells.
RESULTS: CA was highly cytotoxic to glioblastoma cell line (IC50=4.92±0.81 µg/mL) compared to mHypoE-N1 normal mouse hypothalamus cell line (IC50=40.57±0.06 µg/mL). CA inhibits AKT (protein Kinase B) and adenosine monophophate -activated protein kinase α (AMPKα) phosphorylation significantly in a dose-dependent manner. The cell migration which is necessary for invasion and metastasis was also inhibited by CA treatment, with about 43% reduction at 20 µg/mL concentration. Analysis of mRNA and protein expression of genes associated with apoptosis, cell proliferation and angiogenesis showed that CA modulates expression of genes associated with apoptosis (Bax, Bcl-2, Bcl-X, BNIP3, caspase-3, mutant p53 and p21), cell proliferation (Ki67) and angiogenesis vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Additionally, heat shock protein 90 (HSP90) and AMPKα genes interacting with the AKT signaling pathway were also downregulated by CA treatment.
CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate the molecular targets and mechanisms underlying the anticancer effect of CA in human glioblastoma cells.

Wu H, Huang S, Chen Z, et al.
Hypoxia-induced autophagy contributes to the invasion of salivary adenoid cystic carcinoma through the HIF-1α/BNIP3 signaling pathway.
Mol Med Rep. 2015; 12(5):6467-74 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC) is one of the most common types of salivary gland malignancy in the head and neck, and its aggressive ability to invade and metastasize is an important reason for its poor survival rates. Our previous investigations confirmed that autophagy‑associated gene expression is closely associated with the occurrence and development of ACC. On this basis, the present study further investigated hypoxia‑induced autophagy and its role in tumor invasion. Cobalt chloride (CoCl2) was used to mimic hypoxia. The results of the present study indicated that autophagosome formation and upregulation of autophagy‑associated microtubule‑associated protein 1 light chain 3 and Beclin 1 were observed in ACC‑M cells in response to CoCl2. The hypoxia‑inducible factor 1α/B cell lymphoma 2/adenovirus E1B 19K‑interacting protein 3 signaling pathway was involved in hypoxia‑induced autophagy in ACC. Furthermore, inhibition of autophagy by chloroquine markedly attenuated the tumor invasion induced by mimetic hypoxia in ACC. These results suggested that hypoxia‑induced autophagy may serve as a potential target for the future treatment of ACC.

He H, Tian W, Chen H, Jiang K
MiR-944 functions as a novel oncogene and regulates the chemoresistance in breast cancer.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(2):1599-607 [PubMed] Related Publications
MircroRNAs are emerging as critical regulators in carcinogenesis and chemoresistance in multiple cancer types. In this study, we observed that the miR-944 level was upregulated in breast cancer patients' serum and tumor tissues, suggesting that miR-944 is a tumor promoter in breast cancer. To investigate the role of miR-944, we performed gain- and loss-of-function experiments in vitro. We then demonstrated that miR-944 promotes cell proliferation and tumor metastasis in breast cancer cell lines. Furthermore, we indicated that miR-944 is associated with cisplatin resistance by targeting BNIP3. Knockdown of the miR-944 by specific inhibitors significantly increased the cytotoxicity of cisplatin in cisplatin-resistant MCF-7 cells (MCF-7/R). Importantly, we found that the sensitization of miR-944 inhibitors to cisplatin cytotoxicity was abolished by BNIP3 siRNA which decreased the expression of BNIP3 gene. Finally, we demonstrated that miR-944 inhibitors promoted the loss of mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) caused by cisplatin in MCF-7/R cells, resulting in the release of mitochondria-derived apoptogenic proteins into cytoplasm, and then, the caspase-3 was activated. In summary, our study showed that miR-944 functions as a novel oncogene and regulates the cisplatin resistance in breast cancer. The miR-944-BNIP3-MMP-caspase-3 pathway might be a novel target for the chemotherapy of breast cancer.

Nymoen DA, Hetland Falkenthal TE, Holth A, et al.
Expression and clinical role of chemoresponse-associated genes in ovarian serous carcinoma.
Gynecol Oncol. 2015; 139(1):30-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: To validate our earlier observation that 11 chemoresistance-associated mRNAs are molecular markers of poor overall survival in ovarian serous carcinoma.
METHODS: Ovarian serous carcinomas (n=112) and solid metastases (n=63; total=175) were analyzed for mRNA expression of APC, BAG3, EGFR, S100A10, ITGAE, MAPK3, TAP1, BNIP3, MMP9, FASLG and GPX3 using quantitative real-time PCR. mRNA expression was studied for association with clinicopathologic parameters and survival. Tumor heterogeneity was assessed in 20 cases with >1 specimen per patient. APC, BAG3, S100A10 and ERK1 protein expression by immunohistochemistry was analyzed in 58 specimens (38 primary carcinomas, 20 metastases).
RESULTS: BAG3 (p=0.013), TAP1 (p=0.014), BNIP3 (p<0.001) and MMP9 (p=0.036) were overexpressed in primary tumors, whereas S100A10 (p=0.027) and FASLG (p=0.006) were overexpressed in metastases. Analysis of patient-matched primary carcinomas and metastases showed overexpression of APC (p=0.022), MAPK3 (p=0.002) and BNIP3 (p=0.004) in the former. In primary carcinomas, higher APC (p=0.003) and MAPK3 (p=0.005) levels were related to less favorable chemoresponse. Higher S100A10 (p=0.029) and MAPK3 (p=0.041) levels were related to primary chemoresistance. Higher BAG3 (p=0.026) and APC (p=0.046) levels in primary carcinomas were significantly related to poor overall survival in univariate, though not in multivariate survival analysis. S100A10 protein expression was related to poor chemoresponse (p=0.002) and shorter overall (p=0.005) and progression-free (p<0.001) survival, the latter finding retained in multivariate analysis (p=0.035).
CONCLUSIONS: Our data provide evidence of heterogeneity in ovarian serous carcinoma and identify APC, MAPK3, BAG3 and S100A10 as potential biomarkers of poor chemotherapy response and/or poor outcome in this cancer.

