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Construction of a GLUT-1 and HIF-1α gene knockout cell model in HEp-2 cells using the CRISPR/Cas9 technique

Authors Lu ZJ, Yu Q, Zhou SH, Fan J, Shen LF, Bao YY, Wu TT, Zhou ML, Huang YP

Received 14 August 2018

Accepted for publication 15 January 2019

Published 8 March 2019 Volume 2019:11 Pages 2087—2096

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CMAR.S183859

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Antonella D'Anneo


Zhong-Jie Lu,1 Qi Yu,2 Shui-Hong Zhou,2 Jun Fan,3 Li-Fang Shen,2 Yang-Yang Bao,2 Ting-Ting Wu,2 Min-Li Zhou,2 Ya-Ping Huang3

1Department of Radiotherapy, 2Department of Otolaryngology, 3State Key Laboratory for Diagnosis and Treatment of Infectious Diseases, The First Affiliated Hospital, College of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang 310003, P.R. China

Background: Glucose transporter (GLUT)-mediated glucose uptake is an important process in the development of laryngeal carcinoma, one of the most common malignancies of the head and neck. GLUT-1, together with HIF-1α, is also an indicator of hypoxia. Both proteins play a critical role in glucose uptake and glycolysis in laryngeal carcinoma cells under hypoxic stress. A double gene knockout model in which HIF-1α and GLUT-1 are no longer expressed can provide important information about carcinogenesis in laryngeal carcinoma.
Purpose: In this study we used the CRISPR/Cas 9 system to induce HIF-1α and GLUT-1 double gene knockout in HEp-2 cells and then used the knocked-out cells to study the role of these markers in laryngeal carcinoma, including in chemo-radioresistance.
Methods: High-grade small-guide RNAs (sgRNAs) of HIF-1α and GLUT-1 were designed using an online tool and inserted into the pUC57-T7-gRNA vector. The recombinant plasmids were transfected into HEp-2 cells and positive cells were screened using the dilution method. Gene mutation and expression were determined by sequence analysis and immunoblotting.
Results: In HIF-1α and GLUT-1 double gene knockout HEp-2 cells, a 171-bp deletion in the HIF-1α genomic sequence was detected, whereas multiple base insertions resulted in frameshift mutations in the GLUT-1 gene. Neither HIF-1α nor GLUT-1 protein was expressed in positive cells. The proliferation, migration, and invasion of HEp-2 cells were significantly decreased afterward. The possible mechanism may be that the inhibition PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway by HIF-1α and GLUT-1 double gene knockout using CRISPR/Cas9 technique lead to reduction of glucose uptake and lactic acid generation.
Conclusion: Our HIF-1α and GLUT-1 double gene knockout HEp-2 cell model, obtained using a CRISPR/Cas9-based system, may facilitate studies of the pathogenesis of laryngeal carcinoma.

Keywords: CRISPR, Cas9 system, glucose transporter-1, HEp-2 cells, hypoxia-inducible factor-1α, PI3K, AKT, mTOR pathway, laryngeal carcinoma

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