The von Hippel-Lindau tumour suppressor gene: uncovering the expression of the pVHL172 isoform.
ABSTRACT: The von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) gene encodes two mRNA variants. Variant 1 encodes two protein isoforms, pVHL213 and pVHL160, that have been extensively documented in the literature. Variant 2 is produced by alternative splicing of exon 2 and encodes a pVHL isoform of 172 amino acids with a theoretical molecular weight of 19?kDa (pVHL172), the expression of which has never been demonstrated so far due to the absence of suitable antibodies.We have generated an anti-pVHL monoclonal antibody (JD-1956) using pVHL172 recombinant protein. We tested the antibody against exogenous or endogenous expressed proteins in different cell lines. We identified the pVHL172 using a silencing RNA strategy. The epitope of the antibody was mapped using a peptide array.We efficiently detected the three different isoforms of pVHL in cell lines and tumorigenic tissues by western blotting and immunohistochemistry and confirmed for the first time the endogenous expression of pVHL172.The endogenous expression of the three isoforms and particularly the pVHL172 has never been shown before due to a lack of a highly specific antibody since none of the available commercial antibodies distinguish the three isoforms of pVHL in cells or in both normal and cancerous human tissues. Evidence of pVHL172 expression emphasises the need to further study its implication in renal tumorigenesis and VHL disease.
Project description:The Von Hippel-Lindau gene (VHL) is frequently deleted or mutated in human renal cell carcinoma (RCC) at the early stage. According to the well-established theory, pVHL acts as a tumor suppressor through its E3 ligase activity, which targets hypoxia-inducing factor-1? (HIF-1?). However, the elevated expression of HIF-1? did not promote cell proliferation, indicating that there would be another target, which could promote cell proliferation at the early cancer stage of RCC. In this study, we show that estrogen receptor-? (ER-?) is a novel proteasomal degradation target of the pVHL E3 ligase. Indeed, the overexpression of VHL suppresses exo- and endogenous ER-? expression, whereas si-pVHL can increase ER-? expression. The negative regulation of pVHL on ER-? expression is achieved by its E3 ligase activity. Thus, pVHL can promote the ER-? ubiquitinylation. In addition, we revealed that ER-? and HIF-1? are competitive substrates of pVHL. Thus, under normal conditions, ER-? overexpression can increase the transcription factor activity of HIF-1?. Under the hypoxic condition, where HIF-1? is not a suitable target of pVHL, ER-? is more rapidly degraded by pVHL. However, in VHL-deficient cells, the expression of ER-? and HIF-1? is retained, so that the hypoxic condition did not suppress cell proliferation obviously compared with cells that are expressing pVHL. Thus, blocking of ER-? using its inhibitor could suppress the proliferation of VHL-deficient cells as effectively as hypoxia-induced growth suppression. Considering our results, blocking of ER-? signaling in VHL-deficient cancer cells would be beneficial for cancer suppression. Indeed, we showed the anti-proliferative effect of Faslodex in VHL-deficient cells.
Project description:Somatic mutations or reduced expression of the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) tumor suppressor occurs in the majority of the clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) and is a causal factor for the pathogenesis of ccRCC. pVHL was reported to suppress the oncogenic activity of Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) by reducing the expression of the EGFR agonist TGF-? and by reducing the translation efficiency of EGFR itself. Furthermore, it was reported that pVHL down-regulates activated EGFR by promoting efficient lysosomal degradation of the receptor. These modes of negative regulation of EGFR by pVHL were dependent on Hypoxia Inducible Factor (HIF). In this study, we report that HIF was not the only factor stabilizing the activated EGFR in VHL-deficient ccRCC cells. Down-regulation of endogenous HIF in these cells had little effect on the turnover rates of the activated EGFR. Furthermore, neither pretreatment with lysosomal inhibitors pretreatment nor down-regulation of c-Cbl, a major E3 ubiquitin ligase that targets the activated EGFR for lysosomal degradation, significantly increased the stabilities of EGFR in VHL-expressing ccRCC cells. In contrast, pretreatment with proteasomal inhibitors extended EGFR lifetime and led to similar EGFR half-lives in VHL-expressing and VHL-deficient ccRCC cells. Down-regulation of c-Cbl in VHL-deficient ccRCC cells revealed that the c-Cbl and pVHL collaborated to down-regulate the activated EGFR. Finally, we found that pVHL promoted the poly-ubiquitylation of the activated EGFR, and this function was c-Cbl-independent. Thus these results indicate that pVHL limits EGFR signaling by promoting c-Cbl-independent poly-ubiquitylation of the activated receptor, which likely results in its degradation by proteasome.
