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Cancer Res. 2007 Jan 15;67(2):450-4.

Nutlin3 blocks vascular endothelial growth factor induction by preventing the interaction between hypoxia inducible factor 1alpha and Hdm2.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.


Hdm2 is elevated in numerous types of malignancies and is thought to impede the function of wild-type p53. Reactivation of p53 by disrupting the association with Hdm2 was the impetus for the development of Nutlin3. Although regulation of p53 has been the central focus of Hdm2 activity, it also binds other proteins through its p53-binding domain. Here, we show that hypoxia-inducible factor 1alpha (HIF1alpha) binds to Hdm2 in the domain designated to bind p53. HIF1alpha and p53 share a conserved motif that is required to bind Hdm2. Distinct complexes form between Hdm2-HIF1alpha and Hdm2-p53 as determined by immunoprecipitation of nuclear extracts and in vitro. The Hdm2 antagonist Nutlin3 prevents the association between Hdm2 and HIF1alpha. The vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) gene is a transcriptional target of HIF1alpha, and under normoxic or hypoxic conditions, Hdm2 increases HIF1alpha activity to induce VEGF production. Blocking the association of Hdm2 and HIF1alpha by Nutlin3, or ablating Hdm2 expression, diminished the level of VEGF under conditions of normoxia or hypoxia. Our findings establish a unique role for Nutlin3 in attenuating VEGF induction by preventing the association of Hdm2 with HIF1alpha.

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