Imaging of hypoxia-inducible factor 1α and septin 9 interaction by bimolecular fluorescence complementation in live cancer cells
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Maya Golan1, Nicola J. Mabjeesh1
1Prostate Cancer Research Laboratory, Department of Urology, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel
Nicola J. Mabjeesh, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Keywords: hypoxia-inducible factor 1α, septin 9, bimolecular fluorescence complementation, cancer, imaging
Received: June 30, 2016 Accepted: March 15, 2017 Published: March 23, 2017
Hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) is a major mediator of the hypoxic response involved in tumor progression. We had earlier described the interaction between septin 9 isoform 1 (SEPT9_i1) protein and the oxygen-regulated subunit, HIF-1α. SEPT9_i1 is a member of the conserved family of GTP-binding cytoskeleton septins. SEPT9_i1 stabilizes HIF-1α and facilitates its cytoplasmic-nuclear translocation. We utilized split yellow fluorescent protein (YFP) bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BiFC) methodology to monitor the interaction between HIF-1α and SEPT9_i1 in live cells. N-terminal (YN) and C-terminal (YC) split YFP chimeras with HIF-1α and SEPT9_i1 on both their amino and carboxyl termini were generated. HIF-1α and SEPT9_i1 chimeras were expressed in cancer cells and screened for functional complementation. SEPT9_i1-YN and YC-HIF-1α formed a long-lived highly stable complex upon interaction. The BiFC signal was increased in the presence of hypoxia-mimicking agents. In contrast, YC-ΔHLH-HIF-1α chimera, which lacked the helix-loop-helix domain that is essential for the interaction with SEPT9_i1 as well as the expression of SEPT9_i1 252-379 amino acids fragment required for the interaction with HIF-1α, significantly reduced the BiFC signal. The signal was also reduced when cells were treated with 17-N-allylamino-17-demethoxygeldanamycin, an HSP90 inhibitor that inhibits HIF-1α. It was increased with fourchlorfenuron, a small molecule that increases the interaction between HIF-1α and SEPT9_i1. These results reconfirmed the interaction between HIF-1α and SEPT9_i1 that was imaged in live cells. This BiFC system represents a novel approach for studying the real-time interaction between these two proteins and will allow high-throughput drug screening to identity compounds that disrupt this interaction.
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