• Open Access

Spliceostatin A blocks angiogenesis by inhibiting global gene expression including VEGF


To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: yoshidam@riken.jp


Spliceostatin A (SSA) is a methylated derivative of an antitumor natural product FR901464, which specifically binds and inhibits the SF3b spliceosome sub-complex. To investigate the selective antitumor activity of SSA, we focused on the regulation of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) mRNA, since VEGF is a key regulatory component in tumor angiogenesis and known for the intricate regulation of mRNA processing, such as alternative splicing. We found that in HeLa cells SSA reduced the amount of both mRNA and protein of VEGF. Spliceostatin A not only inhibited the splicing reaction of VEGF pre-mRNA but also reduced the total amount of VEGF’s transcripts, while SSA affected GAPDH mRNA to a lesser extent. Given a significant reduction in VEGF gene expression, SSA was expected to possess anti-angiogenic activity in vivo. Indeed, SSA inhibited cancer cell-derived angiogenesis in vivo in a chicken chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) assay. The inhibition of angiogenesis with SSA was abolished by addition of exogenous VEGF. We also performed global gene expression analyses of HeLa cells and found that the expression levels of 38% of total genes including VEGF decreased to <50% of the basal levels following 16 h of SSA treatment. These results suggest that the global interference of gene expression including VEGF in tumor cells is at least one of the mechanisms by which SSA (or FR901464) exhibits its strong antitumor activity. (Cancer Sci 2010; 101: 2483–2489)