Membrane Transport of Hydrogen Peroxide

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2006 Aug;1758(8):994-1003. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamem.2006.02.015. Epub 2006 Mar 10.


Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) belongs to the reactive oxygen species (ROS), known as oxidants that can react with various cellular targets thereby causing cell damage or even cell death. On the other hand, recent work has demonstrated that H2O2 also functions as a signalling molecule controlling different essential processes in plants and mammals. Because of these opposing functions the cellular level of H2O2 is likely to be subjected to tight regulation via processes involved in production, distribution and removal. Substantial progress has been made exploring the formation and scavenging of H2O2, whereas little is known about how this signal molecule is transported from its site of origin to the place of action or detoxification. From work in yeast and bacteria it is clear that the diffusion of H2O2 across membranes is limited. We have now obtained direct evidence that selected aquaporin homologues from plants and mammals have the capacity to channel H2O2 across membranes. The main focus of this review is (i) to summarize the most recent evidence for a signalling role of H2O2 in various pathways in plants and mammals and (ii) to discuss the relevance of specific transport of H2O2.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aquaporins / physiology*
  • Autocrine Communication
  • Biological Transport, Active
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / chemistry
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / metabolism*
  • Membrane Lipids / chemistry
  • Membrane Lipids / physiology
  • Paracrine Communication
  • Plants / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / physiology
  • Signal Transduction
  • Water / chemistry


  • Aquaporins
  • Membrane Lipids
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • Water
  • Hydrogen Peroxide