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Cold Spring Harb Symp Quant Biol. 2011;76:347-53. doi: 10.1101/sqb.2011.76.010678. Epub 2011 Jul 22.

Regulation of metabolism by hypoxia-inducible factor 1.

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Institute for Cell Engineering, Department of Pediatrics, McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA.


The maintenance of oxygen homeostasis is critical for survival, and the master regulator of this process in metazoan species is hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1), which controls both O(2) delivery and utilization. Under conditions of reduced O(2) availability, HIF-1 activates the transcription of genes, whose protein products mediate a switch from oxidative to glycolytic metabolism. HIF-1 is activated in cancer cells as a result of intratumoral hypoxia and/or genetic alterations. In cancer cells, metabolism is reprogrammed to favor glycolysis even under aerobic conditions. Pyruvate kinase M2 (PKM2) has been implicated in cancer growth and metabolism, although the mechanism by which it exerts these effects is unclear. Recent studies indicate that PKM2 interacts with HIF-1α physically and functionally to stimulate the binding of HIF-1 at target genes, the recruitment of coactivators, histone acetylation, and gene transcription. Interaction with HIF-1α is facilitated by hydroxylation of PKM2 at proline-403 and -408 by PHD3. Knockdown of PHD3 decreases glucose transporter 1, lactate dehydrogenase A, and pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 1 expression; decreases glucose uptake and lactate production; and increases O(2) consumption. The effect of PKM2/PHD3 is not limited to genes encoding metabolic enzymes because VEGF is similarly regulated. These results provide a mechanism by which PKM2 promotes metabolic reprogramming and suggest that it plays a broader role in cancer progression than has previously been appreciated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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