Hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) is the major hypoxia-regulated transcription factor that regulates cellular responses to low oxygen environments. HIF-1 is composed of two subunits: hypoxia-inducible HIF-1α and constitutively-expressed HIF-1β. During hypoxic conditions, HIF-1α heterodimerizes with HIF-1β and translocates to the nucleus where the HIF-1 complex binds to the hypoxia-response element (HRE) and activates expression of target genes implicated in cell growth and survival. HIF-1α protein expression is elevated in many solid tumors, including those of the cervix and brain, where cells that are the greatest distance from blood vessels, and therefore the most hypoxic, express the highest levels of HIF-1α. Therapeutic blockade of the HIF-1 signaling pathway in cancer cells therefore provides an attractive strategy for development of anticancer drugs. To identify small molecule inhibitors of the HIF-1 pathway, we have developed a cell-based reporter gene assay and screened a large compound library by using a quantitative high-throughput screening (qHTS) approach.
The assay is based upon a β-lactamase reporter under the control of a HRE. We have screened approximate 73,000 compounds by qHTS, with each compound tested over a range of seven to fifteen concentrations. After qHTS we have rapidly identified three novel structural series of HIF-1 pathway Inhibitors. Selected compounds in these series were also confirmed as inhibitors in a HRE β-lactamase reporter gene assay induced by low oxygen and in a VEGF secretion assay. Three of the four selected compounds tested showed significant inhibition of hypoxia-induced HIF-1α accumulation by western blot analysis.
The use of β-lactamase reporter gene assays, in combination with qHTS, enabled the rapid identification and prioritization of inhibitors specific to the hypoxia induced signaling pathway.
Hypoxia-Inducible Factor (HIF)-1 is a dimeric protein complex that plays an integral role in the body's response to low oxygen concentrations, or hypoxia. HIF-1 is among the primary genes involved in the homeostatic process, which can increase vascularization in hypoxic areas such as localized ischemia and tumors. It is a transcription factor for dozens of target genes; HIF-1 is also essential for immunological responses and is a crucial physiological regulator of homeostasis, vascularization, and anaerobic metabolism. Furthermore, HIF-1 is increasingly studied because of its perceived therapeutic potential. As it causes angiogenesis, enhancement of this gene within ischemic patients could promote the vessel proliferation needed for oxygenation. In contrast, as HIF-1 allows for survival and proliferation of cancerous cells due to its angiogenic properties, inhibition potentially could prevent the spread of cancer. With a growing understanding of the HIF-1 pathway, the inhibition and stimulation of its transcriptional activity via small molecules is now an attractive goal. Gene therapy to achieve both vessel proliferation and tumor regression has been demonstrated in animal studies but requires significant improvement and modification before becoming commercially available. This review focuses on the potential of the HIF-1 pathway in therapeutic intervention for the treatment of diseases such as cancer and ischemia.
Glioblastomas, like other solid tumors, have extensive areas of hypoxia and necrosis. The importance of hypoxia in driving tumor growth is receiving increased attention. Hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) is one of the master regulators that orchestrate the cellular responses to hypoxia. It is a heterodimeric transcription factor composed of α and β subunits. The α subunit is stable in hypoxic conditions but is rapidly degraded in normoxia. The function of HIF-1 is also modulated by several molecular mechanisms that regulate its synthesis, degradation, and transcriptional activity. Upon stabilization or activation, HIF-1 translocates to the nucleus and induces transcription of its downstream target genes. Most important to gliomagenesis, HIF-1 is a potent activator of angiogenesis and invasion through its upregulation of target genes critical for these functions. Activation of the HIF-1 pathway is a common feature of gliomas and may explain the intense vascular hyperplasia often seen in glioblastoma multiforme. Activation of HIF results in the activation of vascular endothelial growth factors, vascular endothelial growth factor receptors, matrix metalloproteinases, plasminogen activator inhibitor, transforming growth factors α and β, angiopoietin and Tie receptors, endothelin-1, inducible nitric oxide synthase, adrenomedullin, and erythropoietin, which all affect glioma angiogenesis. In conclusion, HIF is a critical regulatory factor in the tumor microenvironment because of its central role in promoting proangiogenic and invasive properties. While HIF activation strongly promotes angiogenesis, the emerging vasculature is often abnormal, leading to a vicious cycle that causes further hypoxia and HIF upregulation.
Hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs) are essential mediators of the cellular oxygen-signaling pathway. They are heterodimeric transcription factors consisting of an oxygen-sensitive alpha subunit (HIF-α) and a constitutive beta subunit (HIF-β) that facilitate both oxygen delivery and adaptation to oxygen deprivation by regulating the expression of genes that control glucose uptake, metabolism, angiogenesis, erythropoiesis, cell proliferation, and apoptosis. In most experimental models, the HIF pathway is a positive regulator of tumor growth as its inhibition often results in tumor suppression. In clinical samples, HIF is found elevated and correlates with poor patient prognosis in a variety of cancers. In summary, HIF regulates multiple aspects of tumorigenesis, including angiogenesis, proliferation, metabolism, metastasis, differentiation, and response to radiation therapy, making it a critical regulator of the malignant phenotype.
hypoxia; cancer; HIF; metastasis
The FIH hydroxylase is a cellular peroxide sensor that modulates HIF transcriptional activity
HIF asparaginyl hydroxylase (FIH) is shown to be strikingly more sensitive to peroxide than the HIF prolyl hydroxylases, indicating that hypoxia and oxidative stress are distinct regulators of the HIF response.
Hypoxic and oxidant stresses can coexist in biological systems, and oxidant stress has been proposed to activate hypoxia pathways through the inactivation of the ‘oxygen-sensing' hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) prolyl and asparaginyl hydroxylases. Here, we show that despite reduced sensitivity to cellular hypoxia, the HIF asparaginyl hydroxylase—known as FIH, factor inhibiting HIF—is strikingly more sensitive to peroxide than the HIF prolyl hydroxylases. These contrasting sensitivities indicate that oxidant stress is unlikely to signal hypoxia directly to the HIF system, but that hypoxia and oxidant stress can interact functionally as distinct regulators of HIF transcriptional output.
FIH; HIF; hydroxylation; peroxide
In mammals, the liver integrates nutrient uptake and delivery of carbohydrates and lipids to peripheral tissues to control overall energy balance. Hepatocytes maintain metabolic homeostasis by coordinating gene expression programs in response to dietary and systemic signals. Hepatic tissue oxygenation is an important systemic signal that contributes to normal hepatocyte function as well as disease. Hypoxia-inducible factors 1 and 2 (HIF-1 and HIF-2, respectively) are oxygen-sensitive heterodimeric transcription factors, which act as key mediators of cellular adaptation to low oxygen. Previously, we have shown that HIF-2 plays an important role in both physiologic and pathophysiologic processes in the liver. HIF-2 is essential for normal fetal EPO production and erythropoiesis, while constitutive HIF-2 activity in the adult results in polycythemia and vascular tumorigenesis. Here we report a novel role for HIF-2 in regulating hepatic lipid metabolism. We found that constitutive activation of HIF-2 in the adult results in the development of severe hepatic steatosis associated with impaired fatty acid β-oxidation, decreased lipogenic gene expression, and increased lipid storage capacity. These findings demonstrate that HIF-2 functions as an important regulator of hepatic lipid metabolism and identify HIF-2 as a potential target for the treatment of fatty liver disease.
Studies of adaptive mechanisms to hypoxia led to the discovery of the transcription factor called hypoxia inducible factor (HIF). HIF is a ubiquitously expressed, heterodimeric transcription factor that regulates a cassette of genes that can provide compensation for hypoxia, metabolic compromise, and oxidative stress including erythropoietin, vascular endothelial growth factor, or glycolytic enzymes. Diseases associated with oxygen deprivation and consequent metabolic compromise such as stroke or Alzheimer's disease may result from inadequate engagement of adaptive signaling pathways that culminate in HIF activation. The discovery that HIF stability and activation are governed by a family of dioxygenases called HIF prolyl 4 hydroxylases (PHDs) identified a new target to augment the transcriptional activity of HIF and thus the adaptive machinery that governs neuroprotection. PHDs lose activity when cells are deprived of oxygen, iron or 2-oxoglutarate. Inhibition of PHD activity triggers the cellular homeostatic response to oxygen and glucose deprivation by stabilizing HIF and other proteins. Herein, we discuss the possible role of PHDs in regulation of both HIF-dependent and -independent cell survival pathways in the nervous system with particular attention to the co-substrate requirements for these enzymes. The emergence of neuroprotective therapies that modulate genes capable of combating metabolic compromise is an affirmation of elegant studies done by John Blass and colleagues over the past five decades implicating altered metabolism in neurodegeneration.
