Gene expression profiling of the hypoxia signaling pathway in hypoxia-inducible factor 1alpha null mouse embryonic fibroblasts

Gene Expr. 2003;11(3-4):181-97. doi: 10.3727/000000003108749062.


Hypoxia is defined as a deficiency of oxygen reaching the tissues of the body, and it plays a critical role in development and pathological conditions, such as cancer. Once tumors outgrow their blood supply, their central portion becomes hypoxic and the tumor stimulates angiogenesis through the activation of the hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs). HIFs are transcription factors that are regulated in an oxygen-dependent manner by a group of prolyl hydroxylases (known as PHDs or HPHs). Our understanding of hypoxia signaling is limited by our incomplete knowledge of HIF target genes. cDNA microarrays and a cell line lacking a principal HIF protein, HIF1alpha, were used to identify a more complete set of hypoxia-regulated genes. The microarrays identified a group of 286 clones that were significantly influenced by hypoxia and 54 of these were coordinately regulated by cobalt chloride. The expression profile of HIF1alpha -/- cells also identified a group of downregulated genes encoding enzymes involved in protecting cells from oxidative stress, offering an explanation for the increased sensitivity of HIF1alpha -/- cells to agents that promote this type of response. The microarray studies confirmed the hypoxia-induced expression of the HIF regulating prolyl hydroxylase, PHD2. An analysis of the members of the PHD family revealed that they are differentially regulated by cobalt chloride and hypoxia. These results suggest that HIF1alpha is the predominant isoform in fibroblasts and that it regulates a wide battery of genes critical for normal cellular function and survival under various stresses.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Hypoxia / physiology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cobalt / pharmacology
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology*
  • Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Oxygen / metabolism
  • Procollagen-Proline Dioxygenase / genetics*
  • Procollagen-Proline Dioxygenase / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Signal Transduction / genetics*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Transcription Factors
  • Cobalt
  • Procollagen-Proline Dioxygenase
  • cobaltous chloride
  • Oxygen