Chourasia AH, Tracy K, Frankenberger C, et al.
Mitophagy defects arising from BNip3 loss promote mammary tumor progression to metastasis.
EMBO Rep. 2015; 16(9):1145-63 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BNip3 is a hypoxia-inducible protein that targets mitochondria for autophagosomal degradation. We report a novel tumor suppressor role for BNip3 in a clinically relevant mouse model of mammary tumorigenesis. BNip3 delays primary mammary tumor growth and progression by preventing the accumulation of dysfunctional mitochondria and resultant excess ROS production. In the absence of BNip3, mammary tumor cells are unable to reduce mitochondrial mass effectively and elevated mitochondrial ROS increases the expression of Hif-1α and Hif target genes, including those involved in glycolysis and angiogenesis—two processes that are also markedly increased in BNip3-null tumors. Glycolysis inhibition attenuates the growth of BNip3-null tumor cells, revealing an increased dependence on autophagy for survival. We also demonstrate that BNIP3 deletion can be used as a prognostic marker of tumor progression to metastasis in human triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). These studies show that mitochondrial dysfunction—caused by defects in mitophagy—can promote the Warburg effect and tumor progression, and suggest better approaches to stratifying TNBC for treatment.

Sørensen BS, Knudsen A, Wittrup CF, et al.
The usability of a 15-gene hypoxia classifier as a universal hypoxia profile in various cancer cell types.
Radiother Oncol. 2015; 116(3):346-51 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: A 15-gene hypoxia profile has previously demonstrated to have both prognostic and predictive impact for hypoxic modification in squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. This gene expression profile may also have a prognostic value in other histological cancer types, and could potentially have a function as a universal hypoxia profile. The hypoxia induced upregulation of the included genes, and the validity of the previously used reference genes was established in this study, in a range of different cell lines representing carcinomas of the prostate, colon, and esophagus.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Eleven adenocarcinoma and one squamous cell lines: Six colon carcinomas (HTC8, HT29, LS174T, SW116, SW948 and T48), 3 prostate carcinomas (LNCaP, DU-145 and PC-3) and 3 esophagus carcinoma cell lines (OE19, OE21 and OE33) were cultured under normoxic or hypoxic conditions (0% O2) for 24hours. Total RNA was extracted and gene expression levels measured by qPCR. For each tissue type, individual reference genes were selected and applied in the normalization of the relative expression levels.
RESULTS: In all three tissue types, individual, optimal, reference genes were selected. In the analysis of the hypoxia induced genes, both the original reference genes and the new selected reference genes were used. There was no significant difference in the obtained data. The gene expression analysis demonstrated cell line specific differences in the hypoxia response of the 15 genes, with BNIP3 not being upregulated at hypoxic conditions in 3 out of 6 colon cancer cell lines, and ALDOA in OE21 and FAM162A and SLC2A1 in SW116 only showing limited hypoxia induction. Furthermore, in the esophagus cell lines, the normoxic and hypoxic expression levels of LOX and BNIP3 were below the detection limit in OE19 and OE33, respectively. However, a combined analysis of the 15 genes in both adenocarcinoma cell lines and squamous carcinoma cell lines demonstrated a very consistent expression pattern in hypoxic induced gene expression across all cell lines.
CONCLUSION: This study addressed the tissue type dependency of hypoxia induced genes included in a 15-gene hypoxic profile in carcinoma cell lines from prostate, colon, and esophagus cancer, and demonstrated that in vitro, with minor fluctuations, the genes in the hypoxic profile are hypoxia inducible, and the hypoxia profile may be applicable in other sites than HNSCC.

Xiang L, Gilkes DM, Hu H, et al.
HIF-1α and TAZ serve as reciprocal co-activators in human breast cancer cells.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(14):11768-78 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α) expression is a hallmark of intratumoral hypoxia that is associated with breast cancer metastasis and patient mortality. Previously, we demonstrated that HIF-1 stimulates the expression and activity of TAZ, which is a transcriptional effector of the Hippo signaling pathway, by increasing TAZ synthesis and nuclear localization. Here, we report that direct protein-protein interaction between HIF-1α and TAZ has reciprocal effects: HIF-1α stimulates transactivation mediated by TAZ and TAZ stimulates transactivation mediated by HIF-1α. Inhibition of TAZ expression impairs the hypoxic induction of HIF-1 target genes, such as PDK1, LDHA, BNIP3 and P4HA2 in response to hypoxia, whereas inhibition of HIF-1α expression impairs TAZ-mediated transactivation of the CTGF promoter. Taken together, these results complement our previous findings and establish bidirectional crosstalk between HIF-1α and TAZ that increases their transcriptional activities in hypoxic cells.

