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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1993 May 1;90(9):4304-8.

General involvement of hypoxia-inducible factor 1 in transcriptional response to hypoxia.

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Department of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205.


Transcription of the human erythropoietin (EPO) gene is activated in Hep3B cells exposed to hypoxia. Hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) is a nuclear factor whose DNA binding activity is induced by hypoxia in Hep3B cells, and HIF-1 binds at a site in the EPO gene enhancer that is required for hypoxic activation of transcription. In this paper, we demonstrate that HIF-1 DNA binding activity is also induced by hypoxia in a variety of mammalian cell lines in which the EPO gene is not transcribed. The composition of the HIF-1 DNA binding complex and its isolated DNA binding subunit and the mechanism of HIF-1 activation appear to be similar or identical in EPO-producing and non-EPO-producing cells. Transcription of reporter genes containing the EPO gene enhancer is induced by hypoxia in non-EPO-producing cells and mutations that eliminate HIF-1 binding eliminate inducibility. These results provide evidence that HIF-1 and its recognition sequence are common components of a general mammalian cellular response to hypoxia.

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