Background: Eleven-nineteen lysine-rich leukemia (ELL) plays an important role in tumorigenesis and animal development. HIF-1 is a transcriptional factor that functions as a master regulator of O(2) homeostasis. Our previous studies showed that a binding partner of ELL, U19/Eaf2, can modulate HIF-1alpha activity and hypoxia response, suggesting that ELL may also influence HIF-1alpha pathway and hypoxia response.
Methods: Co-localization and co-immunoprecipitation were performed to test the interaction between ELL and HIF-1alpha. PC3 cells with stable ELL knockdown and PC3 cells with stable ELL overexpression, along with their controls, were established using lentiviral expression system. Western blot and real-time PCR were performed to test the effect of ELL on HIF-1alpha protein and its down-stream gene transcription. To elucidate potential effect of hypoxia on ELL, cell growth and colony formation assays were performed using PC3 subline with stable ELL overexpression.
Results: ELL is associated with HIF-1alpha in transfected cells. In PC3 prostate cancer cells, ELL inhibited HIF-1alpha protein level and down-stream gene expression. As expected, ELL inhibited cell growth and colony formation under normoxia. Interestingly, the inhibition was alleviated under hypoxia.
Conclusions: Our findings suggest that ELL and HIF-1alpha are binding partners and can modulate the functions of each other in hypoxia.