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Hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1alpha, a master regulator of oxygen homeostasis, regulates genes crucial for cell growth and survival. In normoxia, HIF-1alpha is constantly degraded via the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. The von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) E3 ubiquitin ligase binds HIF-1alpha through specific recognition of hydroxylated Pro-402 or Pro-564, both of which are modified by the oxygen-dependent HIF prolyl hydroxylases (PHDs/HPHs). Despite the identification of a conserved Leu-X-X-Leu-Ala-Pro motif, the molecular requirement of HIF-1alpha for PHDs/HPHs binding remains elusive. Recently, we demonstrated that Leu-574 of human HIF-1alpha--10 residues downstream of Pro-564--is essential for VHL recognition. We show here that the role of Leu-574 is to recruit PHD2/HPH2 for Pro-564 hydroxylation. An antibody specific for hydroxylated Pro-564 has been used to determine the hydroxylation status; mutation or deletion of Leu-574 results in a significant decrease in the ratio of the hydroxylated HIF-1alpha to the total amount. The nine-residue spacing between Pro-564 and Leu-574 is not obligatory for prolyl hydroxylation. Furthermore, mutation of Leu-574 disrupts the binding of PHD2/HPH2, a key prolyl hydroxylase for oxygen-dependent proteolysis of HIF-1alpha. Hence, our findings indicate that Leu-574 is essential for recruiting PHD2/HPH2, thereby providing a molecular basis for modulating HIF-1alpha activity.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





1028 - 1030


Amino Acid Sequence, Antibodies, Cell Line, Cell Line, Tumor, Humans, Hydroxylation, Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit, Leucine, Molecular Sequence Data, Mutation, Procollagen-Proline Dioxygenase, Proline, Protein Binding, Protein Processing, Post-Translational, Thermodynamics, Transcription Factors, Transcription, Genetic