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Eukaryot Cell. 2010 Jun;9(6):915-25. doi: 10.1128/EC.00047-10. Epub 2010 Apr 23.

Transcriptional response to hypoxia in the aquatic fungus Blastocladiella emersonii.

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Departamento de Bioquímica, Instituto de Química, Universidade de São Paulo, Av. Prof. Lineu Prestes 748, São Paulo, SP, Brazil.


Global gene expression analysis was carried out with Blastocladiella emersonii cells subjected to oxygen deprivation (hypoxia) using cDNA microarrays. In experiments of gradual hypoxia (gradual decrease in dissolved oxygen) and direct hypoxia (direct decrease in dissolved oxygen), about 650 differentially expressed genes were observed. A total of 534 genes were affected directly or indirectly by oxygen availability, as they showed recovery to normal expression levels or a tendency to recover when cells were reoxygenated. In addition to modulating many genes with no putative assigned function, B. emersonii cells respond to hypoxia by readjusting the expression levels of genes responsible for energy production and consumption. At least transcriptionally, this fungus seems to favor anaerobic metabolism through the upregulation of genes encoding glycolytic enzymes and lactate dehydrogenase and the downregulation of most genes coding for tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle enzymes. Furthermore, genes involved in energy-costly processes, like protein synthesis, amino acid biosynthesis, protein folding, and transport, had their expression profiles predominantly downregulated during oxygen deprivation, indicating an energy-saving effort. Data also revealed similarities between the transcriptional profiles of cells under hypoxia and under iron(II) deprivation, suggesting that Fe(2+) ion could have a role in oxygen sensing and/or response to hypoxia in B. emersonii. Additionally, treatment of fungal cells prior to hypoxia with the antibiotic geldanamycin, which negatively affects the stability of mammalian hypoxia transcription factor HIF-1alpha, caused a significant decrease in the levels of certain upregulated hypoxic genes.

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