Redox control, redox signaling, and redox homeostasis in plant cells

Int Rev Cytol. 2003;228:141-93. doi: 10.1016/s0074-7696(03)28004-9.


Redox chemistry is a key feature of life. Oxidized substrates are reduced to synthesize functional molecules; reduced substrates are oxidized for energy supply. In addition, cells must fight against uncontrolled oxidation of essential constituents, a process that continuously occurs in an atmosphere of 21% O2. The redox situation is further complicated in plants with their highly reactive photosynthetic metabolism. To this end it is now well established that redox regulation is a central element in adjusting plant metabolism and development to the prevailing environmental conditions. This review introduces general redox chemistry and the main components of the cellular redox network, namely pyridine nucleotides, ascorbate, glutathione, lipoic acid, tocopherol, thioredoxins, glutaredoxins, peroxiredoxins, and other thiol proteins. Examples for redox sensing, transduction, redox-regulated enzymes and transcription, and the function of regulatory circuits are presented. Emphasis is placed on redox regulation of photosynthesis, which is the best understood metabolism governed by redox control on essentially all levels, ranging from gene transcription to translation, assembly and turnover, as well as short-term adaptation by state transition and enzyme activity. Increasing evidence shows the importance of redox regulation in the context of transport, plant development, and programmed cell death.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Feedback, Physiological / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant / physiology*
  • Homeostasis / physiology*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Photosynthesis / physiology
  • Plant Cells
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Plants / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*


  • Plant Proteins