Project description:The von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) tumor suppressor gene is often deleted or mutated in ccRCC (clear cell renal cell carcinoma) producing a non-functional protein. The gene encodes two mRNA, and three protein isoforms (pVHL213, pVHL160 and pVHL172). The pVHL protein is part of an E3 ligase complex involved in the ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation of different proteins, particularly hypoxia inducible factors (HIF) that drive the transcription of genes involved in the regulation of cell proliferation, angiogenesis or extracellular matrix remodelling. Other non-canonical (HIF-independent) pVHL functions have been described. A recent work reported the expression of the uncharacterized protein isoform pVHL172 which is translated from the variant 2 by alternative splicing of the exon 2. This splice variant is sometimes enriched in the ccRCCs and the protein has been identified in the respective samples of ccRCCs and different renal cell lines. Functional studies on pVHL have only concerned the pVHL213 and pVHL160 isoforms, but no function was assigned to pVHL172. Here we show that pVHL172 stable expression in renal cancer cells does not regulate the level of HIF, exacerbates tumorigenicity when 786-O-pVHL172 cells were xenografted in mice. The pVHL172-induced tumors developed a sarcomatoid phenotype. Moreover, pVHL172 expression was shown to up regulate a subset of pro-tumorigenic genes including TGFB1, MMP1 and MMP13. In summary we identified that pVHL172 is not a tumor suppressor. Furthermore our findings suggest an antagonistic function of this pVHL isoform in the HIF-independent aggressiveness of renal tumors compared to pVHL213.
Project description:Loss of function in either VHL or Nek1 leads to cyst formation in tissues, especially in kidneys. Whether there is a connection between pVHL and Nek1 regulation is unknown. Here, we report that the VHL protein (pVHL) may be a substrate of Nek1. While Nek1 can phosphorylate pVHL at multiple sites, the phosphorylation at serine-168 results in pVHL degradation. Nek1-mediated phosphorylation of pVHL does not significantly affect hypoxia-inducible factors (HIF), a known target of pVHL. However, non-phosphorylable pVHL reconstituted in VHL-deficient cells induces more stable cilia than wild-type VHL during serum stimulation and Nocodazole treatment. The results suggest a possible regulation of pVHL by Nek1 that may contribute to ciliary homeostasis and cystogenesis.
Project description:A recent analysis of gene expression in renal cell carcinoma cells led to the identification of mRNAs whose translation was dependent on the presence of the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) tumor suppressor gene product, pVHL. Here, we investigate the finding that pVHL-expressing RCC cells (VHL(+)) exhibited elevated levels of polysome-associated p53 mRNA and increased p53 protein levels compared with VHL-defective (VHL(-)) cells. Our findings indicate that p53 translation is specifically heightened in VHL(+) cells, given that (i) p53 mRNA abundance in VHL(+) and VHL(-) cells was comparable, (ii) p53 degradation did not significantly influence p53 expression, and (iii) p53 synthesis was markedly induced in VHL(+) cells. Electrophoretic mobility shift and immunoprecipitation assays to detect endogenous and radiolabeled p53 transcripts revealed that the RNA-binding protein HuR, previously shown to regulate mRNA turnover and translation, was capable of binding to the 3' untranslated region of the p53 mRNA in a VHL-dependent fashion. Interestingly, while whole-cell levels of HuR in VHL(+) and VHL(-) cells were comparable, HuR was markedly more abundant in the cytoplasmic and polysome-associated fractions of VHL(+) cells. In keeping with earlier reports, the elevated cytoplasmic HuR in VHL(+) cells was likely due to the reduced AMP-activated kinase activity in these cells. Demonstration that HuR indeed contributed to the increased expression of p53 in VHL(+) cells was obtained through use of RNA interference, which effectively reduced HuR expression and in turn caused marked decreases in p53 translation and p53 abundance. Taken together, our findings support a role for pVHL in elevating p53 expression, implicate HuR in enhancing VHL-mediated p53 translation, and suggest that VHL-mediated p53 upregulation may contribute to pVHL's tumor suppressive functions in renal cell carcinoma.
