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Genes Dev. 2001 Oct 15;15(20):2675-86.

FIH-1: a novel protein that interacts with HIF-1alpha and VHL to mediate repression of HIF-1 transcriptional activity.

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  • 1Institute of Genetic Medicine, Departments of Pediatrics and Medicine, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21287-3914, USA.


Hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) is a master regulator of oxygen homeostasis that controls angiogenesis, erythropoiesis, and glycolysis via transcriptional activation of target genes under hypoxic conditions. O(2)-dependent binding of the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) tumor suppressor protein targets the HIF-1alpha subunit for ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation. The activity of the HIF-1alpha transactivation domains is also O(2) regulated by a previously undefined mechanism. Here, we report the identification of factor inhibiting HIF-1 (FIH-1), a protein that binds to HIF-1alpha and inhibits its transactivation function. In addition, we demonstrate that FIH-1 binds to VHL and that VHL also functions as a transcriptional corepressor that inhibits HIF-1alpha transactivation function by recruiting histone deacetylases. Involvement of VHL in association with FIH-1 provides a unifying mechanism for the modulation of HIF-1alpha protein stabilization and transcriptional activation in response to changes in cellular O(2) concentration.

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