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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 May 10;108(19):7739-44. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1101357108. Epub 2011 Apr 21.

Coactivators necessary for transcriptional output of the hypoxia inducible factor, HIF, are directly recruited by ARNT PAS-B.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, 5323 Harry Hines Boulevard, Dallas, TX 75390-8816, USA.


Hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) is the key transcriptional effector of the hypoxia response in eukaryotes, coordinating the expression of genes involved in oxygen transport, glycolysis, and angiogenesis to promote adaptation to low oxygen levels. HIF is a basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH)-PAS (PER-ARNT-SIM) heterodimer composed of an oxygen-labile HIF-α subunit and a constitutively expressed aryl hydrocarbon receptor nuclear translocator (ARNT) subunit, which dimerize via basic helix-loop-helix and PAS domains, and recruit coactivators via HIF-α C-terminal transactivation domains. Here we demonstrate that the ARNT PAS-B domain provides an additional recruitment site by binding the coactivator transforming acidic coiled-coil 3 (TACC3) in a step necessary for transcriptional responses to hypoxia. Structural insights from NMR spectroscopy illustrate how this PAS domain simultaneously mediates interactions with HIF-α and TACC3. Finally, mutations on ARNT PAS-B modulate coactivator selectivity and target gene induction by HIF in vivo, demonstrating a bifunctional role for transcriptional regulation by PAS domains within bHLH-PAS transcription factors.

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