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Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2001 May;280(5):R1555-63.

Cell cycle progression and cell division are sensitive to hypoxia in Drosophila melanogaster embryos.

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Department of Pediatrics, Section of Respiratory Medicine, Boyer Center for Molecular Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA.


We and others recently demonstrated that Drosophila melanogaster embryos arrest development and embryonic cells cease dividing when they are deprived of O2. To further characterize the behavior of these embryos in response to O2 deprivation and to define the O2-sensitive checkpoints in the cell cycle, embryos undergoing nuclear cycles 3-13 were subjected to O2 deprivation and examined by confocal microscopy under control, hypoxic, and reoxygenation conditions. In vivo, real-time analysis of embryos carrying green fluorescent protein-kinesin demonstrated that cells arrest at two major points of the cell cycle, either at the interphase (before DNA duplication) or at metaphase, depending on the cell cycle phase at which O2 deprivation was induced. Immunoblot analysis of embryos whose cell divisions are synchronized by inducible String (cdc25 homolog) demonstrated that cyclin B was degraded during low O2 conditions in interphase-arrested embryos but not in those arrested in metaphase. Embryos resumed cell cycle activity within ~20 min of reoxygenation, with very little apparent change in cell cycle kinetics. We conclude that there are specific points during the embryonic cell cycle that are sensitive to the O2 level in D. melanogaster. Given the fact that O2 deprivation also influences the growth and development of other species, we suggest that similar hypoxia-sensitive cell cycle checkpoints may also exist in mammalian cells.

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