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Physiol Genomics. 2006 Mar 13;25(1):134-41. Epub 2006 Jan 10.

Identification and function of hypoxia-response genes in Drosophila melanogaster.

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Institute of Molecular Biology, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon 97403, USA.


Hypoxia, an insufficient level of oxygen in the cell, occurs during normal activity and also in pathological conditions such as ischemia and tumorigenesis. Although many hypoxia-response genes have been identified, an understanding of the functional role for these genes in the living animal is lacking. Here we present a genome-wide study of gene expression changes during hypoxia and then functionally test a subset of these genes for roles in survival and recovery from hypoxia. We found 79 genes with increased mRNA levels when adult flies were treated with 0.5% O2 for 6 h. A subset of these genes had detectably increased levels in as short as 1 h of low-oxygen treatment. Mild hypoxia levels resulted in an increase in transcription levels for only 20 genes. Viability during hypoxia and recovery time from hypoxia-induced paralysis was examined in flies with a reduction in activity in hypoxia-response genes. The observed decreased viability and increased recovery time from paralysis in many of the lines demonstrate that the increased transcript levels seen after hypoxia are important for the response to low oxygen.

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