Comparative biology of oxygen sensing in plants and animals

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Aerobic respiration is essential to almost all eukaryotes and sensing oxygen is a key determinant of survival. Analogous but mechanistically different oxygen-sensing pathways were adopted in plants and metazoan animals, that include ubiquitin-mediated degradation of transcription factors and direct sensing via non-heme iron(Fe2+)-dependent-dioxygenases. Key roles for oxygen-sensing have been identified in both groups, with downstream signalling focussed on regulated gene transcription and chromatin modification to control development and stress responses. Components of sensing systems are promising targets for human therapeutic intervention and developing stress resilient crops. Here we review current knowledge about the origins, commonalities and differences between oxygen-sensing in plants and animals.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R362-R369
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2020