Oncotarget

Research Papers:

Hypoxia-inducible factor-1α activation in HPV-positive head and neck squamous cell carcinoma cell lines

Jennifer Knuth _, Shachi J. Sharma, Nora Würdemann, Claudia Holler, Boyan K. Garvalov, Till Acker, Claus Wittekindt, Steffen Wagner and Jens P. Klussmann

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:89681-89691. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.20813

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Abstract

Jennifer Knuth1,*, Shachi J. Sharma1,*, Nora Würdemann1, Claudia Holler1, Boyan K. Garvalov2, Till Acker2, Claus Wittekindt1, Steffen Wagner1,# and Jens P. Klussmann1,#

1Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, University of Giessen, Giessen, Germany

2Institute of Neuropathology, University of Giessen, Giessen, Germany

*These authors contributed equally to this work

#These authors contributed equally to this work senior authors

Correspondence to:

Jennifer Knuth, email: jennifer.knuth@hno.med.uni-giessen.de

Keywords: human papillomavirus (hpv), head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (hnscc), hypoxia, hypoxia inducible factor-1α (hif-1α), prolyl hydroxylase-domain protein 2 (phd2)

Received: November 24, 2016     Accepted: August 21, 2017     Published: September 11, 2017

ABSTRACT

Purpose: Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a causative agent for a rising number of head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC), which are characterized by distinct tumor biology. Hypoxia inducible-factor (HIF) signaling influences initiation and progression of carcinogenesis and HPV oncoproteins have evolved to highjack cellular pathways for viral reproduction. Therefore, we investigated whether HPV activates HIF-1α expression in HNSCC.

Experimental Technique: HPV-positive and -negative HNSCC cells were examined for adaptive responses to hypoxia. Expression of HIF-1α, prolyl hydroxylase-domain protein 2 (PHD2) and E-cadherin was analyzed by Western blotting, immunofluorescence (IF) microscopy and migration/wound healing assays.

Results: HPV-positive HNSCC cells showed higher HIF-1α and PHD2 protein levels under normoxia and hypoxia. HIF-1α hydroxylation was reduced in HPV-positive HNSCC cell lines under PHD and proteasomal inhibition. In vitro wound healing assays showed impairment of migration and proliferation by HIF-1α pathway activation in HPV-negative cell lines only. In contrast, migration and proliferation in HPV-positive cell lines was impaired by HIF-1α specific siRNA.

Conclusions: HPV-positive HNSCC cells show activation of the HIF pathway and adaptation to HIF-1α upregulation, representing potential therapeutic targets in this emerging tumor entity.


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