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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 4386947, 16 pages
Research Article

Hypoxia Downregulates MAPK/ERK but Not STAT3 Signaling in ROS-Dependent and HIF-1-Independent Manners in Mouse Embryonic Stem Cells

1Institute of Experimental Biology, Faculty of Science, Masaryk University, Kotlářská 267/2, 61137 Brno, Czech Republic
2Institute of Biophysics, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Královopolská 2590/135, 61200 Brno, Czech Republic
3International Clinical Research Center, Centre of Biomolecular and Cellular Engineering, St. Anne’s University Hospital, Pekařská 53, 65691 Brno, Czech Republic

Correspondence should be addressed to Jiří Pacherník

Received 18 January 2017; Revised 27 April 2017; Accepted 15 May 2017; Published 27 July 2017

Academic Editor: Magdalena Skonieczna

Copyright © 2017 Jan Kučera et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Hypoxia is involved in the regulation of stem cell fate, and hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) is the master regulator of hypoxic response. Here, we focus on the effect of hypoxia on intracellular signaling pathways responsible for mouse embryonic stem (ES) cell maintenance. We employed wild-type and HIF-1α-deficient ES cells to investigate hypoxic response in the ERK, Akt, and STAT3 pathways. Cultivation in 1% O2 for 24 h resulted in the strong dephosphorylation of ERK and its upstream kinases and to a lesser extent of Akt in an HIF-1-independent manner, while STAT3 phosphorylation remained unaffected. Downregulation of ERK could not be mimicked either by pharmacologically induced hypoxia or by the overexpression. Dual-specificity phosphatases (DUSP) 1, 5, and 6 are hypoxia-sensitive MAPK-specific phosphatases involved in ERK downregulation, and protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) regulates both ERK and Akt. However, combining multiple approaches, we revealed the limited significance of DUSPs and PP2A in the hypoxia-mediated attenuation of ERK signaling. Interestingly, we observed a decreased reactive oxygen species (ROS) level in hypoxia and a similar phosphorylation pattern for ERK when the cells were supplemented with glutathione. Therefore, we suggest a potential role for the ROS-dependent attenuation of ERK signaling in hypoxia, without the involvement of HIF-1.