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Microenvironment Changes (in pH) Affect VEGF Alternative Splicing

Authors
Journal
Cancer Microenvironment
1875-2292
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
Volume
1
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s12307-008-0013-4
Keywords
  • Original Paper
Disciplines
  • Biology

Abstract

Vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A) has several isoforms, which differ in their capacity to bind extracellular matrix proteins and also in their affinity for VEGF receptors. Although the relative contribution of the VEGF isoforms has been studied in tumor angiogenesis, little is known about the mechanisms that regulate the alternative splicing process. Here, we tested microenvironment cues that might regulate VEGF alternative splicing. To test this, we used endometrial cancer cells that produce all VEGF isoforms as a model, and exposed them to varying pH levels, hormones, glucose and CoCl2 (to mimic hypoxia). Low pH had the most consistent effects in inducing variations in VEGF splicing pattern (VEGF121 increased significantly, p < 0.001, when compared to VEGF145, 165 or 189). This was accompanied by activation of the p38 stress pathway and SR proteins (splicing factors) expression and phosphorylation. SF2/ASF, SRp20 and SRp40 down-regulation by siRNA impaired the effects of pH stimulation, blocking the shift in VEGF isoforms production. Taken together, we show for the first time that acidosis (low pH) regulates VEGF-A alternative splicing, may be through p38 activation and suggest the possible SR proteins involved in this process. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s12307-008-0013-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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