The molecular mechanism underlying oxygen sensing in mammalian cells has been extensively investigated in the areas of glucose transport, glycolysis, erythropoiesis, angiogenesis and catecholamine metabolism. Expression of functionally operative representative proteins in these specific areas, such as the glucose transporter 1, glycolytic enzymes, erythropoietin, vascular endothelial growth factor and tyrosine hydroxylase are all induced by hypoxia. Recent studies demonstrated that both transcriptional activation and post-transcriptional mechanisms are important to the hypoxia-mediated regulation of gene expression. In this article, the cis-acting elements and trans-acting factors involved in the transcriptional activation of gene expression will be reviewed. In addition, the mechanisms of post-transcriptional mRNA stabilization will also be addressed. We will discuss whether these two processes of regulation of hypoxia-responsive genes are mechanistically linked and co-operative in nature.