Stabilization of vascular endothelial growth factor mRNA by hypoxia and hypoglycemia and coregulation with other ischemia-induced genes

Ilan Stein, Michal Neeman, Dorit Shweiki, Ahuva Itin, Eli Keshet*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

418 Scopus citations


Expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), an endothelial cell-specific mitogen and a potent angiogenic factor, is upregulated in response to a hypoxic or hypoglycemic stress. Here we show that the increase in steady-state levels of VEGF mRNA is partly due to transcriptional activation but mostly due to increase in mRNA stability. Both oxygen and glucose deficiencies result in extension of the VEGF mRNA half-life in a protein synthesis-dependent manner. Viewing VEGF as a stress-induced gene, we compared its mode of regulation with that of other stress-induced genes. Results showed that under nonstressed conditions, VEGF shares with the glucose transporter GLUT-1 a relatively short half-life (0.64 and 0.52 h, respectively), which is extended fourfold and more than eightfold, respectively, when cells are deprived of either oxygen or glucose. In contrast, the mRNAs of another hypoxia-inducible and hypoglycemia-inducible gene, grp78, as well as that of HSP70, were not stabilized by these metabolic insults. To show that VEGF and GLUT-1 are coinduced in differentially stressed microenvironments, multicell spheroids representing a clonal population of glioma cells in which each cell layer is differentially stressed were analyzed by in situ hybridization. Cellular microenvironments conducive to induction of VEGF and GLUT-1 were completely coincidental. These findings show that two different consequences of tissue ischemia, namely, hypoxia and glucose deprivation, induce VEGF and GLUT-1 expression by similar mechanisms. These proteins function, in turn, to satisfy the tissue needs through expanding its vasculature and improving its glucose utilization, respectively.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)5363-5368
Number of pages6
JournalMolecular and Cellular Biology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1995


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