Heme is a prosthetic group best known for roles in oxygen transport, oxidative catalysis, and respiratory electron transport. Recent years have seen the roles of heme extended to sensors of gases such as O2 and NO and cell redox state, and as mediators of cellular responses to changes in intracellular levels of these gases. The importance of heme is further evident from identification of proteins that bind heme reversibly, using it as a signal, e.g. to regulate gene expression in circadian rhythm pathways and control heme synthesis itself. In this minireview, we explore the current knowledge of the diverse roles of heme sensor proteins.