Indexed on: 06 May '08Published on: 06 May '08Published in: Oncogene
Reactive oxygen species (ROS)-generating enzyme Nox1 is important in the induction of oncogenic Ras transformation phenotypes, but it is not defined whether Nox1 is involved in Ras-induced upregulation of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a potent stimulator of tumor angiogenesis. Here we describe that ablation of the Nox1 activity by Nox1 small-interference RNAs (siRNAs) or diphenylene iodonium (DPI) inhibited synthesis of both VEGF proteins and VEGF mRNAs in K-Ras transformed normal rat kidney (KNRK) cells. Nox1siRNAs and DPI suppressed extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)-dependent phosphorylation of a transcription factor Sp1 and Sp1 binding to a VEGF promoter. Furthermore, tumors derived from Nox1siRNA-transfected KNRK cells markedly decreased neovascularization. The Nox1 activity was required for VEGF production in human colon cancer CaCO-2 cells, as in the case of KNRK cells. However, since overexpression of Nox1 in normal rat kidney cells failed to induce VEGF, the Nox1 activity alone was not sufficient to upregulate VEGF expression, which suggests that unlike the previously proposed model, Nox1 may act in concert with other effectors integrated into the Ras network. We propose that Nox1 mediates oncogenic Ras-induced upregulation of VEGF and angiogenesis by activating Sp1 through Ras-ERK-dependent phosphorylation of Sp1.