HIF-1 is a nuclear protein involved in mammalian oxygen homeostasis. This occurs as a posttranslational modification by prolyl hydroxylation. It is a heterodimer composed of HIF-1 alpha and HIF-1 beta subunits. Both subunits are constantly translated. However, under normoxic conditions, human HIF-1 alpha is hydroxylated at Pro402 or Pro564 by a set of HIF prolyl hydroxylases, is polyubiquinated, and eventually degraded in proteosomes. Under hypoxic conditions, the lack of hydroxylation prevents HIF degradation and increases transcriptional activity. Therefore, the concentration of HIF-1 alpha increases in the cell. In contrast, HIF-1 beta remains stable under either condition. HIF hydroxylases provide insight into hypoxic cell responses, which may be used to help isolate therapeutic targets.
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