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Exp Mol Med. 2008 Feb 29;40(1):71-83.

Nur77 upregulates HIF-alpha by inhibiting pVHL-mediated degradation.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Cancer Research Institute, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul 110-799, Korea.


In this study, we investigated the role of Nur77, an orphan nuclear receptor, in HIF-alpha transcriptional activity. We found that Nur77 associates and stabilizes HIF-1alpha via indirect interaction. Nur77 was found to interact with pVHL in vivo via the alpha-domain of pVHL. By binding to pVHL, Nur77 competed with elongin C for pVHL binding. Moreover, Nur77-binding to pVHL inhibited the pVHL-mediated ubiquitination of HIF-1alpha and ultimately increased the stability and transcriptional activity of HIF-1alpha. The ligand-binding domain of Nur77 was found to interact with pVHL and the expression of this ligand-binding domain was sufficient to stabilize and transactivate HIF-1alpha. Under the conditions that cobalt chloride was treated or pVHL was knocked down, Nur77 could not stabilize HIF-alpha. Moreover, Nur77 could not further stabilize HIF-2alpha in A498/VHL stable cells, which is consistent with our finding that Nur77 indirectly stabilizes HIF-alpha by binding to pVHL. Thus, our results suggest that an orphan nuclear receptor Nur77 binds to pVHL, thereby stabilizes and increases HIF-alpha transcriptional activity under the non-hypoxic conditions.

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