Hypoxia Induces Autophagy through Translational Up-Regulation of Lysosomal Proteins in Human Colon Cancer Cells

Ming Chih Lai, Chiao May Chang, H. Sunny Sun Sun

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30 Citations (Scopus)


Hypoxia occurs in a wide variety of physiological and pathological conditions, including tumorigenesis. Tumor cells have to adapt to hypoxia by altering their gene expression and protein synthesis. Here, we showed that hypoxia inhibits translation through activation of PERK and inactivation of mTOR in human colon cancer HCT116 cells. Prolonged hypoxia (1% O2 , 16 h) dramatically inhibits general translation in HCT116 cells, yet selected mRNAs remain efficiently translated under such a condition. Using microarray analysis of polysomeassociated mRNAs, we identified a large number of hypoxia-regulated genes at the translational level. Efficiently translated mRNAs during hypoxia were validated by polysome profiling and quantitative real-time RT-PCR. Pathway enrichment analysis showed that many of the up-regulated genes are involved in lysosome, glycan and lipid metabolism, antigen presentation, cell adhesion, and remodeling of the extracellular matrix and cytoskeleton. The majority of down-regulated genes are involved in apoptosis, ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis, and oxidative phosphorylation. Further investigation showed that hypoxia induces lysosomal autophagy and mitochondrial dysfunction through translational regulation in HCT116 cells. The abundance of several translation factors and the mTOR kinase activity are involved in hypoxia-induced mitochondrial autophagy in HCT116 cells. Our studies highlight the importance of translational regulation for tumor cell adaptation to hypoxia.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0153627.
JournalPloS one
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Apr

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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