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ABSTRACT: Hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor (HGF) and the angiogenesis factors platelet-derived growth factors (PDGF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and interleukin-8 (IL-8) are found in elevated concentrations in serum or tumor tissue of patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC), suggesting these factors may be coregulated. A cDNA microarray analysis for HGF-inducible genes revealed that HGF also modulates PDGFA expression, a gene recently shown to be inducible by the transcription factor, early growth response-1 (Egr-1). In the present study, we investigated the potential role of HGF-induced Egr-1 in expression of PDGF, VEGF, and IL-8. HGF induced expression of all three factors and Egr-1 expression and DNA-binding activity. The analysis of promoter sequences showed putative Egr-1 binding sites in the PDGFA or VEGF but not in the IL-8 promoter, and HGF-induced Egr-1-binding activity was confirmed by chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assay. The maximal basal and HGF-induced promoter activity for the PDGFA gene existed within -630 bp of the promoter region, and overexpression of Egr-1 significantly increased such activity. Consistent with this, expression of PDGFA and VEGF but not IL-8 showed corresponding differences with Egr-1 expression in HNSCC tumor specimens and were strongly suppressed by transfection of Egr-1-antisense or small interference RNA (siRNA) oligonucleotides. HGF-induced expression of Egr-1, PDGFA, and VEGF was suppressed by pharmacologic and siRNA inhibitors of mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase 1/2 (MEK1/2) and protein kinase C (PKC) pathways. We conclude that the HGF-induced activation of transcription factor Egr-1 by MEK1/2- and PKC-dependent mechanisms differentially contributes to expression of PDGF and VEGF, which are important angiogenesis factors and targets for HNSCC therapy.
Cancer Research 09/2005; 65(16):7071-80. · 8.65 Impact Factor