A Ortiz-Barahona, D Villar, N Pescador, J Amigo, L del Peso
Nucleic Acids Res
The transcriptional response driven by Hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) is central to the adaptation to oxygen restriction. Hence, the complete identification of HIF targets is essential for understanding the cellular responses to hypoxia. Herein we describe a computational strategy based on the combination of phylogenetic footprinting and transcription profiling meta-analysis for the identification of HIF-target genes. Comparison of the resulting candidates with published HIF1a genome-wide chromatin immunoprecipitation indicates a high sensitivity (78%) and specificity (97.8%). To validate our strategy, we performed HIF1a chromatin immunoprecipitation on a set of putative targets. Our results confirm the robustness of the computational strategy in predicting HIF-binding sites and reveal several novel HIF targets, including RE1-silencing transcription factor co-repressor (RCOR2). In addition, mapping of described polymorphisms to the predicted HIF-binding sites identified several single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that could alter HIF binding. As a proof of principle, we demonstrate that SNP rs17004038, mapping to a functional hypoxia response element in the macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) locus, prevents induction of this gene by hypoxia. Altogether, our results show that the proposed strategy is a powerful tool for the identification of HIF direct targets that expands our knowledge of the cellular adaptation to hypoxia and provides cues on the inter-individual variation in this response.