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      The Ascorbate-glutathione-α-tocopherol Triad in Abiotic Stress Response


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          The life of any living organism can be defined as a hurdle due to different kind of stresses. As with all living organisms, plants are exposed to various abiotic stresses, such as drought, salinity, extreme temperatures and chemical toxicity. These primary stresses are often interconnected, and lead to the overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in plants, which are highly reactive and toxic and cause damage to proteins, lipids, carbohydrates and DNA, which ultimately results in oxidative stress. Stress-induced ROS accumulation is counteracted by enzymatic antioxidant systems and non-enzymatic low molecular weight metabolites, such as ascorbate, glutathione and α-tocopherol. The above mentioned low molecular weight antioxidants are also capable of chelating metal ions, reducing thus their catalytic activity to form ROS and also scavenge them. Hence, in plant cells, this triad of low molecular weight antioxidants (ascorbate, glutathione and α-tocopherol) form an important part of abiotic stress response. In this work we are presenting a review of abiotic stress responses connected to these antioxidants.

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          H2O2 from the oxidative burst orchestrates the plant hypersensitive disease resistance response.

          Microbial elicitors or attempted infection with an avirulent pathogen strain causes the rapid production of reactive oxygen intermediates. We report here that H2O2 from this oxidative burst not only drives the cross-linking of cell wall structural proteins, but also functions as a local trigger of programmed death in challenged cells and as a diffusible signal for the induction in adjacent cells of genes encoding cellular protectants such as glutathione S-transferase and glutathione peroxidase. Thus, H2O2 from the oxidative burst plays a key role in the orchestration of a localized hypersensitive response during the expression of plant disease resistance.
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            Glutathione in plants: an integrated overview.

            Plants cannot survive without glutathione (γ-glutamylcysteinylglycine) or γ-glutamylcysteine-containing homologues. The reasons why this small molecule is indispensable are not fully understood, but it can be inferred that glutathione has functions in plant development that cannot be performed by other thiols or antioxidants. The known functions of glutathione include roles in biosynthetic pathways, detoxification, antioxidant biochemistry and redox homeostasis. Glutathione can interact in multiple ways with proteins through thiol-disulphide exchange and related processes. Its strategic position between oxidants such as reactive oxygen species and cellular reductants makes the glutathione system perfectly configured for signalling functions. Recent years have witnessed considerable progress in understanding glutathione synthesis, degradation and transport, particularly in relation to cellular redox homeostasis and related signalling under optimal and stress conditions. Here we outline the key recent advances and discuss how alterations in glutathione status, such as those observed during stress, may participate in signal transduction cascades. The discussion highlights some of the issues surrounding the regulation of glutathione contents, the control of glutathione redox potential, and how the functions of glutathione and other thiols are integrated to fine-tune photorespiratory and respiratory metabolism and to modulate phytohormone signalling pathways through appropriate modification of sensitive protein cysteine residues. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
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              Phytochelatins and metallothioneins: roles in heavy metal detoxification and homeostasis.

              Among the heavy metal-binding ligands in plant cells the phytochelatins (PCs) and metallothioneins (MTs) are the best characterized. PCs and MTs are different classes of cysteine-rich, heavy metal-binding protein molecules. PCs are enzymatically synthesized peptides, whereas MTs are gene-encoded polypeptides. Recently, genes encoding the enzyme PC synthase have been identified in plants and other species while the completion of the Arabidopsis genome sequence has allowed the identification of the entire suite of MT genes in a higher plant. Recent advances in understanding the regulation of PC biosynthesis and MT gene expression and the possible roles of PCs and MTs in heavy metal detoxification and homeostasis are reviewed.

                Author and article information

                Int J Mol Sci
                Int J Mol Sci
                International Journal of Molecular Sciences
                Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI)
                10 April 2012
                : 13
                : 4
                : 4458-4483
                [1 ]Laboratory of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Department of Applied Biotechnology and Food Science, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, 1111 Szent Gellért tér 4, Budapest, Hungary; E-Mail: tomasskovics@ 123456mail.bme.hu
                [2 ]Department of Medical Chemistry, Molecular Biology and Pathobiochemistry Pathobiochemistry, Research Group of Hungarian Academy of Sciences and Semmelweis University, 1444 Budapest, POB 260, Hungary; E-Mail: gabor.banhegyi@ 123456eok.sote.hu
                Author notes
                [* ]Author to whom correspondence should be addressed; E-Mail: szarka@ 123456mail.bme.hu ; Tel.: +36-1-463-3858; Fax: +36-1-463-3855.
                © 2012 by the authors; licensee Molecular Diversity Preservation International, Basel, Switzerland.

                This article is an open-access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/).


                Molecular biology

                oxidative stress, glutathione, α-tocopherol, abiotic stress, ascorbate


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