Microarray analysis still is a powerful tool to identify new components of the transcriptosome. It helps to increase the knowledge of targets triggered by stress conditions such as hypoxia and nitric oxide. However, analysis of transcriptional regulatory events remain elusive due to the contribution of altered mRNA stability to gene expression patterns as well as changes in the half-life of mRNAs, which influence mRNA expression levels and their turn over rates. To circumvent these problems, we have focused on the analysis of newly transcribed (nascent) mRNAs by nuclear run on (NRO), followed by microarray analysis.
We identified 196 genes that were significantly regulated by hypoxia, 85 genes affected by nitric oxide and 292 genes induced by the cotreatment of macrophages with both NO and hypoxia. Fourteen genes (Bnip3, Ddit4, Vegfa, Trib3, Atf3, Cdkn1a, Scd1, D4Ertd765e, Sesn2, Son, Nnt, Lst1, Hps6 and Fxyd5) were common to all treatments but with different levels of expression in each group. We observed that 162 transcripts were regulated only when cells were co-treated with hypoxia and NO but not with either treatment alone, pointing to the importance of a crosstalk between hypoxia and NO. In addition, both array and proteomics data supported a consistent repression of hypoxia-regulated targets by NO.
By eliminating the interference of steady state mRNA in gene expression profiling, we obtained a smaller number of significantly regulated transcripts in our study compared to published microarray data and identified previously unknown hypoxia-induced targets. Gene analysis profiling corroborated the interplay between NO- and hypoxia-induced signaling.