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Mol Cell Biol. 2006 Mar;26(6):2019-28.

Histone deacetylase inhibitors induce VHL and ubiquitin-independent proteasomal degradation of hypoxia-inducible factor 1alpha.

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Cardeza Foundation Hematologic Research and Department of Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA.


Adaptation to hypoxic microenvironment is critical for tumor survival and metastatic spread. Hypoxia-inducible factor 1alpha (HIF-1alpha) plays a key role in this adaptation by stimulating the production of proangiogenic factors and inducing enzymes necessary for anaerobic metabolism. Histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACIs) produce a marked inhibition of HIF-1alpha expression and are currently in clinical trials partly based on their potent antiangiogenic effects. Although it has been postulated that HDACIs affect HIF-1alpha expression by enhancing its interactions with VHL (von Hippel Lindau), thus promoting its ubiquitination and degradation, the actual mechanisms by which HDACIs decrease HIF-1alpha levels are not clear. Here, we present data indicating that HDACIs induce the proteasomal degradation of HIF-1alpha by a mechanism that is independent of VHL and p53 and does not require the ubiquitin system. This degradation pathway involves the enhanced interaction of HIF-1alpha with HSP70 and is secondary to a disruption of the HSP70/HSP90 axis function that appears mediated by the activity of HDAC-6.

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