VHL-dependence of EHHADH Expression in a Human Renal Cell Carcinoma Cell Line

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Julia Felicitas Pilz
Marinella Klein
Elke Neumann-Haefelin
Athina Ganner


ccRCC, EHHADH, fatty acid metabolism, RCC4, VHL


The von Hippel-Lindau tumor suppressor gene (VHL) is mutated in up to 90% of clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) cases, thus playing a key role in ccRCC pathogenesis. ccRCC can be classified as a metabolic disease in which alterations in fatty acid metabolism facilitate cancer cell proliferation. Enoyl-CoA hydratase and 3-hydroxyacyl CoA dehydrogenase (EHHADH) is an enzyme involved in peroxisomal fatty acid degradation. It is primarily expressed in renal proximal tubule cells, presumably the origin of ccRCC. Although EHHADH is still a relatively unexplored gene, it is known to be differentially expressed in several tumors. In this study, analysis of several databases revealed that EHHADH expression is downregulated in ccRCC samples compared to healthy kidney samples. Moreover, cell culture experiments were performed to investigate the relationship between EHHADH and VHL at the gene and protein level. qPCR and Western blot analyses using the human ccRCC cell line RCC4 revealed that EHHADH is expressed in a VHL-dependent manner. RCC4 cells reconstituted with VHL show significantly higher EHHADH mRNA and protein levels than VHL-deficient RCC4 control cells. These results indicate that the downregulation of EHHADH in ccRCC reported may be due to the loss of VHL function. This study is the first to molecularly characterize EHHADH, a key enzyme in peroxisomal ß-oxidation, in relation to VHL, suggesting a potential pathogenic interaction that is worthy of further investigation.

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