Accumulation of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α is limited by transcription-dependent depletion Academic Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Transcription Factors
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • In the presence of oxygen and iron, hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF-1alpha) is rapidly degraded via the prolyl hydroxylases (PHD)/VHL pathways. Given striking similarities between p53 and HIF-1alpha regulation, we previously suggested that HIF-1 transcriptionally initiates its own degradation and therefore inhibitors of transcription must induce HIF-1alpha. Under normoxia, while inducing p53, inhibitors of transcription did not induce HIF-1alpha. Under hypoxia or low iron (DFX), inhibitors of transcription dramatically super-induced HIF-1alpha. Removal of inhibitors resulted in outburst of the HIF-1-dependent transcription followed by depletion of HIF-1alpha. Although hypoxia/DFX induced PHD3, we excluded the PHD/VHL pathway in the regulation of HIF-1alpha under hypoxia/DFX. The transcription-dependent degradation of HIF-1alpha under hypoxia occurs via the proteasome and is accelerated by protein acetylation. Thus, HIF-1alpha is regulated by two distinct mechanisms. Under normoxia, HIF-1alpha is degraded via the classic PHD/VHL pathway, is expressed at low levels and therefore does not activate the feedback loop. But under hypoxia, HIF-1alpha accumulates and transcriptionally activates its own degradation that is independent from the PHD/VHL pathway.

publication date

  • July 14, 2005



  • Academic Article



  • eng

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1038/sj.onc.1208636

PubMed ID

  • 15897903

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 4829

end page

  • 38


  • 24


  • 30