The NADPH oxidase of phagocytes catalyzes the conversion of oxygen to O2(-). This multicomponent enzyme complex contains five essential protein components, two in the membrane and three in the cytosol. Unassembled and inactive in resting phagocytes, the oxidase becomes active after translocation of cytosolic components to the membrane to assemble a functional oxidase. Multiple factors regulate its assembly and activity, thus serving to maintain this highly reactive system under spatial and temporal control until recruited for antimicrobial or proinflammatory events. The recent identification of homologs of one of the membrane components in nonphagocytic cells will expand understanding of the biological contexts in which this system may function.
(c)2002 Elsevier Science.