Structural Basis for Binding of Hypoxia-Inducible Factor to the Oxygen-Sensing Prolyl Hydroxylases

Rasheduzzaman Chowdhury, Michael A. McDonough, Jasmin Mecinović, Christoph Loenarz, Emily Flashman, Kirsty S Hewitson, Carmen Domene Nunez, Christopher J. Schofield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

192 Citations (SciVal)


The oxygen-dependent hydroxylation of proline residues in the α subunit of hypoxia-inducible transcription factor (HIFα) is central to the hypoxic response in animals. Prolyl hydroxylation of HIFα increases its binding to the von Hippel-Lindau protein (pVHL), so signaling for degradation via the ubiquitin-proteasome system. The HIF prolyl hydroxylases (PHDs, prolyl hydroxylase domain enzymes) are related to the collagen prolyl hydroxylases, but form unusually stable complexes with their Fe(II) cofactor and 2-oxoglutarate cosubstrate. We report crystal structures of the catalytic domain of PHD2, the most important of the human PHDs, in complex with the C-terminal oxygen-dependent degradation domain of HIF-1α. Together with biochemical analyses, the results reveal that PHD catalysis involves a mobile region that isolates the hydroxylation site and stabilizes the PHD2.Fe(II).2OG complex. The results will be of use in the design of PHD inhibitors aimed at treating anemia and ischemic disease.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)981-989
Number of pages9
Issue number7
Early online date14 Jul 2009
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2009


  • Anoxia, Binding Sites, Catalysis, Catalytic Domain, Crystallography, X-Ray, Humans, Hydroxylation, Hydroxyproline, Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, Ketoglutaric Acids, Models, Molecular, Oxygen, Procollagen-Proline Dioxygenase, Proline, Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex, Protein Binding, Protein Conformation, Protein Structure, Secondary, Protein Structure, Tertiary, Signal Transduction, Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases, Von Hippel-Lindau Tumor Suppressor Protein


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