The present study investigates the regulation of small ubiquitin-related modifier-1 (SUMO-1) expression in response to hypoxia in adult mouse brain and heart. We observed a significant increase in SUMO-1 mRNAs and proteins after hypoxic stimulation in vivo. Because SUMO-1 interacts with various transcription factors, including hypoxia-inducible factor-1beta (HIF-1beta) in vitro, we not only demonstrated that the HIF-1alpha expression is increased by hypoxia in brain and heart, but also provided evidence that SUMO-1 co-localizes in vivo with HIF-1alpha in response to hypoxia by demonstrating the co-expression of these two proteins in neurons and cardiomyocytes. The specific interaction between SUMO-1 and HIF-1alpha was additionally demonstrated with co-immunoprecipitation. These results indicate that the increased levels of SUMO-1 participate in the modulation of HIF-1alpha function through sumoylation in brain and heart.