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Loss Of The SdhB, But Not The SdhA, Subunit Of Complex II Triggers Reactive Oxygen Species-Dependent Hypoxia-Inducible Factor Activation And Tumorigenesis

R. Guzy, Bhumika K. Sharma, E. Bell, N. Chandel, P. Schumacker
Published 2007 · Biology, Medicine

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ABSTRACT Mitochondrial complex II is a tumor suppressor comprised of four subunits (SdhA, SdhB, SdhC, and SdhD). Mutations in any of these should disrupt complex II enzymatic activity, yet defects in SdhA produce bioenergetic deficiency while defects in SdhB, SdhC, or SdhD induce tumor formation. The mechanisms underlying these differences are not known. We show that the inhibition of distal subunits of complex II, either pharmacologically or via RNA interference of SdhB, increases normoxic reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, increases hypoxia-inducible factor alpha (HIF-α) stabilization in an ROS-dependent manner, and increases growth rates in vitro and in vivo without affecting hypoxia-mediated activation of HIF-α. Proximal pharmacologic inhibition or RNA interference of complex II at SdhA, however, does not increase normoxic ROS production or HIF-α stabilization and results in decreased growth rates in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, the enhanced growth rates resulting from SdhB suppression are inhibited by the suppression of HIF-1α and/or HIF-2α, indicating that the mechanism of SdhB-induced tumor formation relies upon ROS production and subsequent HIF-α activation. Therefore, differences in ROS production, HIF proliferation, and cell proliferation contribute to the differences in tumor phenotype in cells lacking SdhB as opposed to those lacking SdhA.
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