Hypoxia inducible factor; Prolyl 4-hydroxylase; Transcriptional regulation; Neuroprotection; Iron chelation
inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) is a heterodimeric transcription
factor that acts as the master regulator of cellular response to reduced
oxygen levels, thus playing a key role in the adaptation, survival,
and progression of tumors. Here we report cyclo-CLLFVY,
identified from a library of 3.2 million cyclic hexapeptides using
a genetically encoded high-throughput screening platform, as an inhibitor
of the HIF-1α/HIF-1β protein–protein interaction
in vitro and in cells. The identified compound inhibits HIF-1 dimerization
and transcription activity by binding to the PAS-B domain of HIF-1α,
reducing HIF-1-mediated hypoxia response signaling in a variety of
cell lines, without affecting the function of the closely related
HIF-2 isoform. The reported cyclic peptide demonstrates the utility
of our high-throughput screening platform for the identification of
protein–protein interaction inhibitors, and forms the starting
point for the development of HIF-1 targeted cancer therapeutics.
Cells experiencing lowered O2 levels (hypoxia) undergo a variety of biological responses in order to adapt to these unfavorable conditions. The master switch, orchestrating the cellular response to low O2 levels, is the transcription factor, termed hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF). The α subunits of HIF are regulated by 2-oxoglutarate-dependent oxygenases that, in the presence of O2, hydroxylate specific prolyl and asparaginyl residues of HIF-α, inducing its proteasome-dependent degradation and repression of transcriptional activity, respectively. Hypoxia inhibits oxygenases, stabilized HIF-α translocates to the nucleus, dimerizes with HIF-β, recruits the coactivators p300/CBP, and induces expression of its transcriptional targets via binding to hypoxia-responsive elements (HREs). HREs are composite regulatory elements, comprising a conserved HIF-binding sequence and a highly variable flanking sequence that modulates the transcriptional response. In summary, the transcriptional response of a cell is the end product of two major functions. The first (trans-acting) is the level of activation of the HIF pathway that depends on regulation of stability and transcriptional activity of the HIF-α. The second (cis-acting) comprises the characteristics of endogenous HREs that are determined by the availability of transcription factors cooperating with HIF and/or individual HIF-α isoforms.
Hypoxia; hypoxia-inducible factor; transcriptional regulation; hypoxia-responsive element
Angiogenesis is essential for promoting growth and metastasis of solid tumors by ensuring blood supply to the tumor mass. Targeting angiogenesis is therefore an attractive approach to therapeutic intervention of cancer. Tumor angiogenesis is a process that is controlled by a complex network of molecular components including sensors, signaling transducers, and effectors, leading to cellular responses under hypoxic conditions. Positioned at the center of this network are the hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs). HIF-1 is a major transcription factor that consists of two subunits, HIF-1α and HIF-1β. It mediates transcription of a spectrum of gene targets whose products are essential for mounting hypoxic responses. HIF-1α protein level is very low in the normoxic condition but is rapidly elevated under hypoxia. This dramatic change in the cellular HIF-1α level is primarily regulated through the proteosome-mediated degradation process. In the past few years, scientific progress has clearly demonstrated that HIF-1α phosphorylation is mediated by several families of protein kinases including GSK3β and ERKs both of which play crucial roles in the regulation of HIF-1α stability. Recent research progress has identified that Polo-like kinase 3 (Plk3) phosphorylates HIF-1α at two previously unidentified serine residues and that the Plk3-mediated phosphorylation of these residues results in destabilization of HIF-1α. Plk3 has also recently been found to phosphorylate and stabilize PTEN phosphatase, a known regulator of HIF-1α and tumor angiogenesis. Given the success of targeting protein kinases and tumor angiogenesis in anti-cancer therapies, Plk3 could be a potential molecular target for the development of novel and effective therapeutic agents for cancer treatment.
