The hypoxia response pathway promotes PEP carboxykinase expression and gluconeogenesis.

Vora M, Pyonteck SM, Matlack TL, Parashar A, Favate JS, Kane NS, Shah P, and Rongo C.

bioRxiv : 10.1101/2021.05.04.442650



Actively dividing cells, including some cancers, rely on aerobic glycolysis rather than oxidative phosphorylation to generate energy, a phenomenon termed “the Warburg effect1.” Constitutive activation of the Hypoxia Inducible Factor (HIF-1), a transcription factor known for mediating an adaptive response to oxygen deprivation (hypoxia), is a hallmark of the Warburg effect2. HIF-1 is thought to promote glycolysis and suppress oxidative phosphorylation. Here, we show instead that HIF-1 can promote gluconeogenesis. Using a multiomics approach, we determined the genomic, transcriptomic, and metabolomic landscapes regulated by constitutively active HIF-1 in C. elegans. We performed RNA-seq and ChIP-seq under aerobic conditions in mutants lacking EGL-9, a key negative regulator of HIF-1, and then integrated these approaches to identify over a hundred genes directly and functionally upregulated by HIF-1. We show that HIF-1 directly promotes the expression of PCK-1, a PEP carboxykinase that is a rate-limiting mediator of gluconeogenesis3. This activation of PCK-1 by HIF-1 promotes survival in response to both oxidative and hypoxic stress. Our work is the first to identify functional direct targets of HIF-1 in vivo, and it describes the first complete metabolome induced by constitutive HIF-1 activation in any organism.