HIF2α is a direct regulator of neutrophil motility
Orchestrated recruitment of neutrophils to inflamed tissue is essential during the initiation of inflammation. Inflamed areas are usually hypoxic, and adaptation to reduced oxygen pressure is typically mediated by hypoxia pathway proteins. However, it remains unclear how these factors influence the migration of neutrophils to and at the site of inflammation during their transmigration through the blood-endothelial cell barrier, as well as their motility in the interstitial space. Here, we reveal that activation of hypoxia-inducible factor 2 (HIF2α) as a result of a deficiency in HIF prolyl hydroxylase domain protein 2 (PHD2) boosts neutrophil migration specifically through highly confined microenvironments. In vivo, the increased migratory capacity of PHD2-deficient neutrophils resulted in massive tissue accumulation in models of acute local inflammation. Using systematic RNA sequencing analyses and mechanistic approaches, we identified RhoA, a cytoskeleton organizer, as the central downstream factor that mediates HIF2α-dependent neutrophil motility. Thus, we propose that the novel PHD2-HIF2α-RhoA axis is vital to the initial stages of inflammation because it promotes neutrophil movement through highly confined tissue landscapes.