Nitric oxide contributes to behavioral, cellular, and developmental responses to low oxygen in Drosophila

Cell. 1999 Jul 9;98(1):105-14. doi: 10.1016/S0092-8674(00)80610-8.


A nitric oxide (NO)/cyclic GMP (cGMP) signaling pathway is thought to play an important role in mammalian vasodilation during hypoxia. We show that Drosophila utilizes components of this pathway to respond to hypoxia. Hypoxic exposure rapidly induced exploratory behavior in larvae and arrested the cell cycle. These behavioral and cellular responses were diminished by an inhibitor of NO synthase and by a polymorphism affecting a form of cGMP-dependent protein kinase. Conversely, these responses were induced by ectopic expression of NO synthase. Perturbing components of the NO/cGMP pathway altered both tracheal development and survival during prolonged hypoxia. These results indicate that NO and protein kinase G contribute to Drosophila's ability to respond to oxygen deprivation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Anaerobiosis
  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle / physiology*
  • Cyclic GMP / physiology*
  • Cyclic GMP-Dependent Protein Kinases / genetics
  • Cyclic GMP-Dependent Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Drosophila / genetics
  • Drosophila / growth & development
  • Drosophila / physiology*
  • Exploratory Behavior / physiology
  • Larva
  • Nitric Oxide / physiology*
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / metabolism*
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction


  • Nitric Oxide
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase
  • Protein Kinases
  • Cyclic GMP-Dependent Protein Kinases
  • Cyclic GMP