Eukaryotic elongation factor 2 kinase promotes angiogenesis in hepatocellular carcinoma via PI3K/Akt and STAT3

Ying Zhou, Yaoting Li, Shihao Xu, Jing Lu, Ziyi Zhu, Shaoli Chen, Yuan Tan, Peng He, Jin Xu, Christopher Proud, Jianling Xie, Kaikai Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is an aggressive malignancy with increasing mortality in China. Angiogenesis is crucial for tumor formation, development and metastasis in HCC. Previous studies indicated that high expression levels of elongation factor 2 kinase (eEF2K), a protein kinase that negatively regulates the elongation stage of translation, were associated with poor prognosis of HCC. Here, we show that pharmacological inhibition or knockdown of eEF2K in highly metastatic liver cancer cells inhibits their colony forming and migratory capacities, as well as reducing their invasiveness. Importantly, knocking down eEF2K by lentiviral directed shRNA prevented tumor growth and angiogenesis of HCC in mice. Silencing of eEF2K in endothelial cells (HUVECs) led to a reduction in vascularization, evidenced by a decrease in capillary-like structures in the matrigel. Notably, knocking down eEF2K reduced the expression of angiogenesis-related growth factors in liver cancer cells and the expression of growth factor receptors on HUVECs, and thus restricted signaling crosstalk that promotes angiogenesis between HCC cells and endothelial cells. We also showed that silencing of eEF2K effectively reduced protein levels of SP1/KLF5 transcription factors and hence decreased the levels of bound SP1/KLF5 to the VEGF promoter, resulted in a decrease in VEGF mRNA expression. Knocking down eEF2K also led to a striking decrease in the phosphorylation of PI3K/Akt and STAT3, indicating inactivation of these tumorigenic pathways. Taken together, our data suggest that eEF2K contributes to angiogenesis and tumor progression in HCC via SP1/KLF5-mediated VEGF expression, as well as the subsequent stimulation of PI3K/Akt and STAT3 signaling.

LanguageEnglish
Pages1383-1395
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Volume146
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jul 2019

Keywords

  • angiogenesis
  • eEF2K
  • elongation
  • hepatocellular carcinoma
  • protein synthesis
  • tumor microenvironment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

Cite this

Zhou, Ying ; Li, Yaoting ; Xu, Shihao ; Lu, Jing ; Zhu, Ziyi ; Chen, Shaoli ; Tan, Yuan ; He, Peng ; Xu, Jin ; Proud, Christopher ; Xie, Jianling ; Shen, Kaikai. / Eukaryotic elongation factor 2 kinase promotes angiogenesis in hepatocellular carcinoma via PI3K/Akt and STAT3. In: International Journal of Cancer. 2019 ; Vol. 146, No. 5. pp. 1383-1395.
@article{f3e727097eb24b318fdfd8f1b7509050,
title = "Eukaryotic elongation factor 2 kinase promotes angiogenesis in hepatocellular carcinoma via PI3K/Akt and STAT3",
abstract = "Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is an aggressive malignancy with increasing mortality in China. Angiogenesis is crucial for tumor formation, development and metastasis in HCC. Previous studies indicated that high expression levels of elongation factor 2 kinase (eEF2K), a protein kinase that negatively regulates the elongation stage of translation, were associated with poor prognosis of HCC. Here, we show that pharmacological inhibition or knockdown of eEF2K in highly metastatic liver cancer cells inhibits their colony forming and migratory capacities, as well as reducing their invasiveness. Importantly, knocking down eEF2K by lentiviral directed shRNA prevented tumor growth and angiogenesis of HCC in mice. Silencing of eEF2K in endothelial cells (HUVECs) led to a reduction in vascularization, evidenced by a decrease in capillary-like structures in the matrigel. Notably, knocking down eEF2K reduced the expression of angiogenesis-related growth factors in liver cancer cells and the expression of growth factor receptors on HUVECs, and thus restricted signaling crosstalk that promotes angiogenesis between HCC cells and endothelial cells. We also showed that silencing of eEF2K effectively reduced protein levels of SP1/KLF5 transcription factors and hence decreased the levels of bound SP1/KLF5 to the VEGF promoter, resulted in a decrease in VEGF mRNA expression. Knocking down eEF2K also led to a striking decrease in the phosphorylation of PI3K/Akt and STAT3, indicating inactivation of these tumorigenic pathways. Taken together, our data suggest that eEF2K contributes to angiogenesis and tumor progression in HCC via SP1/KLF5-mediated VEGF expression, as well as the subsequent stimulation of PI3K/Akt and STAT3 signaling.",
keywords = "angiogenesis, eEF2K, elongation, hepatocellular carcinoma, protein synthesis, tumor microenvironment",
author = "Ying Zhou and Yaoting Li and Shihao Xu and Jing Lu and Ziyi Zhu and Shaoli Chen and Yuan Tan and Peng He and Jin Xu and Christopher Proud and Jianling Xie and Kaikai Shen",
year = "2019",
month = "7",
day = "8",
doi = "10.1002/ijc.32560",
language = "English",
volume = "146",
pages = "1383--1395",
journal = "International Journal of Cancer",
issn = "0020-7136",
publisher = "Wiley-Liss Inc.",
number = "5",

}

Eukaryotic elongation factor 2 kinase promotes angiogenesis in hepatocellular carcinoma via PI3K/Akt and STAT3. / Zhou, Ying; Li, Yaoting; Xu, Shihao; Lu, Jing; Zhu, Ziyi; Chen, Shaoli; Tan, Yuan; He, Peng; Xu, Jin; Proud, Christopher; Xie, Jianling; Shen, Kaikai.

