Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The ability to detect and respond to varying oxygen tension is an essential prerequisite to life. Several mechanisms regulate the cellular response to oxygen including the prolyl hydroxylase domain (PHD)/factor inhibiting HIF (FIH)-hypoxia inducible factor (HIF) pathway, cysteamine (2-aminoethanethiol) dioxygenase (ADO) system, and the lysine-specific demethylases (KDM) 5A and KDM6A. Using a systems-based approach we discuss the literature on oxygen sensing pathways in the context of virus replication in different tissues that experience variable oxygen tension. Current information supports a model where the PHD-HIF pathway enhances the replication of viruses infecting tissues under low oxygen, however, the reverse is true for viruses with a selective tropism for higher oxygen environments. Differences in oxygen tension and associated HIF signaling may play an important role in viral tropism and pathogenesis. Thus, pharmaceutical agents that modulate HIF activity could provide novel treatment options for viral infections and associated pathological conditions.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford OX3 7FZ, UK.