Plk3; Tumor angiogenesis; Tumor suppression; HIF-1α; PTEN
Hypoxia, which occurs in the brain when oxygen availability drops below the normal level, is a major cause of perinatal hypoxic-ischemic injury (HII). The transcriptional factor hypoxia inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) is a key regulator in the pathophysiological response to the stress of hypoxia. Genes regulated by HIF-1 are involved in energy metabolism, erythropoiesis, angiogenesis, vasodilatation, cell survival and apoptosis. Compared with the adult brain, the neonatal brain is different in physiological structure, function, cellular composition and signaling pathways related gene activation and response after hypoxia. The purpose of this review is to determine if developmental susceptibility of the brain after hypoxic/ischemic injury is related to HIF-1a, which also plays a pivotal role in the normal brain development. HIF-1a regulates both prosurvival and prodeath responses in the neonatal brain and various mechanisms underlie the apparent contradictory effects, including duration of ischemic injury and severity, cell-types, and/or dependent on the nature of the stimulus after HII. Studies report an excessive induction of HIF-1 in the immature brain, which suggests that a cell death promoting role of HIF may prevail. Inhibition of HIF-1a and targeted activation of its prosurvival genes appear as a favorable therapeutic strategy. However, a better understanding of multifaceted HIF-1 function during brain development is required to explore potential targets for further therapeutic interventions in the neonate.
Hypoxia Inducible Factor (HIF) is a master heterodimeric transcriptional regulator of oxygen (O2) homeostasis critical to proper angiogenic responses. Due to the distinctive coexpression of HIF-1α and HIF-2α subunits in endothelial cells, our goal was to examine the genetic elimination of HIF transcriptional activity in response to physiological hypoxic conditions by using a genetic model in which the required HIF-β subunit (ARNT, Aryl hydrocarbon Receptor Nuclear Translocator) to HIF transcriptional responses was depleted. Endothelial cells (ECs) and aortic explants were isolated from ArntloxP/loxP mice and infected with Adenovirus -Cre/GFP or control -GFP. We observed that moderate levels of 2.5% O2 promoted vessel sprouting, growth, and branching in control aortic ring assays while growth from Adenovirus -Cre infected explants was compromised. Primary Adenovirus -Cre infected EC cultures featured adverse migration and tube formation phenotypes. Primary pulmonary or cardiac ARNT-deleted ECs also failed to proliferate and survive in response to 8 or 2.5% O2 and hydrogen peroxide treatment. Our data demonstrates that ARNT promotes EC migration and vessel outgrowth and indispensible for the proliferation and preservation of ECs in response to the physiological environmental cue of hypoxia. Thus, these results demonstrate that ARNT plays a critical intrinsic role in ECs and support a critical role for the collaboration of HIF-1 and HIF-2 transcriptional activity in these cells.
Angiogenesis; ARNT; HIF; physiological hypoxia; endothelium
Hypoxia inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) monitors the cellular response to the oxygen levels in solid tumors. Under hypoxia conditions, HIF-1α protein is stabilized and forms a heterodimer with the HIF-1β subunit. The HIF-1 complex activates the transcription of numerous target genes in order to adapt the hypoxic environment in human cancer cells. In gastric cancer patients, HIF-1α activation following extended hypoxia strongly correlates with an aggressive tumor phenotype and a poor prognosis. HIF-1α activation has been also reported to occur via hypoxia-independent mechanisms such as PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling and ROS production. This article argues for the critical roles of HIF-1α in glucose metabolism, carcinogenesis, angiogenesis, invasion, metastasis, cell survival and chemoresistance, focusing on gastric cancer.
