PerspectiveCell Biology

Oxygen Sensing: It's a Gas!

Science  17 Dec 2004:
Vol. 306, Issue 5704, pp. 2050-2051
DOI: 10.1126/science.1107069

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Summary

Oxygen-sensing glomus cells in the carotid body of the carotid artery are responsible for detecting low oxygen levels and for inducing a compensatory increase in respiration rate. However, the molecular mechanism of oxygen sensing in these glomus cells has remained enigmatic. In their Perspective, Hoshi and Lahiri explore new work that identifies the oxygen sensor as a cooperative effort between hemoxygenase, the gas it produces (CO), and the BK channels of glomus cells, which respond to CO by remaining open ( Williams et al.).