c-Myc interacts with hypoxia to induce angiogenesis in vivo by a vascular endothelial growth factor-dependent mechanism.
Knies-Bamforth UE., Fox SB., Poulsom R., Evan GI., Harris AL.
The proto-oncogene c-myc is involved in the regulation of cell proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis. In this study, we used an inducible transgenic mouse model in which c-Myc was targeted to the epidermis and, after activation, gave rise to hyperplastic and dysplastic skin lesions and to dermal angiogenesis, involving both vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor-1 and VEGF receptor-2. After c-Myc activation, VEGF mRNA was expressed in postmitotic keratinocytes where it colocalized with transgene expression and areas of tissue hypoxia, suggesting a role of hypoxia in VEGF induction. In vitro, c-Myc activation alone was able to induce VEGF protein release and in conjunction with hypoxia, c-Myc activation further increased VEGF protein. Blocking VEGF signaling in vivo significantly reduced dermal angiogenesis, demonstrating the importance of VEGF as a mediating factor for the c-Myc-induced angiogenic phenotype.