Hypoxia-inducible factor-1-dependent regulation of the multidrug resistance (MDR1) gene.
The microenvironment of rapidly growing tumors is associated with increased energy demand and diminished vascular supply, resulting in focal areas of prominent hypoxia. A number of hypoxia-responsive genes have been associated with growing tumors, and here we demonstrate that the multidrug resistance (MDR1) gene product P-glycoprotein, a Mr approximately 170,000 transmembrane protein associated with tumor resistance to chemotherapeutics, is induced by ambient hypoxia. Initial studies using quantitative microarray analysis of RNA revealed an approximately 7-fold increase in MDR in epithelial cells exposed to hypoxia (pO(2) 20 torr, 18 h). These findings were further confirmed at the mRNA and protein level. P-Glycoprotein function was studied by analysis of verapamil-inhibitable efflux of digoxin and rhodamine 123 in intact T84 cells and revealed that hypoxia enhances P-glycoprotein function by as much as 7 +/- 0.4-fold over normoxia. Subsequent studies confirmed hypoxia-elicited MDR1 gene induction and increased P-glycoprotein expression in nontransformed, primary cultures of human microvascular endothelial cells, and analysis of multicellular spheroids subjected to hypoxia revealed increased resistance to doxorubicin. Examination of the MDR1 gene identified a binding site for hypoxia inducible factor-1 (HIF-1), and inhibition of HIF-1 expression by antisense oligonucleotides resulted in significant inhibition of hypoxia-inducible MDR1 expression and a nearly complete loss of basal MDR1 expression. Studies using luciferase promoter constructs revealed a significant increase in activity in cells subjected to hypoxia, and such hypoxia inducibility was lost in truncated constructs lacking the HIF-1 site and in HIF-1 binding site mutants. Extensions of these studies also identified a role for Sp1 in this hypoxia response. Taken together, these data indicate that the MDR1 gene is hypoxia responsive, and such results may identify hypoxia-elicited P-glycoprotein expression as a pathway for resistance of some tumors to chemotherapeutics.
Comerford, KM; Wallace, TJ; Karhausen, J; Louis, NA; Montalto, MC; Colgan, SP
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