Oxidative Dimerization of PHD2 is Responsible for its Inactivation and Contributes to Metabolic Reprogramming via HIF-1α Activation

Sci Rep. 2016 Jan 7;6:18928. doi: 10.1038/srep18928.


Prolyl hydroxylase domain protein 2 (PHD2) belongs to an evolutionarily conserved superfamily of 2-oxoglutarate and Fe(II)-dependent dioxygenases that mediates homeostatic responses to oxygen deprivation by mediating hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) hydroxylation and degradation. Although oxidative stress contributes to the inactivation of PHD2, the precise molecular mechanism of PHD2 inactivation independent of the levels of co-factors is not understood. Here, we identified disulfide bond-mediated PHD2 homo-dimer formation in response to oxidative stress caused by oxidizing agents and oncogenic H-ras(V12) signalling. Cysteine residues in the double-stranded β-helix fold that constitutes the catalytic site of PHD isoforms appeared responsible for the oxidative dimerization. Furthermore, we demonstrated that disulfide bond-mediated PHD2 dimerization is associated with the stabilization and activation of HIF-1α under oxidative stress. Oncogenic H-ras(V12) signalling facilitates the accumulation of HIF-1α in the nucleus and promotes aerobic glycolysis and lactate production. Moreover, oncogenic H-ras(V12) does not trigger aerobic glycolysis in antioxidant-treated or PHD2 knocked-down cells, suggesting the participation of the ROS-mediated PHD2 inactivation in the oncogenic H-ras(V12)-mediated metabolic reprogramming. We provide here a better understanding of the mechanism by which disulfide bond-mediated PHD2 dimerization and inactivation result in the activation of HIF-1α and aerobic glycolysis in response to oxidative stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cystine / metabolism
  • Glycolysis
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit / metabolism*
  • Hypoxia-Inducible Factor-Proline Dioxygenases / metabolism*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidative Stress*
  • Protein Multimerization
  • Protein Stability
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras) / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras) / metabolism
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction


  • HIF1A protein, human
  • Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Cystine
  • EGLN1 protein, human
  • Hypoxia-Inducible Factor-Proline Dioxygenases
  • HRAS protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)