Our scientists collaborate on HIF research with this year's Nobel laureate Gregg Semenza

08. 10. 2019

This year's Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine goes to the Americans William G. Kaelin and Gregg L. Semenza and the British Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe, whose discoveries made it possible to understand the essence of one of the key adaptive systems for human and other animal life. They have discovered the molecular mechanisms by which cells sense and respond to available oxygen levels.

The topic of regulation of oxygen by the transcription factor hypoxia-induced factor 1a (HIF-1α) is also dealt with by the laboratory of molecular pathogenics led by Gabriela Pavlínková at the Institute of Biotechnology AS CR. Researchers from the Laboratory of Molecular Pathogenesis are co-authors of a study with Nobel Prize laureate Gregg L. Semenza, published in June by the prestigious PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America).

In this research, they first demonstrated the role of hypoxia-induced factor 1a (HIF-1α) in the development of sympathetic ganglion neurons and cardiac sympathetic innervation. The sympathetic nervous system plays a decisive role in stimulating heart rate and heart contractility, thereby ensuring sufficient oxygen supply to the tissues. Sympathetic dysfunction contributes to cardiac pathologies such as sudden cardiac death and heart failure. They found that conditional deletion of HIF-1α leads to increased cell death and decreased proliferation of neuronal progenitors of the sympathetic system. These findings suggest that deregulated expression of HIF-1α can contribute to cardiac dysfunction and the development of diseases associated with cardiac sympathetic disorders by affecting HIF-1α function and survival of sympathetic neurons.


Romana Bohuslavova, Radka Cerychova, Frantisek Papousek, Veronika Olejnickova, Martin Bartos, Agnes Görlach, Frantisek Kolar, David Sedmera, Gregg L. Semenza, and Gabriela Pavlinkova. HIF-1α is required for development of the sympathetic nervous system. PNAS first published June 13, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.190351011.