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Cell Death Dis. 2014 Jul 10;5:e1322. doi: 10.1038/cddis.2014.295.

Prolyl-4-hydroxylase 2 enhances hypoxia-induced glioblastoma cell death by regulating the gene expression of hypoxia-inducible factor-α.

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Institute of Physiology, Center for Structural and Cell Biology in Medicine, University of Luebeck, Luebeck, Germany.


Oxygen deprivation (hypoxia) is a common feature of solid tumors in advanced stages. The primary cellular transcriptional responses to hypoxia are mainly mediated by the transcription factor hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF). HIF consists of an oxygen-labile α-subunit (HIF-1α, -2α) and a stable β-subunit (ARNT). Prolyl-4-hydroxylase 2 (PHD2) is known as an important mediator of the oxygen-dependent degradation of HIF-α subunits. As HIF-α subunits are not confirmed to be the only substrates of PHD2, it is unknown whether PHD2 regulates HIF-1α and HIF-2α by interacting with other intracellular molecules. In this study, we found that in the glioblastoma cells, PHD2 maintains the gene expression of HIF-1α in dependence of nuclear factor κB and suppresses the gene expression of HIF-2α through HIF-1α. The PHD2-mediated degradation of HIF-1α and HIF-2α seems less important. Furthermore, PHD2 enhances hypoxia-induced glioblastoma cell death by modulating the expression of the HIF target genes glucose transporter 1, vascular endothelial growth factor-A and Bcl-2 binding protein 3. Our findings show that PHD2 inhibits the adaptation of glioblastoma cells to hypoxia by regulating the HIF-α subunits in a non-canonical way. Modulation of PHD2 activity might be considered as a new way to inhibit glioblastoma progression.

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