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J Exp Bot. 2002 May;53(372):1331-41.

Role of superoxide dismutases (SODs) in controlling oxidative stress in plants.

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Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA.


Reactive O(2) species (ROS) are produced in both unstressed and stressed cells. Plants have well-developed defence systems against ROS, involving both limiting the formation of ROS as well as instituting its removal. Under unstressed conditions, the formation and removal of O(2) are in balance. However, the defence system, when presented with increased ROS formation under stress conditions, can be overwhelmed. Within a cell, the superoxide dismutases (SODs) constitute the first line of defence against ROS. Specialization of function among the SODs may be due to a combination of the influence of subcellular location of the enzyme and upstream sequences in the genomic sequence. The commonality of elements in the upstream sequences of Fe, Mn and Cu/Zn SODs suggests a relatively recent origin for those regulatory regions. The differences in the upstream regions of the three FeSOD genes suggest differing regulatory control which is borne out in the research literature. The finding that the upstream sequences of Mn and peroxisomal Cu/Zn SODs have three common elements suggests a common regulatory pathway. The tools are available to dissect further the molecular basis for antioxidant defence responses in plant cells. SODs are clearly among the most important of those defences, when coupled with the necessary downstream events for full detoxification of ROS.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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