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Xiao-hui Luo, Jian-zhou Liu, Bo Wang, Qun-li Men, Yu-quan Ju, Feng-yan Yin, Chao Zheng, and Wei Li

Insights into the mechanisms by which key factors stimulate cell growth under androgen-depleted conditions is a premise to the development of effective treatments with clinically significant activity in patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). Herein, we report that, the expression of Krüppel-like factor 14 (KLF14), a master transcription factor in the regulation of lipid metabolism, was significantly induced in castration-insensitive PCa cells and tumor tissues from a mouse xenograft model of CRPC. KLF14 upregulation in PCa cells, which was stimulated upstream by oxidative stress, was dependent on multiple pathways including PI3K/AKT, p42/p44 MAPK, AMPK and PKC pathways. By means of ectopic overexpression and genetic inactivation, we further show that KLF14 promoted cell growth via positive regulation of the antioxidant response under androgen-depleted conditions. Mechanistically, KLF14 coupled to p300 and CBP to enhance the transcriptional activation of HMOX1, the gene encoding the antioxidative enzyme heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) that is one of the most important mechanisms of cell adaptation to stress. Transient knockdown of HMOX1 is sufficient to overcome KLF14 overexpression-potentiated PCa cell growth under androgen-depleted conditions. From a pharmacological standpoint, in vivo administration of ZnPPIX (a specific inhibitor of HO-1) effectively attenuates castration-resistant progression in the mouse xenograft model, without changing KLF14 level. Together, these results provide comprehensive insight into the KLF14-dependent regulation of antioxidant response and subsequent pathogenesis of castration resistance and indicate that interventions targeting the KLF14/HO-1 adaptive mechanism should be further explored for CRPC treatment.

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Rodrigo A Toledo, Yuejuan Qin, Subramanya Srikantan, Nicole Paes Morales, Qun Li, Yilun Deng, Sang-Woo Kim, Maria Adelaide A Pereira, Sergio P A Toledo, Xiaoping Su, Ricardo C T Aguiar, and Patricia L M Dahia

Pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas are highly vascular tumors of the autonomic nervous system. Germline mutations, including those in hypoxia-related genes, occur in one third of the cases, but somatic mutations are infrequent in these tumors. Using exome sequencing of six paired constitutive and tumor DNA from sporadic pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas, we identified a somatic mutation in the HIF2A (EPAS1) gene. Screening of an additional 239 pheochromocytomas/paragangliomas uncovered three other HIF2A variants in sporadic (4/167, 2.3%) but not in hereditary tumors or controls. Three of the mutations involved proline 531, one of the two residues that controls HIF2α stability by hydroxylation. The fourth mutation, on Ser71, was adjacent to the DNA binding domain. No mutations were detected in the homologous regions of the HIF1A gene in 132 tumors. Mutant HIF2A tumors had increased expression of HIF2α target genes, suggesting an activating effect of the mutations. Ectopically expressed HIF2α mutants in HEK293, renal cell carcinoma 786-0, or rat pheochromocytoma PC12 cell lines showed increased stability, resistance to VHL-mediated degradation, target induction, and reduced chromaffin cell differentiation. Furthermore, mice injected with cells expressing mutant HIF2A developed tumors, and those with Pro531Thr and Pro531Ser mutations had shorter latency than tumors from mice with wild-type HIF2A. Our results support a direct oncogenic role for HIF2A in human neoplasia and strengthen the link between hypoxic pathways and pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas.