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Prolyl hydroxylase domain enzymes: important regulators of cancer metabolism

Authors Yang M, Su H, Soga T, Kranc K, Pollard P

Received 6 May 2014

Accepted for publication 30 May 2014

Published 30 August 2014 Volume 2014:2 Pages 127—142

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/HP.S47968

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4


Ming Yang,1 Huizhong Su,1 Tomoyoshi Soga,2 Kamil R Kranc,3 Patrick J Pollard1

1Cancer Biology and Metabolism Group, Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK; 2Institute for Advanced Biosciences, Keio University, Mizukami, Tsuruoka, Yamagata, Japan; 3MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK

Abstract: The hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) prolyl hydroxylase domain enzymes (PHDs) regulate the stability of HIF protein by post-translational hydroxylation of two conserved prolyl residues in its α subunit in an oxygen-dependent manner. Trans-4-prolyl hydroxylation of HIFα under normal oxygen (O2) availability enables its association with the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) tumor suppressor pVHL E3 ligase complex, leading to the degradation of HIFα via the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. Due to the obligatory requirement of molecular O2 as a co-substrate, the activity of PHDs is inhibited under hypoxic conditions, resulting in stabilized HIFα, which dimerizes with HIFβ and, together with transcriptional co-activators CBP/p300, activates the transcription of its target genes. As a key molecular regulator of adaptive response to hypoxia, HIF plays important roles in multiple cellular processes and its overexpression has been detected in various cancers. The HIF1α isoform in particular has a strong impact on cellular metabolism, most notably by promoting anaerobic, whilst inhibiting O2-dependent, metabolism of glucose. The PHD enzymes also seem to have HIF-independent functions and are subject to regulation by factors other than O2, such as by metabolic status, oxidative stress, and abnormal levels of endogenous metabolites (oncometabolites) that have been observed in some types of cancers. In this review, we aim to summarize current understandings of the function and regulation of PHDs in cancer with an emphasis on their roles in metabolism.

Keywords: prolyl hydroxylase domain (PHD), hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF), metabolism, mouse models, hydroxylation, 2-oxoglutarate-dependent dioxygenases

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