Hdm2 is elevated in numerous types of malignancies and is thought to impede the function of wild-type p53. Reactivation of p53 by disrupting the association with Hdm2 was the impetus for the development of Nutlin3. Although regulation of p53 has been the central focus of Hdm2 activity, it also binds other proteins through its p53-binding domain. Here, we show that hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF1α) binds to Hdm2 in the domain designated to bind p53. HIF1α and p53 share a conserved motif that is required to bind Hdm2. Distinct complexes form between Hdm2-HIF1α and Hdm2-p53 as determined by immunoprecipitation of nuclear extracts and in vitro. The Hdm2 antagonist Nutlin3 prevents the association between Hdm2 and HIF1α. The vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) gene is a transcriptional target of HIF1α, and under normoxic or hypoxic conditions, Hdm2 increases HIF1α activity to induce VEGF production. Blocking the association of Hdm2 and HIF1α by Nutlin3, or ablating Hdm2 expression, diminished the level of VEGF under conditions of normoxia or hypoxia. Our findings establish a unique role for Nutlin3 in attenuating VEGF induction by preventing the association of Hdm2 with HIF1α.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research