HIF-1 Interacts with TRIM28 and DNA-PK to release paused RNA polymerase II and activate target gene transcription in response to hypoxia

ARTICLE: HIF-1 Interacts with TRIM28 and DNA-PK to release paused RNA polymerase II and activate target gene transcription in response to hypoxia

AUTHORS: Yongkang Yang, Haiquan Lu, Chelsey Chen, Yajing Lyu, Robert N Cole, Gregg L Semenza

JOURNAL: Nat Commun. 2022 Jan 14;13(1):316. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-27944-8.

Abstract

Hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) is a transcription factor that acts as a regulator of oxygen (O2) homeostasis in metazoan species by binding to hypoxia response elements (HREs) and activating the transcription of hundreds of genes in response to reduced O2 availability. RNA polymerase II (Pol II) initiates transcription of many HIF target genes under non-hypoxic conditions but pauses after approximately 30-60 nucleotides and requires HIF-1 binding for release. Here we report that in hypoxic breast cancer cells, HIF-1 recruits TRIM28 and DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK) to HREs to release paused Pol II. We show that HIF-1α and TRIM28 assemble the catalytically-active DNA-PK heterotrimer, which phosphorylates TRIM28 at serine-824, enabling recruitment of CDK9, which phosphorylates serine-2 of the Pol II large subunit C-terminal domain as well as the negative elongation factor to release paused Pol II, thereby stimulating productive transcriptional elongation. Our studies reveal a molecular mechanism by which HIF-1 stimulates gene transcription and reveal that the anticancer effects of drugs targeting DNA-PK in breast cancer may be due in part to their inhibition of HIF-dependent transcription.

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