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J Biol Chem. 2012 Feb 10;287(7):4397-402. doi: 10.1074/jbc.R111.287995. Epub 2011 Dec 6.

Redox outside the box: linking extracellular redox remodeling with intracellular redox metabolism.

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Department of Biological Chemistry, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109, USA.


Aerobic organisms generate reactive oxygen species as metabolic side products and must achieve a delicate balance between using them for signaling cellular functions and protecting against collateral damage. Small molecule (e.g. glutathione and cysteine)- and protein (e.g. thioredoxin)-based buffers regulate the ambient redox potentials in the various intracellular compartments, influence the status of redox-sensitive macromolecules, and protect against oxidative stress. Less well appreciated is the fact that the redox potential of the extracellular compartment is also carefully regulated and is dynamic. Changes in intracellular metabolism alter the redox poise in the extracellular compartment, and these are correlated with cellular processes such as proliferation, differentiation, and death. In this minireview, the mechanism of extracellular redox remodeling due to intracellular sulfur metabolism is discussed in the context of various cell-cell communication paradigms.

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