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J Biol Chem. 2003 Aug 8;278(32):29655-60. Epub 2003 May 30.

A novel hypoxia-inducible factor-independent hypoxic response regulating mammalian target of rapamycin and its targets.

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Committee on Genetics, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60615, USA.


Hypoxia triggers a reversible inhibition of protein synthesis thought to be important for energy conservation in O2-deficient environments. The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway integrates multiple environmental cues to regulate translation in response to nutrient availability and stress, suggesting it as a candidate for O2 regulation. We show here that hypoxia rapidly and reversibly triggers hypophosphorylation of mTOR and its effectors 4E-BP1, p70S6K, rpS6, and eukaryotic initiation factor 4G. Hypoxic regulation of these translational control proteins is dominant to activation via multiple distinct signaling pathways such as insulin, amino acids, phorbol esters, and serum and is independent of Akt/protein kinase B and AMP-activated protein kinase phosphorylation, ATP levels, ATP:ADP ratios, and hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1). Finally, hypoxia appears to repress phosphorylation of translational control proteins in a manner analogous to rapamycin and independent of phosphatase 2A (PP2A) activity. These data demonstrate a new mode of regulation of the mTOR pathway and position this pathway as a powerful point of control by O2 of cellular metabolism and energetics.

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