Huang Y, Shen P, Chen X, et al.
Transcriptional regulation of BNIP3 by Sp3 in prostate cancer.
Prostate. 2015; 75(14):1556-67 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The transcription factors Sp3/Sp1 are expressed in a various types of cancers and BNIP3 is overexpressed in prostate cancer. Although it has been demonstrated that BNIP3 is transcriptionally regulated by HIF-1α and is post-transcriptionally regulated by miR145, our previous data indicated that there might be some other transcription factors regulating BNIP3 in prostate cancer. This study is conducted to investigate whether BNIP3 expression is directly regulated by Sp3/Sp1 or not.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Bioinformatics analysis shows that BNIP3 promoter contains several potential Sp3/Sp1 binding sites. And then it is demonstrated that SP3 could regulate the BNIP3 transcriptionally by binding to the predicted sites by dual reporter gene assays, ChIP, and EMSA. The biological effects of SP3 regulating BNIP3 on prostate cancer cells proliferation are measured by MTT, TUNEL, and flow cytometry.
RESULTS: Our data show that Sp3 but not Sp1, is positively related to BNIP3 overexpression in prostate cancer. Sp3 can directly regulate BNIP3 transcription by mainly binding to the Sp3 binding sites (-624~-615 and -350~-343) of BNIP3 promoter. Knockdown of Sp3 by RNA interference could reduce cells growth and lead to cells apoptosis in PC-3 and DU145. Sp3-dependent BNIP3 overexpression might be an important mechanism to promote prostate cancer cells proliferation.
CONCLUSION: This is the first study to provide direct evidence of Sp3-dependent BNIP3 expression. Sp3 might be the major transcriptional regulator of BNIP3 in prostate cancer and it is worthy to further study. The regulation of BNIP3 by Sp3 may be a new cancer-specific therapeutic target in prostate cancer.

Stewart ML, Tamayo P, Wilson AJ, et al.
KRAS Genomic Status Predicts the Sensitivity of Ovarian Cancer Cells to Decitabine.
Cancer Res. 2015; 75(14):2897-906 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Decitabine, a cancer therapeutic that inhibits DNA methylation, produces variable antitumor response rates in patients with solid tumors that might be leveraged clinically with identification of a predictive biomarker. In this study, we profiled the response of human ovarian, melanoma, and breast cancer cells treated with decitabine, finding that RAS/MEK/ERK pathway activation and DNMT1 expression correlated with cytotoxic activity. Further, we showed that KRAS genomic status predicted decitabine sensitivity in low-grade and high-grade serous ovarian cancer cells. Pretreatment with decitabine decreased the cytotoxic activity of MEK inhibitors in KRAS-mutant ovarian cancer cells, with reciprocal downregulation of DNMT1 and MEK/ERK phosphorylation. In parallel with these responses, decitabine also upregulated the proapoptotic BCL-2 family member BNIP3, which is known to be regulated by MEK and ERK, and heightened the activity of proapoptotic small-molecule navitoclax, a BCL-2 family inhibitor. In a xenograft model of KRAS-mutant ovarian cancer, combining decitabine and navitoclax heightened antitumor activity beyond administration of either compound alone. Our results define the RAS/MEK/DNMT1 pathway as a determinant of sensitivity to DNA methyltransferase inhibition, specifically implicating KRAS status as a biomarker of drug response in ovarian cancer.

You L, Wang Z, Li H, et al.
The role of STAT3 in autophagy.
Autophagy. 2015; 11(5):729-39 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved process in eukaryotes that eliminates harmful components and maintains cellular homeostasis in response to a series of extracellular insults. However, these insults may trigger the downstream signaling of another prominent stress responsive pathway, the STAT3 signaling pathway, which has been implicated in multiple aspects of the autophagic process. Recent reports further indicate that different subcellular localization patterns of STAT3 affect autophagy in various ways. For example, nuclear STAT3 fine-tunes autophagy via the transcriptional regulation of several autophagy-related genes such as BCL2 family members, BECN1, PIK3C3, CTSB, CTSL, PIK3R1, HIF1A, BNIP3, and microRNAs with targets of autophagy modulators. Cytoplasmic STAT3 constitutively inhibits autophagy by sequestering EIF2AK2 as well as by interacting with other autophagy-related signaling molecules such as FOXO1 and FOXO3. Additionally, the mitochondrial translocation of STAT3 suppresses autophagy induced by oxidative stress and may effectively preserve mitochondria from being degraded by mitophagy. Understanding the role of STAT3 signaling in the regulation of autophagy may provide insight into the classic autophagy model and also into cancer therapy, especially for the emerging targeted therapy, because a series of targeted agents execute antitumor activities via blocking STAT3 signaling, which inevitably affects the autophagy pathway. Here, we review several of the representative studies and the current understanding in this particular field.

