In solid tumors, tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) commonly accumulate within hypoxic areas. Adaptations to such environments evoke transcriptional changes by the hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs). While HIF-1α is ubiquitously expressed, HIF-2α appears tissue-specific with consequences of HIF-2α expression in TAMs only being poorly characterized. An E0771 allograft breast tumor model revealed faster tumor growth in myeloid HIF-2α knockout (HIF-2αLysM-/- ) compared with wildtype (wt) mice. In an RNA-sequencing approach of FACS sorted wt and HIF-2α LysM-/- TAMs, serine protease inhibitor, Kunitz type-1 ( Spint1) emerged as a promising candidate for HIF-2α-dependent regulation. We validated reduced Spint1 messenger RNA expression and concomitant Spint1 protein secretion under hypoxia in HIF-2α-deficient bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDMs) compared with wt BMDMs. In line with the physiological function of Spint1 as an inhibitor of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) activation, supernatants of hypoxic HIF-2α knockout BMDMs, not containing Spint1, were able to release proliferative properties of inactive pro-HGF on breast tumor cells. In contrast, hypoxic wt BMDM supernatants containing abundant Spint1 amounts failed to do so. We propose that Spint1 contributes to the tumor-suppressive function of HIF-2α in TAMs in breast tumor development.
Keywords: HAI-1; HGF; hypoxia; proliferation; tumor-associated macrophages.
© 2019 The Authors. Molecular Carcinogenesis published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.