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Mechanism for Adaptation to Oxidative Stress Explored

Last Updated: June 04, 2009.

Experiments with yeast suggest how exposure to small amounts of oxidants may help prevent damage from reactive oxygen species, according to research published in the May issue of PLoS Genetics.

THURSDAY, June 4 (HealthDay News) -- Experiments with yeast suggest how exposure to small amounts of oxidants may help prevent damage from reactive oxygen species, according to research published in the May issue of PLoS Genetics.

Ryan Kelley, Ph.D., and Trey Ideker, Ph.D., of the University of California San Diego in La Jolla, discuss their work with yeast to study the process of adaptation, in which the generation of mild levels of reactive oxygen species protect against high doses of oxidant.

The authors either pretreated cells with a mild dose of hydrogen peroxide, then a strong dose, or exposed them to a high dose only. After the adaptation protocol, yeast cells had a smaller reduction in viability. A series of genome-wide deletion fitness and mRNA expression screens helped identify the transcription factor Mga2 as necessary for adaptation.

"One goal for future work is to investigate whether the mechanisms of adaptation identified here also function in higher organisms or in lifespan extension. Of the 156 genes identified in this study as required for the adaptive response, 97 have some homology to higher eukaryotes. In humans, fibroblasts and smooth muscle cells exhibit extended replicative lifespan in response to hypoxic external conditions. This effect requires the generation of reactive oxygen species inside the cell and the presence of hypoxia inducible factor (HIF). Like Mga2 and Rox1 in S. cerevisiae, HIF is a transcription factor that mediates the response to hypoxic conditions," the authors write.

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