Recruitment of RNA polymerase II to hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) target genes under normoxia is a prerequisite for HIF-mediated transactivation. However, the underlying mechanism of this recruitment remains unknown. Here we report that chromodomain helicase DNA-binding protein 4 (CHD4) physically interacts with a and b subunits of HIF1 and HIF2 and enhances HIF-driven transcriptional programs to promote breast cancer progression. Loss of HIF1/2a abolished CHD4-mediated breast tumor growth in mice. In breast cancer cells under normoxia, CHD4 enrichment at HIF target gene promoters increased RNA polymerase II loading through p300. Hypoxia further promoted CHD4 binding to the chromatin via HIF1/2a, where CHD4 in turn enhanced recruitment of HIF1a, leading to HIF target gene transcription. CHD4 was upregulated and correlated with HIF target gene expression in human breast tumors; upregulation of CHD4 and other known HIF coactivators in human breast tumors was mutually exclusive. Furthermore, CHD4 was associated with poor overall survival of patients with breast cancer. Collectively, these findings reveal a new fundamental mechanism of HIF regulation in breast cancer, which has clinical relevance.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research