Unravelling how plants benefit from ROS and NO reactions, while resisting oxidative stress

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BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS), such as nitric oxide (NO), play crucial roles in the signal transduction pathways that regulate plant growth, development and defence responses, providing a nexus of reduction/oxidation (redox) control that impacts on nearly every aspect of plant biology. Here we summarize current knowledge and concepts that lay the foundations of a new vision for ROS/RNS functions – particularly through signalling hubs – for the next decade.

SCOPE: Plants have mastered the art of redox control using ROS and RNS as secondary messengers to regulate a diverse range of protein functions through redox-based, post-translational modifications that act as regulators of molecular master-switches. Much current focus concerns the impact of this regulation on local and systemic signalling pathways, as well as understanding how such reactive molecules can be effectively used in the control of plant growth and stress responses.

CONCLUSIONS: The spectre of oxidative stress still overshadows much of our current philosophy and understanding of ROS and RNS functions. While many questions remain to be addressed – for example regarding inter-organellar regulation and communication, the control of hypoxia and how ROS/RNS signalling is used in plant cells, not only to trigger acclimation responses but also to create molecular memories of stress – it is clear that ROS and RNS function as vital signals of living cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)469-473
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Botany
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2015


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