Glutaredoxins (GRXs) are small ubiquitous glutathione (GSH)-dependent oxidoreductases that catalyze the reversible reduction of protein disulfide bridges or protein-GSH mixed disulfide bonds via a dithiol or monothiol mechanism, respectively. Three major classes of GRXs, with the CPYC-type, the CGFS-type or the CC-type active site, have been identified in many plant species. In spite of the well-characterized roles for GRXs in Escherichia coli, yeast and humans, the biological functions of plant GRXs have been largely enigmatic. The CPYC-type and CGFS-type GRXs exist in all organisms, from prokaryotes to eukaryotes, whereas the CC-type class has thus far been solely identified in land plants. Only the number of the CC-type GRXs has enlarged dramatically during the evolution of land plants, suggesting their participation in the formation of more complex plants adapted to life on land. A growing body of evidence indicates that plant GRXs are involved in numerous cellular pathways. In this review, emphasis is placed on the recently emerging functions for GRXs in floral organ development and disease resistance. Notably, CC-type GRXs have been recruited to participate in these two seemingly unrelated processes. Besides, the current knowledge of plant GRXs in the assembly and delivery of iron-sulfur clusters, oxidative stress responses and arsenic resistance is also presented. As GRXs require GSH as an electron donor to reduce their target proteins, GSH-related developmental processes, including the control of flowering time and the development of postembryonic roots and shoots, are further discussed. Profiling the thiol redox proteome using high-throughput proteomic approaches and measuring cellular redox changes with fluorescent redox biosensors will help to further unravel the redox-regulated physiological processes in plants.
Keywords: biotic and abiotic stresses; development; glutaredoxins (GRXs); glutathione (GSH); iron-sulfur clusters; redox regulation; thioredoxins (TRXs).