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Plant Signal Behav. 2012 Aug;7(8):994-8. doi: 10.4161/psb.20674. Epub 2012 Jul 25.

New insights into an old story: pollen ROS also play a role in hay fever.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Biologia Evoluzionistica Sperimentale, Alma Mater Studiorum, Universit√† di Bologna, Bologna, Italy. anna.speranza@unibo.it


Reactive oxygen species (ROS) can exhibit negative and benign traits. In plants, ROS levels increase markedly during periods of environmental stress, and defense against pathogen attack. ROS form naturally as a by-product of normal oxygen metabolism, and evenly play an essential role in cell growth. The short ROS lifespan makes them ideal molecules to act in cell signaling, a role they share in both plants and animals. A particular plant organism, the pollen grain, may closely interact with human mucosa and an allergic inflammatory response often results. Pollen grain ROS represent a first, crucial signal which primes and magnifies a cascade of events in the allergic response.

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