Background Hypoxia-inducible factors (HIF)1 and 2 are transcription factors that regulate the homeostatic response to low oxygen conditions. Since data related to the importance of HIF1 and 2 in hematopoietic stem and progenitors is conflicting, we investigated the chromatin binding profiles of HIF1 and HIF2 and linked that to transcriptional networks and the cellular metabolic state. Methods Genome-wide ChIPseq and ChIP-PCR experiments were performed to identify HIF1 and HIF2 binding sites in human acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells and healthy CD34(+) hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells. Transcriptome studies were performed to identify gene expression changes induced by hypoxia or by overexpression of oxygen-insensitive HIF1 and HIF2 mutants. Metabolism studies were performed by 1D-NMR, and glucose consumption and lactate production levels were determined by spectrophotometric enzyme assays. CRISPR-CAS9-mediated HIF1, HIF2, and ARNT(-/-) lines were generated to study the functional consequences upon loss of HIF signaling, in vitro and in vivo upon transplantation of knockout lines in xenograft mice. Results Genome-wide ChIP-seq and transcriptome studies revealed that overlapping HIF1- and HIF2-controlled loci were highly enriched for various processes including metabolism, particularly glucose metabolism, but also for chromatin organization, cellular response to stress and G protein-coupled receptor signaling. ChIP-qPCR validation studies confirmed that glycolysis-related genes but not genes related to the TCA cycle or glutaminolysis were controlled by both HIF1 and HIF2 in leukemic cell lines and primary AMLs, while in healthy human CD34(+) cells these loci were predominantly controlled by HIF1 and not HIF2. However, and in contrast to our initial hypotheses, CRISPR/Cas9-mediated knockout of HIF signaling did not affect growth, internal metabolite concentrations, glucose consumption or lactate production under hypoxia, not even in vivo upon transplantation of knockout cells into xenograft mice. Conclusion These data indicate that, while HIFs exert control over glycolysis but not OxPHOS gene expression in human leukemic cells, this is not critically important for their metabolic state. In contrast, inhibition of BCR-ABL did impact on glucose consumption and lactate production regardless of the presence of HIFs. These data indicate that oncogene-mediated control over glycolysis can occur independently of hypoxic signaling modules.
- Hypoxia induced factors (HIFs)
- Human hematopoietic stem cells
- Acute myeloid leukemia (AML)
- HEMATOPOIETIC STEM-CELLS
- HYPOXIA-INDUCIBLE FACTORS
- INDUCED AUTOPHAGY