Inducible operation of the erythropoietin 3' enhancer in multiple cell lines: evidence for a widespread oxygen-sensing mechanism.
Maxwell PH., Pugh CW., Ratcliffe PJ.
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.