Project description:Von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease is caused by germline mutations in the VHL tumor suppressor gene, with Type 2B missense VHL mutations predisposing to renal cell carcinoma, hemangioblastoma and pheochromocytoma. Type 2B mutant pVHL is predicted to be defective in hypoxia inducible factor (HIF)-alpha regulation. Murine embryonic stem (ES) cells in which the endogenous wild-type Vhl gene was replaced with the representative Type 2B VHL hotspot mutation R167Q (Vhl(2B/2B)) displayed preserved physiological regulation of both HIF factors with slightly greater normoxic dysregulation of HIF-2alpha. Differentiated Vhl(2B/2B)-derived teratomas overexpressed joint HIF targets Vegf and EglN3 but not the HIF-1alpha-specific target Pfk1. Vhl(2B/2B) teratomas additionally displayed a growth advantage over Vhl(-/-)-derived teratomas, suggestive of a tight connection between perturbations in the degree and ratio of HIF-1alpha and HIF-2alpha stabilization and cell growth. Vhl(2B/2B) mice displayed mid-gestational embryonic lethality, whereas adult Vhl(2B/+) mice exhibited susceptibility to carcinogen-promoted renal neoplasia compared with wild-type littermates at 12 months. Our experiments support a model in which the representative Type 2B R167Q mutant pVhl produces a unique profile of HIF dysregulation, thereby promoting tissue-specific effects on cell growth, development and tumor predisposition.
Project description:Numerous mutations of the Von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) gene have been reported to cause dysfunction of VHL protein (pVHL) and lead to processes related to tumor progression. pVHL acts as an E3 ligase and degrades downstream targets, such as hypoxia-inducible transcription factor (HIF) which is essential for tumor growth. Previous studies reported reduction of VHL protein, rather than mRNA in VHL-related tumor patients, suggesting that instability of the pVHL protein itself is a primary cause of dysfunction. Regulation of pVHL stability has therefore been a major focus of research. We report that ubiquitin-specific protease 9X (USP9X), which is a deubiquitinase binds and promotes degradation of both wild-type and mutants of pVHL that retain E3 ligase function, thus activating the HIF pathway. USP9X degrades pVHL through protection of its substrate, the newly identified pVHL E3 ligase Smurf1. In addition, USP9X activates glycolysis and promotes cell proliferation through pVHL. Treatment with a USP9X inhibitor shows an effect similar to USP9X knockdown in pVHL induction, and suppresses HIF activity. Our findings demonstrate that USP9X is a novel regulator of pVHL stability, and USP9X may be a therapeutic target for treatment of VHL-related tumors.