Petrova V, Mancini M, Agostini M, et al.
TAp73 transcriptionally represses BNIP3 expression.
Cell Cycle. 2015; 14(15):2484-93 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
TAp73 is a tumor suppressor transcriptional factor, belonging to p53 family. Alteration of TAp73 in tumors might lead to reduced DNA damage response, cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. Carcinogen-induced TAp73(-/-) tumors display also increased angiogenesis, associated to hyperactivition of hypoxia inducible factor signaling. Here, we show that TAp73 suppresses BNIP3 expression, directly binding its gene promoter. BNIP3 is a hypoxia responsive protein, involved in a variety of cellular processes, such as autophagy, mitophagy, apoptosis and necrotic-like cell death. Therefore, through different cellular process altered expression of BNIP3 may differently contribute to cancer development and progression. We found a significant upregulation of BNIP3 in human lung cancer datasets, and we identified a direct association between BNIP3 expression and survival rate of lung cancer patients. Our data therefore provide a novel transcriptional target of TAp73, associated to its antagonistic role on HIF signaling in cancer, which might play a role in tumor suppression.

Jiang K, Wang W, Jin X, et al.
Silibinin, a natural flavonoid, induces autophagy via ROS-dependent mitochondrial dysfunction and loss of ATP involving BNIP3 in human MCF7 breast cancer cells.
Oncol Rep. 2015; 33(6):2711-8 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Silibinin, derived from the milk thistle plant (Silybum marianum), has anticancer and chemopreventive properties. Silibinin has been reported to inhibit the growth of various types of cancer cells. However, the mechanisms by which silibinin exerts an anticancer effect are poorly defined. The present study aimed to investigate whether silibinin-induced cell death might be attributed to autophagy and the underlying mechanisms in human MCF7 breast cancer cells. Our results showed that silibinin-induced cell death was greatly abrogated by two specific autophagy inhibitors, 3-methyladenine (3-MA) and bafilomycin-A1 (Baf-A1). In addition, silibinin triggered the conversion of light chain 3 (LC3)-I to LC3-II, promoted the upregulation of Atg12-Atg5 formation, increased Beclin-1 expression, and decreased the Bcl-2 level. Moreover, we noted elevated reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, concomitant with the dissipation of mitochondrial transmembrane potential (ΔΨm) and a drastic decline in ATP levels following silibinin treatment, which were effectively prevented by the antioxidants, N-acetylcysteine and ascorbic acid. Silibinin stimulated the expression of Bcl-2 adenovirus E1B 19-kDa-interacting protein 3 (BNIP3), a pro-death Bcl-2 family member, and silencing of BNIP3 greatly inhibited silibinin-induced cell death, decreased ROS production, and sustained ΔΨm and ATP levels. Taken together, these findings revealed that silibinin induced autophagic cell death through ROS-dependent mitochondrial dysfunction and ATP depletion involving BNIP3 in MCF7 cells.

Chen Z, Wu H, Huang S, et al.
Expression of BNIP3 and its correlations to hypoxia-induced autophagy and clinicopathological features in salivary adenoid cystic carcinoma.
Cancer Biomark. 2015; 15(4):467-75 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The expression of Bcl-2/adenovirus E1B 19 kDa-interacting protein3 (BNIP3) has been explored in many human malignancies, but not in adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC).
OBJECTIVE: This study investigated the clinical significance of expression of BNIP3 in ACC tissues and cells and elucidated its correlations to hypoxia-induced autophagy.
METHODS: Immunohistochemical and immunofluorescence staining were used to explore BNIP3, HIF-1α and LC3 expression.
RESULTS: BNIP3 was positively expressed in 41 cases (63.1%), and was significantly correlated with histological grade (P= 0.001). HIF-1α was positively expressed in 52 cases (80.0%) and was significantly correlated with TNM stage (P= 0.023) and histological grade (P= 0.024). LC3 was positively expressed in 37 cases (56.9%) and was significantly correlated with TNM stage (P= 0.019). The expression of BNIP3 was correlated with HIF-1α expression (P= 0.011). The overall survival in the negative BNIP3 expression group tended to be better than in the positive BNIP3 expression (P= 0.011). In vitro experiment, BNIP3 immunofluorescence staining was detected in cells treated with CoCl2 (for hypoxic condition).
CONCLUSIONS: The data indicated that BNIP3 plays a vital role in the tumorigenesis of adenoid cystic carcinoma and could be a new target for gene therapy of adenoid cystic carcinoma.

