Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology vol:345 pages:71-103
Prolyl hydroxylase domain (PHD) proteins are cellular oxygen sensors that orchestrate an adaptive response to hypoxia and oxidative stress, executed by hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs). By increasing oxygen supply, reducing oxygen consumption, and reprogramming metabolism, the PHD/HIF pathway confers tolerance towards hypoxic and oxidative stress. This review discusses the involvement of the PHD/HIF response in two, at first sight, entirely distinct pathologies with opposite outcome, i.e. cancer leading to cellular growth and neurodegeneration resulting in cell death. However, these disorders share common mechanisms of sensing oxygen and oxidative stress. We will focus on how PHD/HIF signaling is pathogenetically implicated in metabolic and vessel alterations in these diseases and how manipulation of this pathway might offer novel treatment opportunities.