Refined control of cell stemness allowed animal evolution in the oxic realm

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Animal diversification on Earth has long been presumed to be associated with the increasing extent of oxic niches. Here, we challenge that view. We start with the fact that hypoxia (<1-3% O2) maintains cellular immaturity (stemness), whereas adult stem cells continuously - and paradoxically - regenerate animal tissue in oxygenated settings. Novel insights from tumour biology illuminate how cell stemness nevertheless can be achieved through the action of oxygen-sensing transcription factors in oxygenated, regenerating tissue. We suggest that these hypoxia-inducible transcription factors provided animals with unprecedented control over cell stemness that allowed them to cope with fluctuating oxygen concentrations. Thus, a refinement of the cellular hypoxia-response machinery enabled cell stemness at oxic conditions and, then, animals to evolve into the oxic realm. This view on the onset of animal diversification is consistent with geological evidence and provides a new perspective on the challenges and evolution of multicellular life.

Details

Authors
Organisations
External organisations
  • Nordic Center for Earth Evolution
  • University of Southern Denmark
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Evolutionary Biology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-228
Number of pages9
JournalNature Ecology and Evolution
Volume2
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Feb 1
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes