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Curr Genomics. 2009 Apr;10(2):76-85. doi: 10.2174/138920209787847032.

Living without Oxygen: Anoxia-Responsive Gene Expression and Regulation.

Author information

1
Institute of Biochemistry and Department of Biology, Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, K1S 5B6, Canada.

Abstract

Many species of marine mollusks demonstrate exceptional capacities for long term survival without oxygen. Analysis of gene expression under anoxic conditions, including the subsequent translational responses, allows examination of the functional mechanisms that support and regulate natural anaerobiosis and permit noninjurious transitions between aerobic and anoxic states. Identification of stress-specific gene expression can provide important insights into the metabolic adaptations that are needed for anoxia tolerance, with potential applications to anoxia-intolerant systems. Various methods are available to do this, including high throughput microarray screening and construction and screening of cDNA libraries. Anoxia-responsive genes have been identified in mollusks; some have known functions in other organisms but were not previously linked with anoxia survival. In other cases, completely novel anoxia-responsive genes have been discovered, some that show known motifs or domains that hint at function. Selected genes are expressed at different times over an anoxia-recovery time course with their transcription and translation being actively regulated to ensure protein expression at the optimal time. An examination of transcript status over the course of anoxia exposure and subsequent aerobic recovery identifies genes, and the proteins that they encode, that enhance cell survival under oxygen-limited conditions. Analysis of data generated from non-mainstream model systems allows for insight into the response by cells to anoxia stress.

KEYWORDS:

Anoxia-responsive gene expression; Littorina littorea; anaerobiosis; cDNA library screening; metabolic rate depression.; mollusk

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