Hypoxia stabilizes the H2 O2 -producing oxidase Nox4 in cardiomyocytes via suppressing autophagy-related lysosomal degradation

Genes Cells. 2024 Jan;29(1):63-72. doi: 10.1111/gtc.13085. Epub 2023 Nov 20.


The hydrogen peroxide (H2 O2 )-producing NADPH oxidase Nox4, forming a heterodimer with p22phox , is expressed in a variety of cells including those in the heart to mediate adaptive responses to cellular stresses such as hypoxia. Since Nox4 is constitutively active, H2 O2 production is controlled by its protein abundance. Hypoxia-induced Nox4 expression is observed in various types of cells and generally thought to be regulated at the transcriptional level. Here we show that hypoxia upregulates the Nox4 protein level and Nox4-catalyzed H2 O2 production without increasing the Nox4 mRNA in rat H9c2 cardiomyocytes. In these cells, the Nox4 protein is stabilized under hypoxic conditions in a manner dependent on the presence of p22phox . Cell treatment with the proteasome inhibitor MG132 results in a marked decrease of the Nox4 protein under both normoxic and hypoxic conditions, indicating that the proteasome pathway does not play a major role in Nox4 degradation. The decrease is partially restored by the autophagy inhibitor 3-methyladenine. Furthermore, the Nox4 protein level is upregulated by the lysosome inhibitors bafilomycin A1 and chloroquine. Thus, in cardiomyocytes, Nox4 appears to be degraded via an autophagy-related pathway, and its suppression by hypoxia likely stabilizes Nox4, leading to upregulation of Nox4-catalyzed H2 O2 production.

Keywords: Nox4; autophagy; cardiomyocytes; hypoxia; lysosome; p22phox.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autophagy
  • Hypoxia
  • Myocytes, Cardiac* / metabolism
  • NADPH Oxidase 4 / genetics
  • NADPH Oxidase 4 / metabolism
  • NADPH Oxidases / genetics
  • NADPH Oxidases / metabolism
  • Oxidoreductases*
  • Rats
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism


  • NADPH Oxidase 4
  • Oxidoreductases
  • NADPH Oxidases
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Nox4 protein, rat