Schietke R, Warnecke C, Wacker I, Schödel J, Mole DR, Campean V, Amann K, Goppelt-Struebe M, Behrens J, Eckardt KU, Wiesener MS
Hypoxia has been shown to promote tumor metastasis and lead to therapy resistance. Recent work has demonstrated that hypoxia represses E-cadherin expression, a hallmark of epithelial to mesenchymal transition, which is believed to amplify tumor aggressiveness. The molecular mechanism of E-cadherin repression is unknown, yet lysyl oxidases have been implicated to be involved. Gene expression of lysyl oxidase (LOX) and the related LOX-like 2 (LOXL2) is strongly induced by hypoxia. In addition to the previously demonstrated LOX, we characterize LOXL2 as a direct transcriptional target of HIF-1. We demonstrate that activation of lysyl oxidases is required and sufficient for hypoxic repression of E-cadherin, which mediates cellular transformation and takes effect in cellular invasion assays. Our data support a molecular pathway from hypoxia to cellular transformation. It includes up-regulation of HIF and subsequent transcriptional induction of LOX and LOXL2, which repress E-cadherin and induce epithelial to mesenchymal transition. Lysyl oxidases could be an attractive molecular target for cancers of epithelial origin, in particular because they are partly extracellular.