Cellular hypoxia, a local decrease in the oxygen concentration below normal (21%) atmospheric concentrations, occurs in both physiological and pathological situations. The transcriptional complex Hypoxia-Inducible Factor-1 (HIF-1) is the key player in the signalling pathway that controls the hypoxic response of mammalian cells. Tight regulation of this response involves posttranslational modification of the alpha subunit of HIF-1. Hydroxylation, ubiquitination, acetylation, S-nitrosation and phosphorylation have been shown to determine its half-life and/or transcriptional activity. The precise spatio-temporal occurrence of these multiple modifications is still not fully understood but is dependent on the microenvironment and determines the driving force of variable cellular responses.
Copyright 2004 Elsevier Inc.