KNK437, abrogates hypoxia-induced radioresistance by dual targeting of the AKT and HIF-1α survival pathways

Deepu Oommen, Kevin M Prise

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


KNK437 is a benzylidene lactam compound known to inhibit stress-induced synthesis of heat shock proteins (HSPs). HSPs promote radioresistance and play a major role in stabilizing hypoxia inducible factor-1a (HIF-1a). HIF-1a is widely responsible for tumor resistance to radiation under hypoxic conditions. We hypothesized that KNK437 sensitizes cancer cells to radiation and overrides hypoxia-induced radioresistance via destabilizing HIF-1a. Treatment of human cancer cells MDA-MB-231 and T98G with KNK437 sensitized them to ionizing radiation (IR). Surprisingly, IR did not induce HSPs in these cell lines. As hypothesized, KNK437 abrogated the accumulation of HIF-1a in hypoxic cells. However, there was no induction of HSPs under hypoxic conditions. Moreover, the proteosome inhibitor MG132 did not restore HIF-1a levels in KNK437-treated cells. This suggested that the absence of HIF-1a in hypoxic cells was not due to the enhanced protein degradation. HIF-1a is mainly regulated at the level of post-transcription and AKT is known to modulate the translation of HIF-1a mRNA. Interestingly, pre-treatment of cells with KNK437 inhibited AKT signaling. Furthermore, down regulation of AKT by siRNA abrogated HIF-1a levels under hypoxia. Interestingly, KNK437 reduced cell survival in hypoxic conditions and inhibited hypoxia-induced resistance to radiation. Taken together, these data suggest that KNK437 is an effective radiosensitizer that targets multiple pro-survival stress response pathways.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)538-43
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 11 May 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Biophysics
  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology

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