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J Intern Med. 1998 Jun;243(6):535-9.

Functions of the von Hippel-Lindau tumour suppressor protein.

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Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Von Hippel-Lindau disease (VHL) is caused by germline mutations in the VHL tumour suppressor gene. Tumour development in this setting is due to loss or inactivation of the remaining wild-type VHL allele. The VHL gene product (pVHL) resides primarily in the cytoplasm. A frequently mutated region of pVHL can bind to complexes containing elongin B, elongin C and Cul2. Loss of pVHL leads to an inappropriate accumulation of hypoxia-inducible mRNAs, such as the mRNA encoding vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), under normoxic conditions. This finding is most likely to account for the hypervascular nature of VHL-associated neoplasms. Current studies are focussed on understanding if and how binding to elongins and Cul2 is linked to the ability of pVHL to regulate hypoxia-inducible mRNAs. In this regard, it is perhaps noteworthy that elongin C and Cul2 are homologous to yeast proteins Skp1 and Cdc53. These latter proteins participate in the formation of complexes that target certain proteins for ubiquitination.

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