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Open Access Correspondence

Compound C prevents Hypoxia-Inducible Factor-1α protein stabilization by regulating the cellular oxygen availability via interaction with Mitochondrial Complex I

Yee Liu Chua and Thilo Hagen*

Author Affiliations

Department of Biochemistry, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, 117597 Singapore

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BMC Research Notes 2011, 4:117  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-4-117

Published: 12 April 2011


The transcription factor Hypoxia-Inducible Factor-1α is a master regulator of the cellular response to low oxygen concentration. Compound C, an inhibitor of AMP-activated kinase, has been reported to inhibit hypoxia dependent Hypoxia-Inducible Factor-1α activation via a mechanism that is independent of AMP-activated kinase but dependent on its interaction with the mitochondrial electron transport chain. The objective of this study is to characterize the interaction of Compound C with the mitochondrial electron transport chain and to determine the mechanism through which the drug influences the stability of the Hypoxia-Inducible Factor-1α protein.

We found that Compound C functions as an inhibitor of complex I of the mitochondrial electron transport chain as demonstrated by its effect on mitochondrial respiration. It also prevents hypoxia-induced Hypoxia-Inducible Factor-1α stabilization in a dose dependent manner. In addition, Compound C does not have significant effects on reactive oxygen species production from complex I via both forward and reverse electron flux.

This study provides evidence that similar to other mitochondrial electron transport chain inhibitors, Compound C regulates Hypoxia-Inducible Factor-1α stability by controlling the cellular oxygen concentration.