Differential activities of murine Single Minded 1 (SIM1) and SIM2 on a hypoxic response element. Cross-talk between basic helix-loop-helix/Per-Arnt-Sim homology transcription factors

Susan Woods, Murray L. Whitelaw

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55 Citations (Scopus)


The basic helix-loop-helix/Per-Arnt-Sim homology (bHLH/PAS) protein family comprises a group of transcriptional regulators that often respond to a variety of developmental and environmental stimuli. Two murine members of this family, Single Minded 1 (SIM1) and Single Minded 2 (SIM2), are essential for postnatal survival but differ from other prototypical family members such as the dioxin receptor (DR) and hypoxia-inducible factors, in that they behave as transcriptional repressors in mammalian one-hybrid experiments and have yet to be ascribed a regulating signal. In cell lines engineered to stably express SIM1 and SIM2, we show that both are nuclear proteins that constitutively complex with the general bHLH/PAS partner factor, ARNT. We report that the murine SIM factors, in combination with ARNT, attenuate transcription from the hypoxia-inducible erythropoietin (EPO) enhancer during hypoxia. Such cross-talk between coexpressed bHLH/PAS factors can occur through competition for ARNT, which we find evident in SIM repression of DR-induced transcription from a xenobiotic response element reporter gene. However, SIM1/ARNT, but not SIM2/ARNT, can activate transcription from the EPO enhancer at normoxia, implying that the SIM proteins have the ability to bind hypoxia response elements and affect either activation or repression of transcription. This notion is supported by co-immunoprecipitation of EPO enhancer sequences with the SIM2 protein. SIM protein levels decrease with hypoxia treatment in our stable cell lines, although levels of the transcripts encoding SIM1 and SIM2 and the approximately 2-h half-lives of each protein are unchanged during hypoxia. Inhibition of protein synthesis, known to occur in cells during hypoxic stress in order to decrease ATP utilization, appears to account for the fall in SIM levels. Our data suggest the existence of a hypoxic switch mechanism in cells that coexpress hypoxia-inducible factor and SIM proteins, where up-regulation and activation of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α is concomitant with attenuation of SIM activities.

Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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