Functional RNA Dynamics Are Progressively Governed by RNA Destabilization during the Adaptation to Chronic Hypoxia

Int J Mol Sci. 2022 May 22;23(10):5824. doi: 10.3390/ijms23105824.


Previous studies towards reduced oxygen availability have mostly focused on changes in total mRNA expression, neglecting underlying transcriptional and post-transcriptional events. Therefore, we generated a comprehensive overview of hypoxia-induced changes in total mRNA expression, global de novo transcription, and mRNA stability in monocytic THP-1 cells. Since hypoxic episodes often persist for prolonged periods, we further compared the adaptation to acute and chronic hypoxia. While total mRNA changes correlated well with enhanced transcription during short-term hypoxia, mRNA destabilization gained importance under chronic conditions. Reduced mRNA stability not only added to a compensatory attenuation of immune responses, but also, most notably, to the reduction in nuclear-encoded mRNAs associated with various mitochondrial functions. These changes may prevent the futile production of new mitochondria under conditions where mitochondria cannot exert their full metabolic function and are indeed actively removed by mitophagy. The post-transcriptional mode of regulation might further allow for the rapid recovery of mitochondrial capacities upon reoxygenation. Our results provide a comprehensive resource of functional mRNA expression dynamics and underlying transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulatory principles during the adaptation to hypoxia. Furthermore, we uncover that RNA stability regulation controls mitochondrial functions in the context of hypoxia.

Keywords: GRAND-SLAM; RNA stability; SLAM-seq; de novo transcription; hypoxia; monocytes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acclimatization
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia* / genetics
  • Hypoxia* / metabolism
  • RNA Stability / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism


  • RNA, Messenger