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Plant Signal Behav. 2016 Dec;11(12):e1256530. doi: 10.1080/15592324.2016.1256530.

Alternative oxidase and plant stress tolerance.

Author information

a Plant Molecular Biotechnology Laboratory, Department of Life Science & Bioinformatics, Assam University , Silchar , India.
b Siberian Institute of Plant Physiology & Biochemistry, RAS , Irkutsk , Russia.


Alternative oxidase (AOX) is one of the terminal oxidases of the plant mitochondrial electron transport chain. AOX acts as a means to relax the highly coupled and tensed electron transport process in mitochondria thus providing and maintaining the much needed metabolic homeostasis by directly reducing oxygen to water. In the process AOX also act as facilitator for signaling molecules conveying the metabolic status of mitochondria to the nucleus and thus able to influence nuclear gene expression. Since AOX indirectly, is able to control the synthesis of important signaling molecules like hydrogen peroxide, superoxide, nitric oxide, thus it is also helping in stress signaling. AOX mediated signaling and metabolic activities are very much important for plant stress response. This include both biotic (fungal, bacterial, viral, etc.) and abiotic (drought, salinity, cold, heavy metal, etc.) stresses. The review provides a gist of regulation and functioning of AOX.


Abiotic stress; Alternative oxidase (AOX); biotic stress; retrograde signaling

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