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Physiol Plant. 2010 Oct;140(2):103-10. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-3054.2010.01391.x.

The production and scavenging of reactive oxygen species in the plastoquinone pool of chloroplast thylakoid membranes.

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Institute of Basic Biological Problems, Russian Academy of Sciences, Pushchino, Russia.


Reactive oxygen species (ROS) resulting from oxygen reduction, superoxide anion radical O2(*-) and hydrogen peroxide H(2)O(2) are very significant in the cell metabolism of aerobic organisms. They can be destructive and lead to apoptosis and they can also serve as signal molecules. In the light, chloroplasts are known to be one of the main sources of ROS in plants. However, the components involved in oxygen reduction and the detailed chemical mechanism are not yet well established. The present review describes the experimental data and theoretical considerations that implicate the plastoquinone pool (PQ-pool) in this process. The evidence indicates that the PQ-pool has a dual role: (1) the reduction of O(2) by plastosemiquinone to superoxide and (2) the reduction of superoxide by plastohydroquinone to hydrogen peroxide. The second role represents not only the scavenging of superoxide, but also the generation of hydrogen peroxide as an important signaling molecule. The regulatory and protective functions of the PQ-pool are discussed in the context of these reactions.

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