The VHL tumor suppressor and HIF: Insights from genetic studies in mice

P. P. Kapitsinou, V. H. Haase*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

122 Scopus citations


The von Hippel-Lindau tumor suppressor gene product, pVHL, functions as the substrate recognition component of an E3-ubiquitin ligase, which targets the oxygen-sensitive α-subunit of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) for rapid proteasomal degradation under normoxic conditions and as such plays a central role in molecular oxygen sensing. Mutations in pVHL can be found in familial and sporadic clear cell carcinomas of the kidney, hemangioblastomas of the retina and central nervous system, and pheochromocytomas, underscoring its gatekeeper function in the pathogenesis of these tumors. Tissue-specific gene targeting of VHL in mice has demonstrated that efficient execution of pVHL-mediated HIF proteolysis under normoxia is fundamentally important for survival, proliferation, differentiation and normal physiology of many cell types, and has provided novel insights into the biological function of individual HIF transcription factors. In this review, we discuss the role of HIF in the development of the VHL phenotype.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)650-659
Number of pages10
JournalCell Death and Differentiation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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