Understanding the Oxygen-Sensing Pathway and Its Therapeutic Implications in Diseases

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34 Scopus citations


Maintaining oxygen homeostasis is a most basic cellular process for adapting physiological oxygen variations, and its abnormality typically leads to various disorders in the human body. The key molecules of the oxygen-sensing system include the transcriptional regulator hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF), which controls a wide range of oxygen responsive target genes (eg, EPO and VEGF), certain members of the oxygen/2-oxoglutarate–dependent dioxygenase family, including the HIF proline hydroxylase (PHD, alias EGLN), and an E3 ubiquitin ligase component for HIF destruction called von Hippel–Lindau. In this review, we summarize the physiological role and highlight the pathologic function for each protein of the oxygen-sensing system. A better understanding of their molecular mechanisms of action will help uncover novel therapeutic targets and develop more effective treatment approaches for related human diseases, including cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1584-1595
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Pathology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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