Adaptive responses to hypoxia occur in many biological systems. A well-characterized example is the hypoxic induction of the synthesis of erythropoietin, a hormone which regulates erythropoiesis and hence blood oxygen content. The restricted expression of the erythropoietin gene in subsets of cells within kidney and liver has suggested that this specific oxygen-sensing mechanism is restricted to specialized cells in those organs. Using transient transfection of reporter genes coupled to a transcriptional enhancer lying 3' to the erythropoietin gene, we show that an oxygen-sensing system similar, or identical, to that controlling erythropoietin expression is wide-spread in mammalian cells. The extensive distribution of this sensing mechanism contrasts with the restricted expression of erythropoietin, suggesting that it mediates other adaptive responses to hypoxia.


Journal article


Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

Publication Date





2423 - 2427


Animals, Cell Hypoxia, Cell Line, Cobalt, Enhancer Elements, Genetic, Erythropoietin, Gene Expression Regulation, Humans, Organ Specificity, Oxygen, Plasmids, Restriction Mapping, Transfection, Tumor Cells, Cultured