Hypoxia inducible factors (HIFs) are heterodimeric transcription factors that regulate a number of adaptive responses to low oxygen tension. They are composed of alpha- and beta-subunits that belong to the basic helix-loop-helix-PAS superfamily. Here we examined the expression of HIF-alpha subunit proteins in the human kidney and found that, in addition to HIF-1alpha and -2alpha, HIF-3alpha was also expressed. The sequence analysis revealed that, like mouse HIF-3alpha, human HIF-3alpha has high similarity with HIF-1alpha and -2alpha in the bHLH and PAS domains, but lacks structures for transactivation found in the C-terminus of HIF-1alpha and -2alpha. Furthermore, we performed reporter gene analysis and showed that HIF-3alpha suppresses hypoxia-inducible HIF-mediated gene expression. HIF-3alpha might be a negative regulator of hypoxia-inducible gene expression in the human kidney.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.