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Biochimie. 2007 Sep;89(9):1107-12. Epub 2007 Feb 20.

NOX family NADPH oxidases: not just in mammals.

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Department of Pathology and Immunology, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.


NOX family NADPH oxidases are enzymes whose biological function is electron transport and the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). NOX enzymes in mammalian organisms have received most attention. However, NOX enzymes are widely distributed in different kingdoms of life. While they are not found in prokaryotes and most unicellular eukaryotes, they are present in fungi, plants, and animals. The identity of the ancestral NOX is not known, but most likely it: (i) possessed the basic NOX structure consisting of 6 transmembrane domains (containing two assymmetrical hemes) and a long cytoplasmic C-terminal (containing the FAD and NADPH binding sites); and (ii) emerged before the divergence of life into fungi, plants, and animals. During evolution, acquisition of a Ca(2+)-binding EF hand domain by an ancestral NOX, led to NOX5-like isoforms. DUOX isoforms presumably developed from a NOX5-like isoform through the additional acquisition of a peroxidase homology domain. The expression pattern of NOX enzymes is specific to each kingdom of life. Fungi express only ancestral-type isoforms, and plants only NOX5-like isoforms. NOX expression patterns in animals are complex and ancestral NOXes, NOX5-like isoforms and DUOXes are generally found. But there are exceptions; for example rodents lack NOX5 and Caenorhabditis elegans expresses only DUOXes. Biological functions of NOX enzymes include, among others, host defense, post-translational modification of proteins, and regulation cell growth and differentiation. In summary, the invention of NOX enzymes early in the development of life was a success story: there is no evidence of multicellular life without NOX enzymes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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