BRG1 and BRM chromatin-remodeling complexes regulate the hypoxia response by acting as coactivators for a subset of hypoxia-inducible transcription factor target genes

Johnny A Sena, Liyi Wang, Cheng-Jun Hu
Molecular and Cellular Biology 2013, 33 (19): 3849-63
Chromatin remodeling is an active process, which represses or enables the access of transcription machinery to genes in response to external stimuli, including hypoxia. However, in hypoxia, the specific requirement, as well as the molecular mechanism by which the chromatin-remodeling complexes regulate gene expression, remains unclear. In this study, we report that the Brahma (BRM) and Brahma-related gene 1 (BRG1) ATPase-containing SWI/SNF chromatin-remodeling complexes promote the expression of the hypoxia-inducible transcription factor 1α (HIF1α) and HIF2α genes and also promote hypoxic induction of a subset of HIF1 and HIF2 target genes. We show that BRG1 or BRM knockdown in Hep3B and RCC4T cells reduces hypoxic induction of HIF target genes, while reexpression of BRG1 or BRM in BRG1/BRM-deficient SW13 cells increases HIF target gene activation. Mechanistically, HIF1 and HIF2 increase the hypoxic induction of HIF target genes by recruiting BRG1 complexes to HIF target gene promoters, which promotes nucleosome remodeling of HIF target gene promoters in a BRG1 ATPase-dependent manner. Importantly, we found that the function of BRG1 complexes in hypoxic SW13 and RCC4T cells is dictated by the HIF-mediated hypoxia response and could be opposite from their function in normoxic SW13 and RCC4T cells.

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