Inhibitory effect of extracellular histidine on cobalt-induced HIF-1α expression

Satoru Torii, Atsushi Kurihara, Xian Yu Li, Ken Ichi Yasumoto, Kazuhiro Sogawa

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    14 Citations (Scopus)


    Cobalt chloride (CoCl2) can mimic hypoxia in inducing hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1). Several cultured cells were examined for susceptibility to CoCl2 in DMEM, MEM and RPMI 1640 medium. Here we report that HIF-1α expression of mammalian cells by CoCl2 was largely dependent on the culture medium. HIF-1α protein and hypoxia response element (HRE)-dependent reporter activity were strongly induced in RPMI 1640 but not in DMEM in several cultured cells including MCF-7, a human breast cancer cell line. Analysis of causal nutrients has revealed that histidine, which is contained richer in DMEM, acts as the inhibitory nutrient for cobalt-induced HIF-1α expression of MCF-7 cells in DMEM. D-Histidine also inhibited the HIF-1α activity at the same level as L-histidine, suggesting that sequestration of free cobaltous ion by chelation with histidine was the cause of the inhibition. These results demonstrate that selection of the culture medium must be considered with caution in cell culture experiments using CoCl2 as a hypoxia-mimetic reagent.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)171-176
    Number of pages6
    JournalJournal of biochemistry
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2011 Feb


    • chelate formation
    • chemical hypoxia
    • cobalt chloride
    • histidine
    • hypoxia-inducible factor

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Biochemistry
    • Molecular Biology


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