Tumour necrosis factor α (TNF-α) binds to its receptor (TNFR1) and activates both death- and inflammation/survival-related signalling pathways. The inflammation and survival-related signalling cascade results in the activation of the transcription factor, nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) and requires recruitment of receptor-interacting protein (RIP) to TNFR1. The indispensable role of RIP in TNF-induced NF-κB activation has been demonstrated in RIP-/- mice and in cell lines derived from such mice. In the present study, we show that the TNF-α-induced accumulation of hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α) protein in normoxic cells is RIP-dependent. Exposing fibroblasts derived from RIP-/- mice to either cobalt or PMA resulted in an equivalent HIF-1α induction to that seen in RIP+/+ fibroblasts. In contrast, RIP-/- cells were unable to induce HIF-1α in response to TNF-α. Further, transient transfection of NIH 3T3 cells with an NF-κB super-repressor plasmid (an inhibitor of NF-κB activation) also prevented HIF-1α induction by TNF-α. Surprisingly, although HIF-1α mRNA levels remained unchanged after induction by TNF, induction of HIF-1α protein by the cytokine was completely blocked by pretreatment with the transcription inhibitors actinomycin D and 5,6-dichlorobenzimidazole riboside. Finally, TNF failed to induce both HIF-1α, made resistant to von Hippel—Lindau (VHL), and wild-type HIF-1α transfected into VHL-/- cells. These results indicate that HIF-1α induction by TNF-α in normoxic cells is mediated by protein stabilization but is nonetheless uniquely dependent on NF-κB-driven transcription. Thus the results describe a novel mechanism of HIF-1α up-regulation and they identify HIF-1α as a unique component of the NF-κB-mediated inflammatory/survival response.

Abbreviations used: AP-1, activator protein 1; HA, haemagglutinin; HIF, hypoxia-inducible factor; IκB, inhibitory κB; MEF, mouse embryo fibroblasts; NF-κB, nuclear factor κB; RIP, receptor-interacting protein; RT, reverse transcriptase; TNF, tumour necrosis factor; TNFR, TNF receptor; VHL, von Hippel—Lindau.

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