Peroxiredoxins (Prxs) are a family of multifunctional antioxidant thioredoxin-dependent peroxidases that have been identified in a large variety of organisms. The major functions of Prxs comprise cellular protection against oxidative stress, modulation of intracellular signaling cascades that apply hydrogen peroxide as a second messenger molecule, and regulation of cell proliferation. In the present review, we discuss pertinent findings on the protein structure, the cell- and tissue-specific distribution, as well as the subcellular localization of Prxs. A particular emphasis is put on Prx I, which is the most abundant and ubiquitously distributed member of the mammalian Prxs. Major transcriptional and posttranslational regulatory mechanisms and signaling pathways that control Prx gene expression and activity are summarized. The interaction of Prx I with the oncogene products c-Abl and c-Myc and the regulatory role of Prx I for cell proliferation and apoptosis are highlighted. Recent findings on phenotypical alterations of mouse models with targeted disruptions of Prx genes are discussed, confirming the physiological functions of Prxs for antioxidant cell and tissue protection along with an important role as tumor suppressors.