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Free Radic Res Commun. 1991;12-13 Pt 1:455-60.

On the mechanism of action of H2O2 in the cellular stress.

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Génétique Moléculaire et Cellulaire, Unité Associée au CNRS 1135, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, Frane.


We propose a hypothesis according to which the reactive and reduced species of oxygen could be the intracellular inducers of the stress (or "heat-shock") response. This hypothesis is based on the following observations on Drosophila cells: a) the return to normoxia after 24 h anaerobiosis is sufficient to induce the synthesis of the "heat shock" proteins without elevation of temperature together with a rapid increase of O2 consumption; b) hydrogen peroxide introduced in the culture medium induces the early transcriptional activation of the "heat shock" genes (maximal after 5 minutes); c) hydrogen peroxide added to cellular extracts in vitro (thus acting as an intracellular metabolite) activates instantaneously the binding capacity of a "heat shock" factor to a DNA "heat shock" regulatory element. Thus, hydrogen peroxide, and possibly other reactive reduced species of oxygen, could trigger the onset of the stress (or "heat shock") response.

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