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Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2008;40(4):604-18. Epub 2007 Oct 9.

The function of the NADPH oxidase of phagocytes and its relationship to other NOXs in plants, invertebrates, and mammals.

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Centre for Molecular Medicine, University College London, 5 University Street, London WC1E 6JJ, UK.


The NADPH (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate) oxidase (NOX) of 'professional' phagocytic cells transfers electrons across the wall of the phagocytic vacuole, forming superoxide in the lumen. It is generally accepted that this system promotes microbial killing through the generation of reactive oxygen species and through the activity of myeloperoxidase. An alternative scenario exists in which the passage of electrons across the membrane alters the pH and generates a charge that drives ions into, and out of, the vacuole. It is proposed that the primary function of the oxidase is to produce these pH changes and ion fluxes, and the issues surrounding these processes are considered. The neutrophil oxidase is the prototype of a whole family of NOXs that exist throughout biology, from plants to man, which might function, at least in part, in a similar fashion. Some examples of how these other NOXs might influence ion fluxes are examined.

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