Journal Article

Cyr61/CCN1 and CTGF/CCN2 mediate the proangiogenic activity of <i>VHL</i>-mutant renal carcinoma cells

Mastan R. Chintalapudi, Margaret Markiewicz, Nurgun Kose, Vincent Dammai, Kristen J. Champion, Rana S. Hoda, Maria Trojanowska and Tien Hsu

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 29, issue 4, pages 696-703
Published in print April 2008 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online January 2008 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI:
Cyr61/CCN1 and CTGF/CCN2 mediate the proangiogenic activity of VHL-mutant renal carcinoma cells

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The von Hippel–Lindau (VHL) protein serves as a negative regulator of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-α subunits. Since HIF regulates critical angiogenic factors such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and lesions in VHL gene are present in a majority of the highly vascularized renal cell carcinoma (RCC), it is believed that deregulation of the VHL–HIF pathway is crucial for the proangiogenic activity of RCC. Although VEGF has been confirmed as a critical angiogenic factor upregulated in VHL-mutant cells, the efficacy of antiangiogenic therapy specifically targeting VEGF signaling remains modest. In this study, we developed a three-dimensional in vitro assay to evaluate the ability of RCC cells to promote cord formation by the primary human dermal microvascular endothelial cells (HDMECs). Compared with VHL wild-type cells, VHL-mutant RCC cells demonstrated a significantly increased proangiogenic activity, which correlated with increased secretion of cysteine-rich 61 (Cyr61)/cysteine-rich 61-connective tissue growth factor-nephroblastoma overexpressed (CCN) 1, connective tissue growth factor (CTGF)/CCN2 and VEGF in conditioned culture medium. Both CCN proteins are required for HDMEC cord formation as shown by RNA interference knockdown experiments. Importantly, the proangiogenic activities conferred by the CCN proteins and VEGF are additive, suggesting non-overlapping functions. Expression of the CCN proteins is at least partly dependent on the HIF-2α function, the dominant HIF-α isoform expressed in RCC. Finally, immunohistochemical staining of Cyr61/CCN1 and CTGF/CCN2 in RCC tissue samples showed that increased expression of these proteins correlates with the loss of VHL protein expression. These findings strengthened the notion that the hypervascularized phenotype of RCC is afforded by multiple proangiogenic factors that function in parallel pathways.

Journal Article.  6370 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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