Hypoxia-Inducible Factors (HIFs) and Phosphorylation: Impact on Stability, Localization, and Transactivity

Front Cell Dev Biol. 2016 Feb 23;4:11. doi: 10.3389/fcell.2016.00011. eCollection 2016.


The hypoxia-inducible factor α-subunits (HIFα) are key transcription factors in the mammalian response to oxygen deficiency. The HIFα regulation in response to hypoxia occurs primarily on the level of protein stability due to posttranslational hydroxylation and proteasomal degradation. However, HIF α-subunits also respond to various growth factors, hormones, or cytokines under normoxia indicating involvement of different kinase pathways in their regulation. Because these proteins participate in angiogenesis, glycolysis, programmed cell death, cancer, and ischemia, HIFα regulating kinases are attractive therapeutic targets. Although numerous kinases were reported to regulate HIFα indirectly, direct phosphorylation of HIFα affects HIFα stability, nuclear localization, and transactivity. Herein, we review the role of phosphorylation-dependent HIFα regulation with emphasis on protein stability, subcellular localization, and transactivation.

Keywords: HIF-1α; MAPK pathway; PI3K/PKB pathway; hypoxia; kinase; phosphorylation.

Publication types

  • Review