HIF-1α; hypoxia; gastric cancer
Transcriptional responses to hypoxia are primarily mediated by hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF), a heterodimer of HIF-α and the aryl hydrocarbon receptor nuclear translocator subunits. The HIF-1α and HIF-2α subunits are structurally similar in their DNA binding and dimerization domains but differ in their transactivation domains, implying they may have unique target genes. Previous studies using Hif-1α−/− embryonic stem and mouse embryonic fibroblast cells show that loss of HIF-1α eliminates all oxygen-regulated transcriptional responses analyzed, suggesting that HIF-2α is dispensable for hypoxic gene regulation. In contrast, HIF-2α has been shown to regulate some hypoxia-inducible genes in transient transfection assays and during embryonic development in the lung and other tissues. To address this discrepancy, and to identify specific HIF-2α target genes, we used DNA microarray analysis to evaluate hypoxic gene induction in cells expressing HIF-2α but not HIF-1α. In addition, we engineered HEK293 cells to express stabilized forms of HIF-1α or HIF-2α via a tetracycline-regulated promoter. In this first comparative study of HIF-1α and HIF-2α target genes, we demonstrate that HIF-2α does regulate a variety of broadly expressed hypoxia-inducible genes, suggesting that its function is not restricted, as initially thought, to endothelial cell-specific gene expression. Importantly, HIF-1α (and not HIF-2α) stimulates glycolytic gene expression in both types of cells, clearly showing for the first time that HIF-1α and HIF-2α have unique targets.
Lung development occurs under relative hypoxia and the most important oxygen-sensitive response pathway is driven by Hypoxia Inducible Factors (HIF). HIFs are heterodimeric transcription factors of an oxygen-sensitive subunit, HIFα, and a constitutively expressed subunit, HIF1β. HIF1α and HIF2α, encoded by two separate genes, contribute to the activation of hypoxia inducible genes. A third HIFα gene, HIF3α, is subject to alternative promoter usage and splicing, leading to three major isoforms, HIF3α, NEPAS and IPAS. HIF3α gene products add to the complexity of the hypoxia response as they function as dominant negative inhibitors (IPAS) or weak transcriptional activators (HIF3α/NEPAS). Previously, we and others have shown the importance of the Hif1α and Hif2α factors in lung development, and here we investigated the role of Hif3α during pulmonary development. Therefore, HIF3α was conditionally expressed in airway epithelial cells during gestation and although HIF3α transgenic mice were born alive and appeared normal, their lungs showed clear abnormalities, including a post-pseudoglandular branching defect and a decreased number of alveoli. The HIF3α expressing lungs displayed reduced numbers of Clara cells, alveolar epithelial type I and type II cells. As a result of HIF3α expression, the level of Hif2α was reduced, but that of Hif1α was not affected. Two regulatory genes, Rarβ, involved in alveologenesis, and Foxp2, a transcriptional repressor of the Clara cell specific Ccsp gene, were significantly upregulated in the HIF3α expressing lungs. In addition, aberrant basal cells were observed distally as determined by the expression of Sox2 and p63. We show that Hif3α binds a conserved HRE site in the Sox2 promoter and weakly transactivated a reporter construct containing the Sox2 promoter region. Moreover, Hif3α affected the expression of genes not typically involved in the hypoxia response, providing evidence for a novel function of Hif3α beyond the hypoxia response.
Hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1 and HIF-2 are heterodimeric transcription factors that mediate the cellular response to hypoxia. Their key regulatory subunits, HIF-1α and HIF-2α, are induced similarly by hypoxia, but their functional roles in cancer may be distinct and isoform-specific. SW480 colon cancer cells with stable expression of siRNA to HIF-1α or HIF-2α or both were established. HIF-1α-deficient cells displayed lower rates of proliferation and migration, but HIF-2α-deficient cells exhibited enhanced anchorage independent growth in a soft agar assay. Xenograft studies revealed that HIF-1α deficiency inhibited overall tumor growth, whereas deficiency of HIF-2α stimulated tumor growth. In human colon cancer tissues, expression of HIF-1α and to a lesser extent, HIF-2α, was linked to upregulation of VEGF and tumor angiogenesis. However, loss of expression of HIF-2α but not HIF-1α was strongly correlated with advanced tumor stage. DNA microarray analysis identified distinct sets of HIF-1α and HIF-2α target genes that may explain these phenotypic differences. Collectively, these findings suggest that HIF isoforms may have differing cellular functions in colon cancer. In particular, HIF-1α promoted the growth of SW480 colon cancer cells but HIF-2α appeared to restrain growth. Consequently, therapeutic approaches that target HIF may need to consider these isoform-specific properties.
