Document Type


Date of Degree


Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Molecular and Cellular Biology

First Advisor

Frederick E. Domann


The ability of cells to sense oxygen is a highly evolved process that facilitates adaptations to the local oxygen environment and is critical to energy homeostasis. In vertebrates, this process is largely controlled by three intracellular prolyl-4-hydroxylases (PHD 1-3). These related enzymes share the ability to hydroxylate the hypoxia-inducible transcription factor (HIF), and therefore control the transcription of genes involved in metabolism and vascular recruitment. However, it is becoming increasingly apparent that proline-4-hydroxylation controls much more than HIF signaling, with PHD3 emerging as the most unique and functionally diverse of the PHD isoforms. In fact, PHD3-mediated hydroxylation has recently been purported to function in such diverse roles as sympathetic neuronal and muscle development, sepsis, glycolytic metabolism, and cell fate. PHD3 expression is also highly distinct from that of the other PHD enzymes, and varies considerably between different cell types and oxygen concentrations. This thesis will specifically examine the role of PHD3 expression in cancer cells, with a focus on the mechanisms of PHD3 gene silencing. In the final chapters, I will examine the consequences of this silencing in cancer, and discuss the discovery of a novel role for PHD3 in epithelial-to-mesenchymal-like transition and cell migration.


Cell Migration, EGLN3, EMT, HIF, PHD3, prolyl-4-hydroxylase


xi, 181 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 172-181).


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Copyright 2013 Trenton L. Place

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