Respiration in a changing environment

Institut für Zoologie, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhlems-Universität Bonn, Germany.
Respiratory Physiology & Neurobiology (Impact Factor: 1.97). 04/2010; 173 Suppl:S20-5. DOI: 10.1016/j.resp.2010.04.001
Source: PubMed


Multidisciplinary respiratory research highlighted in the present symposium uses existing and new models from all Kingdoms in both basic and applied research and bears upon molecular signaling processes that have been present from the beginning of life and have been maintained as an integral part of it. Many of these old mechanisms are still recognizable as ROS and oxygen-dependent pathways that probably were in place even before photosynthesis evolved. These processes are not only recognizable through relatively small molecules such as nucleotides and their derivatives. Also some DNA sequences such as the hypoxia response elements and pas gene family are ancient and have been co-opted in various functions. The products of pas genes, in addition to their function in regulating nuclear response to hypoxia as part of the hypoxia-inducible factor HIF, play key roles in development, phototransduction, and control of circadian rhythmicity. Also RuBisCO, an enzyme best known for incorporating CO(2) into organic substrates in plants also has an ancient oxygenase function, which plays a key role in regulating peroxide balance in cells. As life forms became more complex and aerobic metabolism became dominant in multicellular organisms, the signaling processes also took on new levels of complexity but many ancient elements remained. The way in which they are integrated into remodeling processes involved in tradeoffs between respiration and nutrition or in control of aging in complex organisms is an exciting field for future research.

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