Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2010 Apr;22(2):177-80. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2009 Dec 21.

Hypoxia-induced autophagy: cell death or cell survival?

Author information

  • 1Institute of Developmental Biology and Cancer Research, University of Nice, CNRS-UMR 6543, Centre Antoine Lacassagne, 33 Avenue de Valombrose, 06189 Nice, France.


Hypoxia (approximately 3-0.1% oxygen) is capable of rapidly inducing, via the hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF-1), a cell survival response engaging autophagy. This process is mediated by the atypical BH3-only proteins the Bcl-2/E1B 19kDa-interacting protein 3 (BNIP3/BNIP3L (NIX)) that are induced by HIF-1. These mitochondrial associated BNIP proteins also mediate mitophagy, a metabolic adaptation for survival that is able to control reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and DNA damage. In contrast, severe hypoxic conditions or anoxia (<0.1% oxygen), where the latter is often confused with physiological hypoxia, are capable of inducing a HIF-independent autophagic response, generated via an extreme nutritional stress response implicating the AMPK-mTOR and unfolded protein response (UPR) pathways. The autophagic cell death that is often observed in these extreme stress conditions should be seen as the outcome of failed adaptation.

Copyright 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk