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      Transcriptional repression of hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) by the protein arginine methyltransferase PRMT1


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          Hypoxia-inducible factors (HIF) are essential for the adaptive response of cells to low-oxygen conditions. Transcription of HIF-α subunits and HIF activity are repressed by the arginine methyltransferase PRMT1. Therefore PRMT1 is a novel regulator of hypoxic cell responses.


          Hypoxia-inducible factors (HIF-1 and HIF-2) are essential mediators for the adaptive transcriptional response of cells and tissues to low-oxygen conditions. Under hypoxia or when cells are treated with various nonhypoxic stimuli, the active HIF-α subunits are mainly regulated through increased protein stabilization. For HIF-1α, it is clear that further transcriptional, translational, and posttranslational regulations are important for complete HIF-1 activity. Novel evidence links hypoxia and HIF-1 to arginine methylation, an important protein modification. These studies suggest that arginine methyltransferases may be important for hypoxic responses. Protein arginine methyltransferase 1 (PRMT1), the predominant arginine methyltransferase, can act as a transcriptional activator or repressor by modifying a diverse set of substrates. In this work, we show that PRMT1 is a repressor of both HIF-1 and HIF-2. The cellular depletion of PRMT1 by small interference RNA targeting leads to increased HIF transcriptional activity. This activation is the result of enhanced HIF-α subunit transcription, which allows increased HIF-α subunit availability. We provide evidence that PRMT1-dependent HIF-1α regulation is mediated through the activities of both specificity protein 1 (Sp1) and Sp3, two transcription factors known to control HIF-1α expression. This study therefore identifies PRMT1 as a novel regulator of HIF-1– and HIF-2–mediated responses.

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          HIFalpha targeted for VHL-mediated destruction by proline hydroxylation: implications for O2 sensing.

          HIF (hypoxia-inducible factor) is a transcription factor that plays a pivotal role in cellular adaptation to changes in oxygen availability. In the presence of oxygen, HIF is targeted for destruction by an E3 ubiquitin ligase containing the von Hippel-Lindau tumor suppressor protein (pVHL). We found that human pVHL binds to a short HIF-derived peptide when a conserved proline residue at the core of this peptide is hydroxylated. Because proline hydroxylation requires molecular oxygen and Fe(2+), this protein modification may play a key role in mammalian oxygen sensing.
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            A nuclear factor induced by hypoxia via de novo protein synthesis binds to the human erythropoietin gene enhancer at a site required for transcriptional activation.

            We have identified a 50-nucleotide enhancer from the human erythropoietin gene 3'-flanking sequence which can mediate a sevenfold transcriptional induction in response to hypoxia when cloned 3' to a simian virus 40 promoter-chloramphenicol acetyltransferase reporter gene and transiently expressed in Hep3B cells. Nucleotides (nt) 1 to 33 of this sequence mediate sevenfold induction of reporter gene expression when present in two tandem copies compared with threefold induction when present in a single copy, suggesting that nt 34 to 50 bind a factor which amplifies the induction signal. DNase I footprinting demonstrated binding of a constitutive nuclear factor to nt 26 to 48. Mutagenesis studies revealed that nt 4 to 12 and 19 to 23 are essential for induction, as substitutions at either site eliminated hypoxia-induced expression. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays identified a nuclear factor which bound to a probe spanning nt 1 to 18 but not to a probe containing a mutation which eliminated enhancer function. Factor binding was induced by hypoxia, and its induction was sensitive to cycloheximide treatment. We have thus defined a functionally tripartite, 50-nt hypoxia-inducible enhancer which binds several nuclear factors, one of which is induced by hypoxia via de novo protein synthesis.
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              Regulation of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α by NF-κB

              HIF (hypoxia-inducible factor) is the main transcription factor activated by low oxygen tensions. HIF-1α (and other α subunits) is tightly controlled mostly at the protein level, through the concerted action of a class of enzymes called PHDs (prolyl hydroxylases) 1, 2 and 3. Most of the knowledge of HIF derives from studies following hypoxic stress; however, HIF-1α stabilization is also found in non-hypoxic conditions through an unknown mechanism. In the present study, we demonstrate that NF-κB (nuclear factor κB) is a direct modulator of HIF-1α expression. The HIF-1α promoter is responsive to selective NF-κB subunits. siRNA (small interfering RNA) studies for individual NF-κB members revealed differential effects on HIF-1α mRNA levels, indicating that NF-κB can regulate basal HIF-1α expression. Finally, when endogenous NF-κB is induced by TNFα (tumour necrosis factor α) treatment, HIF-1α levels also change in an NF-κB-dependent manner. In conclusion, we find that NF-κB can regulate basal TNFα and, in certain circumstances, the hypoxia-induced HIF-1α.

                Author and article information

                Role: Monitoring Editor
                Mol Biol Cell
                Mol. Biol. Cell
                Mol. Bio. Cell
                Molecular Biology of the Cell
                The American Society for Cell Biology
                15 March 2014
                : 25
                : 6
                : 925-935
                [1] aCentre de Recherche du CHU de Québec, L'Hôtel-Dieu de Québec, and Department of Molecular Biology, Medical Biochemistry and Pathology, Université Laval, Québec, QC G1R 2J6, Canada
                [2] bLady Davis Institute for Medical Research, Sir Mortimer B. Davis Jewish General Hospital, and Departments of Oncology and Medicine, McGill University, Montréal, QC H3G 1Y6, Canada
                University of North Carolina
                Author notes
                1Address correspondence to: Darren E. Richard ( darren.richard@ 123456crhdq.ulaval.ca ).
                © 2014 Lafleur et al. This article is distributed by The American Society for Cell Biology under license from the author(s). Two months after publication it is available to the public under an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 3.0 Unported Creative Commons License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0).

                “ASCB®,” “The American Society for Cell Biology®,” and “Molecular Biology of the Cell®” are registered trademarks of The American Society of Cell Biology.

                : 30 July 2013
                : 23 December 2013
                : 13 January 2014

                Molecular biology
                Molecular biology


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