Oxidative stress protection by polyphosphate--new roles for an old player

Curr Opin Microbiol. 2015 Apr:24:1-6. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2014.12.004. Epub 2015 Jan 10.


Inorganic polyphosphate is a universally conserved biopolymer whose association with oxidative stress resistance has been documented in many species, but whose mode of action has been poorly understood. Here we review the recent discovery that polyphosphate functions as a protein-protective chaperone, examine the mechanisms by which polyphosphate-metal ion interactions reduce oxidative stress, and summarize polyphosphate's roles in regulating general stress response pathways. Given the simple chemical structure and ancient pedigree of polyphosphate, these diverse mechanisms are likely to be broadly relevant in many organisms, from bacteria to mammalian cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / drug effects*
  • Bacteria / metabolism
  • Bacterial Proteins / drug effects*
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Ions / metabolism
  • Molecular Chaperones / metabolism
  • Molecular Chaperones / pharmacology*
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Polyphosphates / metabolism
  • Polyphosphates / pharmacology*
  • Stress, Physiological / drug effects


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Ions
  • Molecular Chaperones
  • Polyphosphates