Hypoxic regulation of the hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) transcription factor is primarily through inhibition of degradation. Under normoxic conditions, HIF-1α undergoes rapid proteosomal degradation once it forms a complex with von Hippel–Landau tumor suppressor factor (VHL) and E3 ligase complex. This requires the hydroxylation of critical proline residues by a family of HIF-1α-specific prolyl hydroxylases (PHD-1,2,3), which requires O2 and several cofactors, including iron. Under hypoxic conditions, or when iron is chelated or competitively inhibited, proline hydroxylation does not occur, thus stabilizing HIF-1α and allowing it to interact with the constitutively expressed HIF-1β (aryl hydrocarbon nuclear translocator; ARNT). The HIF-1 complex then translocates to the nucleus and activates genes with hypoxia-responsive elements in their promoters. bHLH, basic helix-loop-helix; CBP, cAMP response element binding protein; FIH, factor inhibiting HIF-1α; PAS, PER-ARNT-SIM; TAD, transactivation domain.