In: International Journal of Cancer, Vol. 146, No. 5, 08.07.2019, p. 1383-1395.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Eukaryotic elongation factor 2 kinase promotes angiogenesis in hepatocellular carcinoma via PI3K/Akt and STAT3

AU - Zhou, Ying

AU - Li, Yaoting

AU - Xu, Shihao

AU - Lu, Jing

AU - Zhu, Ziyi

AU - Chen, Shaoli

AU - Tan, Yuan

AU - He, Peng

AU - Xu, Jin

AU - Proud, Christopher

AU - Xie, Jianling

AU - Shen, Kaikai

PY - 2019/7/8

Y1 - 2019/7/8

N2 - Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is an aggressive malignancy with increasing mortality in China. Angiogenesis is crucial for tumor formation, development and metastasis in HCC. Previous studies indicated that high expression levels of elongation factor 2 kinase (eEF2K), a protein kinase that negatively regulates the elongation stage of translation, were associated with poor prognosis of HCC. Here, we show that pharmacological inhibition or knockdown of eEF2K in highly metastatic liver cancer cells inhibits their colony forming and migratory capacities, as well as reducing their invasiveness. Importantly, knocking down eEF2K by lentiviral directed shRNA prevented tumor growth and angiogenesis of HCC in mice. Silencing of eEF2K in endothelial cells (HUVECs) led to a reduction in vascularization, evidenced by a decrease in capillary-like structures in the matrigel. Notably, knocking down eEF2K reduced the expression of angiogenesis-related growth factors in liver cancer cells and the expression of growth factor receptors on HUVECs, and thus restricted signaling crosstalk that promotes angiogenesis between HCC cells and endothelial cells. We also showed that silencing of eEF2K effectively reduced protein levels of SP1/KLF5 transcription factors and hence decreased the levels of bound SP1/KLF5 to the VEGF promoter, resulted in a decrease in VEGF mRNA expression. Knocking down eEF2K also led to a striking decrease in the phosphorylation of PI3K/Akt and STAT3, indicating inactivation of these tumorigenic pathways. Taken together, our data suggest that eEF2K contributes to angiogenesis and tumor progression in HCC via SP1/KLF5-mediated VEGF expression, as well as the subsequent stimulation of PI3K/Akt and STAT3 signaling.

AB - Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is an aggressive malignancy with increasing mortality in China. Angiogenesis is crucial for tumor formation, development and metastasis in HCC. Previous studies indicated that high expression levels of elongation factor 2 kinase (eEF2K), a protein kinase that negatively regulates the elongation stage of translation, were associated with poor prognosis of HCC. Here, we show that pharmacological inhibition or knockdown of eEF2K in highly metastatic liver cancer cells inhibits their colony forming and migratory capacities, as well as reducing their invasiveness. Importantly, knocking down eEF2K by lentiviral directed shRNA prevented tumor growth and angiogenesis of HCC in mice. Silencing of eEF2K in endothelial cells (HUVECs) led to a reduction in vascularization, evidenced by a decrease in capillary-like structures in the matrigel. Notably, knocking down eEF2K reduced the expression of angiogenesis-related growth factors in liver cancer cells and the expression of growth factor receptors on HUVECs, and thus restricted signaling crosstalk that promotes angiogenesis between HCC cells and endothelial cells. We also showed that silencing of eEF2K effectively reduced protein levels of SP1/KLF5 transcription factors and hence decreased the levels of bound SP1/KLF5 to the VEGF promoter, resulted in a decrease in VEGF mRNA expression. Knocking down eEF2K also led to a striking decrease in the phosphorylation of PI3K/Akt and STAT3, indicating inactivation of these tumorigenic pathways. Taken together, our data suggest that eEF2K contributes to angiogenesis and tumor progression in HCC via SP1/KLF5-mediated VEGF expression, as well as the subsequent stimulation of PI3K/Akt and STAT3 signaling.

KW - angiogenesis

KW - eEF2K

KW - elongation

KW - hepatocellular carcinoma

KW - protein synthesis

KW - tumor microenvironment

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85069897264&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1002/ijc.32560

DO - 10.1002/ijc.32560

M3 - Article

VL - 146

SP - 1383

EP - 1395

JO - International Journal of Cancer

T2 - International Journal of Cancer

JF - International Journal of Cancer

SN - 0020-7136

IS - 5

ER -