Marta Miró-Murillo 2 , Ainara Elorza 1 , Inés Soro-Arnáiz 1 , Lucas Albacete-Albacete 1 , Angel Ordoñez 1 , Eduardo Balsa 1 , Alicia Vara-Vega 1 , Silvia Vázquez 1 , Esther Fuertes 1 , Carmen Fernández-Criado 2 , Manuel O. Landázuri 1 , Julián Aragonés 1 , *
21 July 2011
Von Hippel Lindau ( Vhl) gene inactivation results in embryonic lethality. The consequences of its inactivation in adult mice, and of the ensuing activation of the hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs), have been explored mainly in a tissue-specific manner. This mid-gestation lethality can be also circumvented by using a floxed Vhl allele in combination with an ubiquous tamoxifen-inducible recombinase Cre-ER T2. Here, we characterize a widespread reduction in Vhl gene expression in Vhl floxed-UBC-Cre-ER T2 adult mice after dietary tamoxifen administration, a convenient route of administration that has yet to be fully characterized for global gene inactivation. Vhl gene inactivation rapidly resulted in a marked splenomegaly and skin erythema, accompanied by renal and hepatic induction of the erythropoietin ( Epo) gene, indicative of the in vivo activation of the oxygen sensing HIF pathway. We show that acute Vhl gene inactivation also induced Epo gene expression in the heart, revealing cardiac tissue to be an extra-renal source of EPO. Indeed, primary cardiomyocytes and HL-1 cardiac cells both induce Epo gene expression when exposed to low O 2 tension in a HIF-dependent manner. Thus, as well as demonstrating the potential of dietary tamoxifen administration for gene inactivation studies in UBC-Cre-ER T2 mouse lines, this data provides evidence of a cardiac oxygen-sensing VHL/HIF/EPO pathway in adult mice.