colon cancer; HIF; angiogenesis
Oxygen dynamics in the liver is a central signaling mediator controlling hepatic homeostasis, and dysregulation of cellular oxygen is associated with liver injury. Moreover, the transcription factor relaying changes in cellular oxygen levels, hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF), is critical in liver metabolism and sustained increase in HIF signaling can lead to spontaneous steatosis, inflammation, and liver tumorigenesis. However, the direct responses and genetic networks regulated by HIFs in the liver are unclear. To help define the HIF signal transduction pathway, an animal model of HIF overexpression was generated and characterized. In this model, overexpression was achieved by Von Hippel-Lindau (Vhl) disruption in a liver-specific temporal fashion. Acute disruption of Vhl induced hepatic lipid accumulation in a HIF-2α-dependent manner. In addition, HIF-2α activation rapidly increased liver inflammation and fibrosis demonstrating that steatosis and inflammation are primary responses of the liver to hypoxia. To identify downstream effectors, a global microarray expression analysis was performed using livers lacking Vhl for 24-hours and 2-weeks, revealing a time-dependent effect of HIF on gene expression. Increase in genes involved in fatty acid synthesis were followed by an increase in fatty acid uptake-associated genes, and an inhibition of fatty acid β-oxidation. A rapid increase in pro-inflammatory cytokines and fibrogenic gene expression was also observed. In vivo chromatin immunoprecipitation assays revealed novel direct targets of HIF signaling that may contribute to hypoxia-mediated steatosis and inflammation. These data suggest that HIF-2α is a critical mediator in progression from clinically manageable steatosis to more severe steatohepatitis and liver cancer, and may be a potential therapeutic target.
Steatosis; Steatohepatitis; Fibrosis; Hypoxia-inducible factor; Inflammation
Hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α) controls the cellular responses to hypoxia, activating transcription of a range of genes involved in adaptive processes such as increasing glycolysis and promoting angiogenesis. However, paradoxically, HIF-1α also participates in hypoxic cell death. Several gene products, such as BNip3, RTP801, and Noxa, were identified as HIF-1α-responsive proapoptotic proteins, but the complicated hypoxic cell death pathways could not be completely explained by the few known genes. Moreover, molecules linking the proapoptotic signals of HIF-1α directly to mitochondrial permeability transition are missing. In this work, we report the identification of an HIF-1α-responsive proapoptotic molecule, HGTD-P. Its expression was directly regulated by HIF-1α through a hypoxia-responsive element on the HGTD-P promoter region. When overexpressed, HGTD-P was localized to mitochondria and facilitated apoptotic cell death via typical mitochondrial apoptotic cascades, including permeability transition, cytochrome c release, and caspase 9 activation. In the process of permeability transition induction, the death-inducing domain of HGTD-P physically interacted with the voltage-dependent anion channel. In addition, suppression of HGTD-P expression by small interfering RNA or antisense oligonucleotides protected against hypoxic cell death. Taken together, our data indicate that HGTD-P is a new HIF-1α-responsive proapoptotic molecule that activates mitochondrial apoptotic cascades.
The oxygen sensitive α-subunit of the hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) is a major trigger of the cellular response to hypoxia. Although the posttranslational regulation of HIF-1α by hypoxia is well known, its transcriptional regulation by hypoxia is still under debate. We, therefore, investigated the regulation of HIF-1α mRNA in response to hypoxia in pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells. Hypoxia rapidly enhanced HIF-1α mRNA levels and HIF-1α promoter activity. Furthermore, inhibition of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT but not extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 pathway blocked the hypoxia-dependent induction of HIF-1α mRNA and HIF-1α promoter activity, suggesting involvement of a PI3K/AKT-regulated transcription factor. Interestingly, hypoxia also induced nuclear factor-κB (NFκB) nuclear translocation and activity. In line, expression of the NFκB subunits p50 and p65 enhanced HIF-1α mRNA levels, whereas blocking of NFκB by an inhibitor of nuclear factor-κB attenuated HIF-1α mRNA induction by hypoxia. Reporter gene assays revealed the presence of an NFκB site within the HIF-1α promoter, and mutation of this site abolished induction by hypoxia. In line, gel shift analysis and chromatin immunoprecipitation confirmed binding of p50 and p65 NFκB subunits to the HIF-1α promoter under hypoxia. Together, these findings provide a novel mechanism in which hypoxia induces HIF-1α mRNA expression via the PI3K/AKT pathway and activation of NFκB.
Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1 (HIF-1) is a transcription factor that is a
critical mediator of the cellular response to hypoxia. Enhanced levels of
HIF-1α, the oxygen-regulated subunit of HIF-1, is often associated
with increased tumour angiogenesis, metastasis, therapeutic resistance and
poor prognosis. It is in this context that we previously demonstrated that
under hypoxia, bcl-2 protein promotes HIF-1/Vascular Endothelial Growth
Factor (VEGF)-mediated tumour angiogenesis.
By using human melanoma cell lines and their stable or transient derivative
bcl-2 overexpressing cells, the current study identified HIF-1α
protein stabilization as a key regulator for the induction of HIF-1 by bcl-2
under hypoxia. We also demonstrated that bcl-2-induced accumulation of
HIF-1α protein during hypoxia was not due to an increased gene
transcription or protein synthesis. In fact, it was related to a modulation
of HIF-1α protein expression at a post-translational level, indeed
its degradation rate was faster in the control lines than in bcl-2
transfectants. The bcl-2-induced HIF-1α stabilization in response to
low oxygen tension conditions was achieved through the impairment of
ubiquitin-dependent HIF-1α degradation involving the molecular
chaperone HSP90, but it was not dependent on the prolyl hydroxylation of
HIF-1α protein. We also showed that bcl-2, HIF-1α and HSP90
proteins form a tri-complex that may contribute to enhancing the stability
of the HIF-1α protein in bcl-2 overexpressing clones under hypoxic
conditions. Finally, by using genetic and pharmacological approaches we
proved that HSP90 is involved in bcl-2-dependent stabilization of
HIF-1α protein during hypoxia, and in particular the isoform
HSP90β is the main player in this phenomenon.
We identified the stabilization of HIF-1α protein as a mechanism
through which bcl-2 induces the activation of HIF-1 in hypoxic tumour cells
involving the β isoform of molecular chaperone HSP90.
The hypoxia-inducible factors 1α (HIF-1α) and 2α (HIF-2α) have extensive structural homology and have been identified as key transcription factors responsible for gene expression in response to hypoxia. They play critical roles not only in normal development, but also in tumor progression. Here we report on the differential regulation of protein expression and transcriptional activity of HIF-1α and -2α by hypoxia in immortalized mouse embryo fibroblasts (MEFs). We show that oxygen-dependent protein degradation is restricted to HIF-1α, as HIF-2α protein is detected in MEFs regardless of oxygenation and is localized primarily to the cytoplasm. Endogenous HIF-2α remained transcriptionally inactive under hypoxic conditions; however, ectopically overexpressed HIF-2α translocated into the nucleus and could stimulate expression of hypoxia-inducible genes. We show that the factor inhibiting HIF-1 can selectively inhibit the transcriptional activity of HIF-1α but has no effect on HIF-2α-mediated transcription in MEFs. We propose that HIF-2α is not a redundant transcription factor of HIF-1α for hypoxia-induced gene expression and show evidence that there is a cell type-specific modulator(s) that enables selective activation of HIF-1α but not HIF-2α in response to low-oxygen stress.
Localized tissue hypoxia is a consequence of vascular compromise or rapid cellular proliferation and is a potent inducer of compensatory angiogenesis. The oxygen-responsive transcriptional regulator hypoxia-inducible factor 2α (HIF-2α) is highly expressed in vascular ECs and, along with HIF-1α, activates expression of target genes whose products modulate vascular functions and angiogenesis. However, the mechanisms by which HIF-2α regulates EC function and tissue perfusion under physiological and pathological conditions are poorly understood. Using mice in which Hif2a was specifically deleted in ECs, we demonstrate here that HIF-2α expression is required for angiogenic responses during hindlimb ischemia and for the growth of autochthonous skin tumors. EC-specific Hif2a deletion resulted in increased vessel formation in both models; however, these vessels failed to undergo proper arteriogenesis, resulting in poor perfusion. Analysis of cultured HIF-2α–deficient ECs revealed cell-autonomous increases in migration, invasion, and morphogenetic activity, which correlated with HIF-2α–dependent expression of specific angiogenic factors, including delta-like ligand 4 (Dll4), a Notch ligand, and angiopoietin 2. By stimulating Dll4 signaling in cultured ECs or restoring Dll4 expression in ischemic muscle tissue, we rescued most of the HIF-2α–dependent EC phenotypes in vitro and in vivo, emphasizing the critical role of Dll4/Notch signaling as a downstream target of HIF-2α in ECs. These results indicate that HIF-1α and HIF-2α fulfill complementary, but largely nonoverlapping, essential functions in pathophysiological angiogenesis.
