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Free Radic Biol Med. 1988;5(5-6):377-85.

Biosynthesis and regulation of superoxide dismutases.

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Department of Food Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh 27695-7624.


The past two decades have witnessed an explosion in our understanding of oxygen toxicity. The discovery of superoxide dismutases (SODs) (EC., which specifically catalyze the dismutation of superoxide radicals (O2-) to hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and oxygen, has indicated that O2- is a normal and common byproduct of oxygen metabolism. There is an increasing evidence to support the conclusion that superoxide radicals play a major role in cellular injury, mutagenesis, and many diseases. In all cases SODs have been shown to protect the cells against these deleterious effects. Recent advances in molecular biology and the isolation of different SOD genes and SOD c-DNAs have been useful in proving beyond doubt the physiological function of the enzyme. The biosynthesis of SODs, in most biological systems, is under rigorous controls. In general, exposure to increased pO2, increased intracellular fluxes of O2-, metal ions perturbation, and exposures to several environmental oxidants have been shown to influence the rate of SOD synthesis in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms. Recent developments in the mechanism of regulation of the manganese-containing superoxide dismutase of Escherichia coli will certainly open new research avenues to better understand the regulation of SODs in other organisms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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