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Genetic Research

Genetic switch for hypoxia survival identified

10 years, 11 months ago

2457  0
Posted on Oct 21, 2008, 7 a.m. By Rich Hurd

Researchers studying fruit flies have identified a genetic switch that helps oxygen-starved cells to survive.

Researchers studying fruit flies have identified a genetic switch that helps oxygen-starved cells to survive.

Dan Zhou and colleagues at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine discovered a transcriptional suppressor called hairy which is activated when cells are starved of oxygen. Once activated, hairy brings a number of signaling pathways in the cell to a halt, this enables the cells to slow down non-essential metabolic processes, conserve power, and survive in a hypoxic, or low-oxygen, environment. The researchers have called this process hairy-mediated metabolic suppression.

It is hoped that the discovery will help scientists to develop treatment that will help human cells to adapt and survive in hypoxic conditions.

Zhou D, Xue J, Lai JCK, Schork NJ, White KP, et al. Mechanisms Underlying Hypoxia Tolerance in Drosophila melanogaster: hairy as a Metabolic Switch. PLoS Genet. 2008;4(10): e1000221. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1000221

 

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