Mechanisms of Hypoxia-Induced Adult Reproductive Diapause (HRD) and Preservation of Stem Cell Potency During HRD in C. elegans

One of the fundamental physiological mechanisms in the aerobic animals is to maintain a balance between O2 supply and cellular demand of O2. In low O2, hypoxia, cell cycle may arrest. This response to hypoxia is mediated through the transcriptional activity of hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1)1.

Recently, we found that hypoxia can cause gonad arrest in C. elegans (Figure 1.). In this case, the gonad is developed under hypoxic condition into adult gonad, however, there is no oocyte production. We called this reaction to hypoxia as hypoxia-induced adult reproductive diapause, HRD. My team is dissecting the possible mechanisms underlying HRD.

Figure 1. The gonad (red highlighted dots) develops under hyopxia, but eggs are not produced.

1 Smith, T. G., Robbins, P. A. & Ratcliffe, P. J. The human side of hypoxia-inducible factor. British journal of haematology 141, 325-334, doi:10.1111/j.1365-2141.2008.07029.x (2008).