Hypoxia is an inadequate oxygen supply to tissues and cells, which can restrict their function. The hypoxic response is primarily mediated by the hypoxia-inducible transcription factors, HIF-1 and HIF-2, which have both overlapping and unique target genes. HIF target gene activation is highly context specific and is not a reliable indicator of which HIF-α isoform is active. For example in some cell lines, the individual HIFs have specific temporal and functional roles: HIF-1 drives the initial response to hypoxia (<24 hours) and HIF-2 drives the chronic response (>24 hours). Here, we review the significance of the HIF switch and the relationship between HIF-1 and HIF-2 under both physiological and pathophysiological conditions.
Hypoxia; HIF; development; angiogenesis; cancer; stem cells
The hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) transcription complex, which is activated by low oxygen tension, controls a diverse range of cellular processes including angiogenesis and erythropoiesis. Under normoxic conditions, the α subunit of HIF is rapidly degraded in a manner dependent on hydroxylation of two conserved proline residues at positions 402 and 564 in HIF-1α in the oxygen-dependent degradation (ODD) domain. This allows subsequent recognition by the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) tumor suppressor protein, which targets HIF for degradation by the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. Under hypoxic conditions, prolyl hydroxylation of HIF is inhibited, allowing it to escape VHL-mediated degradation. The transcriptional regulation of the erythropoietin gene by HIF raises the possibility that HIF may play a role in disorders of erythropoiesis, such as idiopathic erythrocytosis (IE).
Patients with IE were screened for changes in the HIF-1α coding sequence, and a change in the ODD domain that converts Pro-582 to Ser was identified in several patients. This same change, however, was also detected at a significant frequency, 0.073, in unaffected controls compared to 0.109 in the IE patient group. In vitro hydroxylation assays examining this amino acid change failed to reveal a discernible effect on HIF hydroxylation at Pro-564.
The Pro582Ser change represents a common polymorphism of HIF-1α that does not impair HIF-1α prolyl hydroxylation. Although the Pro582Ser polymorphism is located in the ODD domain of HIF-1α it does not diminish the association of HIF-1α with VHL. Thus, it is unlikely that this polymorphism accounts for the erythrocytosis in the group of IE patients studied.
Adaptation to hypoxia is a topic of considerable clinical relevance, as it influences the pathophysiology of anaemia, polycythaemia, tissue ischaemia and cancer. A growing number of physiologically relevant genes are regulated in response to changes in intracellular oxygen tension. These include genes encoding erythropoietin, vascular endothelial growth factor and tyrosine hydroxylase. Studies on the regulation of the erythropoietin gene have provided insights into the common mechanism of oxygen sensing and signal transduction, leading to activation of the hypoxia-inducible transcription factor 1 (HIF-1). Activation of HIF-1 by hypoxia depends on rescue of its α-subunit from oxygen-dependent degradation in the proteasome, allowing it to form a heterodimer with HIF-1β. This then translocates to the nucleus. There, HIF-1 assembles with a highly conserved orphan nuclear receptor, HNF-4, and a critical transcriptional adaptor, p300. This complex binds to a 3′′enhancer on the erythropoietin gene, enabling transcription of erythropoietin. HIF-1 also activates other genes, the cis-acting elements of which contain cognate hypoxia response elements. There is growing evidence that the oxygen sensor is a flavohaem protein and that the signal transduction pathway involves changes in the level of intracellular reactive oxygen intermediates. We have recently cloned a novel fusion protein called cytochrome b5/b5 reductase, which is a cyanide-insensitive NADPH oxidase and, therefore, a candidate to be the oxygen sensor. This flavohaem protein is widely expressed in cell lines and tissues, with localization in the peri-nuclear space. In the presence of oxygen and iron, it may induce oxidative modifications that target HIF-1α for ubiquitination and degradation.
cytochrome b5; cytochrome b5 reductase; erythropoietin; hypoxia; hypoxia-inducible factor 1; oxygen sensor