Heme oxygenase-1: Molecular mechanisms of gene expression in oxygen-related stress

Stefan W. Ryter, Augustine M.K. Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

168 Scopus citations


Disturbances of intracellular redox equilibrium may alter eukaryotic gene expression patterns in the manifestation of an adaptive stress response. The inducible heme oxygenase-1 gene, ho-1, responds dramatically to changes in cellular redox potential provoked by multiple agents (oxidants, xenobiotics, reactive oxygen species, nitric oxide, and ultraviolet-A radiation) as well as deviations in oxygen tension in excess or deficit of normal physiological levels. This dual response to hyperoxic and hypoxic states renders ho-1 an intriguing model system for studying oxygen-regulated gene expression. The complexation or depletion of reduced glutathione apparently represents an underlying mechanism by which oxidants trigger the response. Chelatable iron levels also influence the induction of ho-1 as evidenced by the inhibitory effects of iron-chelating compounds. Redox-sensitive protein kinase cascades (e.g., mitogen-activated protein kinases) participate in ho-1 regulation. Recent progress in understanding ho-1 transcription has identified two distal enhancer regions (E1, E2) in the mouse ho-1 gene that mediate the response to many inducing conditions. This review will examine the potential roles of iron, glutathione, and reactive oxygen species in the upstream events leading to ho-1 activation following oxygen related stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)625-632
Number of pages8
JournalAntioxidants and Redox Signaling
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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