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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Hypoxia induces a complex response of globin expression in zebrafish (Danio rerio).

Unlike most mammals, many fish species live and survive in environments with low or changing levels of oxygen. Respiratory proteins like hemoglobin or myoglobin bind or store oxygen, thus enhancing its availability to the respiratory chain in the mitochondria. Here we investigate by means of quantitative real-time PCR the changes of hemoglobin, myoglobin, neuroglobin, cytoglobin and globin X mRNA in zebrafish (Danio rerio) exposed to mild (PO2=approximately 8.6 kPa) or severe (PO2=approximately 4.1 kPa) hypoxia. Neuroglobin and myoglobin protein levels were investigated by western blotting. Whereas mild hypoxia caused only minor changes of mRNA levels, strong hypoxia enhanced mRNA levels of the control genes (lactate dehydrogenase A and phosphoglycerate kinase 1). Surprisingly, levels of hemoglobin alpha and beta mRNA were significantly reduced under severe hypoxia. Myoglobin mRNA and protein in heart mildly increased, in line with its proposed oxygen supply function. Likewise, neuroglobin mRNA and protein significantly increased in brain (up to 5.7-fold at the protein level), but not in eye. This observation, firstly, suggests physiological differences of zebrafish eye and brain under hypoxia, and secondly, indicates an important role of neuroglobin in oxidative metabolism, probably oxygen supply within neurons. There was little change in the expression of the two cytoglobin genes. Globin X mRNA significantly decreased under hypoxia, pointing to a functional linkage to oxygen-dependent metabolism.[1]


  1. Hypoxia induces a complex response of globin expression in zebrafish (Danio rerio). Roesner, A., Hankeln, T., Burmester, T. J. Exp. Biol. (2006) [Pubmed]
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