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Hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF-1)α: its protein stability and biological functions

Abstract

Hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF-1) is an oxygen-dependent transcriptional activator, which plays crucial roles in the angiogenesis of tumors and mammalian development. HIF-1 consists of a constitutively expressed HIF-1β subunit and one of three subunits (HIF-1α, HIF-2α or HIF-3α). The stability and activity of HIF-1α are regulated by various post-translational modifications, hydroxylation, acetylation, and phosphorylation. Therefore, HIF-1α interacts with several protein factors including PHD, pVHL, ARD-1, and p300/CBP. Under normoxia, the HIF-1α subunit is rapidly degraded via the von Hippel-Lindau tumor suppressor gene product (pVHL)- mediated ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. The association of pVHL and HIF-1α under normoxic conditions is triggered by the hydroxylation of prolines and the acetylation of lysine within a polypeptide segment known as the oxygen-dependent degradation (ODD) domain. On the contrary, in the hypoxia condition, HIF-1α subunit becomes stable and interacts with coactivators such as p300/CBP to modulate its transcriptional activity. Eventually, HIF-1 acts as a master regulator of numerous hypoxia-inducible genes under hypoxic conditions. The target genes of HIF-1 are especially related to angiogenesis, cell proliferation/survival, and glucose/iron metabolism. Moreover, it was reported that the activation of HIF-1α is closely associated with a variety of tumors and oncogenic pathways. Hence, the blocking of HIF-1a itself or HIF-1α interacting proteins inhibit tumor growth. Based on these findings, HIF-1 can be a prime target for anticancer therapies. This review summarizes the molecular mechanism of HIF-1a stability, the biological functions of HIF-1 and its potential applications of cancer therapies.

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This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Lee, JW., Bae, SH., Jeong, JW. et al. Hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF-1)α: its protein stability and biological functions. Exp Mol Med 36, 1–12 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1038/emm.2004.1

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Keywords

  • ARD1
  • angiogenesis
  • anticancer therapy
  • cell proliferation/survival
  • HIF-1
  • glucose metabolismi
  • PHD
  • pVHL
  • p300/CBP
  • iron metabolism
  • transcription factor

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