The hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) is the master regulator of the cellular response to hypoxia and its expression levels are tightly controlled through synthesis and degradation. It is widely accepted that HIF-1alpha protein accumulation during hypoxia results from inhibition of its oxygen-dependent degradation by the von Hippel Lindau protein (pVHL) pathway. However, recent data describe new pVHL- or oxygen-independent mechanisms for HIF-1alpha degradation. Furthermore, the hypoxia-induced increase in HIF-1alpha levels is facilitated by the continued translation of HIF-1alpha during hypoxia despite the global inhibition of protein translation. Recent work has contributed to an increased understanding of the mechanisms that control the translation and degradation of HIF-1alpha under both normoxic and hypoxic conditions.