Epstein Shochet G, Drucker L, Pasmanik-Chor M, et al.
First trimester human placental factors induce breast cancer cell autophagy.
Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2015; 149(3):645-54 [PubMed] Related Publications
Placental factors, progesterone included, facilitate breast cancer cell line (BCCL) motility and thus may contribute to the advanced breast cancer found during pregnancy. Cancer and placental implantations are similar; the last is accompanied by extravillous trophoblast cell invasion and autophagy which are interlinked. We aimed to analyze the effect of first trimester human placenta on BCCL autophagy. BCCLs (MCF-7/T47D) were cultured with placental explants (60 h) or placental supernatants (24 h). Following cultures, BCCLs were sorted out for RNA/protein extraction. RNA served for microarray/qPCR (BNIP3) and protein for Western blot (HIF1α, LC3BII) analyses. Inhibitors were added to the placenta-MCF-7 coculture or placental supernatants (autophagy inhibitor-3MA, progesterone receptor (PR) inhibitor-RU486, and HIF1α inhibitor-Vitexin) in order to evaluate their effects on BCCL motility and LC3BII/HIF1α expression. LC3BII (an autophagy marker) expression was elevated in BCCLs following placental explant coculture and exposure to placental supernatants. The autophagy inhibitor (3MA) repressed the placenta-induced MCF-7/T47D migration, establishing a connection between BCCL autophagy and migration. Microarray analysis of MCF-7 following placenta-MCF-7 coculture showed that "HIF1α pathway," a known autophagy facilitator, was significantly manipulated. Indeed, placental factors elevated HIF1α and its target BNIP3 in the BCCLs, verifying array results. Lastly, PR inhibitor reduced HIF1α expression and both PR and HIF1α inhibitors reduced MCF-7 LC3BII expression and motility, suggesting involvement of the PR-HIF1α axis in the autophagy process. Placental factors induced BCCL autophagy that is interlinked to their motility. This suggests that autophagy-related molecules may serve as targets for therapy in pregnancy-associated breast cancer.

Ye F, Wang H, Zhang L, et al.
Baicalein induces human osteosarcoma cell line MG-63 apoptosis via ROS-induced BNIP3 expression.
Tumour Biol. 2015; 36(6):4731-40 [PubMed] Related Publications
Baicalein, a flavonoid compound, is one of the active constituents of the root of Scutellariae Radix. Its antitumor effects have attracted widespread attention worldwide. One of its major functions is to induce the apoptosis of tumor cells, but the antitumor mechanism is currently unclear. In the present study, we found that baicalein increased MG-63 cell mortality in a dose-dependent manner. Meanwhile, baicalein activated apoptosis through induced intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, and that ROS scavenger N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC), glutathione (GSH), and superoxide dismutase (SOD) apparently inhibited intracellular ROS production, consequently attenuating the baicalein-induced apoptosis. Baicalein also induce the mitochondrial fragmentation which precedes the cell apoptosis. This morphological alteration is accompanied by an increase in the expression of the protein BNIP3 as well as Mul1 and Drp1. Furthermore, we show that the inhibition of BNIP3 expression can inhibit cell apoptosis by baicalein treatment. Taken together, our results bring the evidence of a mechanism that links apoptosis and ROS-induced BNIP3 expression in MG-63 cells with bacalein treatment and suggest that baicalein has a good potential as an anti-osteosarcoma drug.

Janmohamed SR, Brinkhuizen T, den Hollander JC, et al.
Support for the hypoxia theory in the pathogenesis of infantile haemangioma.
Clin Exp Dermatol. 2015; 40(4):431-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The pathogenesis of infantile haemangioma (IH) is unknown. Several mechanisms have been proposed, including hypoxia, which triggers upregulation and stabilization of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)1α. HIF1α stimulates downstream transcription of target genes that enhance angiogenesis.
AIM: To identify possible involvement of hypoxia in the pathogenesis of IH, as hypoxia signalling constitutes a potential therapeutic target.
METHODS: IH tissue samples collected during the period 1991-2011 (preserved in paraffin wax) were immunohistochemically analysed for HIF1α and the known HIF1α targets: BCL2/adenovirus E1B kD-interacting protein family member 3 (BNIP3), carbon anhydrase (CA)-IX, glucose transporter (GLUT)-1, phosphorylated protein kinase B (pAKT), phosphorylated S6 protein (pS6) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Four observers independently assessed the findings.
RESULTS: Of the 10 IH samples, 2 appeared to be in the growth phase. In all samples, GLUT-1, BNIP3, pAKT and VEGF were positive, CA-IX was weakly positive, and HIF1α was negative. pS6 was positive in 9/10 cases and negative in 1/10.
CONCLUSIONS: Several factors implicated in hypoxia-induced angiogenesis may be involved in IH development. However, the small sample size and retrospective approach of the study preclude definitive conclusions. Prospective studies are needed to conclusively determine which of the factors involved in the (hypoxia) cascade are required for an IH to grow, and could thus be a possible target of drugs for IH treatment.

Chen SJ, Hoffman NE, Shanmughapriya S, et al.
A splice variant of the human ion channel TRPM2 modulates neuroblastoma tumor growth through hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1/2α.
J Biol Chem. 2014; 289(52):36284-302 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The calcium-permeable ion channel TRPM2 is highly expressed in a number of cancers. In neuroblastoma, full-length TRPM2 (TRPM2-L) protected cells from moderate oxidative stress through increased levels of forkhead box transcription factor 3a (FOXO3a) and superoxide dismutase 2. Cells expressing the dominant negative short isoform (TRPM2-S) had reduced FOXO3a and superoxide dismutase 2 levels, reduced calcium influx in response to oxidative stress, and enhanced reactive oxygen species, leading to decreased cell viability. Here, in xenografts generated with SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells stably expressing TRPM2 isoforms, growth of tumors expressing TRPM2-S was significantly reduced compared with tumors expressing TRPM2-L. Expression of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1/2α was significantly reduced in TRPM2-S-expressing tumor cells as was expression of target proteins regulated by HIF-1/2α including those involved in glycolysis (lactate dehydrogenase A and enolase 2), oxidant stress (FOXO3a), angiogenesis (VEGF), mitophagy and mitochondrial function (BNIP3 and NDUFA4L2), and mitochondrial electron transport chain activity (cytochrome oxidase 4.1/4.2 in complex IV). The reduction in HIF-1/2α was mediated through both significantly reduced HIF-1/2α mRNA levels and increased levels of von Hippel-Lindau E3 ligase in TRPM2-S-expressing cells. Inhibition of TRPM2-L by pretreatment with clotrimazole or expression of TRPM2-S significantly increased sensitivity of cells to doxorubicin. Reduced survival of TRPM2-S-expressing cells after doxorubicin treatment was rescued by gain of HIF-1 or -2α function. These data suggest that TRPM2 activity is important for tumor growth and for cell viability and survival following doxorubicin treatment and that interference with TRPM2-L function may be a novel approach to reduce tumor growth through modulation of HIF-1/2α, mitochondrial function, and mitophagy.

