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Trends Plant Sci. 2002 Nov;7(11):478-81.

Function of the alternative oxidase: is it still a scavenger?

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School of Biological Sciences, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton, UK BN1 9QG.


The alternative oxidase is a respiratory chain protein found in all higher plants, fungi, non-fermentative yeasts and trypanosomes. Its primary structure suggests that it is a new member of the di-iron carboxylate protein family. Recent sequence analysis indicates an evolutionary relationship between primitive members of this protein family and the alternative oxidase, suggesting that its early function was to scavenge di-oxygen. However, modelling of plant growth kinetics suggests a different function.

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