NAD(P)H oxidases regulate HIF-2α protein expression

Karen Block, Yves Gorin, Paul Hoover, Paul Williams, Tomasz Chelmicki, Robert A. Clark, Toshiyuki Yoneda, Hanna E. Abboud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


Biallelic inactivation of the von Hippel-Lindau tumor suppressor gene (VHL) is linked to the development of hereditary and sporadic renal cell carcinoma (RCC). In the absence of VHL, the α subunits of heterodimeric hypoxia-inducible transcription factors (HIF-1α and HIF-2α) are stabilized. Reactive oxygen species, generated by NAD(P)H oxidases, are involved in signaling cascades of malignant growth. We show that in VHL-deficient cells p22phox, Nox4 protein levels and NADPH-dependent superoxide generation are increased. Reintroduction of VHL into the VHL-deficient cells down-regulates the expression of p22phox and NADPH-dependent superoxide generation. Inhibition of the 26 S proteasome in VHL-expressing cells increased p22phox protein levels, which correlated with an increase of NADPH-dependent superoxide generation. We also show that p22phox co-immunoprecipitates with VHL in vivo. Moreover, p22phox is a target of ubiquitination. Importantly, in VHL-deficient cells, diphenyleneiodonium chloride (DPI), an inhibitor of Nox oxidases, decreased the expression of HIF-2α. Down-regulation of Nox1, Nox4, and p22phox expression by small interfering RNA also decreased HIF-2α protein expression and inhibited Akt and 4E-BP1 phosphorylation, suggesting that a translational mechanism is involved in maintaining HIF-2α in VHL-deficient cells. Colony formation by RCC 786-O in soft agar was markedly inhibited by DPI. Moreover, DPI significantly inhibited RCC 786-O tumor formation in athymic mice. Collectively, the data demonstrate that VHL protein exerts its tumor suppressor action, at least partially, via inhibition of p22phox-based Nox4/Nox1 NADPH oxidase-dependent reactive oxygen species generation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8019-8026
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number11
StatePublished - Mar 16 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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