Disruption of the monocarboxylate transporter-4-basigin interaction inhibits the hypoxic response, proliferation, and tumor progression

Sci Rep. 2017 Jun 27;7(1):4292. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-04612-w.


We have previously shown that glioblastoma stem cells (GSCs) are enriched in the hypoxic tumor microenvironment, and that monocarboxylate transporter-4 (MCT4) is critical for mediating GSC signaling in hypoxia. Basigin is involved in many physiological functions during early stages of development and in cancer and is required for functional plasma membrane expression of MCT4. We sought to determine if disruption of the MCT-Basigin interaction may be achieved with a small molecule. Using a cell-based drug-screening assay, we identified Acriflavine (ACF), a small molecule that inhibits the binding between Basigin and MCT4. Surface plasmon resonance and cellular thermal-shift-assays confirmed ACF binding to basigin in vitro and in live glioblastoma cells, respectively. ACF significantly inhibited growth and self-renewal potential of several glioblastoma neurosphere lines in vitro, and this activity was further augmented by hypoxia. Finally, treatment of mice bearing GSC-derived xenografts resulted in significant inhibition of tumor progression in early and late-stage disease. ACF treatment inhibited intratumoral expression of VEGF and tumor vascularization. Our work serves as a proof-of-concept as it shows, for the first time, that disruption of MCT binding to their chaperon, Basigin, may be an effective approach to target GSC and to inhibit angiogenesis and tumor progression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acriflavine / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Basigin / metabolism*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Disease Progression
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Glioblastoma / metabolism
  • Glioblastoma / pathology
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia / metabolism*
  • Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1 / metabolism
  • Immunoglobulin Domains
  • Lactic Acid / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Monocarboxylic Acid Transporters / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Monocarboxylic Acid Transporters / metabolism*
  • Muscle Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Muscle Proteins / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / drug therapy
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / metabolism
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Interaction Mapping / methods


  • BSG protein, human
  • Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1
  • Monocarboxylic Acid Transporters
  • Muscle Proteins
  • SLC16A4 protein, human
  • Basigin
  • Acriflavine
  • Lactic Acid