Hypoxia Inducible Factors Modulate Mitochondrial Oxygen Consumption and Transcriptional Regulation of Nuclear-Encoded Electron Transport Chain Genes
HJ Hwang, etc
Hypoxia inducible factor-1 (HIF1) is a stress-responsive nuclear transcription factor that is activated with a decrease in oxygen availability. HIF1 regulates the expression of genes involved in a cell’s adaptation to hypoxic stress, including those with mitochondrial specific function. To gain a more comprehensive understanding of the role of HIF1 in mitochondrial homeostasis, we studied the link between hypoxia, HIF1 transactivation, and electron transport chain (ETC) function. We established immortalized mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) for HIF1a wild-type (WT) and null cells and tested whether HIF1a regulates mitochondrial respiration by modulating gene expressions of nuclear-encoded ETC components. High-throughput quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction was performed to screen nuclear-encoded mitochondrial genes related to the ETC to identify those whose regulation was HIF1a-dependent. Our data suggest that HIF1a regulates transcription of cytochrome c oxidase (CcO) heart/muscle isoform 7a1 (Cox7a1) under hypoxia, where it is induced 1.5–2.5-fold, whereas Cox4i2 hypoxic induction was HIF1a-independent. We propose that adaptation to hypoxic stress of CcO as the main cellular oxygen consumer is mediated by induction of hypoxia-sensitive tissue-specific isoforms. We suggest that HIF1 plays a central role in maintaining homeostasis in cellular respiration during hypoxic stress via regulation of CcO activity.