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Oxygen Sensing: Hydroxylation of HIF-1

Author(s): Emma Freky

A fundamental trait of all metazoan cells is their ability to detect and respond to variations in oxygenation. Protein hydroxylation has been identified as a method by which variations in PO2 are transduced to impact changes in gene expression, thanks to the discovery of the transcription factor HIF-1. The efficient synthesis of high-energy molecules by multicellular life on Earth is predicated on the usage of O2, and O2 consumption increases with the organism's mass and metabolic activity. However, due to the harmful effects of reactive oxygen species on cellular macromolecules, O2 exposure must be minimized. As a result, all of a mammal's major physiological systems are involved in complicated homeostatic mechanisms that are meant to keep the O2 concentration in each cell within a small range.

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