The growth and aggressive behavior of human osteosarcoma is regulated by a CaMKII-controlled autocrine VEGF signaling mechanism

Academic Article


  • Osteosarcoma (OS) is a hyperproliferative malignant tumor that requires a high vascular density to maintain its large volume. Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) plays a crucial role in angiogenesis and acts as a paracrine and autocrine agent affecting both endothelial and tumor cells. The alpha-Ca2+/Calmodulin kinase two (α-CaMKII) protein is an important regulator of OS growth. Here, we investigate the role of α-CaMKII-induced VEGF in the growth and tumorigenicity of OS. We show that the pharmacologic and genetic inhibition of α-CaMKII results in decreases in VEGF gene expression (50%) and protein secretion (55%), while α- CaMKII overexpression increases VEGF gene expression (250%) and protein secretion (1,200%). We show that aggressive OS cells (143B) express high levels of VEGF receptor 2 (VEGFR-2) and respond to exogenous VEGF (100nm) by increasing intracellular calcium (30%). This response is ameliorated by the VEGFR inhibitor CBO-P11, suggesting that secreted VEGF results in autocrine stimulated α-CaMKII activation. Furthermore, we show that VEGF and α-CaMKII inhibition decreases the transactivation of the HIF-1α and AP-1 reporter constructs. Additionally, chromatin immunoprecipitation assay shows significantly decreased binding of HIF-1α and AP-1 to their responsive elements in the VEGF promoter. These data suggest that α-CaMKII regulates VEGF transcription by controlling HIF-1α and AP-1 transcriptional activities. Finally, CBO-P11, KN-93 (CaMKII inhibitor) and combination therapy significantly reduced tumor burden in vivo. Our results suggest that VEGF-induced OS tumor growth is controlled by CaMKII and dual therapy by CaMKII and VEGF inhibitors could be a promising therapy against this devastating adolescent disease.
  • Published In

  • PLoS One  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Daft PG; Yang Y; Napierala D; Zayzafoon M
  • Volume

  • 10
  • Issue

  • 4