High steady-state reactive oxygen species (ROS) production has been implicated with metastatic disease progression. We provide new evidence that this increased intracellular ROS milieu uniquely predisposes metastatic tumor cells to hypoxia-mediated regulation of the matrix metalloproteinase MMP-1. Using a cell culture metastatic progression model we previously reported that steady-state intracellular H2O2 levels are elevated in highly metastatic 253J-BV bladder cancer cells compared to their non-metastatic 253J parental cells. 253J-BV cells display higher basal MMP-1 expression, which is further enhanced under hypoxic conditions (1% O2). This hypoxia-mediated MMP-1 increase was not observed in the non-metastatic 253J cells. Hypoxia-induced MMP-1 increases are accompanied by the stabilization of hypoxia-inducible transcription factors (HIFs)-1α and HIF-2α, and a rise in intracellular ROS in metastatic 253J-BV cells. RNA interference studies show that hypoxia-mediated MMP-1 expression is primarily dependent on the presence of HIF-2α. Further, hypoxia promotes migration and spheroid outgrowth of only the metastatic 253J-BV cells and not the parental 253J cells. The observed HIF stabilization, MMP-1 expression and migration under hypoxia are dependent on increases in intracellular ROS, as these effects are attenuated by treatment with the antioxidant N-acetyl-L-cysteine. These data show that ROS play an important role in hypoxia-mediated MMP-1 expression and that an elevated intracellular redox environment, as observed in metastasis, predisposes tumor cells to an enhanced hypoxic response. It further supports the notion that metastatic tumor cells are uniquely able to utilize intracellular increases in ROS to drive pro-metastatic signaling events and highlights the important interplay between ROS and hypoxia in malignancy.
Keywords: H(2)O(2); HIF-2α; Hypoxia; MMP-1; Metastatic bladder cancer; Reactive oxygen species.
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