Abstract

Hypoxia Inducible transcription Factors (HIFs) are principally regulated by the 2-oxoglutarate and Iron(II) prolyl hydroxylase (PHD) enzymes, which hydroxylate the HIFα subunit, facilitating its proteasome-mediated degradation. Observations that HIFα hydroxylation can be impaired even when oxygen is sufficient emphasise the importance of understanding the complex nature of PHD regulation. Here, we use an unbiased genome-wide genetic screen in near-haploid human cells to uncover cellular processes that regulate HIF1α. We identify that genetic disruption of the Vacuolar H+ ATPase (V-ATPase), the key proton pump for endo-lysosomal acidification, and two previously uncharacterised V-ATPase assembly factors, TMEM199 and CCDC115, stabilise HIF1α in aerobic conditions. Rather than preventing the lysosomal degradation of HIF1α, disrupting the V-ATPase results in intracellular iron depletion, thereby impairing PHD activity and leading to HIF activation. Iron supplementation directly restores PHD catalytic activity following V-ATPase inhibition, revealing important links between the V-ATPase, iron metabolism and HIFs.

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