Constitutive functional HIF-2α was recently identified in cancer and stem cell lines under normoxia. In this study, BEAS-2B, a bronchial epithelial cell line, was shown to constitutively express active HIF-2α under normoxia and exhibit markers of pluripotency including Oct-4, Nanog, and sphere formation. Oct-4 expression was reduced after knockdown of HIF-2α under normoxia. Global enrichment analysis of HIF-2α demonstrated the diverse functions of HIF-2α under normoxia. Bioinformatics analysis of the enriched loci revealed an enhancer role of HIF-2α binding sites, involvement of HIF-2α interacting proteins, and enriched de novo motifs which suggest the diverse role of HIF-2α in pseudohypoxia. The low ratio of the discovered loci overlapping with those revealed in cancer cell lines 786-O (16.1%) and MCF-7 (15.9%) under hypoxia indicated a prevailing non-canonical mechanism. Hypoxia had positive, marginal or adverse effects on the enrichment of the selected loci in ChIP-PCR assays. Deletion of the N-terminal activation domain (N-TAD) of HIF-2α disrupted the reporting activity of two of the loci annotated to ELN and ANKRD31. Hypoxia incurring abundance variation of HIF-2α may misrepresent the N-TAD functions as canonical hypoxia inducible features via C-TAD activation. Elucidation of the pseudohypoxia functions of constitutive HIF-2α is useful for resolving its role in malignancy and pluripotency.
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