Downregulation of integrins by von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) tumor suppressor protein is independent of VHL-directed hypoxia-inducible factor alpha degradation

Qingzhou Ji, Robert D. Burk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations


Inactivation of the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) tumor suppressor gene occurs in the majority of clear-cell renal cell carcinomas (RCCs). It was previously shown that VHL decreased the abundance of integrins α2, α5, and β1, which is consistent with VHL-associated changes in cell-cell and cell - extracellular matrix adhesions. We investigated the mechanism by which VHL downregulates integrins. Although VHL can target hypoxia-inducible factor alpha (HIFα) subunits for degradation, VHL-dependent reduction of integrins was independent of O2 concentration and HIFα levels. VHL reduced the half-lives of integrins, and this activity was blocked by proteasomal inhibition. Although ectopically expressed FLAG-VHL retained HIFα degradation activity, it neither downregulated integrins nor promoted adherens and tight intercellular junctions, in contrast to expressed wild-type VHL. Moreover, integrins co-immunoprecipitated with wild-type VHL, but not FLAG-VHL. These data indicate that the downregulation of integrins by VHL is distinct from the regulation of HIFα subunits by VHL, and suggests that the loss of this activity contributes to VHL-associated RCC development through disruption of adherens and tight junctions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-234
Number of pages8
JournalBiochemistry and Cell Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2008



  • Adherens junctions
  • HIF
  • Integrin
  • Tight junctions
  • VHL

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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