The switch of cellular metabolism from mitochondrial respiration to glycolysis is the hallmark of cancer cells and associated with tumor malignancy. However, the mechanism of this metabolic switch remains largely unknown. Herein, we reported that hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) induced pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase-3 (PDK3) expression leading to inhibition of mitochondrial respiration. Promoter activity assay, small interference RNA knockdown assay, and chromatin immunoprecipitation assay demonstrated that hypoxia-induced PDK3 gene activity was regulated by HIF-1 at the transcriptional level. Forced expression of PDK3 in cancer cells resulted in increased lactic acid accumulation and drugs resistance, whereas knocking down PDK3 inhibited hypoxia-induced cytoplasmic glycolysis and cell survival. These data demonstrated that increased PDK3 expression due to elevated HIF-1α in cancer cells may play critical roles in metabolic switch during cancer progression and chemoresistance in cancer therapy
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