Artificial ligand binding within the HIF2α PAS-B domain of the HIF2 transcription factor

Thomas H. Scheuermann, Diana R. Tomchick, Mischa Machius, Yan Guo, Richard K. Bruick, Kevin H. Gardner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

207 Scopus citations


The hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) basic helix-loop-helix Per-aryl hydrocarbon receptor nuclear translocator (ARNT)-Sim (bHLH-PAS) transcription factors are master regulators of the conserved molecular mechanism by which metazoans sense and respond to reductions in local oxygen concentrations. In humans, HIF is critically important for the sustained growth and metastasis of solid tumors. Here, we describe crystal structures of the heterodimer formed by the C-terminal PAS domains from the HIF2α and ARNT subunits of the HIF2 transcription factor, both in the absence and presence of an artificial ligand. Unexpectedly, the HIF2α PAS-B domain contains a large internal cavity that accommodates ligands identified from a small-molecule screen. Binding one of these ligands to HIF2α PAS-B modulates the affinity of the HIF2α :ARNT PAS-B heterodimer in vitro. Given the essential role of PAS domains in forming active HIF heterodimers, these results suggest a presently uncharacterized ligand-mediated mechanism for regulating HIF2 activity in endogenous and clinical settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)450-455
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 13 2009


  • Hypoxia
  • Internal cavity
  • NMR
  • Protein-ligand interactions
  • X-ray crystallography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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