NADPH-dependent reductases involved in the detoxification of reactive carbonyls in plants

J Biol Chem. 2011 Mar 4;286(9):6999-7009. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.202226. Epub 2010 Dec 17.


Reactive carbonyls, especially α,β-unsaturated carbonyls produced through lipid peroxidation, damage biomolecules such as proteins and nucleotides; elimination of these carbonyls is therefore essential for maintaining cellular homeostasis. In this study, we focused on an NADPH-dependent detoxification of reactive carbonyls in plants and explored the enzyme system involved in this detoxification process. Using acrolein (CH(2) = CHCHO) as a model α,β-unsaturated carbonyl, we purified a predominant NADPH-dependent acrolein-reducing enzyme from cucumber leaves, and we identified the enzyme as an alkenal/one oxidoreductase (AOR) catalyzing reduction of an α,β-unsaturated bond. Cloning of cDNA encoding AORs revealed that cucumber contains two distinct AORs, chloroplastic AOR and cytosolic AOR. Homologs of cucumber AORs were found among various plant species, including Arabidopsis, and we confirmed that a homolog of Arabidopsis (At1g23740) also had AOR activity. Phylogenetic analysis showed that these AORs belong to a novel class of AORs. They preferentially reduced α,β-unsaturated ketones rather than α,β-unsaturated aldehydes. Furthermore, we selected candidates of other classes of enzymes involved in NADPH-dependent reduction of carbonyls based on the bioinformatic information, and we found that an aldo-keto reductase (At2g37770) and aldehyde reductases (At1g54870 and At3g04000) were implicated in the reduction of an aldehyde group of saturated aldehydes and methylglyoxal as well as α,β-unsaturated aldehydes in chloroplasts. These results suggest that different classes of NADPH-dependent reductases cooperatively contribute to the detoxification of reactive carbonyls.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acrolein / metabolism
  • Alcohol Oxidoreductases / genetics
  • Alcohol Oxidoreductases / metabolism*
  • Aldehyde Reductase / genetics
  • Aldehyde Reductase / metabolism
  • Aldehydes / metabolism
  • Aldo-Keto Reductases
  • Arabidopsis / enzymology*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism*
  • Chloroplasts / enzymology*
  • Cucumis sativus / enzymology*
  • Lipid Peroxidation / physiology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • NADP / metabolism*
  • Oxidoreductases / genetics
  • Oxidoreductases / metabolism
  • Pyruvaldehyde / metabolism
  • Substrate Specificity


  • Aldehydes
  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • NADP
  • Pyruvaldehyde
  • Acrolein
  • Oxidoreductases
  • Alcohol Oxidoreductases
  • At2g37770 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Aldo-Keto Reductases
  • Aldehyde Reductase

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AB597302
  • GENBANK/AB597303