Ectopic expression of von Hippel-Lindau tumor suppressor induces apoptosis in 786-O renal cell carcinoma cells and regresses tumor growth of 786-O cells in nude mouse

Min Kim, Ying Yan, Kwangmoon Lee, Magda Sgagias, Kenneth H. Cowan

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The von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) is a known tumor suppressor that binds to α-subunits of hypoxia-inducible factors and induces ubiquitin-mediated degradation of the protein in an oxygen-dependent manner. VHL is also involved in the regulation of tumor angiogenesis, glycolysis, cell cycle regulation, and apoptosis. In the present study, we showed that ectopic expression of VHL induces apoptosis in renal cell carcinoma 786-O cells which contain only the mutant VHL, evidenced by TUNEL assay and DAPI staining. Furthermore, biochemical studies indicated that expression of VHL in 786-O cells results in both PARP and CPP32 cleavage, suggesting that VHL-induced apoptosis in 786-O cells is caspase dependent. Moreover, we also observed that apoptosis induced by ectopic VHL expression was associated with up-regulation of p27 as well as Bax, implicating the roles of these two proteins in VHL-induced apoptosis. The up-regulation of p27 and Bax by VHL was specific since we did not detect any changes in the level of other apoptotic factors including Fas and Bcl2 by the expression of VHL. We next examined the effect of VHL expression on the tumor growth of 786-O renal cell carcinoma cells in nude mouse. The results showed that injection of Ad.VHL adenovirus regresses the tumor growth of 786-O cells in nude mouse. The analysis by TUNEL assay as well as DAPI staining of 786-O tumors injected with Ad.VHL showed clear evidence of apoptosis. These results suggest that ectopic VHL expression induces apoptotic response in 786-O VHL mutant cells both in vitro and in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)945-950
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 30 2004



  • Adenovirus
  • Apoptosis
  • Bax
  • VHL

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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