PerR is the peroxide resistance regulator found in several pathogenic bacteria and governs their resistance to peroxide stress by inducing enzymes that destroy peroxides. However, it has recently been implicated as a key component of the aerotolerance in several facultative or strict anaerobes, including the highly pathogenic Staphylococcus aureus. By combining (18)O labeling studies to ESI- and MALDI-TOF MS detection and EMSA experiments, we demonstrate that the active form of PerR reacts with dioxygen, which leads ultimately to disruption of the PerR/DNA complex and is thus physiologically meaningful. Moreover, we show that the presence of O2 assists PerR sensing of H2O2, another feature likely to be important for anaerobic organisms. These results allow one to envisage different scenarios for the response of anaerobes to air exposure.