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J Biol Chem. 2007 Nov 16;282(46):33358-66. Epub 2007 Sep 17.

Spermidine/spermine N(1)-acetyltransferase-1 binds to hypoxia-inducible factor-1alpha (HIF-1alpha) and RACK1 and promotes ubiquitination and degradation of HIF-1alpha.

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  • 1Vascular Program, Institute for Cell Engineering, the Departments of Pediatrics, Medicine, Oncology, and Radiation Oncology.


Hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) is a master regulator of oxygen homeostasis that controls the expression of genes encoding proteins that play key roles in angiogenesis, erythropoiesis, and glucose/energy metabolism. The stability of the HIF-1alpha subunit is regulated by ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation. In aerobic cells, O(2)-dependent prolyl hydroxylation of HIF-1alpha is required for binding of the von Hippel-Lindau tumor suppressor protein VHL, which then recruits the Elongin C ubiquitin-ligase complex. SSAT2 (spermidine/spermine N-acetyltransferase-2) binds to HIF-1alpha and promotes its ubiquitination/degradation by stabilizing the interaction of VHL and Elongin C. Treatment of cells with heat shock protein HSP90 inhibitors induces the degradation of HIF-1alpha even under hypoxic conditions. HSP90 competes with RACK1 for binding to HIF-1alpha, and HSP90 inhibition leads to increased binding of RACK1, which recruits the Elongin C ubiquitin-ligase complex to HIF-1alpha in an O(2)-independent manner. In this work, we demonstrate that SSAT1, which shares 46% amino acid identity with SSAT2, also binds to HIF-1alpha and promotes its ubiquitination/degradation. However, in contrast to SSAT2, SSAT1 acts by stabilizing the interaction of HIF-1alpha with RACK1. Thus, the paralogs SSAT1 and SSAT2 play complementary roles in promoting O(2)-independent and O(2)-dependent degradation of HIF-1alpha.

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