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Structure of an HIF-1alpha-pVHL complex: hydroxyproline recognition in signaling.

Min J.-H., Yang H., Ivan M., Gertler F., Kaelin W.G. Jr., Pavletich N.P.

The ubiquitination of the hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) by the von Hippel-Lindau tumor suppressor (pVHL) plays a central role in the cellular response to changes in oxygen availability. pVHL binds to HIF only when a conserved proline in HIF is hydroxylated, a modification that is oxygen-dependent. The 1.85 angstrom structure of a 20-residue HIF-1alpha peptide-pVHL-ElonginB-ElonginC complex shows that HIF-1alpha binds to pVHL in an extended beta strand-like conformation. The hydroxyproline inserts into a gap in the pVHL hydrophobic core, at a site that is a hotspot for tumorigenic mutations, with its 4-hydroxyl group recognized by buried serine and histidine residues. Although the beta sheet-like interactions contribute to the stability of the complex, the hydroxyproline contacts are central to the strict specificity characteristic of signaling.

Science 296:1886-1889(2002) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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