Han X, Sun S, Zhao M, et al.
Celastrol stimulates hypoxia-inducible factor-1 activity in tumor cells by initiating the ROS/Akt/p70S6K signaling pathway and enhancing hypoxia-inducible factor-1α protein synthesis.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(11):e112470 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Celastrol, a tripterine derived from the traditional Chinese medicine plant Tripterygium wilfordii Hook F. ("Thunder of God Vine"), has been reported to have multiple effects, such as anti-inflammation, suppression of tumor angiogenesis, inhibition of tumor growth, induction of apoptosis and protection of cells against human neurodegenerative diseases. However, the mechanisms that underlie these functions are not well defined. In this study, we reported for the first time that Celastrol could induce HIF-1α protein accumulation in multiple cancer cell lines in an oxygen-independent manner and that the enhanced HIF-1α protein entered the nucleus and promoted the transcription of the HIF-1 target genes VEGF and Glut-1. Celastrol did not influence HIF-1α transcription. Instead, Celastrol induced the accumulation of the HIF-1α protein by inducing ROS and activating Akt/p70S6K signaling to promote HIF-1α translation. In addition, we found that the activation of Akt by Celastrol was transient. With increased exposure time, inhibition of Hsp90 chaperone function by Celastrol led to the subsequent depletion of the Akt protein and thus to the suppression of Akt activity. Moreover, in HepG2 cells, the accumulation of HIF-1α increased the expression of BNIP3, which induced autophagy. However, HIF-1α and BNIP3 did not influence the cytotoxicity of Celastrol because the main mechanism by which Celastrol kills cancer cells is through stimulating ROS-mediated JNK activation and inducing apoptosis. Furthermore, our data showed that the dose required for Celastrol to induce HIF-1α protein accumulation and enhance HIF-1α transcriptional activation was below its cytotoxic threshold. A cytotoxic dose of Celastrol for cancer cells did not display cytotoxicity in LO2 normal human liver cells, which indicated that the novel functions of Celastrol in regulating HIF-1 signaling and inducing autophagy might be used in new applications, such as in anti-inflammation and protection of cells against human neurodegenerative diseases. Future studies regarding these applications are required.

Jin Z, Zheng L, Xin X, et al.
Upregulation of forkhead box O3 transcription is involved in C2-ceramide induced apoptosis and autophagy in ovarian cancer cells in vitro.
Mol Med Rep. 2014; 10(6):3099-105 [PubMed] Related Publications
Ceramide is a bioactive lipid which functions as a tumor suppressor, mediating processes such as apoptosis, growth arrest, senescence and differentiation. The effects of ceramide in ovarian cancers have not been well established. The objective of the present study was to investigate the effects of C2‑ceramide treatment in A2780 ovarian cancer cells and its possible molecular mechanism. C2‑ceramide-induced proliferation inhibition was analyzed using an MTT assay and Trypan blue test. Flow cytometry and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling were used to identify the induction of apoptosis. Transmission electron microscopy was used to confirm the formation of autophagosomes. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction was performed to analyze the messenger RNA expression of the autophagy and cell death associated genes and western blotting was used to analyze the protein expression of beclin 1, LC3, Akt, forkhead box O3 (FOXO3) and adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase in ovarian cancer cells. It was found that C2‑ceramide inhibited A2780 cell proliferation in a time‑ and dose‑dependent manner and C2‑ceremide induced A2780 cell apoptosis and autophagy. However, C2‑ceramide‑induced autophagy did not result in cell death, but instead protected ovarian cancer cells from apoptosis. Akt inhibition and FOXO3 activation were implicated in C2‑ceramide‑treated ovarian cancer cells. Furthermore, FOXO3 target genes, which were associated with autophagy (MAP1LC3, GABARAP and GABARAPL1) and cell death (BNIP3, BNIP3L, BIM and PUMA), were upregulated. The present study has shown that C2‑ceramide induced apoptosis and autophagy in ovarian cancer cells. FOXO3 transcription was upregulated, which may contribute to C2‑ceramide‑induced apoptosis and autophagy.

