The SIN3A–HDAC (histone deacetylase) complex is a master transcriptional repressor, required for development but often deregulated in disease. Here, we report that the recently identified new component of this complex, SINHCAF (SIN3A and HDAC-associated factor)/FAM60A (family of homology 60A), links the SIN3A–HDAC co-repressor complex function to the hypoxia response. We show that SINHCAF specifically represses HIF-2α mRNA and protein expression, via its interaction with the transcription factor SP1 (specificity protein 1) and recruitment of HDAC1 to the HIF-2α promoter. SINHCAF control over HIF-2α results in functional cellular changes in in vitro angiogenesis and viability. Our analysis reveals an unexpected link between SINHCAF and the regulation of the hypoxia response.
Responding appropriately to changes in oxygen availability is essential for multicellular organism survival. Molecularly, cells have evolved intricate gene expression programmes to handle this stressful condition. Although it is appreciated that gene expression is co-ordinated by changes in transcription and translation in hypoxia, much less is known about how chromatin changes allow for transcription to take place. The missing link between co-ordinating chromatin structure and the hypoxia-induced transcriptional programme could be in the form of a class of dioxygenases called JmjC (Jumonji C) enzymes, the majority of which are histone demethylases. In the present review, we will focus on the function of JmjC histone demethylases, and how these could act as oxygen sensors for chromatin in hypoxia. The current knowledge concerning the role of JmjC histone demethylases in the process of organism development and human disease will also be reviewed.