The Journal of biological chemistry

Activation of HIF-prolyl hydroxylases by R59949, an inhibitor of the diacylglycerol kinase.

PMID 15849364


Hypoxia-inducible factors (HIF) are heterodimeric (alpha/beta) transcription factors that play a fundamental role in cellular adaptation to low oxygen tension. In the presence of oxygen, the HIF-alpha subunit becomes hydroxylated at specific prolyl residues by prolyl hydroxylases. This post-translational modification is recognized by the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) protein, which targets HIF-alpha for degradation. In the absence of oxygen, HIF-alpha hydroxylation is compromised and this subunit is stabilized. We have previously shown that the hypoxia-induced accumulation of HIF-alpha protein is strongly impaired by the inhibitor of diacylglycerol kinase, R59949. Here, we have investigated the mechanisms through which this inhibitor exerts its effect. We found that R59949 inhibits the accumulation of HIF-1/2alpha protein without affecting the expression of their mRNAs. We also determined that R59949 could only block the accumulation of HIF-alpha in the presence of VHL protein. In agreement with this, the binding of VHL to endogenous HIF-alpha was significantly enhanced after R59949 treatment, even under hypoxic conditions. In addition, we found that R59949 could stimulate prolyl hydroxylase both at 21% O2 as well as at 1% O2. Taken together, these results reveal that R59949 is an activator of HIF prolyl hydroxylases. This is of particular interest when we consider that, to date, mainly inhibitors of these enzymes have been described.

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Diacylglycerol Kinase Inhibitor II, solid