This study was designed to determine the expression of cellular factors that may participate in phenotypic changes that occur under conditions of hypoxia. Using the RT-PCR differential display method, we isolated a cDNA fragment corresponding to a gene whose expression was induced in trophoblast and breast carcinoma cells cultured under 1 or 2% oxygen vs 4% oxygen or higher. This gene encodes a 43-kDa protein initially identified in homocysteine-treated endothelial cells and later shown to be upregulated in various human and mouse cell types (termed RTP, Drg1, Cap43, rit42, Ndr1). Herein we refer to this gene product as PROXY-1, for Protein Regulated by OXYgen-1. Elevated mRNA and protein levels were first observed in cells cultured in 1% oxygen for 8 h. Although PROXY-1 mRNA levels returned to near-control values within 2 h of reexposure to 20% oxygen, protein levels remained high 72 h after reexposure to 20% oxygen. Treatment of cells with hypoxia mimics such as cobalt or iron chelators also increased PROXY-1 expression. Moreover, presence of 30% carbon monoxide in the hypoxic atmosphere abrogated the upregulation of PROXY-1 expression. These findings suggest that hypoxia upregulates PROXY-1 levels through a heme protein-dependent pathway and that assessment of PROXY-1 expression may be of potential use in evaluating tissue hypoxia.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.