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Gladstone scientists identify gene critical for cell responses to oxygen deprivation
Date:11/3/2011

SAN FRANCISCO, CANovember 3, 2011Scientists at the Gladstone Institutes have identified a protein that kickstarts the response to low levels of oxygen, suggesting new lines of research relevant to a variety of potentially fatal disorders associated with diminished oxygen supply, including cancer, heart disease, stroke and other neurological conditions that affect millions of people worldwide.

In a paper being published today in Molecular Cell, the laboratory of Gladstone Associate Investigator Katerina Akassoglou, PhD, maps out the chain of events that take place during hypoxia. Hypoxia is a condition that can occur in people with diseases such as heart disease and stroke. It deprives tissues and organs of an adequate oxygen supply.

"This discovery provides a novel understanding of the steps by which cells normally respond to hypoxia, a fundamental biological process that is implicated in many medical conditions," said Dr. Akassoglou, whose research at Gladstonea leading and independent biomedical-research organizationinvestigates the mechanisms of inflammation and tissue repair in the brain.

The paper details how Dr. Akassoglou's lab discovered the previously unknown biological function of a protein called p75NTR. When activated by hypoxia, p75NTR sets off the cascading series of events that results in increased blood-vessel production to replenish oxygen levels during disease.

Previous research had indicated that hypoxia triggers the activation of a protein called HIF1alphaan activation that ultimately leads to more blood vessels and an ensuing improvement in oxygen flow. There has been much interest among researchers in modifying levels of the HIF1alpha protein to spur blood-vessel production in individuals with hypoxic conditions. But Dr. Akassoglou decided to take a different approach in her research.

By monitoring the responses of mice under hypoxic conditions, Dr. Akassoglou found that hypoxia fi
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Contact: Anne Holden
anne.holden@gladstone.ucsf.edu
415-734-2534
Gladstone Institutes
Source:Eurekalert  

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