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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2009 Oct;1177:178-84. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.05024.x.

The role of NF-kappaB in hypoxia-induced gene expression.

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UCD Conway Institute, School of Medicine and Medical Science, College of Life Science, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin, Ireland.


Hypoxia is a common physiologic and pathophysiologic stimulus that activates the expression of genes through oxygen-sensitive transcription factors including the hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) and nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB). Hypoxia-dependent gene expression can have important physiologic or pathophysiologic consequences for an organism, depending upon the cause of the hypoxic insult. Consequently, this pathway represents an attractive therapeutic target in a number of disease states. While the mechanism linking hypoxia to the activation of HIF has been extensively studied, our understanding of how hypoxia activates NF-kappaB is limited. Recent studies have demonstrated that similar oxygen-sensing mechanisms are employed in conferring oxygen sensitivity to both HIF and NF-kappaB-dependent gene expression. Furthermore, there is an extensive degree of cross-talk occurring between NF-kappaB and HIF. Investigations into mechanisms of hypoxic activation of HIF and NF-kappaB and how these signaling pathways interact will uncover new therapeutic modalities in a diverse range of disease states where hypoxia is a feature of the microenvironment including cancer, vascular disease, and chronic inflammation.

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