The antioxidant function of 2-Cys peroxiredoxin (Prx) involves the oxidation of its conserved peroxidatic cysteine to sulphenic acid that is recycled by a reductor agent. In conditions of oxidative stress, the peroxidatic cysteine can be overoxidized to sulphinic acid inactivating the Prx. An enzyme recently discovered, named sulfiredoxin (Srx), reduces the sulphinic 2-Cys Prx (Prx-SO(2)H). To explore the physiological functions of Srx in plants we have cloned, expressed and purified to homogeneity a Srx from Arabidopsis thaliana (AtSrx), as well as five variants by site-directed mutagenesis on amino acids involved in its activity. The activity of sulfiredoxin, determined by a new method, is dependent on the concentration of the sulphinic form of Prx and the conserved Srx is capable of regenerating the functionality of both pea and Arabidopsis Prx-SO(2)H. Molecular modelling of AtSrx and the facts that the R28Q variant shows a partial inactivation, that the activity of the E76A variant is equivalent to that of the native enzyme and that the double mutation R28Q/E76A abolishes the enzymatic activity suggests that the pair His100-Glu76 may be involved in the activation of C72 in the absence of R28. The knock-out mutant plants without Srx or 2-Cys Prx exhibited phenotypical differences under growth conditions of 16 h light, probably due to the signalling role of the sulphinic form of Prx. These mutants showed more susceptibility to oxidative stress than wild-type plants. This work presents the first systematic biochemical characterization of the Srx/Prx system from plants and contributes to a better understanding of its physiological function.