Han B, Li W, Sun Y, et al.
A prolyl-hydroxylase inhibitor, ethyl-3,4-dihydroxybenzoate, induces cell autophagy and apoptosis in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma cells via up-regulation of BNIP3 and N-myc downstream-regulated gene-1.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(9):e107204 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The protocatechuic acid ethyl ester ethyl-3,4-dihydroxybenzoate is an antioxidant found in the testa of peanut seeds. Previous studies have shown that ethyl-3,4-dihydroxybenzoate can effectively reduce breast cancer cell metastasis by inhibiting prolyl-hydroxylase. In this study, we investigated the cytotoxic effect of ethyl-3,4-dihydroxybenzoate on esophageal squamous cell carcinoma cells in vitro and identified key regulators of ethyl-3,4-dihydroxybenzoate-induced esophageal cancer cell death through transcription expression profiling. Using flow cytometry analysis, we found that ethyl-3,4-dihydroxybenzoate induced S phase accumulation, a loss in mitochondrial membrane permeabilization, and caspase-dependent apoptosis. Moreover, an expression profile analysis identified 46 up- and 9 down-regulated genes in esophageal cancer KYSE 170 cells treated with ethyl-3,4-dihydroxybenzoate. These differentially expressed genes are involved in several signaling pathways associated with cell cycle regulation and cellular metabolism. Consistent with the expression profile results, the transcriptional and protein expression levels of candidate genes NDRG1, BNIP3, AKR1C1, CCNG2 and VEGFA were found to be significantly increased in treated KYSE 170 cells by reverse-transcription PCR and western blot analysis. We also found that protein levels of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α, BNIP3, Beclin and NDRG1 were increased and that enriched expression of BNIP3 and Beclin caused autophagy mediated by microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 in the treated cells. Autophagy and apoptosis were activated together in esophageal cancer cells after exposed to ethyl-3,4-dihydroxybenzoate. Furthermore, knock-down of NDRG1 expression by siRNA significantly attenuated apoptosis in the cancer cells, implying that NDRG1 may be required for ethyl-3,4-dihydroxybenzoate-induced apoptosis. Together, these results suggest that the cytotoxic effects of ethyl-3,4-dihydroxybenzoate were mediated by the up-regulation of NDRG1, BNIP3, Beclin and hypoxia-inducible factor-1α, initiating BNIP3 and Beclin mediated autophagy at an early stage and ultimately resulting in esophageal cancer cell apoptosis.

Brinkhuizen T, Weijzen CA, Eben J, et al.
Immunohistochemical analysis of the mechanistic target of rapamycin and hypoxia signalling pathways in basal cell carcinoma and trichoepithelioma.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(9):e106427 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common cancer in Caucasians. Trichoepithelioma (TE) is a benign neoplasm that strongly resembles BCC. Both are hair follicle (HF) tumours. HFs are hypoxic microenvironments, therefore we hypothesized that hypoxia-induced signalling pathways could be involved in BCC and TE as they are in other human malignancies. Hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF1) and mechanistic/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) are key players in these pathways.
OBJECTIVES: To determine whether HIF1/mTOR signalling is involved in BCC and TE.
METHODS: We used immunohistochemical staining of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded BCC (n = 45) and TE (n = 35) samples to assess activity of HIF1, mTORC1 and their most important target genes. The percentage positive tumour cells was assessed manually in a semi-quantitative manner and categorized (0%, <30%, 30-80% and >80%).
RESULTS: Among 45 BCC and 35 TE examined, expression levels were respectively 81% and 57% (BNIP3), 73% and 75% (CAIX), 79% and 86% (GLUT1), 50% and 19% (HIF1α), 89% and 88% (pAKT), 55% and 61% (pS6), 15% and 25% (pMTOR), 44% and 63% (PHD2) and 44% and 49% (VEGF-A). CAIX, Glut1 and PHD2 expression levels were significantly higher in TE when only samples with at least 80% expression were included.
CONCLUSIONS: HIF and mTORC1 signalling seems active in both BCC and TE. There are no appreciable differences between the two with respect to pathway activity. At this moment immunohistochemical analyses of HIF, mTORC1 and their target genes does not provide a reliable diagnostic tool for the discrimination of BCC and TE.

Sun L, Li T, Wei Q, et al.
Upregulation of BNIP3 mediated by ERK/HIF-1α pathway induces autophagy and contributes to anoikis resistance of hepatocellular carcinoma cells.
Future Oncol. 2014; 10(8):1387-98 [PubMed] Related Publications
AIM: Acquisition of anoikis resistance is the hallmark of cancer and has been shown to be involved in metastasis of melignant cells. Our previous work showed that anoikis resistance is associated with the metastasis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells. The aim of this study is to elucidate the mechanisms of this course.
MATERIALS & METHODS: Expression of BNIP3 and HIF-1α at the mRNA and protein level in HCC cells were detected by realtime PCR and western blot, respectively. Autophagy activation and signaling transduction pathway were detected by western blot. Cell viabilities were detected by CCK8 assay and trypan blue exclusion assay.
RESULTS: Upregulation of BNIP3 promoted the activation of autophagy, one type of cell survival strategy in response to external stress, by suppressing mTOR/S6K1 signaling system. The upregulation of BNIP3 was mediated by ERK/HIF-1α pathway, which further contributed to anoikis resistance of HCC cells through the mTORC1 signaling pathway.
CONCLUSION: Upregulation of BNIP3 contributs to anoikis resistance of HCC cells, and BNIP3 may serve as a novel therapeutic target for manipulation of cancer metastasis.