Project description:Inactivation of the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) tumor suppressor gene is linked to the development of tumors of the eyes, kidneys, and central nervous system. VHL encodes two gene products, pVHL30 and pVHL19, of which one, pVHL30, associates functionally with microtubules (MTs) to regulate their stability. Here we report that pVHL30 is a novel substrate of glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK3) in vitro and in vivo. Phosphorylation of pVHL on serine 68 (S68) by GSK3 requires a priming phosphorylation event at serine 72 (S72) mediated in vitro by casein kinase I. Functional analysis of pVHL species carrying nonphosphorylatable or phosphomimicking mutations at S68 and/or S72 reveals a central role for these phosphorylation events in the regulation of pVHL's MT stabilization (but not binding) activity. Taken together, our results identify pVHL as a novel priming-dependent substrate of GSK3 and suggest a dual-kinase mechanism in the control of pVHL's MT stabilization function. Since GSK3 is a component of multiple signaling pathways that are altered in human cancer, our results further imply that normal operation of the GSK3-pVHL axis may be a critical aspect of pVHL's tumor suppressor mechanism through the regulation of MT dynamics.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The VHL protein (pVHL) is a multiadaptor protein that interacts with more than 30 different binding partners involved in many oncogenic processes. About 70 % of clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) have VHL mutations with varying impact on pVHL function. Loss of pVHL function leads to the accumulation of Hypoxia Inducible Factor (HIF), which is targeted by current targeted treatments. In contrast to nonsense and frameshift mutations that highly likely nullify pVHL multipurpose functions, missense mutations may rather specifically influence the binding capability of pVHL to its partners. The affected pathways may offer predictive clues to therapy and response to treatment. In this study we focused on the VHL missense mutation pattern in ccRCC, and studied their potential effects on pVHL protein stability and binding partners and discussed treatment options. METHODS:We sequenced VHL in 360 sporadic ccRCC FFPE samples and compared observed and expected frequency of missense mutations in 32 different binding domains. The prediction of the impact of those mutations on protein stability and function was assessed in silico. The response to HIF-related, anti-angiogenic treatment of 30 patients with known VHL mutation status was also investigated. RESULTS:We identified 254 VHL mutations (68.3 % of the cases) including 89 missense mutations (35 %). Codons Ser65, Asn78, Ser80, Trp117 and Leu184 represented hotspots and missense mutations in Trp117 and Leu 184 were predicted to highly destabilize pVHL. About 40 % of VHL missense mutations were predicted to cause severe protein malfunction. The pVHL binding domains for HIF1AN, BCL2L11, HIF1/2α, RPB1, PRKCZ, aPKC-λ/ι, EEF1A1, CCT-ζ-2, and Cullin2 were preferentially affected. These binding partners are mainly acting in transcriptional regulation, apoptosis and ubiquitin ligation. There was no correlation between VHL mutation status and response to treatment. CONCLUSIONS:VHL missense mutations may exert mild, moderate or strong impact on pVHL stability. Besides the HIF binding domain, other pVHL binding sites seem to be non-randomly altered by missense mutations. In contrast to LOF mutations that affect all the different pathways normally controlled by pVHL, missense mutations may be rather appropriate for designing tailor-made treatment strategies for ccRCC.
Project description:This report describes clinical characteristics in families with a Type 2A phenotype and functional properties of a novel von Hippel Lindau variant (X214L). Pedigrees were analyzed. Analysis of von Hippel Lindau (VHL) coding exons and flanking intronic sequences in DNA from a proband with pheochromocytoma and islet cell tumor was performed. Western blot assays for VHL protein (pVHL), HIF?, and Jun B were conducted using VHL null renal clear carcinoma cell lines that were engineered to produce wild-type or X214L mutant pVHL. Pedigree analysis indicated that the variant tracked with disease and the same or similar VHL point mutations were identified in several Type 2A families. The predicted 14 amino acid extended pVHL variant, when reintroduced into VHL null cells, was stable and retained the ability to downregulate HIF? in a hydroxylationdependent manner. In contrast, the variant was defective with respect to downregulation of JunB. pVHL X214L, like other pVHL variants associated with a low risk of clear cell renal carcinoma, largely preserves the ability to downregulate HIF. In contrast, this variant, like other pVHL variants linked to Type 2A disease, fails to suppress JunB. This underscores that JunB may play a role in the pathogenesis of Type 2A VHL disease.