A heme-protein-based oxygen-sensing mechanism controls the expression and suppression of multiple proteins in anoxia-tolerant turtle hepatocytes

S. C. Land, P. W. Hochachka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

40 Citations (Scopus)


The O2 sensitivity of protein expression was assessed in hepatocytes from the western painted turtle. Anoxic cells consistently expressed proteins of 83.0, 70.4, 42.5, 35.3, and 16.1 kDa and suppressed proteins of 63.7, 48.2, 36.9, 29.5, and 17.7 kDa. Except for the 70.4-kDa protein, this pattern was absent during aerobic incubation with 2 mM NaCN, suggesting a specific requirement for O2. Aerobic incubation with Co2+ or Ni2+ increased expression of the 42.5-, 35.3-, and 16.1-kDa protein bands which was diminished with the heme synthesis inhibitor 4,6-dioxoheptanoic acid. Proteins suppressed in anoxia were also suppressed during aerobic incubation with Co2+ or Ni2+ but this was not relieved by 4,6-dioxoheptanoic acid. The anoxia- and Co2+/Ni2+-induced expression of the 42.5-, 35.3-, and 16.1-kDa protein bands was antagonized by 10% CO; however, with the exception of the 17.7-kDa protein, this was not found for any of the O2- or Co2+/Ni2+-suppressed proteins. Anoxia-induced proteins were compared with proteins expressed during heat shock. Heat shock proteins appeared at 90.2, 74.8, 63.4, 25, and 15.5 kDa and were of distinct molecular masses compared with the anoxia-induced proteins. These results suggest that O2-sensing mechanisms are active in the control of protein expression and suppression during anoxia and that, in the case of the 42.5-, 35.3-, 17.7-, and 16.1-kDa proteins, a conformational change in a ferro-heme protein is involved in transducing the O2 signal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7505-7509
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 1995


Cite this