Liu Z, Zhang J, Gao Y, et al.
Large-scale characterization of DNA methylation changes in human gastric carcinomas with and without metastasis.
Clin Cancer Res. 2014; 20(17):4598-612 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PURPOSE: Metastasis is the leading cause of death for gastric carcinoma. An epigenetic biomarker panel for predicting gastric carcinoma metastasis could have significant clinical impact on the care of patients with gastric carcinoma. The main purpose of this study is to characterize the methylation differences between gastric carcinomas with and without metastasis.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Genome-wide DNA methylation profiles between 4 metastatic and 4 nonmetastatic gastric carcinomas and their surgical margins (SM) were analyzed using methylated-CpG island amplification with microarray. The methylation states of 73 candidate genes were further analyzed in patients with gastric carcinoma in a discovery cohort (n=108) using denatured high performance liquid chromatography, bisulfite-sequencing, and MethyLight. The predictive values of potential metastasis-methylation biomarkers were validated in cohorts of patients with gastric carcinoma in China (n=330), Japan (n=129), and Korea (n=153).
RESULTS: The gastric carcinoma genome showed significantly higher proportions of hypomethylation in the promoter and exon-1 regions, as well as increased hypermethylation of intragenic fragments when compared with SMs. Significant differential methylation was validated in the CpG islands of 15 genes (P<0.05) and confirmed using bisulfite sequencing. These genes included BMP3, BNIP3, CDKN2A, ECEL1, ELK1, GFRA1, HOXD10, KCNH1, PSMD10, PTPRT, SIGIRR, SRF, TBX5, TFPI2, and ZNF382. Methylation changes of GFRA1, SRF, and ZNF382 resulted in up- or downregulation of their transcription. Most importantly, the prevalence of GFRA1, SRF, and ZNF382 methylation alterations was consistently and coordinately associated with gastric carcinoma metastasis and the patients' overall survival throughout discovery and validation cohorts in China, Japan, and Korea.
CONCLUSION: Methylation changes of GFRA1, SRF, and ZNF382 may be a potential biomarker set for prediction of gastric carcinoma metastasis.

Yang C, Jiang L, Zhang H, et al.
Analysis of hypoxia-induced metabolic reprogramming.
Methods Enzymol. 2014; 542:425-55 [PubMed] Related Publications
Hypoxia is a common finding in advanced human tumors and is often associated with metastatic dissemination and poor prognosis. Cancer cells adapt to hypoxia by utilizing physiological adaptation pathways that promote a switch from oxidative to glycolytic metabolism. This promotes the conversion of glucose into lactate while limiting its transformation into acetyl coenzyme A (acetyl-CoA). The uptake of glucose and the glycolytic flux are increased under hypoxic conditions, mostly owing to the upregulation of genes encoding glucose transporters and glycolytic enzymes, a process that depends on hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1). The reduced delivery of acetyl-CoA to the tricarboxylic acid cycle leads to a switch from glucose to glutamine as the major substrate for fatty acid synthesis in hypoxic cells. In addition, hypoxia induces (1) the HIF-1-dependent expression of BCL2/adenovirus E1B 19-kDa interacting protein 3 (BNIP3) and BNIP3-like (BNIP3L), which trigger mitochondrial autophagy, thereby decreasing the oxidative metabolism of both fatty acids and glucose, and (2) the expression of the sodium-hydrogen exchanger NHE1, which maintains an alkaline intracellular pH. Here, we present a compendium of methods to study hypoxia-induced metabolic alterations.

Graham RM, Thompson JW, Webster KA
Inhibition of the vacuolar ATPase induces Bnip3-dependent death of cancer cells and a reduction in tumor burden and metastasis.
Oncotarget. 2014; 5(5):1162-73 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The pro-apoptotic protein Bnip3 is induced by hypoxia and is present in the core regions of most solid tumors. Bnip3 induces programmed necrosis by an intrinsic caspase independent mitochondrial pathway. Many tumor cells have evolved pathways to evade Bnip3-mediated death attesting to the physiological relevance of the survival threat imposed by Bnip3. We have reported that acidosis can trigger the Bnip3 death pathway in hypoxic cells therefore we hypothesized that manipulation of intracellular pH by pharmacological inhibition of the vacuolar (v)ATPase proton pump, a significant pH control pathway, may activate Bnip3 and promote death of hypoxic cells within the tumor. Here we confirm that bafilomycin A1 (BafA1), a selective vATPase inhibitor, significantly increased death of breast cancer cells in a hypoxia and Bnip3-dependent manner and significantly reduced tumor growth in MCF7 and MDA-MB-231 mouse xenografts. Combined treatment of cells with BafA1 and the ERK1/2 inhibitor U0126 further augmented cell death. Combined treatment of mice containing MDA-MB-231 xenografts with BafA1 and the ERK1/2 inhibitor sorafenib was superior to either treatment alone and supported tumor regression. BafA1 and sorafenib treatments alone reduced MDA-MB-231 cell metastasis and again the combination was significantly more effective than either treatment alone and was without apparent side effects. These results present a novel mechanism to destroy hypoxic tumor cells that may help reverse the resistance of hypoxic tumors to radiation and chemotherapy and perhaps target tumor stem cells.

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