Hypoxic conditions induce the activation of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) to restore the supply of oxygen to tissues and cells. Activated HIF-1α translocates into the nucleus and binds to hypoxia response elements to promote the transcription of target genes. Cathepsin L (CTSL) is a lysosomal protease that degrades cellular proteins via the endolysosomal pathway. In this study, we attempted to determine if CTSL is a hypoxia responsive target gene of HIF-1α, and decipher its role in melanocytes in association with the autophagic pathway. The results of our luciferase reporter assay showed that the expression of CTSL is transcriptionally activated through the binding of HIF1-α at its promoter. Under autophagy-inducing starvation conditions, HIF-1α and CTSL expression is highly upregulated in melan-a cells. The mature form of CTSL is closely involved in melanosome degradation through lysosomal activity upon autophagosome–lysosome fusion. The inhibition of conversion of pro-CTSL to mature CTSL leads to the accumulation of gp100 and tyrosinase in addition to microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 (LC3) II, due to decreased lysosomal activity in the autophagic pathway. In conclusion, we have identified that CTSL, a novel target of HIF-1α, participates in melanosome degradation in melanocytes through lysosomal activity during autophagosome–lysosome fusion.
|Journal||International journal of molecular sciences|
|Publication status||Published - 2021 Aug 2|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding: This study was supported by a faculty research grant of Yonsei University College of Medicine (6-2016-0139).
Acknowledgments: This work was supported by a faculty research grant of Yonsei University College of Medicine (6-2016-0139), a grant of the Korea Health Technology R&D Project through the Korea Health Industry Development Institute, funded by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, Republic of Korea (grant number: HP20C0019) and National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (2019R1A2C4069490).
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Computer Science Applications
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry