The variants of the hypoxia-inducible factor-3α gene HIF-3α and NEPAS are known to repress the transcriptional activities driven by HIF-1α and HIF-2α. Although NEPAS has been shown to play an important role in vascular remodeling during lung development, little is known about the roles of HIF-3α in adult lung function. Here, we examined pulmonary endothelial cells (ECs) isolated from wild-type (WT) and HIF-3α functional knockout (KO) mice. The expression levels of angiogenic factors (Flk1, Ang2 and Tie2) were significantly greater in the HIF-3α KO ECs than those in the WT ECs irrespective of oxygen tension. However, the HIF-3α KO ECs showed impaired proliferative and angiogenic activities. The impaired EC function was likely due to the excess vascular endothelial (VE)-cadherin, an inhibitor of Flk1/PI3 kinase/Akt signaling, as treatment of the cells to a neutralizing antibody partly restored the phenotype of the HIF-3α KO ECs. Importantly, we found that the mRNA levels of HIF-2α and Ets-1 were significantly increased by HIF-3α ablation. Given that both factors are known to activate the VE-cadherin gene, the transcriptional repression of these factors by HIF-3α might be important for silencing the irrelevant expression of the VE-cadherin gene. Collectively, these data show novel and unique roles of HIF-3α for angiogenic gene regulation in pulmonary ECs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology