The yeast genome may harbor hypoxia response elements (HRE)

Túlio César Ferreira, Libi Hertzberg, Max Gassmann, Élida Geralda Campos*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) is a heterodimeric transcription factor activated when cells are submitted to hypoxia. The heterodimer is composed of two subunits, HIF-1α and the constitutively expressed HIF-1β. During normoxia, HIF-1α is degraded by the 26S proteasome, but hypoxia causes HIF-1α to be stabilized, enter the nucleus and bind to HIF-1β, thus forming the active complex. The complex then binds to the regulatory sequences of various genes involved in physiological and pathological processes. The specific regulatory sequence recognized by HIF-1 is the hypoxia response element (HRE) that has the consensus sequence 5′BRCGTGVBBB3′. Although the basic transcriptional regulation machinery is conserved between yeast and mammals, Saccharomyces cerevisiae does not express HIF-1 subunits. However, we hypothesized that baker's yeast has a protein analogous to HIF-1 which participates in the response to changes in oxygen levels by binding to HRE sequences. In this study we screened the yeast genome for HREs using probabilistic motif search tools. We described 24 yeast genes containing motifs with high probability of being HREs (p-value < 0.1) and classified them according to biological function. Our results show that S. cerevisiae may harbor HREs and indicate that a transcription factor analogous to HIF-1 may exist in this organism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-263
Number of pages9
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part - C: Toxicology and Pharmacology
Issue number1-2 SPEC. ISS.
StatePublished - 2007


FundersFunder number
Brazilian Foundation
Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior


    • Anaerobic genes
    • Gene annotation
    • HIF-1
    • HRE
    • Hypoxia
    • LORE
    • Regulatory sequence
    • Yeast


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